We all know it.
Shoulda known it would all come back to John Bolton! After a weekend where Donald Trump dispatched defense secretary Mark Esper to twist in the wind on national television trying to justify the attack on Qassim Soleimani as arising from some "imminent" threat, NBC reports that we actually planned the hit on the Iranian general a full seven months ago when John Bolton was still the national security advisor.
After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.
But Trump rejected the idea, saying he'd take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president's message was "that's only on the table if they hit Americans," according to a person briefed on the discussion.
So that would be a targeted killing in response to retrospective Iranian action, not an action to prevent a prospective plot to kill Americans. And perhaps it was the right choice. But who can form a rational opinion when everything that comes out of the administration is a distortion to conform to the president's most recent lie?
Don't be a Fonzie. Just say, 'I was wrong.'
Over the past week, criticism of Joe Biden's vote to authorize use of military force in Iraq has ramped up. The Sanders campaign called his refusal to admit he was wrong to have voted that way "appalling" and on Sunday, #JoeVotedForTheWar was trending on Twitter nearly all day.
Also on Sunday, Biden campaign surrogate John Kerry appeared on "Meet the Press," claiming that the Sanders campaign "distorted" Biden's vote on Iraq and made up a whole bunch of things about that vote that absolutely never happened.
It was very clear that what we were doing was listening to a president that made a pledge, that he was going to do diplomacy, he was going to exhaust diplomacy to build a coalition, and ultimately we learned, as Joe did and I did, that the intelligence was distorted.
Oh really? So why wasn't it called the Authorization for Use Of Diplomacy To Build A Coalition and not the Authorization for Use Of Military Force Against Iraq? It was right there in the damn title. That's what was very clear.
No, not his real daddy, his work daddy Donald Trump.
No, silly, we are not saying Matt Gaetz is in trouble with the rich daddy he apparently has in Florida who may or may not have had a hand in keeping many of young Matthew's youthful extracurricular activities off his permanent record! We have no reason to believe Gaetz is in trouble with that daddy. We are talking about Donald Trump. You know, his work daddy.
Last week, when Congress invoked the War Powers act to limit Trump's freedom to attack Iran all willy-nilly without congressional authorization, it was a slightly bipartisan vote, and one reason for that was because Gaetz -- Trump-licker extraordinaire if there ever was one -- decided to vote with the Democrats. He said he was doing it because "principle" or something, and because he represents more troops than anybody else in Congress. We know enough about Matt Gaetz to never give him credit for being a stopped clock that's still somehow only right once a day, but it was a rare show of brain activity from a guy from whom we aren't accustomed to seeing that.
Wonkette mentioned this briefly this weekend, but this report from the Washington Post really has some funny lines about how upset Daddy is with Gaetz, who really has gone and wrapped his relationship with Daddy around a tree on this one, HAHA, MATT GAETZ DUI JOKE, nobody's ever said one of those before!
Defense Sec Mark Esper, welcome to the Sunday Show rundown!
A lot has happened since last week! After the
assassination targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the Trump administration has been working real hard to justify having done so without consulting Congress. So much so we've had to recap it every few days to ensure everyone keeps up with the new lies.
Last week it was Secretary of State and least popular Pompeo, Mike, lying his ass off on the Sunday shows. This week it's Defense Secretary Mark Esper's turn. Esper began by trying to push the talking points at the top of his dual appearances on CNN's "State Of The Union" and CBS's "Face The Nation." It did not go well!
War is bad and anything keeping us from going to war is good.
Most of the time, bipartisanship is actually gross. The wheeling and dealing of bipartisanship has brought us some of the absolute worst legislation of our time. For the most part, bipartisanship usually means Republicans getting everything they want and Democrats going along with it because they think it will someday come back around, which, you know, it never actually does. That kind of bipartisanship is bad. However, every once in a while, a Republican decides to support something that is actually good, without demanding cuts to food stamps in exchange. That kind of bipartisanship, I'll take.
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who also got into trouble with his party for criticizing the administration's terrible Iran briefing this week, has signed on to co-sponsor Bernie Sanders' No War With Iran Act, which would freeze funding for any attacks on Iran without express permission from Congress.
In a joint statement to CNN, the senators said:
"As United States Senators, we often disagree on many issues. But standing up for the Constitution is not about partisanship. The Founding Fathers were absolutely clear. They wanted to ensure that our country avoided needless conflict and they understood that presidential war-making would be harmful to our democracy."
How very plausible!
Donald Trump has really been reaching for things to justify the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, an action that will most likely result in our getting into a war with Iran. Just yesterday, during an interview with his good pal Laura Ingraham, he came out with a new one. Soleimani, he claimed, was going to bomb four U.S. embassies and that's why he had to be assassinated.
Via Washington Post:
In an interview with Fox News's Laura Ingraham, excerpts of which were released Friday afternoon, Trump expanded on comments from a day earlier, when he initially told reporters that Soleimani's forces "were looking to blow up our embassy" in Baghdad. He later said at a rally in Toledo that "Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad."
"Did [Soleimani] have large-scale attacks planned for other embassies?" Ingraham asked. "And if those were planned, why can't we reveal that to the American people? Wouldn't that help your case?"
"I can reveal that I believe it probably would've been four embassies," Trump said.
Stop the news, I want to get off!
Good God, y'all! We have been promoted from Mommyblogger to Warblogger, so buckle up for a roundup of all the military funtimes stories breaking today. We are locked, and also, too, perhaps loaded?
Matt Gaetz ... right about a thing????
Yesterday the House voted on Rep. Elissa Slotkin's non-binding war powers resolution that would revoke the president's power "to engage in hostilities in or against Iran" without specific congressional authorization, unless it becomes "necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States." Eight Democrats voted "no," and three Republicans -- Gaetz, Thomas Massie (KY) and Francis Rooney (FL) -- voted "yes." Plus independent Justin Amash (Biceps), who can sit with us now, we guess.
This caused great Sturm and Drang in Wingnuttistan, with Lou Dobbs growing so distracted that he left his Just For Men on for an extra hour, to disastrous effect.
Oh NOW Republicans are mad?
Utah GOP Senator Mike Lee is mad. He described Wednesday's briefing on the Qasem Soleimani killing as "probably the worst briefing I've seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate." Enraged at getting the brush off from defense officials, Lee says that he and Rand Paul will now support Democrat Tim Kaine's Resolution to stop President Trump unilaterally bumbling us into a war with Iran.
Just lookit him come out of the SCIF all pissed off and sweaty after Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper tried to run the rope-a-dope on him!
Congressman From 'Hee Haw' Wishes Democrats Hated Terrorists As Much As Trump Loves Gold Star Families
Yep, that's what he's going with.
On Wednesday, senators and congressmen had classified briefings where they learned the very real super-secret intel Donald Trump examined with his brain and thereby decided it was mandatory that he order the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. When they came out, those who were honest were appalled -- not by the intelligence, but by the briefing. Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly called the briefing "sophomoric." Republican Senator Mike Lee said it was the most fucking embarrassing briefing he's seen in the entire time he's been a senator, adding that it was (real quotes!) "lame" and "insane" and that the briefers spent more time telling Congress they "need to be good little boys and girls and not debate this in public" than they did actually, you know, briefing them.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Hee Haw) presumably attended that briefing too, but when he went to visit North Korean news lady Lou Dobbs on Fox Business last night, that's not what was on his mind. Instead he decided to enter the "Let's call Democrats America-haters/terrorist lovers" contest (currently in first place: Nikki Haley and this guy!) and oh boy, he really stepped in some fresh dogshit:
And other fun with Trump Iran war polls!
In the time between Donald Trump dumbassedly ordering the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and this morning, when he folded like a common folder (WHICH IS GOOD), a meme proliferated on Facebook, something along the lines of "I will listen to your thoughts on why we should war at Iran just as soon as you identify Iran on this map." It was a good meme! It didn't include any Russian disinformation, the map didn't have any fake hurricane dicks on it, it didn't ask for the name of your first grade teacher or your mother's maiden name, and it made its point succinctly. Most Americans had never heard of Soleimani before last week -- which is actually fine, most Americans have better things to do and aren't Iran experts -- but after the strike, all these MAGA dipshits started acting like he was their age-long sworn arch-nemesis, whose crimes only their orange God could avenge.
Well, some polling has finally come out on the Soleimani strike, and on warring Iran in general, and it's a good thing Trump caved like a common caver (WHICH IS GOOD) because if he thought a war was going to be good for pulling his approval ratings out of the shitter and making a majority of Americans not despise him, hahahahahahahahahahahahaha fuck off. (More on that in a second!)
The survey, from Politico/Morning Consult, also says how many Americans know where Iran is, on maps. It is 28 percent, or a little over one out of four. Or should we say, it's 28 percent when you show a regional map. When you show a map of the whole entire world, it's only 23 percent. (Hint: Iran is the great big one sandwiched between the other two countries we've been warring since 9/11, pop quiz NAME THOSE COUNTRIES!)
Trump will address the nation after last night's Iranian strikes aimed at American troops. Whatever he says, it'll embarrass the shit out of you.
If you haven't heard, Iran retaliated last night for Donald Trump's dumbass, poorly thought out targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Today, Donald Trump will respond to the strike and tell us his Iran plans and make us all feel better and haha just kidding, we just said Trump has "plans" and implied Donald Trump will "make us all feel better."
Anyway, Donald Trump is going to address the nation in just a few minutes. We should liveblog his stupid idiot face, we guess.
Iran shot missiles at American troops last night. Thank goodness Dear Leader is so ... oh fuck.
Tuesday night, or in the wee hours of Wednesday morning if you happen to be in the Middle East right now, Iran began its retaliation for Donald Trump's targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. And maybe Iran also finished its retaliation for the killing. The Iranian military targeted two Iraqi military bases that house American troops, but so far, we haven't heard that there were casualties, and we hope it stays that way.
Anyway, it's fine.
Congratulations, Chris Cillizza And Mitch McConnell! You've Both Won A One-Way Trip To Go-F*ck-Yourself-Ville!
They are very unhappy with Elizabeth Warren's statements on the Soleimani killing, how will she Yet She Persist her way out of this one?
Mitch McConnell and Chris Cillizza have thoughts about Elizabeth Warren's statements in the wake of Donald Trump's targeted killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. They are very bad and stupid thoughts.
Let's have a contest to see who can go fuck themselves the fastest!
If you don't support President Stable Genius bumble-fucking his way into a stupid unwinnable war without the slightest hint of a plan, YOU JUST HATE AMERICA.
A lot of people say Nikki Haley sold her soul to Donald Trump, but that would imply the pre-existence of a soul, to which we reply OBJECTION, YOUR HONOR, ASSERTS FACTS NOT IN EVIDENCE.
Haley dons a hero's cape when she feels it will benefit her politically -- like when she reluctantly finally decided it was time to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse just after a white supremacist murdered nine black churchgoers in 2015, except for she defended that flag in 2014 and as recently as like five minutes ago expressed regret that white supremacists had gone and made that flag all racist. (That wasn't a new thought from her, either. She complained that Dylann Roof had "hijacked" the Confederate flag way back in 2016, while expressing her sober wishes that Donald Trump wouldn't be so ugly to the minorities all the time, not that she thinks he's racist, no he never!)
Nikki Haley's message just depends on what audience she's tailoring her message for, is our point. And in the days of Trump, she's tailoring her message for asshole Trump Republicans, because she'd really like to be president in 2024, or maybe 2020 if something comes up, not that she wants anything to come up, perish the thought.
Anyway, Haley was on "Hannity" last night, being a lying, craven asshole, because that's who she is.
What the hell was that?
To call what happened yesterday at the Defense Department a dumpster fire would be a massive understatement. Truly it was such an epic clusterfuck that, in any normal administration, half the leadership would have hired lawyers already amid bipartisan congressional demands for an independent investigation. But with Commander Crazypants going apeshit in the Oval, it'll probably wind up being just a one-day story.
As best we can work out, around noon in DC an Iraqi media outlet run by the pro-Iranian militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which has fought Americans in Iraq and Syria for more than a decade, published a letter from United States Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William H. Seely III, commander of America's Iraq Task Force, to his counterpart in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. In an apparent reference to Sunday's parliamentary vote to ask America to withdraw its military, it read, "Sir, in due deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement."
By 2:40, Agence France Presse reported that the US was pulling out of Iraq, and by 3 p.m., every major news outlet in the world had the story.
Donald Trump reacts with very presidential tantrum.
Iraq's Parliament voted yesterday to expel US troops from the country following last week's assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike near the Baghdad airport. The vote is nonbinding unless the Iraqi government takes further action, but that could happen, too. Donald Trump threatened Iraq with sanctions if it tells the US to GTFO, because he is a big angry toddler with a lot of executive power.
The New York Times reports,
The troops will be limited to "training and advising" Iraqi forces, but will not be allowed to move off their bases or to fly in Iraqi airspace while plans are being made for their departure, said Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, the military spokesman for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
Purely by coincidence, the US military in Iraq also announced it's suspending its operations in Iraq to focus on the troops' own security, which means it won't be fighting ISIS or training the Iraqi military for the time being, which are kind of the only official reasons US forces are still in Iraq anyway (Also OIL). Since Iraq is the base of operations for US attacks on ISIS inside Syria, that makes two countries where The Troops won't be fighting ISIS.
Oh, yeah, and Iran said it was entirely scrapping the 2015 international nuclear deal that Trump walked out on last year, so there's that, too. In other words, just another day that ends in heavy drinking.
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