Why has the Air Force been stopping in Scotland?

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

Times report kills all the fun:
What happens to information flow during tribalized, partisan times such as these?

What happens even Over Here, within our own flawless tribe?

For an answer to your question, consider the first two paragraphs of a front-page report in today's New York Times. The reports deals with Donald Trump's golf course in Scotland—and it seems to contradict some earlier reporting, which created tons of excitement but seems to have maybe been bungled.

The report appears on today's front page. Slightly slippery headline included, Eric Lipton's report starts like this:
LIPTON (9/10/19): Trump Had Deal With Scotland Airport That Sent Flight Crews to His Resort

Back in 2014, soon after acquiring a golf resort in Scotland, Donald J. Trump entered a partnership with a struggling local airport there
to increase air traffic and boost tourism in the region.

The next year, as Mr. Trump began running for president, the Pentagon decided to ramp up its use of that same airport to refuel Air Force flights, and gave the local airport authority the job of helping to find accommodations for flight crews who had to remain overnight.

Those two separate arrangements have now intersected in ways that provide the latest evidence of how Mr. Trump’s continued ownership of his business produces regular ethical questions.
Say what? According to the last highlighted passage, the Pentagon was using Glasgow Prestwick Airport for stop-overs and refueling at least by the year 2015!

Indeed, the Times report says that the Pentagon "ramped up" its use of that airport that year. That suggests that the Pentagon may have been using the airport for stop-overs before the year 2015.

Just for the record, Barack Obama was still president in the year 2015. Presumably, Donald J. Trump didn't order the Pentagon to use that airport for stop-overs and refueling.

If accurate, this report seems quite surprising. We say that because, starting last Friday, every hack and a few hangers-on were telling a thrillingly different story, based on a brand-new Politico news report.

The Politico report sent a lot of of joy through Mudville last Friday night. For one example, here's what Rachel Maddow said as she went on and on, then on and on, working from a brand-new report she hadn't checked or confirmed:
MADDOW (9/6/19): This story just came out within the last hour. If you have not seen it yet, you are going to want to sit down. You are going to want to spend a little bit of time with this.

This is the headline from Politico tonight. "Air Force crew made an odd stop on a routine trip, Trump’s Scottish resort."

Quote: In early spring of this year, an Air National guard crew made a routine trip from the U.S. to Kuwait to deliver supplies. What wasn't routine was where the crew stopped along the way. They stopped at President Trump's Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland.

Since April, the House Oversight Committee has been investigating why the crew on this C17 military transport plane made the unusual stay, both on route to the Middle East and on the way back, at the president’s Scottish resort.

They stopped at Turnberry both ways!

This congressional committee is investigating this. This is previously unreported news, something being looked into by Congress, since they have been looking into it since April, they have yet to receive any answers from the Pentagon.

Quote: On previous trips to the Middle East, the C17 had landed at U.S. air bases such as Ramstein Air Base in Germany or the naval air station called Rota in Spain to refuel. Occasionally, the same C17 would also stop at military bases in the Azores, or in Italy. But stopping in Scotland?

A senior Air Force official said choosing to refuel at the airport nearest to the president’s Scotland resort
and choosing for the airmen to stay at the president’s Scotland resort, a half an hour away from that airport, that would be unusual for such a mission.

Again, their mission is flying supplies to and from Kuwait. Quote: Typically, the official said, air crews stay on a military base while in transit or at nearby lodgings. The congressional inquiry is part of a broader previously unreported probe into U.S. military expenditures at or around the Trump property in Scotland.
Chuckling and shouting and living it up, Maddow went on and on, and on and on quite a bit more, quoting a new report from Politico—a report which seems to have been contradicted, in major ways, by today's front-page report.

Shouting and chuckling and living quite large, Maddow explained how strange it is to think that an Air Force crew would stop to refuel anywhere but at a military base. She told us how much money was being wasted this way, especially on the price of fuel.

She assured us that it would be strange for pilots to spend an overnight at a place like Trump's Scottish resort. Maddow continued excitedly pushing these theories on last evening's program, stressing the "millions and millions of dollars" which were being thrown away.

She assured us that this was the latest case of Donald J. Trump rigging the game. But according to this morning's Times, these recent Air Force stop-overs in Scotland weren't unusual at all, and the decision to conduct such stop-overs was in place by at least 2015.

By the way, it isn't just the fact that the Pentagon had made the decision to use Glasgow Prestwick Airport for stop-overs and refueling at least by 2015. If the Times' front-page report is accurate, it also doesn't seem surprising that crews stayed at Trump's resort:
LIPTON: Both the Defense Department and executives at the airport confirmed on Monday that the airport also has a separate arrangement with the United States Air Force. Under that arrangement, the Scottish airport not only refuels American military planes but also helps arrange hotel accommodations for arriving crews, as it does for some civilian and commercial aircraft.

“We provide a full handling service for customers and routinely arrange overnight accommodation for visiting aircrew when requested,” the Prestwick airport said in a statement on Monday. “We use over a dozen local hotels, including Trump Turnberry, which accounts for a small percentage of the total hotel bookings we make.”

It was through the arrangement with the Pentagon that a seven-person United States Air Force crew ended up staying at the Trump Turnberry in March.
An Air Force C-17 military transport plane was on its way from Alaska to Kuwait when it stopped at Prestwick overnight to refuel and give the crew a break.

The crew, which consisted of active duty and national guard members from Alaska, was charged $136 per room, which was less expensive than a Marriott property's rate of $161. And both were under the per diem rate of $166.
If the Times report is accurate, the airport has been arranging hotel accommodations for Air Force crews at least since 2015. The Trump facility was on the list of hotels even at that time.

If today's report is accurate, it sounds like the Trump property has been under-pricing competitors. It sounds like it has long been routine to stay overnight at hotels, rather than on military bases.

This all flies in the face of excited commentary which was based on the earlier Politico report. On one hour's notice, Maddow went on the air last Friday night to tell us, at substantial length, how corrupt the whole thing was and, needless to say, how it could lead to impeachment.

That brings us up to the peculiar events of last night.

Start with the Times itself. Several parts of the Times report seem to contradict ongoing discussion about this particular matter. That includes the first two paragraphs of the Times report.

That said, the Times' Eric Lipton seemed completely unaware of the fact that his report was contradicting recent conventional wisdom. He didn't exactly "bury" his lede—it's more like he chose to ignore it.

That brings us to Brian Williams. Early in last evening's show, he quoted Lipton's first two paragraphs, but he managed to blow right past what those paragraphs said.

He blew right past the basic fact that the current arrangements were apparently put in place by the Pentagon at least as early as 2015. To all appearances, Brian was pretending he hadn't understood the material he had just read.

Williams had also huffed and puffed and blown the house down concerning this matter last Friday night. This was part of the tribal excitement as he spoke with the always-restrained Rick Wilson:
WILSON (9/6/19): Look, it's been a minute since I was in the DOD, but I can tell you, it's part of regulations in the DOD that air crews are not to stay overnight at civilian facilities unless it is mission-essential. They're supposed to go from military to military facilities, and I'm pretty much sure that staying at a Trump golf resort is never mission-essential for a U.S. Air Force or Navy crew heading over to the Middle East to the active theater of combat in the Middle East.

This is some other element of the Trump grift. It is some element of the Trump scam. These are people who have obviously managed to corrupt folks down the chain and sent the signal that at the minimum to send a signal, that if you stay at Trump resorts maybe he'll like you more. And I think it's an extraordinary moment where, you know, we're seeing it in real time, that they're forcing these airmen to land their C-17s off military airfields somewhere close to a Trump resort in order to stay there. It is an unbelievable level of corruption.

WILLIAMS: And Rick, you do remind me, we have a network of air bases with names like Aviano

WILSON: We do indeed—

WILLIAMS: —the air bases we have maintained, along with the Brits, and the French, and the Germans, for exactly this type of thing

WILSON: Indeed. And I think—I don't know the exact number right now. I think it's five in Britain that would handle the C-17 right off the top of my head. So somehow I'm thinking that landing at a Trump golf resort is not like landing at Hertfordshire for instance, or Bentwaters, or wherever we got still bases operating in the U.K. It's very much a symbol of a corrupt and corrupting administration.

WILLIAMS: I'll see your hurt for (INAUDIBLE) and raise you in Mildenhall, which I think is still up and running.

WILSON: You will indeed.
These sunshine patriots mournfully rattled the names of various air bases. But if the Times report today is correct, everything these jerk-offs were saying seems to have been basically wrong.

Maddow and Williams gamboled and played with this topic last Friday night. If the Times report is correct, it seems that their presentations were basically wrong.

Williams skillfully faked it last night as he read from Lipton's report. We're looking forward to seeing what these corporate multimillionaires tell us about this tonight as we try to get more clear about the facts of the case.

For the record, we regard Trump as disordered and dangerous. For the most part, we regard Williams and Maddow as corporate circus clowns. Williams was especially strange about Newark (again) last night.

What are the actual facts of the current matter? At deeply tribalized times like these, it will routinely be hard to find out.

Still coming, likely tomorrow: Brian on Newark (again)

17 comments:

  1. "What are the actual facts of the current matter?"

    There's a simple rule, dear Bob. It never fails.

    Whatever your goebbelsian liberal zombie media say - the actual facts are the opposite of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, you smelly little Chinese Nazi. Always first with the comments peculiarly, always wrong and a smelly little Nazi. You forgot to say "Dembots" this time, you weirdo un-American foreign piece of shit.

      Delete
  2. From Lipton’s story:

    “The number of such stops by Air Force planes at Prestwick rose from 180 in 2017 to 257 last year and 259 so far this year. The 259 stops this year included 220 overnight stays. Since October 2017, records show 917 payments for expenses including fuel at the airport worth a total of $17.2 million.”

    How much of the $17.2 million taxpayer dollars went to Trump while President, and is the uptick in flights and overnight stays merely innocent Air Force business as usual?

    As citizen business man, no one worried terribly much about Trump profiting off this. As president and commander-in-Chief, it’s a different story. It’s unclear if Somerby understands the difference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a Bombshell, dembot. The Walls Are Closing In, The Tipping Point, The Beginning Of The End.

      Delete
    2. Trump voters are no more concerned with Trump's real corruption than they were with Hillary Clinton's fake corruption.
      They pretended they were concerned with corruption as an excuse to vote for the bigot as President.

      Delete
    3. Somerby is a senile sad old man deliberately ignoring the facts to push his sorry-ass story positive for Trump yet again. He hates libs and Dems so much, this is what he does to feel superior he's practically a Republican now. And he likes to entertain Mao, his sad dumb monkey on a chain somewhere in China. They re-inforce each other, they are both inadequate failed men.

      Delete
  3. Citizens for Ethics
    @CREWcrew
    Prestwick airport near Trump Turnberry received $0 in payments from DoD between 2008 and 2017.

    In 2018, DoD payments suddenly spiked to $6.5 million.

    In 2019, DoD's made 555 payments to Prestwick for more than $10 million—a grand total of $17.2 million.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "a grand total of $17.2 million"

      Is that a fact? This is so exciting! I bet millions of liberals will not be able to sleep tonight, brooding over it.

      Delete
    2. Why would Right-wingers chant "Lock him up," over that? It's not like Trump is a woman or a minority.

      Delete
  4. These days I just use TDH as litter lining for my pet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Approved. It's a sad little car wreck, Somerby and Mao jerking each other, and David In Cal is the cuck who likes to watch. Bunch of weirdos, maybe ten people read here, but I stop by occasionally to watch the freak show of wrongness.

      Delete
  5. "What are the actual facts of the current matter? At deeply tribalized times like these, it will routinely be hard to find out."

    The facts are provided in a NY Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/09/us/politics/air-force-stopover-trump-turnberry.html

    Somerby should have done a little research before deriding Maddow like this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "If today's report is accurate, it sounds like the Trump property has been under-pricing competitors. It sounds like it has long been routine to stay overnight at hotels, rather than on military bases."

    It doesn't matter whether the Turnberry property is underpricing nearby hotels, if there is a fix in that prevents any competition with those other hotels. If these military personnel are always sent to Turnberry, the point isn't so much gouging as a deliberate funneling of income to the President's property because he is the president. Further, the increase in payments results from an increase in sending personnel to that particular layover so that the President can benefit. That they might be charging less than nearby hotels is irrelevant if planes are being diverted to Scotland deliberately to pay off the President.

    Somerby, as usual, ignores the actual issues in order to pick a nit that permits him to exonerate Trump. Then he includes his obligatory statement that Trump may be mentally ill, while creating the impression that Trump may not be a con man, thief, and crook who is looting the public by directing Pentagon funds into his own pockets.

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  7. Let's say the story you found is absolutely accurate, it is to avoid us having to go into the weeds on every government transaction that we have Presidents put assets into a blind trust. I find it beyond hard to believe Trump didn't help cause a severe uptick in the use of both that airport and his hotel but we shouldn't even have to wonder. Imagine if you kid was in class with a teacher that owned a Pokemon concession and he encourage students to use that concession making him money. Would you trust his grades?

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  8. Replies
    1. "I see your boss and paymaster published another drivel."

      Yet another Right-wing confession, disguised as an accusation.

      Delete