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'Dictator Day.' Wonkagenda for Tues., Sept. 24, 2019

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


Seven freshman Democrats from swing districts with backgrounds in the military or intelligence have penned an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for an impeachment investigation. Shortly after the op-ed was posted last night, Nancy Pelosi called an all-hands meeting of House Democrats to discuss POSSIBLY impeaching the motherfucker later tonight. Politico adds that a number of Pelosi's long time friends, Reps. John Larson, Rosa DeLauro, and Debbie Dingell, would support impeachment proceedings if Trump tries to stonewall a congressional subpoena for the whistleblower complaint. For their part, Senate Republicans are dodging Trump's Ukrainium One wrecking ball.

Citing three anonymous senior administration officials (natch), the Washington Post reports Trump personally ordered Mick Mulvaney to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine ahead of a scheduled phone call with new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mulvaney then gave the State Department a ring and told them that The Boss had bigly "concerns" about the money, and that officials should tell curious congressmembers there was a snafu in the "interagency process" holding up the money. One official denies that this was all part of a quid pro quo scheme to investigate Joe Biden and peddle the bogus Ukrainium One scheme.

Trump Pressured Ukraine to Meddle in the 2020 Election: A Closer Look www.youtube.com

Instead of focusing on how our world is melting at the UN climate change summit, Trump used the international spotlight to bitch about religious freedom, babble some bullshit conspiracy about him not getting a Nobel Peace Prize (like Obama), and prattle on with his latest bogus Ukrainium One scheme against Joe Biden.

At the same time the administration preached religious tolerance, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also leaned on member nations to stop promoting abortions with "ambiguous terms and expressions such as 'sexual and reproductive health and rights.'" Azar added, "there is no international right to abortion," and that the administration would "only support sex education that appreciates the protective role of the family."

You might have caught the scowl seen around the world from teenaged Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg when she saw Donald Trump at the UN yesterday, but did you catch her gut-punching speech calling out all the wealthy pieces of crap who value money over the lives of millions of innocent people? Thunberg and 15 others filed a complaint under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, petitioning that Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey have failed to uphold the 30-year-old treaty. #HowDareYou

Today is "Dictator Day" at the UN as the climate summit will start with speeches from autocratic jerks in Brazil, the US, Egypt and Turkey. The speaking schedule is largely based on tradition, and times are subject to change (based on whenever Trump decides to stop yelling at his TV). Citing the usual unnamed officials, The Wall Street Journal reports Trump's teleprompter speech is expected to focus on "the need to work collectively within the global community to address global challenges," though yesterday he joked it was "in-formation," and would focus on things like Iran and the global economy. [Schedule]

The Department of Homeland Security is ending the so-called "catch and release" policy. In a statement, DHS says Central American migrant families seeking asylum must tell border officials that they're afraid to be returned to their home countries in order to be sent to Mexico under the new Migrant Protection Protocols. This policy change comes as the ink dries on an agreement quietly announced on Friday that Central American refugees seek asylum in other countries as part of the administration's "third country" rule.

A US Office of Special Counsel investigation has found the FAA misled Congress on a whistleblower complaint over the training of Boeing 737 Max pilots. It's only an airplane, what could go wrong?

The FBI has arrested a US soldier who had been dishing with an undercover agent about building bombs, planting them at a news network, and possibly assassinating Beto O'Rourke. The New York Times adds that the soldier had talked about moving to Ukraine to fight with other "radicals."

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the gang at Fox and Friends that regular press briefings aren't likely to come back any time soon, so we might as well get used to CHOPPER TALK.

Politico reports Trump doesn't want to talk about Jared Kushner's prison reform bill. A person familiar with the situation said Trump thinks the bill is "a total dud," because Democrats tried to take (some) credit.

The DNC cranked up the new qualifying rules for the November Democratic presidential debate. The top tier candidates are more than likely to make the cut without much of a sweat, but some of the lower-polling Tim Ryans are likely to be left picking change out of their car seats to pay for their cheap motels.

Beto O'Rourke walks into a bar in Chicago to grab a beer and take some selfies. As one might expect, once the photos made it to social media, gun humping suburbanites became triggered at the thought of Beto coming for their beers AND their AR-15s.

John Gray, a Virginia Republican running to chair the Board of County Supervisors for the rapidly growing Prince William County, tried to delete some mean, violent, and racist tweets, but his opponent, Democrat Ann Wheeler, found them and sent them to the Washington Post. The Streisand Effect strikes again!

The UK Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament was illegal, "because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification." The ruling essentially means Johnson lied to the Queen, prompting House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to say Parliament "must convene without delay." Tea sipping political wizards across the pond don't think BoJo is capable of being shamed into a resignation considering yesterday he told the Daily Telegraph that he wouldn't, and asked (en Français) the filthy commoners to give him a break. [Ye Olde Ruling]

Sean Spicer is begging his MAGA minions to keep him dancing like a jackass on that game show for D-list celebrities who've overstayed their 15-minutes of fame. Period.

Robyn has a new thingy on the culture of toxic masculinity for Dame magazine. You will probably like that!

Richard Cohen wrote his last column for the Washington Post, and nothing of value was lost.

New York Times publisher AG Sulzberger has a sobering op-ed this morning talking about how the rise of the administration's peddling of nationalism has endangered the lives of journalists all over the world. Sulzberger tells the story of a Times journalist about to be arrested in Egypt, and how US officials couldn't be assed to warn them.

Journalists aren't just worried about being imprisoned or murdered in some "shithole country," in #Merica there's a real fear that the erosion of First Amendment protections thanks to a series of high profile court decisions that question the motives of news outlets is leading us down a dark path devoid of press freedoms.

Stephen Colbert reminds us the last time Trump addressed the UN the whole world literally laughed in his face.

They Do Not Like Him Anywhere: Trump Set to Speak at U.N. General Assembly www.youtube.com

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

Our Gorilla Siblings are Becoming More and More Independent | 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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