Talk Nerdy To Me! Wonkagenda For Wed., July 31, 2019


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

Last night's Democratic debate was a clash between progressive nerds and moderate party poopers from the fringe desperately trying to stay in the 2020 race. When Jake Tapper wasn't constantly telling everyone to shut up before they had a chance to answer questions, we got a real wonky slobberknocker of a fight about all 31 flavors of healthcare, immigration reform, tax increases, slavery reparations, and international trade. The New York Times and the Washington Post think Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders had the best night since the other eight candidates were more focused on tearing down the two highest polling candidates, while Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke were served brutal reminders that they should drop out and RUN FOR THE FUCKING SENATE. Fun Fact: The sprawling Trump-Russia scandal and the push to #Impeach didn't come up once! [Transcript / Fact Check]

July Democratic Debates, Night One | The Daily Show

NPR has a good setup for tonight's debate. In short, Joe Biden says he'll be a dick, Sen. Cory Booker will beat up Old Smokin' Joe, and Sen. Kamala Harris will bust everyone smoking weed backstage (because "she's a cop"). Don't be surprised if you see a cartoonish big ball of violence break out between low-polling candidates like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Yang, and DINO Rep. Tulsi Gabbard who are still struggling to make the DNC requirements for the third debates.

It's possible the Senate will steamroll that massive spending bill today. If Sen. Rand Paul and the Tea Party whackjobs don't throw another tantrum (because they hate the troops), and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell doesn't force Republicans to vote on more godawful Trump judges, the Senate could piss off for the August recess a little early. Politico reports that McConnell is telling his caucus not to fuck this up as they believe a number Democrats running for president won't vote for the bill, but a number of prominent Republicans, like Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, James Lankford, and Marsha Blackburn have all said they won't vote for the spending deal that would fund the military, keep the government running, and avoid a collapse of the US credit markets (because they too hate the troops, freedom, and America).

Don't look for any kind of plan in Trump's trade war with China. After last week suggesting his neo-nationalist negotiators were squashing beefs with their Chinese counter-parts, yesterday Trump sent out a barrage of shitposts and suggested that he might keep HIS trade war going through 2020.

The administration MIGHT extend waivers for Iran's nuclear program following some arm wringing and cajoling from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Politico reports the waivers are one of the last pieces of the JCPOA that Trump hasn't ripped apart, and are keeping people like John Bolton from whipping out their war boners in public.

The confirmation hearing of Air Force Gen. John Hyten to vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff got personal yesterday. Republicans and military brass accused Col. Kathryn A. Spletstoser of being a lying WHO-ORE for in accusing Hyten of sexual assault. While former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson testified that Hyten was "falsely accused," Spletstoser was denied the opportunity to give her own testimony. With Spletstoser sitting just feet away, Republican Sen. Martha McSally -- herself a survivor of sexual assault -- called Spletstoser a liar, adding "Sexual assault happens in the military. It just didn't happen in this case." Following the hearing, Spletstoser told reporters, "The reality is we're not talking about winning a case in a court ... you're talking about a promotion to be the second highest military officer in the United States of America, one who couldn't answer simple questions on sexual assault or its policy or how we handle it. So I'll just tell you this, what we saw in there today was a political spectacle done at the expense of an innocent victim who has never lied on anything."

The investigation into grifty bastard and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has grown to include HIS EMAILS. The initial probe centers around Zinke's land deal with the head of Halliburton, and the Interior's blocking of a tribal casino in Connecticut. Politico notes the investigation into HIS EMAILS was pushed by reps Elijah Cummings and Raul Grijalva in April of 2018, but were ultimately rebuffed.

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has introduced another ignorant bill aimed at slapping big tech. Hawley's bill, the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act, would ban social media companies from using autoplay features that are designed to keep people engaged on their platforms. Without going into the weeds, Hawley's bill is more likely to increase the power of social media companies by forcing them to consolidate businesses around advertising instead of user engagement.

Later today Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway is expected to become the latest Republican to announce #HesNOTRunning for reelection. An old Bushie, Conaway's central Texas district is a reliable Republican stronghold, so it's anyone's guess why so many old white guys (and women!) are quitting Congress.

A grand jury in North Carolina has indicted Leslie McCrae Dowless for felony obstruction of justice, perjury, and election fuckery in the 2018 general election. These charges are in addition to indictments Dowless was already facing for fuckery in the 2016 election, and the 2018 primary.

NICE TIME: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra secured settlements from four pharmaceutical companies for cutting illegal deals forcing cheap, generic drugs off the market. The companies will pay California almost $70 million for creating their little monopolies on drugs that combat shingles and narcolepsy.

Trump sat down with C-SPAN for an interview where he whines about not being a racist. At one point in the interview, Trump says that "Everybody's called a racist now," and "the word is so overused." [Video]

Twitter suspended the account of a conspiracy peddling jackass after it was retweeted by Donald Trump. The Daily Beast reports the account was violating Twitter's multiple accounts rule, not because of the graphic calling Democrats "the true enemy of the people."

Colbert sat down with MSNBC's Katy Tur and Jacob Soboroff to talk about their new docuseries on money in politics.

Katy Tur & Jacob Soboroff: Money In Politics Is The Source of Corruption

And here's your morning Nice Time: SEA OTTER PUPPERS!

Sea Otter Pup Tries New Toys

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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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