Donald Trump Masqueraded as Publicist to Brag About Himself

Tony Clifton

Donald Trump said Friday that a newly resurfaced recording of a man who sounds like Trump posing as his spokesman isn’t him — even though he has admitted in the past to posing as his own publicist under a pseudonym.

“It was not me on the phone,” Trump told NBC’s “Today” show when the recording was played for him during a live interview. “And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I’ll tell you that, and it was not me on the phone.”

NBC was asking Trump about a Washington Post report published earlier Friday that claims Trump routinely made calls to reporters in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s posing as a publicist named John Miller or John Barron, advocating for himself and answering questions about his personal life and business dealings.

The man in the 14-minute recording sounds much like Trump, and the Post pointed to Trump’s long appreciation of the name Barron, including the name of his youngest son.

The Post also cited 1990 court case testimony in which Trump testified, “I believe on occasion I used that name” when asked about Barron. CNN has obtained a copy of Trump’s testimony during that case.

On “Today” Friday morning, Trump at first said he didn’t “think” it was him on the recording.

“This sounds like one of the scams, one of the many scams, doesn’t sound like me,” Trump said. “I don’t think it was me, it doesn’t sound like me.”

When pressed by the anchors, Trump explicitly said it wasn’t him. And then he testily told the journalists to move on.

“You’re going so low to talk about something that took place 25 years ago whether or not I made a phone call?” Trump said. “Let’s get on to more current subjects.”

Thomas Owen, a New Jersey-based forensic audio specialist, told CNN Friday that based on several criteria — including pitch, tone and cadence — Miller’s voice in the audio obtained by the Post is consistent with Trump’s in the early 1990s.

“I can conclude with a fair degree of scientific certainty that it is Donald Trump’s voice,” Owen said, though he noted that due to the recording’s quality, he wasn’t able to use biometric analysis that would make him absolutely certain.

Friday afternoon, Washington Post reporter James Hohmann tweeted that Trump’s telephone line “went silent, then dead, this afternoon when WaPo asked: ‘Did you ever employ someone named John Miller as a spokesperson?'”

“WaPo reporters were 44 mins into a phone interview w Trump abt his finances when asked about John Miller. The phone went silent, then dead,” Hohmann added.

Sue Carswell, a former People magazine reporter whose 1991 interview with Miller was highlighted in the Post article, told CNN’s Michael Smerconish on Saturday that she was convinced it was Trump on the tape. She said Trump apologized for posing as a publicist shortly after the article ran, calling it a “joke.”
She speculated that Trump himself leaked the tape to the Post. The paper said it obtained the recording from a source with whom Carswell had shared the microcassette of the call shortly after the interview.

A message left with the Trump campaign seeking a response to Carswell’s claim was not immediately returned.

“Two people had the tape: I had a tape and Trump had a tape,” said Carswell, who is now a reporter for Vanity Fair. “And I don’t have the tape. Well, it didn’t get to The Washington Post through me.”

“It says a lot about Trump,” Carswell added. “I think we should be concerned about his judgment and the fact that he could pull things like this in the future.”

Trump’s history of impersonating his own spokesman has long been an open secret at the Trump Organization and among New York media circles.

At least one former Trump Organization executive has confirmed to CNN that Trump at times responded to media requests personally under the guise of a spokesman.
Trump’s apparent alter ego was quoted repeatedly and prominently in newspapers, magazines and especially in the gossip pages of New York tabloids.

In 1984 and 1985, several New York Times articles attributed quotes about Trump’s business dealings to “John Barron, a vice president of the Trump Organization.”

And Trump’s unofficial biographers also pulled the thin veil off Trump’s cover identity.

Michael D’Antonio wrote in “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success” that “John Barron was a way for Trump to talk himself up.”

“He’d be able to express things that he wanted expressed about himself by someone that wasn’t him,” D’Antonio wrote.
And the audio recording reveals more than just a remarkable likeness to Trump’s own voice, but also in the spokesman’s cadence, word choice and the billionaire’s trademark bravado.

Discussing Trump’s divorce and his prospects with women, “John Miller” said Trump is “somebody that has a lot of options, and, frankly, he gets called by everybody. He gets called by everybody in the book, in terms of women,” according to the audio recording obtained by The Washington Post.

(h/t CNN)

Reality

Does it matter that Donald Trump tried to Tony Clifton the press 25 years ago? Probably not. What does matter is that he is lying about it today.

Media

Trump Taps Climate Change Denier as Energy Adviser

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is seeking to build out his policy proposals as he pivots from campaigning for his party’s nomination to a likely general election matchup with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Among those he has asked for help is U.S. Republican Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, one of the country’s most ardent oil and gas drilling advocates and climate change skeptics. North Dakota has been at the forefront of the U.S. shale oil and gas boom.

Trump’s team asked Cramer, who has endorsed Trump, to write a white paper, or detailed report, on his energy policy ideas, according to Cramer and sources familiar with the matter.

Cramer said in an interview that his white paper would emphasize the dangers of foreign ownership of U.S. energy assets, as well as what he characterized as burdensome taxes and over-regulation. Trump will have an opportunity to float some of the ideas at an energy summit in Bismarck, North Dakota on May 26, Cramer said.

The senator was also among a group of Trump advisers who recently met with lawmakers from Western energy states, who hope Trump will open more federal land for drilling, a lawmaker who took part in the meeting said.

A spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign did not comment.

Environmental groups, and Clinton’s campaign, quickly attacked Trump for tapping Cramer.

“Kevin Cramer has consistently backed reckless and dangerous schemes to put the profits of fossil fuel executives before the health of the public, so he and Trump are a match made in polluter heaven,” Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce said in an emailed statement.

The Clinton campaign also criticized the move.

“Donald Trump’s choice of outspoken climate (change) denier Kevin Cramer to advise him on energy policy is just the latest piece of evidence that letting him get near the White House would put our children’s health and futures at risk,” said campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson.

Trump has been light on the details of his energy policy, though he recently told supporters in West Virginia that the coal industry would thrive if he were president. He has also claimed global warming is a concept “created by and for the Chinese” to hurt U.S. business.

Clinton, meanwhile, has advocated shifting the country to 50 percent clean energy by 2030, promised heavy regulation of fracking, and said her prospective administration would put coal companies “out of business.”

Reality

Climate change is real. It his happening. Humans are part of it. Fact.

If Donald Trump claims he is going to hire the best and brightest, why is hiring a man who is not a scientist but yet feels his opinion is stronger than a scientific consensus? To highlight the disconnect from facts let’s take a detailed look at Kevin Cramer’s claims during a recent radio show:

Kevin Cramer rejects the science that CO2 is a pollutant and a factor in global warming.

There is nothing in the scientific literature that can back up Kevin Cramer’s claim. On the contrary there is overwhelming scientific evidence that carbon dioxide [CO2] is a pollutant.

For anyone who disagrees with the empirical evidence that CO2 is a pollutant ask yourself; Would you ever think it is safe to breath in the exhaust from your car for an extended period of time? (Prius and Tesla owners pretend you have a Chevy.) You absolutely wouldn’t because tragically hundreds of people die each year from carbon monoxide [CO] poisoning. Along with carbon monoxide, cars release carbon dioxide [CO2], hydrocarbons [HC], nitrogen oxides [NOx], and other particulates which are all pollutants, contribute to climate change, and are harmful to your health.

Science has been aware that carbon in the atmosphere will retains heat for over 150 years. The year was 1859 to be exact, and it was scientist John Tyndall who made the discovery that carbon trapped heat. Then in 1896 Svante Arrhenius calculated that, based on this simple principle of physics, higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would raise global temperatures. These discoveries are the cornerstones of climate science and in 150 years have yet to be disputed and instead continues to be confirmed by observation.

To explain further, the science, in short, says the following. CO2 lets through short wave light, the kind that passes through our atmosphere, but traps long wave radiation, the kind that is reflected and travels back into space. This experiment can be done in a laboratory, and should you have the time you could see it for yourself. The site at this link has compiled a list of just a handful of the published scientific papers of laboratory measurements of CO2 absorption properties, ranging from 1861 all the way up to 2008. Knowing this evidence, scientist reached a consensus a long time ago that CO2 is indeed a contributor to global warming.

Just to reiterate here, Kevin Cramer’s acceptance of science predates the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War, and the First Transcontinental Railroad. This is the equivalent trying to attack a state-of-the-art military drone with a Civil War era musket.

University of East Anglia Director Phil Jones admitted to falsifying temperature data

What Kevin Cramer is referencing here is the Climategate controversy, or more accurately, the manufactured controversy by climate deniers over leaked emails from scientists that turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. No really. There was 8 independent investigations into the allegations by the climate deniers and all 8 investigations found exactly 0 instances of fraud or falsification of records:

  1. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (UK)
  2. Independent Climate Change Review (UK);
  3. International Science Assessment Panel (UK)
  4. Pennsylvania State University first panel (US)
  5. Pennsylvania State University second panel (US)
  6. United States Environmental Protection Agency (US)
  7. Department of Commerce (US)
  8. National Science Foundation (US)

Kevin Cramer is simply repeating a long debunked conspiracy theory.

Temperature data collected by the University of East Anglia showed a downward trend

What Kevin Cramer is referring to is an email from University of East Anglia Director Phil Jones during the failed Climategate controversy where Jones mentions a “trick” to modify their temperature data.

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Looks damning doesn’t it? Of course it does. That’s why those who latched onto the Climategate controversy use it as exhibit A as their evidence. The problem here however is that their evidence was not the entire comment and instead was deceitfully taken out of context.

climategate-phil-jones-email-nature-trick

It turned out that Director Phil Jones was speaking about statistical proxies and a well-known phenomenon called the divergence problem. There is nothing controversial here at all. A scientist talking to other scientist about well-known and well-understood observations. You may ask why are the scientists modifying the data in the first place? Seems strange doesn’t it? No it doesn’t. If you’ve taken a class in Statistics you would learn that raw data requires normalization and standardization to prepare that data for modeling.

If you would like more detail, here is a wonderful video by an actual scientist explaining why climate deniers are wrong here.

In Conclusion

So the conclusion here is that Kevin Cramer is being dishonest as he failed to state a single fact. Either he is inept by only , he is lying, or he is willfully ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence.

Here’s the thing about science, you don’t get to pick and choose what scientific facts you agree and disagree with based off of your own personal feelings.

For example, it is impossible to deny the scientific fact of gravity. You can read gravity-denalist articles all you want and believe in your heart-of-hearts that gravity is a conspiracy of gravity scientists. This will not change the fact that if you step off of a tall building you will surely fall to your own death. This is because the method that proves the scientific fact of man-made global climate change is the exact same method that proves the scientific fact of gravity.

Donald Trump on His Tax Rate: ‘It’s None of Your Business’

Once again thumbing his nose at a time-honored tradition, Donald J. Trump said Friday that he does not believe voters have a right to see his tax returns, and he insisted it was “none of your business” when pressed on what tax rate he pays.

The remarks from Mr. Trump signal that he has little intention of disclosing verifiable details of his income or what fuels his wealth, a matter of endless speculation for a candidate who boasts of being a billionaire many times over despite his past brushes with bankruptcy and increasing reliance on celebrity-oriented income and licensing deals that use his name.

While not required to release their tax returns, all the major party presidential nominees have done so for roughly the past four decades, including President Richard M. Nixon, who released them despite undergoing an Internal Revenue Service audit. Mr. Trump has cited continuing I.R.S. audits of his taxes in refusing to release his returns.

When Mr. Trump was asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” whether he thought voters had a right to see his returns, he replied, “I don’t think they do.”

Mr. Trump added of his taxes: “It’s under routine audit. When the audit ends, I’m going to present them. That should be before the election. I hope it’s before the election.”

But when asked by the interviewer, George Stephanopoulos, what effective tax rate he pays, Mr. Trump said, “It’s none of your business.” He added, “You’ll see it when I release, but I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.”

The release of tax returns bedeviled Republicans during the 2012 presidential election, when Mitt Romney delayed releasing his until September. His effective tax rate, which was below 20 percent, was used by President Obama’s team to lampoon him as a wealthy corporate raider who was out for himself and who could not understand how regular people lived. Mr. Trump has said that Mr. Romney erred in waiting so long to release his taxes and should have done so sooner.

For many years, Mr. Trump’s wealth has been a moving target, subject to much estimation, debate and even litigation.

Last summer, when Mr. Trump filed the personal financial disclosures required of presidential candidates, his campaign released a statement saying that he was worth more than “TEN BILLION DOLLARS,” capitalizing the outsize figure. When the 92-page document became public, the disclosures by Mr. Trump indicated that he had at least $1.4 billion in assets, including his real estate developments and golf clubs.

Fortune recently pegged his worth at $3.72 billion. Forbes calculated it at $4.5 billion, as of September 2015.

Mr. Trump disputed both numbers, just as he objected to an estimate a decade earlier when Timothy L. O’Brien, a reporter for The New York Times, wrote a book that placed the businessman’s net worth at $150 million to $250 million, based on three confidential sources. During a well-publicized episode, he sued Mr. O’Brien for defamation, but Mr. Trump ultimately failed to prove his case.

While his tax returns would not show Mr. Trump’s net worth, they would show investment income and where those investments are held, liens and the scope and type of his charitable contributions.

Kenneth A. Gross, a lawyer with Skadden who deals regularly with tax issues, suggested that the contents of Mr. Trump’s tax returns were certainly of public interest because they would provide insight into his finances that his previously disclosed financial documents do not.

“Obviously it could raise issues about deductions, reporting of income, all sorts of things that we worry about when we file our tax returns,” Mr. Gross said. “There’s obviously something of interest because it’s being audited. It would be, I think, important to see what’s in these returns before he becomes the nominee of the Republican Party.”

But Mr. Trump was adamant in his interview on Friday that “people will learn nothing” from his returns, noting how he had released his financial disclosure statement.

“I put in financials, 100 pages worth of financials, that show that I built a company that’s worth more than $10 billion,” Mr. Trump said. “It shows cash. It shows cash flows. It shows everything. You learn very little from tax returns, but nevertheless, when the audit is complete, I will release. I have no problem with it.” He added that he has no offshore accounts.

As the issue of Mr. Trump’s returns bubbled up over the past week, Democrats treaded relatively lightly on the matter, particularly since Hillary Clinton faces pressure to release transcripts of her paid speeches to Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs. But on Wednesday Mrs. Clinton seized on Mr. Trump’s reluctance to release his returns.

“So you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Why doesn’t he want to release them?’ ” Mrs. Clinton said on Wednesday. “Yeah, well, we’re going to find out.”

She and Bill Clinton have released their tax returns going back to 1977, when he first entered political life.

The I.R.S. will not confirm if a person is being audited or discuss their returns, but Eric Smith, a spokesman for the agency, said taxpayers are free to publicize their own financial documents at any time.

“Nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information,” Mr. Smith said.

In a letter on his campaign website, Mr. Trump’s tax counsels wrote in March that his returns have been under “continuous examination” by the I.R.S. since 2002 because he has a big business. The audits from those returns from 2002 to 2008 have been completed, they wrote, but lingering questions about those returns remain, an apparent explanation as to why he will not release years no longer under “examination.”

The public interest group Common Cause put out a statement calling on Mr. Trump to release the tax returns, pointing out that he released returns from the early 2000s that were under audit to gambling commissions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Mr. Trump has given different explanations for why he will not release his taxes over the years. In 2011, when he contemplated running for president, Mr. Trump said he would release his tax returns when President Obama released his birth certificate. Mr. Obama made the birth certificate public in April 2011, and Mr. Trump announced a few weeks later that he would not run for president.

Last year, Mr. Trump said he was still considering whether to release the returns, but he made no mention of the audits until this year.

Tax experts remain divided on the wisdom of Mr. Trump’s releasing his returns, with some arguing that it would be malpractice to advise a client to make such information public during an audit and others saying that he should have nothing to hide.

Robert J. Kovacev, a tax lawyer with Steptoe & Johnson who previously worked at the Department of Justice, said the scrutiny that Mr. Trump’s returns would face could add years to the audit because the I.R.S. would be pressured to examine details that critics of Mr. Trump seized upon. That could impose additional costs on Mr. Trump and disrupt his negotiations with the agency.

“If you put it out in public, it’s almost like you’re crowdsourcing the audit,” Mr. Kovacev said.

While Mr. Trump has said acknowledged that he strives to pay as little tax as possible, Mr. Kovacev suggested that his returns could have information about offshore holdings or legal tax maneuvers that his accountants use that make his income appear lower or show losses.

Some tax specialists see no legitimate reason for Mr. Trump to hold back. “When you file your return with the I.R.S. or any taxation authority you are filing your returns under penalty of perjury that what you are filing is true and correct,” said Laurie B. Kazenoff, a former I.R.S. tax lawyer now with the firm Meltzer Lippe. “You should be standing by what you filed regardless of any audit.”

(h/t New York Times)

Reality

While there is no legal requirement for a presidential candidate to release their tax returns, there is 40 years of unbroken precedent.

Despite telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in February 2015, Trump could absolutely release those returns now – even in the middle of an audit.

The IRS has corrected this false claim: “Federal privacy rules prohibit the IRS from discussing individual tax matters. Nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.”

While an audit could result in a change (or two) to his returns, it does not change what Trump filed, signing “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return and accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and complete.” In other words, no matter how what happens as a result of the audit, what Trump submitted, he did so claiming that it was true at the time. If the IRS makes an adjustment (which happens, even with the best prepared returns), it shouldn’t substantially change the nature of the returns. And if the IRS makes no adjustment, then there was no harm, no foul, in releasing those returns. Trump could release those returns at any time.

Media

Trump: Muslim Ban ‘Just a Suggestion’

Trump calls to ban all Muslims

Donald Trump, who issued a December press release “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” said such a ban “hasn’t been called for yet” and it was “only a suggestion.”

It’s the latest lightning-speed evolution for the real estate tycoon as he pivots from the provocateur who upended the Republican primary to a general election candidate preparing to square off with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“We have a serious problem, and it’s a temporary ban — it hasn’t been called for yet, nobody’s done it, this is just a suggestion until we find out what’s going on,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade Wednesday.

Reality

Donald Trump isn’t toning down his hateful rhetoric at all here. In his very next sentence he is still linking all Muslims with radical Islamic terrorists.

His assertion that his proposed ban was a suggestion is a complete lie. When Trump first introduced the proposed ban back in December he explicitly said in both a speech and in a press release: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Pull up any video of Trump talking about a ban on all Muslims entering the United States and in absolutely zero instances does he say, before this interview, that it was ever a suggestion.

Here’s one:

Here’s another one:

And here’s another:

And here’s another:

Media

Trump Loses Another Delegate as Anti-Muslim Pastor ‘Takes One For the Team’

The chaos over Donald Trump’s California delegation to the national convention escalated on Wednesday after a controversial, anti-Muslim pastor said he was standing down to “take one for the team”.

Guy St Onge, who proselytizes frequently on YouTube, told the Guardian he was no longer a delegate for the presumptive Republican nominee. Onge has in the past shared social media postings appearing to advocate killing Muslims and last year claimed: “Barack Hussein Obama and his tranny wife Michelle hate the USA!”

St Onge, who is listed on the California secretary of state’s official list as one of three delegates pledged to Trump from California’s 35th congressional district, declined to say precisely when he stood down. The list was formally submitted by the Trump campaign on Monday night.

However St Onge informed the Guardian of his decision to relinquish his delegate spot hours after reporters contacted the Trump campaign asking for confirmation the controversial pastor was among a colorful list of delegates, some of whom have a controversial past.

On Tuesday, the Trump campaign was forced to distance itself from another one of their delegates, self-avowed white nationalist William Daniel Johnson, who once called for a constitutional amendment which would revoke citizenship for all non-white Americans.

It was at first unclear if either St Onge or Johnson could be formally removed from Trump’s delegate list. California’s secretary of state said on Tuesday that the Trump campaign had attempted to send a revised delegate list after news broke about Johnson’s inclusion. However, because they had missed the deadline, a spokesperson for the secretary of state said the initial list must stand.

But late Wednesday afternoon, the Trump campaign told the Guardian that an updated list of its delegates was posted on the website of the California Republican party, without William Johnson and Guy St Onge on it.

According to his voluminous social media presence, St Onge is an evangelical pastor living in Ontario, California. His numerous Facebook accounts, YouTube videos and Tumblr page feature videos of his preaching, photos of himself carrying rifles and anti-Muslim memes.

A meme shared on one of his Facebook pages reads: “Allah SUCKS/ Mohammed SUCKS/ Islam SUCKS/ Any of you Hadji’s have an issue with me saying this, PM me and I’ll gladly give you my address. You can come visit me, where I promise/ I will/ KILL YOU/ In my front yard!!”

Reached by a reporter through Facebook, St Onge replied Wednesday afternoon: “I am no longer a delegate, by my own choosing … I will take one for the team, Loyal to a fault you might say … Jesus loves you, but not the trouble you try and cause for others.”

Asked about precisely when he ceased being a delegate, St Onge replied: “I have spoken to the appropriate people . thank you, Have a great day and may God bless you …”

He subsequently posted a Facebook post about a Guardian reporter on another Facebook account, writing: “This is a reporter who started doing a story on me … who is she to call the kettle black?”The post has since been deleted.

In a later message, St Onge wrote: “I see you are not a Christian so that tells me a lot about you and who you represent!!”

Asked about a report that he had once burned a Mexican flag, St Onge responded: “No, that is not true, even if it was, they burn ours don’t they?” The pastor then messaged a reporter several links to a video of two men, one wearing a Trump T-shirt, burning a Mexican flag. “I would call these men my brothers, US Citizen brothers!!,” he wrote.

According to a biography on one of St Onge’s Facebook pages, he “was in a very bad world, full of drugs, motorcycles, gangs and cops and more” before he was reborn and baptized in September 1995. “For me my life used to be all about Sex, Drugs and Rock&Roll … Now it is God Jesus and the Holy Ghost,” he writes on Facebook.

On 27 March 2016, St Onge posted about his application to be a Trump delegate on Facebook, writing: “I JUST SIGNED UP TO BECOME A NATIONAL DELEGATE FOR DONALD TRUMP, I WILL NOT FIND OUT UNTIL March 31, 2016. WHEN THEY DECIDE …”

St Onge is the second California delegate to attempt to drop out after Johnson, a corporate attorney and prominent white nationalist from Los Angeles.

Trump’s campaign blamed Johnson’s inclusion on a “database error” and said he was no longer a delegate. His campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Mixed in with Bible verses and YouTube sermons, St Onge shares a wide variety of political material, including anti-same sex marriage memes, a meme featuring the Confederate flag that reads “620,000 Died for this flag they deserve to be honored”, and a “Christian for Trump” image with the attached commentary: “Not saying Trump is a very godly man, but God can use anyone even evil to bless His people which are not just the Jews any longer but even the Gentiles now, for we are all under the same God …”

Another post features a photoshopped image of Barack Obama and David Cameron kissing, with the caption: “Sodomites!!”

(h/t The Guardian)

A White Nationalist is Among Donald Trump’s Pledged Delegates in California

White supremacist William Johnson

A Los Angeles attorney who advocates for the creation of a “white ethno-state” is on an official list of Donald Trump’s Republican convention delegates published Monday night by state election officials.

William Johnson, a self-described white separatist who is the chairman of the American Freedom Party, is among the delegates pledged to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee published by the California Secretary of State’s office.

The American Freedom Party is a group whose stated aim is “to represent the political interests of White Americans” and preserve “the customs and heritage of the European American people.” The party advocates deporting “all non-white immigrants and U.S. citizens, including anyone with any ascertainable trace of Negro blood” and believes that “diversity is white genocide.” In 1989 Johnson published a book entitled Amendment to the Constitution: Averting the Decline and Fall of America that laid out his plans for these racial deportations and called for the repeal of the 14th and 15th amendments. The book garnered him significant notoriety and he even appeared on many talk shows to discuss it.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Trump’s campaign said Johnson’s inclusion on the published list of delegates was an error.

“Upon careful review of computer records, the inclusion of a potential delegate that had previously been rejected and removed from the campaign’s list in February 2016 was discovered,” Tim Clark, Trump’s California campaign director, said in the statement. “This was immediately corrected and a final list, which does not include this individual, was submitted for certification.”

But state officials said the billionaire may not have any way to formally cut him from the list. Sam Mahood, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, said California election code deals with selection and certification of delegates, but not their removal.

“They submitted a delegate list to our office yesterday, which was the deadline,” Mahood said. “They attempted to submit a revised list today, which we informed them we would not be accepting because it’s past the deadline.”

In practice, Johnson could simply not attend the Republican National Convention, where he would be replaced by an alternate delegate.

A spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.

In California, Republican voters seeking to become convention delegates apply directly to their candidates’ campaigns, which then sort through the submissions and select their slate of delegates. These names are later submitted to the Secretary of State’s office.

“Donald Trump is the candidate that will Make America Hate Again,” Mark Paustenbach, national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement.

“Trump’s racist, xenophobic candidacy continues to fuel a resurgence of white nationalism in the United States, and to elevate a man like this shows that Trump has neither the temperament nor judgment to serve as president.”

In an interview with The Times, Johnson said he received an email from the Trump campaign on Tuesday afternoon confirming that his name “was erroneously listed as a potential delegate.”

Johnson said he had advocated for Trump in recent months, setting up robo-calls supporting the candidate in seven different states, but not California. Johnson said he also created a “crisis hotline to be able to handle people who have been traumatized or vandalized supporting Trump.”

Johnson, who unsuccessfully ran for a judgeship in Los Angeles County in 2008, did not mince words when asked by a reporter to explain his politics.

“I would like a separate white ethno-state…. I think diversity and multiculturalism is a failure, and I think it’s going to destroy civilization,” he said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the American Freedom Party as an organization founded by “racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule.” Joanna Mendelson, an investigative researcher with the California branch of the Anti-Defamation League, said groups like the American Freedom Party highlight a tonal shift in the white supremacist movement, away from brash displays of violence and toward a subtler approach.

“What these individuals do is they kind of use pseudo-intellectual racism to articulate their views, and they attach themselves to national topics, be it immigration or the elections currently, and insert themselves into the conversation,” she previously told the Los Angeles Times. Johnson was one of the keynote speakers at Camp Comradery last year, a national gathering of white separatists in Bakersfield, according to Mendelson and the American Freedom Party’s website.

Trump, who has often been criticized for his controversial statements about Mexicans and a call to deny Muslims access to the country, ran into trouble earlier in his campaign when he was slow to disavow an endorsement from David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Trump’s other California delegates include more established figures like House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Harmeet K. Dhillon, vice chair of the state’s Republican Party.

With Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz dropping out of the race, California’s June 7 primary will serve as little more than a coronation for Trump.

Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said Johnson is well-known in extremist circles, and his appearance among Trump’s delegates highlights the way this year’s election cycle has served to legitimize voices that were previously considered fringe.

“This white nationalist is someone that any respectable, mainstream candidate should leave skid marks running from,” Levin said.

(h/t Los Angeles Times)

Update

The white nationalist William Johnson has resigned as a delegate for the Trump campaign.

They don’t need the baggage that came along with my signing up as a delegate.

Reality

Trump is playing this off as a simple mistake, and point out the fact that William Johnson was removed from a list a few months ago holy shit what was William Johnson even doing on a list to be a potential delegate in the first fucking place!?

From campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks:

Yesterday the Trump campaign submitted its list of California delegates to be certified by the Secretary of State of California. A database error led to the inclusion of a potential delegate that had been rejected and removed from the campaign’s list in February 2016.

As you can see it was all a database error that holy shit what was William Johnson even doing on a list to be a potential delegate in the first fucking place!?

As it turned out the Trump’s explanation was a total fabrication because the Trump campaign was personally corresponding with William Johnson a day before the story broke.

william-johnson-campaign-email

And even though he tried to resign as a delegate, due to California delegate rules William Johnson will remain as a delegate for Trump.

In the end this is not surprising at all as Trump has had a history of white supremacy. Some examples include:

If Trump had reviewed our Supporters list, he would have found William Johnson under the list of hate group leaders.

Links

William Johnson’s Delegate Pledge Form

Trump Tries to Backtrack His Defaulting on Debt Comments

Donald Trump declared Monday the U.S. never has to default on debt “because you print the money,” while trying to clarify his strategy for managing the national debt.

Trump insisted that he never said the U.S. should default or attempt to renegotiate with creditors, as had been reported. Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day”:

People said I want to go and buy debt and default on debt, and I mean, these people are crazy. This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money, I hate to tell you, OK?

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee explained he would center his approach on debt buybacks if and when interest rates go up.

I said if we can buy back government debt at a discount, in other words, if interest rates go up and we can buy bonds back at a discount — if we are liquid enough as a country, we should do that. In other words, we can buy back debt at a discount.

He also repeated his claim that he is “the king of debt.”

I understand debt better than probably anybody. I know how to deal with debt very well. I love debt — but you know, debt is tricky and it’s dangerous, and you have to be careful and you have to know what you’re doing.

(h/t CNN)

Reality

Trump lied. In an interview with CNBC on 5/6/16 that we cataloged here along with video, Trump was asked if the U.S. needs to pay its debt in full or if it could negotiate a partial repayment, Trump said:

I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.

Also during his CNBC interview, Trump had said that interest rates should be kept low — contradicting his remarks on CNN Monday — because a rate jump could trigger a catastrophic increase the cost of borrowing.

We’re paying a very low interest rate. What happens if that interest rate goes up 2, 3, 4 points? We don’t have a country.

Furthermore, whether through debt buyback or restructuring, neither of Trump’s debt-reduction proposals from the past week square with his party’s core approach on the issue — deep spending cuts and entitlement program reform.

The Republican Party’s official platform argues the U.S.’s looming “debt explosion” should be averted through “immediate reductions in federal spending, as a down payment on the much larger task of long-range fiscal control.”

These cuts “must be accompanied by major structural reforms,” according to the platform, and pointing to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, the GOP argues that “we must restructure the twentieth century entitlement state.”

Media

Links

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000515269

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/trump-debt-bankruptcy-wall-street-222976

New York Times article that Trump claimed misrepresented him. They didn’t.

Trump is Going to Trial This Year in Trump University Fraud Case

Trump University logo

A federal judge in San Diego set the stage on Friday for what could be one of the strangest presidential transitions in history: He ordered that Donald Trump must go to trial starting Nov. 28 in a civil case in which he is accused of defrauding students who attended Trump University.

“No doubt this will be a challenge … we’re in unchartered waters,” said Daniel Petrocelli, Trump’s lead lawyer in the case, when asked later how his client — if elected in November — would be able to balance preparing to take over the presidency with taking the witness stand in a trial that could run almost until the eve of the following January’s inauguration.

But Petrocelli said Trump was fully prepared to testify and would even attend “most, if not all” of the trial in order to vindicate himself. “His preference would be to be here for the entirety of the trial,” Petrocelli said. “He believes this case is unwarranted and he wants to defend himself fully.”

The ruling today by U.S. Judge Gonzalo Curiel, during a pretrial conference on the six-year-old lawsuit, actually represented a small victory for Trump. The lawyers for the plaintiffs, arguing that “justice delayed is justice denied,” had asked for a trial to start as early as this summer — immediately after the Republican convention in Cleveland. “There are people who are still paying off their debts for the money they paid to Trump University,” said Jason Forge, a lead lawyer for the plaintiffs suing Trump.

Petrocelli, for his part, pushed back, contending that a trial over Trump University would end up becoming a media spectacle that would amount to an “unwarranted intrusion” on the November elections. He had asked that Curiel put the whole matter off until next February, after the inauguration, arguing that Trump, if elected, would be working “around the clock” during the transition to form a Cabinet. He acknowledged to Curiel that he was “fully aware” that a President Trump would not be able to postpone the case indefinitely, consistent with the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that President Bill Clinton was not immune to a civil suit by Paula Jones, alleging sexual harassment.

Curiel decided to split the difference: In an effort to “accommodate” Trump’s political campaign, he agreed to put the trial off until after the election — but scheduled it right afterward, rather than “waiting for [a] President Trump to begin his first term,” thereby “placing him a situation where, as a sitting president, he is taking up time as leader of the free world” to sit through trial. (Anticipating difficulty in finding unbiased jurors, the judge said he may want to start jury selection even earlier than Nov. 28.)

But Trump may still find his legal troubles impinging on his campaign; he is facing a separate trial in New York state courts in a civil fraud suit, also stemming from the ill-fated Trump University, brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. (No trial date has been set on that case yet, but a spokesman for Schneiderman told Yahoo News that his office believes it could begin as early as this fall.)

The hearing today is the latest development in a case that has already erupted as a campaign issue and has threatened to shine a spotlight on Trump’s business practices — including his penchant for making hyperbolic claims to consumers — at the very moment he is trying to persuade voters he can deliver on his campaign pledges to end illegal immigration, destroy the Islamic State and balance the federal budget without touching entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.

The core case revolves around the operations of a school Trump launched in 2005 with a promotional YouTube video and ads that proclaimed, “I can turn anyone into a successful real estate investor, including you,” “Are you My Next Apprentice?” and “Learn from my handpicked experts how you can profit from the largest real estate liquidation in history.”

In fact, Trump University was never an accredited educational institution, and he was later forced by state attorneys general to change its name to the “Trump Entrepreneurial Initiative.” The plaintiffs, former students at Trump University, allege that Trump used “misleading, fraudulent and predatory practices,” conning them into maxing out their credit cards and in some cases paying more than $35,000 in fees for seminars and “mentoring” by Trump’s “handpicked” real estate experts. The lawsuit against the school, which is no longer in business, alleges that the seminars were little more than an “infomercial” and that the Trump mentors offered “no practical advice” and “mostly disappeared.”

One key issue in the case has been Trump’s boasts that the “courses” and “mentoring” would be conducted by the “best of the best” — real estate experts he personally chose. During a deposition last December, Forge hammered away at Trump on the issue, showing the businessman a photo lineup and playing videos of some of the instructors and asking him if he could identify any of them. Trump could not, at first saying it was “too many years” ago for him to recognize them and then finally admitting he didn’t actually know any of them. “I looked at résumés and things, but I didn’t pick the speakers,” Trump said at one point.

Trump’s lawyers have adamantly denied the charges and insisted that most students who took the courses were satisfied. On the campaign trial, Trump has vowed to never settle the case, claiming it was brought by a “sleazebag law firm” — a reference to Forge’s firm, Robbins Geller — and confidently predicted, “I will win the case at the end.” He has even criticized Judge Curiel, claiming he was biased against him because of his Hispanic origin. “If I didn’t have a hostile judge in California, this case would have ended years ago,” he said during a campaign rally in Arkansas last Feb. 26. (Trump had even suggested he might move for Curiel’s recusal, based on his Hispanic origin, but Petrocelli told reporters today he had no plans to file such a motion.)

The case has already eaten up Trump’s time on the campaign trail, forcing him to sit for two contentious last December and January in which he was grilled by Forge, prompting him to complaint at one point about “harassment” by the lawyer and to shoot back at another point, “Let’s just go to court and get this case — I’m dying to go to court in this case.”

It looks like he might be getting his wish.

(h/t Yahoo News)

Reality

As we investigated before, Trump University was a massive scam.

What will be interesting to note is how right-wing media will cover Donald Trump on trial for fraud compared to the Hillary Clinton email investigation. No need to imagine, here is the Wall Street Journal saying Donald is being set up while Hillary is a criminal.

Donald Trump Hits Back at ‘Goofy’ Elizabeth Warren

Twitter

Donald Trump took to Twitter Friday evening to pile criticism on Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who earlier in the week had condemned the presumptive GOP nominee as a racist.

Trump began Friday, “I hope corrupt Hillary Clinton chooses goofy Elizabeth Warren as her running mate. I will defeat them both.”

He continued: “Let’s properly check goofy Elizabeth Warren’s records to see if she is Native American. I say she’s a fraud!”

Next, he tweeted, “Goofy Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton’s flunky, has a career that is totally based on a lie. She is not Native American.”

Trump was referring to a controversy surrounding Warren that emerged during her successful 2012 Senate bid over her past claims about having Native American ancestry. At the time, her Republican challenger, Scott Brown, demanded she provide documented proof, but Warren said her heritage had been passed down in words, not on paper.
Friday’s tweet storm isn’t the first time Trump has responded to Warren in this fashion.

Asked in March about attacks the Massachusetts senator had made on him, Trump responded, “Who’s that, the Indian?”

Earlier in the week, Warren went on a Twitter tirade against the Manhattan billionaire, saying he had “built his campaign on racism, sexism and xenophobia.”

And shortly after Trump’s latest salvo Friday night, she fired back some shots of her own.
“‘Goofy,’ @realDonaldTrump? For a guy with ‘the best words’ that’s a pretty lame nickname. Weak!” Warren tweeted.

(h/t CNN)

Reality

Instead of responding to Senator Warren’s argument that he is running a racist, sexist, and xenophobic campaign, Donald Trump responded with misogynist bullying. This is a logical fallacy known as ad hominem, or attack the attacker. It is used when a person has no real defense so instead they resort to name calling.

Donald Trump Just Threatened to Cause an Unprecedented Global Financial Crisis

In an interview on CNBC, Donald Trump broke with tired clichés about the evils of federal debt accumulation. “I am the king of debt,” he said. “I love debt. I love playing with it.”

But he replaced fearmongering about debt with an even more alarming notion — a bankruptcy of the United States federal government that would incinerate the world economy.

“I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal,” Trump said. “And if the economy was good, it was good. So therefore, you can’t lose.”

With his statement, Trump not only revealed a dangerous ignorance about the operation of the national monetary system and the global economic order, but also offered a brilliant case study in the profound risks of attempting to apply the logic of a private business enterprise to the task of running the United States of America.

Trump’s business logic makes sense

Trump is a businessman, and in terms of thinking like a businessman his idea makes sense.

The interest rate that investors currently charge the United States in order to borrow money is very low. A smart business strategy under those circumstances would be to borrow a bunch of money and undertake a bunch of big investment projects that are somewhat risky but judged to possibly have a huge payoff.

You now have two possible scenarios.

In one scenario, the investments work out and you make a ton of money. In that case, you can easily pay back the loan and everyone wins.

In another scenario, the investments don’t work out and you don’t make much money. In that case, you objectively can’t pay back the loan. You either work out a deal with the people you owe money to in which they accept less than 100 percent of what you owe them (this is called a “haircut”) or else you go to bankruptcy court and a judge will force them to accept less than 100 percent.

This is how businesspeople think — especially those who work in capital-intensive industries like real estate. And for good reason. This is the right way to run a real estate company.

Applying this idea to the United States would destroy the economy

The United States of America, however, is not a real estate development company. If a real estate company defaults on its debts and its creditors lose money, that’s their problem. If a bank fails as a result, then it’s the FDIC’s responsibility to clean it up.
The government doesn’t work like that. Right now, people and companies all around the world treat US government bonds as the least risky financial asset in the universe. If the government defaults and banks fail as a result, the government needs to clean up the mess. And if risk-free federal bonds turn out to be risky, then every other financial assetbecomes riskier. The interest rate charged on state and local government debt, on corporate debt, and on home loans will spike. Savings will evaporate, and liquidity will vanish as everyone tries to hold on to their cash until they can figure out what’s going on.

Every assessment of risk in the financial system is based on the idea that the least risky thing is lending money to the federal government. If that turns out to be much riskier than previously thought, then everything else becomes much riskier too. Business investment will collapse, state and local finances will be crushed, and shockwaves will emanate to a whole range of foreign countries that borrow dollars.

Remember 2008, when the markets went from thinking housing debt was low-risk to thinking it was high-risk, and a global financial crisis was the result? This would be like that, but much worse — US government debt is the very foundation of low-risk investments.

What’s especially troubling about Trump’s proposal is that there is genuinely no conceivable circumstance under which this kind of default would be necessary. The debt of the federal government consists entirely of obligations to pay US dollars to various individuals and institutions. US dollars are, conveniently, something the US government can create instantly and in infinite quantities at any time.

Of course, it might be undesirable to finance debts by printing money rather than raising taxes or cutting spending. In particular, that kind of money printing could lead to inflation, and even though inflation is very low right now there’s no guarantee that it will always be low.

But a little bit of inflation is always going to be strictly preferable to destroying the whole American economy, especially because a debt default would cause a crash in the value of the dollar and spark inflation anyway.

Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about

This is the second time this week that Trump has revealed a profound ignorance of an issue related to government debts.

The early instance in which he kept proposing that Puerto Rico declare bankruptcy even though doing so is illegal was on a question that’s very important to Puerto Ricans but not so important to everyone else. It is, however, important to pay attention to how presidential candidates approach issues across the board — and what we saw with Puerto Rico is that Trump approached the issue by simplistically applying business logic without bothering to check whether it applies to the actual situation.

Now in the CNBC interview he’s done the exact same thing on a matter of more consequence —not the debts of Puerto Rico but the debts of the United States of America. It’s understandable that a real estate developer might assume that what works in real estate would work in economic policy, but it’s not true. And Trump hasn’t bothered to check or ask anyone about it.

(h/t CNBC)

Reality

What Donald Trump is proposing to pay off the national debt (which is money that we are obligated to pay creditors and for services) is to borrow large sums of money at a lower rate. In other words robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Should the economy be healthy then we can pay back that borrowed money no problem. However should the economy crash, and the United States is unable to meet the legal obligation of debt repayment (‘defaulting‘) then Trump proposed to renegotiate that new debt at a lower rate.

While Trump did not say the word ‘default’ he explained the exact definition of the word default in his proposal.

This raised eyebrows by suggesting an unorthodox approach towards cutting the national debt… not paying it then renegotiate terms. Such a renegotiation risks creating financial turmoil because U.S. Treasuries are considered the safest assets on the planet and a major benchmark for valuing other securities. Calling into question their safety could cause borrowing rates to rise and create confusion in the markets.

Confusion in the markets is a very bad thing. Wall Street and businesses need to know what the rules are in order to subvert play them.

Media

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000515269

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