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#11741 User is offline   jcharding 

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Posted Today, 02:09 PM

Ex-Trump campaign chair had plan to benefit Putin government: AP

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.

“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”

Manafort’s plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear.
….
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump’s critics in the Senate, called the disclosures about payments to Manafort from the Russian billionaire “very disturbing if true.”

“That’s basically taking money to stop the spread of democracy, and that would be very disturbing to me,” he said Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Deripaska became one of Russia’s wealthiest men under Putin, buying assets abroad in ways widely perceived to benefit the Kremlin’s interests. U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described Deripaska as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis” and “a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin’s trips abroad.” In response to questions about Manafort’s consulting firm, a spokesman for Deripaska in 2008 — at least three years after they began working together — said Deripaska had never hired the firm. Another Deripaska spokesman in Moscow last week declined to answer AP’s questions.

When asked Wednesday about Manafort’s work for Deripaska, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “We do not feel it’s appropriate to comment on someone who is not an employee at the White House,” although Press Secretary Sean Spicer discussed Manafort earlier this week during a televised news briefing.



Manafort and his associates remain in Trump’s orbit. Manafort told a colleague this year that he continues to speak with Trump by telephone. Manafort’s former business partner in eastern Europe, Rick Gates, has been seen inside the White House on a number of occasions. Gates has since helped plan Trump’s inauguration and now runs a nonprofit organization, America First Policies, to back the White House agenda.



Manafort did not disclose details about the lobbying work to the Justice Department during the period the contract was in place.

Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, people who lobby in the U.S. on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the department. Willfully failing to register is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, though the government rarely files criminal charges.



Manafort’s work with Deripaska continued for years, though they had a falling out laid bare in 2014 in a Cayman Islands bankruptcy court. The billionaire gave Manafort nearly $19 million to invest in a Ukrainian TV company called Black Sea Cable, according to legal filings by Deripaska’s representatives. It said that after taking the money, Manafort and his associates stopped responding to Deripaska’s queries about how the funds had been used.

Early in the 2016 presidential campaign, Deripaska’s representatives openly accused Manafort of fraud and pledged to recover the money from him. After Trump earned the nomination, Deripaska’s representatives said they would no longer discuss the case.
I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many posting errors.

I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures.
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#11742 User is offline   NCBuccofan 

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Posted Today, 02:21 PM

View Postjcharding, on 20 March 2017 - 10:26 AM, said:

Obama had a drone strike once every 5.4 days. Trump is averaging one every 1.25 days.

Obama made it harder to use drones, changing policy to mandate that targets pose an imminent threat, and that there be a low likelihood that civilians won't be killed. Trump wants to abolish this, make it easier to use drones and doesn't particularly care about civilian casualties.

Obama changed strike authority from CIA to DOD because DOD is more likely to follow the rules of law and supposedly operates with greater transparency. Trump wants to change this as well.

No word yet on using drones against US "citizens", but I'm sure Winter and others will claim that it's all perfectly fine now that Trunp is doing it.


Is that over Obama's 8 years? Might be more meaningful to see his last few years or a year by year comp. Same reason Obama used drones more than Bush, Trump will use them more than Obama.
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#11743 User is offline   GoBucs21 

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Posted Today, 02:41 PM

View PostNCBuccofan, on 22 March 2017 - 02:21 PM, said:

Is that over Obama's 8 years? Might be more meaningful to see his last few years or a year by year comp. Same reason Obama used drones more than Bush, Trump will use them more than Obama.

He had more access to drones than Bush. Obama was risk avoidance in the loss of American lives in military action. Bush not so much. Cheney didn't care who died. There isn't enough information on how Trump will be. McMaster is not a believer in technology as an in lieu of for military forces on the ground. Trump has most certainly created an environment that will promote greater use of drones.
People say I am ruthless. I am not ruthless. And if I find the man who is calling me ruthless, I shall destroy him.
Robert F. Kennedy

Moral courage is a more rare commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence.
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Day of commemoration to honor the Victims of Bowling Green, April 1, 2017.
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#11744 User is offline   ECBucs 

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Posted Today, 03:13 PM

View Postjcharding, on 22 March 2017 - 02:09 PM, said:


Ex-Trump campaign chair had plan to benefit Putin government: AP

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.

"We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success," Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, "will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government."

Manafort's plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear.
….
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump's critics in the Senate, called the disclosures about payments to Manafort from the Russian billionaire "very disturbing if true."

"That's basically taking money to stop the spread of democracy, and that would be very disturbing to me," he said Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Deripaska became one of Russia's wealthiest men under Putin, buying assets abroad in ways widely perceived to benefit the Kremlin's interests. U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described Deripaska as "among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis" and "a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin's trips abroad." In response to questions about Manafort's consulting firm, a spokesman for Deripaska in 2008 — at least three years after they began working together — said Deripaska had never hired the firm. Another Deripaska spokesman in Moscow last week declined to answer AP's questions.

When asked Wednesday about Manafort's work for Deripaska, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "We do not feel it's appropriate to comment on someone who is not an employee at the White House," although Press Secretary Sean Spicer discussed Manafort earlier this week during a televised news briefing.



Manafort and his associates remain in Trump's orbit. Manafort told a colleague this year that he continues to speak with Trump by telephone. Manafort's former business partner in eastern Europe, Rick Gates, has been seen inside the White House on a number of occasions. Gates has since helped plan Trump's inauguration and now runs a nonprofit organization, America First Policies, to back the White House agenda.



Manafort did not disclose details about the lobbying work to the Justice Department during the period the contract was in place.

Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, people who lobby in the U.S. on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the department. Willfully failing to register is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, though the government rarely files criminal charges.



Manafort's work with Deripaska continued for years, though they had a falling out laid bare in 2014 in a Cayman Islands bankruptcy court. The billionaire gave Manafort nearly $19 million to invest in a Ukrainian TV company called Black Sea Cable, according to legal filings by Deripaska's representatives. It said that after taking the money, Manafort and his associates stopped responding to Deripaska's queries about how the funds had been used.

Early in the 2016 presidential campaign, Deripaska's representatives openly accused Manafort of fraud and pledged to recover the money from him. After Trump earned the nomination, Deripaska's representatives said they would no longer discuss the case.




Manafort
sounds like Duke from Doonesberry (have to admit I don't know if Doonesberry is relevant now, I can't read the lettering anymore).
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#11745 User is offline   jcharding 

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Posted Today, 03:34 PM

So the Freedom Caucus seems to have enough House votes to kill the AHCA, and that's before we even count any moderates who might also oppose the bill.

Part of me can't stop laughing, for a variety of reasons (although I don't want to count any chickens yet either)

This also makes me wonder that the gerrymandered republican districts may, in this cycle, prove to be counterproductive. Just as a republican consensus replacement can't be found, with internal politcs dooming it, I'm wondering if seemingly safe gerrymandered districts are going to be so divisive that it will produce more flawed candidates than normal, or produce candidates who go through so much political battle in the primaries that they are spent out financially or too exposed politically to survive a general election.

Edit. Troubling, however, is the idea of Speaker Pelosi. Which is about as desirable as a continued McConnel leadership. I'd prefer they both disappeared.
I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many posting errors.

I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures.
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