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


Trump's shutdown is now in its 17th day with no indication of stopping. Now, Trump is not only demanding $5.7 million for "a steel barrier" (not concrete) along the southern border, but an additional $800,000 for "urgent humanitarian needs" at his baby jails. On top of that, Trump has started screaming that he might declare a national emergency in order to force the military to build portions of his wall. Over the weekend, congressional aides met with Mike Pence, allowing Trump to claim he was doing something other than sitting on his ass and shitposting.

In order to combat the literal piles of trash and human shit collecting at national parks, the Trump administration has greenlit a dubiously legal program of charging recreation fees for basic operational and support services. New House National Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Raúl Grijalva breaks it down for Roll Call, stating, "The president expects [the American people] to either pay more to keep the toilets clean out of their own pockets or pay millions of dollars for his ridiculous wall. Either way, this president is only happy as long as the American people pay for his every whim whenever it suits him." Maybe Trump doesn't like the optics of young Muslims organizing to clean up national parks?

Yesterday, Trump said he "can relate" to the furloughed workers (and contractors) who aren't getting paid even though he just "accidentally" gave his administration officials a $10,000 raise starting next weekwhile cutting pay for rank-and-file federal workers. WaPo reports the effects of the government shutdown are beginning to hit Main Street as small businesses, like dinners and coffee shops, hemorrhage cash while federal workers get familiar with local food pantries and unemployment lines. Meanwhile, HUD officials are warning that 1,500 people are about to be evicted thanks to a lack of funding for government programs that care for low-income families and the elderly. #MAGA

On Friday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied and said 4,000 known or suspected terrorists came across the southern border last year. When Sanders attempted to repeat this laughable bullshit on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace called her out using the State Department's own numbers. Incapable of repeating something that isn't a pre-scripted talking point, Sanders doubled down with her racist nonsense.

The New York Times reports Trump's idea for a wall was a mnemonic device concocted by Roger Stone and Sam Nunberg back in 2015 as a way to keep him from rambling off topic, and later evolved into a signature policy platform thanks to his stupidity. Effectively chaining himself to the wall has forced him into an untenable position with an increasing number of Republicans telling reporters they'll never sink a nickel into Trump's goddamn wall.

Axios gossips that Trump's White House has "devolved into anarchy" (again) with the departure of John Kelly as Trump just spouts off whatever bullshit comes into his head.

House Democrats aren't wasting any time screwing around. On Friday they introduced HR1: The For The People Act which increases voting rights through automatic voter registration, ends voter purges, authorizes money for states to adopt paper ballots, restores voting rights for felons, restores the Voting Rights Act, and makes Election Day a national holiday. The bill also makes it harder for the super rich to buy elections by encouraging candidates to rely on public financing models. Oh, and just for shits and giggles, the bill includes a provision to require independent commissions when states redraw congressional maps in an attempt to end gerrymandering. #ThanksNancy.

The government might be shut down, but that's not stopping House Democrats from setting up investigations into Trump and his minions. Not only can we expect Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke to face the spotlight, but also Betsy DeVos, Kirstjen Nielsen, a host of regulatory overhauls, and the possible revelation of Trump's tax-returns!

Ol' Handsome Joe may be days away from announcing his own 2020 bid, according to the Times, believing he's the only one who can beat the shit out of Trump behind the tool shed. Biden is expected to be the frontrunner if he decides to run, and has been under pressure from big money donors who are itching to start the 2020 campaign season off with their checkbooks, but the whippersnappers caucus is hungry for some new blood. #HesRunning

The "Draft Beto" movement just gained a serious political operative with Tyler Jones, a South Carolina kingmaker who feels Beto is like Bobby Kennedy and B. Barry Bamz in a delicious 2020 burrito.

Trump's 2020 magicians are so concerned about a primary challenge that they're already greasing the palms of state delegates, and trying to throw wrenches in the party machinery with ridiculous new rules ahead of the convention in Charlotte. The last thing they want is John Kasich pulling a Ted Cruz and telling people to "vote your conscience."

Trade representatives from the US and China are holding a two-day talk to see if they can hash out a possible end to Trump's trade war. Pencil pushers and policy wonks are sounding cautiously optimistic about a thawing of tensions, but they're still holding their breath and hoping Trump doesn't nuke the talks with a series of rambling shitposts (again).

John Bolton is telling reporters that the US isn't technically leaving Syria after all! Despite assertions that the US was pulling out of the Middle East, the Times reports the Defense Department ignored Trump's orders (again), and that no planning was put in place to turn anything over to Turkish forces waiting to slaughter US-backed Kurdish fighters. Trump later echoed Bolton's assertion that conditions on the ground will dictate US troop presence, adding that the US will ally itself with Russia, Turkey, and Iran to fight ISIS/ISIL/whatever because they hate "ISIS more than we do, if that's possible."

A Navy Seal was arraigned on charges of war crimes Friday. Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher is accused of murdering a teenager in Iraq in May of 2017, bragging about killing civilians with his sniper rifle, and threatening his fellow soldiers if they reported him. Indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter is now asking for Trump to see if Uncle Sam is willing to forget how Gallagher posed for pictures with the dead body of the teenager during his reenlistment ceremony.

Wikileaks sent out a 5,000-word email demanding journalists not bring up 140 different subjects that are mean to Julian Assange. The subjects include reporting that Assange is an agent and asset of the Russian government, bleaches his hair, is a "hacker," that he neglects his cat, and is smelly asshole with bad personal hygiene. The email reportedly bills itself as a "confidential legal communication" that is "not for publication," which is *not how that works*.

CBS has announced that Susan Zirinsky will head the network's news division following the resignation of David Rhodes. Known as "Z," Zirinsky is a 46-year veteran reporter who's covered everything Watergate to royal weddings. As the first woman to run CBS News, she tells the LA Times that she'll have a much more hands on approach to the networks news coverage.

The New York Times just discovered that writers are poor and getting poorer thanks to Amazon's ability to beat small, independent publishers into submission and pay cuts. This is our subtle way of asking for money, please! We love yoouu!

In accepting the Golden Globe for his portrayal of former VEEP Dick Cheney in the movie "Vice," Christian Bale thanked Satan and "charisma free assholes." Cheney's daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney, immediately jumped on Twitter to fire off a butthurt statement that is easily drowned out by The Church of Satan thanking Bale for his "external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential." HAIL SATAN!

And here's your morning Nice Time! WILD HORSES! Extinction couldn't drag them away!

The Wild Horses That Beat Extinction www.youtube.com

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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 lying in a gutter taking photos.

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CLEAR YOUR CALENDARS FOR FEBRUARY 7! And then fill them back up with whatever the fuck you want, because Michael Cohen has announced through his lawyers that he is too scared to testify before an open session of Congress that day, citing threats to his family from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.

Wonkette has no reason to believe Cohen isn't being serious here, and NBC News reports Cohen's wife and father-in-law are particularly concerned about their safety if the man who used to call his boss MIS-TURRRR TWUMP goes to Congress and tells the truth this time. Still, we must pause to note that this is the same guy who said this to NPR reporter Tim Mak, back when Mak was at The Daily Beast:

"I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we're in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don't have," Cohen told Mak [...] "And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know."

"So I'm warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I'm going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?"

It's not so fun when the shoe is on the other foot, IS IT, MICHAEL?

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Did Nancy Pelosi do something to give Donald Trump the mistaken impression he has leverage here? We don't remember her doing anything like that!

Trump sent Pelosi a letter this morning to say that, despite how she told him to stay the fuck out of her House because of his government shutdown, he would still be coming to the House on January 29 to deliver his State of the Union address. And for some weird-ass reason, Trump and his advisers in the White House actually thought she would back down. It's both hilarious and alarming that Trump and his people are that stupid, isn't it?

Anyway, Pelosi took the dare. She took the dare. Was there anybody besides those dumb fucking idiots in the White House who thought she wouldn't take the dare?

Pelosi sent a letter right back to Trump to kindly explain to him that no means "go fuck yourself," and that if he'd like her to stick her foot further up his ass and kick it around a bunch, he's welcome to test her some more:

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