Sunday, November 19, 2017


Film Archives introduction, published on You Tube Oct.16, 2017

Originally from C-Span's Book TV

David Cay Boyle Johnston (born December 24, 1948) is an American investigative journalist and author, a specialist in economics and tax issues, and winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting. 

More on the book: 

The Making of Donald Trump is a 2016 biography of the American businessman, property developer and politician Donald Trump by the American investigative journalist David Cay Johnston. It was published by Melville House Publishing. Johnston first met Trump as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer in June 1988 and likened him to P. T. Barnum. He subsequently reported on Trump for almost 30 years, and wrote the book in 27 days. 

In an interview with The New York Times Johnston said that Trump had "...seriously damaged his brand" with his presidential campaign and would "follow him for the rest of his life". Johnston also felt that Trump was "masterful at understanding the conventions of journalism" and "remarkably agile at doing as he chooses and getting away with it." The book entered the New York Times hardcover nonfiction list in fifteenth position and spent four weeks there. 

The book consists of 24 chapters, with an introduction and an epilogue. The book details Trump's family history, personal biography and an account of his business career and marriages.

David M. Shribman, writing for The Boston Globe, felt that the book was "a chronicle of mobsters and mistresses, shady construction deals and financial shenanigans, monumental projects and miserable (and possibly illegal) business practices" and that "Much of this slender volume's contents are already part of the public record; some of it is new". Shribman noted that the book focuses on Trump's personal and business life rather than his political career and that "More than a dozen Republican candidates and the entire Democratic Party have made the very same argument Johnston puts forward here. 

It is an important critique, yet an ignored one. Trump may, and probably does, have all these flaws. He also possesses perhaps the most important, and in some quarters surely the most appealing, message in this year of fear and discontent. The book that explains that is the one worth writing, and waiting for." The book was reviewed by Michael Russell for the Herald Scotland who wrote that the "24 short chapters of the very readable book contain substantial detail regarding Trump's activities since that time. They also dig into his earlier years and some of his family background. As to the truth of these claims, readers will need to make up their own minds." 

Russell felt that Johnston "sometimes comes across as being almost as self-satisfied and assertive as Trump" but concluded that "Inauguration, unlike baptism, does not wash away sins nor confer wisdom. If even a 10th of David Cay Johnston’s stories are true, then Trump is morally, intellectually, culturally, economically, legally and politically unfit for office of any sort. No wonder so much of the world is shaking its head but also holding its breath." David J. Lynch reviewed the book for The Financial Times and wrote that "Johnston has done voters a service with this unblinking portrait. He makes a compelling case that Trump has the attributes of both "dictator" and "deceiver" and would be a disaster in the Oval Office. ...

Yet, ultimately this is a dispiriting read. If Johnston's rendering of Trump is at all accurate, it is not just the New York businessman who deserves rebuke. So too does an entire American political system that has put him within reach of the White House despite his manifest flaws." Lynch was also critical of Johnston's prose style, feeling that "This slim 210-page volume feels a bit rushed: the transitions can be choppy and, like his subject, Johnston has a healthy regard for his own abilities. ...Tip: when you are taking down one of the world’s great narcissists, go easy on self-promotion" but that it "is a minor flaw in a work that delivers so much insight".


The confusion spreads across the Atlantic to the U.K.'s Guardian, read Edward Helmore's "The Koch Brothers have reportedly put up $550m to buy Time Inc. - why?"


Published Nov. 18, 2017 @ You Tube

Monday, November 13, 2017 Newsletter Oct. 2017

Just three people – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett – now own more wealth than America’s entire poorest 50 percent. The nation’s rich overall, our newly released Institute for Policy Studies Billionaire Bonanza report details, are watching their wealth multiply at speeds nearly beyond belief. Meanwhile, one in five Americans belong to “Underwater Nation.” They have either zero or negative wealth.

These explosive numbers demand action, and the new Billionaire Bonanza has plenty of ideas for easing our deepening inequality. But if any of the GOP tax plans now circulating on Capitol Hill ever pass, we can only expect to see our current chasm widen. Lots more on that and the new Billionaire Bonanza in this week’s issue.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
To Help Fight Inequality, Fund Local News!
The writers at the New York branches of news outlets DNAinfo and Gothamist decided to unionize in late October. But rather than bargain with the newly organized journalists, their billionaire owner closed the newsrooms at the outlets altogether. In the wake of the shutdown, hundreds of news workers and their allies gathered at New York’s City Hall Park to declare that billionaires shouldn’t be determining whether or not cities receive adequate local journalism. Groups like the Economic Hardship Reporting Project are taking steps to fill the coverage gap.
A Bogus Billionaire Gets Some Comeuppance
Forbes, America’s most fabled business magazine, is now charging that Donald Trump’s “billionaire” commerce secretary has been lying to researchers for the magazine’s annual list of America’s 400 richest. Commerce chief Wilbur Ross, Forbes charges, has engaged in a 13-year series of “fibs, exaggerations, omissions, fabrications, and whoppers” designed to inflate his net worth. Why lie? The richer Ross appears, the more money rich people invest in his private equity firm. Ross complained last year — when Forbes put his fortune at $2.9 billion — that the magazine was low-balling his true wealth. The magazine’s latest top 400 tally puts his net worth at just $700 million. The response from Ross? His flacks at the Commerce Department are calling any confusion about the Ross finances “unfortunate.”
This week on, Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie go behind the scenes of their new report, Billionaire Bonanza 2017: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us. Josh also expounds on the growing divide by comparing today’s inequality to the opening scene of A Tale of Two Cities. And Chuck explains why the latest billionaire wealth stats likely underestimate our actual wealth divide, given the tax-haven revelations in the new Paradise Papers.

We're also keeping our eyes on the GOP tax measures up for debate. Bob Lord warns how potential cuts will impact our futures as home-owners. Lindsay Koshgarian of the National Priorities Project shows us what a tax cut for the top 1 percent could buy in health care, education, and infrastructure.

Elsewhere on the web, Scott Nash, a top 1 percenter and the founder of Mom’s Organic grocery store chain, explains in Newsweek why he doesn’t want the estate tax repealed. Thomas Edsall explains how the tax plan will help the rich preserve their wealth in the New York Times, and, in the National Memo, veteran investigative reporter David Cay Johnston shows how the GOP tax plan invites a new Old-World aristocracy.

Michael Linden of the Roosevelt Institute reminds us that instead of cutting taxes on the wealthy we could “literally fund anything” we want and need to do as a country, from repaving every mile of highway in the entire country — twice — to tripling the salary of every single firefighter, EMT, and paramedic in the nation. 

Buried in the Trump tax plan is a little-known change that’s not well understood: chained CPI. David Dayen explains in the New Republic how this tiny detail could have massive consequences for Social Security. In the Dallas Morning News,’s Bob Lord and Sam Pizzigati explore how the pending GOP tax plans privilege wealth over work.

Have We Now Reached Peak Goldman Sachs?
The voters of New Jersey have just elected a former Wall Street banker as their new governor. Just what America needs, many onlookers are undoubtedly thinking, another Wall Streeter in a powerful political position. But this new governor, Phil Murray, bears no public policy likeness to the Wall Street alumni who dominate the Trump administration. In fact, over the course of his gubernatorial campaign, Murphy took every opportunity to distance himself from the wealthy-friendly agenda the White House’s Wall Street crew is relentlessly promoting. Will New Jerseyans end up seeing Murphy’s remarkably progressive campaign agenda realized? The state’s recent history, unfortunately, is giving many progressives pause.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) William Binney

Thursday, November 09, 2017

DISCOVER, EXPLORE GLOBAL INVESTIGATIONS @ International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

Dear Michael Caddell,

What a week it was. On Sunday, we released the first stories from our global investigation the Paradise Papers. All week we’ve published stories from the 13.4 million documents. You can find all our major stories below - so you won’t miss a thing.

We’ve also covered the reaction of the world that included:
Don't forget, our work is not done yet and everything we do is funded by individual donations! You can support more cross-border investigations like this now. (And receive a Snax Haven sticker if you'd like!)

The ICIJ team.

P.S. We're taking a well earned break this weekend, but will be back on Monday and throughout the week with more Paradise Papers news!
The new leak of confidential records reveals the financial hideaways of iconic brands and power brokers across the political spectrum.
Trump cabinet member retains a stake in company that provides shipping for Putin’s son-in-law and sanctioned oligarchs.
A secret stash of documents provide inside view of storied legal practice founded in Bermuda.
Internal files reveal Glencore signed secret deals and loaned millions to a high-risk partner.
The Russian government quietly held a financial interest in U.S. social media.
Offshore ties of the Liberal Party moneyman provide jarring contrast to Canadian prime minister’s campaign for tax fairness.
Elite tax advisers help Apple Inc. and other corporate giants skirt impactsof crackdown on ‘Double Irish’ maneuvers.
Companies are rushing to the island nation to benefit from secrecy and tax benefits.
When one tax loophole closes, another opens.
Take a glimpse into the finances of Republican and Democraticcontributors.
A village hoped for a better life. Burkina Faso expected more tax revenue. Residents and officials said Glencore gave them neither.
Buying a $27-million private jet or plush mega-yacht means millions in sales taxes — unless you know the right pro.
How lawyers and big banks help one of Asia’s largest paper companies expand despite poor environmental record and social conflicts.
One of the world’s largest companies went to extra lengths to keep its ties to a flotilla of commodity freighters secret.
Royalties from thousands of American classics are tucked away tax-free.
Trump told voters he would put “America First.” But surrounding him are associates who have used tax havens to conduct business.