Space Farce Open Thread: To the MOON, Alice!

All the real billionaires, the Big Swinging Dicks, get to go on the TV and talk about their mighty throbbing rockets. Donny Dollhands thinks he ought to be able to grift his very own (no doubt Trump-branded, gilt-painted) bunch of rockets out of a grateful nation… and his will be the only ones carrying NUCKALAR BOMBS, suckitlibs!

Fortunately, our American armed forces have some experience with slow-walking “demands” from temporary autocrats, so I think we’ll see the first Trump Rocket unveiled on approximately the twelfth of Never. Per the Washington Post:

Trump has floated this idea before — in March, he said he initially conceived it as a joke — but has offered few details about how the Space Force would operate. Several experts noted that an act of Congress is required to establish a new branch of the military.

Trump said Monday that the branch would be “separate but equal” from the Air Force and that Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would oversee its creation.

“It is not enough to have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,” Trump said, adding that he didn’t want to see “China and other countries leading us.”

Dunford’s staff acknowledged Trump’s comments in a statement Monday afternoon, pledging to work closely with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s office, other Defense Department officials and Congress to “implement the President’s guidance.”

“Space is a warfighting domain, so it is vital that our military maintains its dominance and competitive advantage in that domain,” the statement said.

And a spokeswoman for Mattis said in a statement that Pentagon officials “understand” the guidance.

“Our Policy Board will begin working on this issue, which has implications for intelligence operations for the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy,” Dana White said without elaborating. “Working with Congress, this will be a deliberate process with a great deal of input from multiple stakeholders.”



I Don’t Want to Alarm Anyone

But I don’t think Trump hires only the best people:

Joseph W. Hagin, a deputy chief of staff to President Trump and one of the most seasoned government veterans on a team populated mainly by newcomers with little if any prior experience in the White House, plans to step down next month.

Mr. Hagin has run White House operations for Mr. Trump for 17 months, overseeing the daily administration of a building often whipsawed by chaos generated by the president. Just this month, Mr. Hagin led a delegation of officials in Singapore who arranged the logistics of Mr. Trump’s landmark summit meeting with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.

The NY Times fails to mention WHY he might be leaving, so we’ll leave that up to Buzzfeed:

Igtet, however, had other interests outside recovering Libyan riches, including one at the center of a major sex-trafficking case. Igtet was deeply involved in NXIVM, the celebrity “sex cult” whose leadership is now under federal indictment, two sources said. Igtet proselytized for the group, BuzzFeed News has learned, while his wife, the heir Sara Bronfman, reportedly kept the cult afloat with tens of millions of dollars.

And in 2013 — as Hagin’s future boss was railing against the Obama administration over the 2012 terrorist attack on the US embassy in Benghazi that killed a US ambassador — Igtet met with the man the US believed to be the mastermind of the attack, who has since been convicted on terrorism charges.

But Hagin’s firm, seeing the chance to reap millions, viewed Igtet as a golden goose and continued to work with the couple even as their associations with NXIVM became increasingly public.

Oh.

Meanwhile, another one of Trump’s finest is making news tonight:

I can’t wait for the day when this Lewandowski asshole gets road rage and fucks with the wrong person and gets what he so richly deserves.








Desecration Boulevard (Open Thread)

God knows there are more serious problems in the world, but as an American who still retains fondness for our national colors, I must speak out on the ongoing molestation of the American flag by one Donald J. Trump. He’s been creeping up on Old Glory since well before the election and putting his hot, sticky, undersized mitts on the red, white and blue in a distressingly sexualized manner. Here’s a still photo depicting a creepy assault on the flag at a Florida campaign stop:

And here he is getting grotesquely handsy with Betsy Ross’s handiwork at another campaign event. What in the wide world of fuck is that all about? Look at the perverted smirk on the villain!

But today’s assault on an innocent flag took the weirdness to a whole new level:

I know it’s painful to subject oneself to Trump’s hideous visage, but watch the GIF to the end. He’s humping the goddamned flag like a horny chihuahua sexually assaulting someone’s leg. It’s disturbing and gross, and someone should stop him from ever doing that again.

Open thread.



This is the Sound of President Trump’s America

For those unable to listen or unwilling to subject themselves to it, here’s how ProPublica describes the recording (from The Texas Tribune because ProPublica’s server is overwhelmed):

The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard they can barely breathe. They scream “Mami” and “Papá” over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.

The baritone voice of a Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” he jokes. “What’s missing is a conductor.”

Then a distraught but determined 6-year-old Salvadoran girl pleads repeatedly for someone to call her aunt. Just one call, she begs anyone who will listen. She says she’s memorized the phone number, and at one point, rattles it off to a consular representative. “My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt,” she whimpers, “and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible.”

An audio recording obtained by ProPublica adds real-life sounds of suffering to a contentious policy debate that has so far been short on input from those with the most at stake: immigrant children. More than 2,300 of them have been separated from their parents since April, when the Trump administration launched its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which calls for prosecuting all people who attempt to illegally enter the country and taking away the children they brought with them. More than 100 of those children are under the age of 4. The children are initially held in warehouses, tents or big box stores that have been converted into Border Patrol detention facilities.

Much more at the link.

Given the audio above, Secretary Nielsen is obviously a liar:

Stay angry!

Open thread.



Another Failed Trump Brand

Trump Casinos.
Trump Steaks.
Trump Airlines.
Trump Vodka.
Trump Mortgage.
Trump Magazine.
Trump Ice.
Trump University.

What do all of these Trump-branded things all have in common? They all went belly up. Kaput. Deceased. Bereft of life, they’ve joined the bleedin’ choir invisible.

If tens of millions of our fellow citizens weren’t such goddamned idiots, this record of scammy failures would have vaporized Trump’s “successful businessman” image, which seems to be the only thing Trump has expended a lot of effort to build. But, people are dumb and gullible, especially when reality collides with a carefully cultivated TV image, so here we are.

But 18 or so months into this dystopian hellscape, there’s just no excuse for a seasoned political analyst to express faith in another fraudulent Trump brand: the alleged moderating influence of Ivanka Trump. Yet Karen Tumulty does just that in a Post opinion column:

Melania Trump weighs in on her husband’s cruel policy. Where are you, Ivanka?

The first lady’s decision to step into the debate makes the silence of another Trump family member all the more telling. Where is Ivanka Trump, who is actually an official adviser to her father — and the one who claims that family issues are her portfolio?

All those photos of crying children don’t look so great on Instagram. Still, Ivanka, there is time to step up. You can do it. Be best.

Seriously? Give me a fucking break.

Now, as I said a couple of days ago, I think the Trump people have trod on their own dicks by going all-in on child-snatching. The practice is so morally repugnant that even reliable toadies like Franklin Graham publicly object to the policy, and Trump’s usual lie-and-deflect strategy doesn’t seem to be resonating outside the Fox News bubble.

Meanwhile, the images of crying parents and brown kids in cages have generated such enthusiasm in Trump’s white supremacist base that it will be difficult to walk the policy back without angering the most devoted cultists. It’s possible the abnormal brain trust in the White House is discussing a face-saving climb-down this very moment, possibly even one involving Ivanka.

But even if Sarah Huckabee-Sanders trots Ivanka Trump out at today’s news briefing to announce an end to the old man’s child kidnappings (spoiler: not gonna happen — Shitler is doubling down on Twitter right now), it would be yet another scam. Ivanka’s supposed influence on her monstrous father is just another Trump-branded fraud, and anyone who seriously looks to that empty-headed non-entity for moral leadership is a moron.



Russiagate Open Thread: Roger Stone, Back in the Spotlight

Happy Father’s Day, ya mutha– !

MIAMI — One day in late May 2016, Roger Stone — the political dark sorcerer and longtime confidant of Donald Trump — slipped into his Jaguar and headed out to meet a man with a “Make America Great Again” hat and a viscous Russian accent.

The man, who called himself Henry Greenberg, offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in the upcoming presidential election, according to Stone, who spoke about the previously unreported incident in interviews with The Washington Post. Greenberg, who did not reveal the information he claimed to possess, wanted Trump to pay $2 million for the political dirt, Stone said.

“You don’t understand Donald Trump,” Stone recalled saying before rejecting the offer at a restaurant in the Russian-expat magnet of Sunny Isles, Fla. “He doesn’t pay for anything.”

Later, Stone got a text message from Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign communications official who’d arranged the meeting after Greenberg had approached Caputo’s Russian-immigrant business partner.

“How crazy is the Russian?” Caputo wrote, according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted “big” money, Stone replied, “waste of time.”

Two years later, the brief sit-down in Florida has resurfaced as part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s sprawling investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, according to Caputo. Caputo said he was asked about the meeting by prosecutors during a sometimes-heated questioning session last month.

Stone and Caputo, who did not previously disclose the meeting to congressional investigators, now say they believe they were the targets of a setup by U.S. law enforcement officials hostile to Trump.

They cite records — independently examined by The Post — showing that the man who approached Stone is actually a Russian national who has claimed to work as an FBI informant.

Interviews and additional documents show that Greenberg has at times used the name Henry Oknyansky. Under that name, he claimed in a 2015 court filing related to his immigration status that he had provided information to the FBI for 17 years. He attached records showing that the government had granted him special permission to enter the United States because his presence represented a “significant public benefit.”

There is no evidence that Greenberg was working with the FBI in his interactions with Stone, and in his court filing, Greenberg said he had stopped his FBI cooperation sometime after 2013.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Mueller’s office.

The meeting took place two months earlier than federal officials have said a counterintelligence operation was officially opened and before WikiLeaks began releasing hacked Democratic emails…

There were so many Russian assets falling out of the trees, looking to help us! Who can remember every single dodgy contact among them?!?

Yes, I’m looking forward to Adam’s thoughts on this revelation, too.

At least Rudy isn’t far enough gone that he tries to claim Stone was just some short-term volunteer who’d barely even met the candidate… yet:



“Righteous” Monsters Russiagate Open Thread: No Violin Tiny Enough, Mr. Comey

I’m sure he really, honestly believes he was acting in good faith, there was nothing else he could do, just following orders, ma’am. Small consolation: His reputation seems to be “everything” to Mr. Comey — and history has never been kind to the “just following orders” defense.