SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team encountered another setback Wednesday when officials at the Corcoran State Prison announced that Charles Manson had been hospitalized for an undisclosed illness. The news was reported by Stephen Babb, spokesperson for California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The nature of Manson’s affliction could not be revealed due to privacy laws protecting health information. Sources said the homicidal Helter Skelter cult leader was in critical condition. As part of Trump’s effort to “drain the swamp” of traditional politics and build an unconventional government aligned with his particular ideals, Manson had been slated as a frontrunner for Secretary of Labor. Trump described Manson as a charismatic, efficient and masterful labor organizer who tackled a nearly impossible project in just two days. Now, Trump’s team may have to settle with fast food executive Andrew Puzder.
Manson and Trump: All in the FamilyManson is currently serving nine consecutive life sentences for his role in directing the spate of killings that shattered the summertime splendor of California in 1969. Victims included public figures and celebrities. The first wave of murders took the lives of actress Sharon Tate, eight months pregnant at the time; Abigail Folger, heiress to the coffee empire; writer Wojciech Frykowski, friend of director Roman Polanski (Tate’s husband); and a Hollywood hairstylist named Jay Sebring.
Over a two-night rampage, Manson and his “family” of followers slaughtered seven people, inflicting nearly 170 stab wounds and several gunshots. Police discovered phrases such as “pig” and “Helter Skelter” scrawled in blood around the homes of the victims.
Manson’s precise motives have remained opaque, but he told authorities that he believed an apocalyptic race war was looming. He embraced the prospect and hoped his orchestration of heinous, high-profile murders would hasten the coming conflict. Detectives who investigated the macabre slayings suggested that Manson had intended to implicate the Black Panthers by painting racially charged phrases at the crime scenes, a notion that could also have precipitated tensions between blacks and whites.
Throughout his years in prison, Manson has steadily grown in notoriety as a pop-culture icon of racism, hate, violence and insanity. Since 1971, he has appeared with a swastika carved into his forehead -- a wound he ostensibly re-etches into his skin each day.
During his initial hearing at the Los Angeles Hall of Justice, he released this statement to his followers, who were maintaining vigils on a nearby corner: “You have two choices, accept me as your leader or your whole social thought will go into anarchy.”
It was this message, Manson’s commitment to nativism and his ability to lead others that drew the attention of Donald Trump.
The similarities between Manson and Trump are striking. Trump believes that he, like Manson, offers the world two stark choices: embrace his bizarre and troubling behavior or send society plummeting into chaos. Like Manson, Trump also enjoys the endorsement of white supremacy groups and has been elevated to cult status by frightened whites. And both men found ways to ingratiate themselves into celebrity circles. Where Manson killed those who eventually displeased him, Trump has only wished death upon them, or attempted to destroy their lives by way of social media nastiness.
But beyond the curiously shared attributes, Trump sees Manson as a masterful organizer.
From Cult Chieftain to Leader of LaborManson began his reign of terror slowly. He came onto the scene as a humble hippie, seemingly devoted to creating an idyllic commune. His first attempt was building a base for his growing family of acolytes at Spahn’s Movie Ranch near Topanga Canyon.
Soon after, Manson instructed family members to work around the grounds and help the nearly blind 80-year-old owner, George Spahn. Manson even persuaded Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme to expand her role from seeing-eye guide to sexual pleasure servant -- something that impressed Trump.
Manson quickly grew his empire, establishing new compounds in Death Valley. As his reach and influence spread, his workforce blossomed. By the late 1960s, Manson had converted a dozen people into murderous disciples who would kill on command. They tended Manson’s grounds, assisted with domestic chores, ran errands and fulfilled the bloody Helter Skelter prophecies of their leader. In general, they earned no wages, received no health benefits and participated in no Manson-sponsored retirement plans.
“It’s just amazing how this obscure little man rose to such power and prominence,” Trump said. “And how he got all these random people to follow him blindly, do all his bidding and never ask for a dime. No unions, no salary negotiations, no complaining about safe working conditions or equal opportunity. This is exactly the kind of organizer we need running the Department of Labor. Not only will he scrap all the pointless protections and regulations, he can get Americans to work for free and be happy about it.”
Manson has been denied parole 12 times, and his next hearing is scheduled for 2027. Trump’s transition team saw this as an obstacle, but the president-elect hinted that incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions could move the date up or even pardon Manson. However, with news of the health scare, Trump officials admit that they must reluctantly remove Manson from consideration as Secretary of Labor.
They still believe that Andy Puzder would be a strong second choice. Puzder loathes employees, wants to reduce wages, sternly fights against proposed minimum wage increases, hates mandatory benefits and seeks to automate many jobs. More importantly, the fast food industry may have killed more people than the Manson Family, which gives Puzder an edge over other contenders for the post.
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