Donald Trump has trademarked the phrase “Make America Great Again,” yet Donald Trump is a prime example of everything that is wrong with America …
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the primary cause for the decay and decline of America is political corruption. Whether this corruption is caused by lobbyists influencing corrupt self-serving politicians, unions exerting tremendous political pressure on self-serving politicians, or the bureaucracy engaging in self-serving activities that increase their personnel numbers, budgets, and influence over American’s lives.
It is a fallacy that there is not enough money to run the government. What is true, is that there is not enough money to allow self-serving politicians to continue plundering the American treasury in order to secure campaign funding, purchase votes in their individual districts, and to secure positions, perks, and privileges for their supporters.
Waste, fraud, and abuse of government funds is growing exponentially. Whether for multi-million dollar buildings in Afghanistan that are not needed and never used, unaccountable billions paid in cash (using pallets of hundred-dollar bills), or billion dollar complex weapons systems that simply do not work as advertised, the government is failing to prioritize its funding. Even worse, a government that can send a man to the moon and back and can track a piece of space debris orbiting 22,000 miles above the Earth, can’t track the usage of government funds – almost as if the accounting methods and systems were defective by design.
So what’s the knock on Donald Trump?
Like most billionaire businessmen, Trump employs people specifically to lobby politicians to pursue his agenda. Simply put, he is on one end of the political corruption chain – and now he wants to be on the other side; where he can merchandise access and reap the benefits of the presidency.
Trump Pays Bridgeport a Visit To Promote Theme Park Plan -- Published: June 3, 1994
The developer Donald Trump came to this economically depressed city today to promote his proposal to build a $350 million amusement park and seaport village here. As outlined by Mr. Trump and his associates, the project would include a seasonal theme park featuring rides and amusements; a year-round seaport village with specialty shops, restaurants and entertainment and a waterfront terminal for cruise ships, high-speed ferries and trade show ships.
Mr. Trump told business and political leaders that Trump Park would create about 3,000 full- and part-time jobs and generate millions in tax revenues. "The magnificence of the park will make Bridgeport a world-class destination," Mr. Trump said.
The project is far from a certainty. Before construction can begin, Mr. Trump must win several approvals, including environmental permits and approval from the Bridgeport Port Authority.
The city currently owns Pleasure Beach, which makes up about 40 percent of the 100 acres. The remaining 60 percent is privately owned. Under the Trump proposal, the city would acquire the private land through eminent domain and then convey it to Mr. Trump. The Trump organization and the city's Parks Board would enter into a long-term lease for the Pleasure Beach area. <Source>
It’s all here. The confiscation of private property, not for pubic use, but for private development with the City benefiting from the increased tax revenues. The dealings with politicians and regulatory agencies. Subsidies and tax allowances. Just another day for a real estate developer and his cadre of “fixers.” The owners of the private property have no choice other than to sell their property at depressed prices and not be able to participate in the wealth created for Trump and the private parties that develop and operate the property.
Bridgeport Mayor's Associate Testifies to Passing On Bribes -- Published: January 10, 2003
The second day in the federal corruption trial of Joseph P. Ganim, the mayor of Bridgeport, ended today with testimony from a former Ganim associate who said he had passed bribes to the mayor on behalf of large developers and contractors.
The associate, Leonard J. Grimaldi, 44, once among Mr. Ganim's closest friends and his campaign manager for a decade, told jurors that he had paid Mr. Ganim hundreds of thousands of dollars collected as ''consulting fees'' from local businessmen.
In June 2001, Mr. Grimaldi pleaded guilty to federal racketeering and tax fraud charges for his role in a scheme that prosecutors said was orchestrated by Mr. Ganim to defraud Bridgeport and shake down companies eager to do business with it.
Questioned by Michael R. Sklaire, an assistant United States attorney, Mr. Grimaldi, a public relations consultant and former journalist, described how he met Mr. Ganim in 1989, when the five-term mayor was first campaigning for office.
''We developed a good friendship, a close friendship,'' Mr. Grimaldi said. He said Mr. Ganim introduced him to Donald Trump in 1994 after Mr. Trump invited the mayor to New York City to discuss building a casino in Bridgeport.
Toward the end of 1994, Mr. Trump offered Mr. Grimaldi a job keeping close tabs on the casino issue in Bridgeport, offering him $3,000 to $4,000 a month to ''gain access for him with Joe Ganim,'' Mr. Grimaldi testified.
When Mr. Grimaldi told Mr. Ganim that Mr. Trump was paying him that monthly sum, ''Joe laughed and said, 'Donald Trump is not paying you because you're a good public relations guy, he's paying you because of your relationship with me,' '' Mr. Grimaldi told jurors. <Source>
Trump’s $1 Land Deal With a Corrupt Mayor
Donald Trump once promised an amusement park to Bridgeport, Connecticut. When it fell through, he owed hundreds of thousands per year in back taxes—until its mayor bailed him out.
In search of something to reverse its declining fortunes in the early ’90s, the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, looked 80 miles east. There, the Foxwoods casino was, even in its infancy, proving to be a boon for the tiny town of Mashantucket and the Native American tribe that ran it. Bridgeport hoped that another giant casino, this one on its own waterfront, could anchor a revitalized downtown and drive the city’s economic comeback.
But the city didn’t expect a bitter land dispute between two real-estate magnates that would end with the town’s mayor—a man who would later spend seven years in prison on corruption charges—making a deal with one of the magnates to forgive him $300,000 per year in back property taxes.
That magnate was Donald Trump.
In the summer of 1994, Trump had joined with Bridgeport’s then-mayor Joe Ganim to announce the Trump Park City Plaza. The waterfront project was to contain an amusement park, retail and residential space, and a shipping terminal.
But Trump was still on the hook for $300,000 a year in property taxes, according to journalist Rob Sullivan’s 2014 book Political Corruption in Bridgeport: Scandal in the Park City. “The assessment on this property is crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said, according to Grimaldi’s book.
Trump complained loudly to Ganim, who hit on a solution. With the casino dead, the mayor wanted the land in order to build a minor-league baseball park.
He made a deal with Trump: The mogul would sell the land to the city for $1, plus forgiveness of all the back taxes he owed. <Source>
What was really in play was a large casino that may have been built if a dispute between Donald Trump and fellow billionaire casino owner and Steve Wynn had not erupted. Everything else appeared to be window-dressing.
After the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation scored with its massive Foxwoods Resort Casino in the early 1990s, Trump started lobbying the state to authorize a non-Indian casino in Bridgeport. According to The New York Times, the real estate mogul spent several months in 1993 trying to break into the market.
The effort didn't succeed but Trump did not give up on Bridgeport. In June 1994, he announced plans for a huge resort in the city that didn't include gaming. "If casinos should happen in Connecticut, we'd be involved, but not here," Trump said in Bridgeport, The New York Times reported.
The situation changed after residents of the impoverished city voted to support a casino on the waterfront in March 1995, The Daily Beast reported. By that time, however, rival gaming mogul Steve Wynn entered the picture and there was even talk of the Pequots operating the facility.
That's when Trump apparently decided that if he couldn't have the casino no one else could. One of his former associates said he was hired to make sure nothing ever happened in Bridgeport. “Trump’s attitude was, ‘If they give me the casino I’ll take it. If it’s not mine I wanna kill it,'" Lennie Grimaldi, who was the campaign manager for the city's then-mayor, told The Daily Beast.
Nothing ever happened in Bridgeport and the Pequots eventually agreed to share 25 percent of their slot machine revenues with the state in exchange for exclusive rights to Class III gaming. The Mohegan Tribe made the same deal when it opened Mohegan Sun in 1996.
As for Bridgeport, Trump ended up making his own deal -- he sold his land to the city for $1 in exchange for forgiveness on the $300,000 in annual property taxes he owed on the potential resort site. The mayor who agreed to the arrangement eventually served seven years in federal prison on racketeering, conspiracy and bribery charges, The Daily Beast reported. <Source>
Bottom line …
Let's remember that Donald Trump has a historical record and, like Hillary Clinton, it may tell a story different from the ones they spin about themselves and their actions.
We can plainly see that in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election cycle, Donald Trump was no conservative and had policies more in line with Hillary Clinton. The Clintons attended Trump’s wedding and were the beneficiaries of his largess. Of course, Trump explains this away by claiming to be a prudent businessman playing both sides of the aisle.
But do we want a politically ambivalent huckster who plays fast and loose with the facts to become the President of the United States? Can you even begin to understand the level of nepotism and cronyism that this man would bring to the White House?
Conservatives oppose the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision that lets private property be confiscated for a public purpose rather than a public use. Will Trump appoint conservative judges to the highest court in the land, or will he revert to his past liberalism in his need to be “loved by the masses?” He says he will be “so good” for this country – but can we trust his word? The same man who founded Trump University to teach “his” methods to budding moguls and would up being sued for consumer fraud.
And, this is the man leading in the polls – not because of his gravitas, not because of his policies, but because he is a celebrity huckster who is unafraid to say things that resonate with the American voter, but in practicality, could never be implement. He promises to “Make America Great Again,” but like Bridgeport, if it doesn’t work out, will he turn hostile and abandon the country?
I see Trump as a more likeable, more competent version of Hillary Clinton, a kingmaker who will have superb access and little or no scrutiny. We are so screwed.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius