mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“A Yuge Order”: Trump Said He Bought Windows From China Because America’s Were Too Expensive

Along with being the childhood home of Wyatt Earp and holding the world’s record for the number of people dancing in wooden shoes at one time (2,600), the Iowa town of Pella is best known for its namesake window company.

So you would figure that folks at the home of the Pella Corporation would remember Donald Trump’s declaration in 2010 that he had been forced to make a yuge order of windows from China because he had such difficulty finding any that were made in America.

“I ordered windows, thousands of windows the other day; they’re made in China,” Trump said during an interview with CNBC. “I don’t want to buy them, but it’s hard to get them anywhere else.”

The revelation had caused quite an uproar in the window industry. Trump had sought to smooth it over with a statement insisting “I would much rather buy ‘U.S’—and do much business with Pella—(and others). The U.S. product is better.”

“China’s artificially low currency makes it hard for U.S. companies to compete,” he said at the time.

In other words, Trump had bought the Chinese windows because they were cheaper. That translated into greater profits for him.

And profit is what made Trump the Really Rich guy who had people lined up by the hundreds in Pella to hear him speak on Saturday. Here is how Trump began his speech.

“Oh Pella, Pella, Pella, I’m always negotiating the prices of those damn windows, you know?” Trump can be heard saying in a video of the event. “Brutal, brutal.”

The auditorium filled with cheers.

“But they’re good, I’ll tell you what,” he went on. “They’re a great product and we buy a lot of them.”

More cheers.

“Anybody who work at Pella? Anybody?” he asked.

Voices responded in the boisterous affirmative.

“Well, you know you have lots of orders for Trump,” he said. “They make a quality window and you’re proud to have them.”

He was not done.

“I didn’t realize I’d be speaking in Pella. I’ve paid so much money to them. Ay! I get the shudders to think I’m here.”

He then turned serious.

“But the end result is their product is great,” the man who six years earlier said he had ordered windows by the thousands from China now said, “Which is what we want in this country, right? That’s what we want.”

From the crowd came a cry.

“USA!”

Trump returned to the subject of windows while speaking of Donald-doubters, in particular people who suggested that his financial disclosure forms would show he was not as rich as he claimed to be.

“Actually, it turned out I’m much richer,” he said to the crowd’s manifest delight. “I built a great company.”

“Pella knows, Pella knows,” he went on. “Those windows go someplace. And those were successful jobs.”

Neither Trump nor the Pella Corporation responded to requests for comment, so it is difficult to determine what jobs he was speaking about.

Unless he was applying a Trump-ian definition of success, Trump was not likely talking of his casinos in Atlantic City, an adventure that led to multiple bankruptcies. That despite his father, Fred Trump, slipping him more than $3 million through a supposed gambling chips purchase at a casino cashier’s cage.

He certainly was not referring to whatever buildings were outfitted with thousands of Chinese windows, which he almost certainly purchased because they were cheaper than American-made ones such as those Pella produces.

Donald Trump was also not likely to have been citing a number of projects where he was not the actual developer but had simply licensed his name to lure investors.

In two of those projects, the Trump Soho and the Trump Fort Lauderdale, the buildings went into foreclosure.

In two other projects, the Trump Tampa and the Trump Baja, the buildings were never built.

The locals down in Baja in Mexico must get a pretty good laugh when they hear Trump talk about building a wall along the border and then see his smiling face on a billboard overlooking a hole in the ground.

“Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico,” the billboard says. “Trump. Owning here is just the beginning.”

Not laughing are the investors who lost millions imagining that Trump is a synonym for Midas.

His name remains his company’s greatest asset.

The first image that appears on his company’s website is of a foreclosed building erected with such business partners as Felix Sater, a Russian immigrant with a violent felony conviction who had previously participated in a multimillion-dollar stock fraud linked to the Mafia.

But the building is still the Trump Soho. It still bears the moniker that to some means bigotry and misogyny but to others means bucks and moxie.

In another of his foundering deals, a mega-project on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Trump had a partner named Vincent Lo who was sometimes called China’s version of The Donald. Lo even hosted an Apprentice-style reality show called Wise Man Takes All.

Lo could never quite pull it off: The Chinese might be able to make bargain-priced windows, just as they made bargain-priced garments that Trump sold in clothing lines before he got even better prices having them made in Lesotho.

But Trump is a uniquely American product.

Just ask those good folks in Iowa.

As Trump would say, Pella knows.

 

By: Michael Daly, The Daily Beast, January 26, 2016

January 27, 2016 Posted by | China, Donald Trump, Outsourcing of Jobs, Pella Corporation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Sad Window Into Our Political Dysfunction”: 3 Peerless Republicans For President; Trump, Carson And Fiorina

The leading contenders for the Republican nomination for president tell us three interesting things about America.

First, many G.O.P. voters are so disenchanted they’re willing to entrust the country to candidates — Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina — with zero experience in elective office or military command. Only two men without previous time in major elective office or the military have been president, Herbert Hoover and William Howard Taft, and both had held cabinet posts. No president has ever been as inexperienced as any of these three leading Republican candidates.

Second, the public feels an odd awe for C.E.O.s and presumes they know how to run things, even if their records suggest otherwise. This cultural reverence for C.E.O.s perhaps also explains why pay packages have increased — and why Fiorina was allowed to take home a $21 million severance package after she was fired as Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive for incompetence.

Third, the only kind of welfare that carries no stigma in America is corporate welfare. For all Trump’s criticisms of government, his family wealth came from feeding at the government trough. His father, Fred Trump, leveraged government housing programs into a construction business; the empire was founded on public money.

My bet is that Trump, Fiorina and Carson will fade, and that voters will eventually turn to a more conventional candidate, perhaps Senator Marco Rubio. From the Democrats’ point of view, the scariest Republican ticket might pair Rubio with John Kasich. Rubio has natural political skills, projects youth and change, and would signal that the Republican Party is ready to expand its demographic base. Rubio and Kasich would also have a decent chance of winning their home states, Florida and Ohio — and any ticket that could win Florida and Ohio would be a strong contender.

But instead, Republican primary voters for now are pursuing a bizarre flirtation with three candidates who are the least qualified since, well, maybe since Trump put his toe in the waters before the 2000 election.

In that sense, they offer a window into the American psyche — part of which is our adulation of the C.E.O.

There’s something to be said for C.E.O.s’ entering politics: In theory, they have management expertise and financial savvy. Then again, it didn’t work so well with Dick Cheney.

More broadly, the United States has overdone the cult of the C.E.O., partly explaining why at the largest companies the ratio of C.E.O. compensation to typical worker pay rose from 20 to one in 1965 to 303 to one in 2014, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

In any case, even if you were conducting a job search for a great C.E.O. to lead the free world, you wouldn’t turn to either Trump or Fiorina.

My sense is that Trump isn’t the idiot that critics often claim (the most common words voters used to describe him in a recent poll were “idiot,” “jerk,” “stupid” and “dumb”). This is a man who is near the top of diverse fields: real estate, book writing, television and now presidential politics. He’s a born showman, a master of branding and marketing. But he doesn’t seem a master of investing.

Back in 1976, Trump said he was worth “more than $200 million.” If he had simply put $200 million in an index fund and reinvested dividends, he would be worth $12 billion today, notes Max Ehrenfreund of The Washington Post. In fact, he’s worth $4.5 billion, according to Forbes.

In other words, Trump’s business acumen seems less than half as impressive as that of an ordinary Joe who parks his savings in an index fund.

An index fund might also have been less ethically problematic. In the 1970s, the Justice Department accused Trump of refusing to rent to blacks. And in 2013, New York State’s attorney general sued him, alleging “persistent fraudulent, illegal and deceptive conduct”; Trump denied the charges.

If Trump’s performance as a business executive was problematic, Fiorina’s was exceptional. Exceptionally bad.

Put aside the fact that she’s the C.E.O. who fired thousands of workers while raking in more than $100 million in compensation and pushing H.P. to acquire five corporate jets. Just looking at the bottom line, she earned her place on those “worst C.E.O.” lists she appeared on.

As Steven Rattner wrote in The Times, Hewlett-Packard’s share price fell 52 percent in the nearly six years she was at the helm. H.P. did worse than its peers: IBM fell 27.5 percent, and Dell, 3 percent.

Oh, and on the day she was fired, the stock market celebrated: H.P. shares soared 7 percent.

If I wanted a circus ringmaster, I’d hire Trump. If I wanted advice on brain surgery or hospital management, I’d turn to Carson. Fiorina would make an articulate television pundit. But for president?

The fact that these tyros are the three leading presidential contenders for a major political party is a sad window into our political dysfunction.

 

By: Nicholas Kristof, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, October 8, 2015

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Donald Trump’s Not So Great Relationship With “The Blacks”

In an episode early in Donald Trump’s career, his New York real estate company was sued by the federal government for discriminating against potential black renters. After a lengthy legal battle, it ultimately agreed to wide-ranging steps to offer rentals to nonwhites.

The little-remembered case provides crucial context for the current discussion centering on Trump and race. The celebrity businessman made news last month when he declared, “I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”

He has recently come under fire for attacks on President Obama that critics have described as racially tinged. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, for example, said Wednesday there is  “an ugly strain of racism” in Trump’s recent (baseless) accusations that President Obama should not have been admitted to Columbia. Also yesterday, Trump told a black reporter, unprompted, “Look I know you are a big Obama fan.”

The discrimination case began in the earliest days of Trump’s career, when he was still in his 20s.

Fred Trump, Donald’s father, was, unlike his son, a self-made man. He made his fortune by building thousands of units of middle-class housing in Brooklyn and Queens. But in the early 1970s, Donald was made president of the family company.

One of Donald’s first challenges came in October 1973, when the Justice Department hit the Trump Organization with a major discrimination suit for violating the Fair Housing Act. The Times reported:

… the Government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals “because of race and color.” It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.

The journalist Gwenda Blair reported in her 2005 Trump biography that while Fred Trump had sought to combat previous discrimination allegations through “quiet diplomacy,” Donald decided to go on the offensive. He hired his friend Roy Cohn, the celebrity lawyer and former Joseph McCarthy aide, to countersue the government for making baseless charges against the company. They sought a staggering $100 million in damages.

A few months after the government filed the suit, Trump gave a combative press conference at the New York Hilton in which he went after the Justice Department for being too friendly to welfare recipients. He “accused the Justice Department of singling out his corporation because it was a large one and because the Government was trying to force it to rent to welfare recipients,” the Times reported. Trump added that if welfare recipients were allowed into his apartments in certain middle-class outer-borough neighborhoods, there would be a “massive fleeing from the city of not only our tenants, but communities as a whole.”

A federal judge threw out Trump’s countersuit a month later, calling it a waste of “time and paper.”

Writes Blair in her book:

Donald testified repeatedly that he had nothing to do with renting apartments, although in an application for a broker’s license filed at the same time he said that he was in charge of all rentals.

In 1975, Trump ultimately came to a far-reaching agreement with the DOJ in which he and the company did not admit guilt but agreed not to discriminate and to take steps to open its housing stock to more nonwhites. The company agreed to submit a weekly list of vacancies to the Urban League, which would produce qualified applicants for a portion of all vacancies.

But it didn’t end there. In 1978, the government filed a motion for supplemental relief, charging that the Trump company had not complied with the 1975 agreement. The government alleged that the Trump company “discriminated against blacks in the terms and conditions of rental, made statements indicating discrimination based on race and told blacks that apartments were not available for inspection and rental when, in fact, they are,” the Times reported. Trump again denied the charges.

It’s not clear what happened with the government’s request for further action (and compensation for victims), but in 1983, a fair-housing activist cited statistics that two Trump Village developments had white majorities of at least 95 percent.

At the very least, the case is something for reporters to ask about next time Trump touts his “great relationship with the blacks.”

By: Justin Elliott, Salon War Room, April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Bigotry, Birthers, Class Warfare, DOJ, Donald Trump, Government, Middle Class, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: