Open Thread: Duncan Hunter, GOP Poster Boy of the Week

And here I thought Rep. Duncan was just a California-gated-community version of Jared Kushner — the entitled scion of a successful grifter who misused campaign funds because he felt he was entitled to a nicer lifestyle than he could afford honestly. Give Jared this much credit: either he has the sense keep his pants zipped, or he picks partners who have as much to lose from exposure as he does. Duncan was using campaign funds to ‘party’ with lobbyists — and using the campaign credit card he knew his ‘campaign manager’ wife would be auditing!

… “I’m saying when I went to Iraq in 2003 the first time I gave her power of attorney and she handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got to Congress since I’m gone five days and home for two,” Hunter said at the time. “She was also the campaign manager.”

“So whatever she did, that will be looked at, too, I’m sure,” he continued. “But I didn’t do it.”…

Bonus ‘Party of Family Value’ points:


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Foreign Policy Open Thread: Jared Kushner Will Bring Peace to the Middle East…

… shortly after I win the Miss America contest. For which, let it be specified, I do not meet the basic requirements. And also, I wouldn’t enter if I *did*. So, context!

The Oval Office squatter and his Repub enablers don’t care about what happens in the Middle East, and even if they did, they haven’t the ability to do anything about it. But if they can skim some cash from the petrostate oligarchs for putting on a heavily PowerPointed dog & pony show — about the money, that, they care.

Long information thread here:








About last night…

After warming up by ranting about last night’s Fox News programming, Trump finally tweet-screams an account of the scrubbed Iran strike:

Jun 21, 2019 08:03:14 AM – President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran – Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus I.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON. Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled…..

Jun 21, 2019 08:03:16 AM – ….Death to America. I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions. They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East. Now they are Bust!….

Jun 21, 2019 08:03:17 AM – ….On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not….

Jun 21, 2019 08:03:18 AM – ….proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!

Note that the outburst begins with several lies and contains multiple instances of self-aggrandizement, including the obligatory humble-brag about how generals call him “sir” — it’s pathetic how compulsively he points that out.

Anyhoo, what have we learned? Nothing. A malignant narcissist/pathological liar has weighed in with his account. I’ll believe it when someone with a shred of credibility, i.e., not Trump or a Trump minion, tells us how it went down.

Open thread!








Dark Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Trump Rallies His (Extremely) Base

I’ll put most of this below the fold, but my Irish sense of grievance convinces me that you shouldn’t take your eyes off these people, not for one bloody-minded minute.

It was Dan Dale’s first live-tweeting of a Trump rally for CNN — flatter than Dale’s usual, but that’s probably not his fault.

Per the Washington Post:

… [A]t around 1:30 p.m., clouds charged in, and with them a heavy breeze that left vendors trying to hold their tents to the ground. Just as the man at the gate announced that he could not let anyone else into the arena, thunder boomed. Shortly after, a voice on the loudspeaker declared that anyone not in line at that moment would not be making it into the building right away.

Moments later, a drenching rain fell.
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Weak Man, Tough Talk

As you’ve no doubt heard, the Short-Fingered Vulgarian announced a plan to round up “millions” of undocumented immigrants via tweet last night:

This was news to ICE, according to The Post:

U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter.

I’d rather gouge out my eyes with a melon baller than watch Trump’s klan rally/2020 campaign launch from Orlando tonight, but I’d bet my next paycheck that anti-immigrant demagoguery will feature prominently in the evening’s bellowing. We’ve seen this movie before. Trump will make stupid accordion gestures with his tiny mitts and leer, snarl, strut and lie in an attempt to sound tough. The rage-fart huffers of Cult45 will stomp and hoot in approval.

But whenever Trump cranks up the bigotry, it’s a sign of weakness. Greg Sargent at The Post has it exactly right:

It has never been clear whether Trump acknowledges any political downside to his immigration cruelties and all around border-related impulsiveness. He appears to refuse to accept that they helped Democrats win a large national majority in the 2018 House races. He appears certain — outwardly, at least — that in 2020, this focus will energize his core supporters by enough to tip the electoral college, due to disproportionate numbers of blue-collar whites in the Rust Belt.

But the backdrop to all this is that the Trump campaign is firing several pollsters, because internal data leaked revealing Trump as deeply vulnerable to losing reelection — including trailing in Rust Belt states.

Trump still enjoys the advantages of incumbency and the good economy. But if his immigration agenda in particular is helping boost his reelection chances in those places, there’s no sign of it yet. Until that changes, this threat of mass arrests looks more than anything else like doubling down on a failing strategy — both substantively and politically.

In addition to firing up racist, xenophobic base voters, mean-spirited immigrant bashing frightens squishy Republican Never Trumpers like Andrew Sullivan and David Frum, who are urging Democrats to take a harder line on immigration — despite being immigrants themselves. Remind me again why we should listen to those assholes? Oh right, we shouldn’t — fuck them.

Candidates Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke have compassionate, comprehensive immigration proposals. Even if neither man makes it to the ticket, it’s my hope that their proposals gain support in the primary, just as I hope many of Warren’s economic policies become part of the Democratic Party platform in 2020, even if she’s not the nominee.

Outside of Trump’s rabid, dwindling base, cruelty doesn’t play well. But Trump is going to double, triple, and quadruple down on immigrant-bashing from tonight on through election day — not because he’s strong, but because he’s weak.

That means we’ll have to stay strong, because friends, shit’s about to get even uglier. This may be a good time to reach out to immigrants in your life who are understandably anxious about the climate in this country and let them know you stand with them.