Category Archives: Wealth

Trrump’s brand problems: Hotel woes reported

And what problems might those be?

We’ll let the editorial cartoonist of the Arizona Republic offer one key example:

Steve Benson: What Trump really said in Gettysburg


Trump hotel rates slashed

While once the Trump brand brought up images of glamor and glitz, Trump’s bluster and bigotry as revealed in recent months have shifted the Trump brand’s identity.

Now, instead of folks from Beverly Hills and the Hamptons. Brand Trump now appeals more to folks from sagging suburbs and trailer parks, having a severe impact on Trump-branded hotels and resorts.

From the Associated Press:

Rates for rooms at Trump’s new D.C. hotel are being slashed as travelers weigh their options, and smartphone data suggest fewer people are visiting his properties compared to rival venues nearby.

The Republican nominee for president is in danger of losing not just the election, but something dear to a man who claims the marketing value of his name alone is worth $3 billion: the many customers, mostly wealthy, who have stayed at his hotels, played a round at his golf courses or held galas at his oceanside resorts.

Experts say the Trump brand is tarnished and at a tricky crossroads as his appeal shifts from the well-heeled, high-income people he has long courted to a more middle-class base, including the fervent fans he cultivated during the campaign.

There is speculation that he could start a Trump media network as a right-wing alternative to major news outlets, drawing money from advertisers to make up for any weakness in his empire elsewhere. But he may have to pivot fast.

“The current trajectory is very harmful to his businesses,” said Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at New York University. “Right now his brands cater to the affluent, who are disproportionately turned off by his activities.”

And then there’s another problem.

Missing money and a failed Trump

Investors in a planned Mexican resort are furious at The Donald after a losing $32 million on a much-touted Trump resort never rose from the Baja shores. Also missing is their money.

From teleSUR English:

Donald Trump, the man who launched his campaign to reach the White House by accusing Mexicans of being criminals, is facing accusations of major fraud concerning a luxury resort development in Mexico that bilked investors out of US$32 million, a report from La Jornada revealed Sunday.

Between 2008 and 2009, Trump — together with Irongate and PB Impulsores firms — lured investors into paying 20 percent deposits for an exclusive oceanfront luxury resort in the Mexican state of Baja California.

However, according to records, the builders never even bothered initiating the necessary procedures to start the project.

When asked, the relevant authorities in Tijuana said, “After performing an exhaustive search of the physical and digital files, no procedure that corresponds to the name Trump Ocean Resort Baja could be located.”

Furthermore, according to the La Jornada’s investigation, as of this month, the issue remained unresolved and investors who initiated legal action in 2009 have not yet been compensated. Builders had previously claimed that there simply wasn’t any money left to pay back to those who placed a deposit, despite the fact that the builders collected US$32 million.

In response, Trump — now the Republican candidate for the U.S. presidency — said that he merely licensed his name to the project, as he has in many other real estate projects. When the project was first advertised, promotional materials prominently featured his name and image.

The newspaper reported that it was the Trump name that sold many investors on the resort.

Hey, with Trump losing luster so rapidly, maybe the Next Big Trump Thing will be a trailer park.

Another rich Trumpie walks it back

Trump isn’t the only plutocrat in trouble for saying things inappropriate.

Consider the Silicon Valley billionaire who’s been suing media right and left who now finds himself in a spot of a difficulty.

From the Guardian:

Facebook board member and Trump donor Peter Thiel has apologised for a book he co-wrote in 1995 that argued the definition of rape had been expanded to include “seductions that are later regretted”.

Thiel’s co-author, David Sacks, a Stanford and Paypal alumnus along with Thiel, also apologised after the Guardian reported on the book’s contents on Friday.

Thiel gave a statement to Forbes magazine, which said: “More than two decades ago, I co-wrote a book with several insensitive, crudely argued statements. As I’ve said before, I wish I’d never written those things. I’m sorry for it. Rape in all forms is a crime. I regret writing passages that have been taken to suggest otherwise.” Thiel had not responded to a request for comment to the Guardian.

Thiel made his fortune as a co-founder of PayPal, which increased markedly after an early investment in Facebook. He now sits on the board of the company, and has attracted notoriety after donating $1.25m (£1m) to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

It was Thiel who sued Gawker Media into bankruptcy after one of the company’s websites outed him.

Quote of the day: Neoliberalism in a nutshell

From Dr. Gus Bagakis, a retired philosophy instructor at San Francisco State University, writing for Truthout:

The Reagan administration mobilized and promoted a heartless formulation of capitalism: neoliberalism. This was a model based on replacing the state with the market as a way to coordinate the economy. It stood for a world in which human relationships are forced to conform to an ideal of economic competition. The individual is transformed from a citizen into an independent economic actor. Under the regimes of President Reagan in the US and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the UK, neoliberalism led to massive tax cuts for the rich, the destruction of trade unions, a growing inequality of wealth, deregulation, privatization, unemployment and the decline of public services — with the exception of prisons and the military-industrial complex.

The main principles of neoliberalism are:

  • The rule of the free market around the world from restrictions imposed by government (also known as globalization).
  • The cutback of money spent for social services (also known as austerity).
  • The reduction of government regulations for everything that could hamper profits.
  • The privatization of government ventures leaving wealth in a few private hands.
  • The focus on individual responsibility over that of the public good.
  • Tax reductions for corporations and the wealthy.

Trump is [partly] right: The game really is rigged

But contrary to what The Donald declares, the game is rigged in his favor, as a Pulitzer-winning journalist explains to fellow Pulitzer-winner Chris Hedges in the latest edition of the latter’s series for RT America:

On Contact: A Tax System Rigged for the Rich with David Cay Johnston

Program notes:

On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges sits down with David Cay Johnson, author of “The Making of Donald Trump” to examine how the Republican presidential nominee and the rich are benefiting from a rigged tax system. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil further explores how the U.S. tax code has been rewritten to benefit the wealthy.

Chart of the day: Wealth rises to the top, again

Just as the rich are getting richer while the rest of us stagnate, so too the richer economies are getting richer while the poorer economies can’t keep up.

From the Yomiuri Shimbun:


Headline of the day: Trump/Cosby in 2016

Hey! Hey! Hey!

From the New York Times:

Cut Off Trump or G.O.P. Will Be Damaged, Big Donors Say

  • Several of the Republican Party’s most generous donors called on the Republican National Committee to disavow Donald J. Trump.
  • “At some point, you have to look in the mirror and recognize that you cannot possibly justify support for Trump to your children — especially your daughters,” said one donor.

Charts of the day II: Monsanto’s lobbying outlay

From Monsanto Lobbying: an attack on us, our planet and democracy, an important new report from Corporate Europe Observatory, two revealing charts, first of Big Agra/GMO giant’s lobbying and election spending in the U.S. [including, in small print, the $8.1 million spent to fight a GMO labeling referendum in California]:


And the corporation’s outlays in the European Union, including company-sponsored front groups:


As CEO reports:

Corporations like Monsanto have limitless resources to buy political power through lobbying. Not only are they represented by numerous lobbying associations at every level from local to global, they also have an army of hired-gun lobbyists, fund scientists to act as their mouthpiece, and participate in ‘greenwashing’ projects.

EU institutions and the US government often actively solicit corporations to lobby them, giving corporations privileged access to decision-making. This perverse symbiosis allows corporations to capture decision-making, but leads to hollowed out democracy, environmental disaster, and grave social injustice.

There are roughly three fields of industry lobbying: directly targeting decision-makers; PR and propaganda; and undermining science. Broadly three types of actors exist: those giving the orders, those following them, and those who are accomplices to these attempts.

Trump’s brass revealed as the gold plate rubs off

In our previous post, a compilation of Trumpisms from the London Review of Books, The Donald explained himself precisely in a mere nine words, seven of them — of which two have two syllables, the rest have one:

‘The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.’

The beauty of Donald Trump is one of class, an arrogant classy sort of class, characterized by his Wharton sense of branding — one given a gold-plated veneer [toilets included] and burned into his properties like a Texas cowboy used to brand his steers.

Through a combination of a primate predispositions and relentless programing [in both senses of the term], our inner ape’s attentiveness to hierachy and sex has been captivated by Trump’s relentless multimedia self presentation.

Trump’s voters are male, while women dominate the now-solidly leading Hillary half of the polls. For them, Trump is an exciting guy because they’re secretly both jealous and aroused by the shit he gets away with. He is correct in asserting that his only real attraction is the wealthy persona he’s crafted. But more than that, it’s a secret admiration.

And sufficiently ample women are drawn in by that same allure, ny the repitlian gaze and the sheer, unapologetic hubris of it all. Hell, the guy is rich, and some of it’s gotta rub off, right?

[And that’s not to say that nature dominates nurture; we’ve all seen lots of folks less susceptible to a purely reactionary mode, nor that we’re doomed to endless manipulation. We can gain control of the

But that golden luster is suddenly looking bit tarnished, the brass underneath revealed as the thing layer of gold plate is rubbed away.

The latest tarnish is sexual

First, from the Guardian:

A wave of claims about Donald Trump’s alleged sexual transgressions and inappropriate behaviour – in one case with a 10-year-old girl – has emerged, threatening the Republican presidential nominee’s already fragile campaign less than a month before election day.

Ever since video of the real estate mogul surfaced on Friday showing him bragging about how he could grab women’s genitals with impunity, more and more women have come forward to claim they were demeaned and touched inappropriately.

By late Wednesday evening the list of new allegations against Trump included:

  • two Miss USA contestants who claimed Trump deliberately walked in on them when they were naked in a dressing room.
  • two women who allege Trump groped or kissed them without consent – one in the first-class seat of an aircraft.
  • a claim by a woman that she was groped at a Trump event at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida.
  • a People magazine reporter who says Trump forced himself on her shortly before she was due to interview him and his wife in 2005.
  • an incident in which Trump appears to sexualize a 10-year-old girl.

An allegation in detail

From CBS News Digital:

As Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign tries to move past a recently released 2005 tape of his lewd remarks about women, more video of similar comments made by Trump is surfacing.

In an “Entertainment Tonight” Christmas feature in 1992, Trump looked at a group of young girls and said he would be dating one of them in ten years. At the time, Trump would have been 46 years old.

The video, released Wednesday evening, was shot at Trump Tower.

In the clip, Trump asks one of the girls if she’s “going up the escalator.” When the girl replies, “yeah,” Trump turns to the camera and says: “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”

It is not the first time Trump has made reference to his interest in dating much younger women.

In 2006, he made a similar comment about his own daughter, Ivanka Trump: “I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her,” Trump said.