ROUND THREE! Wonkagenda For Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019

ROUND THREE! Wonkagenda For Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019

Elizabeth Warren talks to supporters at a town hall in Indiana.

Photo by Dominic Gwinn

Morning Wonketariat! Once again there's a torrent of things spewing from swamp this morning, but here's SOME of the things we may be talking about today.

The third Democratic presidential debate starts tonight at 8:00 pm and will air on ABC and Univision. It will be the first single debate between all 10 main contenders in the 2020 Democratic primary thus far, and be the first time Joe Biden will face off with his top three opponents, senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. Earlier this week the DNC warned candidates to watch their potty mouths as there will be no delay on the broadcast, and Amy Klobuchar grinned wickedly. WaPo adds that all these new rules might seem like a dramatic change, but believe or not, the debates have been pretty standard so far. Stephen Colbert thinks all those words about no cusses tonight might be directed at one or two mother fuckin' candidates who can't control their MALARKY.

Several Democrats are Beating Trump in Head-to-Head

Administration officials are getting a little more loose with reported federal plans to round up homeless people and warehouse them in concentration camps shelters. Officials from HUD, DOJ, EPA, Veterans Affairs, and the Domestic Policy Council were recently poking around a housing project and an old FAA facility, and meeting with Los Angeles police unions in order to figure out, as one senior official puts it, "how the hell we can get these people off the streets." The LA Times reports city and state officials are skeptical of the administration's efforts, quoting Breelyn Pete, the chief of state and federal affairs for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, as saying "They're just not thoughtful — and, quite frankly, not smart enough to know what we're doing."

The Supreme Court has upheld a the Trump administration's new asylum policy that bars refugees who've traveled through Mexico or another country without first applying for asylum there. Joined by the notorious RBG, Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented with the ruling, writing, "Once again the Executive branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution," adding, "the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required by law." [Order]

NPR noticed that there's a hell of a lot of empty chairs at Trump's White House. Even though Trump routinely brags about all the people clamoring for gigs in his administration, more senior staffers are now working two jobs while other senior level positions remain vacant, or occupied by acting officials. WaPo reports that a lot of this may be because Trump's MAGAlomania has left him with an inner circle of "Yes" men who are desperate to avoid being "You're Fired" via tweet, and Trump's view of advisers as props to be used and abused. [Infographic]

Image via NPR

If you like beating yourself up, Politico has a quick run-down of the "Yes" men Trump is considering to replace John Bolton. There's your typical cadre of Fox News talking heads, neo-cons, and even an (ALLEGED) white nationalist. Who are we kidding, Trump's just going split the job between Mick Mulvaney and Jared Kushner.

Our mad king has decreed he won't shove a legally dubious tax cut on capital gains down our throats (for now). The idea to give MORE tax cuts (for the super rich) had been floated by a number of Republicans (*cough* Ted Cruz! *cough!*) and the super rich jackoffs he calls economic advisers. Instead, Trump is shitposting about the Fed and negative interest rates again.

The CEOs of 145 US companies are begging the Republican-controlled Senate to do something to control America's gun humping problem. The letter is signed by an interesting collective of business leaders, including Jared Kushner's brother and Sen. Mitt Romney's old company, Bain Capital, and urges the Senate to pass so-called "red flag" laws and take up legislation already passed by the Democratic-led House. The fancy suits write, "we have a responsibility and obligation to stand up for the safety of our employees, customers and all Americans in the communities we serve across the country," adding, "Doing nothing about America's gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety." [Letter]

A new tentative work law in California aimed at helping the bajillions of slobs working in the gig economy has pissed off a bunch of businesses who can't/won't call their workers "employees." Pushback against the law is coming primarily from Uber, which says its drivers don't qualify as employees, adding that it won't comply with the law. Small businesses and religious institutions are also worried they might lose money or be forced to bump faith leaders to part-time gigs that serve people who believe in their particular 31 flavors of God(s) in order to comply with the law.

We're finally getting a look at the receipts for Mike Pence's little vacay to Trump's failing golf course in Doonbeg, Ireland. According to the State Department, ground transportation alone cost taxpayers half-a-million dollars. NBC notes that, by comparison, when B. Barry Bamz skipped around Ireland in 2013 it only cost $114,000. Last night Samantha Bee did a quick round up of the grifting for which Trump World has been caught billing tax payers in just the last week.

Here's How Taxpayers are Funding Trump's Resorts | Full Frontal on

The Daily Beast reports the administration is considering an $15 billion bailout for Iran in order to entice the regime into coming back in line with the JCPOA. Initially conceived by French President Emanuel Macron, the deal would leverage a credit line for oil sales, provided Iran mashes the "Stop" button on it's nuke program, stops dicking around in the Persian Gulf, and shows up to future Middle East talks. Part of the fallout of the quit-firing of John Bolton (whom unnamed State Department officials call "an arsonist hell bent on setting fire to anyone's agenda that didn't align with his own"), the plan is still up in the air and hinges on Trump admitting he fucked up by killing one of Obama's landmark foreign policy achievements. We kid -- he'll just insist a far worse deal is an improvement.

Politico reports US security officials are pretty sure Israel secretly installed "sting rays" near the White House to get an inside look at the raging dumpster fires on the Trump Show. Security officials say it's "pretty clear" Israel was spying, and that the Trump administration has just kind of shrugged off the incident. For its part, the Israeli embassy told Politico it "doesn't conduct espionage operations in the United States, period," which is a pretty standard denial for them.

Israel is trying to avoid accidentally triggering World War III with Iran that could be triggered by its fighting a series of proxy wars against Hezebollah. The Israelis have been utilizing a combination of traditional and unconventional methods, reports the Wall Street Journal, and attempting to balance all potential conflicts just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces contentious elections next week.

In what may be a bleak sign of things to come, DC's little commuter newspaper, The Express, announced it's shutting down. A survivor in a vast sea of similarly dead papers in cities across the country, The Express won't be missed as much now that most of the federal workers risking life and limb on DC's public transit system -- its primary readers -- no longer have government jobs.

Finalists for the annual Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards have been announced. You're welcome!

Samantha Bee 'splained how the electoral college gives a minority of dipshits in flyover country way too much power in presidential elections, and why we should ditch it with the rest of the Republican-fueled dumpster fires (even if it means fewer corn dog blow jobs).

It's Time to Cancel the Electoral College | Full Frontal on

And here's your morning Nice Time:SQUIRREL WARS!

Squirrels Savagely Stealing Acorns | Spy In The Wild | BBC

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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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