Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #932 The Making of Donald Trump (Top Banana Republic), Part 1

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

making-of-trumpIntro­duc­tion: In the after­math of the ascen­sion of Don­ald Trump to the Pres­i­den­cy, we are doing some­thing unprece­dent­ed in the long his­to­ry of For The Record. Ear­li­er in 2016, award-win­ning jour­nal­ist David Cay John­ston pub­lished a very well-writ­ten and researched, yet rel­a­tive­ly short and com­pact biog­ra­phy of Don­ald Trump–The Mak­ing of Don­ald Trump (Melville House [HC]; copy­right 2016 by David Cay John­ston; ISBN 978–1‑61219–632‑9.)

For some weeks, we will be read­ing most of the book into the record, to pro­vide peo­ple with a mea­sure against which to eval­u­ate not just “The Don­ald,” as his first wife Ivana called him, but our soci­ety, its insti­tu­tions and its cit­i­zens. We can’t rec­om­mend strong­ly enough that lis­ten­ers buy this book, read it and use what­ev­er means avail­able to spread the word about it. (We note that nei­ther Mr. Emory nor any of the sta­tions that air this pro­gram get mon­ey from this book, its pub­lish­er or author.)

This first install­ment of the series com­mences with the read­ing of a poem by Robin­son Jef­fers, “Be Angry at the Sun,” which encom­pass­es Mr. Emory’s feel­ings about the recent elec­tion, as well as the peo­ple and insti­tu­tions that have pre­cip­i­tat­ed this event–one that fig­ures to be dev­as­tat­ing in its man­i­fes­ta­tions.

Fol­low­ing pre­sen­ta­tion of the Jef­fers poem, we exam­ine an arti­cle that embod­ies the enor­mous and fun­da­men­tal flaw in our polit­i­cal and civic process: a poll short­ly before the elec­tion found that most of the prospec­tive vot­ers polled felt that Trump was more hon­est and trust­wor­thy than Hillary Clin­ton. As our read­ing of John­ston’s excel­lent book unfolds, the grotesque, spec­tac­u­lar­ly fal­la­cious char­ac­ter of this per­cep­tion will become uncom­fort­ably clear. Don­ald Trump is cur­rent­ly track­ing as the more hon­est of the two pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates in a poll, although fact-check­ing of his state­ments dur­ing the cam­paign have shown he’s lied sev­er­al times. The lat­est ABC News/Washington Post track­ing poll reports that 46 per­cent of like­ly vot­ers believe he is the more hon­est and trust­wor­thy can­di­date, while 38 per­cent believed it was Hillary Clin­ton. This marks the biggest gap between the two can­di­dates in five ABC News/Washington Post polls that asked the ques­tion, begin­ning in May.”

We begin by not­ing that Trump’s father net­worked with an orga­nized crime fig­ure named Willie Tomasel­lo, antic­i­pat­ing Trump’s own use of orga­nized crime fig­ures to fur­ther his com­mer­cial under­tak­ings. And Hillary Clin­ton is viewed as less hon­est than Trump!

Next, we note Trump’s ram­bling, igno­rant and inar­tic­u­late response to a ques­tion from con­ser­v­a­tive talk show host Hugh Hewitt about which ele­ment of the nuclear tri­ad he felt was most impor­tant. (The nuclear tri­ad con­sists of the three vehi­cles for deliv­er­ing nuclear weapons: bomb­ing air­craft, seaborne nuclear missiles–primarily sub­ma­rine-launched weapons–and land-based nuclear mis­siles.) Trump clear­ly had no idea what the nuclear tri­ad was, and could­n’t come close to doing jus­tice to the top­ic. “. . . . Well, first of all, I think we need some­body absolute­ly that we can trust. . . the pow­er is so mas­sive that we can’t just leave areas that fifty years ago or sev­en­ty-five years ago we would­n’t care [about]. It was hand-to-hand com­bat. . . I think–I think, for me, nuclear is just the pow­er; the dev­as­ta­tion is very impor­tant to me. . . . I think one of the most impor­tant things that we have to wor­ry about is nuclear gen­er­al­ly speak­ing. . . . The pow­er of nuclear, the pow­er of the weapons that we have today–and that is, by the way, the deal with Iran–the con­cept of it is so impor­tant that you have to make a good deal and what they should have done is that they should have dou­bled up and tripled up the sanc­tions. . . . ”

thinkbignkickassWe then note Trump’s fun­da­men­tal igno­rance of busi­ness the­o­ry, his pre­tens­es to the con­trary notwith­stand­ing. ” ‘Are you famil­iar with the con­cept of net present val­ue?’ lawyer Andrew Ceres­ney asked. [This is a basic tenet of busi­ness, as famil­iar to grad­u­ate stu­dents of busi­ness as 2 + 2, as John­son says] ‘The con­cept of net present val­ue to me,’ Trump replied, ‘would be the val­ue of the land cur­rent­ly after debt. Well, to me, the word ‘net’ is an inter­est­ing word. It’s really–the word ‘val­ue’ is the impor­tant word. If you have an asset that you can do oth­er things with but you choose to do them–I haven’t cho­sen to do that. . . .”

Enter­ing into the meat of John­ston’s for­mi­da­ble text, the broad­cast high­lights a ram­bling, vul­gar, dis­or­ga­nized moti­va­tion­al talk he gave in Col­orado, in the com­pa­ny of a “con­vict­ed felon and swindler” named Felix Sater. In addi­tion to the inad­e­quate nature of the pre­sen­ta­tion itself, the val­ues Trump expressed are not to be over­looked.

Trump under­scored how much he dis­re­spect­ed “losers” and his belief in vengeance. Of pri­ma­ry sig­nif­i­cance in this con­text is his anec­dote about a for­mer employ­ee who was fired because she would­n’t do some­thing she felt was uneth­i­cal.

Attack­ing actress/comedian Rosie O’Don­nell, he high­light­ed his dis­taste for her phys­i­cal appear­ance in crude, vul­gar and fun­da­men­tal­ly ado­les­cent lan­guage.

Author John­ston notes that Trump stressed dur­ing his cam­paign that he was a devout Chris­t­ian, and yet his belief in “vengeance uber alles” is in fun­da­men­tal con­flict with Bib­li­cal teach­ing.

In the next chap­ter of the book, David Cay John­ston illus­trates how Trump prac­tices what he preach­es. When his nephew Fred Trump III filed suit after hav­ing been all but exclud­ed from Fred Jr.‘s will, Don­ald Trump saw to it that Fred’s son William, who had been borne with seri­ous health prob­lems, was pre­vent­ed from obtain­ing bad­ly need­ed med­ical care under the fam­i­ly med­ical pro­gram.

This placed young William’s life in jeop­ardy.

In the last excerpt read into the record in this broad­cast, David Cay John­ston relates the gen­e­sis of Trump’s rela­tion­ship with Sen­a­tor Joe McCarthy’s right-hand man Roy Cohn. Hav­ing been sued by the Jus­tice Depart­ment because of his dis­crim­i­na­tion against peo­ple of col­or when rent­ing apart­ments in his prop­er­ties, Trump turned to Cohn. It was the begin­ning of a long rela­tion­ship between the long-time red-baiter and orga­nized crime apol­o­gist and “The Don­ald.” Trump and Cohn lost the case.

1. The pro­gram begins with the read­ing of a poem by Robin­son Jef­fers, that sums up Mr. Emory’s feel­ings on what Trump’s elec­tion says about this coun­try, its cit­i­zens and its insti­tu­tions.

“Be Angry at the Sun” by Robin­son Jef­fers

That pub­lic men pub­lish false­hoods
Is noth­ing new. That Amer­i­ca must accept
Like the his­tor­i­cal republics cor­rup­tion and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for set­ting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these peo­ple, those war­riors.
This repub­lic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them ges­tic­u­lat­ing,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the pas­sion­ate
Man plays his part; the cold pas­sion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Cat­ul­lus, you know,
To lam­poon these crude sketch­es of Cae­sar. You are far
From Dan­te’s feet, but even far­ther from his dirty
Polit­i­cal hatreds.

Let boys want plea­sure, and men
Strug­gle for pow­er, and women per­haps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.

2. There could be no more telling point about the state of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal aware­ness than a poll tak­en short­ly before the elec­tion that found more Amer­i­cans felt Don­ald Trump was more hon­est than Hillary Clin­ton.

This is a sig­na­ture point of entry into our read­ing of the David Cay John­ston text.

“Why an Hon­esty Poll Shows an Advan­tage to Trump, Dis­ad­van­tage to Clin­ton” by Meghan Keneal­ly; ABC News; 11/2/2016.

Don­ald Trump is cur­rent­ly track­ing as the more hon­est of the two pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates in a poll, although fact-check­ing of his state­ments dur­ing the cam­paign have shown he’s lied sev­er­al times.

The lat­est ABC News/Washington Post track­ing poll reports that 46 per­cent of like­ly vot­ers believe he is the more hon­est and trust­wor­thy can­di­date, while 38 per­cent believed it was Hillary Clin­ton.

This marks the biggest gap between the two can­di­dates in five ABC News/Washington Post polls that asked the ques­tion, begin­ning in May.

3. The bulk of this pro­gram con­sists of a read­ing of excerpts from an excel­lent and very com­pact biog­ra­phy of Don­ald Trump–The Mak­ing of Don­ald Trump by David Cay John­ston. We can’t rec­om­mend strong­ly enough that lis­ten­ers buy this book, read it and use what­ev­er means avail­able to spread the word about it. (We note that nei­ther Mr. Emory nor any of the sta­tions that air this pro­gram get mon­ey from this book, its pub­lish­er or author.)

4. We begin by not­ing that Trump’s father net­worked with an orga­nized crime fig­ure named Willie Tomasel­lo, antic­i­pat­ing Trump’s own use of orga­nized crime fig­ures to fur­ther his com­mer­cial under­tak­ings. And Hillary Clin­ton is viewed as less hon­est than Trump! (The Mak­ing of Don­ald Trump, pp. 14–15.)

5. Next, we note Trump’s ram­bling, igno­rant and inar­tic­u­late response to a ques­tion from con­ser­v­a­tive talk show host Hugh Hewitt about which ele­ment of the nuclear tri­ad he felt was most impor­tant. (The nuclear tri­ad con­sists of the three vehi­cles for deliv­er­ing nuclear weapons: bomb­ing air­craft, seaborne nuclear missiles–primarily sub­ma­rine-launched weapons–and land-based nuclear mis­siles.) Trump clear­ly had no idea what the nuclear tri­ad was, and could­n’t come close to doing jus­tice to the top­ic. “. . . . Well, first of all, I think we need some­body absolute­ly that we can trust. . . the pow­er is so mas­sive that we can’t just leave areas that fifty years ago or sev­en­ty-five years ago we would­n’t care [about]. It was hand-to-hand com­bat. . . I think–I think, for me, nuclear is just the pow­er; the dev­as­ta­tion is very impor­tant to me. . . . I think one of the most impor­tant things that we have to wor­ry about is nuclear gen­er­al­ly speak­ing. . . . The pow­er of nuclear, the pow­er of the weapons that we have today–and that is, by the way, the deal with Iran–the con­cept of it is so impor­tant that you have to make a good deal and what they should have done is that they should have dou­bled up and tripled up the sanc­tions. . . . ” (The Mak­ing of Don­ald Trump, pp. xiv–xv.)

6. We then note Trump’s fun­da­men­tal igno­rance of busi­ness the­o­ry, his pre­tens­es to the con­trary notwith­stand­ing. ” ‘Are you famil­iar with the con­cept of net present val­ue?’ lawyer Andrew Ceres­ney asked. [This is a basic tenet of busi­ness, as famil­iar to grad­u­ate stu­dents of busi­ness as 2 + 2, as John­son says] ‘The con­cept of net present val­ue to me,’ Trump replied, ‘would be the val­ue of the land cur­rent­ly after debt. Well, to me, the word ‘net’ is an inter­est­ing word. It’s really–the word ‘val­ue’ is the impor­tant word. If you have an asset that you can do oth­er things with but you choose to do them–I haven’t cho­sen to do that. . . .” (The Mak­ing of Don­ald Trump, pp.18–19.)

7. Enter­ing into the meat of John­ston’s for­mi­da­ble text, the broad­cast high­lights a ram­bling, vul­gar, dis­or­ga­nized moti­va­tion­al talk he gave in Col­orado, in the com­pa­ny of a “con­vict­ed felon and swindler” named Felix Sater. In addi­tion to the inad­e­quate nature of the pre­sen­ta­tion itself, the val­ues Trump expressed are not to be over­looked.

Trump under­scored how much he dis­re­spect­ed “losers“and his belief in vengeance. Of pri­ma­ry sig­nif­i­cance in this con­text is his anec­dote about a for­mer employ­ee who was fired because she would­n’t do some­thing she felt was uneth­i­cal.

Attack­ing actress/comedian Rosie O’Don­nell, he high­light­ed his dis­taste for her phys­i­cal appear­ance in crude, vul­gar and fun­da­men­tal­ly ado­les­cent lan­guage.

Author John­ston notes that Trump stressed dur­ing his cam­paign that he was a devout Chris­t­ian, and yet his belief in “vengeance uber alles” is in fun­da­men­tal con­flict with Bib­li­cal teach­ing. (The Mak­ing of Don­ald Trump, pp.21–26.)

8. In the next chap­ter of the book, David Cay John­ston illus­trates how Trump prac­tices what he preach­es. When his nephew Fred Trump III filed suit after hav­ing been all but exclud­ed from Fred Jr.‘s will, Don­ald Trump saw to it that Fred’s son William, who had been borne with seri­ous health prob­lems, was pre­vent­ed from obtain­ing bad­ly need­ed med­ical care under the fam­i­ly med­ical pro­gram.

This placed young William’s life in jeop­ardy. (The Mak­ing of Don­ald Trump, pp.27–32.)

9. In the last excerpt read into the record in this broad­cast, David Cay John­ston relates the gen­e­sis of Trump’s rela­tion­ship with Sen­a­tor Joe McCarthy’s right-hand man Roy Cohn. Hav­ing been sued by the Jus­tice Depart­ment because of his dis­crim­i­na­tion against peo­ple of col­or when rent­ing apart­ments in his prop­er­ties, Trump turned to Cohn. It was the begin­ning of a long rela­tion­ship between the long-time red-baiter and orga­nized crime apol­o­gist and “The Don­ald.” Trump and Cohn lost the case. (The Mak­ing of Don­ald Trump, pp.33–37.)

 

 

 

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #932 The Making of Donald Trump (Top Banana Republic), Part 1”

  1. Here’s a sto­ry that would have been the­mat­i­cal­ly per­fect for the anniver­sary of Nixon’s res­ig­na­tion but instead we it’s hit­ting on the 53rd anniver­sary of the assas­si­na­tion of JFK. But con­sid­er­ing that we appear to be watch­ing a four to eight year slow death of the US, it’s still kind of works the­mat­i­cal­ly:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Don­ald Trump Basi­cal­ly Says Con­flicts Of Inter­est Aren’t Ille­gal If The Pres­i­dent Has Them
    “The law’s total­ly on my side,” he said.

    Paul Blu­men­thal
    11/22/2016 03:38 pm ET | Updat­ed

    WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump told The New York Times Tues­day that laws around con­flicts of inter­est don’t apply to him, and he can sim­ply keep run­ning his busi­ness­es from the White House.

    “In the­o­ry I could run my busi­ness per­fect­ly and then run the coun­try per­fect­ly,” Trump said, accord­ing to tweets from New York Times reporters inter­view­ing the pres­i­dent-elect Tues­day. “There’s nev­er been a case like this.”

    He is tech­ni­cal­ly cor­rect on both counts.

    Fed­er­al con­flict of inter­est laws do not apply to the pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, and the obvi­ous con­flicts of inter­est cre­at­ed from his own­er­ship of a glob­al real estate empire are unprece­dent­ed in the nation’s his­to­ry. Just because the fed­er­al laws man­dat­ing oth­er fed­er­al offi­cials to place their assets into a true blind trust run by an inde­pen­dent trustee do not apply to the pres­i­dent, does not mean that Trump’s con­flicts of inter­est are not real.

    Trump seems to think oth­er­wise: “The law’s total­ly on my side, the pres­i­dent can’t have a con­flict of inter­est.”

    To take Trump seri­ous­ly, and not lit­er­al­ly, as his defend­ers like to do, he is say­ing: If the pres­i­dent does it, it’s not ille­gal.

    The com­ments come just hours after Trump tweet­ed Mon­day night that peo­ple knew about his glar­ing con­flicts of inter­est when they vot­ed for him when they vot­ed for him. It is there­fore sup­pos­ed­ly the media’s fault for report­ing on them.

    ...

    The list of the president-elect’s con­flict of inter­est prob­lems has grown over the two weeks since he won elec­tion.

    Trump has claimed to place his three adult chil­dren, Ivan­ka, Don­ald Jr. and Eric Trump, in charge of his busi­ness, but also appoint­ed them to the exec­u­tive com­mit­tee of his pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion, thusnul­li­fy­ing any sep­a­ra­tion between com­pa­ny and gov­ern­ment.

    He met with three of his Indi­an busi­ness part­ners one week after win­ning elec­tion. Trump is involved in at least five real estate deals in India.

    His Argen­tin­ian busi­ness part­ners cel­e­brat­ed with him at his vic­to­ry par­ty and helped Pres­i­dent Mauri­cio Macri get in touch with the pres­i­dent-elect after the elec­tion. Trump hopes to build an office tow­er in Buenos Aires.

    Ivan­ka Trump, sup­pos­ed­ly lead­ing the Trump busi­ness inde­pen­dent of pol­i­tics, also spoke with Macri on that call. She also appeared in a pho­to­graph with Japan Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe when he met with the pres­i­dent-elect.

    Laws against bribery most cer­tain­ly apply to the pres­i­dent. Anoth­er thing that does is the emol­u­ments clause of the Con­sti­tu­tion. It states that no gov­ern­ment offi­cial shall receive favor­able pay­ment from a for­eign gov­ern­ment, for­eign gov­ern­ment-owned com­pa­ny or for­eign offi­cial with­out the con­sent of Con­gress. Trump owes mil­lions in debt to the Bank of Chi­na, which is owned by the gov­ern­ment of Chi­na.

    He also owes hun­dreds of mil­lions in debt to Deutsche Bank, a pri­vate Ger­man bank that is cur­rent­ly in set­tle­ment talks with the Depart­ment of Jus­tice over its ille­gal mort­gage abus­es. He oper­ates a hotel in Las Vegas cur­rent­ly in a labor dis­pute.

    He owns a gov­ern­ment lease for his Wash­ing­ton, D.C., hotel even though the lease states that it could not be held by a gov­ern­ment offi­cial. The D.C. hotel held an event the week after his elec­tion to sell for­eign diplo­mats and dig­ni­taries on stay­ing at its expen­sive lux­u­ry rooms to cur­ry favor with the pres­i­dent-elect.

    In the New York Times inter­view, Trump stat­ed that the D.C. hotel is “prob­a­bly a more valu­able asset than it was before.” He bragged that his brand is “hot­ter” now that he is pres­i­dent.

    On Mon­day, the Times report­ed that Trump spoke to British polit­i­cal fig­ure Nigel Farage, the for­mer head of the right-wing UK Inde­pen­dence Par­ty, about oppos­ing the con­struc­tion of off­shore wind farms in the UK. Trump has long protest­ed the con­struc­tion of off­shore wind farms near his golf course in Scot­land. He claims they would sul­ly the view and low­er his prop­er­ty val­ue. Farage appears to have gone ahead and denounced those off­shore wind farms.

    “I might have brought it up,” Trump sheep­ish­ly admit­ted in the Times inter­view.

    He added, though, “My company’s so unim­por­tant to me rel­a­tive to what I’m doing.”

    “I don’t want to influ­ence any­thing.”

    “To take Trump seri­ous­ly, and not lit­er­al­ly, as his defend­ers like to do, he is say­ing: If the pres­i­dent does it, it’s not ille­gal.”

    Yep, Pres­i­dent-elect Trump is already chan­nel­ing post-impeach­ment Nixon. That’s a bad sign, right? Who knows these days. And in this case, Trump might be tech­ni­cal­ly cor­rect! He real­ly can legal­ly act like a com­plete self-serv­ing sleaze bag and there’s no explic­it law pre­emp­tive­ly declar­ing that to be ille­gal behav­ior:

    ...
    “In the­o­ry I could run my busi­ness per­fect­ly and then run the coun­try per­fect­ly,” Trump said, accord­ing to tweets from New York Times reporters inter­view­ing the pres­i­dent-elect Tues­day. “There’s nev­er been a case like this.”

    He is tech­ni­cal­ly cor­rect on both counts.

    Fed­er­al con­flict of inter­est laws do not apply to the pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, and the obvi­ous con­flicts of inter­est cre­at­ed from his own­er­ship of a glob­al real estate empire are unprece­dent­ed in the nation’s his­to­ry. Just because the fed­er­al laws man­dat­ing oth­er fed­er­al offi­cials to place their assets into a true blind trust run by an inde­pen­dent trustee do not apply to the pres­i­dent, does not mean that Trump’s con­flicts of inter­est are not real.

    Trump seems to think oth­er­wise: “The law’s total­ly on my side, the pres­i­dent can’t have a con­flict of inter­est.”

    ...

    So that’s pret­ty dis­turb­ing. But keep in mind that the legal­i­ty of Trump’s con­flicts of inter­est don’t shield him from pub­lic opin­ion. And that’s just might be the most sig­nif­i­cant aspect of Trump’s pub­lic asser­tions that he can’t have a con­flict of inter­est. Because if his base sup­port­ers con­tin­ue to sup­port him after pub­licly tak­ing this stand, the big mes­sage that’s going to send to Trump’s psy­che is that he can get away with ANYTHING. No holds barred. No con­se­quences. In oth­er words, while it might seem like we all got to see ‘Trump Unleashed’ on the cam­paign trail, we ain’t noth­ing yet! He’s just get­ting start­ed.

    In oth­er news, the folks over at Bre­it­bart are real­ly pissed that Trump backed away from his cam­paign pledge to jail Hillary Clin­ton over their fan­ta­sy alle­ga­tions today. And while the obvi­ous expla­na­tion for back­ing out of this major cam­paign pledge is that there’s no actu­al case to pros­e­cute, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Pres­i­dent-elect just assert­ed that he can’t have con­flicts of inter­est in the face of ques­tions about all his con­flicts of inter­est.

    As we can see, the 53rd anniver­sary of JFK’s assas­si­na­tion was quite a doozy for the devo­lu­tion of the office of the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 22, 2016, 4:09 pm

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