The Power of Persistence

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Since only the first two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax return were leaked, it’s hard to know what accounted for his abnormally (by accounting standards) high alternative minimum tax was for that year. It's also not clear whether the reported 2005 income represents a realistic assessment of Trump's net worth in relation to his frequent claims of being worth "billions."

Read more about the distinction between billionaire taxpayers and the rest of us in Janet Novak’s Forbes article, “How Trump's 2005 Tax Bite Compares To Other Billionaires' And To Yours,” here.
Johnston’s own account of what the Trump tax return showed is here

Bloomberg Politics/YouTube

celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, already a bestseller, Chelsea Clinton profiles 13 American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience.
She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up. but has been told to be quiet, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.The profiles in the book feature Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria

Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor -- and one special cameo.

She Persisted: 13 American Women

Who Changed the World

May 2017
By Chelsea Clinton, with illustrations by Alexandra Boiger
May 2017

Throughout American history, women have always spoken out for what's right, even when they have to fight to be heard. During February debate on confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney-general, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous


evasion, but clearly some bending of the tax laws almost to the breaking point. The document offers a rare glimpse at how a super wealthy couple can manipulate and manage our complex tax laws to reduce their obligations far below rates paid by typical salaried professionals or even blue-collar wage earners.”

Nevertheless, it was enough to move Trump himself to rant on Twitter,
"Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, 'went to his mailbox' and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!"

To which Johnston responded,
"Gee, Donald, your White House confirmed my story. POTUS fake Tweet. Sad!"

Trump was, as usual, being disingenuous. Of course he knows Johnston, if not for the author having won a 2001 Pulitzer Prize in beat reporting "that exposed loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code, which was instrumental in bringing about reforms," then surely for the fact Johnston followed Trump closely for three decades, and the two actually met in person in 1988, while Johnston was covering Atlantic City casinos for The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston was thrust into the spotlight March 14 after he reported part of President Trump's 2005 tax return on Rachel Maddow's show on MSNBC.

Coverage of two leaked pages of his 1040 was criticized as anticlimactic, given Trump’s own coy refusal to follow his presidential predecessors in releasing tax information before or since, despite having promised to do so during the election campaign

As Johnston himself wrote about the report March 20, “There’s no smoking gun there, no obvious

― David Cay Johnston, The Making of Donald Trump

David Cay Johnston

Between The World And Me, By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism, By Michael Parenti
Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide, By Andrea Smith
Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, By Bell Hooks
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II - Updated Edition, By William Blum
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, By James W. Loewen
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, By Noam Chomsky
Marx's Ecology: Materialism And Nature, By John Bellamy Foster
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, By Barbara Ehrenreich
A People's History of the United States, By Howard Zinn
Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice, By Les Leopold
Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools, By Jonathan Kozol
Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My Life and Times in a Racist, Imperialist Society, By Inga Muscio
Manifesto of the Communist Party (The Communist Manifesto, By Karl Marx and Frederich Engels): Published with Seven Rare Prefaces by Karl Marx
James Baldwin : Collected Essays : Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil Finds Work / Other Essays (Library of America)
The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century, By James Howard Kunstler
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, By Michelle Alexander
The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, By Richard Heinberg
The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class, and Criminal Justice, By Jeffrey Reiman
The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, By Stephanie Coontz
Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry, By John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton
Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, By Christian Parenti
White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, By Tim Wise

David Cay Johnston and the book Donald Trump should have read.


These titles were chosen by faculty members of the Sociology Department at Boise State University.

Age of Anger: A History of the Present

By Pankaj Mishra

February 2017

Barnes & Noble

 Pankaj Mishra’s Age of Anger: A History of the Present describes a rising tide of populism, xenophobia, and rage that is lifting demagogues from West to East. The election of Donald Trump, the vote for Brexit, the rise of nationalism in Europe, and spectacular acts of Islamic terrorism are all of a piece, the author argues.

In his NPR “All Things Considered” interview with Kelly McEvers, Mishra talks about the relationship between populist movements and governments around the world, in the past and present, here.

For reviews of the most recent bestsellers from The New York Times lists, click here.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was told to take her seat during a floor debate over confirmation of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

The Making of Donald Trump
By David Cay Johnston
September 2016
Melville House Publishing

In this 2016 New York Times bestseller, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston takes a revealingly close look at the mogul's surprising rise to prominence and the presidency.
Based upon nearly three decades of dogged coverage of Donald Trump, Johnston how a boy from a quiet section of Queens evolved into a complex and unique public figure, capable of playing the media and assuming unprecedented clout and privilege, while being plagued by scandal, legal and financial troubles, and constantly mounting controversy.
The Making of Donald Trump provides the fullest picture yet of Trump’s extraordinary ascendency. Love him or hate him, Trump’s massive influence is undeniable, and figures as diverse as Woody Guthrie (who wrote a scathing song about Trump’s father) and Red Scare prosecutor Roy Cohn, mob bosses and high rollers, as well as the average American voter, have all been pulled into his orbit.
Michiko Kakutani, reviewing the book for The New York Times, wrote, “Drawing on decades of interviews, financial records, court documents, and public statements … Johnston, who has followed the real estate impresario for nearly three decades, offers a searing indictment of his business practices and creative accounting.”

Recommended for young readers

“To disagree with Trump is to be wrong. To portray Trump in a way that does not fit with his image of himself is to be a loser. It is an approach to life that may work in business (where Trump can walk out and not deal with people who displease him), but government leaders do not enjoy that luxury, especially the president of the United States.”

Johnston began his newspaper career at age 19 as the younest reporter for the San Jose Mercury (which later became the San Jose Mercury News), and worked for the The Detroit Free Press, The Los Angeles Times, and The Philadelphia Inquirer before joining The New York Times in 1995. He served as president of the Investigative Reporters & Editors, a professional journalism organization. Late last year, he founded the online investigative reporting site, for which he currently writes and edits.
Johnston drew upon his 28-year pursuit of Trump and his career for the 2016 New York Times bestseller The Making of Donald Trump, as well as five other bestsellers on tax and economic policy, Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You With The Bill, about hidden subsidies, rigged markets, and corporate socialism. It follows his earlier book, Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich—and Cheat Everybody Else, a New York Times bestseller on the U.S. tax system that won the Investigative Reporters and Editors 2003 Book of the Year award.
Johnston's first book, the 1992 Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business, is an account of how the junk-bond kings usurped mob control of the casino industry in the 1980s.