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Don't worry, America. Donald Trump argle bargled ten thousand stupid words to Lesley Stahl last night, but he still has plenty left. He's like the strategic reserve of derp -- we will never run out. Or escape.

This morning the president blessed the press gaggle on the White House lawn with some very serious theories on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. After speaking with Saudi King Salman, father of de facto despot Mohammed bin Salman, Inspector Gadget has decided that the responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi lies with ... ROGUE KILLERS!!!


Rogue killers with a bone saw. And diplomatic passports. On charter planes arriving and departing on the very same day Khashoggi had an appointment to pick up documents at the consulate. Obviously.

Which Trump knows because he asked King Salman whether his son ordered the murder and dismemberment of the dissident journalist, and he denied it. In fact, he DENIED IT FIRMLY.

Which is just how investigations go. Trump asks Salman/Brett/Roy/Vladimir if they did it, they say, "NO WAY, MAN!" then everyone goes home. And really, isn't that for the best? Are we really going to jeopardize $100 billion of arms sales for a brown dude with a weird name who wasn't even a US citizen? Especially when the Saudis are threatening to quit pumping oil so the price spikes wildly and we all start paying $4 per gallon for gas.

Not convinced? Here's a very measured op-ed in Saudi state-run outlet al-Arabiyah entitled, "US Sanctions on Riyadh Would Mean Washington is Stabbing Itself." Subtle!

The information circulating within decision-making circles within the kingdom have gone beyond the language used in the statement and discuss more than 30 potential measures to be taken against the imposition of sanctions on Riyadh. They present catastrophic scenarios that would hit the US economy much harder than Saudi Arabia's economic climate.

If US sanctions are imposed on Saudi Arabia, we will be facing an economic disaster that would rock the entire world. Riyadh is the capital of its oil, and touching this would affect oil production before any other vital commodity. It would lead to Saudi Arabia's failure to commit to producing 7.5 million barrels. If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure.

Jared's BFF MBS would hate if it you made him "throw the Middle East, the entire Muslim world, into the arms of Iran" and blow up the world oil market right before the midterms. Probably best if Mike Pompeo drops by for a quick sword dance and orb rub, then we just let the Saudis conduct their own investigation. Even if the Turks really do have audio recordings of the ROGUE KILLERS from Khashoggi's Apple watch -- cough, cough -- then it's probably best to let the Saudis avenge the death of their own citizen. It's really an internal matter, aside from the fact that the Saudi government ordered the assassination of a lawful US resident, and the murder took place in a third-party NATO ally. Hang on a second, gotta let the cleaning lady in.

Anyway, allies shouldn't nitpick! The important thing is that the US keeps sending weapons, the Saudis keep sending oil, and we all agree to jettison any pretense of caring about human rights or the rule of law. Amen, Inshallah, and don't forget to tip your ROGUE KILLERS waiter.

[NYT / Al Arabiya]

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Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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'Bella" by Wonkette Operative 'IdiokraticSubpoenaKommissar'

Sunday already, which means a substantial portion of US America is preparing to be astonished/heartbroken/outraged by the series finale of that show with the dragons, while another portion is just going to stay off Twitter for three days because nothing will make any sense. Yr Dok Zoom tends to come very late to trendy things, so get ready for our own thoughts on the gamy thrones show sometime in about 2023, or never. But we'd be glad to tell you just how much we enjoy the brilliance and humanity of the Cartoon Network series "Steven Universe," which debuted in 2013 and we started bingeing on the Hulu last month, late again.

Hell, we still want to talk about that one Mrs Landingham episode of "The West Wing," which we first watched years after it aired (We finally bought our new used car yesterday, and know one thing: don't drive over to the White House to show it off to President Bartlet). We might even get around to reading Infinite Jest someday. We hear it has something to do with a superhero team and a guy named Thanos. So hey, let's talk about culture and missing out and patching together some knowledge of what's happening anyway.

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Get Me Roger Stone

Roger Stone, his wife would like you to know, is broke. And he is not dealing with it well. Once in khaki suits, gee, he looked swell, full of that yankee-doodle-dee-dum, but now no one calls him Al anymore and he has to stand on a street corner singing "Brother Can You Spare A Dime?"

Yesterday, the conservative but also kind of Never Trumper site The Bulwark revealed the details of a grifty "fundraising" plea sent out by Stone's wife Nydia, begging supporters to give money to the Stones in order to help them keep up the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

It was titled "I am embarrassed to write this."

"Dear Friend," begins the missive. "My husband and I have an urgent new problem and we need your help. I told my husband I was going to write you, one of his most valued supporters. I am embarrassed to write this, but I must."

"Mrs. Roger Stone" tells a tale of woe: FBI agents swooping in on them at the crack of dawn to arrest her husband, a subsequent "fake news" feeding frenzy causing friends and fans to abandon the Stones.

"He laid off all our consultants, contractors and employees, and we have 'pulled in our belts' like so many Americans in 'tight times,'" she wrote, sounding for all the world like a plucky working-class patriot, not the wife of a man who made and lost his fortune lying in the service of power.

She should have been more embarrassed.

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