It was in Italy, too, so GLOBALIST feral hogs!
Remember that fine day in August when the daily weirdness of Hell World was disrupted by the weird pro-gun guy who fretted to singer singer/songwriter Jason Isbell that without a trusty semiautomatic bullet hose, he would be unable to protect his children from the "30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?" It was one of the best few hours on Twitter all year.
Which is why it's something of a relief that today, on Impeachment Day One, we're able to tell you that the feral hogs are back, albeit not the same ones, because they're in Italy, not in any American's yard, and we don't have an exact count. Thirty to fifty seems as good a guess as any.
Peace is impossible, so we'll settle for a traditional wish for peace.
It is November 11, 2019, and time again for our annual tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, who made us want to be a writer, and to his birthday, which this year falls on the 101st anniversary of the end of what was optimistically called the War to End All Wars. This is our eighth consecutive Kurt Vonnegut's birthday here at Wonkette, if you can believe that!
Of course, it is mandatory we begin properly, with the quote from Breakfast of Champions that we take down from the attic every year, because what's a tradition without the proper decorations?
Don't let the door hit you in the ass.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) announced on Facebook this morning that he won't run for reelection next year, making him the 20th Republican in Congress to call it quits before next year's referendum on Donald Trump -- or maybe "President Pence." The Long Island Republican is one of those Republican "moderates," meaning he's generally rightwing on everything but has also been the rare R who's cosponsored some bills calling for modest gun safety reforms like universal background checks.
In his statement, King said he'd talked it over with his wife and kids (they're both adults), and decided that "after 28 years of spending 4 days a week in Washington, D.C., it is time to end the weekly commute and be home in Seaford." We're not sure if that translates to dead girl, live boy, or whopper of a financial scandal. Or perhaps he just wants to be able to get out while the getting's good, although he emphasized that while he's still in Congress he plans to vote against impeaching Trump, and to support Trump's 2020 bid.
Around Wonkette, Pete King will always be remembered as the guy who thought the IRA was a great bunch of freedom fighters but who disliked other terrorists -- which he figured had to include most American Muslims. He was also known to most Americans as "Oh, Peter King. The bigot from New York, not the bigot from Iowa."
Remember Those Pallets Of Iraq Reconstruction $$$ Overseen By RNC 12-Year-Olds? Now They're Overseen By Mike Pence
And he's spending it all on Jesus!
ProPublica has published an in-depth investigation of how Mike Pence has leaned on the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to steer foreign aid to Christian groups overseas, pressuring it to award grants to Iraqi Christian groups favored by Christians in the US -- even after the agency's normal grant process said no to the groups' applications. It's just one more way in which the Trump administration is busy dismantling the norms of governing so that its friends are rewarded -- and to keep Evangelical voters happy going into 2020. The Trump regime may want to cut foreign assistance across the board -- especially since most Americans wrongly assume far more money goes to foreign aid than really does. But by White Pickup-Driving God, whatever aid we do give had better go to good Christians, not to godless heathen Muslims.
As with other ProPublica reports, Yeganeh Torbati's story is in-depth, well-sourced, and perfectly infuriating, which is why we urge you to go read the whole thing. The story is based on a review of internal USAID emails and interviews with "nearly 40 current and former U.S. officials and aid professionals," many of whom were very disturbed to see political appointees interfering with the process of awarding grants, particularly in Iraq, where the administration has decided to cut general assistance to the United Nations' effort to rebuild parts of the country that had been occupied by ISIS. Instead, the administration is focusing US assistance on helping Iraq's religious minorities, particularly its small Christian community, which has influential friends in the US, as well as the Yazidi minority, which ISIS targeted for especially cruel oppression. It's not that the aid is being wasted -- everyone in Iraq needs help! -- but rather that the administration is using reconstruction aid as an adjunct to its 2020 campaign. Gotta help the oppressed Iraqi Christians so the Evangelists will turn out to vote.
Hugs not drugs.
A horrible massacre took place in northern Mexico Monday. A drug cartel (probably, but it's not clear which one) murdered three women and six children who belonged to a fundamentalist Mormon-offshoot community in Mexico; the youngest was a 10-month-old baby. The victims, who had dual US-Mexican citizenship, were traveling in a caravan of three cars when they were ambushed by criminal gangs. It's not yet clear, but there's speculation the killings were the result of mistaken identity, just innocent people caught up in a gang war. In any case, the killers kept shooting, then burned the vehicles. Over 200 bullet casings were found on the ground. Seven children who survived the attack were flown across the border to a hospital in Douglas, Arizona.
As with any terrible situation, Donald Trump showed up on Twitter Tuesday morning to make things worse. The solution, he suggested, was to go Full Duterte:
Trump likes to pretend he doesn't like war, but as long as someone else is doing the killing, he sure loves the idea of wiping some people off the face of the earth, and assumes only bad guys would get killed, because he's a fucking idiot who thinks most problems can be solved by killing the right people. After all, if the cartels have no respect for innocent lives, why should we?
War! What is it good for? Guaranteed turnout for a rally, tell you what.
BUT DOING WHAT?
It's your Sunday show rundown!
deployed the "League of Extraordinary Kiss Asses" to middling results last week, it was time to release the Kraken. Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the "president" and Ann Coulter's final wish on a monkey's paw, went to CNN's "State of the Union" and "Fox News Sunday" to do what she does best: try to sell a shit sandwich by "dipping it in chocolate and saying it has no calories."
Let's start at her first appearance of Sunday morning, on CNN. As Dana Bash began, it became clear Conway was gonna bring that same "powerful woman" energy she deploys when talking with female Washington Examiner reporters accidentally on the record:
Brazil has its very own very stable genius.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has once again left Brazilians wondering whether he's off his rocker (made of endangered rainforest wood) following an unhinged video in which he ranted and carried on, shaking his finger, crying some, threatening to shut down a TV network, and generally losing his shit. To be sure, the network, Globo, had run a report claiming Bolsonaro was connected to two ex policemen charged with murdering a popular Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman, but if American presidents went all crazy on TV every time someone accused them of murder, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton never would have gotten a lick of work done.
Also somewhat weird: Bolsonaro livestreamed his tantrum from a hotel while he visited Saudi Arabia (at 4 AM Saudi time). But like Donald Trump, when Bolsonaro wants to go on the internet with an opinion, he goes.
As the Washington Post put it -- mildly, at that --
But rather than defuse the explosive claims, Bolsonaro's emotional and profane response appeared to draw greater attention to them on Wednesday, as people in and out of Latin America's largest country openly questioned the president's mental stability.
"He tried to put the flames out with gasoline," said Alexandre Bandeira, a political strategist in Brasilia. "He had blood in his eyes … almost as if he were calling for a duel."
Don't give him ideas, dude.
Ilhan Omar votes 'present' on House resolution condemning it. Oh, Omar.
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution yesterday recognizing the slaughter of much of Turkey's Armenian minority by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide, the first time the House has considered such a resolution in decades. The Armenian Genocide occurred between 1915 and 1923, and as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum noted in a statement marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the mass murders, was among the events that led Raphael Lemkin to coin the term "genocide." While the House was at it, it also passed a separate measure to impose economic sanctions on Turkey and its military leaders in response to its invading northern Syria to drive out formerly US-supported Kurdish militias.
As every discussion of the House resolution notes, US recognition of the Armenian genocide is one of those perennial issues that Congress sometimes makes a little noise about, but this particular resolution -- the first to make it out of committee in 35 years -- has more to do with the present Turkish government's decision to invade northern Syria and drive out Kurdish militias than any sudden interest in historical remembrance. Prior efforts all failed due to congressional unwillingness to rile up Turkey, which considers foreign governments calling the genocide a genocide a "threat to its sovereignty."
It probably would have been more "noble" to stand up and recognize the genocide outside of current geopolitics, but look: Turkey's present campaign of wiping away the Kurds' experiment in radical democracy and equality is plenty worth condemnation. If that also leads to symbolic recognition of a past genocide, that's not a downside.
You can't expect him to sit on cool details, because they're so cool!
When Donald Trump was just a few minutes into his self-aggrandizing announcement about the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Yr Dok Zoom wondered a thing on Twitter:
Now, we're not claiming any kind of special insight for wondering that, since Trump's tendency to blurt out information any time he think it makes him seem important has worried the intelligence community from the start of his maladministration, and he lived down to those expectations when he revealed classified information to visiting Russian officials the day after he fired James Comey.
And now we know: Trump revealed some secrets during his presser -- nothing that's likely to get anyone killed, probably, but details of the operation that made military and intelligence officials "cringe," according to NBC News. At the very least, some of the operational details Trump spiced up his narrative with could make future intelligence gathering and operations more difficult, because now the bad guys know just a little more about what the US knows and how the US knows it. But those so-called "experts" are missing the big picture: Any harm Trump may have caused for future operations is more than offset by the irrefutable fact that relaying classified details made the presser a lot more exciting! Besides, as NBC notes, presidents have the power to declassify anything, so Trump could stand on Fifth Avenue and shout the names of covert operatives with legal impunity.
And besides, since Trump has already burned America's most important allies in the region, the Syrian Kurds, and plans to completely let Russia and Turkey dominate the region anyway, Trump doesn't need to worry about spoiling future operations. There simply won't be any, you see, and America will just ignore the Middle East altogether, except for automatically supporting our great friend Israel (or at least the Likkud party). The man is a strategic genius, and there will never be any more terrorism ever.
ONLY HE CAN FIX IT.
Donald Trump took a victory lap around the blown-apart corpse of ISIS founder and leader Abu Bakr a-Baghdadi yesterday, proclaiming the weekend special forces raid a far more important victory over terrorism than the killing of Osama bin Laden, which happened the night Barack Obama humiliated Trump at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, which means it didn't count at all.
We guess we'd better refresh your memory, because we will take any excuse to repost this:
C-SPAN: President Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner www.youtube.com
And we guess we better refesh your memory on these too:
Narrator: Obama never took credit. But someone did!
Also too, the New York Times reports that according to multiple "military, intelligence and counterterrorism officials," the raid went off successfully "largely in spite of Mr. Trump's actions," not because he is a military genius. Mind you, since Trump knows much more about everything than anyone else, that's almost certainly just a lot of jealous grumbling from Deep State operatives who can't believe what a great job he's doing and want to tear down all his successes.
It's your Sunday show rundown!
Normally, here in the Sunday show rundown, we look at the dumb and perplexing things said by people on the political Sunday shows, but this time Trump himself interrupted them to announce the death of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Now, as you are aware, Trump announced this solemn moment with all the respect and quiet dignity of the presidency ... NOPE! Who are we kidding folks?! Trump had to make this whole thing a weird, graphic, and overcompensating mess that is typical of everything in his life. While most of it was covered by Dok already, there were three moments that need special highlighting. The first is Trump's utter lack of understating of the internet or dogs:
Gosh, Trump sure is a model of humility.
In a stirring moment of national triumph, Donald Trump announced this morning that you can't impeach him because he's finally a war hero. In a press conference that was exactly as boastful and self-serving as you'd expect, the man who tweeted that Barack Obama deserved no credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden took a victory lap for his brilliant leadership in bringing about the death of ISIS founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed by US special forces in a raid last night. Trump said he had watched the entire operation "like a movie" in the White House Situation Room, which isn't surprising since that's how President Chauncey Gardner experiences everything. He likes to watch.
Trump said al-Bahgdadi had blown himself and three of his children up with a suicide vest, and then the "president" made sure America knows what a complete girly-man the terrorist leader was, "whimpering and crying and screaming all the way." Trump returned to that theme again and again, because in pro wrestling and Trump's foreign policy, the bad guy isn't just defeated, he has to be emasculated. Also, Trump made sure to emphasize his military prowess by having ALL the flags behind him, whereas when Obama announced bin Laden's death, he didn't feel the need to wrap himself in borrowed military regalia:
Fortunately, some dipshit on Twitter explains that difference simply highlights how Obama made the announcement "all about himself":
Gosh, Trump sure is a model of humility.
It's a great time to be a dictator.
Donald Trump congratulated himself Wednesday on his great success in northern Syria, announcing that all sanctions on Turkey would be lifted because a Russian-Turkish agreement means there'll be no more fighting in the area, at least none that the US will care about. Russia and Turkey reached an agreement earlier this week to jointly patrol the "safe zone" Turkey declared in order to drive out Kurdish militia fighters in the area. The Kurds had been the US's allies in fighting ISIS, but since Turkey considers them terrorists, Trump pulled out US troops so Turkey could wipe them out, following a call earlier this month with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In an announcement at the White House, Trump took credit for his brilliance in abandoning any US role in the region, because what could possibly go wrong? The Great Man announced,
Turkey, Syria and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries[...] We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them. And now, we're getting out. Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.
This conveniently leaves out any possibility that he might bear any responsibility for the chaos that may come next, because they're always fighting anyway. He said Turkey had assured him it will now make its earlier ceasefire (a term Turkey rejected) permanent, although he added that the word "permanent" is "questionable" in the Middle East, because those people are all crazy savages over there, amiright?
The most important thing is that the oil is safe, OK? It's ours, even if it's technically under other people's soil. This time we're gonna take the oil, you bet.
Trump's claim about US involvement in Syria -- "We were supposed to be there for 30 days. That was almost 10 years ago" -- is completely made up; the "30 days" part was just pulled straight out of his Big Mac exit, and the first deployment of US special forces to Syria was in 2015. But we'll admit, time has been working strangely since January 20, 2017.
As for whose blood might be staining the sand, whatever, as long as it's not Americans', you know? Oh, yes, and while we're at it, the Kurdish regions of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq are mountainous. Not a dune to be seen, except in Trump's head, where everyone in the area is a gibbering sword-waving Ay-rab from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon.
SAY YOU'RE INVESTIGATING JOE BIDEN! SAY IT ON CNN!
We want to spend a little bit more time with Ambassador Bill Taylor's explosive opening statement to Congress, because there's a thing we've noticed and others have noticed that may not have gotten enough attention. It's something about the "deliverable" referred to both in Taylor's testimony and in those State Department text messages, which goes a long way to explaining just how much Donald Trump's extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was NOT about fighting "corruption," but was squarely about helping Donald Trump politically, especially in his re-election campaign.
As we read in the State Department texts, on August 9, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and special envoy Kurt Volker texted about getting Trump to agree to a White House visit for Zelenskiy. Hearing that it's maybe about to happen, Volker excitedly says "Excellent!!" and asks Sondland, "How did you sway him?" with a smiley face emoji. Sondland responds, "Not sure I did," and says he thinks "potus really wants the deliverable." The "deliverable" was a statement of some sort from Zelenskiy saying he will do favors for Trump, specifically that he will investigate the Bidens and the conspiracy theories about the 2016 election and Ukraine that fester inside the president's meaty butt cavern. (WHERE'S THE DNC SERVER?? IS IT BURIED IN THE BACKYARD IN UKRAINE????)
What followed in the coming weeks was much negotiation involving the Ukrainian government and Rudy Giuliani and the other idiots on what Zelenskiy would say, whether the White House visit would be put on the calendar before the statement, and so on, with particular focus on making sure Zelenskiy says he will investigate everything, including "Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections." (Burisma, again, is the company that put Hunter Biden on its board.)
On September 8, Bill Taylor texted Kurt Volker to say his "nightmare" scenario is that Zelenskiy makes the statement and STILL doesn't get the military aid for Ukraine, which would basically be Trump selling Ukraine out to Russia, leaving them unprotected, and still getting his political assistance. We now know from Taylor's testimony that at this point, he's figured out that Trump is holding up not just a White House visit in exchange for the bullshit investigation statement, but also the military aid.
But in that text, Taylor refers to "statement" as "interview," something we found curious at the time, but not curious enough to ask a priest or a rabbi about it:
Turns out we should have been a little more curious!
In other words, all the best people!
Today, Bill Taylor, the chargé d'affaires from the US Embassy in Ukraine, is testifying before Congress about his knowledge of the Ukrainium One scandal propagated by Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani to bolster Trump's re-election bid. You remember old Bill! He's the career guy in the quid pro quo-oooolyshit! State Department text messages who kept horning in like some kind of law-abiding public servant to say I THINK IT'S PRETTY FUCKING BATSHIT TO CONDITION MILITARY AID ON WHETHER UKRAINE MANUFACTURES ALLEGATIONS AGAINST JOE BIDEN AND FAKES EVIDENCE ON 2016 ELECTION INTERFERENCE IN ORDER TO HELP DONALD TRUMP AND RUSSIA IN THE 2020 ELECTION. (He wasn't all caps-y like that, but that's the treason paraphrase what he said. He called it a "nightmare.")
Either we'll get a bunch of leaks from that, or Congress will go radio silent, which means what he's saying is bad. We are guessing it will be the latter, but here's a thing while we wait.
But the Washington Post and the New York Times have new reporting on what State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent said to Congress last week. We had already learned that he was warning State officials as far back as March that Rudy Giuliani was leading a disinformation campaign against then-ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and the Bidens. Now we learn that he had some pretty serious information to share about who else was filling Trump's head with pubic lice and conspiracy theories about Ukraine. Surprise, it's those authoritarian dictators Trump loves so much!
Specifically, Hungary's Viktor Orbán and Russia's you-know-who:
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