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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.
Introduction: 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 have been–and 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.)
Although we originally planned to read the whole book into the record, the acceleration of events demands coverage and we will be turning to as much of those developments as we can highlight, under the circumstances.
The broadcast begins with another reading of the poem Be Angry at the Sun by Robinson Jeffers.
“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
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.
This fifth and final installment of the series references the substance of 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.”
In the previous program, we opined that we all, in a sense, are enrolled in Trump University. By the same token, we could all be said to be playing the board game Trump: The Game. ” . . . . Then there’s his Monopoly-like board game. When Trump and executives from Milton-Bradley introduced Trump: The Game in 1989, the developer surprised everyone by declaring those royalties would go to charity, too. Milton-Bradley took Trump at his word. It also figured it might improve sales, which were weak, if people realized their purchases would not enrich a presumed billionaire but go to charity. Its television ads told potential buyers: ‘Mr. Trump’s proceeds from Trump: The Game will be donated to charity.’ . . . Trump has said he made $808,000 and that the money was donated to his Donald J. Trump Foundation. . . . At the time, I spent a day calling New York and New Jersey charities trying to find any disclosures of gifts made by Trump. . . . But call after call produced nothing. . . .” (The Making of Donald Trump; p. 17.)
Trump appeared to have won over a majority of voting military veterans and a poll of active-duty service members indicated that most preferred Trump. Trump himself avoided military service during the Vietnam War. ” . . . . Donald turned eighteen in 1964, when the death toll in Vietnam was rising fast. He got four student deferments and one medical deferment, after his doctor wrote that he had a bone spur in his foot. Which foot? a journalist asked years later. Trump said he could not recall. . . .” (The Making of Donald Trump; pp. 131-132.)
In the fall of 2015, Trump boycotted a GOP primary campaign debate because Megyn Kelly was to be the on-air host. Trump instead went to an event on the Battleship Iowa museum to what he misrepresented as a major veterans organization. ” . . . . Trump instead went to the Battleship Iowa, now a museum at anchor in Long Beach, California, to deliver what his campaign said would be a major address on national defense. Trump praised the sponsor of the event, Veterans for a Strong America, and told the audience that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people belonged to the organization. There were evidently two related organizations, both nonprofits, though Trump and his host never made that clear to the audience on the ship or watching on television. One was a charity, the other one of those dark money political groups that have expanded since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, enabling money from undisclosed sources to influence elections. A quick internet check would revealed to the Trump campaign that the IRS had revoked the nonprofit status of Veterans for a Strong America due to their failure to file required disclosure reports. A charity disclosure organization, Guidestar, reported that it had no record of any board of directors, Every indication pointed to Veterans for a Strong America being a one-man enterprise run by a South Dakota lawyer named Joel Arends, whose operation was under investigation for suspected election improprieties in Arizona and Texas. Reporters later learned the organization had thirty dollars in the bank and debts ten times that size. None of this was in line with Trump’s promotion of the group’s immense size, influence, and good works. . . .” (The Making of Donald Trump; pp. 135-136.)
Next, the program highlights how Trump promotes himself and his projects using The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. Trump, his daughter Ivanka, his son Donald, Jr., the chief operating officer of the Trump Organization (Donald Calamari) and Trump’s butler Anthony Senecal are major figures in this organization. The main figure in the organization is Joseph Cinque, aka “Joey No Socks” or “The Preppy Don.” ” . . . If those sound like names that might be associated with a figure involved in organized crime, it’s because they are. New York police with a search warrant knocked on the door of Cinque’s Park Avenue South apartment in 1989. Cinque declined to let them in. The police applied a battering ram. Inside the apartment they found a trove of stolen art, including two Marc Chagall prints valued at $40,000. they had been taken in an art gallery heist. Cinque made a deal to plead to a misdemeanor, but prosecutors scrapped the plea bargain after Cinque was seen talking to John Gotti, the ‘dapper don’ who became head of the Gambino crime family by arranging the murder of his predecessor Paul Castellano–one of the secret owners of the company that supplied concrete for many Trump buildings.
“Gotti told Cinque that he would ‘take care of the DA,’ an apparent reference to Anne Heyman, the prosecutor who had offered the plea bargain. . . . Heyman ordered a more thorough investigation of Cinque. She alleged that the investigation showed that Cinque ‘was dealing drugs out of his apartment and fencing stolen art-work.’ Heyman also said that Cinque’s apartment on Central Park South appeared to be a retail outlet for stolen clothing, including Armani suits and silk shirts. In 1990, Cinque pleaded guilty to a felony: receiving stolen property. . . .” (The Making of Donald Trump; p. 158.)
Another interesting, close associate of Donald Trump was Felix Satter, who changed the spelling of his name, adding an extra “T” to avoid being recognized on internet searches. ” . . . ‘Satter’s’ name appears with just one ‘T’ in a host of places. There’s the deed to his home for example. It is also spelled with only one ‘T’ on New York State court papers from his 1991 felony conviction for stabbing a man in the face with the stem of a margarita glass. The name Sater with one ‘T’ also appears on federal court papers in a $40 million organized crime stock swindle he confessed to in 1998, a scheme that benefited him as well as the Genovese and Gambino crime families. The stock swindle involved fake stock brokerage firms using high-pressure tactics to get naive people to buy worthless shares from Sater and his mob friends. . . .” (The Making of Donald Trump; p. 162.)
Trump’s close associate Felix was able to escape serious legal retribution by going to work for the CIA. ” . . . . There is every indication that the extraordinarily lenient treatment resulted from Sater playing a get-out-of-jail free card. Shortly before his secret guilty plea, Sater became a freelance operative of the Central Intelligence Agency. One of his fellow stock swindlers, Salvatore Lauria, wrote a book about it. The Scorpion and the Frog is described on its cover as ‘the true story of one man’s fraudulent rise and fall n the Wall Street of the nineties.’ According to Lauria–and the court files that have been unsealed–Sater helped the CIA buy small missiles before they got to terrorists. He also provided other purported national security services for a reported fee of $300,000. Stories abound as to what else Sater may or may not have done in the arena of national security. . . .” (The Making of Donald Trump; p. 165.)
The last text reading concludes with discussion of Trump’s unsavory real estate deals. Luring unwary buyers in with the prestigious Trump brand name, ‘The Donald” left a great many of them high and dry when the truth emerged about what was really going on. In this sense, too, we are ALL investors in the Trump brand name, and likely to receive the same treatment as his unwary real estate customers.
A Baja California (Mexico) project is typical of Trump’s methodology and operations in this regard. ” . . . . A June 2007 newsletter notified buyers that construction was underway. The next month, the Trump Baja News reported, ‘our new and excited homeowners now are part of an elite group of vacation homeowners who own property developed by one of the most respected names in real estate, Donald J. Trump.’ Three months later, in October, when Wall Street crashed under the weight of the toxic mortgages and other Baja real estate projects faltered, the same newsletter carried a message ‘From the desk of Ivanka Trump.’ Ivanka assured the buyers that their investment was sound. ‘Though it may be rue that some of Baja’s developments could slow down, these market conditions simply do not apply to Trump Ocean Resort–or any other Trump development,’ she wrote.
“Two months later, in December 2007, the newsletter advised buyers of newly discovered geological problems afflicting the building site. A few months later, in March 2008, anxious buyers received calls or letters. Construction loans had been approved, would be funded shortly, and work would be underway. This was nine months after buyers had been told in writing that construction had already begun. Still, construction did not proceed.
“All of these promotions, sales pitches, and newsletter updates created the impression that Trump was the builder and the developer, words he used. The buyers later said they bought in because Trump was the developer or builder. That understanding then changed abruptly.
“The worst news arrived two before Christmas 2008. What had been described as a partnership between ‘the Trump Organization, Donald J. Trump,’ and the other people and companies involved was described in a new way. Neither Trump nor the Trump Organization were investment partners in the Trump Ocean Resort. They were not the developers, either. They had merely licensed the use of the Trump name. . . .” (The Making of Donald Trump; pp. 169-170.)
It is gruesomely ironic that the bulk of Trump’s scamming revolves around his real estate empire. It was, of course, the collapse of the real estate market that led to the financial collapse of 2008.