GOP Foreign Affairs Open Thread: Remember That Chinese ‘Spa Entrepreneur’/ Political Operative?

Time dilation here in Hellworld. The Miami Herald, Friday:

South Florida day spa entrepreneur Li “Cindy” Yang — now famous for her Super Bowl party selfie with the president — used her burgeoning political access to bring Xianqin Qu, a leader from the foreign arm of the Communist Party of China, to an event where she met top Republicans and members of the Trump administration, including Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump.

Qu is the president of the Florida Chapter of the Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Unification — a group ”directly subordinate” to the Communist Party of China, according to a 2018 U.S. government report. The group’s stated purpose is to push for reunification of China and Taiwan, although in recent years members in chapters around the world actively promoted a wide range of policies in harmony with Beijing’s agenda abroad…

Yang arranged for a group of Chinese expats, including Qu, to attend a Republican fundraiser for Donald Trump at a restaurant in New York on Dec. 2, 2017. Online media organizations and the National Committee of Asian American Republicans social media posts about the event say Qu was there as a guest of the committee, also called the Asian GOP. Yang was the organizer of the Asian GOP contingent at the event, according to Cliff Li, the founder of the political committee where Yang volunteered as a primary fundraiser.

At the breakfast meet-and-greet, Qu was photographed with Conway and several Republican donors with deep pockets. A White House spokesperson said Conway does not know Qu.

A GOP spokeswoman said it appears the photo of Conway and Qu — given the dozens of people behind Conway — was not a preplanned photo op. The December 2017 event had about 500 people, the spokeswoman said. Background checks are not required for events that don’t involve high-level donors. Price of admission started at $1,000 for general access and was $2,700 for VIPs, according to the invitation.

In January 2018, Qu also attended Safari Night at Mar-a-Lago — a charity event co-sponsored by the Asian GOP and attended by Trump’s sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau. Photos show Qu among the Asian GOP attendees. Again, Yang had organized the group, according to Li…

The Washington Post, yesterday:

Scrutiny has also centered on a company Yang ran offering foreign visitors access to the president and other top Republican officials. According to an archived version of her company’s Chinese-language website, which became inactive after recent news reports, the company offered VIP access to the White House and Mar-a-Lago, and autographed photos of Trump.

At the same time, Yang identified herself on the website as holding a position with the Chinese Association for Science and Technology. Experts in Chinese influence say that it and another group to which Yang has been tied have links to China’s ruling Communist Party’s efforts to spread influence in the West, though they noted that her roles do not necessarily suggest that she acted on behalf of the Chinese government…
Read more

Confronting the Threat

We — and by “we,” I mean the world — have a problem: the global white supremacist movement and its capacity to commit horrific acts of violence. Here’s how the POTUS is handling it today:

Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well. Fox …..

….must stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die! Stay true….

….to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!

Pirro was suspended or shit-canned because of her latest anti-Muslim rant, in which she said that since Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota wears a hijab, Omar is a follower of “sharia law,” which Pirro says is “antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.”

Carlson is under fire this week because of racist, sexist gibbering newly surfaced from old appearances on the “Bubba the Love Sponge” radio show. But Carlson has been busily mainstreaming white nationalist garbage for years from his perch at Fox News.

After the Christchurch massacre, Trump tweeted “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to New Zealand. He has uttered not a word of comfort to the Muslim community there or here.

No one who has been paying attention found that surprising since the source of Trump’s political power is the ability to gin up hate through racist, sexist, xenophobic demagoguery.

Still, since Trump got a shout-out in the terrorist’s manifesto, the Beltway press asked Trump directly if we have a white supremacy problem, and he said no.

ACTING Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was trotted out on the Sunday shows to defend Trump’s inexcusable response. Here’s what he told Chris Wallace when asked why Trump wouldn’t just deliver a speech condemning white supremacy and anti-Muslim bigotry:

“The president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that.”

Meanwhile, Trump was giving Fox News a pep talk on Twitter to make sure his favorite anti-Muslim bigots and “white genocide” conspiracy theorists don’t get fired. So there’s your answer, Mulvaney.

Now for something completely different: Pete Buttigieg’s beautiful letter to the Muslim community in South Bend after the New Zealand terrorist attack.

This is how a great leader speaks to a shaken community. And that’s how we’ll confront the rising threat of white supremacist violence if we ever recover from this deeply shameful episode in our national history — with unity, and with the decency of people like Pete Buttigieg.

Horrowshow Open Thread: When All Else Fails, Yell “Look! JEWS!”

Count on Donald Trump to say the quiet parts out loud, and at the worst possible time. A white supremacist murders Muslims? Hey, look over there!

Speaking to a group of R.N.C. donors at Mar-a-Lago [last] Friday, Trump told the crowd assembled, “The Democrats hate Jewish people,” according to three people who were there. He went on to say he didn’t understand how anyone who’s Jewish could vote for a Democrat these days—perhaps still seething that Clinton got 71 percent of the Jewish vote in 2016, to his 24 percent—and proceeded to brag about how much he’s done for Israel, including his highly controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Trump speech without a completely deranged assessment of his chances of winning an election in another country: according to the president, if he could run for prime minister of Israel, “he’d be at 98 percent in the polls.”…

Hey, it’s what he’s thinking about, ergo it must be what’s important to everybody. Well, the *right* everybodies, ifyouknowwhatImean…

Think we can make ‘Mike Pence, Chrapture Enthusiast’ happen?

Breaking News: Mass Shooting at Two Mosques in Christchurch, NZ

From Radio New Zealand:

6 minutes ago

Police say one shooter is in custody but there may be other offenders after ‘multiple fatalities’ at two mosques in Christchurch today. Follow live updates here.

What you need to know:

  • There have been two shooting incidents – at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park, and at the Linwood Masjid Mosque in the suburb of Linwood.
  • Police Commissioner Mike Bush has confirmed there have been “multiple fatalities”.
  • An eyewitness inside the Masjid Al Noor Mosque says he heard shots fired and says at least five people were lying on the ground.
  • The eyewitness describes seeing a man wearing a helmet and glasses and a military style jacket opening fire inside the mosque with an automatic weapon.
  • About 300 people were inside the mosque for afternoon prayers.
  • Police say the “risk environment remains extremely high”.
  • The manager of the An-Nur Early Childhood centre in Wigram said police gave some parents an update that said there were two gunmen and at least one was on the loose.
  • People in central Christchurch have been urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.
  • All Christchurch schools, Christchurch Hospital and Christchurch City Council buildings have been placed into lockdown.
  • Multiple roads in the city, including Blenhein Rd, Moorhouse Ave and Brougham St, have been closed.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says today is one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”.

Radio New Zealand just posted the following:

More from Radio New Zealand:

2 minutes ago

A man purporting to be at the centre of today’s attacks in Christchurch has posted video and documents online.

The videos are distressing and appear to be of the shooting in a mosque.

RNZ will not be publishing video or documents from a person who is believed to be a shooter at the Christchurch mosques.

RNZ is aware of footage of armed police appearing to apprehend a person. RNZ is also aware footage of the shooting is being posted online and a document circulating outlining the shooter’s motives is being shared.

A decision has been made to not publish in any of this material.

Live coverage of the shooting can be found here and a summary of what you need to know is here.

This is obviously going to be a fast moving event and the reporting is likely to change several times before it we have a clear(er) picture of exactly what happened and who perpetrated this attack.

Update at 11:45 PM EDT

New Zealand’s Prime Minister has made a statement (emphasis mine):

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, addressing the media about the Christchurch shooting, says there is “no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme violence”.

The PM said she couldn’t give any confirmation on fatalities at this stage, but “it is clear this one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.

“Presently the police do have one suspect in custody however there could be others involved. Also there are multiple scenes involved in this incident as well and police will be giving more details as they can as the situation unfolds,” she said,

About 300 people were inside a Christchurch mosque for afternoon prayers when a gunman attacked them.

An eyewitness said there was “blood everywhere”, adding that a man wearing a helmet and glasses and a military-style jacket opened fire inside the mosque with an automatic weapon.

Police say the “risk environment remains extremely high”.

At the moment police have stated that they have one offender in custody, however, they have advised that there may be other offenders.

“Clearly what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” Ms Ardern said.

“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting will be migrants, they will be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us.

“The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand.

“There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence which it is clear this act was. “

She said her thoughts were also with those in Christchurch who were dealing with an unfolding situation.

“Please continue to listen out to information as it comes to light.

“Remain in lockdown, we are potentially dealing with an evolving situation as I said across multiple sites.

“Christchurch Hospital is dedicated to treating those who are arriving at the hospital as we speak.

She is scheduled to return to Wellington today.

People in central Christchurch have been urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.

Updated at 11:55 PM EDT

Here’s video of Prime Minister Ardern making a statement regarding the attack on the two mosques (h/t Aleta in comments)

Updated at 12:05 PM EDT

The shooter posted a 75 page manifesto on 8Chan. He’s a white supremacist, so we can definitely call this an act of terrorism.

At more than 74 pages, the document outlines a white supremacist motivation for the attack. The writer, who identifies himself as a 28-year-old white man born in Australia, quotes the so-called 14 Words, the slogan shared by white supremacists worldwide. He said that while he supported white nationalist groups, he alone had decided to carry out the attack. He described the victims as “invaders” and accused them of seeking to replace white people. He wrote about attacking two mosques, one in Linwood and one in Christchurch. He focused on the latter because it was the largest, he wrote.

Interestingly enough, he was radicalized by Candace Owens, the Hitler afficionado who is the spokeswoman for TPUSA and the leader of Blexit (which isn’t actually a thing…). So congratulations to Candace Owens for inspiring your first terrorist attack. I’m sure you and your family are very proud of all your endeavors.

Newsweek reporter Stephen Asarch has excerpted the manifesto:

(I’ve removed the actual embedded tweets with the excerpts that Asarch made as they were upsetting some readers. They can be found at the link above.)

Open thread!

Brexit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and just as the hideous Trump catastrophuck here in the States has rejuvenated the Democratic Party and spun comedy gold on late night TV, the rolling Brexit disaster has resulted in some damn funny professional commentary, as several jackals have pointed out in comments. Here’s a sample inspired by May’s Parliament debacle earlier this week:

The House of Commons was a Benny Hill chase on acid, running through a Salvador Dali painting in a spaceship on its way to infinity.

It was a kind of death-defying, window-shattering, epoch-shaping, never-to-be-surpassed lunacy.

The details are extravagantly complex, and if you can’t face them all, the key bit to remember is that Theresa May planned to defeat herself, then decided not to defeat herself by defeating herself, then lost. To herself.

Tom Peck, The Independent

And this:

By now, you will be aware that the prime minister failed to end her meaningful vote hoodoo, with this sequel to her last attempt – 2Meaningful 2Vote – knocked down by a margin of 149. Amusingly, some are suggesting that Meaningful Vote: Tokyo Drift could yet happen. A free vote on no deal takes place tonight, with potential amendments piling up. May herself ploughs on. It’s as if someone has popped a grey wig on Munch’s The Scream, then cast it in an ITV drama about the female governor of a category-A prison.

— Marina Hyde, The Guardian

I read those last two sentences aloud to my husband and could barely choke the words out for giggling. Also from that column, what appears to be an actual quote from “Conservative backbencher” Steve Double:

“This is a turd of a deal,” he intoned to the House of Commons, “which has now been taken away and polished, and is now a polished turd. But it might be the best turd that we’ve got.”

Speaking of turds that are far from our best, America’s ambulatory ocher dung heap weighed in:

“I don’t think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to the people that won. They’d say ‘What do you mean, you’re going to take another vote?’ So that would be tough.

I thought it would happen, it did happen, and both sides are very, very cemented in. It’s a tough situation. It’s a shame.

There was no reason for that to happen. They could have had the vote and it should have gone smoothly and unfortunately it didn’t.”

The Guardian notes that “[i]n opposing a second referendum Trump lines up with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.”

Of course he does — the wily KGB man inserted his murderous claw up his puppet’s ass at some point between 1985 and 2016 and has used his pincers to move Trump’s lips ever since.

But the second part of Trump’s statement was pure Shitgibbon, once again invoking the now thoroughly exploded myth of himself as a master deal maker, failing as ever to comprehend anything more complex than “I want to eat/fuck/buy that,” and rudely shitting all over anyone with the temerity to behave as something other than a Trump flunky, no matter how inanely:

I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation. I gave the prime minister my ideas on how to negotiate it and I think you would have been successful. She didn’t listen to that and that’s fine – she’s got to do what she’s got to do. I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly. I hate to see everything being ripped apart now.

I long for the day we get to see all these ugly turds take their final spin around the toilet bowl and then the fateful plunge straight down the sewer pipe. If the commentary and comedy are less biting after that happy day, we’ll muddle through somehow.

Open thread!

PS: I was going to Photoshop Theresa May’s hair onto an image of “The Scream” as an illustration for this post, but I recently switched computers, and my motherfucking Creative Cloud download keeps failing because Sweet Jeebus, Adobe sucks greasy green gator balls!