The Trump Files: When Donald Struck Oil on the Upper West Side

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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on July 18, 2016.

Donald Trump, oil tycoon? That’s what it sounded like in 1985, when Trump announced he had struck oil on a sprawling vacant lot he owned on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

”Isn’t it amazing?” Mr. Trump told the New York Times. “It’s a classic major oil find in Manhattan.”

Not quite. The oil wasn’t from an ancient crude deposit hiding beneath the city. It was actually spilled and leaked leftovers. The property used to be a rail yard. “The bulk of the find is No. 2 diesel oil for locomotives,” the Times pointed out.

New York environmental officials estimated there were perhaps 100,000 gallons of oil on the property. That’s enough for 2,380 barrels—about 0.0003 percent of what the United States now produces in a day. But that didn’t seem to dampen Donald’s enthusiasm. He claimed he was already getting calls from Texan oil barons about his huge find. “We could be pumping here for years,” he insisted.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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