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Foster: Thoughts on conventions, secret payments and more

John Foster

John Foster

Mrs. Johnnie H. Melton, are you trying to pull as fast one on East Texas? You thought you could smear Democrats by claiming they omitted “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance during their recent convention.

Once again, you’ve fallen for another half-truth or lie promulgated by Republicans. Here’s what Snopes reported on this claim: During every night of the Democratic convention’s program, the pledge included “under God.” However, during two individual caucus sessions, the phrase was omitted.

You’ll have to ask the individuals involved why it was omitted, but it wasn’t part of the official convention program. Maybe they just forgot the words. I can’t answer that, but the party itself followed protocol in each instance.

As for mentioning my military service, this only came up to silence a few critics who challenged my patriotism because I don’t grovel on Donald Trump’s altar. This is truly ironic because veterans have earned the right to speak openly on national issues while Trump is a well-known draft dodger who claimed phony bone spurs to avoid military service.

Speaking of conventions, this year’s conclaves remind me of Khizr Khan, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. The Khans are Pakistan immigrants whose son, an Army captain, was killed in Iraq. He told the assembly that Trump has sacrificed nothing for our country and offered to give his copy of the U.S. Constitution for Trump to read.

Trump could have benefited from a thorough reading after he suggested that the Nov. 3 election should be delayed. Election dates are set by law and can only be changed by an act of Congress.

The same applies to some of Trump’s executive orders that are clearly unconstitutional, such as waiving payroll taxes. Again, his staff has a full-time job keeping him from going off the rails which he still manages to do frequently.

Another convention-related topic involves a couple of women in Trump’s inner circle who are carrying on the family tradition of grifting. Since Donald Trump first announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2015, I’ve reported on his corrupt business practices cheating hundreds of small businesses and driving many into bankruptcy, which also seems to be a Trump specialty.

Now we have more evidence of just how low he will stoop to circumvent the law and rules of fair play that he obviously feels don’t apply to him or his family.

His campaign is secretly paying his sons’ significant others $180,000 a year for doing little more than being arm candy at campaign rallies and public appearances, as reported by the Huffington Post.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of eldest son Donald Jr., was a convention speaker whose speech can be best described as a screaming rant. She along with Lara Trump, wife of middle son Eric, are each receiving $15,000 a month according to two GOP sources who are informal White House advisers and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The sources said the payments are being made by former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale through his company rather than directly by the campaign or Republican Party in order to avoid public reporting requirements.

News about the secret payments first became public in April when the New York Times published an article on Parscale’s company, Parscale Strategy. The Times described a scene in which Guilfoyle confronted Parscale about why her checks were always late.

The payments are another example of how “a lot of people close to Donald Trump are getting rich off of his campaign,” said Paul Ryan, a campaign finance legal expert at the watchdog group Common Cause.

Critics of the arrangement, including Republicans, say the setup was designed to get around Federal Election Commission rules that require campaigns, political parties and other committees to disclose their spending in detail. The Trump campaign also is under investigation on how it spent the $107 million raised for inauguration expenses.

Then, there’s the on-going investigation in New York about alleged bank and tax fraud by the Trump Organization. Congress also is on the verge of getting Trump’s tax records from his accountant, but he is appealing the court order to avoid disclosure before the Nov. 3 election.

“Grift and graft is the family business,” said Robert Weissman, president of the liberal group Public Citizen.

— John D. Foster is a Carthage resident and regular contributor to the Saturday Forum. Email jandmfoster@yahoo.com .

Today's Bible verse

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Colossians 2:6-7

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