Sunday, November 29, 2015

Donald Trump's Late 1970's Hotel Commodore Tax Break and Democratic Party Connections Revisited


2016 Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump, ironically, was apparently aligned politically with Brooklyn's Democratic Party machine organization during the same period when he was given a big tax break for his Hotel Commodore real estate project by New York City's local government; which was then managed by local Democratic Party politicians on behalf of special real estate interests (like the Trump family firm) and special corporate and Wall Street interests. As the 1992 book by former Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, Trump: The Deals and The Downfall, observed:

"With Stanley Steingut as [NY State] assembly speaker and [Abraham] Beame as [NYC] mayor, the ancient and insular wing of the Brooklyn [Democratic] party long identified with the Trump family was now the most powerful Democratic faction in state and city politics...

"On May 20, 1976, the [New York City] board [of estimate], which met in the upper floor of {new York's] City Hall, unanimously passed the [Hotel] Commodore deal...The private parties hadn't put a dime on the table, while the public sector had delivered a gigantic and exclusive tax break...Trump had been handpicked by bureaucrats and politicians to become the solitary recipient of an unprecedented give away, stretched so far into the future that it was statistically likely to outlive even its [then-] 30-year-old beneficiary...No other Manhattan hotel would ever receive so selective and grand a subsidy...

"...Without the guarantee Fred [Trump II] wound up giving his son, Donald [Trump] would have had no Commodore mortgage...Fred [Trump II] was his silent partner in the Commodore project...

"Donald [Trump]...went from paying $42,386 in taxes in 1977 to paying none in 1978 and 1979. He escaped tax liability in 1979 on at least $3.4 million in earnings with a carefully structured package of real estate losses and interest payments..." 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's November 3, 2015 Letter


(The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge—who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group’s newsletter)


“November 3, 2015

“Dear Comrades,

“I hope your horse came home. One two-legged creature I hope doesn't is Abbott, yapping away on the other side of the world while his mortal enemy Malcolm smooches voters with populist policies. But both hate unions and support `free trade' and share a love affair with nuclear, including storing nuclear waste, when no country anywhere has been able to safely and permanently dispose of such nuclear excreta. It's an industry that's rotten to the core and threatens our health and our very survival.

“Nuclear is not the answer to climate change. Why choose a dirty, corrupt, unsustainable non-solution when we have sunshine and wind in abundance that should be developed and harnessed to provide our energy needs?

“It also shows the moral bankruptcy of our ‘leaders’ that having turned Australia into a quarry, they now tell us our future lies in filling up the holes with other people's lethal rubbish for later generations to manage.

“Fukushima. It’s against international law to dump radioactivity into the sea, but Fukushima's highly radioactive water has been flowing out of the complex into the Pacific Ocean for four years straight and no one knows how to stop it.

“Homo sapiens is out of control, shrinking the space for every other form of life. Constant growth means more people buying more things that can only be achieved through the increased exploitation of the planet's natural resources, a system that is destroying Mother Earth and all the things we love: the mountains, the trees, the animals, the flowers and the diversity of people. Between 30 and 50 percent of all known species are expected to be extinct by 2050 if current trends continue. People power needed, not apathy, which we have in abundance, like rampant corruption.

“ Just one country has a genuinely sustainable economy. Cuba. Cuba has met the basic needs--food, housing, health and education--for all its citizens in an ecologically sustainable manner and has revitalized community-based economic development through a combination of worker owned co-ops, small private enterprises and star-owned businesses.

“While most Cubans do not have the materialistic lifestyle of people in wealthy nations, they are also immune to the extreme poverty, misery and death that plague the capitalist model. And at the latest UN vote, only two supported the US blockade of Cuba, the US and Israel, with no fence-sitters. Trust the US of A to treat Cuba with respect? Not bloody likely.

“News flash in and flash out of our consciousness catering to our diminishing attention-span thanks to the proliferation of electronic devics frying our brains, especially young brains. Already fading from view, the merciless attack on the Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital at Kunduz in the early hours of October 3 by a US gunship armed to the teeth with the most up-to-date weaponry, killing more than 22 people--some burned to death in their beds while conscious--injuring dozens more and with an unknown number of patients and staff still missing.

“ US military authorities were given precise GPS coordinates only four days before the attack and as shells rained down MSF staff frantically called US officials in Kabul and Washington. `Collateral damage' and a`mistake' said the Pentagon blaming the Afghan government. A `bombing gone wrong' said America's corporate media, desperately trying to bury the issue.

“People on the ground knew better. That the US military has been targeting hospitals and ambulances
deliberately for decades and painting a red cross on the roof of a hospital is an invitation to be bombed. Hideous enough to attack a hospital but to attack it with weapons designed to slaughter as many people as possible is almost beyond comprehension.

“If a medical facility protected under international humanitarian law run by a charity that won the Nobel Peace prize can be destroyed, then no one is safe. Obama knows this is a war crime which might explain why he has refused MSF's demand for an independent investigation into the atrocity.

“Tony Blair is an unprincipled, lying yob and a leaked memo proves it. He gave George Bush an unqualified pledge to sign up to the Iraq War a year before the invasion when he was telling British voters `we're not proposing military action.' He also agreed to convince a skeptical public that Saddam had `Weapons of Mass Destruction.,' when there were none, acting as a frontman for Washington before any decision by the House of Commons or the British Cabinet.

“A war that has spread and spread and keeps spreading…all the way to Syria, but a conflict engineered far away directly aimed at Iran and beyond. Moscow knows that the collapse of Syria as a functioning nation-state will lead to a chain reaction that will affect countries along Russia's borders and then everything within them.

“ Now we hear that the US has sent a ‘small number’ of Special Operations Forces into Syria, a `shift' not a `change'. And an A321 Russian airliner has crashed 22 minutes after taking off from Sharm El Sheikh after splitting in two and killing all 224 on board. Islamic State has claimed responsibility. Many questions remain.

“Globalization of trade and central banking has propelled private corporations to positions of power and control never before seen in human history. The financial center of global capitalism is so highly concentrated that less than a few thousand people dominate and control $100 trillion of wealth, less than 0.0001 percent. They are the transnational capitalist class (TCC), the capitalist elite of the world who dominate nation-states through international `trade' agreements and transnational state organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements. Hundreds of private military contractors now play a vital role in TCC security in the evolving 21st century's nightmarish world.

“ The 99 percent of us without wealth and private police forces face a looming threat of overt
repression and complete loss of human rights and legal protections. This is a fight for our survival. Unless we collectively challenge the Empire, we face a future evolving into a new dark age of neo-feudal totalitarianism unlike anything we have ever seen. So fight we must, joining millions of others around the world.


“Joan Coxsedge”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Donald Trump Company's Racially Discriminatory Rental Policy Revisited

During the 1970's a major racial discrimination suit was brought by the U.S. Justice Department against the family business, coincidentally, of 2016 Republican party presidential candidate Donald Trump and his father--because it apparently refused to rent apartments to African-American tenant applicants in some of the housing developments it owned and managed. As the 1992 book by former Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, Trump: The Deals and The Downfall, noted:

"...The Justice Department...brought a major racial discrimination suit against the [Trump] company, contending that the Trumps had systematically refused to rent to Blacks. Four superintendents or rental agents working for [Donald and Fred] Trump confirmed to federal authorities that applications for apartments were coded by race. Doormen were told to discourage applications from Blacks by telling them that there were no vacancies or by jacking up the rent...One staffer said that his instructions came straight from Fred [Trump II] and the company went so far as to try to figure out how `to decrease the number of Black tenants' already in one development `by encouraging them to locate housing elsewhere.'

"The government was willing...to sign a consent decree with the Trumps, compelling them to take certain affirmative steps to integrate their estimated 14,000 unites in the New York area, but Donald [Trump] and [Roy] Cohn agreed that they'd much rather fight...

"The litigation dragged on for a year and a half...Finally, Donald [Trump] signed the consent decree. The government called the decree--which required advertisements in minority papers, minority employment promotions, and a preferential vacancy listing with the Urban League--`one of the most far reaching ever negotiated.'...

"...Four years later, in the summer of 1978, the Justice Department found the Trumps in contempt of the decree and called them back into court...It all remained irrelevant to Donald [Trump]. The bottom line was that two government discrimination lawsuits had had no effect on the company's ability to make development deals, usually with the government's help..." 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Donald Trump's Roy Cohn-McCarthyism Historical Connection Revisited

During the 1970's, 2016 Republican party presidential candidate Donald Trump, coincidentally, apparently retained the former right-wing chief counsel to U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy and McCarthy's U.S. Senate investigative committee that violated the civil liberties of many U.S. citizens during the 1950's McCarthy Era, Roy Cohn, to be his lawyer. And, coincidentally, Donald Trump's lawyer during the 1970's, Roy Cohn, was also apparently an adviser, historically, to both former Democratic New York City Comptroller and former Democratic New York City Mayor Abe Beame and former Brooklyn Democratic Party Boss and machine-politician Meade Esposito. As the 1992 book by former Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, Trump: The Deals and The Downfall, recalled:

"...In Manhattan, he [Donald Trump]...met the man who, after Fred [Trump II], would become the most important influence on his early career, Roy Cohn. Infamous for his 1950's role as chief counsel to Senator Joe McCarthy,...Cohn was by the early seventies a walking advertisement for every form of graft, the best-known fixer in New York...

"The son of a Bronx judge, Cohn was reared in the clubhouse culture of the city, attending dinner parties as a teenager with Carmine DeSapio, Ed Flynn, and the other Democratic bosses who ruled New York. He had also met Abe Beame in his father's house, and over the years became an adviser to both Beame and new Brooklyn Democratic Chairman Meade Esposito...

"In the spring of 1974, soon after [former Democratic NYC Mayor] Beame's inaugural, both Cohn and the Trumps had tables at the Brooklyn Democratic Party's annual dinner at the Waldorf--a ballroom filled with a dozen indicted, soon-to-be-indicted, or convicted public and party officials...

"It was only a few months after Beame won the mayoral runoff that Donald [Trump] first retained Cohn...

"...Roy Cohn...became Donald [Trump]'s mentor, his constant adviser on every significant aspect of his business and personal life...Many of those with public and private power who met young Donald [Trump]...were introduced to him by Cohn...Cohn...literally adopted Donald [Trump]. He began to see Trump as potentially his most successful protege' and instrument...Cohn would ultimately be disbarred for stealing from other clients..."

Friday, November 6, 2015

Black Worker `Seasonally Adjusted' Unemployment Rate Still 9.2 Percent In October 2015

In October 2015, the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all Black workers in the United States (youth, male and female) was still 9.2 percent; while the jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 8.9 to 9.2 percent between September and October 2015, according to the “seasonally adjusted” Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In addition, the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 25.6 percent in October 2015; while the “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 8 to 8.1 percent between September and October 2015.

The official “seasonally adjusted” number of Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the U.S. labor force decreased by 44,000 (from 715,000 to 671,000) between September and October 2015; while the official “seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed Black female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 21,000 (from 788,000 to 809,000) during the same period. In addition, the “seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed Black male workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 30,000 (from 776,000 to 806,000) between September and October 2015..

Between September and October 2015, the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 6.3 to 6.4 percent; while the “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all Latino workers (youth, male and female) in the United States was still 6.3 percent in October 2015. In addition, the “seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by15,000 (from 667,000 to 682,000) between September and October 2015.

The “seasonally adjusted” number of Latino male workers over 20 years-of-age in the U.S. labor force decreased by 15,000 (from 14,475,000 to 14,460,000) between September and October 2015; while the “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino males over 20 years-of-age was still 5.1 percent in October 2015. In addition, the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latino youth between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 18.6 to 22.4 percent between September and October 2015; while the “seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed Latino youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased by 41,000 (from 204,000 to 245,000) during the same period..

The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 13.8 percent in October 2015; while the official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all youths (Black, Latino, white and Asian-American) between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States was still 15.9 percent during that same month

The “seasonally adjusted” number of Asian-American workers  in the U.S. labor force decreased by 102,000 (from 9,040,000 to 8,942,000)) between September and October 2015; while the unemployment rate for Asian-American workers was still 3.5 percent in October 2015, according to the “seasonally adjusted” data.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for white female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 3.9 percent in October 2015; while the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 4.1 percent during that same month. In addition, the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all white workers (youth, male and female) was still 4.4 percent in October 2015; while the “seasonally adjusted” total number of unemployed white workers increased by 23,000 (from 5,364,000 to 5,387,000) between September and October 2015..

In October 2015, the “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all female workers over 16 years-of-age was still 4.9 percent;; while the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 4.5 percent during that same month..

The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all male workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States was still 5.1 percent in October 2015; while the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 4.7 percent during that same month.

In October 2015, a total of 7,908,000 workers in the United States were still officially unemployed, according to the “seasonally adjusted” data; and the “seasonally adjusted”” unemployment rate for all U.S. workers (male, female and youth) was still  5 percent during that same month.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ November 6, 2015 press release:

“…The unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.0 percent…The number of unemployed persons (7.9 million)…essentially unchanged in October…The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 2.1 million in October and has shown little change since June. These individuals accounted for 26.8 percent of the unemployed in October……

“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers)…5.8 million in October. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job…

“In October, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey…
“Among the marginally attached, there were 665,000 discouraged workers in October, little changed from a year earlier…Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them…


“Employment in mining continued to trend down in October (-5,000). Employment in…manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little or no change over the month…The change in total nonfarm payroll employment…for September was revised from  +142,000 to +137,000…”.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Donald Trump's Rent-Stabilized Apartment Revisited

Although 2016 Republican party presidential candidate Donald Trump has apparently been against  regulating the rents landlords may charge New York City tenants who live in residential apartment buildings that contain 6 units or more--in order to prevent overcharging and rent-gouging of tenants by New York City landlords--for many years, Trump, himself, apparently once, ironically, lived in a rent-stabilized apartment in Manhattan. As the 1992 book by former Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, Trump: The Deals and The Downfall, observed:

"...Though Donald [Trump] would spend years railing against New York's rent regulation system, his first apartment [a studio off Third Avenue at 196 East 75th Street] was rent stabilized, limiting rent increases...

"...He hired an Irish maid and quickly developed a reputation among the building's workers as a cheap tipper...

"Yet,, in January 1975, he was pictured...assailing the `ridiculous' rent stabilization system..."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Donald Trump's Father and Norfolk, Virginia's First Rent Strike Revisited

The first rent strike staged by tenants in Norfolk, Virginia was apparently staged, coincidentally, by residents at two of the housing projects owned by the Trump family business of 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's father/family business partner--Fred Trump [II]. As the 1992 book by former Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, Trump: The Deals and The Downfall, observed:

"...In Norfolk, Virginia...residents at two of his [Fred Trump II's] projects, the Hague and Pembroke Towers, staged what was called the city's first rent strike against Trump and filed a lawsuit charging `a lack of hot running water, sporadic or nonexistent air conditioning and elevator service, improper swimming facilities, and insect and rodent infestation.' When Fred [Trump II] went to meet with the tenants they almost threw him in the top-floor pool.

"...A waterline burst in Hague Towers--at the time, the tallest residential building in downtown Norfolk--showering the lobby, a laundry room, a beauty shop, a maintenance room, and storage areas..."

Monday, November 2, 2015

Donald Trump Father's 1976 Arrest In Maryland Revisited

The father and Trump family business partner of 2016 Republican party presidential candidate Donald Trump--Fred Trump [II]--was, coincidentally, finally arrested and fined by Prince George County officials in Maryland in 1976 for failing to comply with a court order to repair housing code violations in the Federal Housing Administration [FHA]-financed Gregory Estates housing project that the Trump family business owned in the 1970's. As the 1992 book by former Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, Trump: The Deals and The Downfall, recalled:

"...In Maryland...Fred [Trump II] wound up handcuffed and arrested by Prince George County officials when he appeared at one FHA project that local officials said he was `bleeding' dry. The arrest came in 1976, but it was after at least 4 years of battling Trump to make repairs on the beleaguered 504-unit Gregory Estates, which county officials flatly called `a slum property.'

"With over a hundred vacancies, a series of disregarded code violations, a history of heat and hot water problems, defaulting payments to FHA, hundreds of thousands overdue to the gas and electric companies, and a minuscule local staff that `couldn't buy light-bulbs without authorization from New York,' the project was denied a license to operate. When repeated conversations with Fred [Trump II] proved fruitless, county officials surprised him on a visit to the project and charged with with noncompliance with a notice of violation...

"...Fred [Trump II] was first taken to a local precinct...When he reappeared in the district court, the judge levied a heavy fine on Fred [Trump II]'s corporate entity..."   

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Donald Trump's 1968-74 Rent-Collecting Job and Trump Family-McDonald's Deal Lobbying Experience Revisited

Between 1968 and 1974, celebrity deal-maker and 2016 Republican party presidential candidate Donald Trump apparently spent a lot more time collecting rents from tenants in the Brooklyn residential apartments of the Trump family business (that he both inherited and managed) and lobbying local Democratic Party elected officials like then New York City Comptroller [and future New York City Mayor] Abe Beame to approve his family's Trump Village deal with McDonald's--despite local Brooklyn neighborhood opposition to this Trump Village business deal--than he spent studying U.S. domestic and foreign policy issues. As the 1992 book by former Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, Trump: The Deals and The Downfall, noted:

"...He [Donald Trump] took on the title of president of an assortment of Trump entities. With Fred [Trump II] as chairman of the boards, Donald [Trump] lay claim to the management of 48 privately held corporations and 15 family partnerships. Between his arrival in 1968 and 1974...his principal job was managing 10,000 to 22,000 apartments...The dollar value of this empire...was said to be as little as $40 million [the equivalent of around $250 million in 2015 dollars] and...as much as $100 million [the equivalent of around $620 million in 2015 dollars]...The job was basically a matter of collecting rent and making repairs...

"...Donald [Trump] and Fred [Trump II] plied their local and citywide political connections, including comptroller Abe Beame, to override neighborhood opposition and open a McDonald's franchise on the extra land the City had sold Fred [Trump II] for Trump Village...With Donald [Trump] doing his first behind-the-scenes lobbying, the Trumps were able to sign a lucrative lease with the fast-food chain...

"...[Then-] City Council President Paul O'Dwyer denounced it as `a windfall' for the Trumps, atop everything else they had already taken out of the Trump Village project..."

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