Category Archives: People

Brookline people and their stories

All that glitters: how Chump exploited people

For some people, the first public appearance of Chump–currently the President–was hustling applicants seeking to rent his dad’s apartments in Brooklyn and Queens. It was also his first close encounter with federal government. In 1973, the U.S. Department of Justice charged him and the family company with civil-rights violations for refusing to rent to African-Americans–contrary to the Fair Housing Act, part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. [Public Law 90-284] That helped spark a lasting reputation as a commercial sleazebag.

There is strong synergy between Chump, as commercial sleazebag, and the late Sen. McCarthy of Wisconsin (1908-1957), as self-annointed prosecutor of leftists. The late lawyer Roy Cohn (1927-1986) was attack-dog for McCarthy during the viral phase of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, not long after which McCarthy died of alcohol abuse. Before dying of AIDS and liver cancer, Cohn was attack-dog for Chump, trying in the 1970s to countersue the government as a dodge around Fair Housing charges.

Cohn failed. The countersuit was dismissed, and Chump was forced into a consent agreement. It was a taste of what became usual Chump behavior: try to blame the victims, and call them insulting names. A reporter told it this way: “As [his] Hyatt [hotel] rose, so too did the hidden hand of his attorney Roy Cohn, always there to help with the shady tax abatements, the zoning variances, the sweetheart deals and the threats to those who might stand in the project’s way.”

Exploiting the rich: The Chump reputation from the early 1970s stuck through years of turning his dad’s real-estate fortune into glitzy Atlantic City casinos and resorts. Those businesses all failed under his clumsy and greedy management. As reported in the New York Times, he cheated hundreds of people and ran down his properties, while contriving to enrich himself. Quoted by the Times: “[the family] name does not connote high-quality amenities and first-class service.”

While his gambling businesses in Atlantic City were cratering during the 1990s, Chump stiffed investors, contractors and suppliers, and he turned to almost any source of ready cash. He shortchanged his family as well, borrowing “at least $413 million in today’s money…and never fully repaid his loans.” He drove his “businesses into bankruptcy by his mismanagement…[and] pillaging.”

Exploiting the poor: A problem gambler down on his luck at exploiting the rich turned to exploiting the poor. The main angle was a string of “get rich” games, feeding off notions that the chief card-shark was immensely rich–because of secret knowledge that he could impart, for a fee. Among the better-known games, “Chump University” and later “Chump Institute” were the glitzy upper-crust.

According to a New York Times report, the “secret knowledge” imparted at Chump Institute was actually handicraft of a lawyer and legal writer from Briarcliff Manor, NY. “She said she never spoke” to Chump but “drew on her own knowledge…and a speed-reading” of Chump’s ghost-written books. According to another report, Chump University charged students $1,495 or more a course and delivered “nothing” in return: “No certification. No keys to success. Just debt.”

Bottom-feeding Chump games are described in the recent complaint beginning a federal class-action lawsuit. Chump, three of his offspring and his ongoing business are charged with exploiting poor and middle-income people by vague promises aimed at suckering them into streams of fairly small payments–around $20 to $500–in hopes of future income. Chump and his alleged conspirators are charged with federal RICO violations, under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization provisions of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. [Public Law 91–452]

Chump suckered the public by pretending to be a self-made billionaire in a television series called The Apprentice, later The Celebrity Apprentice. According to the class-action complaint, “producers candidly acknowledged that their portrayal…was pure fiction.” [Class action complaint, page 23 of 164] Chump “has a long and storied history of wildly exaggerating his net worth.” [page 26 of 164] Chump’s “apparent wealth was largely an illusion.” [page 64 of 164]

Buyer beware: The main Chump games were recruiting lower-income people into becoming product resellers, particularly for a little-known outfit called American Communications Network (ACN). [Class action complaint, page 9 of 164]. On The Celebrity Apprentice, Chump displayed and touted ACN products. Offscreen, according to the complaint, he made “false and misleading statements indicating [he] was endorsing the company because he believed the ACN business opportunity offered a reasonable probability of commercial success.” [page 10 of 164]

Chump with business agents and conspirators, 2011

ChumpWithConspirators

Source: Class-action complaint, Jane Doe v. Trump Corp.

Hidden from viewers and recruitment targets was many millions of dollars paid by ACN to Chump and his alleged conspirators, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. According to a gushing story in the Boston Globe, Chump also licensed his “brand” to a Massachusetts promoter of “diet plans, energy aids and skin care” products–using a similar game of recruiting lower-income resellers.

The class-action complaint in Jane Doe v. Trump Corp. asserts that the four individual complainants in the lawsuit who were suckered into becoming product resellers each lost hundreds to thousands of dollars to deceptive Chump games. Their occupations suggest this would not be money they could afford to lose.


“Jane Doe” — hospice caregiver
“Luke Loe” — mechanic and handyman
“Richard Roe” — fast-food sales clerk
“Mary Moe” — retail sales clerk

If the class action and the use of RICO sanctions are upheld in U.S. District Court, many other victims of Chump games stand to be identified, and punitive damages plus legal costs can be assessed. Chump and alleged conspirators might become exposed to criminal RICO sanctions, including fines and prison terms of up to 20 years.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, October 30, 2018


Maggie Haberman and Benjamin Weiser, Trump persuaded struggling people to invest in scams, lawsuit alleges, New York Times, October 29, 2018

Jonathan O’Connell, Trump defrauded investors in marketing scheme, lawsuit says, Washington Post, October 29, 2018

Class action complaint filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) provisions of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, Jane Doe et al. v. Trump Corporation et al,, Case no. 1:18-cv-09936, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, October 29, 2018

Alexandra Hutzler, Bill Maher asks Stormy Daniels how she could ever sleep with ‘sleazebag’ Donald Trump, Newsweek, October 27, 2018

David Cay Johnston, New York Times exposed Trump’s tax fraud, Daily Beast, October 2, 2018

David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner, Trump engaged in suspect tax schemes as he reaped riches from his father, New York Times, October 2, 2018

Margaret Sullivan, After a stunning news conference, there’s a newly crucial job for the American press, Washington Post, July 16, 2018

Joy Crane and Nick Tabor, 501 Days in Swampland, New York Magazine. April 2, 2018

Marie Brenner, How Donald Trump’s and Roy Cohn’s ruthless symbiosis changed America, Vanity Fair, June 28, 2017

Igor Bobic, Trump kicks out ‘sleazebag’ reporter for asking about sexual assault allegations, Huffington Post, October 13, 2016

Sam Levine, Michelle Obama explains exactly why Trump’s comments about women are so repulsive, Huffington Post, October 13, 2016

Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher, Trump Revealed, Scribner, August, 2016

Jonathan Martin, Trump Institute offered get-rich schemes with plagiarized lessons, New York Times, June 29, 2016

Peter Wehner, The indelible stain of Donald Trump, New York Times, June 12, 2016

Russ Buettner and Charles V. Bagli, How Donald Trump bankrupted his Atlantic City casinos but still earned millions, New York Times, June 11, 2016

Quiana Fulton, Trump University documents reveal Trump’s sleazebag marketing, Reverb Press, June 1, 2016

Charles Doyle, RICO: a brief sketch, Congressional Research Service, May 18, 2016

Ben Mathis-Lilley, Watch a cornered Donald Trump reveal himself for what he really is, a deceptive sleazebag, Slate, March 4, 2016

James V. Grimaldi and Mark Maremont, Donald Trump made millions from multilevel marketing firm, Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2015

Justin Elliott, Donald Trump’s racial discrimination problem, Salon, April 28, 2011

Erin Ailworth, Firm’s new moniker may be its Trump card, Boston Globe, December 7, 2010

Marylin Bender, The empire and ego of Donald Trump, New York Times, August 7, 1983

Craig Bolon, Election aftermath: recovery starting, work pending, Brookline Beacon, November 9, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump disease: political virus, Brookline Beacon, October 2, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump No. 2 returns as anti-Semite, Brookline Beacon, July 3, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump No. 3, plain vanilla creep, Brookline Beacon, June 16, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump No. 3 sounds like No. 2, Brookline Beacon, June 11, 2016

Discord over surveillance: Justice Kennedy retires

Justice Kennedy had enough sense to step aside before most of the public would see that he was losing his grip. Evidence showed in his dissent from Carpenter v. United States. In this high-profile case, he failed to see a difference between business and personal data. Even Chief Justice Roberts–sometimes a backer of imperial government–saw the difference, described in the U.S. Supreme Court opinion released Friday, June 22.

Carpenter v. United States involved government use of cell-phone location-tracking data in a criminal case without obtaining either consent from a cell-phone owner or a search warrant. As Justice Roberts wrote, “Tracking a person’s past movements through [cell-phone data is]…detailed and encyclopedic…the Court has already recognized that individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the whole of their physical movements.”

Interstate crime watch: The Carpenter case arose from interstate crimes in Michigan and Ohio. Through cell-phone location-tracking data, the FBI found that Timothy Carpenter, alleged ringleader of a crime gang, was near the sites of several armed robberies at the times they occurred. Carpenter was convicted by a federal district court jury and sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

Informed by a confession from one of the robbers, the FBI might have been able to justify search warrants for cell-phone records under the Fourth Amendment. Instead it relied on exemptions found in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. [Public Law 99-508] A key issue was whether locations tracked from cell phones are Constitutionally protected as elements of personal privacy. If so, the Fourth Amendment requirement for search warrants should apply to records of locations.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

A so-called “third-party rule” derived from United States v. Miller and from Smith v. Maryland exempted data voluntarily sent to businesses from Fourth Amendment protections: bank transactions and manually keyed telephone numbers. However, those Supreme Court cases from 1976 and 1979 could not anticipate circumstances of the recent Carpenter v. United States case. Consumer cell-phone services were introduced to North America in the mid-1980s and grew slowly in early years, when they were very costly.

Surveillance: While they are powered on, cell phones sample the radio environment and silently exchange messages with transceivers so that they can respond to incoming calls and be ready to place outgoing calls. Most if not all cell-phone services keep records of silent messages that include cell-phone identifications and transceiver locations. Location tracking exposes cell-phone owners to continuous surveillance–a major threat against personal privacy.

The 2018 Carpenter case challenged whether the federal government can access location-tracking data for a criminal investigation without obtaining a search warrant. Joined by Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor, the opinion from Chief Justice Roberts said no–citing among other cases Riley v. California, decided by the Supreme Court in 2014.

The Riley case arose from data contained within cell phones, not data acquired by cell-phone transceivers. As in the Carpenter case, however, data had been examined by law enforcement without obtaining consents or search warrants and had been used to convict cell-phone owners, who appealed. The Supreme Court opinion found a novel, qualitative factor in the “immense storage capacity” of cell phones, calling that “a digital record of nearly every aspect of their [owners'] lives.”

Confusion: The Supreme Court opinion in the 2014 Riley case was likewise written by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor. Justice Kennedy also joined that 2014 opinion, yet for the 2018 Carpenter case he wrote a carping dissent. It shows confusion, starting with a claim that the Carpenter case somehow involves “new technology.”

Justice Kennedy either knew or should easily have learned that technology relevant to the 2018 Carpenter case is older than technology relevant to the 2014 Riley case. He tried to invoke the “third-party rule” based on cases four decades ago. Only by comparison with the 1970s era of communications does either of the more recent cases involve “new technology.”

Justice Kennedy’s dissent failed to recognize changes in communication uses and technologies over the 39 years since Smith v. Maryland. It failed to distinguish the 2018 case from the 2014 case whose opinion he joined. He was unable to see that–unlike bank transactions or manually dialed telephone numbers–durable records linking individual cell phones to dates, times and locations are not essential to business services as usually provided in the United States but instead reflect personal information.

Justice Kennedy seemed to think cell phones are active only when “a cell-phone user makes a call, sends a text message or e-mail or gains access to the Internet.” His views suggest location data from cell-phone transceivers have been voluntarily sent to businesses and are subject to the “third-party rule.” At a late point in a long span on the Supreme Court, he faded to a shadow of his former presence.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, June 29, 2018


Todd Ruger, Justice Kennedy to retire from Supreme Court, Roll Call (Washington, DC), June 27, 2018

Adam Liptak, Supreme Court says warrants generally are necessary to collect cell-phone data, New York Times, June 22, 2018

Carpenter v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court, Case no. 16-402, June 22, 2018

Matthew Tokson, The Supreme Court’s cell-phone-tracking case has high stakes, New York, November 27, 2017

Orin Kerr, Supreme Court agrees to hear Carpenter v. United States, Washington Post, June 5, 2017

Riley v. California, U.S. Supreme Court, Case no. 13-132, June 25, 2014

Ken Schmidt, Wireless telecommunications timeline, Steel in the Air (Baldwinsville, NY), 2014

Smith v. Maryland, U.S. Supreme Court, Case no. 78-5374, June 20, 1979

United States v. Miller, U.S. Supreme Court, Case no. 74-1179, April 21, 1976

Against neighborhoods: Brookline zoning for marijuana

This month–likely on Thursday, May 24–Brookline’s Town Meeting will vote on a risk-laden approach to marijuana zoning and licensing. A complex surface hides disorganized, hypocritical, neighborhood-hostile efforts. Two meetings on Thursday, May 10 showed confusions and lapses of community spirit: a review for some Town Meeting Members and a regular Advisory Committee meeting, both held at Town Hall.

Recreational marijuana regulation: At the 2018 Annual Town Meeting starting May 22, under Articles 17 through 22 Brookline could allow up to four retail shops selling recreational marijuana and up to four marijuana cafes. The Planning Board and the Planning staff, supported so far by three of the five Select Board members, propose to allow the recreational marijuana shops in Local Business zones as well as in General Business zones.

Brookline has five main General Business zones. They are mostly well separated from residential areas and schools: Commonwealth Avenue, Coolidge Corner, Brookline Village, Washington Square and the west end of Route 9 near the Chestnut Hill Mall. There are smaller ones near the north end of Harvard Street, bordered by Allston, and near the east end of Route 9, bordered by the Riverway.

There are seven main Local Business zones. Many thread through residential areas and near schools: the shopping center near Putterham Circle in South Brookline, the northern part of Harvard Street between Devotion School and Verndale Street, the middle part of Harvard Street between Pierce School and Marion Street, the northern part of Cypress Street near Washington Street, the middle part of Cypress Street near the High School and Route 9, the southern part of Cypress Street near Kendall Street, the east end of Beacon Street between St. Mary’s and Carlton Streets, and land near the west end of Beacon Street around Sutherland Road.

Threatened neighborhoods: Proposed zoning for marijuana includes so-called “buffer zones” extending 500 feet out from schoolyard boundaries. Marijuana shops are not allowed inside “buffer zones.” The maps that follow identify some of Brookline’s threatened neighborhoods–showing parts of Local Business zones outside “buffer zones.” Colored in bright blue are Local Business areas where marijuana shops would be allowed. “Buffer zones” around schools are cross-hatched.

Threatened neighborhoods near Harvard Street

HarvardStreetNeighborhoods

Source: Brookline Planning Department

 
 
Threatened neighborhoods near Cypress Street

CypressStreetNeighborhoods

Source: Brookline Planning Department

 
 
Threatened neighborhoods near Putterham Circle

PutterhamtNeighborhoods

Source: Brookline Planning Department

Information from Town Hall: Planning staff held a late-afternoon information session at Town Hall on May 10, sought by Precinct 5 Town Meeting Members. The two staff were Francisco Torres and Ashley Clark–hired in part to develop and promote plans for marijuana. They have fairly short spans of experience in Brookline, and they smile a lot.

At the Town Hall session were Betsy DeWitt–formerly a Select Board member–plus Phyllis O’Leary, Wendy Machmuller, Rob Daves, Andy Olins, Hugh Mattison and newly elected Cindy Drake from Precinct 5, John Bassett from Precinct 6, Craig Bolon from Precinct 8 and Regina Frawley from Precinct 16.

Precinct 5 Town Meeting Members generally opposed medical marijuana at the former Brookline Bank on the corner of Route 9, High Street and Washington Street. They spoke about keeping marijuana shops out of the Local Business zones on Cypress Street. Betsy DeWitt saw high profits from marijuana shops pushing out ordinary local business.

Planning has proposed no standards that support ordinary local businesses. Their proposals for zoning and licensing amount to a “first in the door” approach to zoning permits and business licenses. However, they propose no system to regulate how the timing of applications would be recognized. That could leave Brookline exposed to long and potentially costly “due process” lawsuits, claiming that results from its informal approach had been arbitrary and capricious.

Advisory Committee hostile to neighborhoods: Many of the 24 out of 30 Advisory Committee members at the evening meeting on May 10 seemed hostile toward Brookline neighborhoods. Because around 60 percent of Brookline voters opted to legalize marijuana, they claimed recreational marijuana shops could be sited without considering impacts on neighborhoods. Fisher Hill resident Clifford Brown of Precinct 14 led a charge for more marijuana revenue, while several others on the committee chimed in.

Critically examined, some claims about huge local revenues turn out to be fragrant BS when not flagrant lies. The budding marijuana industry had its friends at (the General) Court when Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017 was being written: the ironically titled “act to ensure safe access to marijuana.” The access is particularly “safe” for marijuana dealers. Much of the potential local revenues come from so-called “community impact fees” that can be included in city and town contracts with marijuana dealers. However, when the revenue party is over after five (5) years, it’s done and gone–while all the problems the community may find continue indefinitely. According to Chapter 94G, Section 3(d) of the General Laws, as amended by the 2017 act:

“…a host community may include a community impact fee for the host community; provided, however, that the community impact fee shall be reasonably related to the costs imposed upon the municipality by the operation of the marijuana establishment or medical marijuana treatment center and shall not amount to more than 3 per cent of the gross sales of the marijuana establishment or medical marijuana treatment center or be effective for longer than 5 years….” [emphasis added]

Voters blindsided: Many of the Brookline voters who opted to legalize marijuana had been informed by the cautious, two-year process to zone and license medical marijuana. Medical marijuana dispensaries are not allowed in Local Business zones. The only current one is on Route 9. Hardly anybody would have expected “full speed ahead” and “open floodgates” for recreational marijuana–the approach from Brookline Planning, welcoming both marijuana shops and cafes to the Local Business zones threading through residential neighborhoods and near schools.

At Advisory Committee on May 10, vocal majorities rejected a motion to exclude marijuana shops from Local Business zones. They supported another motion to allow marijuana cafes. Hypocrites would continue to ban medical marijuana sales from Local Business zones, and they support a new ban on marijuana treatment centers. The outlook of hypocrites seems to be that medical marijuana would not yield as much in licensing fees and local taxes as recreational marijuana–so medical marijuana should be banned.

Those supporting neighborhoods by voting to exclude recreational marijuana shops from Local Business zones were committee members Harry Friedman, David-Marc Goldstein, Angela Hyatt, Alisa Jonas, Steve Kanes, Fred Levitan and Lee Selwyn. Thumbing noses at neighborhoods by voting the other way were Ben Birnbaum, Clifford Brown, Carol Caro, Lea Cohen, John Doggett, Janet Gelbart, Neil Gordon, Janice Kahn, Bobbie Knable, David Lescohier, Pamela Lodish, Shaari Mittel, Michael Sandman, Kim Smith, Charles Swartz and Christine Westphal. Committee chair Sean Lynn-Jones did not vote. Vice-chair Carla Benka and members Dennis Doughty, Kelly Hardebeck, Amy Hummel, Mariah Nobrega and Susan Roberts were absent.

Preventing needless burdens: The NETA medical marijuana dispensary on Route 9 is already in negotiations for one of the potential licenses as a recreational marijuana shop. Its success would leave only three licenses available. There are six more General Business zones to provide sites, leaving no need to burden neighborhoods near Local Business zones. A simple amendment to Article 17 at the 2018 Annual Town Meeting can keep recreational marijuana shops out of Local Business zones.

VOTED: To amend the motion under Article 17 so as to change “Use 29A, Storefront Marijuana Retailers” from “SP *1,2″ to “No” for L (local business) districts.

As of May 17, an equivalent motion is being proposed by Neil Wishinsky (chair of the Select Board) together with Betsy DeWitt, a Precinct 5 Town Meeting Member (TMM-5), Cynthia Drake (TMM-5), Scott Gladstone (TMM-16), Angela Hyatt (TMM-5) and Kate Silbaugh (TMM-1). After several years of experience with recreational marijuana shops in General Business zones, Brookline could review the results and see whether it might make sense to allow them in other places.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, May 12, 2018, updated May 17, 2018


Recreational marijuana information, Department of Planning and Community Development, Brookline, MA, 2018

Locations for marijuana shops, Department of Planning and Community Development, Brookline, MA, 2018

Advisory Committee, Town of Brookline, MA, 2018

Adult use of marijuana, 935 CMR 500, Massachusetts Code of Regulations, 2018

Public documents, Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, 2017-2018

Emma R. Murphy, Brookline’s NETA marijuana dispensary seeking recreational license, Brookline (MA) Tab, April 18, 2018

Business and functional requirements for the licensing, tracking and sale of adult-use marijuana (57 pp) Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, November, 2017

An act to ensure safe access to marijuana, Massachusetts Acts and Resolves of 2017, Chapter 55

Gintautas Dumcius, Brookline medical marijuana dispensary, operated by NETA, set to open in mid-January, Springfield (MA) Republican, December 24, 2015

Craig Bolon, Medical marijuana in Brookline: will there be a site?, Brookline Beacon, December 7, 2014

UMass Boston: hoop dreams

Ten years of Dr. Keith Motley leading UMass Boston bent toward a close last month with an announcement of his departure by the end of June. Something like that seemed likely, since it was known that his contract had not been renewed. Motley came to UMass from Northeastern, where he began on a basketball scholarship in the early 1970s. He became a protégé of Northeastern administrator John Curry, president from 1989 to 1996, and had worked at Northeastern as an admissions reviewer, athletics coach and sports recruiter.

To further a long-range ambition of becoming a college president, in 1999 Motley earned a PhD from the Boston College School of Religion and Education, whose best known graduates have become Roman Catholic bishops and administrators at Catholic-led colleges. Four years later he took a UMass Boston job as an administrator for student affairs.

During the short tenure of Dr. Michael Collins as the UMass Boston campus president–called “chancellor” there–Motley took a detour as a marketing administrator in the statewide university office. In 2007, Collins moved out to lead the medical school at the Worcester campus, and Motley got the nod to lead the Boston campus.

Poor relatives: Public colleges in New England are mostly poor relatives of the private colleges that comprised higher education in the region for three centuries: from the mid-1600s through the mid-1900s. Land-grant colleges common in the Midwest and Southwest were latecomers in New England. Of the few founded in the region, only MIT emerged as a first-tier institution; it has remained privately run.

Together with the Dartmouth campus, UMass Boston has long been a poor relative of a poor relative. The better-off members of the UMass family are the founding Amherst campus, the medical school and–more recently–the technologically driven Lowell campus. UMass Boston opened in 1965, then housed in a 12-story building fronting on Arlington Street. It looked like an office building because it was one: the 1927 Art Deco headquarters for Boston Gas. Better things were supposed to await UMass Boston at the city dump.

UMass Boston at Arlington Street, 1965

UMassBostonArlingtonStreet1965
Source: Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

At the wishfully named Columbia Point, bordering the ocean, the UMass staff and students and the state’s taxpayers were victimized by massive graft in public construction that was commonplace during the 1950s through the 1970s. Recalling unusable floors at the Middlesex County Courthouse in Cambridge, condemned before completion, the central garage at Columbia Point proved structurally unsound the day it opened. It and adjacent buildings–McCormack Hall, Wheatley Hall, the Science Center, Healey Library and Quinn Administration–were plagued with leaks, crumbling masonry, failing ventilation and mold.

The original UMass buildings at Columbia Point shared an architect with the central Chicago prison. In 1977, state Sens. Joe DiCarlo (D, Revere) and Ron MacKenzie (R, Burlington) were convicted and jailed for extorting $40,000 in bribes from McKee, Berger and Mansueto of New York–the firm hired to oversee the UMass construction. Punishing corrupt politicians did not cure the evils visited on UMass Boston.

UMass Boston at Columbia Point, 1974

UMassBostonColumbiaPoint1974
Source: Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

According to Laura Krantz, writing in the Boston Globe, during 43 years at Columbia Point more than $40 million has been spent on stabilizing the original UMass Boston buildings, but that has only postponed disasters. Now the garage and at least McCormack Hall, Wheatley Hall and the Science Center are likely to be demolished and somehow replaced.

Marty Meehan, current president of the statewide university system, has been quoted as claiming that UMass Boston should come up with the funds for such a project–maybe a quarter billion dollars. For a campus with a total yearly budget of only $19 million for all asset depreciation, that would clearly be far beyond its capacity. Ten years ago, when the Amherst campus needed around $2 billion for building repairs–including a failing underground garage–no one suggested that the UMass Amherst budget should bear the whole cost.

Hands on the throttle: UMass Boston needed steady hands on the throttle. Built entirely as a commuter college, it serves large low-income and moderate-income populations ambitious to succeed in the world of work. Between 1965 and 2007, the former campus presidents (“chancellors”)–John Ryan, Francis Broderick, Carlo Golino, Robert Corrigan, Sherry Penney, Jo Ann Gora and Michael Collins–provided steady hands. They achieved stable management despite rapid growth.

During 1965 until 2007, UMass Boston enrollment grew from about 1,230 to 13,400 students at the starts of academic years–a compound growth rate of about 6.0 percent per year. The pace slowed with Keith Motley as the campus president (“chancellor”) of UMass Boston. During 2007 until 2017, enrollment grew from about 13,400 to 16,800 at the starts of academic years, a compound growth rate of only about 3.1 percent per year.

UMass Boston enrollments, 2008-2016

UMassBostonEnrollments2008-2016
Source: U.S. Department of Education

After continuing historic rising trends at first, during the Motley regime the in-state undergraduate enrollment flattened, and the in-state graduate enrollment fell. The breakpoint year was 2010, making it look likely that changes in goals and policies from Motley’s planning “vision” at UMass Boston were the causes–not, as some might have thought, the deep recession that began in early 2008.

Vision: Dr. Motley became the organizer of a so-called “vision” for the future of UMass Boston. As with many other such institutional schemes, concrete in 2009 preceded concepts in 2011. The concrete was the product of architects Chan Krieger Sieniewicz–then in Cambridge, MA–later merged with Naramore, Bain, Brady, Johanson of Seattle, WA, now NBBJ headquartered in Boston.

Unlike Harvard, MIT, Wellesley, Northeastern, Tufts, Brandeis, and a few other institutions in the region, UMass Boston has an historic mission as an affordable teaching university, not as a research university. In 2007, when the Motley regime began, UMass Boston remained a teaching university. However, spiraling student charges for tuition and fees had been eroding the UMass Boston mission of community service.

UMass Boston student charges, 1988-2016

UMassBostonStudentCharges1988-2016
Source: U.S. Department of Education

As described in the “vision” released in 2011, concepts for the future of UMass Boston reflected Motley’s background at Northeastern more closely than they did the needs and goals of UMass Boston students and their families. Motley described his focus as the “research university that we are and continue to become.” [App. B, p. 1] To most who have followed campus development, the falsehood and pretension would be obvious.

Rubber meets road: During the planning blitz for a future UMass Boston, Dr. Motley got blunt warnings from his finance staff that costs could easily spiral out-of-control. However, Motley likes to be liked. Results show him an easy touch for campus entrepreneurs who conjure up new programs. UMass Boston currently offers more than 200 academic programs to about 17,000 students.

Many degree-granting programs at UMass Boston lack sustainable enrollments. Of about 70 undergraduate majors available for at least ten years, only half have awarded ten or more degrees per year. The faltering yet longstanding programs include chemistry, physics, music, African studies, women’s studies, French, Italian, operations management, history and public policy.

Rather than trim back that unstable mix, the Motley regime has allowed several new programs a year. Most of the newer programs have awarded few degrees. Regardless of enrollment, all programs generate costs–mostly for teaching and support staff. Costs of less popular ones are not being offset much by revenues.

Dr. Motley does not seem to care very deeply about the impact of his research university “vision” on the Boston-area students and their families. He planned pay the bills by drawing in more out-of-state and foreign students. Early in his regime, he hired an expanded staff of very high-paid administrators who predicted, around a year ago, that there would be little or no deficit at this time.

Over the past year, rubber finally met the road. Not enough of those out-of-state and foreign students came. Recent reports estimate a $30 million annual deficit. The high-paid administrators were clearly wrong, but apparently either Motley had no contrary advice, or he chose to ignore it. His background as a basketball coach and sports recruiter left him personally unprepared to cope with storms of institutional finance.

In early March, state officials announced they had hired former Bowdoin College president Barry Mills to provide oversight but not to replace Motley. Early this April, Motley turned in his papers. The buzz coming out of UMass Boston signals desperate dodges to cut spending: classes cancelled without warning, part-time faculty laid off, library subscriptions dropped, copy machines unplugged. Hoop dreams.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, May 10, 2017


Laura Krantz, UMass Boston community fears cuts will erode its mission, Boston Globe, May 6, 2017

Laura Krantz, UMass Boston’s biggest challenge? Its own Big Dig, Boston Globe, April 22, 2017

Joan Vennochi, UMass Boston needs a reality check, Boston Globe, April 11, 2017

Michael P. Norton, State House News Service, Stoughton’s Keith Motley to step down as UMass-Boston chancellor, Quincy (MA) Patriot Ledger, April 6, 2017

Peter Lucas, Beacon Hill silent on UMass Boston’s fiscal fiasco, Lowell (MA) Sun, March 28, 2017

Laura Krantz, UMass Boston was warned of financial crisis years earlier, Boston Globe, March 23, 2017

Laura Krantz, Growth spree has the UMass Boston campus in a bind, Boston Globe, March 18, 2017

Facts and Figures 2016-2017, University of Massachusetts at Boston

Statistical Portrait for 2916, Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning, University of Massachusetts at Boston

Annual Financial Report for 2016, University of Massachusetts, for Boston campus, see page 5-6

Chancellors and provosts, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 1965 to 2016

Emily Sweeney, The evolution of Columbia Point from calf pasture to UMass home, Boston Globe, March 29, 2015

Gabriel Baumgaertner, Hoop Dreams: where are the main figures now?, Manchester Guardian (UK), February 18, 2015

UMass Boston at 50, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 2015

Edwin Khoo, How did MIT become a private university?, Quora, June, 2013

Tracy Jan, When good enough is simply not enough, Boston Globe, February 27, 2011

History of UMass Boston, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 2011

A Blueprint for UMass Boston, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 2011

Fulfilling the Promise, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 2011

Vision statement, University of Massachusetts at Boston, dated 2010, published 2011

25-Year Campus Master Plan, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 2009

Chan Krieger Sieniewicz (Cambridge, MA), Campus Master Plan, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 2009

James Vaznis, UMass facing a daunting repair bill, report says Amherst needs an extra $1.8 billion, Boston Globe, May 9, 2007

Collins and Motley to assume top posts, Media office, UMass Lowell, May, 2007

Facts 2006-2007, University of Massachusetts (all campuses)

Lisa Prevost, Is UMass pricing out kids like Joe Drury?, Boston Globe, December 11, 2005

Richard A. Hogarty, Massachusetts Politics and Public Policy: Studies in Power and Leadership, University of Massachusetts Press, 2002

Michael Knight, Massachusetts told of wide corruption, New York Times, January 1, 1981

John W. Ward (Special Commission chair), Final Report to the General Court of the Special Commission concerning State and County Buildings, 1980

Associated Press, Massachusetts state senators are convicted in extortion case, New York Times, February 26, 1977

Wendell H. Woodman, Let me call you sweetheart, New England News Service (series of five articles), February 8-12, 1971

Circuses: cheaper than bread

Last fall, the cockroach candidate attacked “people who are registered to vote in more than one state.” At the time, an Associated Press reporter recently discovered, his “voter fraud expert” Gregg Allen Phillips was registered to vote in three states: Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.

A “voter fraud” investigation recently vanished from political radar. Jonathan Lemire of Associated Press quoted Lindsay Walters as saying on February 3 at the White House, “I do not have an update at this time.” The cockroach President had enjoyed no political “honeymoon.” Less than a day after he took office, millions of protesters had begun to march in more than 600 events held world-wide.

This January 21, at least 500,000 demonstrated in Washington, DC, and in Los Angeles, 200,000 in New York City and in Chicago, 150,000 in Boston and many hundreds of thousands in at least 300 other U.S. cities–all together the largest single day of demonstrations in U.S. history. Many more hundreds of thousands demonstrated in London, Paris, Mexico City, Buenos Aries, New Delhi, Sydney, Tokyo and hundreds of other locales on all the continents.

The next day, the New York Times dropped its whining about “fact checking” and “errors”–writing that the new President told a “lie” about supposedly winning the popular vote. That seemed to startle some readers of the Grey Lady, but it likely had no impact on voters who chose this President.

Sewage clerks: Early last year, the Politico organization dispatched three experienced reporters to review the cockroach candidate and check out the sewage. On average, they found a false statement for each five minutes of public contact.

*** “death of Christianity in America”
*** Sen. Rubio “totally in favor of amnesty”
*** taking “no money from donors” [then $7.5 million]
*** we send Japan “nothing” [$62 billion in 2014 imports]
*** owns a “successful winery” [denied by the actual owner]
*** “Made in the USA…not anymore” [$4.4 trillion in 2014]
*** “winning every poll with the Hispanics” [losing in all]

Harry G. Frankfurt, a social philosopher, published a widely quoted essay, On Bullshit, in 1986, when he chaired the Philosophy Department at Yale. It anticipated the cockroach candidate, as Prof. Frankfurt, now retired from Princeton, noted in discussions with reporters last year. That candidate, he said, “provides a robust example of someone who…indulges freely both in lies and in bullshit.”

Reporters and news media, repeatedly smeared by the cockroach President, have begun checking every claim and describing what they find. Associated Press posts a “fact check” summary at least once a week. The New York Times publishes “fact check” stories about public events and news conferences.

*** This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine….
“Trump’s first month has been…missteps and firestorms”

*** I inherited a mess….
“Incomes were rising and the country was adding jobs”

*** ISIS has spread like cancer….
“Islamic State…began to lose ground before Trump took office”

*** The biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan….
“The winners of five…won a larger Electoral College majority”

*** You probably saw the Keystone pipeline I approved….
“He hasn’t approved the Keystone XL pipeline”

– from Associated Press, February 20, 2017

No prior President has been so rampantly and casually dishonest. History offers other salient examples in U.S. politics, notably from campaigns against Communism and drugs. At a party conference in West Virginia held in February of 1950, the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R, WI) waved a sheaf of papers that he said named “205…individuals..loyal to the Communist Party” and working in the State Department. After years of filth, smears and lies, McCarthy was eventually censured by the Senate. He died in office, likely from alcoholism.

Present danger: Clear dangers from an unhinged President are war and financial collapse. An unhinged Walker Bush was left a strong economy and a world in tension but not at war. From him we got Iraq, the September 11 hijack attacks that he was warned about a month before and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It took eight years of an Obama administration to work through the disasters.

The cockroach President has already shown signs of trouble. We need to keep the heat on and be prepared to act when he falters. He has earned no charity. As Kevin Baker noted, writing in the New York Times, “Mr. Trump was exposed enough for any thinking adult to see exactly what he is.”

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, February 21, 2017


Jim Drinkard and Calvin Woodward, AP fact check: Trump’s view at odds with events of the week, Associated Press, February 20, 2017

Linda Qiu, Fact check: what Trump got wrong at his rally, New York Times, February 18, 2017

Charles J. Symes, Why nobody cares the President is lying, New York Times, February 4, 2017

Jonathan Lemire, Trump executive order on voter fraud quietly stalled, Associated Press, February 3, 2017

Garance Burke, Trump’s voter fraud expert registered in 3 states, Associated Press, January 30, 2017

Michael D. Shear and Emmarie Huetteman, Trump repeats lie about popular vote in meeting with lawmakers, New York Times, January 23, 2017

Kevin Baker, The America we lost when Trump won, New York Times, January 21, 2017

Nika Knight, On first full day as President, Trump attacks the press, Common Dreams (Portland, ME), January 21, 2017

Robert King, Trump says it’s OK if ‘rigged’ voters vote for him, Washington (DC) Examiner, October 22, 2016

David Greenberg, Are Clinton and Trump the biggest liars ever to run for President?, Politico Magazine, July, 2016

Harry G. Frankfurt, Donald Trump is BS, Time, May 12, 2016

Daniel Lippman, Darren Samuelsohn and Isaac Arnsdorf, Trump’s week of errors, exaggerations and flat-out falsehoods, Politico, March 13, 2016

Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit, Raritan Quarterly Review (Rutgers, New Brunswick, NJ) 6(2):81-100, 1986

Craig Bolon, Second day: millions protest, Brookline Beacon, January 22, 2017

Second day: millions protest

The day after the recent inauguration of a new President, millions of protesters marched in more than 600 events held world-wide. The protest in Washington, DC, drew about three to five times the numbers at the inauguration, by different estimates. It may have been the largest demonstration ever held there, rivaling the 1969 protest against the Vietnam War.

At least 500,000 demonstrated in Washington and in Los Angeles, 200,000 in New York and in Chicago, 150,000 in Boston and many hundreds of thousands in at least 300 other U.S. cities–all together the largest single day of demonstrations in U.S. history. Many more hundreds of thousands demonstrated in London, Paris, Buenos Aries, Mexico City, New Delhi, Sydney and hundreds of other locales on all the continents.

Despite its enormous scale, the Washington, DC, protest did not result in arrests. No major incidents were reported from any of the other U.S. events. Protesters called for respecting women’s rights and civil rights and for promoting friendship. “Love Trumps Hate” was a common theme–mocking the sexist, racist, hate-filled campaign conducted by last year’s winning candidate.

True to form: The recently installed President, who campaigned like a sleazebag, began governing like a jerk. His first full day in office sounded like a two-year-old’s tantrum. According to Julie Pace of Associated Press:

“[With] a memorial to fallen CIA agents…as the backdrop, [Trump claimed that] journalists are ‘the most dishonest human beings on Earth.’ Looking out at an audience of men and women who have played a direct role in the nation’s wars against terrorism, Trump said, ‘I have a running war with the media.’ High-level CIA leaders stood silently as the commander-in-chief unleashed his off-topic attacks….”

John O. Brennan, the outgoing CIA director, called out the incident, saying he was “deeply saddened and angered” at the remarks. According to a wire-service report based on interviews with participants, “Many people felt used and awkward.”

The new President has nominated a rigidly reactionary slate of appointees and touted a hostile, insulting approach to government. He has gone far outside conservatism into a cult of personality. For better or worse, he has already ignited flames of conflict within his administration and with Congress.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, January 22, 2017


Alanna Durkin Richer, Tami Abdollah, Juliet Linderman, Brian Witte, Matthew Barakat and David Dishneau, Associated Press, Defiant women to Trump: your agenda won’t go unchallenged, Action News (Pittsburgh, PA), January 22, 2017

Colin Dwyer, Maggie Penman, Mandalit del Barco and Frank Langfitt, Women’s Marches go global: postcards from protests around the world, (U.S.) National Public Radio, January 21, 2017

Jason Easley, Women’s March is the biggest protest in U.S. history as an estimated 2.9 million march, Politicus USA (Los Angeles), January 21, 2017

Timothy B. Lee, Aerial photos show large crowds at Women’s Marches across the country, Vox (New York City), January 21, 2017

John Wright, DC Metro reports second busiest day in history for Women’s March, behind Obama inauguration. NCRM News (Washington, DC), January 22, 2017

Associated Press, More than 1 million trips taken on DC rail system for Women’s March, Action News (Pittsburgh, PA), January 22, 2017

Jessica Rice and Heather Navarro, 750 thousand flock to downtown LA for Women’s March, NBC Los Angeles, January 21, 2017

Evan Allen, Eric Moskowitz, Laura Crimaldi, Patricia Wen and Nicole Fleming, Boston rally draws up to 175,000, officials say, Boston Globe, January 21, 2017

Julie Pace, Associated Press, Trump promises big change but picks small fights, WTOP (Washington, DC), January 22, 2017

Jonathan Lemire and Jill Colvin, Trump uses bogus claim to knock media on reports, Associated Press, January 22, 2017

Ryan Browne, Former CIA chief Brennan bashes Trump over speech during CIA visit, Cable Network News, January 22, 3017

Jonathan Martin, Inaugural speech dims GOP hopes for a more conservative Trump agenda, New York Times, January 21, 2017

Doina Chiacu and Jason Lange, White House vows to fight media ‘tooth and nail’ over Trump coverage, Reuters (UK), January 22, 2017

Peter Baker, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, Rocky first weekend for Trump troubling top aides, New York Times, January 22, 2017

Obama’s legacy: tracking hate crimes

Electing an African-American as U.S. President in 2008 capped centuries of bigotry and began a legacy of inclusion. An image of Obama taking the oath of office became a picture worth a billion words. Despite all the flapping from Europe and Asia about peace and tolerance, so far nothing comparable happened there. For example, there has been no Franco-Arab president of France–not even someone mentioned or on the horizon.

A quiet message, the obverse of promoting inclusion, was delegitimizing racial and ethnic hate. From growing up with bigotry, signs are easily remembered–serving as sly handshakes through words and acts that signal shared outlooks: “one of the gang.” Electing a black President, then re-electing him to another term said, “No, that’s not OK any more. That’s not us.”

Lynching and race riots grew in the aftermath of the Civil War and continued into the 1940s. The way of inclusion became an official outlook through the Great Depression, the era of World War II and the landmark Brown v. Board decision from the Supreme Court in 1954. That did not make it the common way of life. Hate crimes against African-Americans surged during civil rights struggles of the 1950s through the 1970s.

Tracking hate crimes: The U.S. Department of Justice finally began to record hate crimes in 1992, as required by the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 and the Arson Prevention Act of 1996. [Public Laws 101-275 and 104-155] About 17,000 law enforcement agencies now contribute to annual reports. Records since 1996 are available online as part of Uniform Crime Reports compiled by FBI central offices. However, the Justice Department does not publish trends and has not tried to provide consistent reporting.

Anti-African-American hate crimes

usantiblackhatecrimes2009thru2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, 2016

Data from the U.S. Department of Justice show that the most numerous reported hate crimes target African-Americans, Jews and Muslims. For 2015, recent hate crime data show about 1,750 incidents targeting African-Americans, about 660 targeting Jews and about 260 targeting Muslims.

Anti-Jewish hate crimes

usantijewishhatecrimes2009thru2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, 2016

The most recent U.S. population survey for race and ethnicity estimates 43 million African-Americans. The most recent survey for religion estimates about 6 million Jews and 3 million Muslims. Proportionately, the 2015 rates of hate crimes per million residents were about 40 targeting African-Americans, 110 targeting Jews and 90 targeting Muslims.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes

usantimuslimhatecrimes2009thru2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, 2016

Crime trends: Hate crime statistics reflect crime motives as reported by law enforcement agencies–not as determined by courts or as found by other third parties. They are affected by reporting bias. If, for example, law-enforcement training increased likelihoods that incidents were flagged as hate crimes, then rates of reported hate crimes would rise, but such increases would reflect training rather than changes in crime rates.

The falling rates of reported hate crimes targeting African-Americans, down about 20 percent for the five years from 2010 to 2015, signal apparent progress during core years of the Obama administration. There was similar apparent progress in lower rates of reported hate crimes targeting Jews, falling about 25 percent over that five-year span.

However, reported hate crimes targeting Muslims increased significantly, about 60 percent over those years. All of that increase occurred during the final year, 2015. Not shown in the foregoing charts, a sustained and even greater increase occurred in reported hate crimes targeting Native Americans. They tripled between 2010 and 2013, then remained nearly steady at the increased rate.

Situations of Native Americans might be so different from those of other groups for reported rates to be largely fictions. On the basis of hundreds of interviews, Barbara Perry, a professor of criminology at the Ontario Institute of Technology, estimated in 2008 that hate crimes targeting Native Americans had been drastically under-reported. A sharp rise in reported rates between 2010 and 2013 could stem from reporting improvements during the Obama administration. Ken Salazar, Interior secretary during those years, promoted policies of inclusion toward Native Americans. So far no systematic survey has addressed the issues.

Causes and consequences: Filth spread by Donald J. Trump’s campaign for President acted to relegitimize and encourage racist behavior, starting in 2015. Trump did not need to “be” a racist or an anti-Semite but just to become a fellow traveler. His race-baiting dog whistles drew poisonous support from Nazi, Klan and other white supremacist groups. He circulated some of their propaganda. There is an obvious precedent. Former President Wilson also drew support from racist groups. The first Southerner elected since Taylor in 1848, he resegregated parts of the federal workforce, notably the Post Office.

Just as Wilson’s attitude and behavior encouraged lynching and growth of the Ku Klux Klan, vile propaganda emerging around the Trump campaign probably encouraged recent hate crimes–notably against Muslims, whom Trump savaged. People with antisocial outlooks and violent bents are apt to find signs of acceptance and perhaps approval. Unless Donald J. Trump were somehow to reverse his ways and become a beacon of tolerance, we can expect a parade of moral cretins and their crimes to surge in future years.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, November 18, 2016


Errin Haines Whack, Associated Press, Trump’s staff picks alarm minorities: ‘injustice to America’, U.S. News, November 18, 2016

Hate crime statistics for 2015, U.S. Department of Justice, November 11, 2016

Adrian Walker, The politics of hatred and resentment seem headed for defeat, Boston Globe, November 7, 2016

Dana Milbank, Anti-Semitism is no longer an undertone of Trump’s campaign. It’s the melody, Washington Post, November 7, 2016

Trump closes his campaign as he opened it: preaching xenophobia and hate, Daily Kos (UK), November 7, 2016

Michael Finnegan, Trump stokes terrorism fears, citing refugee ‘disaster’ in Minnesota, Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2016

Sarah Posner and David Neiwert, How Trump took hate groups mainstream, Mother Jones, October 14, 2016

Stephanie McCrummen, Finally: someone who thinks like me, Washington Post, October 1, 2016

Daniel Marans, Meet members of Donald Trump’s white supremacist fan club, Huffington Post, August 25, 2015

Martin Pengelly, American Nazi Party leader sees ‘a real opportunity’ with a Trump Presidency, Manchester Guardian (UK), August 7, 2016

Emily Flitter, Reuters, Trump tweet that blasts Clinton as corrupt includes the Star of David, Washington Post, July 2, 2016

Tom Shoop, When Woodrow Wilson segregated the federal workforce, Government Executive (Washington, DC), November 20, 2015

William Keylor, The long-forgotten racial attitudes and policies of Woodrow Wilson, Boston University Office of Public Relations, March 4, 2013

Population statistics, Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, 2016

Gregory Smith, et al., America’s changing religious landscape, Pew Research Center, 2015

Barbara Perry, Silent Victims: Hate Crimes Against Native Americans, University of Arizona Press, 2008

Brown v. Board of Education, Leadership Conference (Washington, DC), 2004

Robert A. Gibson, The Negro Holocaust: Lynching and Race Riots in the United States, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 1979

Craig Bolon, Election aftermath: recovery starting, work pending, Brookline Beacon, November 9, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump disease: political virus, Brookline Beacon, October 2, 2016

Election aftermath: recovery starting, work pending

In a column titled, “Politics of hatred and resentment seem headed for defeat,” Adrian Walker, a writer at the Boston Globe, claimed that the 2016 election involved “the ugliest and strangest Presidential campaign of modern times.” Actually, this year was neither notably ugly nor notably strange for a campaign, either in “modern times” or in historical ones.

The 1968 contest was vile–at the nadir of the Vietnam War–leaving the socially conscious voters without a general-election candidate to support. The main alternative to the pro-war candidates from both major parties was George Wallace, a coarse, violently racist former governor of Alabama who got about 14 percent of the votes. However, early and middle nineteenth century–in the era of slavery–saw far more vicious campaigns than that.

Instead of such modern and historical extremes, this year there was simply one notably ugly Presidential candidate. To our vexation, he won. At best, a Long Night of Nixon–like the one starting in 1968–begins again. We have a President-elect whose lack of character has not been seen since Buchanan in 1856 and Polk in 1844–and whose lack of competence and stature has never been seen before.

To the last day of the campaign, Hillary Clinton’s message remained inclusive: “Stronger together.” Donald J. Trump’s message remained divisive: “Crooked Hillary.” Clinton closed her campaign with rallies featuring President Obama, his wife Michelle, the Clinton family, prominent entertainers and other major figures from politics. Trump closed his campaign much as he had opened it, largely isolated, spouting lies and hate.

The outcome from the 2016 election for President exhibited classic racial voting, strongly coupled to sexist bias. Over 24,500 exit poll responses were reported by Edison Research to the Associated Press, television news networks and the New York Times–made available online by Cable Network News–from which the following table shows a small but telling example, extracted and rearranged for readability. Majorities of both white men and white women voted for Donald J. Trump. Majorities of all other groups voted for Hillary Clinton.


Voting for President in 2016 by race and age
 
Race.and.age..(Pct)….Clinton….Trump…..Other
Whites.18-29.(12%)…….43%…….48%……..9%
Whites.30-44.(17%)…….37%…….55%……..8%
Whites.45-64.(30%)…….34%…….63%……..3%
Whites.65-up.(13%)…….39%…….58%……..3%
Blacks.18-29…(3%)…….83%………9%………8%
Blacks.30-44…(4%)…….87%………7%………6%
Blacks.45-64…(5%)…….90%………9%………1%
Blacks.65.up…(1%)…….90%………9%………1%
Latino.18-29…(2%)…….70%…….24%………6%
Latino.30-44…(3%)…….71%…….22%………7%
Latino.45-64…(3%)…….67%…….29%………4%
Latino.65-up…(1%)…….71%…….24%………5%
Others.18-up…(6%)…….60%…….34%………6%
 
Source: Edison Research via Cable News Network

Chump disease: For readers who followed Donald J. Trump over a career of around 50 years in real estate, he was not strange at all–just greedy and vulgar. Some might remember an arrogant young man, a mediocre new college grad who apparently could not land a real job on his own. Instead, he went to work for his dad, helping to rent out his dad’s apartments.

His first brush with government proved chilling; it foreshadowed his career path. In 1973, he was accused of refusing to rent apartments to African-Americans–a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act of 1970. Instead of mending his ways, Donald J. Trump employed Roy Cohn–a former hired gun for Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover. That attack strategy failed; Trump was forced into a settlement agreement. However, attack strategies settled into Trump’s character; he became known as a business bully.

After a fatuous tangle with casino properties in Atlantic City, Donald J. Trump courted ruin as mismanaged properties lurched to bankruptcy, following the sharp recession of 1991. Facing competition from Connecticut he could not counter, he chiseled his way out by loading losses onto lenders, investors and contractors and avoiding taxes, counting some of their losses as though they had been his losses. Then he discovered a second calling as a media rube. He became known as a sick hustler.

Pending work: There would have been tons of work for a Hillary Clinton administration–starting with investigation of FBI director James Brien “Jim” Comey, Jr.–who in effect acted as a Trump booster while a government employee. Comey’s stunts threw the election. Polling trends up to the stunt on October 28 showed clearly that Hillary Clinton would otherwise have won. One-percent margins in Pennsylvania and Florida, for example, would have landed in the other direction.

Nevertheless, on election day there remained severe problems to solve in domestic programs, notably in Health and Human Services, Education, Interior and Transportation. Chronic Congressional paralysis would likely have taken far more effort than executive agencies, because it springs from voter choices for members of Congress. Most and maybe all that work will probably wait at least another four years, unless Donald J. Trump were to stumble enough to be impeached and convicted.

If nothing more, the effects from Donald J. Trump’s dog-whistle rants showed large segments of U.S. voters may be happy to back candidates who come across as sleazebags, xenophobes, anti-Semites, sexists, racists, Nazi fellow-travelers, political whores and traitors. A recent Washington Post headline put it, “Finally: someone who thinks like me.” Were Trump cheerleaders off their rockers? A more recent Post article cited evidence suggesting many of them were over their heads in debt.

This year, millions of U.S. citizens have been denied a right to vote. David Leonhardt, writing in the New York Times, argued that systematic efforts by reactionary Republicans to swing elections in their favor are the main causes. Corruption is rankest in the Deep South and the Southwest. It also threatens voters in parts of the Midwest. Some of the arrogant rubes behind it Trumpet their motives. Leonhardt quoted one from North Carolina claiming that throttling early voting was “in the best interest of the Republican Party.”

We do not know what Hillary Clinton might have promised high-income sponsors who put up most of around $1 billion she was able to attract in support of her campaign. An early promise by Donald J. Trump to “self fund” his campaign turned out to be just another casual lie from him. Despite the threats emerging from the Citizens United case in 2013, big money–including early big money–proved less effective than many feared it would be. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida had the most early big money, yet he was an early loser.

New business: A new item of business–so far skipped by most mainstream media in the United States–is a federal lawsuit against Donald J. Trump. It was filed on September 30, 2016, in the District of Southern New York. It accuses him and an alleged collaborator of child rapes and murder threats. Trump, the co-defendant and their lawyers have sought to dismiss accusations as lies and smears. Jon Swaine, a reporter for the Guardian in Britain, treated an earlier version of the lawsuit as a media circus.

In the recent federal lawsuit, Donald J. Trump and Jeffrey E. Epstein, of New York, are accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1994, and both are accused of threatening to have her whole family killed if the girl were to “say anything” about it. With the filings in federal court, the lawsuit seeks to override statutes of limitation. Thomas Meagher of Princeton, New Jersey, the attorney of record, is a patent lawyer–his firm’s chief litigator and managing partner when the recent federal lawsuit was filed.

According to an Internet news article published this past summer, Donald J. Trump’s co-defendant Jeffrey E. Epstein has been classified in New York as “a Level 3 registered sex offender–the most dangerous kind.” The author of that article is a lawyer in California who focuses on tort and divorce cases and who has identified herself as assisting the plaintiff in the recent federal lawsuit.

In an exhibit filed with the complaint against Donald J. Trump, the plaintiff provided a sworn statement saying that “Defendant Trump tied me to a bed,…and then proceeded to forcibly rape me…violently striking me in the face with his open hand and screaming that he would do whatever he wanted.” She further states, “Immediately following this rape, Defendant Trump threatened me that, were I ever to reveal any of the details of Defendant Trump’s sexual and physical abuse of me, my family and I would be physically harmed if not killed.”

Unusual with incidents of violent sexual abuse, the complaint against Donald J. Trump in the lawsuit also provided a sworn statement from a claimed eyewitness to the alleged rapes. It states that she “personally witnessed the Plaintiff being forced to perform various sexual acts with Donald J. Trump and Mr. Epstein. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein were advised that she was 13 years old.” It further states the claimed eyewitness “personally witnessed Mr. Trump…[and]…Mr. Epstein physically threaten the life and well-being of the Plaintiff if she ever revealed any details of the physical and sexual abuse….”

Donald J. Trump and the co-defendant are presumed innocent unless proven to be at fault. According to the New York Daily News, the next step in the recent federal lawsuit is a court conference set for December 16. One might suspect, however, that a difficult case–now against a President-elect–could be withdrawn.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, November 9, 2016


Note: As was obvious to us on November 8, election day, by November 12 the Hillary Clinton campaign also found that the publicity stunt on October 28 by James Brien “Jim” Comey, Jr., the FBI director, had thrown the election–wrecking the growing Clinton advantage seen in earlier polls. Comey rehashed Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server while Secretary of State, in a letter sent to eight Congressional committee chairs–all Republicans. That was immediately forwarded to news organizations from one or more of those offices. Starting the next day, polls showed declining margins of support for Clinton. By election day, margins had not recovered.

Comey’s FBI staff in New York had found there was an e-mail cache on a computer seized from ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, a key assistant to Hillary Clinton. As of October 28, the FBI did not have a search warrant to examine the computer and could not legally have known the content of e-mails stored on it. Longstanding Department of Justice policy forbids disclosure of information close to elections, and Comey had recently been reminded about that policy.

News stories soon surfaced that Comey’s October 28 stunt had been engineered by FBI staff in New York City and disclosed to Rudy Giuliani, the former city mayor who had become a key backer of Donald J. Trump. For several days before October 28, in comment sections of major news sites, well known Trump trolls had been feverishly writing comments seeking to persuade readers not to use early voting and suggesting that some major news was in the works. On November 7, Comey was celebrated at an event held by a group of longstanding Trump supporters. [note added November 13, 2016]

Anne Gearan, Washington Post, Hillary Clinton blames Comey letter for stopping her momentum, Boston Globe, November 12, 2016

K.K. Rebecca Lai, Alicia Parlapiano, Jeremy White and Karen Yourish, How Trump won the election according to exit polls, New York Times, November 9, 2016 (updated, with charts)

David Leonhardt, The real voter fraud, New York Times, November 8, 2016

Adrian Walker, The politics of hatred and resentment seem headed for defeat, Boston Globe, November 7, 2016

Dana Milbank, Anti-Semitism is no longer an undertone of Trump’s campaign. It’s the melody, Washington Post, November 7, 2016

Josh Lederman, Associated Press, As campaign closes, the Obamas pass the torch to Clinton, U.S. News, November 7, 2016

Trump closes his campaign as he opened it: preaching xenophobia and hate, Daily Kos (UK), November 7, 2016

Jake Pearson and Jeff Horwitz, Comey honored by group with longtime Trump ties, Associated Press, November 7, 2016

Michael Finnegan, Trump stokes terrorism fears, citing refugee ‘disaster’ in Minnesota, Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2016

Max Ehrenfreund, Something has been going badly wrong in the neighborhoods that support Trump, Washington Post, November 4, 2016

David Barstow, Mike McIntire, Patricia Cohen, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner, Donald Trump used legally dubious method to avoid paying taxes, New York Times, October 31, 2016

Former Bush ethics lawyer accuses FBI director of violating Hatch Act, Government Executive (Washington, DC). October 31, 2016

Richard W. Painter, On Clinton e-mails, did the FBI director abuse his power?, New York Times, October 30, 2016

Sari Horwitz, Washington Post, Officials warned FBI head about decision on e-mails, Boston Globe, October 29, 2016

Photocopy, Letter to Congress from FBI director on Clinton e-mail case, New York Times, October 28, 2016

Drew Harwell, When Trump goes confrontational, lawyer steps in, Washington Post, October 16, 2016

Victoria Bekiempis, Lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of raping 13-year-old girl gets December hearing, New York Daily News, October 12, 2016

Richard Cohen, Why do Republicans suddenly find Trump repugnant? He looks like a loser, Washington Post, October 8, 2016

Philip Rucker, Trump hopes to revive campaign after tax discovery caps a week of self-sabotage, Washington Post, October 2, 2016

Stephanie McCrummen, Finally: someone who thinks like me, Washington Post, October 1, 2016

Robert O’Harrow, Jr. and Shawn Boburg, The man who showed Donald Trump how to exploit power and instill fear, Washington Post, June 17, 2016

Gabrielle Levy, How Citizens United has changed politics in five years, U.S. News, January 21, 2015

Jane Doe v. Donald J. Trump and Jeffrey E. Epstein (refiled complaint), Case No. 1:16-cv-07673, U.S. District Court for Southern New York, filed September 30, 2016

Thomas F. Meagher, Meagher Emanuel Laks Goldberg & Liao, LLP, Princeton, NJ, September, 2016

Jon Swaine, Rape lawsuits against Donald Trump linked to former TV producer, Guardian (UK), July 7, 2016

Lisa Bloom, Why the new child rape case filed against Donald Trump should not be ignored, Huffington Post, June 29, 2016

Craig Bolon, Hillary Clinton for President, Brookline Beacon, October 8, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump disease: political virus, Brookline Beacon, October 2, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump No. 3 sounds like No. 2, Brookline Beacon, June 11, 2016

Hillary Clinton for President

Despite reservations, we support Hillary Clinton. Like former Senator and current Secretary Kerry, former Senator and Secretary Clinton might lean toward aggression as a Cabinet officer. As President, she will own the outcomes. Like President Obama, she is much more likely to resist rather than promote foreign adventures.

With a second President Clinton, we can expect to sustain progressive programs from the last two Democratic administrations. We can expect strong opposition to scams left from the last Republican one, such as its attempts to sell out national assets and shutter pollution regulation.

There is a major lapse in judgment waiting to be corrected: a quagmire left from launching the Affordable Care programs without any Republican support and without sound financial plans. Few national figures have more experience with the topic than Hillary Clinton.

The two candidates from small parties offer nothing comparable. When at his best, the Republican candidate is a sick joke. His hero is Richard Nixon, the only President to resign the office and the historical promoter of racism that now pervades the Republican Party.

Hillary Clinton is well qualified to serve as President. She deserves our support.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, October 8, 2016


Editorial, Hillary Clinton for President, Boston Globe, October 8, 2016

Richard Cohen, Why do Republicans suddenly find Trump repugnant? He looks like a loser, Washington Post, October 8, 2016

Patrick Healy and Alan Rappeport, Tape reveals Donald Trump bragging about groping women, New York Times, October 7, 2016

Editorial, Hillary Clinton for President, New York Times, September 25, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump disease: political virus, Brookline Beacon, October 2, 2016

Chump disease: political virus

This fall finds more cases of “Chump disease”–a political virus in the same genus as those from the late Father Charles Coughlin, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R, WI) and Gov. George Wallace (D, AL). Species of the disease organisms can be classed by their targets–for those species: Jews, Communists and African-Americans. Traces of a recent outbreak of a related disease can be found in remains of the Pea Potty.

Chump disease has been multivalent, provoking attacks on women, African-Americans, Mexicans, Muslims and Jews. Acute onset tends to be accompanied by bloviating from which a few words tumble, including “fat,” “ugly,” “crooked,” “lyin’,” “crazy” and “little.” Disease carriers are urged against the targets. Writing in the Washington Post October 1, Stephanie McCrummen profiled the behaviors of a disease carrier: “Someone who thinks like me.”

Origins of Chump disease extend far back into the Years of Slavery. Former Presidential diseases in this genus included those from Jackson, who treated the federal government like his private farm, and from Polk, who bought and sold slaves at his desk in the Oval Office–both virulent racists hailing from Tennessee.

Michael Finnegan and Evan Halper wrote warnings this August in the Los Angeles Times: “Trump says ’2nd Amendment people’ can keep Clinton from naming justices” and “Virus spreads to Presidential politics.” Mr. Halper was writing about a biological virus–one that sometimes causes lasting nerve damage–but it suggests a metaphor for Nazis. The Chump was reported to keep a copy of Hitler’s speeches in his bedroom.

The Chump’s emotional awareness looks to have frozen at around age four, before he might have learned to share. His language seems to have stalled a few years later–leaving him barely able to produce a full sentence, let alone a paragraph. “I guess, right? Right? I guess. Right?” Now he’s a freak: a frightened child hiding inside an aging person.

Recently the Chump has been getting more of the treatment he deserves from mainstream media: ignoring his tantrums as circus sideshows. Zombies still wave and clap for him, but they are due a surprise, once they look around. At a fork in a road, many of their neighbors went another way.

When the Chump verged from freak show to center ring, he was badly exposed. He had neither training nor experience. In the newer environment, he is wildly outclassed. Exiting the first Presidential debate of 2016, he seemed flustered yet unaware of how thoroughly and skillfully he had been skewered. Soon he was venting over a former beauty queen, whom he helped to crown two decades earlier.

The next evening, as wounds from his thrashing began to burn, he dropped “Secretary Clinton” and relapsed into “Crooked Hillary.” As though on cue, his claque of would-be brown-shirts screamed, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” A few weeks from now, he’ll rest in a memory heap–somewhere far beneath Jennings Bryan, the Cross of Gold candidate from 1896 who, at age 36, could indeed produce complete sentences.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, October 2, 2016


Jenna Johnson, Trump urges supporters to monitor polling places in ‘certain areas’, Washington Post, October 1, 2016

Stephanie McCrummen, Finally: someone who thinks like me, Washington Post, October 1, 2016

James Hohmann and Breanne Deppisch, Trump stumbles into Clinton’s trap by feuding with Latina beauty queen, Washington Post, September 28, 2016

Jenna Johnson, At Florida rally, Trump resumes attacking ‘crooked Hillary Clinton’, Washington Post, September 27, 2016

Paul H, Jossey, How we killed the Tea Party, Politico, August 18, 2016

Michael Finnegan, Donald Trump says ’2nd Amendment people’ can prevent Hillary Clinton from choosing judges, Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2016

Evan Halper, Zika virus spreads to Presidential politics, Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2016

Martin Pengelly, American Nazi Party leader sees ‘a real opportunity’ with a Trump Presidency, Manchester Guardian (UK), August 7, 2016

Thomas Beaumont, Associated Press, Charting a road to 270, Clinton sets out most efficient path, WTOP (Washington, DC), August 6, 2016

Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press, Fact check: Trump’s Iranian propaganda video a concoction, WTOP (Washington, DC), August 4, 2016

Jonathan Mahler and Matt Flegenheimer, What Donald Trump learned from Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man, New York Times, June 21, 2016

Holocaust Encyclopedia, Charles E. Coughlin, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, June, 2016

Ibram X. Kendi, The eleven most racist U.S. Presidents, Huffington Post, May, 2016

Debbie Elliot, Is Donald Trump a modern-day George Wallace?, (U.S.) National Public Radio, April, 2016

Joyce Oh and Amanda Latham, Senator Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism and the Witch Hunt, Cold War Museum, 2008

Marie Brenner, After the Gold Rush, Vanity Fair, 1990

Richard Kreitner, William Jennings Bryan delivers Cross of Gold speech, The Nation, 2015 and 1896

Craig Bolon, Chump No. 2 returns as anti-Semite, Brookline Beacon, July 3, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump No. 3, plain vanilla creep, Brookline Beacon, June 16, 2016

Craig Bolon, Chump No. 3 sounds like No. 2, Brookline Beacon, June 11, 2016