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The Blame Game! Wonkagenda For Monday, Oct. 07, 2019

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


The US suddenly began withdrawing troops from Syria's border with Turkey overnight. The move to abandon the area came immediately after the White House dropped an announcement late last night saying the US "will no longer be in the immediate area" of Northern Syria. Military and foreign policy nerds are losing their shit this morning, noting the US is effectively abandoning US-backed Syrian Kurdish allies who were instrumental in defeating ISIS/ISIL/whatever. Up until now, the US had has been trying to create a safe zone for Syrian refugees that Turkish dictator President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called "terrorists." Fun Fact: Since World War I, the West has repeatedly screwed ethnic Kurds, which has helped lead to their persecution throughout the Muslim world. In 2017, the UN accused Erdogan of human rights abuses after hundreds of Kurds were killed. This morning President Pee-Pa shitposted that the US "was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days," complained about European immigrants, and whined about giving money to US allies fighting terrorists.

The impeachment inquiry is spreading far beyond the White House, and now threatens to engulf large swaths Trump World. Earlier this weekend it was revealed that a couple of people with ties to the Trump administration, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Rudy Giuliani were trying to grift Ukraine, The basic gist here is that these idiots wanted Ukraine to buy US liquid natural gas AND pay to build a pipeline to deliver it, by dangling aid and tariffs over Ukraine's head the whole time. The US actors were angling to get themselves a cut of the profits AND to install a list of GOP donors on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Trump is now blaming the implosion of Ukrainium One on Rick Perry, essentially saying "Perry made me do it!"

Attorney General Bill Barr's investigation into the origins of Russian election fuckery is annoying the hell out everyone involved in the investigation. According to WaPo, people involved seem to think Barr is using the DOJ to feed the fever dream that the DNC somehow hacked itself in 2016 in order to create an insurance policy in the event Trump won.

Rudy Giuliani went on Fox News to peddle more lies about conspiracies, but when host Howard Kurtz began calling Rudy out on his bullshit, Rudy tried to shush Kurtz and claim his earpiece had cut out. A classic la-la-la I can't hear you defense. Kurtz later tweeted a defense of himself in saying that he "gave Rudy half the show to make his points," but he had to "Jump in" and shoot holes in Giuliani's orchestra of absurdity. The whole thing was very fucking stupid and will make your brain bleed. [Video]

The GOP is scared to death about publicly rebuking Trump's attempts to strong-arm US allies into manufacturing scandals on his political rivals. Last week Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst strapped on her bread bags to march to Trump's defense, only to be pelted with pig balls by a constituent demanding to know "Where is the line" in letting Trump be Trump. Ernst's paranoia was realized by Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney after he tweeted a few mean words and was rewarded with a series of shitposts from Trump, calling him a "pompous ass," a call for Romney's "impeachment," and bunch of random lies.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump lied to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson when Johnson confronted Trump about his efforts to blackmail Ukraine. Johnson told the WSJ that he "winced" when Trump revealed he'd told his super rich ambassador to Ukraine, Gordon Sondland, about his quid pro quo agreement. Johnson then ran to Meet the Press to get back in the administration's good graces by peddling conspiracy theories, which caused an exasperated Chuck Todd to actually do his damn job (for once) and call Johnson out on his "Fox News conspiracy propaganda stuff" crap. [Clip]

Susan Collins briefly showed some spine and told a local news outlet that Trump's calls to have foreign countries dig up dirt on his political rivals were "completely inappropriate." (Expect her to do absolutely nothing else.) In a related story, Colin Powell is reminding us he still exists, telling a bunch of do-gooder eggheads that the Republican party needs to "get a grip," and US foreign policy is in "shambles." Upon hearing this, the GOP is said to have eaten a pint of ice cream while watching an old VHS copy of Steel Magnolias. [Clip]

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has held A LOT of meetings with constituents of her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The DC power couple says there's nothing hinkey going on, but an investigation has found that in her first 14 months of office, 25 percent of all the scheduled meetings on Chao's books were with Kentuckians, who make up 1.3 percent of the US population. A FOIA shows several EMAILS from McConnell's staffers noting that some meetings were with "friends" or "loyal supporters." CURIOUS!

Politico has a scooplet from an upcoming book on Trump's immigration plans. Apparently Jared Kushner privately admitted that he wasn't the wunderkind his father-in-law thought he was after realizing, "Holy shit," immigration "had more landmines than Afghanistan."


From "Border Wars" by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear.

UAW Vice President Terry Dittes sent a letter to workers striking against General Motors, saying that negotiations have "taken a turn for the worse." On Saturday the UAW sent GM an "extensive package" of demands to end the strike, but the UAW says GM countered by reverting "back to their last rejected proposal and made little change." For their part, GM says the company is negotiating "in good faith."

Axios gossips acting White House chief of staff and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney thinks Trump could win 45 states post-impeachment. According to loose lips, Mulvaney thinks a long, drawn-out impeachment process will benefit Trump based on the oodles of Ameros the campaign has been able to bilk out of their Front Row Joes since they started fundraising in reaction to people calling to #IMPEACH the mother fucker. Additionally, Trump on Friday cried to House Republicans that he doesn't want "impeachment" on his resume, but ultimately he thinks his impeachment could make Kevin McCarthy Speaker.

Mike Pence is being dispatched to the districts of vulnerable House Democrats who are supporting the House impeachment inquiry. A spox for Pence says the distraction is designed to convince flyover country that the administration is "laser focused" on MAGA bullshit, and not some half-assed attempt to take care of the stink wafting off the White House.

Over the weekend the New York Times published a pretty damning story about Joe Biden's relative silence in response to Trump World's constant attacks about his family. A few hours later, Biden penned an op-ed in WaPo calling Trump a crooked jackass who needs to be dragged under the bleechers.

Give a hand to Beto O'Rourke for telling some anti-immigrant desert trash that it's a "slap in the face" to lock people in concentration camps overcrowded baby jails and detention centers. The gun humping racist later appeared on Fox News to call Beto a nasty woman.

Murdoch-owned tabloids are gossiping that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planing to "squat" at 10 Downing St. if Parliament tries to throw him out of office. If Parliament does succeed in calling for a vote of no confidence, the Queen would be forced to "You're Fired" BoJo. In a related story, BoJo is begging French President Emanuel Macron to "push forward" with his proposed Brexit deal

Britons are demanding the wife of a US diplomat be returned to the UK after she fled the country following her involvement in the death of a 19 year-old. Officials say the woman was driving on the wrong side of the road when her car collided with a motorcycle being driven by the teen. This morning BoJo told a British news outlet that he'd call up Trump "personally" to resolve the issue, if necessary.

ICYMI: Last week the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the FCC could kill net neutrality, but it couldn't keep states from creating their own net neutrality rules. The ruling, which actually opens with the judge quoting Macbeth, is predicated on a 2005 SCOTUS decision where the incompetent and unimaginative corpse of Antonin Scalia openly tongues the taint of telecom companies. For more, Buzzfeed has a deep dive into how the broadband industry's scheme to create millions of fake comments from dead people was used by the FCC as the basis for repealing net neutrality. This morning Trump shitposted praise for piece of shit FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

John Oliver 'splained China's one child policy may have totally screwed the country's economic future, and left them with a bunch of creepy loners sexing up life-sized plastic dolls.

One Child Policy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) www.youtube.com

SNL's cold open was all about impeachment, with a special appearance by Matthew Broderick as Mike Pompeo.

Mike Pence Impeachment Strategy Cold Open - SNL www.youtube.com


And here's your morning Nice Time: FLAMINGO CHICKS!

Baby Flamingo Chicks! | Toledo 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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