The Weiner Component #171 – The Trump Presidency

 

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected to the presidency of the United States.  He became the President-Elect and will assume office on January 20, 2017.  Currently he is in the process of organizing his new government.

 

Donald Trump has also recently ended three Trump University class-action law suits for a payment of 25 million dollars and a non-admission of guilt. By this he cannot be legally accused of fraud.  The first lawsuit had been filed in 2010.  There are over 7,000 members of the first class-action suit.  From what I understand the people who were conned into going to his seminars will receive about half of what they paid to attend.

 

 Trump had, on numerous occasions, accused the Judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel of being partial because he is of Mexican ancestry, even though he was born in Indiana. I suppose, following Trump’s thinking, and that since his antecedents are German it would follow that he has an affinity for white power.

 

The Judge had recommended that the case be settled out of Court.  Trump followed this advice.  I suspect this allows him to avoid being legally accused of fraud.  But there is a 40 million dollar law suit by the State of New York for fraud. I don’t know if he has wiggled out of that case.   His Foundation is also currently being investigated for fraud by the State of New York and possibly by the IRS.  Up to forty other states could also tie into this case since his foundation has functioned in many of the states.

                    *************************************

Trump was elected for a variety of reason, some of which were not too wholesome, but mainly because he was an outsider.  The national feeling toward the Washington, D.C. culture was/is fairly negative around the country.  Washington, or to be more specific, the government to the general public’s perception had not done much in terms of passing necessary laws or properly running the country over the last few years.

 

Trump was an outsider with no taint of Washington about him.  He also has no experience in running a government and has made all sorts of outlandish promises about what he would do as President.  He promised something to just about everybody.  But now that he has won the election he is bringing back to governmental power the old scandal-ridden politicians who have functioned on state and local government.  Three of the leading ones with checkered pasts are Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie. 

 

Gingrich does not want to be Secretary of State or, for that matter, in the President’s Cabinet.  He seems to want to be a senior planner for the entire Federal Government.  This would be a new post whose line of authority would have to be specifically defined. 

 

Gingrich has a long record of misdeeds and foul statements.  His denunciation of Democrats and the Democratic Party go far beyond the pale of reasonableness.  His lack of any sense of propriety allowed him to serve his first wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital recovering from a cancer operation.  Divorcing his second wife was not so dramatic and he is still married to his third wife.  He had affairs with his second and third wives while he was still married to his previous wife.

 

Newt became a member of the House of Representatives in 1979.  He was able to dramatically work his way up to the position of Speaker of the House during Bill Clinton’s third year in office as President.  The Ethics Committee in the Republican dominated House of Representatives had 82 instances of ethics violations.  They eventually charged him with one ethnic breach.  Gingrich resigned as Speaker and shortly afterwards also resigned from the House of Representatives. There is no way he would get approval for any appointment that required Senate approval.

 

After his resignation from the House of Representatives Newt did not return to Georgia.  Instead he stayed in Washington as a political consultant and did numerous nefarious things to raise money over the years.

 

In July of 2016 it was announced that Gingrich was on Trump’s shortlist along with Chris Christie and Mike Pence for Trump’s Vice-President.  Pence was chosen.  What will happen to him in Trump’s presidency is anyone’s guess.  But as long as it doesn’t require Senate confirmation some sort of job is a possibility.

 

Rudy Giuliani was born on May 28, 1944.  He is currently 72 years old.  He has been through three marriages and is currently living with his third wife.  Medically at age 55 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which was discovered and treated from April of 2000 on before it metastasized.  The treatments lasted several very uncomfortable months according to Giuliani.

 

His past is considered checkered because his philandering went on throughout his career and was fairly well known.   His second wife, by whom he had two children, locked him out of Gracie Manor, the New York major’s residence, when he was mayor of New York City.  She learned of the divorce from the local newspapers.  Earlier it was reported for the entire city that Giuliani was going about with the woman who would later become his third wife.   His second wife settled for 6.8 million dollars and custody of the two children. 

 

Giuliani started his political life as a Democrat up until 1975, then from 1975 until 1980 he became and independent, and finally in 1980 he became a Republican.  It would seem that mostly what he was, was an opportunist.

 

While mayor of New York City Giuliani had been widely criticized for locating the Office of Emergency Management headquarters on the 23d floor of one of the Twin Towers that would eventually face a terrorist attack.  He apparently wanted a convenient place to make his public announcements.

 

This decision was opposed by the NYC Police Department and others because it was considered a prime target for a terrorist attack.  The location the Police Department wanted was in Brooklyn, which would not be a convenient area for news conferences. 

 

 After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, blamed the choice of the Management Headquarters on one of his subordinates.  That individual came up with absolute proof that Giuliani had made that decision.

 

Giuliani was praised by some for his involvement with the rescue recovery efforts after 9/11 but others criticized him severely, saying that he exaggerated his role after the terrorist attacks.  Presumably he cast himself as a hero for political gain.  He collected 11.4 million dollars from speaking fees for the single year after the attack.  His net worth rose about 30 times after the attack.

 

In addition Giuliani downplayed the health effects of the collapse of the Twin Towers.  The destruction of the buildings filled the air of lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn with toxic and caustic dust containing, among other things, fine asbestos particles.  He moved quickly to reopen Wall Street, and it was reopened on September 17th some six days later.  He stated that, “The air was safe and acceptable.”  But in the weeks after the attack The United States Geological Survey identified hundreds of asbestos “hot spots” of debris dust that remained on buildings and was easily blown into the atmosphere.  In June 2007, Christie Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and director of the Environment Protection Agency reportedly stated that the EPA had pushed for workers to wear respirators but that had been blocked by Giuliani.  She believed that subsequent lung disease and deaths suffered by responders were a result of these actions.

 

Currently, presumably, Giuliani is competing with Mitt Romney for the position of Secretary of State.  It’s not known whether Giuliani will be able to get Senate approval for the position if he is chosen.  It would be real embarrassing to Trump if the Senate refused to approve Rudy’s appointment.

 

Another member of Trump’s supporters is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  After dropping out of the 2016 Presidential Nominating race Christie became an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, who named him head of his transition planning team.  About the time some of Christie’s close New Jersey associates or subordinates were found guilty of largely closing down the George Washington Bridge (Bridgegate), some members of the State Legislature talked about impeaching Governor Christie whose term of office won’t end until 2018.  Since that time Trump replaced Christie from being in charge of his transition to the presidency with his Vice-Presidential running mate, Mike Pence.  Shortly afterwards three of Christie’s associates were also removed from the transition team.  Presently Christie seems to be still involved in the Trump presidency.

 

These three individuals were all close advisors of Trump until shortly after he became President-Elect.  What their relationship is to him now is not exactly clear.  Whether or not they would be approved by the Senate to be anywhere in Trump’s Cabinet is also not clear.  In fact it might be highly doubtful.

                            *******************************

Donald Trump has promised to surround himself with the best possible individuals in order to run the country.  On about Friday, November 18 Trump began making hard right choices for some of his top posts.  His version of the best possible people seems to rest with the Tea Party and even somewhat to the right of them with his appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist, a position that does not require Senate confirmation.

 

For his Attorney General Trump has chosen Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Jeff Sessions, a conservative senator from Alabama.  Jeff Sessions is the perfect image of the traditional Southern white ultra conservative.  In 1986 Sessions was appointed by President Reagan to be a Federal District Judge in Alabama.  He was the second person in the history of these appointments to be rejected by the Senate. 

 

Representative Luis Gutierrez, D. Illinois, has called Sessions “anti-immigrant and anti-civil rights…. If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man.”

 

Trump is loyal to people who support him.  Sessions was one of Trump’s earliest supporters.  This is the man who Trump would have straighten out Federal Justice in the United States.  In Trump’s words, he is the best man available.

                       *********************************

For CIA Director Trump’s nominee will be Republican Mike Pompeo, a Tea Party backed congressman from Kansas.  During his Congressional Campaign Pompeo received $80,000 in donations from Koch Industries and its employees.  On November 18, 2016 Pompeo was chosen to be Trump’s nominee for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

 

On May 9, 2013, Pompeo introduced the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act.  The Bill, which passed the House along party lines but was never even brought up in the Senate, set a time limit for the government to approve natural gas pipelines. 

 

Pompeo rejects many concepts about global warming.  He’s referred to President Obama’s environmental and climate change plans as “damaging and radical.”  He opposes the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and supports eliminating the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).  He opposes the Affordable Health Care Act.  He supported the government shutdown in 2013.  He has been critical of President Obama, who he alleged was indecisive and not properly respectful of military leaders such as General McChrystal, who was forced to resign after making negative remarks about President Obama to Rolling Stone magazine.

 

In terms of security Pompeo supports the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.  This is warrantless surveillance.  He wants Congress to pass a law reestablishing collection of all necessary data and combine it with financial and lifestyle into a comprehensive database.  Legal and bureaucratic impediments in surveillance should be removed.  This makes President George H. Bush’s Freedom Act look like nothing even though it allowed warrantless surveillance. 

 

On July 21, 2015 Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton alleged secret agreements which allowed limited inspections of Iran’s nuclear deal.  He wants Muslim leaders who refuse to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam “potentially complicit” in the attacks.

 

He also wants Guantanamo Bay detention camp kept open and he criticized the Obama administration’s decision to end the CIA’s secret prisons (the black overseas sites and the administration’s edict that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws.

                                  

This is the man that President-Elect Donald Trump announced he would nominate to be his Director of the CIA.  He will have to be confirmed by a Republican dominated Senate, which has a majority of two Republican votes.

                              *******************************

Trump’s choice for his National Security Advisor is retired Lt. General Michael Flynn. On November 18, 2016 he became Trump’s National Security Advisor.  He has suggested that Americans should fear all Muslims.  He has also been criticized for supporting Trump in calling for a thaw in relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  In 2015 he was paid to attend a dinner in Moscow hosted by the Russian government where he sat at a table with Putin.  He has also written critically of Putin and the danger Russia presents to the U.S. 

 

Flynn spent 33 years in the army as an intelligence officer, rising to Lt. General in April of 2012.  He was forced to retire a year earlier than he intended after clashing with the Obama administration officials.  Flynn has tended to exhibit a loose relationship with facts, leading his subordinates to refer to his dubious assertions as “Flynn facts.”

 

After retirement Flynn and his son opened a consulting firm which provides services for business and governments.  His company is allegedly lobbying for Turkey.  Flynn has sat in on classified national security briefings at the same time he was working for foreign clients.

                        *******************************

Perhaps Trump’s most controversial appointment to date is Stephen K. Bannon as his chief strategist.  Bannon has been the chairman of Breitbart News.  He turned the website into “a far-right ideology that promotes what many consider to be white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny.

 

Breitbart News has been and is a far-right news opinion, commentary website that has pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic material.  In March 2012 Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News.  Under his leadership it took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach.  Bannon declared the website “the platform for the alt-right” in 2016.  Breitbart has been misogynist, xenophobic, and racist.

 

On August 17, 2016 Bannon was appointed Chief Executive of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.  Bannon has been married three times.  Each marriage ended in divorce with each of his ex-wives claiming domestic abuse.  In early November of 2016 Bannon declared that he was a nationalist, not a white-nationalist.  Currently he has a leave of absence from Breitbart News.

            

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff in 2017 will be Reince Priebus, the former Republican National Committee’s Chairman.  Priebus got on the Trump bandwagon early in the campaign and has stringently supported Trump ever since.  To me he seems to have an insipid quality but seems to be loyal to those who are loyal to him.

                     *********************************

These are some of the people Donald Trump has appointed as President-Elect to run the government of the United States from January 20, 2017 on.  I would assume Trump has decided that they are the best people available.  They don’t strike me as being Washington outsiders or the best people available to run those offices.  In fact I get the feeling that Trump is scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with them.

 

It has been suggested that Trump will be impeached before his four year term has ended.  I can well believe the possibility.  

The Weiner Component #158 – Part 1: Donald J. Trump: The Presumptive Republican Candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

The Race to choose presidential candidates for both major political parties in the United States seems to be just about over now.  The presumptive candidate for the Republican Party is Donald J. Trump.

 

The Republicans will meet at the Quicken Loans Area from July 19 – 21 (M – TH) 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  There they will start with the meeting of the rules committee a week earlier, vote the 2016 rules into existence, choose the Presidential candidate, write their platform of what the Party stands for the next four years, and choose the Vice Presidential candidate.

 

Donald J. Trump, their Presumptive Candidate, presumably is their choice for President of the United States.  If he doesn’t make any more stupid verbal mistakes or if new negative material on his background doesn’t become available to the general public he may become their actual candidate.  Right now one bookie in Las Vegas is giving 12 – 1 odds against Trump getting elected, another is giving odds of 25 to 1.  Still another Las Vegas bookie is taking bets that Donald Trump will be impeached at some point if he is elected.

 

Of all the people that the Republicans could have chosen as their nominee for president, Donald Trump is the worst possible choice.  On a 1 – 10 scale with 1 being the least satisfactory number, Donald Trump rates a 0 or less.  With the blatant fabricating, erratic behavior and the information coming out about him his rating keeps dropping.  He could conceivably end up at a minus ten or higher.

 

From examining his history he represents everything negative about human beings.  He treats most of his employees in the same fashion as a man who hates dogs would treat the animals, like slime.  In business abuses virtually all the people who work for him are potential victims.  He is a liar who apparently can’t tell the difference between a falsehood and truth.  He also sees everything in terms of himself and what he can get out of everyone.  Donald Trump is a sad example of a human being.

 

Interestingly Donald Trump has claimed to be a billionaire, stating publically that he has over 10 billion dollars.  Originally he said that he is really rich and that he is self-funding his campaign and is therefore beholden to nobody, but now that he is the presumptive Republican candidate he claims that he can no longer afford to finance himself.  It would seem that he exaggerated the extent of his wealth.  He has not released any income tax forms to show how much he did or didn’t pay in taxes.  I would suspect he paid 0 in income taxes and doesn’t want to admit that to his public,.

***********************************************

Donald Trump, over the years, has used his name as a commodity, renting it out for a small percentage to innumerable products.  This has satisfied both his ego and his desire for additional money.

 

One of the items of which he was offered to add his mane was Trump University, an American, for profit, Education Company that would run a real estate training program.  A man named Michael Sexton created a business plan for a real estate training program and presented it to Donald Trump looking to pay Trump a flat fee for the use of his name.  Trump decided that he wanted to be the principle owner of this company.  He would own 93% of it after it was organized.

 

Trump University was incorporated in 2004 by Trump and two others as a New York limited liability company. It began operation on May 23, 2005.  It was a privately held, unaccredited school which did not give college credits, whose object was to make a profit for its owners.

 

Since it was unaccredited and did not offer college credit it was illegal under the laws of New York State which notified the business it was an illegal operation.  Trump was able to forestall changing its name for four years; after which the name was changed to the Trump Entrepreneur.  In 2011, the company became the subject of an inquiry by the New York Attorney General’s office for illegal business practices.  This resulted in a lawsuit filed in 2013, which remains ongoing.

 

rump University is also subject to two ongoing class action lawsuits in California Federal Court.  The lawsuits have centered on allegations that Trump University misled students into thinking that is was a real university whose instructors were hand picked by Donald Trump, when in fact they were not and it certainly wasn’t a real university.

 

In 2011 the office of the Texas Attorney General investigated Trump University.  After exchanging communications with investigators that included requests from the investigators for customer lists and internal documents, Trump University closed its operations in that state.  Once they went away the state dropped the investigation.

 

The focus of the seminar was real estate instruction.  Trump claimed in advertisements that he could turn anyone into a successful real estate investor.  The instruction began with an introductory seminar in rented space like a hotel ballroom.  The introductory seminar, which was free, urged students to sign up for additional classes, ranting from $1,495 to $35,000 for a “Gold Elite” program.  The records indicate that 7,000 tickets were sold to customers attending classes.  Approximately 6,000 of these tickets were for $15,000, for a three day course and 1,000 tickets were for silver, gold, or elite courses, ranging in price from $19,000 to $35,000.

 

The people who signed up were those desperate, for whatever reason, for money.  In order to get people to pay the so-called tuition the school had these people increase their debt limit on their credit cards to the maximum possible.  The excuse given was so that they could possibly jump into an immediate real estate deal of one became available.  The tuition was then charged to the credit card.  An interesting business plan to get those generally in debt to go into  greater debt to increase the profit for Trump’s company.

 

Trump said he “handpicked” the instructors but he testified in a 2012 deposition that he never selected the instructors for the program.  For a time in 2012, according to one of the other co-owners, Trump signed off on the school’s advertisements.  For a time in 2008 it used the name of “Trump Wealth Institute.”  The company ceased operating in 2010, after five years.

 

Three lawsuits have been file and are pending.  They assert the Trump University engaged in a variety of illegal business practices that range from false claims to racketeering.  Two are federal class-action lawsuits: one is against Trump University and its managers, including Donald Trump, and one it against Donald Trump personally.  These two lawsuits are in California.  There is a third case in New York, which has been in process since 2012 that is looking into criminal actions by Trump and his company.  Here Trump University is accused of being a “bait and switch” scheme and not a university.  Trump is accused of misleading over 5,000 people.

 

The first two cases will be heard in California by U.S. District Court by Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel..

 

Trump has traditionally used the courts and the law as a weapon against his opponents.  To him it is a means of extending legal cases until they are out of the financial range of the people suing him or he is suing.  He will delay as endlessly as possible the cases and then, if he loses, continue this process by appealing and , if necessary, re-appealing the case.  The Courts and the law have been his tool against people he cheats or wants to punish for whatever reason.  Most legal cases can take a very long time to be resolved.

 

In 2005 the New York State Department of Education sent Trump University a letter stating that they were violating state law by using the word “university” when they were not actually chartered as one and did not have the required license to offer instruction.  The organization promised to stop instructing students.  The New York Attorney General alleged that such instruction continued; Trump University was stalling.  It was not until March of 2010 that they dropped the word “university” and became “The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative/

On August 24, 2013, the State of New York filed a $40 million Civil Suit against Trump University.  They alleged illegal business practices and false claims made by the company.  Trump denied the allegations and claimed a 98% approval rating.  He called New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman “a political hack looking to get publicity.”  Trump filed a complaint alleging that the state Attorney General’s investigation was accompanied by a campaign donation shakedown; the complaint was investigated by a New York ethics committee and dismissed in August 2015.

 

On October 2014 the Court found Trump personally liable for operating the company without the required business license.  The case is still pending.

 

Taria Makaeff had paid nearly $60,000 to Trump University in 2008.  She brought a class action lawsuit against the university on April 30,2010, in the District Court for Southern California, seeking refunds for Makaeff and other former students of Trump University, as well as punitive damages for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and bad faith.  The suit did not originally name Donald Trump as a defendant, but did so in a later amended complaint.

 

On May 26, 2010, Trump University filed a counterclaim that alleged Makaeff had made defamatory statements about Trump University, “including many completely spurious accusations of actual crimes,” that had caused the school losses of more than $1 million in los tuition.  On June 30, 2010, Makaeff countered that the defamation claim was an attempt to intimidate her.  Makaeff appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three judge panel ruled on April 17, 2013 that Trump University had to show malice on Makaeff’s part to establish defamation.  This returned the case to District Judge Gonzalo P, Curiel, who, on June 16, 2014, ruled in favor of Makaeff and dismissed the defamation claim.  Makaeff then, at the court’s invitation, presented evidence of her legal costs in connection with the defamation litigation.  She asked for $1.3 million.  Judge Curiel, on April 20, 2015, ordered Trump University to reimburse he $798,000 in legal fees and costs.

 

On March 21, 2016, over objections from Trump University attorneys, Judge Curiel allowed Tarla Makaeff to withdraw from the case as head plaintiff, and named Sonny Low to take her place.  The case is coming up in November 2016.

 

On October 18 2011, Art Cohen filed civil lawsuit, “Cohen b Trump,” in the U.S. District Court for Southern California, as a class action on behalf of consumers throughout the United States who purchased services known as “Live Events” from Trump University after January 1, 2007.  It alleged violations of the RICO Statue, being essentially a scheme to defraud.  The suit named Donald Trump as the sole defendant and sought damages, including punitive, and treble damages.  In an order dated October 24, 2014 U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P,. Curiel certified that Cohen had presented enough evidence to allow the lawsuit to proceed.

 

The general council for Trump University stated that the university would appeal the Curiel ruling.  He said it showed a “manifest disregard for the law.”  In October 2015 he stated that Trump would ask Curiel to recuse himself because of his “animosity toward Mr. Trump and his views.”  Trump’s lawyers have not filed any motion to bring this about.  According to legal experts such a motion would lack legal merit and probably be considered frivolous.  This could cause Trump’s lawyer to lose their licenses.

 

On May 27, 2016, Judge Curiel granted a request by the Washington Post for public release of documents that had been filed in the case.  He noted that they were “routine” and many were publically available.  These documents included “playbooks” documenting instructions for employees to use a hard-sell approach, and depositions from former employees of Trump University that stated that the university had defrauded and lied to its students.  This case is scheduled for a hearing on July 22, 2016.  If the result is negative for Trump he will delay the results by appealing the verdict..

 

During campaign speeches, Trump has revealingly called Judge Curiel a “hater.”  He has described him as Mexican or Spanish, even though he was born in New York City just like Donald Trump.  His parents were of Mexican decent unlike Trump whose parents were of German and Scottish decent.  Apparently because of intense Republican criticism from people like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, Trump has been silent lately about Judge Curiel.

******************************************

According to an investigative article in USA Today hundreds of contractors and employees of Trump claim that he doesn’t pay his bills.  Generally with contractors he never makes the final payment claiming that the work is shoddy even though it has been approved by his general contractor.  With employees, like lawyers or ordinary workers, he just doesn’t pay them full for their services.  Interestingly he’s offered many of the contractors to whom he hadn’t given the final payment after the contract was completed, the opportunity to work for him again.  Employees, I suspect, that he’s finished with he sees no reason to pay fully.  In this fashion he has probably saved millions of dollars.  Lawsuits are expensive and take a lot of time; most people of companies can’t afford them; in many cases the lawsuit will cost more that these people or companies are owed by Trump.

 

In the early 1980s, when they were going through a surge of building casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey the Trump Organization constructed the Taj Mahal Resort Casino.  A Philadelphia cabinet maker bid and won a contract to produce the bases for slot machines, registration desks, bars, and other cabinets in the Trump Plaza casino.

 

Bidding is a complicated process: a number companies compete for the contract which goes generally to the lowest bidder.  The contractors have to figure their labor and material costs and come up with a reasonable profit.  If the price is too high he will be outbid.  The only place he can be reasonable is in his profit margin.  The profit margin has to be as small as possible.  The contract won by Edward Friel, Jr. was for $400,000.  Apparently the bid was low, virtually every dollar was needed in payment to make the venture a success for the subcontractor.

There is usually an initial payment, a middle of the job payment, and a final one after the job is completed.  The final payment, in this case, was for $83,000.  It contained the profit and some of the costs of building the bases.  This payment was never made, presumably because of shoddy work, even after approval by the general contractor.  But later Friel was offered the opportunity to bid for additional contracts.  Friel’s lawyer informed him that it would cost over $83,000 to sue for the debt if Trump choose to string the case out.  The cabinet company eventually went under.

 

Atlantic City records indicate that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time.  This also included workers who installed walls, chandeliers, and plumbing.

 

A USA Today Network analysis found that Trump had been involved in over 3,500 lawsuits over the last 30 years.  At least 60 lawsuit, in addition to liens, judgements and other government fillings documents where people have accused him and his business of failing to pay them for their work.  Among these a dishwasher in Florida, a glass company in New Jersey, a carpet company, a plumber, painters, forty-eight waiters, dozens of bartenders, and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs coast to coast.  This includes real estate brokers and even law firms that had represented him in some of these suits and others.  Trump doesn’t discriminate, he stiffs everybody.

 

Trump’s companies have been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005, for failing to pay overtime or the minimum wage.  This includes 21 citations against the now defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the former Trump Mortgage LLC in New York.  Both cases were resolved with back wages being paid.

 

In addition to these cases the review found over 200 mechanics liens that were filed by contractors and employees since 1980, the last 36 years.  The liens ranged from a $75,000 claim by a Plainview, New York air conditioning and heating company to a $1 million claim from the president of a New York City real estate banking firm.  The number of companies and others alleging he hasn’t paid suggest the wither his companies hire inept workers and contractors, or that Trump businesses renege on contracts, refuse to pay, or consistently attempt  to change payment terms after work is complete.  This is alleged in dozens of court cases.

 

Trump has asserted that the cases were a long time ago.  But even as he campaigns for the presidency new cases are continuing.  In May of 2016Trump Miami Resort Management LLC settled with 48 servers at his Miami golf resort over failing to pay overtime for a special event.  The settlements averaged about $800 for each worker and a $3,000 settlement for one, according to court records.

 

In California and New York, at Trump facilities, hourly workers, bartenders, and waiter staff have sued with a range of allegations from not letting workers take breaks to not passing along tips to servers.  The California cade was settled, the New York one is still pending.

 

The owner of the Paint Spot in South Florida, has been waiting more than two years to get paid for work at Trump’s Doral golf resort.  In May 2016 Trump’s company refused to pay over $30,000 owed for work done.  In courtroom testimony, the manager of the general contractor for the Doral renovation admitted that a decision was made not to pay the Paint Spot because Trump “already paid enough.”  The judge ordered foreclosure of the resort and the proceeds of a sale of the facility be used to pay the money owed.  Trump’s attorneys have since filed a motion to delay the sale.  The Paint Spot still hasn’t been paid.

To be continued next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #149 Part 2: The 2016 Presidential Election: The Republican Candidates

Official photo of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Official photo of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All one has to do to become a candidate for any particular political office in the United States is to announce his/her intention of running for that particular office and then go through a process of becoming a registered candidate.  In the case of an office, like the presidency of the U.S., the individual needs an organization operating in all fifty states and territories of the nation.  This is generally what the political parties do; but one needs to be well organized to get the process started.  A person is elected to the presidency in each of the fifty states and territories.  There are that many separate elections that will be combined into one gigantic one on November 8, 2016.  The new President will take office in the middle of January 2017.

 

Originally there were a host of Republican hopefuls for the 2016 Presidential Election.  Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was the first candidate to announce his run on March 25th 2015.  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul came next on April 7th 2015.  He had a problem in that he wanted to also run for the Senate at the same time in case he wasn’t elected President and Kentucky law does not allow that.  His problem seems to be solved now that he is no longer funning for the presidency.  He had originally wanted the state law changed. 

 

Then came Marco Rubio, officially announcing his run on April 13. Senator Rubio had been campaigning for a much longer period of time.  He has apparently missed more sessions of the Senate that any other member. In fact the Republican leadership in Florida has offered to support Ben Carson for Rubio’s senatorial seat in November.

 

Both neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businesswoman Carley Fiorina made their announcement on May 4, 2015.  Then came Mike Huckabee former preacher, former governor of Arkansas, 2008 presidential candidate, and former Fox news anchor on May 5th.  The list goes on to include former Senator Rick Santorum, ex New York Governor George Pataki, Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, former Governor Rick Perry from Texas,

 

Next came Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, and younger brother of former President George W. Bush, and son of former President George H. W. Bush, who apparently saw himself as the heir to the presidency.  I imagine he felt it was his turn.  Before formally announcing his run for the presidency on June 15th Jeb Bush raised over $100 million dollars that went to his pact for his campaign.  He apparently spent over $70 million on his failed campaign before withdrawing in February of 2016.

 

On June 16, real estate and casino developer and reality TV host Donald J. Trump dramatically announced that he was running for the presidency.  Trump began his campaign with an anti-Hispanic statement against Mexicans and has continued an essentially negative campaign successfully feeding on the prejudices and fears of most of his blue collar supporters.  He glories in being incorrect in what he says.  He has the support of White Power groups like the K.K.K. and a Southern pastor who preaches that Adolph Hitler was sent by God to punish the Jews for not converting to Christianity, among others.

 

Next on June 24th came Bobby Jindal, the outgoing governor of Louisiana.  He was followed by the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie on June 30th.  Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, announced his candidacy on July 13th.  Ohio governor John Kasich joined the race on July 21st.  And former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore came in in on July 30th.

 

That makes seventeen candidates who were all vying to become the Republican candidate in the Presidential Election of 2016.  By the end of February 2016 the number had dropped to five, twelve had withdrawn.  As of March first, when Supper Tuesday occurred, there were only five Republican candidates still running.   After Friday, March 4th Ben Carson, who gained no delegates on March 1st officially dropped out.

                   *********************************

March First was Super Tuesday.  Twelve states (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado caucuses, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Alaska and Wyoming, caucuses)  In addition American Samoa will hold a Democratic caucus.  All these states will hold primary elections or caucuses.  The difference between a caucus and a primary election is that instead of a person casting a ballot for a member of his/her party the people from each party meet in various places and support their candidates in groups which are then individually counted.  Also a primary election is paid for by the states holding it, while a caucus is paid for by the political party holding the caudus.

 

For the Republicans 1,237 Representative elected delegates are needed to become the Party’s candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election.  About ½ of that was available on Super Tuesday.  The people elected are bound to cast their initial vote at the Nominating Convention in November. About 600 delegates would be elected on March 1st.  The Democrats would be electing 880 delegates, about 1/3d needed to win their nomination

                  ****************************************

Of the Republican candidates, Donald Trump is the most successful, representing mostly the silent majority of Republicans who have gotten the least from their party.  This majority seems to be the blue collars high school graduates and those with even less education.  Their rugged individualism and generally love of weapons never allowed them to vote Democratic but, outside of protection for gun ownership, they have never gotten anything from their Republican politicians.  To them Trump represents their political incorrectness and is a voice expressing their prejudices and dissatisfaction with their political party and the overall society.

 

Donald Trump was born in 1946.  He is 69 years old and has five children by three wives.  He has stated numerous times that his campaign is self-funded so he cannot be bought or influenced like the other candidates who are mainly funded by large donners.

 

Trump claims to be really rich; he says he has over ten billion dollars.  He does have a tendency to exaggerate in many areas.  This figure is disputed by various financial experts who have presumably figured out his finances; they place him in a much lower billionaire class.  He’s been involved in at least three bankruptcies.  It is assumed that true information will come out when he releases one or more years’ worth of income tax information.  The probability is that he has paid little or no taxes and that he doesn’t want this information released.

 

It is an interesting note of irony that a billionaire most represents the poorer Republicans, that they trust him with their futures.  When Donald Trump entered this political race on June 16th most Republicans and others took it as a joke.  It was something he would do for attention.  As he came out initially well ahead of all the other competing Republicans he was generally treated as a phenomena that would eventually wear out and pass from public attention.  Toward the end of February his support by the Republicans continued to increase and it became fashionable for many people to jump on the “band wagon.”   Today it looks like Donald Trump might well become the Republican Candidate for the November 8th Presidential Election.  Presumably the Republican turnout on Supper Tuesday and some earlier primaries has increased perceptibly while the Democratic turnout has decreased.  Trump claims that it is so because he is running and has brought out the vote. 

 

Trump could be correct in his belief that he is bring out more or new voters.  More Republicans have come out to vote for him or many Democrats and Independents have reregistered Republican for the primary Elections and Caucuses in order to vote for him.  After all he does reflect the feelings and prejudices of many in the lower classes.  And he is politically incorrect and can be expected to say almost anything.

                    *******************************

Trump’s Political Party affiliations have been Democrat, Independent, declined to state, and Republican.  He has changed his position on wealth, abortion rights, and healthcare over the years.  Recently he has changed his mind on using torture on prisoners; he found it was illegal.  His anti-immigration remarks have cost him ruminative relations with NBC, Macy and others, including the areas of the world he has ranted against.  His political positions are prolife; he is against late term abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the health of the mother is concerned. 

 

He supports the 2nd Amendment.  In fact he holds a New York concealed weapon gun permit.  But he supports background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the medically unstable.

 

He opposes recreational marijuana but supports its medical use.  He believes in traditional marriage (apparently to the point of being married three times).  He wants to replace Obamacare with a Free Market System and competition to lower costs.  He has in the past also supported a single payer system for universal medical care.

 

Donald Trump believes veteran medical facilities need to be upgraded and there should be increased aid for female veterans.  He wants local control for primary and secondary schools.  He is against common core.  (Basically this is state standards for English and Math which 40 states have adopted.  It is not a Federal program and if he were to become President he would have no say in the matter.)

 

He believes in free trade between nations but he will tax American companies that have moved overseas when they bring their goods back to the United States to be sold.  Apparently, in this fashion, he will force them to bring their manufacturing back to the United States.

 

He wants to reduce corporate taxes to 15% and not raise the minimum wage. (The Federal Minimum Wage was last set in 2009, seven years ago, at $7.25 per hour.  (It’s a good trick if a person or family can live on that.)  Living costs have gone up considerably since 2009.  The minimum wage has purchased less every year since it was established.

 

On immigration he wants to increase border security, build a thousand mile wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and send all illegal aliens in the U.S. back to Mexico; to him they all seem to be Hispanics.  And he also wants to temporarily close our borders to all Muslims, apparently until the terrorist situation is solved and he wants all Muslims in the U.S. all the millions of them, put under surveillance.

 

Environmentally he believes the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) hampers economic growth and jobs.  He supports fracking (which I understand helps bring about earthquakes), and has criticized wind power as being inconsistent, it’s not always windy.  He considers global warming a hoax.

 

He wants to replace Obamacare with a Free Market System.  He believes competition will lower costs.  However On Wednesday, March 2nd he released some details about his health plans.  Obamacare will be fully repealed; this includes the mandate for universal coverage.  People will be able to buy their own health insurance which is to be sold across state lines.  Presumably this competition will lower costs.  People will be able to make tax-free contributions to a Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).  HSAs are paired with a high deductible health insurance plan and are intended to make people more conscious of how they spend health dollars and reduce costs.  The problem here is that many people do not have the health care dollars; they will lose the coverage they currently have with Obamacare.

 

Trump proposes to turn the Medicaid program into block grants to the states.  This creates a situation where the money may be delegated for medical use but it could be used for other purposes. This situation has occurred before with block grants.  In addition for prescriptions Trump’s plan calls for allowing drugs to be imported from overseas to increase competition and drive down prices.

 

Two notes of irony or irony here: one, is that people would be buying the same drugs that many drug companies have sold overseas at lower prices than they sell them for in the United States and two, Hillary Clinton has the same plan.  He has also called for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

 

Trump has also pointed out the need for mental health reform.  He says that his overall principles are to “broaden healthcare access, make health care more affordable and improve the quality of care available to all Americans.”  No one living on a minimum wage or close to it will be able to afford health care no matter how inexpensive it is.

 

 It seems to me that we had a Free Market system before Affordable Health Care came into existence in 2010 and some of the problems with it were that price rises were out of control, insurance companies would not insure anyone with a prior medical condition, and children were dropped from family policies at 18 years of age, generally when they were still in high school.  That was the so-called Free Market. 

 

In addition one of the problems that was never solved was the cost of medications, they continually rose and are still rising.  In fact medicines are less expensive outside the U.S. because in this country Congress has fixed prices so the government cannot negotiate with Drug companies.  It seems that the pharmaceutical corporations are some of the main contributors to political parties and laws have been passed protecting their pricing. 

 

It should also be noted that Trump has in the past supported a single payer system of medical coverage for everyone such as exists in Europe, Israel, parts of Asia, and elsewhere.  Here the Central Government insures everyone and it is paid for in taxes. 

 

In foreign policy he has both favored and opposed sending U.S. troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS and has promised that he’ll get rid of terrorists quickly when he becomes President.  He has stated that they should be scared if he becomes President.

                                *****************************

Trump verbally attacks journalists, politicians, competing candidates, just about anyone who he feels bothers him.  He has thought about running for President since 1988.  He even thought about running for Governor of New York in 2006 and 2014.

 

The debate on Thursday, February 23 was an overall verbal attack, with two people constantly speaking at the same time.  It was Cruz and Rubio continually going after Trump and Trump responding while they were still speaking.  At one point John Kasich stated in exasperation that if they kept on in this fashion the Democrats would win.  Ben Carson, at one point, asked the others to attack him so he could respond.  A liberal news commentator, Chris Matthews, dubbed the debate as a meeting of the three stodges.  

 

Donald Trump has a long history of dealing in real estate starting with entering his father’s business and taking over the company with his father’s demise.  He began as a real estate entrepreneur, has been a TV personality with his own reality show, “The Apprentice,” has done bits in several films.  He has built hotels and casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.  He has also licensed out his name for numerous products and he had set up an unlicensed school originally called Trump University, which extorted millions of dollars from its unsuspecting students.

 

He is currently Chairman and President of the Trump Organization.  He employs some of his children as executives and has stated that if elected they will run the company.

 

His anti-immigration remarks have cost him remunerative relations with NBC.  His reality show “the apprentice,” which had been running for a number of years, paid him over a million dollars an episode.  Macy and other stores have stopped selling products with his name on them.  Great Britain’s Parliament held a debate about giving Trump a visa to enter the country.  Others have also denounced him for his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim remarks.  He has been denounced by leading Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan.

 

In 2011 Trump questioned President Obama’s U.S. citizenship and presumably sent an investigator to Hawaii.  He made some exaggerated claims but never presented any evidence.  He did claim that he got President Obama to release the long form of his birth certificate at that time.

 

Donald Trump is either amoral or immoral.  From his comments about his bankruptcies and the people who were never paid money owed to them he has given the impression that legal bankruptcy is a method of getting out of debt without paying your bills. 

 

What should be noted about Trump is that he seems to know what he will do as President but he has given no information as to how he will do any of this.  It is also worth noting that most of what he says he will do requires laws being passed by Congress.  Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, has criticized some of what he has said.  The Senate would be no friendlier than the House in attempting to pass laws he would require.

 

 His argument about building a thousand mile wall between Mexico and the U.S. is complete nonsense.  Trump claims that there is a trade imbalance in goods and services between Mexico and the U.S.; we buy more goods and services than we sell them.  He would just deduct the money from what we owe Mexico.  The Mexican President has strongly stated that Mexico will pay nothing for a wall.

 

If there is an imbalance of trade between the countries it is between individuals and companies who are buying or selling to one another.  It is not between two governments.  Is Trump going to have a law passed to tax companies and individuals buying and selling between the two countries?  If he can somehow manage that then what happens to his principle of free trade between sovereign nations?

                       *************************************

Perhaps the worst case scenario of what he has done has been and is still his involvement with the now defunct unlicensed Trump University which has nothing to do with teaching but was a way to obtain money from essentially desperate people.  Trump invested about two million dollars in setting up this project.  That was the extent of his involvement.  Students paid about $35,000 for a group of three elite seminars to learn Trump’s real estate secrets.  They were told that they would make their money back in 60 days.  From the numerous people that are suing him it would seem that they didn’t earn their money back.

 

Trump University was founded in 2004 and was based in the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.  It was an unlicensed school that met in assorted places, usually rented hotel rooms, across the United States and gave seminars.

 

The seminars were given by motivational speakers.  They started with a free 90 minute presentation.  People barrowed $36,000 to go to Trump University.  About 7,000 people bought the sales pitch across the country.  Trump had little to do with the school.  Each seminar had a life-sized cardboard cutout of Trump that could be used for student pictures.  The students were initially offered three seminars for $1,495; then they were offered three elite seminars for up to $35,000.  They were verbally guaranteed they could earn the money back in two months. 

 

By 2005 the New York Department of Education warned Trump University that it was operating an unlicensed institution in violation of state law.  In 2010 the name was changed to Trump Entrepreneur.  The marketing plan remained the same: the free pitch, the three day $1,495 seminar, and the Elite Membership & Apprenticeship for up to $35,000.  The teachers were paid according to how many students they pulled in.  People are still paying off this debt, the money they borrowed to go to Trump University.

 

There are numerous lawsuits going on now.  New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman accused Trump University of running a “bait and switch” operation.  Their ad published 170 times stated that students would “learn from Mr. Trump’s handpicked instructors and would have access to Trump’s real estate secrets. 

 

Trump had little to do with picking instructors or developing curriculum for the seminars.  This was done by people with motivational speaking backgrounds.  Compensation was based upon how many people were motivated to sign up for additional seminars.

 

On March 2nd, Super Tuesday, the New York Court ruled that “Trump and his sham For-Profit College defrauded more than 5,000 consumers out of millions of dollars.”  The Trump Organization’s general council said the ruling was would be appealed and called the case “politically motivated,” Trump has obliquely stated that it will take three years for the appeal process.

 

In California there is a class action suit against the now defunct Trump University.  In addition there are numerous other suits throughout the nation.  Trump apparently employs a small army of attorneys and they all seem to be experts at delay.  Trump’s comment, true or otherwise, has been that he’s won most of the cases that have come up for trial and that he could easily pay all these people off but not paying them is a matter of principle. 

 

It strikes me that this is the type of case that would be featured on the TV series, American Greed.  It would seem that this scam would end up with the perpetrator being sent to jail for criminal activity.  Could this happen in Trump’s case or is he too rich and powerful.  Instead he is running for the presidency of the United States.

                         ********************************

It should also be noted that among many Republicans Ted Cruz is considered a liar and a dirty trickster.  During one primary his employees issued false information that Ben Carson had dropped out of the race and that his voters should vote for Cruz.  After another primary he fired one of his employees for a similar type action.  Even if he were innocent he created the milieu that allows this type of behavior.

 

Marko Rubio is the Tea Party candidate from Florida.  He is also a former protégé of Jed Bush.  Rubio is known for his very low attendance at the Senate and for his constant campaigning for the presidency.  We have a case here of someone who if he were appointed or hired for the job would have been fired for extended absenteeism.  It seems his constituents in Florida are thinking of running Ben Carson for the Senate in his place in 2016.

 

John Kasich may have won one of the Republican races on Supper Tuesday.  He is the only Republican who has appeared as a legitimate Presidential Candidate.  But Kasich has won very few delegates.

 

For Super Tuesday Ben Carson gained no delegates.  For general purposed he wasn’t even effectively in the race.

                             ******************************

Super Tuesday. As we’ve seen, refers to one or more Tuesdays early in a U.S. presidential primary season when a number of states hold primaries or caucuses on the same day.  More delegates can be won on that day than on any other during the primary season which can precede an election by a year or more.  In 2016 it was held on March 1st

 

The participating states were Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.  Colorado, Minnesota, Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming held caucuses.  The territory of American Samoa held a Democratic caucus.

 

The Republican candidates could win about half of the 1,237 delegates needed to become the candidate.  What happened is that Donald Trump received the most delegates, then came Cruz, followed by Rubio and Kasich.  The two Democrats were after 880 delegates, about 1/3d needed to win.  Texas has more delegates than any other state, 155 for Republicans and 252 for Democrats; Cruz and Clinton got those.

 

For the Republicans Donald Trump won seven states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia with 243 delegates.  Ted Cruz won Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas, with a total of 220 delegates.  Marco Rubio won one state, Minnesota.  John Kasich did not win any states but did win 21 delegates and Ben Carson did not win any states or delegates.  The results from North Dakota and Wyoming are yet to be determined.

 

Among the Democrats Hillary Clinton won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, seven states.  She received 486 delegates.  Bernie Sanders won Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont, four states.  He received 321 delegates.

 

The Republican candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the nomination while the Democrats need 2,383.  Among the Republicans Donald Trump has 325 delegates from the first 15 primaries in which he has participated.  Ted Cruz has 257 and Marco Rubio has 117.  John Kasich has only 21.

 

For the Democrats Hillary Clinton so far has 1065 delegates; from the eleven states she had carried through Super Tuesday, March 1st.  She needs 2383 to win the nomination.  Bernie Sanders has 434 delegates from the first five states he has won.

 

The race with the primaries and caucuses will continue until the actual Party Nominating Conventions.  After Tuesday, March 15th half the states will have held their primaries.  The Democrats have chosen Philadelphia for their Convention during the week of July 25th, immediately after the Republican event.