NB Politicus

Ukrainian Americans Protest Manafort Ties To Dictator, Trump Campaign

Posted in national politics, New Britain Republicans, Presidential Politics, Ukraine by nbpoliticus on April 23, 2016

The Hartford area’s  Ukrainian-American community, including members of three church congregations in New Britain, is speaking out against a city native with a well-known name among Republicans — Paul Manafort, the son of a former mayor, longtime Washington lobbyist and now campaign manager for the GOP’s unlikely frontrunner,  Donald J. Trump.

With Tuesday’s Connecticut Primary just ahead,  local Ukrainian Americans are calling on the Trump campaign to dismiss Manafort for his representation of and campaign work for Victor Yanukovych, the former president of the Ukraine, whose regime is reported to have “ordered the shootings of more than 100 Ukrainian protestors” and “who stole tens of billions of dollars from Ukraine before fleeing to Russia.”

Ukrainian Americans of all ages protested involvement of Paul Manafort in Presidential politics in New Britain on April 23rd

Ukrainian Americans of all ages protested involvement of Paul Manafort in Presidential politics in New Britain on April 23rd

Residents calling for Manafort to exit the Trump campaign assert that Manafort and his colleagues “have made tens of millions of dollars  representing some of the world’s most brutal dictators of the 20th century.”  One press report has dubbed Manafort a member of the “torturers’ lobby.”

An impromptu protest against the Trump hire of Manafort was held on Saturday, April 23rd near the entrance to the Route 9 Tadeusz Kosceiuszko Highway  and Paul Manafort Drive (named for the lobbyist’s late father) near Central Connecticut State University.   A group of Ukrainian-Americans held up signs  in protest such as “Shame on Putin, Shame on Manafort, Shame on Trump” and “Manafort’s Client Killed 104 Heroes.”  Ukrainian Americans fear Trump’s anti NATO position and praise of Russia’s Vladimir Putin will jeopardize the Ukraine’s fledgling democracy.

A statement released by the ad hoc group led by Alex Kuzma stated:

“Throughout his career Paul Manafort’s work overseas has been in direct conflict with the foreign policy interests of the United States and its allies, yet Manafort is now working to help influence the future of the highest office of the United States, pushing for a candidate who is more on message with Russian President Putin than our current U.S. President and member of Congress on both sides of the aisle.”

Ukrainian Americans condemn Trump campaign's hiring of Paul Manafort.

Ukrainian Americans condemn Trump campaign’s hiring of Paul Manafort.

Manafort, 66, has long been involved in national GOP politics and a partner in K Street lobbying firms such as Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly and more recently Davis, Manafort.  Through the years he has been among highly compensated U.S. consultants working for foreign leaders with a record of human rights violations and whose policies have contradicted U.S. foreign policy.

Local Republicans appear unfazed by Manafort’s foreign adventures.  In a New Britain Herald story on the the Trump-Manafort connection, former New Britain Mayor and current Chamber of Commerce President Timothy Stewart said of Manafort: “He’s a go-to guy as a Republican operative and he has been for many years. ‘PJ’ is the man. He knows the players.”

A 2014 Politico story –“Mystery Man: Ukraine’s U.S. Fixer”– described Manafort’s roles as presidential operative and consultant to dictators:

 

Over three decades in Washington, Manafort built a storied career as a Beltway man of mystery: a famously discreet operative who worked for Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, steered the 1996 GOP convention and built not one but two white-shoe D.C. lobbying shops, a pair of firms that bore Manafort’s name and catered to an eclectic stable of clients including anti-communist Angolan rebels and Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator of the Philippines.

Last month Manafort  re-surfaced as Trump’s delegate fixer and liaison to the Republican establishment.   After a long hiatus, Manafort is back on U.S. soil managing Trump’s campaign just like he did for Ukraine’s Yanukovych and others with disturbing records of human rights violations.

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Remembering 4/4/1968: 48 Years Ago On Monday

Posted in 1968, civil rights, labor by nbpoliticus on April 3, 2016

By John McNamara

So far the campaign of 2016 — thanks mainly to Donald Trump and his cohorts in the GOP field –is a disturbing reminder that any progress achieved on civil and voting rights made over the last 60 years is threatened.  The Supreme Court’s recent ruling weakening provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 and various moves to make it harder to vote in states and localities are real and present threats to that progress.  The campaign is also bringing home the importance of a strong labor movement if  income inequality is to be reversed.

This reality was not lost on members and friends of the Mary McLoud Bethune Club on Saturday April 2nd. They gathered in the rain for a 48th Anniversary Celebration on the anniversary of  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in Memphis. And it will never be lost on those of us of a certain age who won’t forget why King went to Memphis.

Originally posted in April 2007

I remember exactly where I was on April 4, 1968. Thirty nine years ago today the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.

That week day, like many others in my senior year at Lynn English High School, I drove to Bradlee’s Department store on the Lynnway in Lynn, Massachusetts to punch in for the evening shift,  earning some money before entering Boston University in the fall.

The news spread quickly that Thursday evening that King was dead.

It didn’t take long to realize that my shift as a retail clerk would be different from all the others. The store quickly emptied out. Not a customer in sight all night. No need for Mr. Silverman, the shaken and somber store manager, to send me out on “outside carriage control”.

The bullets in Memphis were enough to bring a normal business day to a halt in Lynn and most of the nation. Just five short years before I had come home from junior high on a late summer day to watch King deliver his “I Have A Dream” speech – an event that would inspire so many of us to become active in politics and protest.

New Britain's Alton Brooks at the city's MLK Park with members and friends of the Mary McCloud Bethune Club on April 2nd. (Photo courtesy of Brian Riley)

New Britain’s Alton Brooks at the city’s MLK Park with members and friends of the Mary McLoud Bethune Club on April 2nd. (Photo courtesy of Brian Riley)

There are many good remembrances of what King said and stood for on his national holiday in January every year, but not so much is ever said on this anniversary of the day he died.

It’s worth remembering on April 4th and throughout the year why King was in Memphis on a day I don’t forget.

By 1968, Rev. King was widening the concerns of his movement.

In Where Do We Go From Here? King opposed a Vietnam policy that had begun to break the nation further apart. The lunchroom sit-ins and battles over accommodations and voting rights were giving way to a broader agenda. He was planning a new march on Washington – “the Poor People’s Campaign” — when he decided to take up the cause of 1,300 Black sanitation workers in Memphis, a city of southern segregation, where the white power structure opposed the right to unionize and the Mayor vowed never to bargain in good faith in a way that would give the sanitation workers their dignity. The strike and a citywide economic boycott were a cause King knew he could not ignore.

King’s prophetic “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speech on the eve of the assassination is his best known from Memphis. But two weeks earlier, on March 18th, King galvanized support for strikers by saying:

“So often we overlook the worth and significance of those who are not in professional jobs, or those who are not in the so-called big jobs…..One day our society will come to respect the sanitation worker if it is to survive.” Following King’s assassination, the Memphis power structure gave up its intransigence – recognizing the union, awarding pay raises and instituting merit promotions.

King’s campaign for striking sanitation workers reaffirmed his greatness at the hour of his death and resonates today in the cause of social and economic justice. That is worth remembering most from the day he died.

Updated from April 2007  http://nbpoliticus.blogspot.com/2007/04/39-years-ago-today.html

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Sanders’ Call To End Economic Injustice: A “New Dealer” For the 21st Century

Posted in Presidential Politics by nbpoliticus on April 3, 2016