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501 Days in Swampland

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1 501 Days in Swampland on 7/8/2018, 3:31 pm

A constant drip of self-dealing. And this is just what we know so far …

By Joy Crane and Nick Tabor
Introduction by David Cay Johnston



On the day he took the oath of office, Donald Trump delivered two messages about what to expect from his administration. First came the lofty promise of his inaugural address. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” he vowed. “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth.”

The second message, which Trump delivered without speaking a word, was aimed at a much smaller, but very rich, audience. As the new president’s motorcade left the Capitol, rolling past knots of supporters and protesters, it suddenly stopped three blocks short of the White House. Trump, the First Lady, and the rest of his family got out of their limos and took a three-minute turn in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue.

This was no random spot. The very first place Trump headed after being sworn in — his true destination all along, in a sense — was the Old Post Office and Clock Tower, which only 12 days before the election had been repurposed as the Trump International Hotel Washington. The elegant granite structure, whose architectural character Trump had promised to preserve, was now besmirched by a gaudy, faux-gold sign bearing his name. The carefully choreographed stop sent a clear signal to the foreign governments, lobbyists, and corporate interests keen on currying favor in Washington: The rewards of government would now be reaped by a single man — and the people would bear the cost.

(7 Of President Trump's Dictatorial Tendencies)

More than at any time in history, the president of the United States is actively using the power and prestige of his office to line his own pockets: landing loans for his businesses, steering wealthy buyers to his condos, securing cheap foreign labor for his resorts, preserving federal subsidies for his housing projects, easing regulations on his golf courses, licensing his name to overseas projects, even peddling coffee mugs and shot glasses bearing the presidential seal. For Trump, whose business revolves around the marketability of his name, there has proved to be no public policy too big, and no private opportunity too crass, to exploit for personal profit.

Related Stories
Corruption, Not Russia, Is Trump’s Greatest Political Liability
Donald Trump Has Never Been More Dangerous Than He Is Now


Nowhere has the self-enrichment been more evident than at his Washington hotel, which quickly filled up with the very lobbyists and swamp creatures Trump had railed against during his campaign. Oil companies, mining interests, insurance executives, foreign diplomats, and defense contractors all rushed to book their annual conferences at Trump’s hotels and resorts, where Cabinet members graciously addressed them. After hiking the nightly rate to $653 — 32 percent higher than other local luxury hotels — Trump collected $2 million in profits from the property during his first three months in office. By last August, the hotel’s bar and restaurant had hauled in another $8 million in revenue. And although Trump has pledged to give away any money his hotels earn from foreign governments, the plan contains a lucrative loophole: Employees at his hotels admit that they make no effort to identify guests who represent other countries, meaning that much of the foreign money spent at Trump’s properties flows directly into his own pockets. On March 28, a federal judge allowed a lawsuit to go forward that charges Trump with violating the Constitution by accepting money from foreign governments at his D.C. hotel.

In fact, although Trump refuses to disclose the details of his myriad business operations, he continues to enjoy access to every dime he makes as president. Instead of setting up a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest, as other presidents have done, Trump put his two grown sons in charge of his more than 500 business entities. His sons regularly brief Trump about how the enterprises are doing, enabling him to personally monitor how his decisions in office affect his bottom line. What’s more, only 15 days after this “eyes wide open” trust was set up, Trump amended the fine print to allow him to take money out of the operation any time he pleases. The loophole, buried on page 161 of the 166-page form, stipulates that any “net income or principal” can be distributed to Trump “at his request.” Far from putting his wealth in a blind trust, Trump asked the public for its blind trust, effectively sticking his money in a piggy bank in Don Jr.’s room that he is free to raid at any hour of the day or night.

Trump’s children are working hard to cash in on his time in office — especially with foreign investors. At taxpayer expense, they have flown to Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, Dubai, and India in search of licensing and real-estate deals, trading on the president’s influence in exchange for investments. But the biggest complication of Trump’s presidency — and the one he works hardest to keep secret — is the way his entire business operation is mired in massive debt. Rather than being independently wealthy, public records show, Trump and the business partnerships in which he is a leading investor owe big banks and foreign governments at least $2.3 billion — far more than his disclosure reports indicate. His largest single loan — for nearly $1 billion — is from a syndicate assembled by Goldman Sachs that includes the state-owned Bank of China. If either Trump or Jared Kushner, who tried to shake down Qatar’s finance minister for a loan, winds up needing to negotiate new terms on his ballooning debt, America could find itself being dictated to by a foreign government — all because the White House, thanks to Trump’s business model, has become a true House of Cards.

What follows is 501 days of official corruption, from small-time graft and brazen influence peddling to full-blown raids on the federal Treasury. Given how little Trump has disclosed about his finances, this timeline of self-dealing is undoubtedly only a fraction of the corruption that will eventually come to light. But as even this initial glimpse makes clear, Trump isn’t draining the swamp — he’s monetizing it. —David Cay Johnston

Trump & Co. Are Stealing America Blind -- A Timeline

[...]

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/04/trump-and-co-are-stealing-america-blind-timeline.html



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2 Re: 501 Days in Swampland on 7/8/2018, 6:22 pm

So what are the demos gonna do about it?   Obviously the Republicans aren't gonna throw him out of office. It's easy to criticize and throw rocks .... a bit more difficult to find a viable path forward.

They don't even have a viable candidate to run against him in 2020 in their sights yet, so far as I can tell. What national leader represents the face of the entire party to the American electorate right now?




Democrats are feeling down. Now they have to decide which way is up.

(CNN)When Donald Trump announces his Supreme Court nominee on Monday, it will represent one of the lowest points for the Democratic Party in recent memory.

....

Yet with the 2020 presidential election on the horizon, Democrats are at a crossroads, confronting the harsh reality of their lack of power in Washington amid renewed and increasingly heated internal debates over the path forward.

There are fundamental disagreements on issues like immigration and health care, with the progressive base of the party and many of its 2020 presidential prospects pushing to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement and pass "Medicare for all," while the more moderate and establishment wing, focused on defending a handful of Senate seats in red states this fall, stakes out a middle ground.


...

The clearer shifts in the party are taking place with its field of prospective 2020 candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden hasn't weighed in on policy specifics much in recent months. But the senators who could run -- including Warren, Harris, Gillibrand, Sanders, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and others -- have broadly embraced progressive positions on health care, immigration, gun control, marijuana legalization and more.

Most Democrats also say they'd strongly prefer an energized electorate, even if the progressive base pulls the party leftward in ways that might not appeal to moderate voters.

...

Progressive outsiders have been making a similar case for years, arguing that voters don't view the issues on an a la carte basis. The greater threat, they warn, is being seen to back down from a fight because of conservative criticism or a skeptical round of polling.

[b]"A lot of Democrats, because they're trying to play this political game, calculate exactly what this is going to do and that's going to mean -- people see through that. They see through bulls***,[/b]" said Justice Democrats executive director Corbin Trent, who was Ocasio-Cortez's communications director during her race against Crowley.

"Ocasio is resonating not just because she won an election. She's resonating because when she talks, when she says what she thinks, politically or otherwise, people believe it."

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/08/politics/democrats-way-forward-2018-midterms-2020-presidential-primary/index.html

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3 Re: 501 Days in Swampland on 7/8/2018, 7:48 pm

Floridatexan wrote:A constant drip of self-dealing. And this is just what we know so far …

By Joy Crane and Nick Tabor
Introduction by David Cay Johnston

On the day he took the oath of office, Donald Trump delivered two messages about what to expect from his administration. First came the lofty promise of his inaugural address. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” he vowed. “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth.”

The second message, which Trump delivered without speaking a word, was aimed at a much smaller, but very rich, audience. As the new president’s motorcade left the Capitol, rolling past knots of supporters and protesters, it suddenly stopped three blocks short of the White House. Trump, the First Lady, and the rest of his family got out of their limos and took a three-minute turn in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue.

This was no random spot. The very first place Trump headed after being sworn in — his true destination all along, in a sense — was the Old Post Office and Clock Tower, which only 12 days before the election had been repurposed as the Trump International Hotel Washington. The elegant granite structure, whose architectural character Trump had promised to preserve, was now besmirched by a gaudy, faux-gold sign bearing his name. The carefully choreographed stop sent a clear signal to the foreign governments, lobbyists, and corporate interests keen on currying favor in Washington: The rewards of government would now be reaped by a single man — and the people would bear the cost.

(7 Of President Trump's Dictatorial Tendencies)

More than at any time in history, the president of the United States is actively using the power and prestige of his office to line his own pockets: landing loans for his businesses, steering wealthy buyers to his condos, securing cheap foreign labor for his resorts, preserving federal subsidies for his housing projects, easing regulations on his golf courses, licensing his name to overseas projects, even peddling coffee mugs and shot glasses bearing the presidential seal. For Trump, whose business revolves around the marketability of his name, there has proved to be no public policy too big, and no private opportunity too crass, to exploit for personal profit.

Related Stories
Corruption, Not Russia, Is Trump’s Greatest Political Liability
Donald Trump Has Never Been More Dangerous Than He Is Now


Nowhere has the self-enrichment been more evident than at his Washington hotel, which quickly filled up with the very lobbyists and swamp creatures Trump had railed against during his campaign. Oil companies, mining interests, insurance executives, foreign diplomats, and defense contractors all rushed to book their annual conferences at Trump’s hotels and resorts, where Cabinet members graciously addressed them. After hiking the nightly rate to $653 — 32 percent higher than other local luxury hotels — Trump collected $2 million in profits from the property during his first three months in office. By last August, the hotel’s bar and restaurant had hauled in another $8 million in revenue. And although Trump has pledged to give away any money his hotels earn from foreign governments, the plan contains a lucrative loophole: Employees at his hotels admit that they make no effort to identify guests who represent other countries, meaning that much of the foreign money spent at Trump’s properties flows directly into his own pockets. On March 28, a federal judge allowed a lawsuit to go forward that charges Trump with violating the Constitution by accepting money from foreign governments at his D.C. hotel.

In fact, although Trump refuses to disclose the details of his myriad business operations, he continues to enjoy access to every dime he makes as president. Instead of setting up a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest, as other presidents have done, Trump put his two grown sons in charge of his more than 500 business entities. His sons regularly brief Trump about how the enterprises are doing, enabling him to personally monitor how his decisions in office affect his bottom line. What’s more, only 15 days after this “eyes wide open” trust was set up, Trump amended the fine print to allow him to take money out of the operation any time he pleases. The loophole, buried on page 161 of the 166-page form, stipulates that any “net income or principal” can be distributed to Trump “at his request.” Far from putting his wealth in a blind trust, Trump asked the public for its blind trust, effectively sticking his money in a piggy bank in Don Jr.’s room that he is free to raid at any hour of the day or night.

Trump’s children are working hard to cash in on his time in office — especially with foreign investors. At taxpayer expense, they have flown to Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, Dubai, and India in search of licensing and real-estate deals, trading on the president’s influence in exchange for investments. But the biggest complication of Trump’s presidency — and the one he works hardest to keep secret — is the way his entire business operation is mired in massive debt. Rather than being independently wealthy, public records show, Trump and the business partnerships in which he is a leading investor owe big banks and foreign governments at least $2.3 billion — far more than his disclosure reports indicate. His largest single loan — for nearly $1 billion — is from a syndicate assembled by Goldman Sachs that includes the state-owned Bank of China. If either Trump or Jared Kushner, who tried to shake down Qatar’s finance minister for a loan, winds up needing to negotiate new terms on his ballooning debt, America could find itself being dictated to by a foreign government — all because the White House, thanks to Trump’s business model, has become a true House of Cards.

What follows is 501 days of official corruption, from small-time graft and brazen influence peddling to full-blown raids on the federal Treasury. Given how little Trump has disclosed about his finances, this timeline of self-dealing is undoubtedly only a fraction of the corruption that will eventually come to light. But as even this initial glimpse makes clear, Trump isn’t draining the swamp — he’s monetizing it. —David Cay Johnston

Trump & Co. Are Stealing America Blind -- A Timeline

[...]

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/04/trump-and-co-are-stealing-america-blind-timeline.html





Well, class, Sister Mary Quotatious has posted your latest reading assignment, so be good little boys and girls read what she recommends. We'll have none of that "thinking for yourself" silliness, shall we class?

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4 Re: 501 Days in Swampland on 7/8/2018, 8:35 pm

Just like their owner, those teeth can't be real.

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5 Re: 501 Days in Swampland on 7/12/2018, 9:01 am

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