Thursday Reads: Trump In Trouble?Posted: September 29, 2016
I just love that photo taken during Monday’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They are all trying to claim their candidate won, but that’s how they looked while they were watching their candidate self-immolate in front of 80 million viewers.
And how did the Clinton side look? Check it out.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Then there’s this one taken backstage after the debate.
I love that one! Now for the news of the day.
Kurt Eichenwald has another big scoop on Trump’s dirty dealings: How Donald Trump’s Company Violated the United States Embargo against Cuba.
A company controlled by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings.
Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.
The payment by Trump Hotels came just before the New York business mogul launched his first bid for the White House, seeking the nomination of the Reform Party. On his first day of the campaign, he traveled to Miami, where he spoke to a group of Cuban-Americans, a critical voting bloc in the swing state. Trump vowedto maintain the embargo and never spend his or his companies’ money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power.
He did not disclose that, seven months earlier, Trump Hotels already had reimbursed its consultants for the money they spent on their secret business trip to Havana.
At the time, Americans traveling to Cuba had to receive specific U.S. government permission, which was granted only for an extremely limited number of purposes, such as humanitarian efforts. Neither an American nor a company based in the United States could spend any cash in Cuba; instead, a foreign charity or similar sponsoring entity needed to pay all expenses, including travel. Without obtaining a license from the federal Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before the consultants went to Cuba, the undertaking by Trump Hotels would have been in violation of federal law, trade experts say.
Read the rest at the Newsweek link above. This story seems to be getting a lot more attention than Eichenwald’s previous ones. I think some reporters are finally waking up to the fact that while they were obsessing on Hillary Clinton’s emails a few real journalists like Eichenwald and David Fahrenthold were doing serious investigative work that is suddenly paying off for them and making others in the mainstream media look like lazy fools.
Yeah, not incredible at all. The media has acted like a pack of ravening wolves trying to tear Hillary apart for the past year while they laughed and joked about a thin-skinned authoritarian nationalist and white supremacist with a realistic chance of winning the U.S. presidency.
Trump’s misogyny and fat-shaming are getting a lot of attention after Hillary brought it up at the debate. I know there are plenty of men who think this is not a serious issue, but for women who have had to deal with men like Trump it certainly is one. Besides, misogyny and sexism obviously have real-life economic effects too.
After the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes opened for play in 2005, its world-famous owner didn’t stop by more than a few times a year to visit the course hugging the coast of the Pacific.
When Trump did visit, the club’s managers went on alert. They scheduled the young, thin, pretty women on staff to work the clubhouse restaurant — because when Trump saw less-attractive women working at his club, according to court records, he wanted them fired.
“I had witnessed Donald Trump tell managers many times while he was visiting the club that restaurant hostesses were ‘not pretty enough’ and that they should be fired and replaced with more attractive women,” Hayley Strozier, who was director of catering at the club until 2008, said in a sworn declaration.
Initially, Trump gave this command “almost every time” he visited, Strozier said. Managers eventually changed employee schedules “so that the most attractive women were scheduled to work when Mr. Trump was scheduled to be at the club,” she said.
Trump’s sexist behavior came out in a “labor relations lawsuit.”
The employees’ declarations in support of the lawsuit, which have not been reported in detail until now, show the extent to which they believed Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, pressured subordinates at one of his businesses to create and enforce a culture of beauty, where female employees’ appearances were prized over their skills….
Employees said in their declarations that the apparent preference for attractive women came from the top.
“Donald Trump always wanted good looking women working at the club,” said Sue Kwiatkowski, a restaurant manager at the club until 2009, in a declaration. “I know this because one time he took me aside and said, ‘I want you to get some good looking hostesses here. People like to see good looking people when they come in.’ ”
As a result, Kwiatkowski said, “I and the other managers always tried to have our most attractive hostesses working when Mr. Trump was in town and going to be on the premises.”
Read more at the link.
Jennifer Lin, a former reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote at BillyPenn.com about a personal experience she had with Trump in 1988. She had written an article about how Trump tried to cheat shareholders in his casino company by buying them out for $15 per share. Lin wrote about Dale Scutti who realized the shares were worth a lot more than that and starting buying them. Merv Griffin, who wanted to get into the Atlantic City casino business got wind of Scutti’s activities and made a counteroffer.
The situation got ugly and after a month of fighting, the moguls made a deal: Trump would get the unfinished Taj Mahal, Griffin would get everything else, and investors would get $36 a share.
My story that morning made the point that if it wasn’t for this unknown investor from upstate New York, shareholders might not be earning more than twice what Trump originally offered. Scutti had told me he thought Trump was trying to scare shareholders into accepting his offer with threats of bankruptcy in San Diego and warnings that he was the only one capable of completing the over-budget Taj Mahal project.
She had tried and failed to reach Trump for comment, but when the story appeared he suddenly wanted to talk to her.
And now I was holding for Mr. Trump.
There was no hello. But there was yelling, lots of yelling.
The word “shit” was used repeatedly as a noun and adjective.
I had shit for brains.
I worked for a shitty newspaper.
What sort of shit did I write.
Before I could reply, he hung up.
Then he called my editor in Philadelphia, Craig Stock. Now it was Craig’s turn to “Hold for Mr. Trump.”
Craig was treated to the same Trumpian wordplay, but got an added treat. Trump referred to me as “that cunt.”
Craig, a calm Iowan, asked Trump what was wrong with the story. He explained that The Inquirerwould run a correction if the paper had made an error.
Trump snapped that he didn’t read the story.
“No one reads the story,” the 41-year-old blustered. “I read the headline and I didn’t like it.”
Craig suggested that he read the story, then call him back if there were any problems.
He did not hear back from Trump.
If you haven’t read this remarkable review of a new biography of Adolf Hitler by Volker Ullrich: In ‘Hitler,’ an Ascent From ‘Dunderhead’ to Demagogue. New York Time book reviewer Michiko Kakatani seems to have specifically written the piece to highlight resemblances between Hitler and Donald Trump–and she did it without ever mentioning Trump’s name. I’m not able to cut and paste from this amazing piece, but I hope you’ll go read it.
I have quite few links for you today, so I’m going to just post headlines for the rest.
Washington Post: Trump’s method for the big fib: Defend, defend, then grasp at straws.
Vanity Fair: How Hillary Clinton Played Trump for a Fool.
Politico: Trump accuses Google of ‘suppressing’ Clinton info. (Based on a story from a Russian propaganda site)
Gabe Ortiz at Medium: For All The “Miss Housekeepings” — Including My Mom.
Washington Post: Enabler or family defender? How Hillary Clinton responded to husband’s accusers. (Because every wife should respond with kindness and empathy to women who have affairs with her husband, right?)
PBS Frontline: The FRONTLINE Interview: Tony Schwartz. (Trump’s ghostwriter)
Huffington Post: Another Miss Universe Contestant Says She Was Fat-Shamed By Donald Trump.
Huffington Post: Megyn Kelly Goes After Kellyanne Conway On Trump’s Misogyny.
What stories are you following today?