Manafort ‘repeatedly and brazenly’ violated law

The Robert Mueller investigation has filed a new sentencing memo for Paul Manafort, saying he ” chose repeatedly and knowingly to violate the law”, with leniency unlikely as it was found that Manafort lied to investigators after making a plea deal.

CNBC: Ex-Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort could get 22 years in prison, special counsel Mueller says in massive 800-page filing

  • Paul Manafort could get nearly 22 years in prison when he is sentenced next month in just one of his criminal cases, special counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing unsealed Saturday.
  • The special counsel called for a stiff sentence, highlighting his “bold” criminal actions and extensive pattern of deceit that “remarkably went unabated even after indictment.”
  • But Mueller did not recommend that Judge Amy Berman Jackson impose a particular prison sentence on the longtime Republican operative.

Fox News:  Mueller sentencing memo says Manafort ‘repeatedly and brazenly’ violated law

FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s office accused former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of “repeatedly and brazenly” violating the law, according to a redacted sentencing memo filed on Friday in a Washington court.

“Manafort committed an array of felonies for over a decade, up through the fall of 2018,” the memo says. “Manafort chose repeatedly and knowingly to violate the law — whether the laws proscribed garden-variety crimes such as tax fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and bank fraud, or more esoteric laws that he nevertheless was intimately familiar with, such as the Foreign Agents Registration Act.”

Manafort pleaded guilty in September to two counts of conspiring stemming from his Ukrainian political consulting work. As part of a plea deal in the case, Manafort admitted to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The memo filed Friday also said that some of his crimes were particularly “bold” as some were committed “while under a spotlight due to his work as the campaign chairman and, later, while he was on bail from this Court.” It goes on to allege that “Manafort represents a grave risk of recidivism” if released from jail.

Prosecutors aren’t expected to recommend leniency because a judge found earlier this month that Manafort lied to investigators after agreeing to cooperate. They are not taking a position about whether the sentence should run consecutively or concurrently with the separate punishment that Manafort faces in a bank and tax fraud case in Virginia. In that case, where Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud, Mueller’s team recommended a sentence of up to 24 years in prison and as much as a $24 million fine.

It is thought likely Manafort will effectively get a virtual life sentence. He is 69 years old.

“What the Kiwi way of life means to me’ – Simon Bridges

Posted without comment for discussion:

Tax Working Group, CGT – PR and promises

Through the week there has been a lot written about the released tax Working Group report, in particular about to CGT or not to CGT.

It looks very Labour. The scope of Michael Cuilen’s report was limited by Labour, but includes significant Labour terminology, like fairness and wellbeing.

But I get the impression  that Labour is backing off  introducing a CGT, either because they know they can’t get NZ First support, or they know it is too electorally toxic. Perhaps both.

Or else we are being played.  It proposes a high rate of tax, and includes farms and businesses. This could be an old trick of threatening something more harsh than is intended so the real aim looks acceptable in comparison. There is plenty of scope for  Labour and NZ First to come out with lower tax and a farm and small business exemption and claim they have listened to concerns.

NZ Herald Editorial: Pity if capital gains tax too hot for Labour to handle

If the Labour Party had any illusions about the fight it will face to bring in a capital gains tax, it knows now. Within 24 hours of the public receiving the recommendations of Sir Michael Cullen’s tax working group the hostility was almost drowning out support for the proposal.

The governing parties had the report weeks ago — plenty of time to time to form a response for announcement with the report’s release as often happens. But only the Greens greeted it enthusiastically.

The week before the report was released Green co-leader made a statement (in parliament) – he said that if the Government didn’t introduce a CGT they didn’t deserve to be re-elected. Labour didn’t seem to prepare, and didn’t seem to have a response organised – unless they deliberately left it open to National to attack the proposals.

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Big tax shake-up or big PR job?

It’s been dubbed the biggest tax shake-up in a generation. But it’s all talk. There’s no chance it’s going to happen. At least not to the full extent the Tax Working Group is recommending.

Some of the shake-up will happen. Maybe enough to qualify as a low-level tremor. Maybe it will include capital gains taxes, maybe it won’t. Yup, maybe none at all.

It’s all too early to say. And that’s for three reasons: Winston Peters, us and Labour’s own self-interest.

A CGT was a Labour election promise. It’s all about making the tax system fairer. It’s a Government looking after the poorest Kiwis. Robertson and Ardern have both spent too much time repeating that message to now walk away from their one chance to fix the system.

This is where Peters comes in. If he continues to oppose a capital gains tax, he might be their get-out-of-jail card. They might be able to happily drop a CGT and blame it on him. They could trot out the old you-win-some-you-lose-some argument. They’ve used it before.

It’s of course true that coalition governments require compromise.

But will the Peters excuse be good enough? Ardern and Robertson will have to use all their charm and communications skills to sell that message.

Either this will be the biggest tax shake-up of a generation, or the most convincing PR campaign to explain why it never happened.

We will have to wait a couple of months for the Labour-NZ First decision making and the PR to reveal which way this is going to go.

It’s hard to see how NZ First would support the introduction of a CGT. Winston Peters has condemned it in the past, notably during the last election campaign. The future of his party is at stake, and u-turning on a CGT could be a big nail in NZ Firt’s coffin.

I think Labour have created a dilemma for themselves here.

If they manage to get CGT legislation passed in time for the election they are at major risk of being thrashed by voters.

If they backtrack and pull the plug on CGT they will annoy core left wing support who have bought the promise.

 

Contrasting impressions of Jordan Peterson sermon

The visit of Jordan Peterson to new Zealand has been remarkably non-controversial. There doesn’t seem to have been any great protests or attempts to shut him up. On the contrary, journalists have flocked to him, with a lot being written about him.

One of Peterson’s shows was at Christchurch. Martin van Beynen and Cecile Meier have written contrasting impressions.

Martin van Beynen:  Jordan Peterson and the meaning of life

If you hadn’t read a thing about Jordan Peterson before turning up at the Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch to listen to a two hour, non-stop monologue from the Toronto academic, you would have come away without an inkling of the controversy he has generated around the world.

You would have left the venue thinking the Canadian was obviously an intelligent, well-read and reflective individual whose practice as a clinical psychologist had given him some insights into how people could live more meaningful and successful lives.

Which was disappointing because I had turned up with a free ticket with my colleague and fellow columnist Cecile Meier. The idea was that we would both write about our evening at Peterson’s talk with sparks flying due to our contrasting pre-conceptions and views on life.

In fact Peterson, who at times came across as a television evangelist in the American style, said little to create any sort of headline.

Both van Beynen and Meier mention what looks like an attempt by Peterson to dish out a controversial sound bite but didn’t get it headlined.

Anyway most of his life tips were actually pretty much common sense and fell into the category of life lessons that we know but need to be constantly reminded of, especially now.

What makes him so effective, I suspect, is that unlike most of the self-help gurus, he is an erudite, deep-thinking academic whose expertise in human psychology gives him an unusual insight into how life can be improved for individuals and therefore communities.

He underpins his arguments with what he regards as the unalterable truths encapsulated by the ancient stories in texts like the Bible. And those truths are based on our hard wiring and the nature of nature.

I am, of course, aware Peterson propounds some highly debatable notions and that he is hated by some on the left and many feminists.

So what did I learn from two hours of Peterson’s rambling sermon?

I like Peterson’s theory of Chaos and Order and how we need to walk a fine line with one foot firmly in Order and yet pushing ourselves by getting a bit of Chaos as well.

It struck me that I could have used a talk like this as a mixed-up young man. Although Peterson cops a lot of flak for saying Chaos is symbolised by the feminine, he is not saying women are more chaotic than men. Young men are probably far more disordered than young women and do far more damage.

I also liked his take on routine and mundanity. He argues we should work hard on making daily tasks and routine as “right” as possible, partly because we spend so much time on them and secondly because any routine or order is important.

He talked about clients who came to him at age 40 complaining their ideas about how their lives should go had turned to dust. He reminded us that it takes much hard work to be precise and clear about aims and goals and nothing is achieved by a haphazard, unmethodical approach.

In a non-religious age, it was also useful to hear him talk about prayer. One suggestion he had was thinking each night about the stupid things you did that day and how, just by not doing just one of those stupid things the next day, the compounding effect would soon amount to a much more meaningful and productive life.

Van Beynen  sounds like a bit of a fan.

Cecile Meier:  I went to see Jordan Peterson and it was equal parts boring and terrifying

How much would I have to pay you to sit through a two-hour self-help sermon, peppered with relentless biblical references, delivered by a misogynist?

A lot of young men, some older men and a baffling number of women paid between $70 and $270 to experience such torture.

I am talking about the drab monologue burped out by celebrity pop psychologist Jordan Peterson on Wednesday at his sold-out Theatre Royal show in Christchurch.

I understand why men turned up – Peterson has said things like “the masculine spirit is under assault”; The patriarchy makes sense because men are naturally more competent; Violent attacks are what happens when men do not have partners, and monogamy is the answer for that.

But why were the women there? Peterson’s theory is that order is masculine and chaos is feminine. His latest book is subtitled An Antidote to Chaos. This hardly needs Google Translate, but let’s spell it out. The subtitle to his book is “an antidote to feminism”. What kind of woman thinks we need less female power in the world?

Spoiler alert: not me.

Considering Peterson’s wild popularity, his political ambitions and his evangelical tendencies, his beliefs are not just outlandish, but deeply worrying.

I was expecting sensational insights, or at least controversial thoughts, but most of what we are getting is self-help gibberish. Maybe Peterson is not so such a threat to humankind after all.

He says you need a majority of positive interactions and a few negative interactions for a good relationship. “It kinda looks like for every 11 smiles you have to deliver one slap,” (the crowd laughs) “now I’m sure that will be the headline in some New Zealand newspaper” (the crowd goes wild). “Dr Peterson recommends slapping your wife and husband every 11 interactions – that’s the problem with not really understanding metaphors” (more clapping).

Sure, Jordan, it’s hilarious to joke about domestic violence in a country grappling with the issue. Ironically, later on he talks about one of the rules he had for his son: “Funny is good, but don’t push it. It’s a really tight line.”

But the audience loves it. They laugh and hoot. During the show, they frequently break into applause when he dishes out cliches like “cathedrals are built brick by brick”.

They adore him.

When it’s finally over, my bum hurts and my head spins. I wonder what the show was all about. Mostly I think it was about bringing old values back, revisiting the Bible, and making sure you have kids in your twenties or you’ll be infertile and miserable.

My conclusion? Peterson is indeed dangerous because he uses common sense self-help advice and tales of ancient wisdom to subjugate crowds of insecure people. When they are suitably hypnotised, he slowly lets his Handmaid’s Tale-style ideas slip in. Or maybe my inferior female brain is just not able to grasp the brilliance of his metaphors.

So there are people who like Peterson and people who don’t.  People (apart from journalists) pay a substantial amount to go and listen to him so he is playing to a market.

I empathise more with Meier’s account. I’m not into commercial sermonisers repeating common sense laced with biblical references with the odd controversial bone thrown in.

I’ve never enjoyed sitting through an hour of church (that’s way back in my past) so paying $140 to listen to two hours without the musical interludes is not something I would be interested in. And I’m not wanting to be saved by Peterson or anyone, I am happy with myself and my own abilities to work things out.

Different strokes for different folks.

At least free speech doesn’t seem to have been compromised.

Encounters – two great voyaging traditions, Polynesian and European

New at NZ History: Encounters – Discover stories of encounter between two great voyaging traditions, Polynesian and European, which led to the formation of a new nation.

Painting by Tupaia with Tuia 250 logo

 

Polynesian voyaging and discovery

The Pacific Ocean was one of the last areas of the earth to be explored and settled by human beings. It was only around 3200 years ago that people began heading eastwards from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands further into the Pacific.

Great skill and courage was needed to sail across vast stretches of open sea. Between 1200 and 1000 BCE these voyagers spread rapidly to Fiji and West Polynesia, including Tonga and Samoa.

The direction and timing of settlement

New Zealand was the last significant land mass outside the Arctic and Antarctic to be settled. The Polynesian culture emerged in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga from the earlier Lapita culture, which had formed from the mixing of the Melanesian peoples already living in Near Oceania with migrants from the vicinity of Taiwan.

During the first millennium CE, Polynesians sailed east into French Polynesia and the Marquesas, before migrating to Hawaii (600 CE), Easter Island (700 CE), and New Zealand (1250–1300 CE), the far corners of the ‘Polynesian triangle’.

Sketch of Double-hulled voyaging canoe

British Library Board. Ref: 23920 f.48

This double canoe was sketched off the New Zealand coast in 1769 by Herman Spöring. It has a double spritsail rig and appears to be made from two canoes of different length and design lashed together. Archaeologist Atholl Anderson argues that the double spritsail was the most likely type of sailing rig used by the Polynesian voyagers who reached New Zealand in the 13th century.

Migration

Although it was once believed that the ancestors of Māori came to New Zealand in a single ‘great fleet’ of seven canoes, we now know that many canoes made the perilous voyage. Through stories passed down the generations, tribal groups trace their origins to the captains and crew of more than 40 legendary vessels, from the Kurahaupō at North Cape to the Uruao in the South Island.

Sometime between 1300 and 1550, Māori from New Zealand settled on the Chatham Islands (Rēkohu), more than 750 km south-east of the mainland.

European voyaging and discovery

Portuguese and Spanish navigators sailed the Pacific Ocean in the 1500s, but there is no firm evidence that Europeans reached New Zealand before 1642.

In that year the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed in search of the vast continent which many Europeans thought might exist in the South Pacific. Dutch merchants hoped this land would offer new opportunities for trade. Tasman sighted New Zealand on 13 December 1642, but after a bloody encounter with Māori in what he called ‘Murderers’ Bay’ (now Golden Bay/Mohua) on the 19th, he left without going ashore. Tasman then sailed up the west coast of the North Island but did not establish how far east land extended.

Cook’s First Voyage

The Royal Society had proposed to the British Admiralty that the transit of Venus (the passage of the planet Venus across the face of the sun) be observed in the South Pacific. This observation, combined with others elsewhere, would make it possible to accurately calculate the distance from the Earth to both Venus and the sun.

Lieutenant James Cook was appointed to command the expedition. Cook was approaching 40 and had 10 years’ experience in the Royal Navy, mostly in North American waters. Previous to the navy, Cook had worked in the coal trade, which turned out to be an advantage: the ship for the expedition was a former coal ship, a relatively small vessel of 368 tons, just 32 m long and 7.6 m broad.

Once the planetary observations had been made, Cook’s expedition was to locate Tasman’s outline of New Zealand and establish how far it extended to the east. The Endeavour sailed south into uncharted waters and then west. On 6 October 1769, the surgeon’s boy sighted the high hills of Aotearoa.

The people of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa were the first to meet Cook when he anchored. Conflict arose when the crew went ashore to seek water and supplies, and killed or wounded several Māori.

Details of Cook’s first visit follow – theses have been well recorded and taught.

James Cook's New Zealand

Alexander Turnbull Library. Ref: PUBL-0037-25 – Drawn by James Cook in 1770

On his second voyage (1772–75) Cook used New Zealand as a base for probes south and east which finally proved there was no such continent. The expedition had two ships: HMS Resolution, commanded by Cook, and HMS Adventure, commanded by Tobias Furneaux. Both ships sailed from England on 13 July 1772 and spent time in New Zealand waters between excursions into the unexplored parts of Antarctica and the Pacific.

On his third voyage (1776–79) Cook again commanded the Resolution, with Charles Clerke in command of the Discovery. Cook paid a last visit to New Zealand, staying from 12 to 25 February 1777 at ‘our old station’, Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound, before sailing into the north Pacific and through Bering Strait to the north coast of Siberia. He was killed in an avoidable incident at Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii, on 14 February 1779.

Early meetings between peoples

On the evening of 18 December 1642, two waka of Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri people approached two strange ships, which had anchored near the north-western tip of the South Island. These ships, the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen, were commanded by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. This was the first known occasion when Māori encountered Europeans.

On this occasion the Māori group called out to the ships’ occupants and blew on a shell trumpet to challenge the intruders; the Dutch ship replied with their own trumpets. The next day, a waka approached with 13 Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri on board. They were shown gifts by Abel Tasman’s men, but returned to shore. Seven more craft then came out to the ships. A small Dutch boat, which was passing a message between the two ships, was rammed by one of the waka and its occupants attacked; four of the Dutchmen died. As the ships weighed anchor and set sail, 11 canoes approached and were fired on, possibly causing injuries. As a result of the incident, Tasman never landed on New Zealand shores, and named the place Moordenaars Baij (Murderers Bay).

For almost 130 years, Europeans and Māori had no further contact with each other. Then on 8 October 1769, James Cook and others landed on the east side of the Tūranganui River, near present-day Gisborne. It appears from later accounts that the local Māori at first took the ship to be a floating island or giant bird. The fertile land surrounding the wide bay Tūranganui-a-Kiwa was home to a large population of Māori at that time, divided into four main tribes.

Cook’s relationship with Māori got off to a disastrous start when a Ngāti Oneone leader, Te Maro, was shot and killed by one of Cook’s men. It seems likely that the local people were undertaking a ceremonial challenge, but the Europeans believed themselves to be under attack.

A lot more detail follows. I haven’t seen this photo before:

The replica of Cook’s Endeavour and the waka Te Awatea Hou

The Picton Historical Society.

The replica of Cook’s Endeavour and the waka Te Awatea Hou – a waka taua built in 1990 – meet in Meretoto/Ship Cove in 1996, where Cook spent time on each of his journeys to New Zealand.

While a small ship the Endeavour would have looked impressive to Māori, but the size of the waka is also impressive.

There is a lot more information and related links at NZ History, including Māori explore the world

Media watch – Sunday

24 February 2019

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

Social chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Social only, no politics, issues or debate.

Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

Open Forum – Sunday

24 February 2019

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you, or you think may interest others.. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts. Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts. Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.

FIRST TIME COMMENTERS: Due to abuse by a few, first comments under any ID will park in moderation until released (as soon as possible but it can sometimes take a while).

Sometimes comments will go into moderation or spam automatically due to mistyped ID, too many links (>4), or trigger text or other at risk criteria. If they pass muster they will be released as soon as possible (it can sometimes take hours).

World view – Sunday

Friday GMT

WorldWatch2

For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

The US Five Eyes/Huawei threat

It looks like the US is trying to play hardball on deterring Five Eyes allies from using Huawei technology. Is this foe security or economic reasons? Possibly both.

Who would you prefer to have a back door into your data, China or the US? Huawei denies allowing secret access, but we know US technology companies have helped their secret services.

Newsroom:  US delivers Five Eyes threat over Huawei

The United States has delivered the most explicit threat yet to New Zealand’s role in the Five Eyes alliance if it allows Huawei into the 5G network, saying it will not share information with any country which allows the Chinese company into “critical information systems”.

The remarks from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo call into question claims from Kiwi politicians and officials that outside pressure is not behind a decision to block Huawei equipment from being used by Spark in its 5G network.

The decision, made by the Government Communications Security Bureau late last year, has sparked fears of retaliation from China against New Zealand including a report in the CCP-owned Global Times which suggested Chinese tourists were turning away from the country in protest.

In an interview with Fox Business News, Pompeo said the country had been speaking to other nations to ensure they understood the risk of putting Huawei technology into their infrastructure.

“We can’t forget these systems were designed with the express work alongside the Chinese PLA, their military in China, they are creating real risk for these countries and their systems, the security of their people…

“We’re out sharing this information, the knowledge that America has gained through its vast network and making sure countries understand the risk. That’s important – we think they’ll make good decisions when they understand that risk.”

Asked specifically about the risks posed to Americans’ information through alliances like Five Eyes if partners allowed Huawei into their systems, Pompeo said that would be an obstacle to any future relationships.

“If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them, we won’t be able to work alongside them.”

Given New Zealand has remained a part of Five Eyes despite allowing Huawei into its 4G and ultra-fast broadband networks, it is unclear how real the threat is – although intelligence officials have acknowledged that 5G networks provide an added layer of risk.

But the secret services of countries are not the only risk to our privacy.

Be very afraid?

If an antacid advertisement pops up after you burp, or a laxative advertisement pops up after you fart, then it may be too late.

The Government may be able tax us on our measured emissions.