Friday, May 26, 2017

Jared Kushner and the Slumlord Business

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

The FBI considers Trump’s son-in law, the slumlord Jared Kushner, a “person of interest”. So he should be, his life activity, his time spent on this earth, causes untold misery for thousands of people. Kushner, like Trump, has never done a productive days work in his life, and is in charge of a slumlord regime left to him by his dad.   But it is not this anti-social activity that is being investigated. There’s nothing illegal about exploiting people’s need for shelter.  They are investigating Kushner’s possible ties with Russia and the Trump campaign. The US bourgeois are looking for a reason to rid themselves of Trump, and it must be a reason that can be justified in the mind of a significant portion of the US population. Trump is bad for business and he cannot be tolerated for much longer.

The activity of Kushner the slumlord causes far more pain and suffering to the American people than Putin or the Russians. He owns thousands of housing units of mostly working class and poor people and is known as a ruthless landlord. In 2011 and 2012, Kushner and his parasitic partners were “seeking a stable source of revenue” (money without working or unearned income) according to reports. One source they landed on is people’s housing in Baltimore County Maryland where they own 15 complexes that “house up to 20,000 people in total.” see:  Jared Kushner’s Other Real Estate Empire.

Then in 2013 they got another bunch of buildings in the East Village for $130 million and three years after that they spent $750 million on a bunch of buildings owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses on “prime land” in Brooklyn.

To think that all forces in US society, the media, the religious institutions, the strategists of the labor movement all champion the so-called free market as having the answer to all things. They complain about the excess, but they never demand an end to it. Social housing is the alternative to predators like Kushner and other like him. It is far more efficient and humane. Social housing brings permanence and security free from the grubby clutches of the big landlords. Society can provide decent housing but the profiteers and the capitalists like Kushner though their control of politicil life, the media and all institutions of learning, wage a continuous propaganda war against anything public. Here is a video I shot at a rally in London last year. The second woman speaking explains why social housing is so important as it is under attack in the UK too. Thatcher helped destroy it. Corbyn, the Labor Party leader is calling for more social housing. It's about nine minutes long and the woman I am referring to in in the image and starts at 2.33.

Having such close ties to the US president offers Kushner and his gang more opportunity for capital. Business Weeks’s May 15th issue pointed out that Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer has been “pitching the family business” to potential Chinese investors enticing them with the possibility of a US visa in return. This will all be explained away as job creation no doubt.

Jared Kushner is a middleman between the Chinese and the White House and he was also in Iraq on Trump’s behalf and is an advisor on Israel/Palestine relations. Kushner also invests in the illegal settlements in Israel where Jewish extremists from around the world are brought in as the front line in the Zionists expansionary policies that requires the expulsion of the Palestinians whose land the settlers’ appropriate.  Trump was accompanied on his visit to Israel, by another US Zionist Jason Greenblatt. They are optimistic a peace deal can be reached.  Such a blatant slap in the face to the Palestinians and Muslims as a whole wouldn’t increase support for Islamic extremist groups would it?

Assaulting reporters has become the norm for Trump’s political and business colleagues. At one of the Kushner events in Beijing where, Nicole Kushner Meyer was drumming up business, the China correspondent from the Washington Post was manhandled and forced to delete some of her phone’s contents by security. See here tweets here.

Kushner’s dad Charles taught him the slumlord business. Charles Kushner spent some time in prison for “….18 counts of tax evasion witness tampering and illegal campaign donations.”.

Writing in Slate Magazine Jamelle Bouie touches on Kushner’s rapacious desire for wealth and the misery it brings to his victims, he quotes the above piece from the NYT:

Kushner’s company is relentless in its pursuit of “virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease—even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side.” Residents are slapped with thousands of dollars in fees and penalties, even if they had previously won permission to terminate a lease. All of this is compounded by poor upkeep of facilities. MacGillis describes one family that has had to deal with mold, broken appliances, and physical damage to their unit—even after paying the management company for repairs. In one complex, a resident “had a mouse infestation that was severe enough that her 12-year-old daughter recently found one in her bed.” In another, raw sewage flowed into the apartment.
Kushner’s anti-social activity here is not an exception in the landlord business, it is the general rule. Most of the largest owners of human housing in the US are hedge funds and other parasitic outfits. The investors don’t have to look their victims in the eye, don’t have to see the little children or elderly people whose lives they wreck.

There is no doubt that the Russians, just like the US interfere as much as they possibly can in the political life of competing nations.  When they don’t do it covertly they do it though military means.  The US invasions of Vietnam, Iraq, Grenada and the overthrow of governments in Iran and Guatemala (1953) as well as the assassination of obstacles to US economic penetration, (Allende, Rene Schneider in Chile, Lumumba, in The Congo) are well documented.

As I pointed out in an earlier commentary, the main problem for the US ruling class is not Trump’s crude behavior, that’s a detail. Nor is Kushner’s terrorism as a slumlord a problem. It is their activity that damages the so-called legitimacy of bourgeois democracy that worries them. Their system of governance is in jeopardy, that’s the problem. Not only the system itself but the office of the president. We have to “respect” that office more than the person is the claim.  They art obsessed with this charade for the same reason that the feudal aristocracy pointed to divine right for their rule and the slave owner racial superiority for theirs. If the people lose faith in the system they will inevitably at some point attempt to replace it.

That other political arm of the US ruling class, the Democratic Party has the same concerns. Their obsession is with Trump and Trumpism. Get rid of Trump and all will be well. They are the anti-Trump party.  It is impossible not to see the difference when we compare Trump to Obama for example. Obama is cultured, educated, smart and has class. But while recognizing what an incredible event it has been for black folks in America to have a black family in the White House given the brutal racist history of this country, Obama didn’t get where he is without being trusted by the overwhelmingly white ruling class in this country.

He spoke yesterday of the Manchester bombing: "As the father of two daughters, I am heartbroken by this extraordinary tragedy that has occurred in Manchester. To all the families that have been affected, to those that are still recovering, to those who lost loved ones, it is unimaginable to think about the cruelty and the violence the city of Manchester has suffered.”

'This is a reminder that there great danger….” Obama added, “…terrorism and people who will do great harm to others just because they are different'  

Obama, as the leading world representative of US capitalism oversaw the deaths of countless numbers of children as the US continued its bombing of seven or so former colonial countries. He continued the drone killings and assassinations of his predecessor Bush and increased them. Oh, wouldn’t they wish he was there now. Obama was good for them and he is over in Germany campaigning for Merkel and the CDU, Germany’s dominant capitalist party.

Trump is a reflection of the serious political crisis of US capitalism. Its two main parties are in disarray and neither were able to find acceptable candidates in the 2016 elections. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were frequently labeled the two most unpopular candidates in US history and Trump so unpopular that even staunch Republicans, and many a misogynist among them, supported Clinton.

With the next economic recession or slump not too far on the horizon, it will exacerbate the political crisis facing US capitalism and add fuel to the anger that for the most part lies beneath the surface of US society. Still, there have been many opportunities for the US working class to rise to the occasion over the past period and we are seeing numerous struggles taking place around different issues, Standing Rock, poisoned drinking water in urban centers, housing, police brutality, environmental destruction and more. At some point, this anger will rise to the surface and these movements will begin to come together.

Opportunities have been missed and the present situation ripened to the extent that it has due to the role played by the hierarchy atop organized labor that have resources and a huge apparatus at their disposal and refuse to use it. As the 1% face a crisis of a decaying system and dysfunctional political parties, workers, the poor and middle class have been denied a movement and most importantly a political party of our own due to the labor leaderships deathly embrace with the democratic Party and worship of the market.

This won’t go on forever.

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