It’s only May, which means we have about five months before the presidential election. There are conventions to be had, running mates to be selected, debates to be overhyped, and an obscene amount of money to be spent on an equally obscene quantity of advertising. The general election campaign hasn’t even really begun yet, on account of it being so damn early in the cycle still. Hell, we don’t even have official nominees yet for either major party.
And yet, we find ourselves in a peculiar situation. Specifically, the presumptive nominee for one of the major parties has already given a soft endorsement to a long-since discredited theory that his likely opponent is complicit in the covered-up murder of a political associate. When you strip all the names from this situation and view it through the lens of established political norms, that looks crazy and desperate. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect to drop as a late-October Hail Mary, a desperate candidate’s last-ditch effort to ward off likely defeat. But it’s May, and we’re already being forced to discuss one candidate obliquely suggesting that his rival was complicit in a murder.
I’m talking, of course, about Donald Trump and his casual “just asking questions” reference to the 1993 suicide of Vince Foster, who was deputy White House counsel to Bill Clinton. Wild accusations about the Clintons orchestrating and/or covering up Foster’s death have persisted in conservatives circles for years and even caught the attention of some of the crazier members of Congress, but they never went mainstream because they are obviously insane. In a “normal” election setting, diving into the Vince Foster nonsense would be treated as a lethal self-inflicted wound for a candidate. But for Trump and the media that cover him, it’s just another day on the trail.
At this point, Trump has successfully conditioned reporters to the point that they continually expect him to “go there,” and because he’s set that expectation, his embrace of crazy bullshit is treated almost as routine. Consider the Washington Postarticle that first reported that Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate for the presidency, had given a soft endorsement to a crazy conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton murdering an old friend. The headline? “Trump escalates attack on Bill Clinton.” Trump’s quotes about the Clintons and Foster were included at the end of the article, buried under analysis about how “the race already appears to be teed up as a referendum on the two candidates’ pasts rather than their visions for the country’s future.”
Or you can take a look at this Politico article on Trump’s comments. It noted that Trump is “trying to lend credence to conspiracy theories suggesting that the Clintons somehow had a hand in [Foster’s] passing, which was ruled a suicide.” From there, Politico arrived at this takeaway:
The insinuations and stark allegations are proving once again Trump’s ability to dominate headlines and airtime, and show the challenge Hillary Clinton will be up against as she tries to make her argument against the real estate mogul.
Again, we’re talking about one candidate backhandedly making the allegation that his opponent was an accessory to murder, and the press reaction is “boy, that Trump sure can drive headlines – better watch out, Hillary!”
This is precisely what I was talking about I wrote earlier this month about the danger in normalizing Trump. He wants all the craziness to be taken in stride, and he’s succeeding. He’s being abetted in this by a Republican Party establishment that is happy to bite its tongue so long as they get their tax cuts and conservative judicial nominations. But that’s no reason for the press to buy into Trump’s game and treat his crazy mudslinging as a mere campaign tactic rather than a disqualifying character flaw.
And it’s only going to get worse as the election cycle wears on. Trump met a few weeks ago with Ed Klein, an infamous source of salacious and discredited Hillary Clinton bullshit. Just this week, Trump promoted Klein’s latest book, which is full of insane nonsense. None of this is normal, so stop treating it like it is.Related Stories
Donald Trump’s top presidential campaign advisor is a world-class thug.
Paul Manafort, who Trump brought on in March as his Republican Convention strategist and recently elevated to campaign chairman, has worked for notorious arms dealers, warlords, dictators and international tycoons who have left trails of unrest, mayhem and death or looted their country’s treasuries, according to a new report by the American Bridge 21st Century PAC, which is primarily funded by a who’s who of Democratic donors including George Soros.
“In 1981, the Trump Organization had employed Manafort’s lobbying firm Black, Manafort, and Stone—which included Trump accolyte Roger Stone—making it one of the firm’s very first clients,” said the PAC’s research summary. “There and on his own, Manafort was responsible for representing some of the world’s most unsavory clients on behalf of what the press called the ‘Torturers’ Lobby.’
The PAC gives more than a dozen examples from the past three decades of Manafort’s career as a lobbyist, influence peddler and deal-maker, starting with being an international arms dealer to pocketing millions from Eastern Bloc clients who sought to park their assets in the West.
What follows is American Bridge’s research summary:
• Manafort represented Middle Eastern arms dealer Abdul Rahman El-Assir in the 1990s and even used his house as collateral in 2004 to secure a loan from El-Assir. Manafort claimed to French investigators that he received payment for advising the 1995 French presidential campaign of hopeful Édouard Balladur from the bank account of El-Assir. El-Assir was the middleman in the sale of French submarines to Pakistan.
• Manafort also claimed that his translator while advising Balladur was Ziad Takieddine, who was also involved in the arms deal. As of 2013, Takieddine was in prison for trying to procure a false passport. To the knowledge of American Bridge, the nature of Manafort’s translator has not been reported in the American press.
• Manafort’s firm represented Angolan guerilla leader Jonas Savimbi, making over $600,000 in 1985 alone. Savimbi and his UNITA army engaged in a decades-long civil war that terrorized and murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, with UNITA engaging in bodily mutilations, sexual slavery, child kidnapping, and witch burning. Sambivi funded his role in the gruesome civil war with proceeds of smuggled diamonds, aid from apartheid South Africa, and aid from the United States.
• Zaire dictator Mobutu Sese Seko retained Manafort’s firm in 1989 for $1 million annually to help address his PR issues: at the time, he was one of Africa’s most corrupt leaders, he had one of the worst human rights records, and his regime regularly engaged in torture, detainment, and rape.
• Manafort’s firm was hired to lobby on behalf of Nigeria and Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha in 1998. Manafort signed the contract himself and personally handled the account of President Abacha. His role was to present Nigeria as an emerging progressive democracy to American influencers in order to improve bilateral affairs between the countries, but just the year before, the U.S. State Department had outlined how the Abacha regime had engaged in persistent torture and abuse of detainees.
• Manafort’s firm represented the Kenyan government from 1990 to 1993, a period during which it received $38.3 million in U.S. aid. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Kenya’s dictatorial president Daniel arap Moi had silenced political opponents who supported a multi-party democracy with sham trials, torture, and indefinite detention. He also forcibly relocated thousands of people from an ethnic minority. The U.S. government briefly froze military aid in response to human rights abuses in 1990, but ultimately restored that aid by 1991, leading a State Department official to admit that “we compromised our human rights policy in Kenya somewhat.”
• Manafort had lobbied on behalf of Saudi Arabia, ultimately receiving what would in 2016 be worth $1.5 million. One of Saudi’s legislative priorities on which Manafort personally lobbied was to keep the U.S. Embassy in Israel from moving to Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Today, Trump has announced his belief that the embassy should in fact be located in Jerusalem.
• Paul Manafort’s lobbying firm had a $900,000 contract on behalf of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos to sell a more democratic image to Americans and ultimately help Philippine elites better influence American foreign policy. Manafort dropped the contract on the advice of the Reagan Administration just two hours before it announced it was pulling its support for the Marcos regime.
• By 1992, Manafort’s firm was making $450,000 per year from now-deposed Somalian dictator Said Barre, whose official ideology of “scientific socialism” was responsible for numerous human rights abuses and had left the country on the edge of mass starvation by the time of his ouster.
• Manafort’s firm represented Argentinian politician Alberto Pierri in 1997. In 1993, a number of journalists were beaten or received threats within days of publishing articles alleging that Pierri had recruited armed groups from gang members to act as “political thugs.” Pierri also called a journalist who wrote an article criticizing his role in drug money laundering in Argentina a “lousy Jew” and a “Jewish flea-bag” in 1994.
• Under Argentinian President Menem, Spain’s Gas Natural Co. was granted one of eight distribution zones when it broke apart the Gas del Estado. Pierri was a close ally of and powerful figure in the Menem government. In 1993, Spanish newspaper El Mundo accused Pierri of trying to extort executives at Gas Natural Co.’s Argentinean branch. An official at Gas Natural confirmed that there had been “some problems” with Pierri.
• In 2006, Manafort’s firm took on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska as a client. Manafort helped arrange meetings between Deripaska and John McCain as McCain started his presidential run in August 2006 despite the fact that the U.S. had revoked Deripaska’s visa in July 2006 amid concerns he was linked to organized crime.
• In 2007, Manafort’s firm set up a private equity partnership with Deripaska in the Cayman Islands, which was supposed to include $19 million of investments. The firm received $7.5 million in management fees for the partnership, but Deripsaka sued the firm in 2008 for failing to invest, return, or even account for the $19 million. While Deripsaka failed to retrieve his investment, he had reported that Manafort and his partners had purchased a stake in Ukrainian cable television and Internet ventures with it.
• In 2008, Manafort tried to develop a 65-story Manhattan luxury apartment building with funding from Dimitry Firtash, Ukrainian energy tycoon with a mixed and troubled international legal history. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko sued Manafort in 2011 for helping Firtash hide his ill-gotten millions in offshore real estate investments.
Another day, another failed and sleazy Trump venture. To the pile of shady businesses that Trump has engaged in, you can add what the Daily Beast has called a “pseudo-scientific vitamin scheme”.
Yep, that’s right. Along with crummy steaks, a litigious university, and a crashed airline, we can now add to that list The Trump Network, a telemarketing company that preyed on people’s lack of scientific understanding by selling them exorbitantly priced ($140) urine-tests, “which would then be used to personally “tailor” a pricey monthly concoction of vitamins,” the Daily Beast reported.
For the article, authors Abby Haglage and Tim Mak interviewed a former “top doctor” from The Trump Network who offered a compelling tale of how the venture came about (unsurprisingly, said doctor asked to remain anonymous).
As the good doc recalled, it all began—like so many consumer schemes—at a marketing company rally. Naturally, Trump was there as a speaker, presumably rattling off his marketing wisdom by way of vainglorious demonstration. Alongside Trump at the rally was Ideal Health, a “multi-level marketing company” selling “naturopathic” remedies — medicine that claims to heal patients through therapeutic means such as herbs and vitamins. Included among the products Ideal Health proudly boasted about at the rally was the aforementioned urine test come tailored vitamin supplement pyramid scheme regimen. Trump was sold.
Fast forward a couple months to November 2009 and Trump, emboldened by his attorney's praise of the “extraordinary growth” potential of Ideal Health, began peddling his own version of the urine test through The Trump Network. As for the scientific soundness of the product, as the doctor recalled, the fact that the biotech company responsible for the tests, MetaMatrix, and the company that manufactured it, Douglas Laboratories, legally operated on “behalf of tens of thousands of physicians” was apparently enough for Trump and co.
In an insight into Trump management style, the doctor explained that Trump held little personal interest into whether the product he was peddling actually stood up to science. “He just looks to the people who are involved and what people did with this business,” said the doctor, “[He] looked at the people who were participating and said ‘this is good.’”
Here’s the man himself talking about how great it all is, sounds sort of like some other promises he’s made of late.
The Trump Network’s motto was “Discover the Difference between Opportunity and Success.” In this instance, the opportunity being the PrivaTest and follow up supply of vitamins at $139.95, with an additional month’s supply at $69.95 and a recommended $100 nine month follow-up test, all purportedly aimed at keeping “individual nutritional support” up to date. As for “success”? In 2012 The Trump Network sold off all its assets.
There is one difference between this failure and some of Trump’s former ones. According to the Daily Beast article, Trump apparently “never purchased any part of The Trump Network. Instead, he merely licensed his name and brand to Ideal Health.”
One telling factor about this tragic Trump chapter is what it says about the empty promises that epitomize his name/brand. Apart from endorsing a product, that required no actual FDA approval, Trump’s interest in this failed product demonstrably highlights Trump’s true passion in life: himself.
Elizabeth Warren continues to carry her torch for the Democratic Party as both a Massachusetts senator and party super delegate. After engaging in a brutal Twitter war with the Republican “presumptive nominee” Warren is taking on the Republican billionaire every chance she gets.
“Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap,” Warren said Tuesday night at a Washington, D.C., gala for the Center for Popular Democracy.
“What kind of a man does that?” Warren asked rhetorically. “Root for people to get thrown out on the street? Root for people to lose their jobs? Root for people to lose their pensions? Root for two little girls in Clark County, Nevada, to end up living in a van?”
Progressive Warren warned the crowd that Trump’s economic policies would not only make America less great—they would throw the country into a recession.
“I’ll tell you exactly what kind,” Warren continued. “A man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as he makes some money off it. What kind of man does that? A man who will never be president of the United States.”
Warren also pointed out that Trump’s flip-flops are hazardous as well.
“Sometimes Trump claims he is tough on Wall Street. But now he’s singing a very different song. Last week, he said that the new Dodd-Frank financial regulations have, and I’m quoting here, ‘made it impossible for bankers to function’ and he will put out a new plan soon that ‘will be close to dismantling Dodd-Frank,'” Warren said.
SIX NATIONS – Community Awareness Week included a special arts event this year celebrating the works of six aspiring young artists from Six Nations. Initiated by Elizabeth “Betts” Doxtator, the Group of Six Youth Art Show was held this past Sunday at the Iroquois Village Plaza. The group started with Betts reaching out to the community for support to engage Six Nations youth in the arts. “I approached Larry Longboat about supporting a grass roots-based youth art program. After negotiating with Six Nations Child & Family Services, they agreed to cover the costs including paint, canvas, and brushes,” said Betts, who volunteered her time and use of her shop at the plaza as a studio to work in on Wednesdays […]
The outstanding turnout this week proves that Six Nations families are super enthusiastic about Victoria’s Bread and Cheese. Were you aware that not everyone loves Bread and Cheese? At the Two Row Times we do our best to appreciate and understand both sides of any conflict. Of course there is a whole spectrum of beliefs and we all have our own way of balancing our views. Whether or not you are Longhouse, Christian, Elected Council, Confederacy or Mohawk Worker – the people of Six Nations are all cut from the same cloth and are all recovering from cultural genocide and the oppression of colonialism (that still exists today). An elder from Oneida once told me that he remembers his elders […]
OHSWEKEN – In the afternoon of Tuesday, May 24, three women presented an intriguing art program dubbed the Alapinta Project to councillors within the Elected Council Building. Aboriginal Student Support Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University Bonnie Whitlow, alongside Vanessa Oliver and Kari Brozowski, presented the idea to Elected Council members with the main idea of “cultural pride.” “Because Bonnie was inspired by the Alapinta mural artists, the idea was to have a cultural exchange with indigenous people as well as non-indigenous people,” said Oliver, who is also an Assistant Professor in Youth and Childrens Studies at Wilfred Laurier University. “The Alapinta are from Chile and they mostly speak Spanish,” continued Oliver. “They go around the world and create these huge, […]
SIX NATIONS – An Ontario artist presented three works of art to the community of Six Nations this week as an emblem of support and awareness to the traumas of residential schools and the problem of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. Cheryl Gardiner is an artist who paints barn quilts. She said when she started hearing stories in the news about the atrocities experienced by both children in residential schools and women in Canada she felt urged to do something. “With all the awareness since the national inquiry — I didn’t know anything about this,” said Gardiner. “I was so disgusted after I learned about the children and what happened at residential schools.” Gardiner said that was when […]
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HALDIMAND/NEW CREDIT – The community of the Mississaugas of the New Credit is mourning the accidental deaths of two of their members. At approximately 2:44 p.m., on Saturday, May 21, 2016, OPP, Haldimand County Fire Services, Haldimand County Paramedics, and Norfolk County Paramedics responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a motorcyclist. Through the course of the investigation, it has been determined that a motorcycle was travelling southbound on Highway 6 when it collided with a motor vehicle that was travelling westbound on Regional Road 70 at the intersection. As a result of the collision, the female driver of the motorcycle, 46-year-old Donna Jay Sault of Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and the passenger, 49-year-old Deanna Evelyn […]
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OHSWEKEN – Six Nations Community Food Bank wants to thank Jukasa Radio and the community for the donations given at last week’s community barbecue. Community members were asked to bring a non-perishable food item to the barbecue to pay for their food and be given a chance to win a door-prize at the event. All donations went to the food bank. “I want to thank the community for their continued support and thank Jukasa for having us at their community awareness week event,” said Ellen-Rose Jamieson, “We got a lot of donations.” Jamieson is the community food bank’s new co-ordinator, having replaced Charley Hill at the end of April. Jamieson would like to give the community a friendly reminder that […]
SIX NATIONS – The Jukasa Media Group, Jukasa Radio, and Jukasa Studios linked arms with the Two Row Times for a parking lot barbecue, live music and some pretty spectacular cars on display for hundreds of visitors for Community Awareness, Friday afternoon. An emergency run for more sausages, hot dogs and burgers kept the fires burning while local music artists performed including Lacy Hill, Logan Staats and more.
OHSWEKEN – A former employee of Six Nations Lands and Resources has brought to light some of his concerns regarding the deal signed between the Six Nations Elected Council and the McClung Road development, known now as Avalon Homes in advance of this Thursday night’s third and final community information meeting at the Six Nations Community Hall to explain the McClung, Avalon development project, in Caledonia. Doug Whitlow, who graduated UBC with a BA in First Nations Studies in 1995, upon returning to his home community in 1996, took a job with Six Nations Lands and Resources as Assistant Wildlife Officer under Paul General. Until he retired at the end of 2015 after nine years in that capacity, part of […]
Lewis Black is enraged—and it’s not just because he’s no longer “The Daily Show's” “titan of television,” as he puts it.
“You still there?” “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert ribbed Black on Tuesday night.
“You got a job?” Black shot back. Colbert cracked up.
“That’s fine, I don’t care. I’m looking, I’m looking!” Black joked.
Black first met Colbert in 1997 on “The Daily Show”—and is apparently just as angry as he was then, if not more so.
“Are you still bitter after all these years, Lewis? How do you keep the rage fresh?” Colbert asked Black.
It's more complicated than you might think.
"I wake up in the morning. I’m severely optimistic, more than anybody can imagine," Black told Colbert. "I believe today is going to be the day that America figures it all out. I’m convinced of it. We’ve made every mistake humanly possible, haven’t we? So today, just by accident, we might stumble onto the answer. And then I pick up the paper and go, ‘Son of a bitch!”
And Black thinks Colbert’s show might need some more cynicism every night.
“I think you could use a bitter f*ck sitting over here," Black mused. "Someone who when you stop smiling you can just go—‘here, look at him.'”
There he is, lobbying for a new job again.
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- 'We Wanted to Make a Film About our Nation’s Failure. This is our Opportunity....as a Society....to Redeem Ourselves....'
OHSWEKEN – A mobile cancer screening detection unit is here in Ohsweken as part of this years’ Community Awareness Week. One of the most important safety precautions someone can do in regards to cancer is finding out early on what your risks may be, getting screen early and identifying any concerns that arise. The Screen-For-Life Coach offers three different types of screenings — breast cancer, cervical cancer and colon cancer. “These three screenings find problems early, before you feel them and before you notice symptoms,” said Alyssa Higginson, the cancer screening co-ordinator for the regional cancer program. “If you wait until you notice symptoms then chances are that the problem is a little more advanced. With screening, in some respects, […]
OHSWEKEN – After months of decision making and waiting for approval from different organizations, the community is soon going to get it’s new splash pad. Six Nations Parks and Recreation has received funding from the Community Trust to build the new splash pad beside the Community Hall. Six Nations Elected Council has received 3D renderings of two different possible splash pads and is asking the community “Which one do you like better?” One boasts giant water-squirting flowers and in-ground geysers, while the other showcases swirling showers and an open water-blasting tunnel. Both options are sure to keep children (and maybe some adults) cool during the hot summers while having fun at the same time. To make your voice heard and […]
There are many myths about the country that just don’t hold up under scrutiny, Stephen Langford writes.
Omid, a 23-year-old from Iran, burnt himself to death on Nauru, where he was being held hostage by the Australian government. Like all the people in the Nauru camp, he had tried to get to Australia by boat. He had done nothing wrong.
The people on Nauru and Manus have been on those prison islands for 1,000 days. It took 24 hours for Omid to be airlifted to Australia. He died in Brisbane Hospital.
The Papua New Guinea (PNG) Supreme Court has unanimously decided that the Manus camp is illegal because of its violations of human rights, because it is imprisoning people who have done nothing wrong, and must close ‘immediately’.
The Australian Minister for Immigration (‘and Border Security’) has said it is PNG’s responsibility. Yet it is Australia that set up and pays a private company to imprison the 950 men. We remember Reza Barati, another 23-year-old Iranian, who was murdered there, two years ago.
I have, personally, been very lucky in this country. But it is impossible to ignore that Australia has institutionalized cruelty. We have no Bill of Rights.
Virtually anything can become law.
The Murdoch press has a great deal of influence over the public. It can misinform the population about people coming here needing our help. Murdoch does not mention that we take 200,000 business migrants each year.
Then the two major political parties pass laws that would not be possible in most other countries. Canada, for instance, cannot pass laws that violate human rights. We can, and do. Refugees and Indigenous people have been the main groups to suffer at our hands.
Meanwhile the land is desecrated by mining companies; farmland and sacred Indigenous burial sites alike. ‘Utopia’, John Pilger’s excellent film, is relevant on this subject.
But isn’t Australia a nice, friendly, sunny place? Yes it is, especially if you are white and middle class. But this is a country that also violates the rights of First Nations people, is the world’s largest coal exporter, and is stealing the oil of one of the poorest, and bravest, countries, Timor Leste, by refusing to make an internationally adjudicated sea border with it.
And with our US bases, we seem unable to say no to being part of that country’s military adventures. Former PM John Howard is honoured here. We forget that, like Bush and Blair, he is a war criminal.
As for Australian citizen Julian Assange, he is facing no ‘charges’. The Swedish police can interview him by Skype, or in person, in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He has every reason to fear US ‘justice’. It is not a surprise that the Australian state is not helping him.
But, yes, Australia is a nice, friendly, sunny place.
SIX NATIONS – The Six Nations Arrows 2016 season is well under way but Six Nations fans have not seen the Arrows Express play at home since August 15th, 2015 when they paraded around the ILA with the Minto Cup hoisted high. They have been playing on the road so far this new season, getting ready for their ILA debut with the annual Bread and Cheese Day (Victoria Day) game Monday afternoon. The Arrows Express opened the season in Kitchener-Waterloo May 12th and defeated them 6-4. May 15th they were in Toronto and lost to the Beaches 10-9. Then, on Wednesday, May 18th, the Arrows lost 9-6 to the Burlington Chiefs. The early season was a time of little pressure […]
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BRANTFORD – Six Nations boxer Karl Hess, left no doubt in his unanimous decision win over Mohamed Alareebi of Toronto’s famous Cabbagetown Boxing Club, Saturday evening at the Brantford Curling Club. Hess and Alareebi were the main event in an eight-bout boxing card hosted by Brantford’s Black Eye Boxing Club. Alareebi looked fit, strong and ready and gave Hess a lot to early trouble, but by the end of the round, Hess had established himself as the more powerful puncher in the ring, landing a few shots that backed Alareebi off. In the second round Hess seemed to take charge, but he had to watch for Alareebi’s counters. By the halfway point in the third and final round, Alareebi could […]
Brantford Warriors’ Greg Morissette was the hero in Friday night’s Jr. C lacrosse matchup against the Caledon Bandits by scoring twice in the late going to send the game into OT, the second with one second left on the clock, then did an encore by scoring the game winner, unassisted at 8:34 to take the 9-8 win. Brodrick Rene, #22, also contributed three goals for Brantford to improve their record to 3-1-1 after five games played so far this season. Photo by Jim Windle