Late-Night Epstein Circle Ugliness Open Thread: Chicks Ruin Everything, Maaan…


 
Speculation thread that’s going around twitter:


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Open Thread: Oh, Look, Another GOP (Alleged) Felon!

Can’t throw an ore-bearing rock around the Peepot Dome Gang without hitting one. From the NYTimes, “Investigation Intensifies Into Top Trump Fund-raiser”:

Federal prosecutors have intensified their wide-ranging federal investigation into Elliott Broidy, a top fund-raiser for President Trump, signaling the Justice Department’s continued interest in questions about foreign influence on the administration.

In recent months, federal authorities have searched Mr. Broidy’s Southern California office and subpoenaed records related to him from a onetime business partner and from Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. They have reportedly asked the authorities in Romania for assistance investigating associates with whom Mr. Broidy worked to win military intelligence contracts potentially worth as much as $64 million.

They have also charged four people who worked with Mr. Broidy on plans to influence the administration, including on behalf of interests in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. While the charges against three of his associates were unrelated to their work with Mr. Broidy, most have been asked about their relationships with him, according to several people familiar with the investigation.

Taken together, the steps suggest mounting pressure on Mr. Broidy. And they underscore the legal questions raised by his efforts to parlay his access into business advantage in the frenetic weeks after Mr. Trump’s election, and then to influence the new administration’s policies toward the Middle East, where he was pursuing contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The scrutiny comes as the Justice Department has stepped up its enforcement of foreign lobbying laws and continues to investigate whether foreign money was illegally funneled into Mr. Trump’s super PAC or inaugural committee.

Mr. Broidy’s lawyers have contended that he did not do anything that would require him to lobby. One of the lawyers, Chris Clark, said in an email on Monday that he dismissed as “utterly false” the idea that his client used his connections to Mr. Trump to drum up business…

We never had to *ask*, Your Honor. Once we’d inserted our guy into office, we could count on him doing what was best for The (GOP) Family…

The AP story is more painstaking with the details:

Broidy, a 61-year-old Los Angeles businessman, made a fortune in investments before moving into defense contracting and has played prominent roles in GOP fundraising, including as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2006 to 2008 and vice chair of the Trump Victory Committee in 2016.
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“If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done…”

ProPublica published an exposé today on a secret Border Patrol Facebook group that allegedly comprises more than 9,000 agents and former agents. On the page, they giggle over anti-immigrant memes, including one using the image of the Salvadoran father and his two-year-old daughter who recently drowned in the Rio Grande.

I’m not even going to try to describe what ProPublica found, except to say there’s a shitload of cruelty, racism and sexism, and it’s no surprise people with such a mindset would be complicit in running camps where desperate men, women and children are hideously abused. If Facebook had been around in the 1930s/1940s, this is exactly the kind of shit Nazi concentration camp guards would post.

These agencies need to be burned to the ground, the earth where they stood salted over, and curses placed at the sites to keep the evil contained. Yes, we need to be able to control our borders, but surely non-psychopaths can be found to handle the fucking job.

I saw a photo of a guy at a protest recently holding a sign that said, “If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done in Nazi Germany, you’re doing it now.” Truth.








Foreign Affairs Open Thread: Which #@%^ Keeps Queuing Up ‘Moldy Oldies’ on the History Channel?!?

Is there a ‘President Eisehower face-palm’ gif out there somewhere?


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Excellent (Orlando-Alternative) Read: “The Man Who Was Upset”

In my opinion, David Roth is poised to follow in the footsteps of great commentors like Damon Runyon, Roy Blount, and Charles P. Pierce as he moves from sportwriting to politics. This is from the New Republic:

Even after the hit NBC reality show The Apprentice rebuilt his personal fortune and retooled his image from Gilded Tabloid Oaf to Glowering Dealmaster, Trump never declined an opportunity to fish a quarter out of the toilet when the situation presented itself. That reflexive and amoral avarice is one of the ignoble truths of Trump, but it’s subsidiary to the most important and elemental fact about the man, which is that he never does or says anything new. Some things may be shaded slightly differently from one blurt or boast to the next—every number he says invariably cheats upward over time, and he periodically adds new scenes and jokes to the metastasizing stand-up act that he rolls out at his rallies… 


At this stage in his sublimely unexamined life and increasingly evident cognitive decline, Trump isn’t really capable of very compelling misdirections or even passably convincing falsehoods. He digresses because he loses the plot, and he lies when the truth wouldn’t look good on him; he distracts himself and tells himself lies because it is the only way to square what is actually happening with what he would prefer to be happening. (In this, he is but building on the spiritual birthright bestowed on him by his dad: Fred Trump was an ardent worshipper at the Marble Collegiate Church of Norman Vincent Peale, the reactionary business prophet who distilled many failed superpower incantations of his own in his blockbuster self-help tract, The Power of Positive Thinking. Peale presided over Donald’s first wedding in 1977, and remains Trump’s most frequently cited spiritual mentor.)

Where the media has failed and continues to fail is in its insistence that Trump is doing all of this, or any of it, for the same reason that other politicians are understood to have aimed to distract or chosen to lie. When this tendency is criticized, the criticism often arrives in the form of some lamentation that the media is still covering Trump as if he were a Normal President.


That criticism is reasonable as far as it goes, which is not nearly far enough. A series of long-standing procedural and political and discursive norms really have failed the essential challenge that Trumpian politics and Trump’s own bulletproof shamelessness present. But the steepness and rapidity of their fall raises some serious questions about just how sturdy they were to begin with. The spectacle of expert analysts and thought leaders parsing the actions of a man with no expertise or capacity for analysis is the purest acid satire—but less because of how badly that expert analysis has failed than because of how sincerely misplaced it is. Trump represents an extraordinary challenge to political media precisely because there is nothing here to parse, no hidden meanings or tactical elisions or slow-rolled strategic campaign. Mainstream political media and Trump’s opponents in the Democratic Party conceive of politics as chess, a matter of feints and sacrifices and moves made so as to open the way for other moves. There’s an element of romance to this vision, which is a crucial tenet in a certain type of big-D Democratic thought and also something like the reason why anyone would need to employ a political analyst. But Trump is not playing chess. The man is playing Hungry Hungry Hippos… 


The politics of Fox News are reactionary, but they are also hard to pin down—they are about a feeling, a combination of distaste and distrust for all the things that other people are getting away with and seem so entitled to out there. This hunched and feral posture of grievance is then combined with a fiercely put-upon impatience with the service that viewers themselves are receiving… 

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