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

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by ear­ly win­ter of 2016. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.) (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012.)

WFMU-FM is pod­cast­ing For The Record–You can sub­scribe to the pod­cast HERE [2].

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

making-of-trump [6]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 [7] (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 [8] 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 [9] 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 [10] that 46 per­cent of like­ly vot­ers believe he is the more hon­est and trust­wor­thy can­di­date, while 38 per­cent believed it was Hillary Clin­ton [11]. 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. . . . ”

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. . . .”

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. [8]

Don­ald Trump [9] 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 [10] that 46 per­cent of like­ly vot­ers believe he is the more hon­est and trust­wor­thy can­di­date, while 38 per­cent believed it was Hillary Clin­ton [11].

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 [7] 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.)