BesserFernsehen, Medien, Musik, Inspiration & Wellbeing
16 minutes reading time (3134 words)

Donald Trump, Frank Costello & The Law of Attraction

Donald Trump reflects the esoteric obsession that everybody can achieve anything in life – whatever he or she wants. Suitability? Second-tier. Thanks to the power of thoughts & emotions the world is your oyster! The universe is your stage, illuminated by the stars above!

That’s tempting on the one hand, but there’s a dark, dangerous downside to it, as one can see clearly. How can parents explain to their kids, if you are poorly educated, have a limited attention span, are reckless, corrupt & insulting, manipulate others for your own advantage, don’t pay for provided services, commit tax fraud and screw people whenever possible, and moreover release all sorts of verbal & virtual bullshit – then the whole world, my dear, is waiting for you!

I don’t lie. I just adapt the truth to circumstances – «alternative facts»!
They weren't lies – but enhanced explanation techniques!
I don’t tell lies, just fiction short stories!
My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with facts. 

Back in the 80s, Trump let the world know that he could achieve anything with the accurate power of thoughts & feelings. Just like modern management esoterism does all over the globe. And decades earlier the inofficial «Prime Minister» of New York, Frank Costello: «When you decide to be something, you can be it.» Both, Trump & Costello, lived in luxurious suites in first-class New York neighborhoods. Both love/d power, influence, money & prestige. Both like/d to order around & manipulate. Both love/d America, longing for an important role. Both appreciate/d the beautiful & expensive things in life. When Frank Costello appeared in court for a hearing, his lawyers advised to change into an old, oversized suit to look haggard – instead of wearing his beloved custom-made suits. Costello’s reply: «I’d rather blow the case.»

The former became President of the United States. The latter was the long-time Mafia Boss and legendary Godfather of New York, the inofficial «Prime Minister» Frank Costello. The president of a crazy world and the prime minister of the underworld. In recent times I often draw comparisons – and I hate to say that Donald Trump does somewhat poorly. But see for yourself below … 

«Light & shadow» is one of the big themes in life. Just look outside on a sunny day: Wherever there is light, there is shadow, too. An obvious fact that the «positive thinking industry» likes to sugarcoat. «Attracting» only positive things with positive thinking & feeling and leaving the negative & painful to those who are too lazy or too stupid to think positively – such a one-sided, simplified view can only work in very limited ways.

Nothing ever here on earth is just black or white, just good or bad, enlightened or damned to all eternity – there is Star Wars out there, there are so many forces out there which we can only guess vaguely. Donald & Frank are just extreme examples of the many different sides of life, of something Rainer Maria Rilke and many others told us so accurately: For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror – and vice versa – which we are barely able to endure.

Beauty and terror / Just keep going / No feeling is final … so Rilke. Beauty & terror just keep going in this world, too … constantly converging … like black clouds & silver linings in the New York sky …

Let me be clear: Frank Costello was not a «guiding light», but a wily tactician who manipulated & corrupted the New York elite in order to follow his gambling businesses without interruption. He charmingly & cleverly combined the bright sides of life with the dark & abysmal ones. But it still remains astonishing that a comparatively «softy» could be Godfather of New York for quite a long time. In such a ruthless, bloodthirsty organisation like the Cosa Nostra which took no prisoners. He must have known a thing or two about human beings, human ambitions & abysses. Costello wasn’t a typical gangster, he was a mobster with heart & brain, wit & charm and – despite all – a certain moral foundation. He was a kind & generous man, a loyal friend, a patriot.

Last year I combined it all in a Gangsta Song – not least facing the possible threat of a Trump presidency, maybe only bearable with a lot of «Champagne Supernova». And showing that, on the other side, a «King of the Underworld» has his good & sweet sides, too.

Welcome «At the Captain’s Table»! 

Thinking back of Frank Costello / Trying hard to be much more
Than just a rich & famous mobster / Something well worth living for
Francesco growing up in Harlem / In a Gangsta neighbourhood
Could have been a Prime Minister / Way beyond the Mob, for good
Frank said to the boys on Wall Street / We are doing the same thing
Gambling with the people’s money / In the casino – in the ring

Looking at Trump & Costello, I would like to underline a few points:

Immigrants & Jews

Donald Trump seems to ignore that we don’t have to search long for immigration in his own bloodline.

Historically, New York is a collecting pond for immigrants from all over the world. At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, lots of poor Italien immigrants came to the United States, the land of opportunity. Many ended up in the slums of Brooklyn or Harlem, ruled by bitter poverty & crime. To escape this misery, a lot of kids & youngsters joined criminal gangs. And so many Italien immigrants sooner or later came in touch with the Italo-American Mafia, the «Cosa Nostra» (= this thing of ours). Their thing(s) were bootlegging, drug dealing, car burglary, manipulation of the gasoline prices, illegal gambling, racketeering, corruption, infiltration of unions and more. 

Frank Costello came to America as a little boy with his parents – spending the Atlantic crossing mainly in a huge cooking pot. Early in his life he urged to escape the poverty of his family & environment.

All his life Costello was seeking education & knowledge, success, elegant suits, prosperity & recognition – he wanted to be a real, respected American. The intelligent boy would have loved to enjoy a good education. Others have been sent to Harvard or Yale, he stated later in life – but I grew up like a mushroom. However, the «fungus» didn’t want to stay in the rain forever. Francesco Castiglia took on the Irish version of his name, Frank Costello, and conquered the New York underworld at the side of renowned companions such as Arnold Rothstein or Lucky Luciano. 

All his life Costello was a troubleshooter & reconciler – not really into violence & murder. Already as a teenager & young man he tried to mediate between the Italien, Irish and Jewish «Kosher» Mafia. Fellows of Lucky Luciano and Frank Costello like Benjamin «Bugsy» Siegel or financial genius Meyer Lansky (both with Jewish roots) repeatedly were insulted by «Family» peers like Vito Genovese, calling them unwelcome strangers & intruders. Frank Costello’s clear response: «Shut the f*ck up, we are all immigrants here …» Later on his English got more sophisticated …

Communication & Friendship

Costello was a somewhat modern mobster and went to see a shrink on a regular basis for about two years back in the 40s. He had a hard time standing all the violent & blunted Mafiosi in his surroundings. And he sure missed a decent talk. The psychiatrist recommended making acquaintance with other people outside the mob: politicians, architects, designers, writers, actors etc. And lo & behold, it helped – at least partially. Had this been made public at the time, it would have costed life & limb. But that happened only much later in various Hollywood films & TV series – where other Cosa Nostra motifs have been picked up as well.

Frank was a stubborn man in many ways, but he was able to listen, too – not only to the shrink. He could accept other opinions, if good arguments were made. And he modified his East Harlem ghetto language – Costello mostly spoke (and acted) deliberately & thoughtfully. Trump-style communication was not his thing.

Trump-style communication keeps reminding me of something I once read somewhere: «If everyone in the band Garbage took out their garbage on garbage day and then the garbage men came and tossed Garbage's garbage in the garbage dump with the other garbage, there still wouldn't be as much garbage as there is in these statements.»

Does someone like Trump has something like «friends», not just beneficiaries – like in particular many family members? I don’t know. Most business partners in the past were not keen on further deals with Donald. Things can change, however, looking at lucrative government contracts and various dependencies …

Frank Costello cultivated friendships with some mobsters, but also with politicians, judges, artists, people from different walks of life. A long-time friend was actor Anthony Quinn. Quinn remembered that Costello didn’t want to talk about the Mafia and his past – it felt like a heavy weight on his shoulders. But he didn’t want to sugarcoat, either. One day a guest at the table sticked to his guns – until Costello eventually answered: «I never sold no bibles …» He must have liked the answer, as he kept using it on several occasions.

His advice to Donald Trump might have been: Never miss a good chance to shut up!

Women & Charity

Trump and women – (almost) everything is already said. Too many thoughtless, stupid, depreciatory tweets, comments, video recordings etc. As a German speaking woman the first word that comes to my mind is «Fremdschämen» (means something like «embarrassed by proxy»).

First Lady Melania, however, doesn’t seem to be too upset that other women take certain «jobs» off her. She takes every opportunity she can to be & sleep under a different blanket & roof. And if it can't be prevented, one almost hears her say: Don’t talk to me! I need my 24 hours in the morning.

Frank Costello was a gentleman, treating women with affection & respect – his wife and his mistresses (beautiful women were part of the Mafia lifestyle like expensive suits …). However, he handled it with much discretion – his wife, Loretta «Bobby» Geigerman, a pretty brunette with Jewish roots he married when she was a teenager, remained his No. 1 all through his life. Until the very last day and beyond. «I guess you learn to love the good & bad in everyone», Bobby used to say.

Frank has helped a lot of people – in the US as well as in the old homeland. He wanted to have a good night's sleep and a little peace of mind. He sure was one of the most interesting figures in the American Mafia history. He primarily pinned his hopes on dialog & negotiation. And he was very much into charity. In the early years publicly, later on in private. Among other things he donated enormous sums to orphanages – anonymously.

Donald Trump, too, likes charity – especially public appearances with a big grin. However, he prefers others to pay. Frank, at least, was regarded as a generous spellbinder in his Country Golf Club. Donald had his «tiny hands» in some very inglorious golf projects on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Nevertheless, «The New Yorker» recently put it that way: «If Donald Trump could be persuaded to spend his entire term playing golf, we might all be better off.»

In my Gangsta Song appears a Trump devotee:

Meanwhile Tony’s next door neighbour / Is working with her Vocal Coach
For the Charity this evening / And the love & peace approach
The Lady‘s into New Age teachings / Enlightenment, a mindful way
And thanks to «Champagne Supernova» / She makes it somehow through the day …

… referring to some smug wives of wealthy men with too much money and not enough to do, or not enough attention, no longer young and not yet old, the modeling career far behind, the «Champagne Supernova» within reach – in other words the perfect setting for an upscale employment therapy called «Charity». A playground for ladies who like to grab the microphone – and an audience that doesn’t mind that the voices are worse than the problems.

Business & Corruption

In the early 30s Charles «Lucky» Luciano introduced «business structures» into the Mafia in order to reduce internal problems & violence for the sake of unhindered business activities. This «professionalisation» shaped the Mafia organisation for decades – although objectives could of course only be met in part. And «Lucky» himself has been imprisoned already in the mid-30s (and has been deported to Italy in the mid-40s).

A little later Lucky‘s long-time confidant Frank Costello took over the «Family». Frank was the best networker the Mafia ever had – and will have, I guess. He made contacts with the highest circles of power & arts – from famous politicians & judges all the way to well-known writers & actors. He could have been a big gun in the real world for sure – under different circumstances.

To a young banker Costello once said: «See my friend – we are basically doing the same thing: We are gambling with other people’s money – I do so in my Casinos, and you on Wall Street.» Who on earth could contradict? Allegedly it was the beginning of a long friendship …

Frank Costello was very successful and made a huge fortune – predominantly with lucrative gambling activities. But he also knew when it was time to quit. After a failed mob hit in 1957 he «retired» immediately and never made a comeback. On the contrary, he was even more anxious to associate with «normal» people, cultivate «normal» friendships outside the «Mafia Family», be an honorable American. Frank Costello loved America from the bottom of his heart – probably much more than Donald Trump who most of all seems to love Donald & the Trump Clan. After Frank’s death his widow Loretta only wanted relatives, friends and media representatives to attend the funeral. No mobsters please. Costello died as an amicable citizen, to some degree respected by society.

I always wanted to associate with decent people – so Costello, so Trump. But what does that mean? For «decent», «respectable» or «honest» there is no precise definition, neither in the Mafia nor in the Trump universe. Everything intermingles, good & bad, corrupt & more corrupt, the world & the underworld – and East Halunkistan, West Corruptington and Lari Fari Fari are everywhere. Sunny places for shady people, bright islands for dark businesses & tax scheming we find all over the world. Lots of light comes with lots of shadow. President Trump meanwhile states that hits can be justified under certain circumstances. Sounds just like Putin or the Mafia, right? When it comes to corruption & disgust, we hardly see a difference.

That is of course no vote for a «President Costello». But at the end of the day probably even less for a «President Trump». And if I had a choice between just these two candidates and having seen the initial phase of the «TrumpDuck presidential term», I might give the «Prime Minister» a chance.

The world needs sensitive, visionary leaders!
They are among us – but usually far away from the corridors of power.

Power often lies in the hands of people we don’t understand how on earth they could come even close to it. We often feel like right in the middle of an episode of the TV series «The Sopranos», located in the Italian-American Mafia milieu: «The fastest way to clean a weapon is another hit.» The fastest way to distract from a scandal is – another scandal. And one more. We can’t count all the bad moves no longer … and how much one becomes attackable & susceptible to blackmail if acting this way.

And they all wanna fly much higher than the Empire State
And look down on the others, all those tiny little lights
Of course we take Manhattan – and you bet we take much more
The «Ravenite» is history – but sure not blood & gore
They’re walking down the «High Line Park» as light begins to fade
Just basking in that splendid feeling of «I‘ve got it made»
And they all wanna sit / At the Captain’s Table

«Try to remember the times that were good» – was the motto of Frank Costello. And «Try to remember the times that were good» was one of the last remarks of Tony Soprano, before our TV screens went black.

«We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances» told us film critic & journalist Roger Ebert, before he passed away in 2013. «We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.» His favorite composer was Nino Rota, whose music embodies «The Godfather».

Donald Trump, too, seems to like «The Godfather»: «It's dangerous to be an honest man.»



PS: The American Mafia has Italian roots and was organized for decades in so-called «Families». However, the American organization never called itself «Mafia», but «La Cosa Nostra» (= «our thing» or «this thing of ours»). In New York there were five traditional «Families» with Boss, Under-Boss, Consigliere/Consultant, some Capos/Captains and various Soldiers/Members, working together with a variety of Associates. These «Families» controlled many important business sectors & unions. However, in the last 25 years many mobsters disappeared into a witness protection program. Others sit in jail, were shot dead by former companions or turned towards new activities. The «Families» in their old structures – with their enormous power, influence & wealth – no longer exist, at least not in the traditional form. The Mafia of New York fell apart after the «Gotti Era»: Too many trench wars, too many needless fights, too many personal vanities and far too many «Family» members who defected to the authorities, who flipped in droves. Of course remainders of the American Cosa Nostra Crime Families still exist and are still active somehow – but the «good old days» are over.

PPS: There has been much debate in recent years about the end of the TV series «The Sopranos».
What happened at the restaurant after our screens went black in 2007?
I gladly let you know:

«The Sopranos – Episode 87 – The Final Countdown»

«10 Songs for Life & 2 Songs for Summer!»

«10 inspiring Thoughts & Videos for the Holidays»


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Donald Trump, Mobster Inc. & Law of Attraction
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