Patterico's Pontifications

9/6/2017

THE UNDRAINED SWAMP: Lobbyists Line Donald Trump’s Pockets by Buying Memberships at His Clubs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

USA Today has the results of a remarkable investigation out today, showing how lobbyists buy pricey memberships to Trump’s golf clubs — an arrangement that puts money in his pocket. Not his campaign’s coffers. His own pocket.

Dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others who make their living influencing the government pay President Trump’s companies for membership in his private golf clubs, a status that can put them in close contact with the president, a USA TODAY investigation found.

Members of the clubs Trump has visited most often as president — in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia — include at least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials. Two-thirds played on one of the 58 days the president was there, according to scores they posted online.

Because membership lists at Trump’s clubs are secret, the public has until now been unable to assess the conflicts they could create. USA TODAY found the names of 4,500 members by reviewing social media and a public website golfers use to track their handicaps, then researched and contacted hundreds to determine whether they had business with the government.

The review shows that, for the first time in U.S. history, wealthy people with interests before the government have a chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally. It is a view of the president available to few other Americans.

Among Trump club members are top executives of defense contractors, a lobbyist for the South Korean government, a lawyer helping Saudi Arabia fight claims over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the leader of a pesticide trade group that sought successfully to persuade the Trump administration not to ban an insecticide government scientists linked to health risks.

What does your $100,000 initiation fee buy you? Here are a couple of examples:

Trump marked his 100th day in office by visiting a factory owned by a company run by a member of his New Jersey golf club.

Standing behind Trump as he signed two executive orders was Robert Mehmel, president of the company that owns the Harrisburg, Pa., factory and another company that sells radars and electronics to the military, including about $54 million worth of contracts last year.

We don’t even know who he’s playing golf with, or who is visiting the Oval Office, any more.

Citing privacy and national security, the White House has moved to keep secret the president’s interactions. Unlike the Obama administration, the Trump White House does not disclose the president’s golf partners, or whether he played. The Trump team also ended an Obama administration practice of releasing White House visitor logs.

This is both shocking and totally expected.

On one level, the blatant nature of the unscrupulousness of this arrangement is jaw-dropping. Anyone who complained about Hillary Clinton’s corruption should be beside themselves over this. Had Hillary engaged in this activity, rage on the right would have been stratospheric — and appropriately so.

On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing surprising about this. A President who retains a financial stake in any business is putting out a huge “bribe me!” sign on the White House lawn. If you elect an immoral rich guy with a 70-year history of putting himself first, don’t be surprised when he puts himself first.

Donald Trump was going to drain the swamp. The swamp now looks about as drained as Houston after Harvey.

This is banana republic stuff. The way we do stuff here in America is we have lobbyists bribe politicians’ campaigns. That alone supposedly enraged people to the point where — the story goes — they rose up, rejected the establishment, and . . . elected a guy who has lobbyists pay him personally.

And the same rubes who were supposedly upset about the pay-for-play nature of the old system will shrug their shoulders at all of this. They’ll cry #FAKENEWS!! and issue absurd and laughable partisan defenses of this corruption.

Great, great journalism by USA Today.

Too bad nobody will care.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

108 Responses to “THE UNDRAINED SWAMP: Lobbyists Line Donald Trump’s Pockets by Buying Memberships at His Clubs”

  1. Crocs are rising with Irmas plus plus plus tide. And they are always hungry.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  2. so will everyone have to cancel their facebook when facebook pimp-daddy reginald zuckertwat gets elected

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  3. Gosh, there is no way any harm could come to them, right those antif are well behaved I’m told

    narciso (d1f714)

  4. The review shows that, … wealthy people with interests before the government have a chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally.

    This is an outrageous ethical compromise.

    The review shows that, for the first time in U.S. history, wealthy people with interests before the government have a chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally.

    This is so naive I can’t even pay attention to the rest of their assertions.

    CayleyGraph (1c63a5)

  5. Is this another “throw shit against the wall” attempt by the media to overthrow the government? Or is this an actual case of bribery, graft and corruption? The media are such prolific liars I have no idea however I do know they seem to run defamation stories one after the other about any Republican in the hope of having one stick.

    I’ve learned my lesson. I now realize that any person elected who is not a lefty will no longer be able to govern. We do live in a banana republic Patterico but Trump is far from the “dictator”. He’s the guy they want out to install the next incarnation of a leftist savior.

    As Ben burns pointed out there is no room in America any longer for white Christians. And the heathens and atheists who run the show and the media are going to make our lives miserable until Trump is gone. One way or the other. As they say “at any cost”. They mean it.

    Rev.Hoagie® (6bbda7)

  6. One thing I missed in the story — when did these folks first *play* at the Trump facility. Is that known? Is there any way to correlate the US Today database with when Trump was in residence at his golf club? When did these folks *buy* their membership? If there was a sudden surge of memberships in 11-2016, that’s interesting. If the memberships are of long standing — then I don’t care about them. Nobody had a reasonable expection of Trump being President before 2015.

    It’s a good story, and I love the enterprise of the reporters combing the golf handicap website. But it doesn’t quite prove corruption. You don’t have that without the timing of memberships, some evidence that Mr. Mar-a-Lago golfer had, heretofore, never gone down to Palm Beach, etc, etc. It’s the old correlation is not causation thing.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  7. the way USA Today exploited people with handicaps is revolting i think

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  8. So when Obama went every year to Martha vineyard, the plebeian village, rhetorical, nit to mention first consorts preference for marbella.

    narciso (d1f714)

  9. There is also the small matter that the foundation was supposed to be a philanthropic enterprise, where as the golf clubs are a source of income.

    narciso (d1f714)

  10. happyfeet:

    ok, that’s funny.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  11. Obama played golf with businessmen and lobbyists, was that too corruption? So did a lot of presidents, and vice presidents. So if the president is a lawyer like Clinton he can talk to anyone but if he’s a businessman he can’t?

    Rev.Hoagie® (6bbda7)

  12. Where’s the GD pie chart!?!?

    Colonel Haiku (6724fa)

  13. When there is a demonstrable connection between lobbyist joining a Trump Club and influence they wouldn’t have had anyway, wake me.

    Until then, it looks like maybe a lobbyist or three spent a whole lot of their client’s money on golf and not a thing more.

    MJN1957 (6f981a)

  14. Obama played golf with businessmen and lobbyists, was that too corruption? So did a lot of presidents, and vice presidents. So if the president is a lawyer like Clinton he can talk to anyone but if he’s a businessman he can’t?

    Did they pay Obama $100k for the privilege?

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  15. this USA Today fake news is also very disingenuous in context

    cause all these supposedly nefarious secret shenanigans are taking place quite nakedly and transparently under the watchful eye of corrupt FBI turdboy Robert Mueller

    like odin he sees all

    nothing what these USA Today fake news propaganda sluts have revealed is news to sleazy corrupt fbi cheesy-poof Robert Mueller

    not a single jot or tittle

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  16. now that I’ve debunked this USA Today fake news I’m at a loss with what to do with the rest of my day

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  17. Without any context of when the memberships were acquired, without any context on who other Presidents play golf with, it would be foolish to take the narrative at face value.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  18. A President who retains a financial stake in any business is putting out a huge “bribe me!” sign on the White House lawn

    No entrepreneurs in politics then. Keep the government firmly in the hands of the professionals; the lawyers, the ex-military, the career politicians.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  19. Citing privacy and national security, … the Trump White House does not disclose the president’s golf partners, or whether he played.

    National security…LOL.

    Dave (445e97)

  20. And Russia recedes in the rear view mirror. On with golf!

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  21. Hey, we should get a list of all the members of Trump golf clubs in Scotland. No telling what those foreigners are lobbying him to do with the “membership fee” bribes.

    When Trump announces a new trade policy on haggis imports I guess we’ll know what happened.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  22. The Zuckerberg example is a good one, but it could be Oprah, Rachael Ray, Bill Gates, or any other person who is famous for their business.

    Shall we forbid them to run for office?

    Because a “blind trust” is impossible for these people. In order for the trust to be blind, no one can know what it owns. Gates doesn’t own Microsoft, but plenty of people think he does and associate it with him and would attempt to curry favor by steering more business their way–and if that doesn’t constitute conflict of interest the media would certainly treat it as though it did (if Gates ran as a Republican), since so many of his associates would benefit. Same if Mark Zuckerberg sold all his interest in Facebook.

    And the second place corruption comes in, is suppose that Zuckerberg, or Oprah, or Rachael Ray, chose to divest of what they own so they could run for office. Who are they supposed to sell to? Because that person is the one who is “bribing” them. So how shall we establish the “fair” value of what they are divesting themselves of?

    Serious questions for the commentariat here.

    a) Do we forbid people who own going businesses associated with them personally from holding office at all?

    b) Or do we allow it, but force them to “divest”, in which case how will we make sure that they are getting a “fair” value for their business and not getting a bribe?

    Remember, “blind trust” is impossible. The public knows of the association, and there’s a large network of the candidate’s associates still standing to benefit from the enterprise. So no trust could be “blind”.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  23. Wouldnt a Scottish secession fueled by a hard Brexit work to his benefit? No chance of a Corbynite or Sharia-party hand slap in a few years.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  24. It’s unseemly. But, then, so is he.

    And what’s wrong with Presidents only from the gentry? Who do not engage in trade? Who, if they pursue any professions, it is only law, medicine, divinity or the military? Isn’t the President supposed to be someone special, or can any rug peddler get into the White House?

    nk (9651fb)

  25. So I don’t know drs from Adam for instance:

    http://www.griffon.com/about-us/our-team/management

    narciso (d1f714)

  26. @nk: Well of course no gentlemen can engage in trade, but unfortunately our legal standards have allowed plenty of non-gentlemen to sully the halls of power. I’m afraid that ship has sailed. We’ve fallen a long way from the standards set by T. Coddington van Voorhees VII.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  27. Fredrick:

    Trump is almost a unique case, because he has a lot of business interests, his company is not listed on the stock exchange (unlike Gates or Zuckerberg), and he is in a business that allows for a lot of indirect payoffs (golf club memberships, hotel stays, real estate deals).

    Nonetheless, you raise a decent point — how can anyone with the tangled business interests of Trump become President, and not run afoul of ethics rules. The answer is that I doubt he really can, which may be the reason he’s been getting a pass on issues like this.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  28. First time in history? Really?

    I have to agree with Appalled: When did these lobbyists join? In any case it’s wrong. But this is like the Trump Hotel controversy. What is the solution to limiting influence when a president’s businesses are ongoing?

    Goldman Sachs pretty much has a branch office in the US Treasury. There are many more instances. Do we keep people out of government who are going to profit from it later?

    Is there a solution, other than always electing trust fund babies who never worked? I kind of like Instapundit’s solution: tax the income at 50%. Could work for Trump, Inc.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  29. Who but DEMS, media thugs, #NeverTrumpers and those afflicted with TDS care who buys memberships and plays golf, tennis, poker, or pickle ball at Trump’s clubs?

    But, hey, don’t despair, there may yet be a way to twist this startling revelation into an attack on she who’s job description rhymes with ‘door.’

    ropelight (db9e35)

  30. @Appalled:Trump is almost a unique case, because he has a lot of business interests, his company is not listed on the stock exchange (unlike Gates or Zuckerberg), and he is in a business that allows for a lot of indirect payoffs

    Not to mention that most of his business is simply licensing his name. Which is worth a lot of money to the people who paid for the use of it, whether the commenters here think so or not, unquestionably they thought so or they wouldn’t have put up the money.

    It is logically impossible for Trump to “divest” from his own name, or for any managing entity to manage it in a “blind” way. A blind trust is when no one knows publicly who owns the assets that are in it. The asset says “Trump” right on it, frequently in huge gold letters.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  31. Why is this joke still in office?

    Tillman (a95660)

  32. Great, great journalism by USA Today.

    I love how it was USA Today that did this actual investigative journalism, not the Washington Post (“Dreams Go to Die as Democracy Dines on Dim Sum in Darkness” or whatever the hell their stupid phrase is) or the New York Times (“We’re Transitioning to a More Modern Business Model”) or the Los Angeles Dog Trainer (“Yeah, We Know Our Readers Are Secretly Interested in the Kardashians”).

    JVW (42615e)

  33. The way they’re talking you’d think Democrats never cut deals for anything at a golf course and they never talk to lobbyists who use money to influence them. This all just started with Trump because he’s a corrupt Nazi who hates dreamers and loves Putin and only married his wife because she’s beautiful. I realize SLW’s marry because they like each others ink and piercings but beauty is still a good reason OMHO.

    Rev.Hoagie® (6bbda7)

  34. people forget how awesome President Trump is and then they remember and they’re all like oh yeah he’s pretty magnificent when you think about it

    i see this all the time

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  35. Greetings:

    I was growing up in the Bronx back when Nelson Rockefellar was Governor. The local thinking was you didn’t have to worry about him stealing because he already had all the money in the world

    11B40 (6abb5c)

  36. Greetings:

    Also, book deals are different. Even if they yield no profit.

    11B40 (6abb5c)

  37. if the Trumps needed more money nobody says Ivanka can’t hop on that pole

    and Jared can go do Jared things – he’s smart!

    the truth is this whole president thing was undertaken with all of them – President Trump especially – knowing full well they’d have to make some courageous and very sizable financial sacrifices

    it’s beautiful how much they love this country

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  38. without any context on who other Presidents play golf with, it would be foolish to take the narrative at face value.

    Yes, presidents playing golf with people is the primary complaint here! You are so perceptive!

    Patterico (885b2a)

  39. It’s probably easier to keep an eye on a President with assets than it is one without them. The Clintons and Obamas come to mind as well as the ever-enduring mystery of how do congressmen enter office penniless and leave as multi-millionaires. At least any income from this is taxable.

    crazy (11d38b)

  40. Great mottos, JVW. They fit perfectly.

    DRJ (15874d)

  41. #39 happyfeet

    I just had an image of Ivanka pole dancing….I liked it.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  42. President Trump understands America needs a lot of good regulatory reform and better trade deals. And he understands that as president he has a lot of responsibility.

    And nothing in this USA Today story even comes close to showing that President Trump is doing anything remotely contrary to living up to that solemn responsibility.

    This is how you can tell it’s fake news.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  43. I just had an image of Ivanka pole dancing… I liked it.

    she’s a natural and it helps burn calories too so go ahead Ivanka – eat that donut!

    lick the sugar lick the sugar

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  44. @PAtterico:es, presidents playing golf with people is the primary complaint here

    “Without any context of when the memberships were acquired…”

    Context is not just for USA Today.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  45. Great mottos, JVW. They fit perfectly.

    Thanks DRJ. I made those up, but I stole the idea from some website or Facebook page or Twitter thread that had proposed brand new mottos for a bunch of major U.S. newspapers. I don’t recall the site or all of them, but some of them were along the lines of NY Times – “Lots of readers, none of them pay for content” and I think the LA Times one had something to do with people pretending to be interested in their national and world coverage but really only reading the Entertainment section. I wish I could find that.

    JVW (42615e)

  46. I find it amusing that after all these years and all these deals and all the book deals and the “foundations” and all the disappearing money tricks politicians pull suddenly USA Today has decided they are going to be the moral compass of America. Well, gee thanks. Let’s find out where Corzine sashed the cash, where The Clinton Foundation does it’s off-shore banking and where our uranium is. Then we should get down and dirty with all those evil capitalists playing golf at Mar-a-Lago. Those damn bastards probably smoke cigars there too.

    Rev.Hoagie® (6bbda7)

  47. Trump does not to my knowledge own a time machine, nor does any lobbyist, so if the memberships predate any reasonable expectation of his holding office than of course there’d be little to be bothered by.

    USA Today did not say, in the article, what proportion of these memberships are preexisting or of long standing. Perhaps they needed to economize on pixels.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  48. the FBI’s so deeply corrupt and dirty that these allegations against President Trump by a third rate crappy and partisan newspaper (USA Today), unsupported as they are, don’t even register as being suggestive of malfeasance

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  49. Trump does not to my knowledge own a time machine

    This.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  50. Very interesting story. Thank you for linking it.

    Dianna (b7aa4f)

  51. Seek truth. Break news. Hold the powerful accountable……retract as needed”

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/09/05/business/media/cnn-retraction-trump-scaramucci.html?referer=http://drudgereport.com/

    harkin (90be6e)

  52. JVW – I think the NYTimes new motto (based on their defense of the recent Palin smear) is:

    “We prioritize impact over fact-checking because deadlines are deadlines”

    And as Kelly Ann and The Daily Caller will attest:

    We’ll try and hide anything negative about Democrats until forced to report………and then we’ll do it with stealth and claim you can’t read.

    harkin (90be6e)

  53. Old and busted: “Drain the Swamp!”
    New hotness: “¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  54. Register that emoji, Dave.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  55. “Trump does not to my knowledge own a time machine”

    Neither did his droobs in Idiocracy.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  56. i like how trump kicked the freedom filth in the nuts today on the debt ceiling while highlighting how pervy Mitt Romney’s poop-licking boytoy Paul Ryan has no credibility on fiscal issues anymore

    that was beautiful

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  57. Are the Freedom Caucus and the Democrats enough of a majority to impeach him?

    nk (9651fb)

  58. there’s no such thing as doing impeach on him Mr. nk

    he’s the best one

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  59. @24 Frederick

    “The Zuckerberg example is a good one, but it could be Oprah, Rachael Ray, Bill Gates, or any other person who is famous for their business.

    “Shall we forbid them to run for office?

    “Because a “blind trust” is impossible for these people. In order for the trust to be blind, no one can know what it owns. Gates doesn’t own Microsoft, but plenty of people think he does and associate it with him and would attempt to curry favor by steering more business their way–and if that doesn’t constitute conflict of interest the media would certainly treat it as though it did (if Gates ran as a Republican), since so many of his associates would benefit. Same if Mark Zuckerberg sold all his interest in Facebook.”

    Actually, Gates major source of wealth is his Microsoft stock. To the extent anyone can “own” a publicly traded company worth $100s of billions, he qualifies. We know where his bread is buttered.

    So too Zuckerberg, who has already created a special class of stock on the off chance he throws his hat in the ring in 2020. This preferred stock is in no way, shape or form consistent with a blind trust since Marky Mark gets to keep his grip on the wheel of the FB cult if he gets elected. Instead of golf, lobbyists will take up foosball and frequent the FB campus play rooms of the FYIV (F*ck You I’m Vested) crowd.

    On a side note, I was surprised that handicaps are publicly available on ghin.com, but after a quick check, they sure are. I just assumed only someone who had my ghin number could take a peek. This could put a serious dent in on-course gambling, although there are many ways to inflate an index. Trump, by the way, has an index of 2.8 —– not too shabby, unless he posts fake scores, which would be moronic……..so yeah, he probably posts fake scores.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  60. The real problem today is that Trump joined the Democrats on the issue of the debt ceiling.

    Trump dove into the swamp and joined the Democrats. The fact that Mr. Trump agreed to Mr. Schumer’s proposal shows that the president is “utterly clueless about how the Hill operates,” a source said to the Wash Times.

    The Republicans have reason join the Dems on impeachment.

    AZ Bob (f7a491)

  61. Not to worry Bob. Eleventy-dimensional chess and the stealth genius will hold sway.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  62. Trump, by the way, has an index of 2.8 —– not too shabby, unless he posts fake scores, which would be moronic……..so yeah, he probably posts fake scores.

    It is well-documented that Trump cheatsshamelessly – at golf.

    Trump will sometimes respond to a shot he duffed by simply playing a second ball and carrying on as if the first shot never happened.

    A guy who caddied for him says:

    “When it comes to cheating, he’s an 11 on a scale of one to 10”

    Oscar De La Hoya recounts the start of a round with Trump:

    “First ball,” De La Hoya says, “Trump hits off to the water, gets another ball from his pocket. Hits it off to the left, out of bounds. Trump said, ‘Oh, I got another one, just warming up.’

    “Another one to the water. Then the fourth ball he hits I know it went to the bushes. But Donald, what he does, he tees off first so he can take off right away. I pipe mine down the middle. So we go off to our ball, and who do we see? Donald Trump, right in the middle of the fairway.”

    As they pulled up, Trump said, “By the way, I found my first ball, it’s right here.”

    “We’re like, ‘OK, yeah,’ we’re cracking up, not in front of his face.

    Dave (445e97)

  63. The Swamp’s just a watering hole; our Captain drives for show butta-putz for dough.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  64. Heh. I’ll wager he tries to correct the Pro’s swing. What a serious student he would make.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  65. @67. He swings for the green.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  66. He’s always trying to ‘kill’ it, without a plan for the rough or water hazards.

    His strokes per game are the stuff of legends.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  67. @69.His strokes per game are the stuff of legends.

    So said Marla.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  68. Pay Marla enough and she’s ‘no problem’.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  69. If/when Irma bitch-slaps Mar-a-Lago, let’s see how much the U.S. taxpayer gets stuck for paying on any building and landscaping repair.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  70. If/when Irma bitch-slaps Mar-a-Lago

    I think you meant to write “the Winter White House”…

    At least we can take solace in the fact that there are no American employees to be injured or put out of work…

    Dave (445e97)

  71. The dearth of minimum wagers has left a big hole in service and several requests for ‘exception’ to immigration rules.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  72. His rank hypocrisy is a major reason for his support from Evangelicals.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  73. give me gas for my ford keep me truckin for the lord

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  74. @73. No, I got it right; “Daddy, can I come along, too?” – Ivanka Trump.

    I think she meant to say ‘Mr. President.’

    Such a ‘hottie,’ eh, ‘Daddy?’ Ride on the lap, all the way to North Dakota, eh, Mr. President?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  75. It’s all part of a grand strategy called “Incompetence.”

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  76. He’s tried everyone else

    Might as well try Democrats.
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/06/hill-trump-relations-242411

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  77. We essentially came to a deal, and I think the deal will be very good,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One after meeting with the top four congressional leaders at the White House. In a sign of how the meeting went, he praised the two Democrats he had until recently called “obstructionists,” and he neglected to mention Ryan and McConnell at all.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  78. Oscar De La Hoya recounts the start of a round with Trump:”

    Holy crap sounds like the trouble they had to go through to convince O’Failure he could shoot hoops.

    Bowling or tossing out the first pitch? Mission Impossible.

    harkin (90be6e)

  79. Fourteen people were arrested Wednesday, accused of helping shoplift more than $20 million in merchandise from malls in Southern California to the East Coast, and fencing the stolen items in Tijuana.”

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/courts/sd-me-shoplifting-ring-20170906-story.html

    Drain the swamp, build the wall.

    harkin (90be6e)

  80. “We essentially came to a deal, and I think the deal will be very good”

    Here’s what I don’t understand. Trump doesn’t decide what gets brought to the floor and voted on in Congress. Neither (for now) do “Chuck and Nancy”.

    If Ryan and McConnell, and their respective caucuses, aren’t on-board with this “deal”, what difference does it make? If they go ahead and do what they were planning to do, is Trump going to veto hurricane relief and default on the national debt because “Chuck and Nancy” aren’t happy?

    Trump flipped them the bird, but Ryan and McConnell can send a hearty “F-you too, moron” right back at him…

    Dave (445e97)

  81. My understanding, and I could be wrong, is that this will be an amendment to the Harvey relief bill currently in the senate. The Democrats, plus enough of the non-hfc Republicans have agreed to support the amendment, and Trump has agreed to sign it. Since the bill is already in the Senate, McConnell can’t block it without a vote that would fail along the same lines. I can’t address what happens when the updated bill returns to the house, but presumably there was a similar deal made there.

    Davethulhu (3a2442)

  82. This could be the day i have been praying for. The day the republican party fell flat on its face. Trump can shove it hard and deep with the never trump republicans in d.c. and they deserve each other. love it, love it, love it. The republican party is all done. Thank you, Lord.

    mg (31009b)

  83. mittens, juanny mac, pauley boy ryan and the turtle. If their are worse creatures alive in d.c., i’ll eat my hat.

    mg (31009b)

  84. 1. I continue to disagree with the proposition that in order to run for President a person must divest themselves of all they acquired/built prior to entering politics. I don’t agree that’s a necessary prophylactic when it comes to preventing influence peddling.

    2. I find the “legal” process of obtaining campaign funds through huge money fundraising, where seats at a dinner table with the President are sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars for the express purpose of getting “face time” to be much more egregious and fraught with the potential for influence peddling that what USA Today has “uncovered.”

    3. Two huge holes in USA Today’s “great great reporting” are the following:

    a) no effort to determine how many of the CEOs’, lobbyists, etc., who are members of Trump clubs, obtained those memberships long before Trump ran for office. Generally, the USGA handicapping system shows scores posted for the past 12 months. Trump was elected 10 months ago. How many of the individuals USDA has identified have scores posted at the Trump clubs prior to him winning the election?

    b) this isn’t specifically addressed in the article, but if you use the USGA handicapping system as a reference, you need to understand that not everyone who posts a score for a round at a Trump club is a member of that club. Most private clubs in the US have “reciprocal playing privileges” with other private clubs. So, a member of a non-Trump private club in New York can call the Trump Club in New Jersey and ask for a tee time to play at the Trump club. Some clubs limit such access — for example, you can’t arrange to play a round at Augusta simply because you are a member at a private club in Iowa. At Augusta you can play only if you are a guest of an Augusta member. But USA Today doesn’t report what the policy is at Trump’s clubs. It might very well be the case that some of the people they are focusing on have posted scores at one of Trump’s clubs, but actually belong to another private club.

    Simple explanation of the system — handicaps are to allow players of different skill levels to compete against each other. If my handicap is 5, and my opponent’s is 10, then on the hardest 5 holes on the course we are playing, he has one stroke deducted from his score when compared to mine. If we have the same score, he wins the hole. If I beat him by one stroke, we tie the hole. I have to beat him by 2 strokes on that hole in order to win the hole.

    The way handicaps are established is by taking the best 10 scores of a player’s most recent 20 rounds of play. But because you don’t play the same course every round, and different courses have differing degrees of difficulty, players must “post” with USGA their score, the course they played, and the “rating” of that course. USGA’s computers then use your 10 best scores to establish your “index”. At the course you are about to play, you look up your index on their handicap chart, and that tells you what your handicap will be for that course.

    So, if USA Today simply looked at the courses where these business executives posted scores from, they didn’t necessarily isolate the executives’ “home” courses. Now if a particular person has 15 scores from one Trump club, and 1 score each for 3 other courses nearby, then the conclusion would be pretty solid that the executive is a member of Trump’s club.

    But I don’t see in the article anywhere that USA Today accounted for that possibility, nor even an acknowledgment that they understood the issue of “reciprocal privileges” when looking up the rounds played on the USGA website.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  85. ““We do have reciprocity with other Trump National and International clubs,” a Mar-a-Lago spokeswoman told OpenSecrets Blog.”

    Leviticus (efada1)

  86. Numb from shock yet? Buy Trump’s phony, so-called “Presidential Medal” here: https://shop.donaldjtrump.com/

    Tillman (a95660)

  87. @91. Buy a hat instead! It’s a more pragmatic and Trumpian use of your money. Practical, too.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  88. @92 Yeah, but the “Presidential Medal” is only $45. What a deal! Buy a couple and use ’em as coasters for your beer.

    Tillman (a95660)

  89. Military Specification MIL-S-901D is a military specification for High Impact mechanical shock which applies to equipment mounted on ships. Two levels apply. Grade A items are items which are essential to the safety and continued combat capability of the ship….

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  90. I have a continued interest in the ongoing combat capability of our ships.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  91. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ggy-2_LI7eY

    SINKING a US Navy Ship! Direct MISSILE HIT! (Maritime training exercise.)

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  92. I must have did 600 pushups today.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  93. Drop and give me twenty.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  94. 93. LOL The hat’s only $40! Woohoo!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  95. ok that’s only 10×20.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  96. I just did my last set of 20. Because I’m an #ssh%le.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  97. I’m tired.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  98. DCSCA just so you know I’m 55.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  99. Frederick (64d4e1) — 9/6/2017 @ 11:37 am, I have unbridled respect for you.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  100. It was obvious to anyone that was paying attention that ‘drain the swamp’ meant ‘remove members of the bad tribe from the swamp and replace them with members of the good tribe, who deserve to profit from the swamp unlike those bad reprobates who do not’.

    aphrael (82ae84)

  101. I think it was obvious, that those people who talked about draining swamps never meant it.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  102. Also as an old duck hunter I’m not in favor of draining swamps. As a practical matter.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)


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