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Hanging On The Telephone! Wonkagenda For Thurs., Sept. 19, 2019

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


A whistleblower complaint that's triggered a stand-off between the intel community and Congress involves Trump reportedly promising something to a foreign leader. The latest scandal that would normally upend any other presidency apparently freaked out Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson so much that he was forced to notify Congress, however (acting) Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire says whatever Trump fucked up (this time) is too secret for the House Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to know about.

Iran is warning of "all out war" if it's attacked after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo babbled that a coordinated drone strike on an unprotected Saudi Arabian oil facility over the weekend was an "act of war." Pompeo is currently farting around the Middle East and waiting for permission from Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman to start another oil war. [Infographic]

Will Trump Go To War With Iran To Defend Saudi Arabia? | The Daily Show www.youtube.com


Former national security mustache John Bolton isn't giving Trump any more mustache rides. Politico reports Bolton was talking shit during a private lunch at a conservative anti-Muslim think tank, and complaining that Trump's foreign policy (or lack thereof) was just bad, and that we should already be balls deep in a war with Iran. Bolton further whined that negotiations with Iran and North Korea were "doomed to failure," and that inviting to the Taliban to Camp David on the anniversary of 9/11 sent a "terrible signal" that was "disrespectful" to survivors. It's also notable that Bolton was intro'd by Rebekah Mercer, and that Alan Dershowitz received "thunderous applause" when he stood up and said Bolton's quit-firing was "a national disaster."

Lynne Patton, the former Trump family aide whose loyalty has been rewarded with a sweet gig overseeing the New York and New Jersey region of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, won't face any repercussions for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act. In a letter to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) said that Patton's peddling of Trump swag and "hearted" posts on social media were illegal, just not illegal enough to warrant a slap on the wrist. In response, Patton tells the Washington Post, "It may be a Hatch Act violation. It may not be. Either way, I honestly don't care anymore." [Letter]

Attorney General Bill Barr and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland have been spotted on the Hill ALLEGEDLY peddling a bill on expanding background checks to all gun show sales. Chickenshit Republicans will barely admit the proposal exists, and the White House is refusing to say the totally, 100 percent non-existent proposal came from them, but Politico quotes Barr saying he was on the Hill, "just kicking around some ideas, getting perspectives..." The Washington Post reports the NRA is pissed, and calling a memo on the ALLEGEDLY non-existent proposal a "non-starter," and that Ivanka has been annoying conservatives and gun humpers by whispering to her daddy behind closed doors. Yesterday, Trump shitposted that he was "convinced" many Democrats were going to "take your guns away!"

The administration is telling local California politicos requesting help on homelessness to piss off, arguing that it was "over regulation" and not allowing "police officers to enforce qualifty-of-life laws." A letter from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson further blames "illegal and inadmissible aliens," and says Californians should help Trump build his goddamn wall instead of giving them food, shelter, and clothing.

The nomination of Jeffrey Byard to head up FEMA was suddenly pulled after an "altercation" surfaced during his vetting process. The administration has nominated the current acting administrator, Peter Gaynor, instead.

The military has spent ONLY $200,000 at Trump's Turnberry golf course since 2017 according to new documents provided to the House Oversight Committee.

The former wealthiest member of Congress, Darrel Issa, is headed to the Hill today for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after quietly being nominated to serve as director of the US Trade and Development Agency. Whether or not Issa actually gets confirmed is anyone's guess as the Senate already has a long "Honey, Do" list from the White House, on top of the looming trial for INDICTED California Rep. Duncan Hunter -- a seat Issa recently announced he might try and buy poach.

Teenaged Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is getting a crash course in #Merica. Yesterday, Thunburg told a joint session of the House Climate Crisis Committee and a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that she was submitting a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change instead of an official testimony because, "I don't want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists."

Nancy Pelosi is grumbling that Jerry Nadler should have held Corey Lewandowski in contempt. This comes amid fuming over whether or not House Democrats are impeaching Trump for his ALLEGED high crimes and misdemeanors, or just acting like it.

Pete Buttigieg has an op-ed pitching his "Medicare for All (who want it)" proposal. There's certainly worse ideas out there!

Kamala Harris is betting the farm on Iowa after a series of polls showed her campaign plummeting to the single digits. Harris's team say they plan to refocus her campaign in the hopes of having a strong finish in the Iowa caucuses. Yesterday, journalist Matt Laslo reported Harris joking with Sen. Mazie Hirono that she was "fucking moving to Iowa."

A conservative rag is reporting a bunch of Never Trumpers are discussing when to publicly back Joe Biden. The piece drones on that these delicate snowflakes are worried a potential Elizabeth Warren presidency could crash their wild party, while others bitch Never Trumpers could support just about anybody but Bernie.

Tea party douchebags are begging #MoscowMitch to take up some kind of election security bill.

In a new Fox news poll that Trump is unlikely to shitpost, likely Democratic challengers are crushing Trump in a general election match up. In addition to that, the poll also shows some more ups and downs in the Democratic primary.

The Wall Street Journal got its hands on some rather embarrassing internal GOP polling data that shows Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach getting stomped by Barry Grissom, his likely Democratic opponent, 52 to 42. The WSJ adds the poll was conducted WAY back at the beginning of June, and a Kobach campaign minion called it "laughable" that anyone is taking seriously a poll that shows him even less popular than Donald Trump. In Kansas!

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy is expected to announce a primary challenge to Democratic Sen. Ed Markey on Saturday, reports the Boston Globe. Early polls have shown Kennedy with a double-digit lead over Markey, potentially putting donors in a bind as the two have similar stances on a number of progressive issues. Fellow Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has already endorsed Markey; when asked about Kennedy's primary challenge, Warren said, "I have no criticism," adding that Kennedy and his wife met in her class back in the old'n timey days.

Late this morning the Washington Post reported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his centrist rival, Benny Gantz, are "hinting" at a possible power-sharing agreement. Just before posting, WaPo corrected the whole story to say Gantz had declared victory, and was vowing to lead a "unity government." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is warning Pakistanis not to get into a fight in Kashmir, arguing that India is waiting for "any excuse" to start cracking skulls in the Himalayas. Ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting, Khan's special assistant for overseas Pakistanis and human resource development, Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, tells Newsweek that Pakistan is "extremely worried" that "this could snowball into a nuclear war."

In a related story, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join Trump in Houston for a shitshow in front of tens of thousands of people. The event, dubbed "Howdy, Modi," gets even weirder when you factor in Trump's trade war, and the multiple blow jobs Trump's given Modi over the last few months. Foreign policy nerds worry that Trump's rally with Modi could come across as an endorsement to India's occupation of Kashmir, and further increase simmering tensions with Pakistan. But fuck all that, "Howdy, Modi!"

Amazon announced a number of features for Alexa users yesterday, including the ability to check current polls and make political donations. Amazon says it will ONLY charge campaigns a 2.9 percent processing fee, plus $.30 cents per donation. In an attempt to assuage political and tech curmudgeons who think this is a stupid idea, Amazon says people could set up a verification code, and that Alexa will ask users if they're sure they really want to donate. Amazon hasn't said which campaigns have signed on, but Pete Buttigieg's campaign did say it's mulling it over. Whether or not any of this is actually legal is another story, but since the FEC doesn't have members for a quorum it doesn't really matter.

Mark Zuckerberg will be on the Hill today attempting to water down a proposal to study how social media companies police the Interwebs that's set to be introduced in the House next week. Yesterday, suits from Facebook, Google, and Twitter tried to fend off a grilling from Senate lawmakers who accused them of presiding over conduits for mass violence.

NASA revealed the logo for the Gateway program. An integral piece of the Artemis program -- which aims to put humans on the moon, and eventually Mars -- the Gateway is intended to serve as kind of truck stop in space.

FACT CHECK: No, that's not a photo of Beto O'Rourke pissing his pants at a show/party, it's some indie rocker who spilled beer on his crotch while partying back in 2017.

Samantha Bee 'splained why Fox News should push Justice Rapey McPrivilege's cock out of its face, and why we should stop treating a bunch of sweaty old drunks from the 18th century as infallible Gods in wigs.

The Founding Fathers Were Not Gods | Full Frontal on TBS www.youtube.com

And here's your morning Nice Time: BABY RUTH!

Sloth Snack Time | Dallas Zoo 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 in a gutter taking photos.

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