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The Drumph’s Extensive Mafia Connections…

As I said in an earlier piece, you can’t be involved in a major real estate deal in that part of the world and not wind up with some shady connections….

And the Trump is dirtier than most.

Just What Were Donald Trump’s Ties to the Mob?

In his signature book, The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump boasted that when he wanted to build a casino in Atlantic City, he persuaded the state attorney general to limit the investigation of his background to six months. Most potential owners were scrutinized for more than a year. Trump argued that he was “clean as a whistle”—young enough that he hadn’t had time to get into any sort of trouble. He got the sped-up background check, and eventually got the casino license.

But Trump was not clean as a whistle. Beginning three years earlier, he’d hired mobbed-up firms to erect Trump Tower and his Trump Plaza apartment building in Manhattan, including buying ostensibly overpriced concrete from a company controlled by mafia chieftains Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano. That story eventually came out in a federal investigation, which also concluded that in a construction industry saturated with mob influence, the Trump Plaza apartment building most likely benefited from connections to racketeering. Trump also failed to disclose that he was under investigation by a grand jury directed by the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, who wanted to learn how Trump obtained an option to buy the Penn Central railroad yards on the West Side of Manhattan.

Why did Trump get his casino license anyway? Why didn’t investigators look any harder? And how deep did his connections to criminals really go?

These questions ate at me as I wrote about Atlantic City for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and then went more deeply into the issues in a book, Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business. In all, I’ve covered Donald Trump off and on for 27 years, and in that time I’ve encountered multiple threads linking Trump to organized crime. Some of Trump’s unsavory connections have been followed by investigators and substantiated in court; some haven’t. And some of those links have continued until recent years, though when confronted with evidence of such associations, Trump has often claimed a faulty memory. In an April 27 phone call to respond to my questions for this story, Trump told me he did not recall many of the events recounted in this article and they “were a long time ago.” He also said that I had “sometimes been fair, sometimes not” in writing about him, adding “if I don’t like what you write, I’ll sue you.”

I’m not the only one who has picked up signals over the years. Wayne Barrett, author of a 1992 investigative biography of Trump’s real-estate dealings, has tied Trump to mob and mob-connected men.

No other candidate for the White House this year has anything close to Trump’s record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks. Professor Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, said the closest historical example would be President Warren G. Harding and Teapot Dome, a bribery and bid-rigging scandal in which the interior secretary went to prison. But even that has a key difference: Harding’s associates were corrupt but otherwise legitimate businessmen, not mobsters and drug dealers.

This is part of the Donald Trump story that few know. As Barrett wrote in his book, Trump didn’t just do business with mobbed-up concrete companies: he also probably met personally with Salerno at the townhouse of notorious New York fixer Roy Cohn, in a meeting recounted by a Cohn staffer who told Barrett she was present. This came at a time when other developers in New York were pleading with the FBI to free them of mob control of the concrete business.

From the public record and published accounts like that one, it’s possible to assemble a clear picture of what we do know. The picture shows that Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service…Read the Rest of This Damning Information Here

 

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

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Big Money Republican Donors Desert Trump

A Presidential race i today’s terms costs about $1 billion. Much of that money comes from the uber-rich. When that group bails on a candidate, life in terms of television ads and door-to-door campaigning gets tough. It seems that some of the big money players – the guys whop drop $10 or more million have headed out the door on the Drumph…

The bad news for the Drumph (and good news for the country) is that the presumptive nominee, Hillary already has a strong organization in place. Further – Drumph is worth only a small fraction of the $10 billion he claims, and by evidence released recently has avoided paying any taxes.

Several Big Republican Donors Refuse to Contribute to Trump’s Candidacy

Donald Trump may have sealed the peace with the Republican Party and a few of those who once criticized him. Yet his ability to raise $1 billion before November is in doubt, as several powerful donors who have given tens of millions to the GOP over the years refuse to get behind Trump’s presidential candidacy. The New York Timesgot in touch with 50 of the GOP’s largest donors or their representatives and found “a measure of contempt and distrust toward their own party’s nominee that is unheard of in modern presidential politics.” More than a dozen of them flat out refuse to back Trump.

Some of those who are refusing to back Trump will surely come around. Others, however, speak in terms that make it clear they want nothing to do with the real estate mogul and reality television star. “If it is Trump vs. Clinton,” hedge fund manager William Oberndorf said, “I will be voting for Hillary.” He’s hardly alone. “He’s an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard,” investor Michael K. Vlock said.

The resistance from the megarich may be a sign that Trump could very well become the first Republican presidential candidate to be outspent by a Democrat in decades. Some, however, are vowing to stand by Trump. One of them is Foster Friess, who sent an email to the Hill on Saturday explaining his reasoning for supporting the presumptive nominee. “I believe that as Republicans continue to unite behind Donald Trump, he’ll become an even better candidate,” he said.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

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Cops Tase, Sic Police Dog on Restrained Man – Man Wins Lawsuit

At some point the City Mayors, councils and elected figures have to be held into account for this.

WATCH: Cops hold man down and sic K-9 on him after beating him — for dancing in a parking lot

A Washington man has settled a lawsuit with the city of Tukwila after police officers assaulted him following a complaint that he was dancing in an industrial parking lot, reports the Seattle Times.

The city will pay Linson Tara $100,000 to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed after the officers used Tasers, their fists and then a police dog on him while he was being restrained.

Tara was facing three counts of fourth-degree assault on police officers, but those charges were dropped when dash cam video showed one of the officers holding Tara on the hood of the police cruiser while his partner used a Taser on him.

Tara can then be seen being thrown to the ground with the two cops piled on him as one punched him repeatedly while the other held him down.

During the entire altercation a police dog is heard frantically barking and appears on screen after being released from the cruiser where it proceeds to attack Tara as he is restrained.

One officer can be heard telling Tara, “Put your hands behind your back and I’ll take the dog off.”

Tara was later transported to a local hospital treated for injuries that included dog bites.

In  the police report, officers Brent Frank and Mike Boehmer stated that they had been called to the parking lot after receiving a report that Tara was “walking around, yelling and dancing.”

According to the lawsuit, the officers used excessive force, noting that by the time Tara was rolled over he appeared to be unconscious.

The lawsuit also challenged the the city’s policy of allowing police dogs to bite suspects as a “pain compliance” technique.

The department previously found the officers’ use of force, including the deployment of the K-9, to be within their guidelines.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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How Republicans Have Derailed the New South’s Emergence

North Carolina’s Research Triangle and the Charlotte/Cary area are hotspots for tech an other development. The US Government supplies over $1.5 billion a year in research grants to the state’s public universities, money that has helped drive the growth of the Universities in the state from decidedly mediocre to competitive powerhouses. This has spurred massive growth, as the combination of a realistic cost of living, easy access to recreational activities in the mountains and shore, as well a good school systems have individualized both corporations and employees to flock to the state.

Unfortunately, like Virginia, the back woods redneck religious bigots haven’t quite dissipated yet, and with the election of a Republican majority in the state house – pushing extremist social conservatism which is an anathema to the high-tech and banking industries.That growth roll may be in for a screeching halt.

You want to keep that growing Gov McCrory, you need to cut the “Culture War” bullshit fast.

The fact is, major corporations don’t give a shit about Republican tax breaks, they do about being able to attract the best and brightest as employees, and having a stable government  which isn’t going to do something stupid to hurt their business. They need good schools, which are producing students in the fields that relate to their businesses, who are willing to stay in-state after they graduate. (As an example, the collapse of what was once referred to as “Silicon Valley East” here in northern Virginia, was in good part due to the major University in the area being taken over by conservative donors. The school produces Economists and right wing Federalist Lawyers – but not STEM Graduates needed by the local industries to grow, or to establish the sort of incubators which create the next Google. Instead we have the Antonin Scalia Law School, which is fornicating useless, both as the symbol of higher education in the fields in demand, as well as in attracting students that want to be in a top program in the Sciences, Engineering, or technology.)

They want to be able to attract experienced workers and executives. To get those people, the potential employees need to feel comfortable moving their families into the State. The sort of “Culture Wars” and racism being promulgated by the right, destroys that.

This isn’t just an issue about Transgender people, it is an issue about the future viability of the State as a business center.

Back during the South Carolina confederate flag imbroglio, one of my clients was a foreign auto company looking to put a plant there. Took one of the Senior Staff folks down there behind the proverbial woodshed, and explained to him that foreign companies, unlike their US counterparts are not willing to go into an environment where discrimination and harassment lawsuits chew up 10-15% of their profits. And as such, were looking for a place which supported a harmonious workforce, over cheap rent. The differential between labor costs between Detroit and Charleston disappears really fast paying lawyers at $500/hr over racial bullshit. They got that message apparently from more than one prospective company. American companies have finally started to get a clue about this as well.

Too bad the white winger Tea Baggers haven’t.

This isn’t just an issue about Transgender people, it is an issue about the future viability of the State as a business center.

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS AND THE END OF THE NEW SOUTH

Monday, two North Carolinians squared off over the state’s controversial House Bill 2, which requires transgender people to use the bathroom matching their “biological sex” in public schools and government buildings and invalidates local laws protecting transgender people from discrimination. Both Pat McCrory, the governor of North Carolina, and Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney General, grew up partly in Greensboro, a site of anti-segregation sit-ins in 1960, and Lynch recalled that history by comparing H.B. 2 to Jim Crow laws. “Let us reflect on the obvious but often neglected lesson that state-sanctioned discrimination never looks good in hindsight,” she said, as she announced that the Department of Justice is suing North Carolina, claiming that H.B. 2 violates federal laws forbidding sex discrimination.

Earlier that day, McCrory’s office had filed its own federal lawsuit, which attempted to protect the state from federal anti-discrimination action against H.B. 2. “North Carolina does not treat transgender employees differently,” according to the lawsuit. “All state employees are required to use the bathroom and changing facilities assigned to persons of their same biological sex, regardless of gender identity, or transgendered status.” Such bland assertions of neutrality have an infamous place in the law. Before the Supreme Court established a right to same-sex marriage, in 2015, North Carolina forbade gay and straight alike to wed members of the same sex. Before the Court invalidated laws against racial intermarriage, in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia, the state forbade both black and white people to marry someone of the other race. All these laws were defended on the grounds that they treated everyone alike. So, for that matter, were the original Jim Crow segregation laws. In 1896, upholding separate-but-equal accommodations, the Supreme Court held that, if “the enforced separation of the races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority,” this was “solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction on it.”

McCrory’s suit looks more like political theatre than a serious attempt to preserve H.B. 2. On April 19th, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes North Carolina, adopted the Obama Administration’s interpretation of federal sex-discrimination law to invalidate a local school-board policy that assigned students to bathrooms by “biological genders.” The court accepted the federal government’s argument that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Titles VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and that “biological” bathroom assignments are just this sort of discrimination. (The Fourth Circuit reported that, in public hearings on school-bathroom assignments, the plaintiff in the case, a transgender boy, had been called a “freak” and “compared to a person who thinks he is a ‘dog’ and wants to urinate on fire hydrants.”)

That McCrory would seek out this wrong-side-of-history position reveals a lot about the fractured and desperate state of the Republican Party. The governor took office in 2013 as the consummate country-club Republican. He had spent fourteen years as the mayor of Charlotte, a banking capital, where he presided over robust growth and—unusual in the South—the construction of a light-rail system. He was a candidate in the “New South” tradition, a political manner that is also a development strategy. In the sixties, as other parts of the white South dug in against desegregation, North Carolina’s politicians found a different formula: accept the national consensus on civil rights and attract employers with low wages, weak unions, and business-friendly laws. The state’s population more than doubled between 1960 and 2010, as a formerly rural, agricultural state developed national centers of technology and finance. The previous New South governors were Democrats, but many saw McCrory as their natural successor in a state that narrowly supported Barack Obama in 2008 but in 2010 handed control of the legislature to Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction.

Since taking office, McCrory has mostly been back on his heels as a Tea Party legislature, installed with decisive support from the activist donor Art Pope (whom Jane Mayer wrote about in 2011), has set the state’s agenda. McCrory has signed laws restricting abortion access, cutting back on early voting and requiring voter identification, slashing unemployment benefits, and repealing the state’s Racial Justice Act, which commuted the death penalty for people sentenced in racially inequitable jurisdictions. North Carolina is one of nineteen states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (and the fourth-largest, after Texas, Florida, and Georgia). The advocacy group Families USA estimates that 593,000 North Carolina residents lack health insurance because of the state’s refusal.

The Tea Party has shared McCrory’s deregulatory, tax-cutting economic agenda, but it has led with culture-war issues. The year McCrory won the governorship, the legislature put forward a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which passed with sixty per cent of the vote. This blend of tactics defined most state-level Republican parties in the Obama years, when the Republicans took power in statehouses across the country, and McCrory seems to have made his peace with it. Polls showed him lagging in a tight reëlection race when he called North Carolina’s part-time legislature into emergency session in late March. Both houses passed H.B. 2 on March 23rd, and McCrory signed it that night. The only local anti-discrimination statute that it overrode was one passed a month before in Charlotte, where McCrory had served seven terms as mayor.

Now the New South elements of McCrory’s governing style are falling to pieces. H.B. 2 may have seemed an ordinary measure of culture-war politics when the governor signed it, but the consensus position on L.G.B.T.Q. rights has changed so fast that it may secure his place as the Orval Faubus of public bathrooms. McCrory’s Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general, who has announced that his office will not defend H.B. 2 against legal challenge, has led McCrory in every poll since the law was passed. Since H.B. 2 became law, PayPal and Deutsche Bank have scrapped expansion plans for North Carolina, the N.B.A. and N.C.A.A. have suggested that they may not hold future events in the state, and a caravan of entertainers have cancelled shows, including Bruce Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil. New South governors measure themselves by the investments they attract. When the cultural divisiveness of Tea Party politics drives out business and entertainment, it becomes New South kryptonite….More Here
 

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Black Folks on the (confederate) Dollar

Happy darkie slaves working for Massa…Seems back in the “Good Old Days”, white Republicans loved putting black folks on the money when they were slaves.

Now that black folks are free…Not so much.

 

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in American Genocide, Black History

 

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Harriet Tubman On the Money

Interesting the Tubman was selected to be the first non-white person on the $20 Bill. I would have thought it would have been MLK, or if looking for a Historical Figure from the 19th Century – Frederick Douglass.

Seems a bit like the ultimate “Two-fer”…

A draft of what the Harriet Tubman $20 Bill may look like

Hamilton to stay on $10; Tubman replacing Jackson

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to announce the changes on Wednesday after receiving fierce blowback.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday will announce plans to both keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill and to knock Andrew Jackson off the front of the $20 in favor of Harriet Tubman, sources tell POLITICO.

Lew is expected to roll out a set of changes that also include putting leaders of the women’s suffrage movement on the back of the $10 bill, and incorporating civil rights era leaders and other important moments in American history into the $5 bill. Also, Jackson isn’t getting completely booted off the $20 bill. He’s likely to remain on the back.

Lew’s reversal comes after he announced last summer that he was considering replacing Hamilton on the $10 bill with a woman. The plan drew swift rebukes from fans of Hamilton, who helped create the Treasury Department and the modern American financial system. Critics immediately suggested Lew take Jackson off the $20 bill given the former president’s role in moving Native Americans off their land.

Lew

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2016 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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The Prison Industrial Complex in Mississippi

1930’s pictures of black men on the Chain Gang in the South are a icon of how black people were persecuted and forced to work in virtual slavery under Jim Crow.

While the Chin Gang may (or not) be gone, incarceration as a social tool and meas of oppression is not. Mississippi has third highest incarceration rate in the US, placing it solidly ahead of even repressive regimes around the world and communist countries.

Mississippi Jails Are Losing Inmates, And Local Officials Are ‘Devastated’ By The Loss Of Revenue

“If they do not send us our inmates back, we can’t make it,” said one county supervisor.

County officials across Mississippi are warning of job losses and deep deficits as local jails are being deprived of the state inmates needed to keep them afloat. The culprit, say local officials, is state government and private prisons, which are looking to boost their own revenue as sentencing and drug-policy reforms are sending fewer bodies into the correctional system.

In the late 1990s, as the overcrowded Mississippi prison system buckled under the weight of mass incarceration, the state asked local governments to build local correctional institutions to house state prisoners. It was billed as a win-win: The Mississippi Department of Correction would foot the bill for each prisoner, and the counties would get good jobs guarding them. The state guaranteed that the local jails would never be less than 80 percent occupied, and the locals would get a 3 percent boost in compensation each year.

After a few years, say local officials, the state offered a new deal: Instead of the 3 percent bump, they would give the locals more and more prisoners, thus boosting total revenue. Today, the state pays $29.74 per day per prisoner to the regional facilities, a deal that worked for everybody as long as the buildings were stuffed full with bodies.

Scott Strickland, president of the Stone County Board of Supervisors, said reforms at the state and local levels have shrunk the prison population. “Federal laws took some part in that — allowing prisoners to serve only a certain percentage of their term,” he said. “Also, they’ve reduced prison sentences for certain drug-related offenses.”

As the wave of mass incarceration begins to recede, the Mississippi controversy has local and state officials talking openly about how harmful locking up fewer people up will be for the economy, confirming the suspicions of those who have argued that mass incarceration is not merely a strategy directed at crime prevention. “Under the administrations of Reagan and Clinton, incarceration, a social tool used for punishment, also became a major job creator,” Antonio Moore, a producer of the documentary “Crack in the System,” wrote recently.

“I don’t think it necessarily started out this way, but the inmate population has become the backbone of some of these counties that are involved,” said Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher as the controversy heated up.

The prisoners have value beyond the per diem, county officials add, when they can be put to work. State prisoners do garbage pickup, lawn maintenance and other manual labor that taxpayers would otherwise have to pay for. Convict labor has made it easier for local governments to absorb never-ending cuts in state funding, as tea party legislators and governors slash budgets in the name of conservative government.

The state knows it, and now demands that local jails house state convicts who perform labor for free, George County Supervisor Henry Cochran told The Huffington Post. The counties take the deal. “You’re either gonna go up on everybody’s garbage bill, or you’ve gotta house those inmates,” Cochran said. “You’re using that inmate labor, so [taxpayers are] getting a little good out of that inmate for their tax dollars. You either gotta hire a bunch of employees or keep that inmate. It’s like making a deal with the devil.”

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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