Let’s Make the Best Ideas Around the World Win in Health Care Debate

Did you know the number one cause for bankruptcy in America is for medical reasons? Regarding the upcoming Senate vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act that has helped millions more Americans obtain health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions. Our country is at a competitive economic and social disadvantage with our failing market based, reactive health care system.
Senator John HoevenSenator Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer, and Governor Doug Burgum (I know you don’t vote, but you have weighed in), let’s make North Dakota a leader by being data driven on our country’s common goal for better healthcare. It’s past time to put politics aside and work together to use the vast verifiable information that is constantly updated and improved.
Instead of repeal that would set us back, let’s build on positive attributes of the Affordable Care Act. Identify and remove what doesn’t work, insert proven methods from other countries that have lower cost and better health outcomes, and move forward.

Please consider: Our market based, reactive health care system has higher per capita costs (Almost $10,000 per person in 2016) We have the highest percentage cost of GDP
Please consider: The US has poorer health outcomes than countries with universal health care systems
Please consider: High medical costs are the number one reason for bankruptcies in our country. 

Let’s put the data to work to transition to a universal healthcare system that is proven to be more efficient, with lower costs, universal access, and better health outcomes.

US Health Care #1 in This: Cause of Bankruptcy

Regarding the upcoming Senate vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act that has helped millions more Americans obtain health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions. Our country is at a competitive economic and social disadvantage with our failing market based, reactive health care system.
Senator John HoevenSenator Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer, and Governor Doug Burgum (I know you don’t vote, but you have weighed in), let’s make North Dakota a leader by being data driven on our country’s common goal for better healthcare. It’s past time to put politics aside and work together to use the vast verifiable information that is constantly updated and improved.
Instead of repeal that would set us back, let’s build on positive attributes of the Affordable Care Act. Identify and remove what doesn’t work, insert proven methods from other countries that have lower cost and better health outcomes, and move forward.

Please consider: Our market based, reactive health care system has higher per capita costs (Almost $10,000 per person in 2016) We have the highest percentage cost of GDP
Please consider: The US has poorer health outcomes than countries with universal health care systems
Please consider: High medical costs are the number one reason for bankruptcies in our country. 

Let’s put the data to work to transition to a universal healthcare system that is proven to be more efficient, with lower costs, universal access, and better health outcomes.

Put Politics Aside and Use the Facts to Improve US Healthcare

Regarding the upcoming Senate vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act that has helped millions more Americans obtain health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions. Our country is at a competitive economic and social disadvantage with our failing market based, reactive health care system.
Senator John HoevenSenator Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer, and Governor Doug Burgum (I know you don’t vote, but you have weighed in), let’s make North Dakota a leader by being data driven on our country’s common goal for better healthcare. It’s past time to put politics aside and work together to use the vast verifiable information that is constantly updated and improved.
Instead of repeal that would set us back, let’s build on positive attributes of the Affordable Care Act. Identify and remove what doesn’t work, insert proven methods from other countries that have lower cost and better health outcomes, and move forward.

Please consider: Our market based, reactive health care system has higher per capita costs (Almost $10,000 per person in 2016) We have the highest percentage cost of GDP
Please consider: The US has poorer health outcomes than countries with universal health care systems
 
Please consider: High medical costs are the number one reason for bankruptcies in our country. 

Let’s put the data to work to transition to a universal healthcare system that is proven to be more efficient, with lower costs, universal access, and better health outcomes.
 
 

Give ND a Boost With Electric Charges

ND produces a lot of oil and electricity. We pump the oil, export it to refining states (along with a lot of the profits) then import it back as gasoline and products. The going rate for a gallon of gas here is $2.20 today. The gallon equivalent cost of .75 cents for charging an electric vehicle.
ND produces 36 million KWH of electricity and exports 20 million of that. $7.5 M is ND’s allocation of the VW legal settlement that can only be used for clean alternative fuels and vehicles. Just 15% of that could fund 3 cross state EV fast charging corridors and help establish more use of electric vehicles. Thanks to all the people that came to our C.L.E.A.N. Teams event and for the folks that brought their EV’s to let us kick the tires. 
We had a segment on KFGO radio Wednesday with more information on EV charging, Geronimo Energy’s 200 MGW solar project in Cass County along with their 200 MGW wind project also in Cass County being developed. Listen to interview by Joel Heitkamp.
Also a nice clip on WDAY with Mayor Mahoney showing some of the Tesla features here.
 
 

ND Mercurial Economy Needs a Sustainable Boost

Just a few years ago North Dakota had one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Today we have the slowest according to this report in 24/7 Wall Street.
Overdependence on traditional energy sources and industries contributed to this first to worst scenario. It’s why it’s so important to diversify our energy portfolio in North Dakota. Embracing and leveraging technology to add more clean, renewable resources and industries to our energy mix is good business.
Here’s the article in 24/7 Wall Street:

States With the Fastest (and Slowest) Growing Economies

State Capitol, Bismarck, North Dakota
1. North Dakota
>2015 GDP growth:
-2.1%
> 2015 GDP: $50.3 billion (6th smallest)
> 1-yr. population change: 2.3% (the largest increase)
> 2015 unemployment: 2.7% (the lowest)
In the last two years, North Dakota transitioned from being the nation’s fastest growing economy to the nation’s fastest shrinking one. Thanks to the exploitation of oil in the Bakken shale formation and new more efficient extraction techniques, North Dakota’s GDP growth rate of 6.0% in 2014 was the fastest of any state and nearly three times the national rate. In 2015, however, after falling oil prices helped put an end to the boom, North Dakota’s economy contracted by 2.1%, the worst economic performance of any state.
At the beginning of last year, some 31,000 North Dakota residents were employed in the mining and logging sector. Through April 2016, the industry’s workforce dropped precipitously to just over 17,000. North Dakota’s 2015 unemployment was still the lowest of any state, at 2.7%. North Dakota is now one of many oil-dependent states facing an extreme budget deficit.

Thanks to Cass County Electric and their members that opted in to develop North Dakota’s first solar garden last year.


According to this report from PSC Commissioner Fedorchak, North Dakota generates more than 36 million megawatt hours of electricity and exports over 20 million megawatt hours. We’re also an oil producing state that exports oil (and much of the profits) only to import gasoline back.
Embracing and utilizing more electric drive vehicles and solar and wind energy would give our economy a giant sustainable boost with more efficient and clean ways to generate and use electricity. Join us at the Fargo Library on Wednesday April 19th from 1 – 3pm to see how we can help with the transition hosted by our CLEAN event – Spring

Wait for SCOTUS Vote Until Trump/Russian Investigation Concludes

Approving a Supreme Court Justice is one of the most important responsibilities a President has. North Dakota’s Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp and Congressman Cramer have all stated they will approve Mr. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Regardless of Mr. Gorsuch’s qualifications, I do not believe it is in the best interest of our country for Congress to hold a vote on this crucial matter while this important investigation of the legality of Trump/Russian relationships before and since the election.
Thanks to the Washington Post for this article that highlights and gives timelines for the wide ranging relationships and encounters between President Trump and his staff and advisers with Russian government and businesses over decades before and after the election.  Full story online here

Here’s what we know so far about Team Trump’s ties to Russian interests

Latest development

March 29, 2017 | The story of Sergei Millian, a Belarusan-American businessman, illustrates the challenge confronting the FBI as it seeks to separate fact from fiction. While some of the unproven claims attributed to him are bizarre, there are indications he had contacts with Trump’s circle. Read more

PEOPLE INVOLVED

Millian
Trump
Putin

Congress and U.S. intelligence agencies are scrutinizing connections between Russia and the Trump campaign as they investigate evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Here are members of Team Trump who are known to have Russian connections and the story lines that have made those ties relevant.

TEAM TRUMP RUSSIAN TIES DonaldTrumpPaulManafortMichaelFlynnCarterPageJeffSessionsJaredKushnerDonaldTrump Jr.RexTillersonWilburRossRogerStoneJ.D.GordonMichaelCaputoRickGatesVladimirPutinRussianbusinessinterestsSergeyKislyakIgorSechinRussianhackersSergey N.GorkovMichaelCohenFelixSaterSergeiMillianGeorgePapadopoulosAndrii V.Artemenko
Jump to a person
Donald Trump
Paul Manafort
Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
Carter Page
Jeff Sessions
Jared Kushner
Donald Trump Jr.
Rex Tillerson
Wilbur Ross
Roger Stone
J.D. Gordon
Michael Caputo
Rick Gates
Michael Cohen
George Papadopoulos
Vladimir Putin
Russian business interests
Sergey Kislyak
Igor Sechin
Russian hackers
Sergey N. Gorkov
Felix Sater
Sergei Millian
Andrii V. Artemenko

Team Trump

Donald Trump

President of the United States and real estate developer. His business contacts in Russia date to the late 1980s.

RUSSIAN TIES (HOVER FOR MORE INFO)

Millian
Putin
Sater
Russian business
Kislyak
Artemenko

TIMELINE

1987 | Trump visits Moscow and tours various sites in an effort to strike real estate deals in Soviet-era Russia. He stays in a hotel overlooking the Kremlin, and tells Playboy that Russian jets escorted his own on the way to the airport. Read more

1996 | Trump says he will hold a press conference with a Miami-based tobacco company in Moscow announcing plans to build an office and apartment complex similar to Trump Tower in New York. Read more

2005 | Trump gave the development company Bayrock a one-year deal to find a site for a Trump Tower. Felix Sater later testified that he identified a former pencil factory as a site for the project, before the deal fell apart. Read more

Nov. 9, 2013 | While in Moscow for his Miss Universe competition, Trump meets with Russian businessmen, including real estate developer Aras Agalarov, an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Before the pageant, Trump said to MSNBC, “I do have a relationship” with Putin. Read more

May 2014 | Trump tells a group at the National Press Club that while he was in Moscow, he spoke with Putin “indirectly and directly.”

July 2015 | At a town hall in Las Vegas, Trump tells an audience that he knew Putin. “I don’t think you’d need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well,” he said. Read more

September 2015 | Putin and Trump are on the season premiere of “60 Minutes.” Although Trump would later say in a debate, “I got to know him very well because we were both on ’60 Minutes.’ We were stablemates,” Time magazine revealed that they were interviewed in separate cities. Read more

December 2015 | Putin says Trump is “colorful” and “talented.” Trump calls the compliment an “honor.” Even as ties to Russia become a campaign issue in 2016, Trump refuses to renounce Putin: “A guy calls me a genius, and I’m going to renounce? I’m not going to renounce him.” (Putin has not publicly called Trump a genius.) Read more

April 2016 | Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak attends a speech in Washington in which Trump vows to seek better relations with Russia. The president of the think tank that invited Kislyak said he introduced the two in a receiving line. Read more

July 2016 | In news conferences and tweets, Trump says he has “nothing to do with Russia,” and “I don’t know who Putin is. … I’ve never spoken to him.” He also tweeted, “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.” Trump has not released his tax returns, so that can’t be verified. At the same time, at a news conference, Trump encouraged the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s email. Read more

Nov. 10, 2016 | Two days after the election, a Russian official tells a reporter in Moscow that the Kremlin had been in contact with Trump’s campaign. Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks denies it, saying, “There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.” Read more

Jan. 20, 2017 | Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. He designates the day as “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” Read more

Jan. 28, 2017 | President Trump and Putin speak on the phone for an hour. Read more

March 2017 | One of Trump’s personal lawyers, Marc E. Kasowitz, is named to the legal team defending Russia’s largest state-run bank in a corporate-raiding case, BuzzFeed reports. Read more

Paul Manafort

A political consultant and lobbyist and former Trump campaign chairman, Manafort was also a former business associate of Rick Gates and Roger Stone. Manafort was involved in a couple of million-dollar investment deals with oligarchs linked to Putin. He also advised former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in 2014.

RUSSIAN TIES

Russian business

TIMELINE

2005 | For nearly a decade starting in 2005, Manafort worked for people with ties to the party of Putin ally and Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych — and for the party itself — in a successful effort to remake Yanukovych’s image and return him to the presidency. Read more

2006 | Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties to Putin, becomes Manafort’s client. He invests in Manafort’s Cayman Islands fund, which bought assets primarily in Ukraine and Russia. (Later in court, Deripaska accuses Manafort and Rick Gates of defrauding him out of $19 million.) Read more

2006 | Manafort signs a $10 million annual contract with Deripaska to secretly advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an Associated Press report. He also proposed a strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition in former Soviet republics. Before the March 2017 story, Manafort and the Trump administration had said Manafort never worked for Russian interests. Read more

2008 | Manfort and associate Rick Gates partner on a Park Avenue project with oligarch Dmitry Firtash, but the project falls apart. Read more

March 2016 | Trump hires Manafort as senior adviser and he becomes de facto campaign manager on June 20. Although Manafort said he had cut his ties with Yanukovych’s party in 2014, colleagues in Kiev and Moscow said he continued to work for the party and did not officially close his business in Kiev until April 2016. Read more

Aug. 19, 2016 | Manafort, whose role at this point had been eclipsed by Stephen K. Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, resigns after a New York Times story alleges that he received $12.7 million in secret cash payments from Yanukovych’s party between 2005 and 2012. Read more

March 21, 2017 | A Ukrainian lawmaker releases documents alleging that Manafort laundered payments from Yanukovych’s party using offshore accounts in Belize and Kyrgyzstan. Manafort denied receiving those payments. Read more

March 24, 2017 | Paul Manafort volunteers to be interviewed before the House Intelligence Committee on Russia ties, says Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Read more

Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn

Former national security adviser and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn resigned as the NSC head after The Washington Post reported that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and others on the true nature of his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, saying he had not privately discussed U.S. sanctions.

RUSSIAN TIES

Putin
Sater
Russian business
Kislyak

TIMELINE

2013 | Flynn meets Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on a trip to Moscow. Read more

Dec. 10, 2015 | Flynn is paid more than $45,000 by Russian-government-backed RT for his participation in a Moscow panel honoring the news agency. At a related gala, he sat at the table of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Also in 2015, he was paid more than $22,000 by Russia-related entities for two speeches in Washington. Read more

Before Nov. 8, 2016 | Flynn contacts Kislyak, according to Post reporting. It’s not clear how often they communicated or what was discussed. Read more

December 2016 | Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Flynn and Kislyak meet at Trump Tower for 20 minutes. This was just before the Obama administration sanctioned Russia for interfering in the 2016 election. Read more

Dec. 29, 2016 | Flynn places five phone calls to Kislyak, who was being monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies. The same day, President Obama announces the sanctions. Putin chooses not to retaliate. Read more

Jan. 12, 2017 | Post columnist David Ignatius reveals that conversations took place between Flynn and Kislyak. On Jan. 15, Vice President Mike Pence says on “Face the Nation” that Flynn had assured him that he and Kislyak did not discuss sanctions. Read more

Jan. 24, 2017 | Flynn tells FBI interviewers that he did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak, contradicting transcripts from intelligence officials who monitored the calls. Two days later, acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates tells the White House counsel that Flynn had discussed sanctions and could be vulnerable to blackmail by Russia. Trump fired Yates Jan. 30 for refusing to enforce his travel ban. Read more

Feb. 8, 2017 | Flynn tells a Post reporter that he did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak. The next day, he waffles; a spokesman says Flynn “couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.” Also that day, Pence learns from a Post story that the White House knew in January that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed sanctions. Read more

Feb. 13, 2017 | Flynn is fired after news reports revealed that he misled Pence. Read more

March 7, 2017 | Flynn files paperwork to register as a foreign agent because of lobbying work potentially benefitting Turkey. Days later it is revealed that his lawyers twice alerted the White House counsel during the transition that Flynn may need to register, meaning the nation’s top national security voice was also being paid to represent the interests of a another country. Read more

March 28, 2017 | The Post reports that the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried to block Yates from testifying in a House Intelligence Committee hearing after her lawyer told the Justice Department that her testimony would probably contradict statements by White House officials. Committee chair and former Trump adviser Devin Nunes canceled the hearing. Read more

Carter Page

Former foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, energy executive and oil industry consultant. Page had worked in Moscow for years as a vice president with Merrill Lynch and made recent trips to Russia.

RUSSIAN TIES

Russian business
Kislyak

TIMELINE

2004-2007 | Page runs the Moscow office of Merrill Lynch. He said he advised the state-run energy conglomerate Gazprom and other energy companies. However, Page’s then-supervisor said Page’s role was to execute deals rather than to negotiate or advise on them. Read more

March 2016 | Page is hired by the Trump team. In an interview with Bloomberg News, he says he owns shares of Gazprom and that his stock portfolio had suffered since the United States and Europe imposed economic sanctions on Russia. Read more

July 7, 2016 | Page gives a speech critical of U.S. policy on a Moscow trip that had been approved by Trump’s campaign manager on the condition that Page not formally represent the campaign. Read more

July 18, 2016 | Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak speaks with Page and campaign adviser J.D. Gordon following a panel at the Republican National Convention, where Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) had also met Kislyak. Read more

Sept. 26, 2016 | Page leaves the campaign after reports that during his Moscow visit, he had met with Igor Sechin, head of state-owned Russian oil giant Rosneft, and other high-ranking Russian officials. Page denied meeting “any of those guys.” Read more

Jeff Sessions

Attorney general. The former senator from Alabama and early Trump supporter recused himself from investigations related to the 2016 campaign after The Post found that, contrary to statements he made in his confirmation hearing, he had met with the Russian ambassador twice during the campaign.

RUSSIAN TIES

Kislyak

TIMELINE

July 18, 2016 | Sessions speaks with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a panel hosted by the Heritage Foundation at the Republican National Convention. Read more

Sept. 8, 2016 | Sessions and Kislyak meet in his Senate office.

Jan 10, 2017 | In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sessions’s nomination to serve as attorney general, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) asks about a CNN report on Russian ties to the Trump campaign that had come out that day. During Sessions’s answer, he says, “I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.” Read more

Jan. 17, 2017 | Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) asks Sessions in a letter: “Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after Election Day?” Sessions responded, “no.” Read more

March 1, 2017 | The Post reveals Sessions’s two meetings with Kislyak. The next day, Sessions reverses his previous statements and — over Trump’s objection — says he will recuse himself from investigations related to the campaign. Read more

Jared Kushner

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, New York real estate developer. Kushner’s circle of friends and business ties includes prominent Russians.

RUSSIAN TIES

Gorkov
Russian business
Kislyak

TIMELINE

2015 | Kushner, his brother and a friend start Cadre, a real estate company. Among its investors is Russian tech investor Yuri Milner. Read more

December 2016 | Kushner, Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak meet at Trump Tower for 20 minutes just as the Obama administration was preparing to sanction Russia, according to the New York Times. Kushner sent a deputy to another meeting that month. Later, at Kislyak’s request, Kushner met for about half an hour with Sergey N. Gorkov, chief of Vnesheconombank, which is on the U.S. sanctions list. Read more

Jan. 20, 2017 | Dasha Zhukova, wife of oligarch and Putin friend Roman Abramovich, attends the inauguration as a guest of Ivanka Trump.

March 27, 2017 | White House and Senate officials say Kushner will be available to interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Read more

Donald Trump Jr.

Trump’s eldest son. Trump Jr. is operating the family business while his father is in office.

RUSSIAN TIES

Sater
Russian business

TIMELINE

2006 | Felix Sater says he was asked by Donald Trump to escort Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. around Moscow in 2006. Read more

2008 | Trump tells a real estate conference, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” according to trade publication eTurboNews. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Read more

October 2016 | Trump visits France to speak to an obscure think tank with ties to Russia.

March 17, 2017 | Reuters reports that 63 people with Russian passports or addresses have invested nearly $100 million in seven Trump properties in South Florida. Read more

March 20, 2017 | During the House hearing with FBI Director James B. Comey, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) says Trump Jr. has visited Russia six times.

Rex Tillerson

Secretary of state and former chief executive of ExxonMobil. Tillerson developed extensive ties in Russia during his tenure with the oil giant.

RUSSIAN TIES

Sechin
Putin
Russian business

TIMELINE

1998 | Tillerson is appointed head of Exxon Neftegas Limited, which was in charge of the U.S. part of the huge Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project off the coast of Siberia. Read more

2004 | Tillerson becomes president of ExxonMobil around the same time Igor Sechin takes control of Russian oil giant Rosneft, the company in charge of the Russian part of the Sakhalin-1 project.

2006 | Tillerson uses his relationship with Rosneft to fight off Gazprom, Russia’s largest gas producer, from exerting control over the export of gas from Sakhalin-1.

2011 | Tillerson and Sechin sign the first in a series of deals as part of a landmark “Strategic Cooperation Agreement” that involved drilling in the Russian Arctic and the Black Sea. The agreements led to Tillerson having several direct interactions with then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

April 2012 | Tillerson and Sechin, then deputy prime minister, go on a publicity tour touting the ExxonMobil-Rosneft cooperation.

June 2012 | Tillerson and Sechin are in attendance when Putin inaugurates a new presidential commission on fuel and energy and the three meet again in Moscow later that year. A video shows Putin and Tillerson toasting each other with champagne.

2013 | Tillerson is awarded the “Order of Friendship” by Putin. Read more

Wilbur Ross

Secretary of commerce and investor. Ross holds a stake in a bank in Cyprus that has prominent Russian investors.

RUSSIAN TIES

Russian business

TIMELINE

1990s | President Bill Clinton appointed Ross to the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund, a USAID effort to bolster businesses in post-Cold-War Russia. Read more

February 2017 | In Ross’s confirmation hearing, senators ask about his stake in the Bank of Cyprus and his relationship with Russian shareholders, including Putin friend Viktor Vekselberg, who was once on oil giant Rosneft’s board of directors, and former KGB agent Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former vice chairman of the bank. Read more

Roger Stone

Longtime Trump friend, adviser and political consultant, former business partner of Paul Manafort. Stone claimed to have communicated indirectly with WikiLeaks before the website published emails that the intelligence community said were stolen by Russian agents.

RUSSIAN TIES

Russian hackers

TIMELINE

Aug. 10, 2016 | In a speech to a Florida Republican group, Stone said he’d been in contact with WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange through mutual friends. Read more

Aug. 21, 2016 | Stone tweets “Trust me, it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel,” referring to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. WikiLeaks released a trove of Podesta’s emails in October.

March 11, 2017 | Stone admits corresponding via Twitter on Aug. 14 with Guccifer 2.0, a hacker involved in the WikiLeaks releases. But Stone denies colluding with the Russians. Read more

J.D. Gordon

Former Trump campaign adviser. The Republican strategist resisted adding anti-Russia language in the GOP platform and met with Kislyak at the convention.

RUSSIAN TIES

Kislyak

TIMELINE

July 18, 2016 | Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak speaks with Page and campaign adviser J.D. Gordon following a panel at the Republican National Convention, where Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) had also met Kislyak. Read more

July 2016 | During the convention, a delegate’s proposal regarding U.S. support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed rebels is softened before inclusion in the GOP platform. Campaign chairman Paul Manafort told NBC in August that the change “absolutely did not come from the campaign.” Read more

March 2017 | Gordon says that he had advocated for the Russia-friendly change in platform, believing it to match Trump’s views, and he had consulted about the matter with “campaign policy colleagues” before the convention.

Michael Caputo

Adviser to the Trump campaign for the New York primary. The public relations executive was once paid to improve Putin’s image in the United States.

RUSSIAN TIES

Putin
Russian business

TIMELINE

1994-2000 | Caputo moves to Russia shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union and is first employed by U.S. Agency for International Development. He then starts a public relations firm.

2000 | Caputo enters a contract with the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media to improve Putin’s image in the United States. He told the Buffalo News that he was “not proud of the work today. But at the time, Putin wasn’t such a bad guy.” Read more

Rick Gates

Business associate of Manafort since 2006, Gates helped lead a nonprofit supporting Trump policies, America First. He took a leave of absence in March after The Washington Post reported on his business deals with Manafort.

RUSSIAN TIES

Russian business

TIMELINE

2006 | Gates joins Manafort’s firm the year oligarch Oleg Deripaska becomes a client. Deripaska invested in Manafort’s Cayman Islands fund that bought assets primarily in Ukraine and Russia. (Later, Deripaska accused Manafort and Gates in court of defrauding him out of $19 million.) Read more

2008 | Manfort and Gates partner on a Park Avenue project with oligarch Dmitry Firtash, but the project falls apart.

2012-2014 | Gates arranges introductions for two Washington lobbying firms — the Podesta Group and Mercury LLC — to represent the European Center for a Modern Ukraine.

2014 | In Washington, Manafort and Gates promote the policy priorities of the political party of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia.

March 2017 | In a brief interview with The Post, Gates describes his work as “supporting the private equity fund started by the firm and democracy building and party building in Ukraine.” Read more

March 23, 2017 | Gates was forced out of America First Policies for his ties to Manafort after the Associated Press reported that Manafort had worked for Russian government interests. Read more

Michael Cohen

Longtime Trump Organization lawyer who became personal counsel to the president following the inauguration. In late January, Cohen met with a Ukrainian lawmaker and agreed to ferry a Russian-backed peace plan for Ukraine to the White House. The New York Times reported Cohen said he left the plan in Flynn’s office days before Flynn resigned as national security adviser. Cohen told The Washington Post he threw the plan in the trash.

RUSSIAN TIES

Sater
Artemenko

TIMELINE

January 2017 | Felix Sater, Michael Cohen and Andrii V. Artemenko meet in a luxury hotel in Manhattan to discuss a peace deal for Ukraine that would have favored Russia. Sater later said he thought Cohen would hand the peace deal proposal to Flynn himself. Read more

George Papadopoulos

Sergei Millian, a key source for the “dossier” compiled by a former British spy, told certain individuals during the campaign that he was in touch with Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser. Papadopoulos met with foreign leaders and gave an interview criticizing U.S. sanctions on Russia.

RUSSIAN TIES

Millian

TIMELINE

March 21, 2016 | In a meeting with The Washington Post’s editorial board, Trump reveals that George Papadopoulos is one of his foreign policy advisers. Trump describes Papadopoulos as “an energy and oil consultant,” and says he’s “an excellent guy.” Read more

Russian ties

Vladimir Putin

Russian president who U.S. intelligence agencies believe personally ordered the interference into the 2016 election, including penetrating the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems and distributing fake news stories. Putin has consistently denied the allegations, calling the attacks a “political witch hunt.”

TIES TO TEAM TRUMP

Trump
Flynn
Tillerson
Caputo

Russian business interests

Historically, oligarchs have used relationships with foreign business leaders for political gain. The list of Russian businesspeople with whom Trump and his associates have relationships includes tech investor Yuri Milner, developer Aras Agalarov, aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, bank directors Viktor Vekselberg, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky and Sergey N. Gorkov, and Igor Sechin, head of the state-owned oil giant Rosneft, which is under U.S. sanctions.

TIES TO TEAM TRUMP

Trump
Manafort
Flynn
Page
Kushner
Trump Jr.
Tillerson
Ross
Caputo
Gates

Sergey Kislyak

Russian ambassador to the United States since 2008, a career diplomat not considered especially close to Putin.

TIES TO TEAM TRUMP

Trump
Flynn
Page
Sessions
Kushner
Gordon

Igor Sechin

Executive chairman of the Russian state oil giant Rosneft, former deputy prime minister in Putin’s cabinet.

TIES TO TEAM TRUMP

Tillerson

Russian hackers

The most prominent hackers used the alias Guccifer 2.0. U.S. intelligence officials believe Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian military agent or a persona that was used by multiple people to publicize hacked materials. Analysts are skeptical Guccifer 2.0 conducted the actual hacking, but agree with officials that the name was used as a front to disclose materials online. Hackers with two Russian spy agencies penetrated the systems of the Democratic National Committee and the accounts of other political party members and organizations. They are the FSB, or Federal Security Service, a successor to the KGB; and the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence organization. Guccifer 2.0 was a persona –or the online moniker–affiliated with the release of information hacked by the GRU. Analysts are skeptical that Guccifer 2.0 conducted the actual hacking, but agree with officials that the name was used as a front to disclose materials online.

TIES TO TEAM TRUMP

Stone

Sergey N. Gorkov

Chief of Vnesheconombank,a Russian government-owned development bank that was placed on the U.S. sanctions list in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sits on the bank’s supervisory board.

TIES TO TEAM TRUMP

Kushner

Felix Sater

A Russian-American former Trump business partner, Sater tried to help get a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow in 2005 and again in 2015. He also escorted Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump around Moscow in 2006 and helped bring a pro-Russia peace plan for Ukraine to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in January. Trump has frequently said he doesn’t remember Sater.

TIES TO TEAM TRUMP

Trump
Flynn
Trump Jr.
Cohen

Sergei Millian

The 38-year-old Belarusan American is believed to be the man behind one of the most salacious claims in the controversial dossier compiled by Christopher Steele: that Donald Trump hired prostitutes at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton and that the Kremlin has kept evidence of the encounter.

TIES TO TEAM TRUMP

Trump
Papadopoulos

Andrii V. Artemenko

The Ukrainian politician met with Trump’s personal lawyer in New York to try and broker a pro-Kremlin peace deal for Ukraine.

TIES TO TEAM TRUMP

Trump
Cohen

Sources: Staff reports.

 

Irish Prime Minister’s Speech Fantastic Reason to Celebrate St. Patrick

Prime Minister of Ireland Enda Kenny at the White House gives us some of the best reasons to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here, and serves as a eloquent reminder America is at our best when we are a welcoming country that values immigrants and refugees.
Thanks to Vox and writer German R Lopez for the coverage. Here’s Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s fitting address at the White House:

Kenny said:

It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. He too of course was an immigrant. And though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe he’s also a symbol of — indeed the patron of — immigrants.

Here in America, in your great country, 35 million people claim Irish heritage, and the Irish have contributed to the economic, social, political, and cultural life of this great country over the last 200 years. Ireland came to America because, deprived of liberty, deprived of opportunity, of safety, of even food itself, the Irish believed.

And four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore. We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America. We came and we became Americans. We lived the words of John F. Kennedy long before he uttered them: We asked not what America can do for us, but what we could do for America. And we still do.

Let’s Help See the Whole Picture of Impact of New Americans to Our Area

Verifiable information and tax records that have been available to the city for months show Commissioner Piepkorn’s assertion’s on a radio program yesterday about Lutheran Social Services are simply not true. 

Commissioner Piepkorn was on air saying the following without any verifiable information provided. His on air assertions include:
1. Jessica Thomasson CEO of Lutheran Social Services makes $350,000 a year . Tax records provided to the city after he asked months ago show her actual salary is $143,000.
2. LSS spent $15,000,000 on “Taj Mahal” new building. Records show total cost after a 6 year fund raising effort a cost was actually $5,000,000.
3. Said he has no doubt LSS is behind the potential recall effort. LSS representatives categorically deny any involvement.

My perspective is: Beyond Commissioner Piepkorn not having a credible basis for his statements being disappointing, it’s actually counter productive to getting a more fact based picture of the total impact refugees and New Americans provide in our city. His questions about cost alone does not help provide the answers for the overall impacts that must also include the massive verifiable information showing the overall positive  impact of refugees and New Americans to our community and state.
Just one example is this study done by some of the highest profile corporations in the country showing in 2014, New Americans earned $559.600,000 in North Dakota. http://www.renewoureconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/nae-nd-report.pdf

As far as a potential recall? I believe they are simply exploring all their options, and I would suggest they choose to not petition for recall and instead continue to use verifiable information that shows the large contribution to our economy and community and find candidates that understand a welcoming Fargo is a stronger and more interesting Fargo for the next scheduled election.
I believe Fargo is a much stronger community when we prove we are a welcoming community.  Our many accolades for high quality of life and national recognition as best performing city,  wonderful place to raise our families and to start our own businesses escalated as we welcomed more people from around the world to help us become a more global city.
We do our best and our best chance for reaching our great potential is when we respect one another and demonstrate that people are our greatest asset and that we’re always better together!
 

For Those Who Say “the Climate Has Always Changed” Please Read

I wonder if meteorologists John Wheeler and Tom Szymanski, and NDSU climatologists have something to say about this?
Often a good visual aide can help add important perspectives to complex subjects. Here’s an informative visual timeline going back to 20,000 BC to present. Thanks to the artist Randall Munroe and to Vox writer Brad Plumer for the article they want folks to share.
Here it is online:

Here’s some of the article followed by the visual timeline:

“But Munroe’s comic below hits at the “why worry.” What’s most relevant to us humans, living in the present day, is that the climate has been remarkably stable for the past 12,000 years. That period encompasses all of human civilization — from the pyramids to the Industrial Revolution to Facebook and beyond. We’ve benefited greatly from that stability. It’s allowed us to build farms and coastal cities and thrive without worrying about overly wild fluctuations in the climate.

And now we’re losing that stable climate. Thanks to the burning of fossil fuels and land use changes, the Earth is heating up at the fastest rate in millions of years, a pace that could prove difficult to adapt to. Sea level rise, heat waves, droughts, and floods threaten to make many of our habitats and infrastructure obsolete. Given that, it’s hardly a comfort to know that things were much, much hotter when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.”

 (XKCD)

(By the way, one of the more surprising things I learned from this was that mammoths were still around when the Pyramids were being built. Who knew?)
~ End article~
 


A visual tour of the world’s CO2 emissions

Driverless Cars a Boon or Bane for Cities?

Automobiles really are becoming more automatic. Technology for driverless autos is accelerating at Moores Law rates as are advances in battery technology for more cost effective electric powered cars and buses. This wave is coming, let’s be ready to ride it!

However, advances in vehicle technology will be largely wasted if we don’t plan now for ways to design our cities for people first and shared collaborative systems that feature more options for the way we move around. 
We’ll need parking during this transition, but we can double and triple the number of people living and working in our downtown focusing on designing for people first, not cars.
Quality context based mixed use neighborhoods, robust transit, bike share like Great Rides, car share, Uber, Lyft, walking are options that save people time and money while better protecting our environment.
These options add value and could benefit from autonomous driving technology requiring fewer vehicles. Some of us are already working toward establishing the infrastructure and designing our streets in a way that maximizes the savings with higher value for our citizens and community.
Road widening doesn’t work: It’s called induced demand. Here’s Honolulu
http://www.inforum.com/opinion/letters/4214873-letter-fargo-can-be-leader-alternative-energy