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Would you believe that while Donald Trump is getting set to ask for more tax cuts for the Mega-Wealthy (he'll just redefine "middle class" up to include billionaires -- real ones, even), ABC News reported yesterday that Trump's own mega-wealthy Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, has triggered an Inspector General's investigation. Earlier this summer, Mnuchin married his Instagram-perfect sweetheart, Louise Linton, and for his honeymoon, he requested the use of an Air Force executive jet to fly him and his bride around Italy, France, and Scotland, at the low, low price of just $25,000 an hour.

Now before you get all silly with your tut-tuttings about government waste for a guy worth over $300 million, keep in mind that while the written request for the government jet was submitted, it was withdrawn when it was "eventually deemed unnecessary after further consideration of by Treasury Department officials." So no big whoop! Even so, some people seem to think it was a big deal that Mnuchin, a Goldman Sachs alum with plenty of his own goddamned money to pay for his own goddamned travel, even asked:

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in an interview with ABC News that Mnuchin's request for a government jet on his honeymoon defies common sense.

"You don't need a giant rulebook of government requirements to just say yourself, 'This is common sense, it's wrong,'" Wyden said. "That's just slap your forehead stuff."

Nice, Mr. Wyden, going for the bald jokes. Racist.

Mnuchin apparently thought he needed the Air Force to tote him, his sweetie, and all their shopping bags all over Europe because "secure communications," because what a horror it would be if he needed to do important Treasury business without a fully loaded secure jet:

“The Secretary is a member of the National Security Council and has responsibility for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence," [a Treasury Department] spokesman said in a statement. "It is imperative that he have access to secure communications, and it is our practice to consider a wide range of options to ensure he has these capabilities during his travel, including the possible use of military aircraft."

Apparently, Mnuchin was spared the indignity of dragging a flying SCIF all over the world, since the department arranged "other methods of secure communications" and the Mnuchins were somehow able to travel at their own expense. ABC notes, rather tartly, that the use of military aircraft for cabinet members is "typically reserved for cabinet members who deal directly with national security, such as the Secretaries of Defense and State." Just as long as there's a nice comfy pillow for napping, Rex Tillerson is good.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, no, other administrations didn't try to pull this shit: ABC cites a "former senior Treasury official" who worked with Barack Obama's Treasury secretary, Jack Lew; that official said the only time Lew would have used a government plane would be when he was traveling on foreign business, when security really would be an issue.

As for private travel, "there's not a chance in hell that Secretary Lew would have considered using military air," this former official said.

Aw, jeez, give poor Mnuchin a break -- they're all new to this "government" stuff, so maybe he figured if he was going waterskiing, he could have one of those bitchin' fast Littoral Combat Ships pull him.

Funny thing; this is of course Mnuchin's second public embarrassment involving travel on the public dime. In August, he and Linton flew via Uncle Sam Air to Kentucky on an official trip that also included some eclipse-gazing (please hum "You're So Vain" here), when Linton got into that cute flap over all her designer hashtags:

And while she was busy talking down to a prole who dared question her extravagance, Linton actually asked, "EMOJI Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol."

Sort of have to wonder whether she knew Steve-bae (EMOJI!) had actually asked for that very thing. Mnuchin's use of that jet in August is also being reviewed at by Treasury's Inspector General. We wonder if Linton will have a Mean Girl Tweet about that. In the meantime, shouldn't the secretary just buy his own damn jet? They even have timeshares, for Trump Cabinet Members Who Are Only Three Hundred Millionaires Instead Of Amway Heiresses, sad, poor, LOL.

Yr Wonkette gets no generous government dosh, so please click here to keep us flyin'...or really, sitting chained to our desks.

[ABC News]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to www.famoushotels.org.

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.



In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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