The Licensing of the Presidency (White House for Sale)


It’s how Trump has done business the past couple of decades. After six bankruptcies, Trump did learn a new trick and started selling his name and not trying to run a profitable business. Trump doesn’t really own many of the properties with his name on them. In 2015, his name was on seventeen properties in New York of which he owned only five. At present, the number of buildings in New York with his name has dwindled to eleven, as the six“Trump Place” properties elected to have the Trump name removed. The Trump Organization continues to manage the properties. A typical deal involves Trump licensing his name which once attracted buyers/renters for a fee while also being paid for management duties.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Trump’s new business model allowed him to eliminate risk while raking in a percentage, whether the venture succeeds or fails. When The Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City filed for bankruptcy in 2014. It was the owner Roger Khafif that took the hit, even though it was the mismanagement by Trump Panama Condominium Management LLC. that helped run the property aground, approving $2.2 million in unauthorized debts, and approving undisclosed bonuses to its executives.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Trump had found a way to make money he couldn’t possibly screw up. Until he brought the same tactics to his campaign and ultimately to the White House. The first clue should have been when Paul Manafort volunteered to work with the Trump campaign for free. At the time, Manafort was being sued by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska for an allegedly misspent $19 million and had reportedly received an additional loan for $26 million. In all, Manafort was on the hook for up to $60 million dollars. How was he in any position to work in a highly visible position for free when people with ties to the Russian mob were trying to collect from him.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

The answer, which was part of a now obvious pattern is that Manafort provided services to Trump, and was allowed to run free with his own side deals, using access to Trump to make money. Among the first things he did was provide information to Deripaska about internal Trump polling data and get Trump to change the Republican Platform in a manner favorable to Russia.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

That change to the RNC platform didn’t go unnoticed but Trump and Manafort were able to stonewall efforts to pin down the story and it got lost in a sea of Trump scandals. One might think Trump would be wary of selling his name and position after that but apparently he was just getting started.

At the time of Scott Pruitt’s resignation as the EPA head, he was facing eleven investigations including his relationships with lobbyists which included a highly favorable housing arrangement while in D.C. Pruitt used his White House expense account to fly first class and use private planes. He had a woman on the payroll as an advisor that apparently rarely came to work. It was all good as long as Trump got his wishes which included gutting regulations that were protecting the environment.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry recently resigned as Energy Secretary (a department he couldn’t remember in a televised debate when running for President). It seems he took advantage of his role as one of the “Three Amigos” advancing Trump’s Ukranian policy to hook up his friends with a huge energy contract. Those friends were loyal Perry campaign donors and I consider it likely Perry would ultimately be rewarded for the favor.

Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Guiliani was apparently working his own side deals while allegedly doing the country’s bidding. He was paid $500,000 by recently-arrested Lev Parnas; a Ukranian-American businessman that was allegedly working for Rudy, digging up dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine. Who pays someone else half-a-million bucks to go work for them?

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Recently released documents show Rudy was negotiating a contract with former Ukranian prosecutor Yuriy Letsenko with whom he was working to dig up Biden dirt. Their negotiations got as far as a deal memo which Guiliani signed for $300,000. Trump is suddenly “unaware” of what Rudy was doing in Ukraine. Weeks ago Rudy said Trump was his “only client,” while Trump claims Rudy has lots of other clients than himself. One of them is lying.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Extend the pattern of grifters throughout the Trump administration. Take Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross whose net worth is over $700 million. He’s was sued by and later settled with former business partner David Storper who alleged Ross ripped him off for millions. Ross was Vice-Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus when he oversaw a Russian deal for which the bank was found to have laundered hundreds of millions of Russian money and was also Paul Manafort’s bank at the time. Birds of a feather. Throw in Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka who made $80 million last year while “volunteering” at the White House and it’s all so clear.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Government service is supposed to be honorable; serve your country for a few years at a government pay scale and perhaps you go on to make real money afterward. Trump and associates couldn’t wait that long. Everyone has a side hustle and is using Donald Trump’s name as collateral. The worst part is that many people within his own party know, but simply don’t care. If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ever pressed the issue, someone might start looking at the millions in gifts he’s received from his father-in-law who owns a Chinese shipping firm? Selling access and favors is a great job if you can get it.

Blind Justice: The Racist Census Question


“Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

The Supreme Court is about to rule as to whether the Trump administration can include this question in the 2020 Census. Opponents say and studies have shown that adding this question will lead to a massive undercount in the Hispanic population, reshaping Congressional Districts to give more power to Republicans and lessen the influence of minorities. Trump officials say the request to add the question was necessary to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act. If so, it would be the only action their administration has taken to protect voter rights since taking office. Everything else they’ve done from the hiring of Kris Kobach to head his ill-fated Voter-Fraud Commission to making Jeff Sessions his first Attorney General demonstrated the lack of concern for minority voting rights. A quote from an unnamed Trump senior official during his campaign is as follows.

“‘We have three major voter suppression operations underway, They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African-Americans.”

It was reported by Businessweek that all of the known suppression tactics the campaign used were legal but it doesn’t change the point. To paraphrase Kanye West after Hurricane Katrina, “Donald Trump doesn’t give a damn about black people.” The suggestion he and his administration cares about enforcement of the Voting Rights Act is laughable on its face.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testified to Congress that the impetus for the question was a request from the Department of Justice that the question is added. The administration has insisted the DOJ made the request despite information showing Ross asked the Justice Department to make the request. After the Supreme Court received the case but before their imminent decision has been released. A Senior Advisor to Ross confirmed in testimony to the House Oversight Committee that Ross initiated the request and not the DOJ. Ross has refused to appear after receiving a subpoena and the Committee has recommended he be found in Contempt of Congress

The Supreme Court in oral arguments appeared to be ready to support the Administration despite their lies and intent being common knowledge. Newly surfaced documents show the late GOP consultant Thomas Hofeller was involved in the creation of the question. E-mails between Hofeller and a top Ross aide prove the political nature of the question. Hofeller in the past was heavily involved in redistricting efforts designed to benefit Republicans. The Supreme Court has been asked to withhold its decision based on the new evidence. The lower Federal Court in Maryland plans to reconsider the case. Trump’s Justice Department is appealing, saying not that the new evidence is untrue but that it was obtained illegally.

The question remains, what will the Supreme Court do? Despite the limited information in the record. They cannot help but know the truth behind the creation of the question and the racist motive behind it. The Court historically has a mixed record on issues involving race. They gave us Plessey v Ferguson which upheld segregation and Dred Scott which denied black people any rights. They also gave us Brown v Board of Education which ended school segregation while at the same time muting the decision with the words “with all deliberate speed” which added decades to its implementation. Every Civil Rights Act or Voting Rights Act ever passed by Congress has ultimately been weakened by the Supreme Court, including the 1965 Voting Rights Act the Trump administration now claims to support.

If the Supreme Court sides with Trump, writing a decision supporting their desire to enforce the Voting Rights Act. They will not only be blind but willfully so. They will have shown their partisan bias and total disdain for not only justice but Democracy itself. They have long shed the illusion that they favored the people over corporations. They will have proven that the Republican-appointed Justices answered the call when it came. The Rule-of-Law will have been further diminished by the will of Party. I would like to believe the Court capable of rising to the occasion, history has shown them quite willing to fail their opportunity to do right.

What The Hell Do You Have To Lose? Why Trump’s Census Question Matters

According to the White House (which is always suspect), the Jeff Sessions Justice Department requested a question about citizenship be added to the 2020 Census. The Census is conducted by the government every 10 years and among other things is used to allocate Congressional Districts and Federal resources to States. The Justice Department said:

“This data is critical to the Department’s enforcement of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and its important protections against racial discrimination in voting. To fully enforce those requirements, the Department needs a reliable calculation of the citizen voting-age population in localities where voting rights violations are alleged or suspected.”

Even the concept of this Justice Department looking to enforce the Voting Rights Act is laughable. In 2013, when the Supreme Court gutted the enforcement provisions of the Act, Sessions called it, “good news for the South.” He elsewhere claimed that Shelby County which sued to terminate enforcement provisions, “never had a history of denying the vote, certainly not now.” Sessions did famously take credit for Civil Rights prosecutions while he was the Alabama Attorney General, in which he played no role.

The Citizenship question has appeared on the Census before, though not on the long form given to the general public since 1950. My first question was, how has the citizenship information been used in the past? My research provided no answer but in today’s Washington Post it was revealed that the Census Bureau provided block by block data on the location of Japanese-Americans living in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Arkansas.

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For decades the Census Bureau denied its participation and that it had released confidential information but not so surprisingly they lied. Ask yourself, would Donald Trump and/or Jeff Sessions feel a bit of remorse about using census data to round up undocumented aliens? In 2007, the proof was discovered that the Commerce Department had lists with names and addresses of those with Japanese ancestry. The Second War Powers Act made the release of that information between agencies legal if not moral. The Census Bureau refrain has changed from “we didn’t do it” to “it wasn’t illegal.”

The basis for much of the criticism of the citizenship question is that fears that the government will do what it is now known already has, will lead to a significant undercount. That will redistribute resources and Congressional seats from blue states to red ones and possibly impact control of the House of Representatives. Of course, if you acknowledge an undocumented person is in your home, the government might come to your door. If they’ve done it before, why would we believe that this President and Attorney General wouldn’t do it again?