Another Trump scam . . . is anyone surprised?

Short version:  Taxpayers build a FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY helipad at Mar-A-Largo.  Only use has been to land private helicopters.

Full version.

Courtesy of the Palm Beach Daily News:

On Dec. 22, 2017, the Friday before Christmas, the new helipad at Mar-a-Lago was used for only the second time. A private business helicopter with the corporate Trump logo landed and took off from there a few hours before President Trump’s arrival in the area via Air Force One. The only other time the new helipad has been used was on April 8, 2017. In that instance it was also a private business helicopter with the corporate Trump logo that landed and took off. 

Helicopter takeoff and landing in the town of Palm Beach is strictly regulated, as one might expect. Essentially, it is limited to only emergency helicopters such as Trauma Hawk. 

So when President Trump moved to have the federal government build a helipad at Mar-a-Lago for him, he had to seek a waiver from normal town rules to allow for helicopter take off and landing. The issue was taken up at the Jan. 10, 2017, Town of Palm Beach Town Council meeting. Under the advisement of long-serving Town of Palm Beach legal counsel John “Skip” C. Randolph, the Town Council voted 5-0 to grant the waiver with the caveat that it only be for government, not personal or private sector, use. Specifically, it designated Mar-a-Lago for the “take-off and landing of helicopters pursuant to the provisions of Section 14-34 of the Town Code of Ordinances during the term(s) of office of the President-elect Donald J. Trump for business related to the Presidency only.” 

Given that both times the helipad has been used a private business helicopter with the corporate Trump logo landed and took off, it would seem to violate the waiver allowing “for business related to the Presidency only.” This is not an issue of politics and has nothing to do with whether one does or does not agree with President Trump’s policies. This is an issue of the rule of law and no one — not even the President of the United States and not even in Palm Beach — should or can be above it.

Apparently the local officials have no idea who is using this helipad, and for what purpose.

Courtesy of the Palm Beach Post: 

“I wish I could answer that,” said Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio about who was using the helicopter and why. “If that’s the case and it’s being used for official business, so be it.” 

Even Battalion Chief Sean Baker, spokesman for Palm Beach Fire-Rescue, said he has “no clue” who is using the helicopter, adding that Fire Rescue is “called to Mar-a-Lago when the Secret Service needs us.” 

The local residents are kind of fed up.

Neighbors and residents complained that the council had not given enough public notice before agreeing to modify the aircraft ban and build a helipad. 

“It is one thing to bring in Marine One with the president on it. It is another thing to bring in helicopters with the president not on it, or private helicopters,” Jesse Diner, attorney for Palm Beach resident Nancy deMoss, said at a February Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting. “So there needs to be a restriction on use as far as that goes to only Marine One when the president is on it.” 

Their concern: noise, downdraft, personal use of the helipad by friends, family and Mar-a-Lago members and setting a precedent for other residents to seek their own helipads.

So to be clear taxpayer money paid for a helicopter landing pad that has only been used twice, and most likely not for any government related business.

And really is this a surprise to anybody?

Why did the FBI open an investigation in Trump campaign collusion with Russia?

Why?  Because George Papadopoulos blabbed about collusion with Russia!!

In his endless effort to demean the FBI and delegitimize the Trump–Russia investigation, Donald Trump has been pushing the idea that the investigation was started by Clinton partisans who ‘funded the Steele dossier.’ But the New York Times is reporting a very different origin for the FBI’s involvement.

During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton. …

two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.

The FBI opened its investigation long before the election, not on the basis of the dossier or any other opposition research. The investigation began because a member of Trump’s own campaign blabbed to foreign officials that the Trump campaign had knowledge about Russia’s role in stealing information from Democratic officials.

[Papadopoulos’] saga is also a tale of the Trump campaign in miniature. He was brash, boastful and underqualified, yet he exceeded expectations. And, like the campaign itself, he proved to be a tantalizing target for a Russian influence operation.

The FBI began investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, because a member of the Trump campaign bragged about colluding with Russia … which seems like a pretty good reason to investigate.

UPDATE:  Let’s examine the NYT story in detail.  Trump KNEW about and approved Russian interference in the election.

(THREAD) BREAKING: The NYT has published a bombshell report on George Papadopoulos—the biggest Trump-Russia news since Flynn’s plea. This thread dissects the new revelations—as well as some major implications for the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. I hope you’ll read and share.

1/ First, here’s the article. The NYT foregrounds the story’s significance as a rebuttal of Trump’s claims the Russia investigation began with the Steele Dossier. But in fact, anyone who knows criminal investigations knew long ago Trump’s claim was untrue.

2/ As has been discussed by @AshaRangappa_, the Steele Dossier alone would never have been enough to earn the FBI the July 2016 FISA warrant it was granted to monitor Carter Page. So attorneys and those in intelligence long ago knew the Dossier didn’t launch the probe by itself.

3/ The NYT story gives us—it appears—an additional piece of the warrant application the FBI filed to get a FISA warrant in July ’16. But again, this is merely a piece—as was the Dossier. We know multiple intelligence agencies, not just Australia’s, provided the FBI with evidence.

4/ So Trump’s claim that the FBI grabbed a dossier of raw intelligence it hadn’t yet confirmed and ran to the FISA court to secure a warrant to wiretap Americans connected to the Trump campaign has been laughably false from Day 1. And media has not done enough to underscore that.

5/ What we learn from the NYT (though again it’s not—contrary to what the NYT seems to believe from its headline—what makes today’s breaking news significant) is that the Australians informed U.S. law enforcement in July 2016 that Papadopoulos had made covert contact with Russia.

6/ In fact, while today’s NYT story is indeed this month’s second-biggest Trump-Russia revelation—after the December 1 guilty plea by Mike Flynn—what makes it significant isn’t that it rebuts Trump’s false claims but that it may have *sealed the Trump-Russia collusion narrative*.

7/ If the NYT understood this, it would’ve led with it. But one must know the *prior* reporting on Papadopoulos to understand why today’s news constitutes one of the biggest revelations in the 18-monthy history of the Trump-Russia probe. So I’ll *briefly* summarize what we know.

8/ On September 22—40 days before we learned Papadopoulos was cooperating with the Mueller probe—I said that he had directly identified himself to Trump as a Kremlin agent in March 2016. This led to major-media coverage of the now-infamous “TIHDC meeting.”

9/ It hadn’t previously been discussed that Papadopoulos was at the first meeting of Trump’s national security (NatSec) team at the Trump International Hotel in DC (TIHDC) on March 31, 2016. But he was there—a *week* after revealing himself as a Kremlin agent to the NatSec team.

10/ So when (per the NYT) Papadopoulos revealed in May ’16 to an Australian diplomat that he knew Russia had committed major federal crimes against the U.S.—via computer theft and fraud—it was two months after he told Trump’s NatSec team *and Trump* he was in contact with Russia.

11/ The nature of the contact that Papadopoulos revealed in March 2016 to Trump and his team was that he was a *legal* agent—in the law we’d say “special agent”—of the Kremlin. He was authorized to represent the Kremlin’s interests in setting up a clandestine Trump-Putin meeting.

12/ That authority came to Papadopoulos—from Kremlin officials—through another Kremlin agent, Joseph Mifsud. This is why Papadopoulos, per public reporting by WP, identified himself to Trump on March 31, 2017 as a Kremlin “intermediary” designated not by Trump but by the Kremlin.

13/ As has been exhaustively detailed by WaPo (WP), Trump’s NatSec team spent *two months*—from March to May of 2016—discussing how to handle Papadopoulos’ “offer” of acting as an intermediary between Trump and Putin. They did *not* dismiss the offer in March, whatever some say.

14/ It was in the *middle* of this deliberation by the NatSec team that Papadopoulos, in April 2016, was told the Kremlin had committed federal computer crimes by stealing emails from a presidential candidate. Papadopoulos *knew* his team was then deliberating a Trump-Putin meet.

15/ During this period, Papadopoulos was *personally* hounding top Trump officials—per the WP—to give him more authority and allow him to travel abroad to arrange a Trump-Putin meeting. His April intelligence on the Clinton emails was *without a doubt* a card he would’ve played.

16/ So while Australian law enforcement knew of the stolen Clinton emails in May 2016, and the FBI knew by July 2016 (via Australia), it’s a *lock* that Papadopoulos gave this intel to Trump and his campaign—from whom he wanted present authority *and* a future job—in April 2016.

17/ So when Trump said, in July 2016, “Russia, if you’re listening…” let’s be clear—he a) knew they were listening, b) knew they’d stolen the emails he was urging them to release, and c)—this is key—had already promised, *via Papadopoulos*, to reward them for being good to him.

18/ This is the first real bombshell from the NYT: we now know Papadopoulos helped write the April 27, 2016 speech in which Trump promised Russia a “good deal” if they’d be his “friend,” and that Trump *knew* Papadopoulos would transmit to Russia that that speech was a *message*.

19/ In March 2017, Seth Abrahamson was the first to argue that Trump’s Mayflower Speech was the orchestrated beginning of a negotiation with the Russians—a negotiation about unilaterally dropping Russian sanctions. That thread essentially launched this feed (see link).

20/ The NYT has just confirmed the crux of that March 2017 thread: that Trump had—by April 27, 2016—established sufficient means to send a message to Russia that the careful placement of Kislyak at the event (violating diplomatic protocol) signaled the beginning of a negotiation.

21/ Per the NYT, Papadopoulos was that means. Papadopoulos told Trump he was a Kremlin agent; Trump put Papadopoulos on his campaign’s Russia beat (not Papadopoulos’ specialization); he let him help with the Mayflower Speech; he knew Papadopoulos would communicate that to Russia

22/ Per the NYT, Papadopoulos working on the Mayflower Speech was a signal to Russia negotiations had begun. So: Papadopoulos tells Russia he’s helping with Trump’s foreign policy; Russia tells him of the emails; Papadopoulos tells the campaign; Trump offers Russia a “good deal.”

More
23/ All of this happens in April 2016, which is why Papadopoulos was feeling pretty damn good about himself in May 2016 when he let slip about the emails to an Australian diplomat.

It also explains why Trump was so frustrated when the Kremlin didn’t give Don the emails in June.

24/ Don was excited to meet Kremlin agents in June 2016 to get Clinton “dirt” because Papadopoulos told the campaign in April Russia had that dirt. When Veselnitskaya left only a slim file with Don, the campaign was dissatisfied. They thought Russia would then release the emails.

25/ That didn’t happen—other hacked info was released instead—which is why Trump made the appeal himself, on TV, in July 2016.

He’d already promised Russia a “good deal” on sanctions if they’d be a “friend”—he said he’d “reward” friends—but he felt they hadn’t delivered enough.

 

So — is Roger Merdith saying the Montross Tea Party wants to interfere with elections??

Here’s a bit of information copied DIRECTLY from the Montross Tea Party Facebook page.  The individual identified as “Rodger” is Roger Meredith.  All dates are 2017.

Members and Friends,

We met on the 24th of January and had a pizza party to celebrate the inauguration of our President Donald Trump. We had 13 members present. We enjoyed the pizza and stories about the inauguration.

Rodger read the many accomplishments of the Montross TEA Party. Here are a few of our accomplishments.

1 Became THE source for conservative workers in local elections.
2 Became the major source for conservative letters to local papers.
3 Reached directly to the public with two highway signs.
4 Held annual ceremony honoring veterans on Memorial Day. This is now a tradition.
5 Disseminated hundreds of Constitutions at fairs and parades.
6 Helped elect conservative as Chairman of 1st District Republican Committee.
7 Sponsored forum for Republican candidates seeking nomination for 99th District Delegate.

For our business part of the meeting we discussed the future of the Montross TEA Party. Everyone present was in favor of continuing MTP, but only having meetings when necessary. We will keep our members informed by email and facebook of any items that may be of interest to our membership and of any meetings scheduled. The Board will meet periodically and will announce the meetings by email and facebook. These meetings are open to any member to attend. If any member who has a concern or item that they would like to bring before the membership they can contact a board-member. We will still support our Memorial Day Observance.

We also by unanimous vote adopted the revised By-Laws that reflect the above changes. These were sent out to the membership in December.

MTP Board of Directors

Notice his number 1 accomplishment in which he states the Montross Tea Party  ”  Became THE source for conservative workers in local elections.

This needs some clarification.  Does he mean the MTP is THE source of conservatives who stand outside the polling places and hand out campaign literature on election day, or, does he mean the MTP is THE source of Officers of Election who actually operate the polling places?

If it’s the former — that is, people who stand outside the polling places on election day and hand out campaign literature — that’s one thing.  HOWEVER, if ol’ Roger thinks that “conservatives” serving as official Officers of  Election, working inside the polls with pollbooks, voters, voting machines, tallies, etc. will be able to influence the outcome of elections, then, ol’ Roger needs to move to Moscow where his election-tampering will be welcome.

Of course, as anyone who has been around Roger for any length of time will tell you, he’s not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.

On another matter — notice the MTP changed their bylaws to hold meetings only when called by the Board of Directors.   This action by the MTP makes the following of their Facebook posts even more telling.

Members of the Montross Tea Party,

According to our By-Laws in March we are to send out an email to invite any member who would like to serve on the Board of Directors to summit their names.

This is that email.

If you are interested in being on the Board of Directors or know someone who would be interested in serving on the Board. We want you!! Please contact a Board member or send us a email. You can also let us know at the meeting on April 4th.

Thank you!

So — the MTP will meet only when a meeting is called by the Board of Directors . . . but they can’t find anyone to serve on the Board.

Hmmmm.  Can anyone spell D E F U N CT ????

 

 

Loyalty: There is a difference

Joyce White Vance is a University of Alabama Law Professor who is often seen on MSNBC. Appointed by President Obama, Vance served as a U.S. attorney in Birmingham and as federal prosecutor for 25 years. She is also a wife and mother of four. In a tweet Thursday night, Vance expressed her respect for President Obama by sharing a statement he made to his newly appointed US attorneys. In his statement, Obama made it clear who he expected U.S. Attorneys to serve and where their loyalties must lie.

Joyce Alene @JoyceWhiteVance

“The first time President Obama met with US Attorneys, he told us, ‘I appointed you but you don’t serve me. You serve the American people. And I expect you to act with independence & integrity.’ None of us ever forgot that.”

December 29, 2017

Trump demanded government employees (appointed or not) give their sole loyalty and service to him. President Obama demanded loyalty and service be given to the American people. There lies the difference between self-serving—and selflessness. There lies the difference between self-importance—and greatness.

Do you or someone you know depend on Medicaid or Medicare? Don’t get too comfortable . . .

Medicaid and Medicare — and maybe Social Security — could face crucial tests in 2018 at both the federal and state levels.

Republicans in Congress failed in their attempts earlier this year to impose drastic cuts to the program as part of ObamaCare repeal, but GOP lawmakers could try again next year.

The tax bill that President Trump recently signed into law is projected to add $1 trillion to the federal deficit, making cuts to Medicaid an even more tempting target for some conservatives.

“Medicaid is front and center in any budget exercises, and now that deficits have increased, it puts Medicaid squarely in the bulls eye,” said Joan Alker, the executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he wants to bring down entitlement spending, saying in December that “health-care entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid are the big drivers of debt.”

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/366728-gop-could-push-medicaid-cuts-in-2018

Virginia Republican jackass threatens to disrupt Governor Northam’s inauguration

It’s been a wild ride in Virginia over the past couple of months: First Ralph Northam wiped the floor with Ed Gillespie to take the governorship, and then Democrats took the Republican’s massive 66-34 advantage in the state House of Delegates and reduced it to a 50-49 seat advantage, with one remaining District left to be decided … by a coin toss. But of course this coin toss is only in play because of the inexplicable decision by a three-judge panel to count a ballot from hell, thereby creating a tie between Republican candidate David Yancey and Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds (who was originally declared the winner by one vote). Simonds is challenging the ruling, which brings us to the latest chapter in this story. And the latest chapter in how much Republicans hate democracy, because here’s the response to that filing from Del. M. Kirkland Cox, Virginia’s top Republican in the House,  and who, by the way, will be House speaker if Republicans manage to hang on to their majority:

If the House can’t organize, Cox said, the General Assembly won’t be able to follow through with the formalities of Northam’s Jan. 13 inauguration and outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s farewell speech because there won’t be a joint assembly of the legislature.

“Those things simply cannot happen in their current form if the General Assembly isn’t organized,” Cox said on a conference call with reporters Friday morning.

Bear in mind, this won’t prevent Northam from taking office, it’s just Cox being a jackass and making a pathetic threat in the face of a perfectly legal challenge to a ballot counting decision. It should also be noted that on this press call, where Cox sobbed about “politically motivated” tactics, Cox was identified as the “speaker-designee.” Again, jackass.

It should be noted that House District 28 is also still in dispute because 147 voters were disenfranchised after being given ballots for the wrong district. A recount has Republican Bob Thomas defeating Joshua Cole by 73 votes, but Cole, along with the Virginia elections commissioner, is calling for a new election. A U.S. District Court judge has set a hearing on the matter for January 5, 2018. Stay tuned.

 

Trump’s NYT interview shows a man in early dementia, declining rapidly

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a14516912/donald-trump-new-york-times-michael-schmidt/
Trump’s New York Times Interview Is a Portrait of a Man in Cognitive Decline

I don’t care whether Michael Schmidt was tough enough. We’ve got bigger problems.
By Charles P. Pierce
Dec 29, 2017

snip//

Over the past 30 years, I’ve seen my father and all of his siblings slide into the shadows and fog of Alzheimer’s Disease. (the president’s father developed Alzheimer’s in his 80s.) In 1984, Ronald Reagan debated Walter Mondale in Louisville and plainly had no idea where he was. (Would that someone on the panel had asked him. He’d have been stumped.) Not long afterwards, I was interviewing a prominent Alzheimer’s researcher for a book I was doing, and he said, “I saw the look on his face that I see every day in my clinic.” In the transcript of this interview, I hear in the president*’s words my late aunt’s story about how we all walked home from church in the snow one Christmas morning, an event I don’t recall, but that she remembered so vividly that she told the story every time I saw her for the last three years of her life.

In this interview, the president* is only intermittently coherent. He talks in semi-sentences and is always groping for something that sounds familiar, even if it makes no sense whatsoever and even if it blatantly contradicts something he said two minutes earlier.To my ears, anyway, this is more than the president*’s well-known allergy to the truth. This is a classic coping mechanism employed when language skills are coming apart. (My father used to give a thumbs up when someone asked him a question. That was one of the strategies he used to make sense of a world that was becoming quite foreign to him.) My guess? That’s part of the reason why it’s always “the failing New York Times,” and his 2016 opponent is “Crooked Hillary.”

In addition, the president* exhibits the kind of stubbornness you see in patients when you try to relieve them of their car keys–or, as one social worker in rural North Carolina told me, their shotguns. For example, a discussion on health-care goes completely off the rails when the president* suddenly recalls that there is a widely held opinion that he knows very little about the issues confronting the nation. So we get this.

But Michael, I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most. And if I didn’t, I couldn’t have talked all these people into doing ultimately only to be rejected.

This is more than simple grandiosity. This is someone fighting something happening to him that he is losing the capacity to understand. So is this.

We’re going to win another four years for a lot of reasons, most importantly because our country is starting to do well again and we’re being respected again. But another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, “Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.” O.K.

In Ronald Reagan’s second term, we ducked a bullet. I’ve always suspected he was propped up by a lot of people who a) didn’t trust vice-president George H.W. Bush, b) found it convenient to have a forgetful president when the subpoenas began to fly, and c) found it helpful to have a “detached” president when they started running their own agendas – like, say, selling missiles to mullahs. You’re seeing much the same thing with the congressional Republicans. They’re operating an ongoing smash-and-grab on all the policy wishes they’ve fondly cultivated since 1981. Having a president* who may not be all there and, as such, is susceptible to flattery because it reassures him that he actually is makes the heist that much easier.

So, no, I don’t particularly care whether Michael Schmidt was tough enough, or asked enough follow-up questions. I care about this.

I’m always moving. I’m moving in both directions. We have to get rid of chainlike immigration, we have to get rid of the chain. The chain is the last guy that killed. … [Talking with guests.] … The last guy that killed the eight people. … [Inaudible.] … So badly wounded people. … Twenty-two people came in through chain migration. Chain migration and the lottery system. They have a lottery in these countries. They take the worst people in the country, they put ‘em into the lottery, then they have a handful of bad, worse ones, and they put them out. ‘Oh, these are the people the United States. …” … We’re gonna get rid of the lottery, and by the way, the Democrats agree with me on that. On chain migration, they pretty much agree with me.

We’ve got bigger problems.