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A New Nightmare. Wonkagenda For Tues., Sept 17, 2019

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


The screams from the White House on Iran have reporters shaking their heads this morning. Yesterday Trump ping-ponged from one extreme to the next, rambling to reporters, "we don't want war with anybody," only to say he thinks military strikes on Iranian oil facilities would be proportional less than an hour later. Trump then added, "The United States is more prepared than any country in the history of -- in any history," prompting the Pentagon to tell Trump to just shut the fuck up, calm the fuck down, and let the adults handle this. Iran's foreign ministry is denying US accusations that they were behind a drone attack on Saudi oil facilities this weekend, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei adding, "There will be no talks with the US at any level." Roll Call reports Democrats are pissed Trump is mutating Team America from world police to soldiers for hire, and Politico notes that whatever happens, it's likely Trump will have to make the next move as nobody in the Middle East wants to be blamed for starting another oil war.

Trump Is Waiting For Saudi Arabia To Tell Him Who To Attack www.youtube.com


Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports that Democratic Sen. Chris Coons told the FBI about additional allegations of sexual assault against Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process. Coons tells Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, the authors of "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh," that he felt the investigation into Kavanaugh was ultimately "brief, cramped and narrow." In an interview with the Washington Post, Coons details what happened when he received the allegation, adding he wants to know who told the FBI to keep the investigation as narrow as a urethra. Senate Republicans are rushing to the defense of Rapey McPrivilege, with Mitch McConnell railing on the Senate floor about Democrats "reopening the sad and embarrassing chapter" without "any corroborating evidence whatsoever," likening the whole thing to "Groundhog Day." Meanwhile Sen. Chuck Grassley is doing his Sergeant Schultz impression and denying seeing or knowing anything, while Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin thinks people need to "get real" about the possibility of impeachment.

Early reviews of Kelly and Pogrebin's book are already coming in. WaPo calls it "thoroughly reported," CNN has a couple of main takeaways, and Vanity Fair gossips the authors initially pitched the story to the New York Times News division, but it was ultimately kicked down to the Opinion pages. In an appearance on MSNBC's Last Word, the authors told host Lawrence O'Donnell that the Times removed key details about the story before it went to print. [Last Word]

NY Times Reporters On Kavanaugh Reporting And Controversial Editor's Note | The Last Word | MSNBC www.youtube.com

The New York Times' Opinion editor, James Bennet, is defending his latest fuckups after burying the lede on the Justice Rape Van story Sunday. Despite repeatedly stepping in oceans of shit over the last few years, Bennet says that the Opinion page still produces "powerful journalism" (even if that's an oxymoron).

More Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Brett Kavanaugh | The Daily Show www.youtube.com

Trump World's former campaign manager and gofer Corey Lewandowski is set to appear before the House Judiciary Committee today, and chairman Jerry Nadler is waiting for him to pull some bullshit after the White House sent the committee a letter saying it would hide behind executive privilege even though Lewandowski was never a member of the executive branch.

Prosecutors want to lock up Paul Manafort's former son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, for 15 years for grifting people to the tune of $13 million. In a scathing court filing, US Attorney Andrew Brown writes Yohai, "seems to enjoy committing fraud and revels in cheating others."

The House Oversight Committee wants all the EMAILS from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as part of an ethics investigation. Citing multiple media reports, the committee seems worried Chao has been grifting taxpayers, and wants to know why she keeps holding events with her dad, the head of her family's shipping company, while in front of US government flags and seals.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a YUGE rally in New York yesterday to roll out her new plan on combating government corruption. Speaking near the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, Warren shot back at moderate critics who spent the weekend accusing her of being a totally radical liberal, saying, "We can't choose a candidate we don't believe in just because we're too scared to do anything else." [Plan]

Gabe Sherman gossips in Vanity Fair that Jared and Ivanka are pouring rocket fuel on the rumors that Trump could dump Pence. At the center of the problem is Trump's approval numbers, and the campaign's desperate attempt to keep The Boss from throwing a tantrum. Jared and Ivanka seem to think Nikki Haley can save them from themselves, and that -- if they announced a switch-up -- it would happen during the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Illinois state Rep. Jaime Andrade was trying to bring attention to a Chicago "L" station's problem with pigeon poop when he was shat upon by a pigeon. Yes, this is a real problem, and no, Chicago has NO DEAL with the pigeons.

A solid gold toilet has been stolen from the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The AP notes the theft of the golden commode, an art installation commenting on the excesses of wealth, comes following comments from Churchill's family that the toilet would be difficult to steal. The White House has offered no comment.

Protests in Hong Kong are getting violent as democratic activists clash with Beijing-aligned counterprotesters. As one might expect, many of the counterprotesters tend to be old guys with stronger ties to mainland China than Hong Kong.

Israelis will head to the polls today to decide the fate of INDICTED Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Politico adds that Bibi has made a B-line for the hard right in a last ditch effort to save himself. Because we live in some distorted parallel universe where everything is gross and awful, Bibi tweeted a video urging supporters to go out and vote instead of staying in bed and sexing all day.

In sad attempt to attract Hispanic voters that really just catered to Front Row Joes in New Mexico, Trump played the victim, whined about Brett Kavanaugh, and complained that the New York Times should "close its doors" before saying, "long live the New York Times."

WaPo's Ashley Parker has an analysis on the God-Emperor's penchant for claiming ownership of people in his orbit as if they were disposable slaves.

Saturday Night Live fired one of its new cast members, Shane Gillis, on account of the awful slurs he made on his podcast last October. Dave Itrzkoff notes SNL's vetting process, or lack thereof, remains unclear. Shortly after he was shitcanned for being an insensitive prick, Gillis tweeted that he was "a comedian who was funny enough to get 'SNL.' That can't be taken away from me." Obviously it can, and it was.

Former White House spin doctor Sean Spicer was on one of those lame game shows where has-been celebrities whore themselves out for money in their last few seconds of fame. Commenting on his "dancing," one of the judges noted that it was "like you were being attacked by a swarm of wasps." Period. [Video]

Sean Spicer's Salsa – Dancing with the Stars www.youtube.com

And here's your morning Nice Time: A MURRE CHICK!

Just Our Baby Murre Chick Doing Murre Chick Things! 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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