Not for nothing, you guys, but John Bolton is BATSHIT CRAZY! The National Security Mustache is bound and determined to drag us into a shooting war in Latin America, and right now Venezuela looks to be the likeliest destination. What better place for America to flex its muscles than a teetering Latin American country with an unstable president who owes his power to the army, a charismatic young opposition leader just waiting for the US imprimatur to enshrine him as the new leader, and massive oil reserves just ripe for exploitation by America's petro-behemoths? Perhaps we oversimplify a truly complex issue, but America's history in our near abroad doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

And speaking of simpletons, Bolton was preaching to the Derp Choir this morning on Hugh Hewitt's Craven Whores In the Morning radio program.

HEWITT: Is there a risk that the Cuban agents, and there are now Russian mercenaries allegedly in the country, the little green men, that they open fire on the free people of Venezuela demonstrating, and they create the Tiananmen Square? Have you considered that risk that it's not the Venezuelan military, but the Cubans and the Russians?

BOLTON: No, that's precisely correct. I mean, what we've seen, the violence you've referred to already, which interestingly has been largely in the poorest parts of Caracas, that is to say directed against the poorest residents of the city, the former supporters of Chavez by basically armed gangs called collectivos in Spanish trained and equipped by Cuba. These are the thugs and killers that have been sent out in the past days, were sent out against earlier expressions of opposition to Maduro. And it's these people, they are absolutely ruthless. This is as cold-blooded, they're capable of cold-blooded murder, and they've engaged in it already.

Really? Are they also putting duct tape over women's mouths and racing across the unguarded border in giant super trucks full of fentanyl? In point of fact, Mr. Bolton is not precisely correct. That's a wild exaggeration cooked up to get us into a proxy conflict in the Western Hemisphere by pretending that we're just protecting the Venezuelans from evil Commie invaders, not intervening in that country's civil war. Which is not to say that we shouldn't support opposition leader Juan Guaidó. But negotiating with him before he declared himself de facto president and then directing all our allies to fall in line and recognize him immediately has maybe the faintest tang of imperialism. Particularly when Donald Trump has had a hard on to invade the country for over a year now.

Last week Bolton flashed reporters his legal pad with the handwritten note saying, "5,000 troops to Colombia," which was either the grossest OP-SEC fail ever, or some weird warmonger flex.

Asked about it by Hewitt, Bolton replied, "You know, when we say all options are on the table, we want to keep it at that level. And going beyond that, I think, would be imprudent, as George H.W. Bush would say." Oh, that John Bolton, such a psychopath jokester!

And when he says "all options" he means ALL. Look, here's a member of the America First Administration tweeting in Spanish. It's either the rapture, or we're going to war!

Anyway, the American National Security Adviser is ordering Maduro and his cronies -- who are terrible, murderous thugs, no doubt about it -- to leave their own country. Which is an ... unorthodox negotiating strategy.

Asked about it on Hewitt's show, Bolton assured the radio host that we're probably not going to, like, execute Maduro by firing squad. But maybe he'll wind up imprisoned at Guantanamo. Because RULE OF LAW, what even is that?

HEWITT: Ceausescu and Mussolini met bad ends. Idi Amin and Baby Doc Duvalier did not. Is that the choice facing Maduro right now?

BOLTON: Well, I tweeted yesterday, you know, I wish him a long, quiet retirement on a pretty beach far from Venezuela. And the sooner he takes advantage of that, the sooner he's likely to have a nice, quiet retirement on a pretty beach rather than being in some other beach area like Guantanamo.

In case you're wondering, NO, the president cannot unilaterally deploy troops to Venezuela.

But YES, John Bolton is a dangerous lunatic! For a really interesting discussion of the complexity of the Venezuela issue, check out Tuesday's episode of the Rational Security Podcast.

TL, DR? Our country is being governed by a bunch of bloodthirsty maniacs, who will probably make a tragic situation in Venezuela much, much worse.

Oh, you were hoping for a fun Friday afternoon post? Yeah, sorry about that. Hey, maybe Mueller will indict someone -- FINGERS CROSSED!

[Hewitt Transcript]

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There was a time, a few months ago, when everyone had written off Elizabeth Warren. Well, not me, because I am a fabulous genius, but lots of other people. The "very reasonable" talking heads on all the various news channels, the kind of people who used to say things like "Oh, we'd like universal health care too, but 'the people' will never go for it!" but who definitely did not actually want universal health care for any reason, and even the Trump campaign. Though, to be fair, the Trump campaign didn't think Trump had much of a chance of winning in 2016 either.

But now, as more and more people hear her speak, hear her plans, hear what she wants to do and how she wants to do it... Elizabeth Warren is rising up in the polls. She's a contender. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, she was closing in on Sanders for second place nationally, and in California and Nevada polls, she's in second place.

And now, according to a report from Politico, the Trump campaign is now scrambling and panicking and... stalking her?

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