GOP Venality Open Thread: Trump Is Stealing From the Military for His ‘Wall’

SupPport My OuR tROOPS!!! Even the Repubs aren’t buying this feral hog in a poke. Per Politico, “Trump defends cash grab for border projects as lawmakers lash out”:

Defense Secretary Mark Esper informed congressional leaders on Tuesday of the cash grab from more than 100 military projects — such as upgrading military bases both at home and abroad — that will now be used to build a wall along the southern U.S. border. The move prompted an immediate uproar from lawmakers, who cried foul that the president had infringed on Congress’ appropriation authority.

Of the $1.08 billion in cuts coming from military facilities inside 23 U.S. states, 55 percent came from states Hillary Clinton won, versus 45 percent from states won by Trump, according to a POLITICO analysis.

Hardest hit was New York, where $160 million that was expected to go towards updating the engineering center and a parking structure at the U.S. Military Academy is being diverted…

(A whole bunch of red-state moms with kids in high school are currently screaming at their local reps, because West Point is a biiig draw for aspiring STEM students whose parents can’t afford to get them into Stanford.)

… Asked by reporters what he told members of Congress who would see projects in their districts affected by the diversion of funds, Trump said Wednesday he had delegated that task to Esper, who had “very good conversations” with “various” members, the president said.

“I didn’t tell [them] anything,” he said of the move. “The secretary of Defense spoke with members of Congress and explained it to them and I think he felt very good about it.” …

Preznit Toddler-in-Chief: Blames the stolen cookies on the dog Secretary.

And, of course:

… The cuts would fall even harder on two U.S. territories: Puerto Rico, which stands to lose $403 million worth of projects, and Guam, which would lose $257 million. Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria’s devastation in 2017 — and its government has come under repeated criticism from Trump, who denounced it last week as “one of the most corrupt places on earth” even as the island was facing a lashing from Hurricane Dorian.

The five projects in Puerto Rico are primarily to rebuild after severe damage from Hurricane Maria, a senior defense official said…

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Late Night Open Thread: Mike Pence, GOP Mafia Underling & Natural Toady

There is no bottom to the GOP barrel; they’re excavating down towards the Earth’s molten magma core…

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Election 2020 Open Thread: Brad Pascale & His (Nominal) Boss, Dirty Birds of A Feather

Federal Election Commission records indicate that Red State Data and Digital has received  $910,000 from  America First Action,  the super PAC formed in 2017 to support the Trump-Pence agenda and  fellow Republican  candidates.

After CNN initially published a story about Parscale’s wife, Candice, being an owner of Red State, her husband contacted CNN and acknowledged he owns the company even though she is listed on legal paperwork. “I am the owner of Red State,” Parscale told CNN.
Parscale said he hadn’t originally wanted to disclose his ownership publicly because there are no available records connecting him to the company…

In a series of texts with CNN, after initial publication, Parscale said that “so, legally we both own it,” and “she is on the paperwork yes.” He also said that “she is my wife and I allow her to file and be on my companies because I trust her. It depends on how you look at it. But no. It is all my company.” Then later he said, “I own the company solely,” and that his wife “listed it incorrectly” on the incorporation document, speaking of her being named as a “member.” “She just checked the box of what she was. I’m the owner.” …

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of federal candidates, but they are barred from coordinating spending decisions with those campaigns, among other limitations.

Brad Parscale and his wife both insist their arrangement is legitimate and that there is no coordination.

Still, experts in federal election law consulted by CNN said earlier that the appearance of a connection between the President’s main super PAC and a firm set up by his campaign  manager’s  spouse that handles political ads walks right up to the line.

“It calls into question the independence of the super PAC,” said Larry  Noble, the former general counsel to the Federal Election Commission and a CNN contributor. “One would hope a watchdog agency would investigate allegations of coordination.” 

Noble said the FEC has been “lax” about enforcing coordination rules.  The FEC was further weakened by the resignation of one of its commissioners this week, reducing the number of sitting commissioners to three and thereby stripping it of its power to enforce campaign finance laws. Federal law requires four or more commissioners to approve new rules or take actions to punish those who violate election law…

As Trump’s campaign manager, Parscale has come under scrutiny over the amount of money he’s made off his political companies. According to a source close to the company, Parscale was rattled by recent negative press, particularly criticism among his Republican peers over a $13,500 fee he was paid for a speech to the Republican Party of Seminole County, Florida.

Parscale has returned the money to the campaign, according to a source close to the company. In the wake of the criticism, he has begun downsizing, according to the source, who said he had let three employees go from Parscale Strategy in the past week. A Trump campaign spokesman declined to comment about whether Parscale had returned the money to the campaign.

The America First Action super PAC made its last payment to Parscale Strategy on March 13, 2018, and its first payment to Red State eight days later, on March 21.

In 2018, America First paid Red State a total of $837,000, according to FEC records. That makes it the fifth biggest recipient of money from the group last year, according to Open Secrets

This story and the headline have been updated to include additional information given to CNN by Brad Parscale after publication.

More detail, none of it exculpatory, at the link. That’s the GRU’s problem — it’s easy enough to find glibertarian tech geeks to figurehead your foreign-influence vote-rigging campaigns, but hard to find any with the patience not to grab every coin out of the tip jar… or the experience to lie about their grabbiness with any plausibility. Heck, look at the trouble their high-dollar ‘Occupant’ is giving them, with what should be an easy glide to ‘reelection’!

Open Thread: The NYTimes Longs for A Simpler Day…

When the Very Serious Media People could pretend that the Tea Party was a ‘grassroots uprising’ of good folks very concerned about ‘fiscal responsibility’. Positive side, such as it is: Pushback was swift, vociferous, and (to a degree) effective:

When Congress approved $320 billion in new spending this month as part of its latest budget deal, most Republicans in the Senate voted yes, prompting a lament from Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was first elected in 2010 as a slash-and-burn fiscal conservative.

“The Tea Party is no more,” he said.

But Mr. Paul and others who have signed the Tea Party’s death certificate overlook one way it continues to define the country today. It ignited a revival of the politics of outrage and mistrust in government, breathing new life into the populist passions that continue to threaten the stability of both political parties. Even if the Tea Party’s ideas are dead, its attitude lives on.

“The energy that was with the Tea Party then was not even so much about fiscal discipline, but about holding Washington accountable for the promises it makes,” said Rory Cooper, a former aide to the Republican House leadership. As voters watched one promise after another go unfulfilled, he said, the anger eventually erupted in 2016 with Mr. Trump’s election. Voters said, in essence, “‘We don’t trust any of you, but we will trust this guy who makes every promise under the sun,’” Mr. Cooper said.

“Then what happened,” he added, “was they stopped caring about the promises.” …

IMO, the real reason for Jeremy Peters’ purported nostalgia was to set up a beat-sweetner for Mick ‘Acting Head of Everything’ Mulvaney:

Of the 87 new Republicans elected to the House in 2010 — the most sweeping repudiation of a president and his political party in generations — one who has risen higher than most is Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff.
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“Foreigner” Policy Open Thread: The Trump/Miller ‘Eff You, John McCain’ Order

Frankly, I’m taking this as one more data point that Trump doesn’t expect to be around after 2020… or, at least, his loyal minions don’t expect him to be:

Previously, children born to U.S. citizen parents were considered to be “residing in the United States,” and therefore would be automatically given citizenship under Immigration and Nationality Act 320. Now, children born to U.S. service members and government employees, such as those born in U.S. military hospitals or diplomatic facilities, will not be considered as residing in the U.S., changing the way that they potentially receive citizenship.

The change in policy was first reported by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Tal Kopan.

According to USCIS, previous legislation also explicitly said that spouses of service members who were living outside the U.S. because of their spouses were considered residing in the U.S., but “that no similar provision was included for children of U.S. armed forces members in the acquisition of citizenship context is significant.”

That is one of the reasons why USCIS has now decided that those children are not considered to be residing in the U.S., and therefore will not be automatically given citizenship. Instead, they will fall under INA 322, which considers them to be residing outside the U.S. and requires them to apply for naturalization…

I hope this is quashed with a quickness, because it’s not only cruel and stupid, it’s gonna be a disincentive for recruitment, yes?