Tag:Emoluments

Air Force Suddenly Making “Unusual” Stopovers at Trump Properties

The only surprise here is the utter brazenness. Since April, the House Oversight Committee has been investigating why it was that crews from C-17 military transport planes make unusual stops on route to the Middle East, both coming and going. They crews stop to stay at Trump’s luxury Scotland resort, and the military has not answered the questions that have arisen surrounding this bizarre event. It is unknown whether this is now a routine practice or whether it was an isolated occurrence. From Politico, this is flat stunning: The inquiry is part of a broader, previously unreported probe into U.S. military expenditures at and around the Trump property in Scotland. According to a letter the panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members. In other words, part of that $11 million to “refuel” and land at the airport found its way into Trump’s pocket through official government use of his Scotland resort. Were that not bad enough, the Pentagon seems committed to hiding whatever it is doing: “The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation,” said a senior Democratic aide on the oversight panel. “The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days.” The most powerful, “executive agency,” the Defense Department, is now also ignoring Congress. Normally, military flights to the Middle East make their stopover at – surprise! – U.S. military bases, where the fuel is much much cheaper, the accommodations nice, but don’t approach the $300 to $400 a night required for a luxury resrot. But, for some strange reason, the planes have stopped at Glasgow and the crews stayed up the road at a resort that just happens to be owned by the man who has used his office to bilk the public out of every dollar he possibly can. And we can also feel some sympathy for the crews, who did not make the choice, and evidently had to shovel out some of their own money, because, well: One crew member was so struck by the choice of hotel — markedly different than the Marriotts and Hiltons the 176th maintenance squadron is used to — that he texted someone close to him and told him about the stay, sending a photo and noting that the crew’s per diem allowance wasn’t enough to cover food and drinks at the ritzy resort. The president’s greed created a situation such that a crew, on an official mission for our country, had to shell out some of their own money to cover the cost of meals and beverages, at a Trump resort, because Trump’s prices exceeded the government allotment. Let that settle in a bit. Let’s review. Other nations routinely book entire floors at Trump resorts and pay maximum price – no discounts – in order to gain favor with Trump who cares about money above all else, and rewards those who line his pockets. Trump often stays at his […]

Ex Secret Service Officials Say Trump Property NOT “Easier to Secure”

The Trump administration often states that his properties are “easier to secure” as justification for his never-ending visits to Trump resorts. As an example from just this week, VP Pence justified staying at Trump’s hotel in Ireland on the grounds that “it makes the Secret Service’s job easier.” Yeah, sure. More? Trump said that next year’s G7 meeting should be held at his Doral club, in part, because the property would be easier to secure. “They came back and they said, ‘This is where we would like to be,’” Trump explained last month. “Now we had military people doing it. We had Secret Service people doing it.” It is Trump’s habit to A) lie, and B) hide behind things “people say ..” never mentioning who “they” are, clearly referencing what he wants, and otherwise why mention the airport over and over? Of course this all patently absurd, but now we have people who would definitely “know,” validating our cynicism. Ex Secret Service members have come forward to state that there is no security benefit associated with using the same properties. According to Rawstory In fact, Wackrow said it would be irresponsible for the Secret Service to have preferred locations because “if we started to operate under that model, we’d not be following our protective paradigm,” which he described as “a very comprehensive advance process to build a security plan” for each location.” Right. As per usual, the professionals are making sense. No two events are identical, even if held in an identical location. It is logical that these most elite professionals would develop an individualized plan for each individual event, no matter where it is held. “Although it can be helpful to have protected a location before, even recurring locations of protection, like the U.S. Capitol, go through the same methodology each time due to situational changes,” he says. I am no professional security expert, but I do know conflicts of interest when I see them. IF there was a significant advantage in returning to the same locations, it doesn’t follow that Trump properties must be used. This is a large, rich, nation. There are plenty of nice places for rest and relaxation (or international meetings) that could be used and reused, but do not siphon off funds from the public treasury directly into Trump’s pockets. We all know what is going on here. We all know that Trump loves both advertising his properties, and billing the shit out of the U.S. taxpayer to use the site. The only difference is that the Trump supporters simply don’t care, indeed some find it admirable that Trump can game the system, while non-Trump supporters simply see what we already know. Even as sitting President of the United States, Trump will seek to enrich himself, to grift, to con, to “get over” on others. You will talk an owl of a tree before you get a current Secret Service agent to discuss his or her thoughts on the president’s use of his own properties. But some former agents are not afraid to call out the lies justifying it. When will we have Congressional hearings to put a dollar figure on the amount of public money put directly into Trump’s pocket? The pattern is one thing. A dollar figure, likely a huge one, would […]

The swan song of arrogance

Over the last four years, since the start of the primaries, I must have said it at least a hundred times, “Donald Trump us the gift that just keeps on giving.” Normally when I wrote that, I was referring to giving me comedic grist to lambaste him with, but also for giving Democrats fodder for their cannons. But this shit is getting ridiculous. If Trump keeps this up, pretty soon the Democrats and us comics are going to have to start paying an inheritance tax. As His Lowness has degenerated, the question has slowly turned from “How low can he go?” to “How low can the GOP go?” SO far, that question has been like trying to find the edge of the universe, but just seems to stretch on into infinity. But in the last 72 hours, Trump has pushed the envelope three separate times, and any one, or all of them, may finally end up being that fabled bridge too far, especially with Trump’s polling looking to drag down GOP chances in several key Senate states as well as the electoral college. The first is Trump’s decision to pull $150 million plus from FEMA’s disaster relief fund to DHS to increase immigrant housing and immigration court capacity. Tropical storm Dorian will hit Puerto Rico today. We all know that Trump could give a shit less about Puerto Rico. But what happens after that? Depending on the track, it could hit either Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas as a category 3 hurricane. All of which appear to be becoming serious battleground states in 2020, thanks to the adventures of Il Douche. What happens if one or more of those states get slammed, and the money runs short? Why, Trump is going to go running to congress for additional funding for FEMA of course. And Nancy Pelosi’s immediate reply? “Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on, Charlie Brown! You restore that funding we gave you from DHS to FEMA, and we’ll see what happens next.” What can the GOP in congress say? They can’t accuse the Democrats of playing politics with peoples lives, because the Democrats simply respond that they already gave the money to FEMA, and Trump absconded it for his war on refugees. The Democrats can even steal the Republicans thunder by immediately promising an additional $100 million or whatever, just as soon as the missing funds are restored from DHS to FEMA. What can the Republicans say? Second, we have Trump’s decision to hold the G-7 summit nest year at his Bedbug Palace Doral resort. Forget Putin for the moment, this isn’t just an emoluments violation, it’s a clear cut extortion racket. Trump is telling the rest of the G-7, “Hey, nice little summit you have there. Be a pity if anything happened to it.” This is the sitting President of the United States forcing foreign governments to pay baksheesh to attend their own conference! And as far as the emoluments clause goes, I find it hard to believe that any court would say that as a co-equal branch of government, with oversight duties, the U.S. House doesn’t have legitimate standing to bring a suit to stop the event from taking place at Doral. How do GOP incumbents in either chamber defend Trump if/when a restraining order is slapped on the event until it’s hashed […]

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