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Meet Armstrong Williams — the shady grifter who’s running Ben Carson’s bizarro campaign

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With each outrageous pronouncement followed by an even more confusing explanation, questions are being asked whether newly-minted GOP presidential front runner Ben Carson is sincerely running for president or using the primary process to market himself  and his books — thereby putting money in his pocket.

In a GOP campaign season where wild and unsupported pronouncements by political outsiders have resulted in jumps in the polls over more measured comments by career politicians, Carson’s almost daily headline-grabbing comments seemed timed to assist his recently completed book tour to promote his latest offering, “A More Perfect Union.”

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To explain the quixotic decision to stay out of the early primary states and cash-in on his celebrity by selling books instead, one need only look to Carson’s business manager and unofficial campaign manager, political commentator Armstrong Williams.

Williams was a public relations executive who came to Washington and worked as an aide to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas when he was the chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After a few other stops in the Beltway he fashioned himself into a popular conservative political commentator appearing on television, hosting a radio show and writing a syndicated column.

In 2005, Williams’ career as a commentator took a hit when USA Today revealed he had secretly accepted $240,000 from President George W. Bush’s administration to promote Bush’s signature No Child Left Behind act by mentioning it favorably in his columns and in his media appearances. As a result, Williams was dropped by his syndicator, Tribune Media Services.

Further investigations into William’s business practices revealed that the political commentator had previously allowed his syndicated radio show, “The Right Side,” to be used by a front group representing the tobacco industry.

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Despite these revelations — or maybe because of them — Williams has maintained a very lucrative career (he is the largest black owner of television stations in the U.S.) and he serves as CEO of the Graham Williams Group, an international marketing public relations firm where he represents Carson as his business manager.

With a relationship that goes back over 20 years, Williams has guided Carson’s career from neurosurgeon to author of multiple best sellers and the subject of a television movie — helping to launch his political career as a conservative gadfly and potential presidential material.

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Williams claims that he does not benefit financially from the Carson presidential campaign — although he is one of the Carson’s staunchest defenders and continues to use his syndicated column and appearances to promote the candidate.

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Recently, Williams admitted that he helped negotiate Carson’s relationship with troubled medical supplement company Mannatech, although in January of this year he told National Review Online : “I don’t know that he’s ever had a compensated relationship with Mannatech.”

As noted by Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine, Carson’s campaign has all the trappings of a direct mail business operation; plowing an extraordinarily high rate of donations back into seeking even more donations while building up a potentially lucrative mailing list.

As Chait writes, “Spending most of your money to raise more money is not a good way to get elected president, but it is a good way to build a massive list of supporters that can later be monetized. Perhaps it is a giveaway that the official title for Armstrong Williams, the figure running the Carson ‘campaign,’ is ‘business manager,’ as opposed to ‘campaign manager.’ It does suggests that Carson is engaged in a for-profit venture.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Wall Street Journal drops a truth-bomb on Trump over his market-destroying trade war: ‘Everyone loses’

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In yet another blast from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, the editors looked back at Friday's stock market free fall and pointed the finger directly at President Donald Trump and his "trade-war general" Peter Navarro for being the main culprits.

After Friday's disastrous stock market session that took a major downturn due to the escalation of the trade war -- with China and Trump ordering billions of dollars in new tariffs -- the Journal pointed out that there will be no winners.

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G7 off to a rough start as Trump aides slam host Macron’s agenda

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With President Donald Trump at the latest G7 summit, all eyes are on the interactions between him and French President Emmanuel Macron. The two world leaders started off amicably, exchanging pleasantries, but behind the scenes, things have grown contentious.

According to Politico, Trump officials are railing against Macron, accusing him of trying to "fracture" the summit by steering the negotiations away from trade and into areas like climate change.

This development comes after Trump harshly criticized Macron for enacting a tax on digital services, which could increase costs for American tech companies like Google and Facebook. Trump threatened that if France does not suspend its "unfair" digital tax, "we'll be taxing their wine like they've never seen before." It is a threat that Trump has made repeatedly over the last few weeks whenever he has gotten angry at France.

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A likely recession could doom Trump

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President Donald Trump is worried that there will be a recession before the 2020 election. For once, he is right about something.

This article first appeared in Salon.

"The Economy is strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well. Despite this the Fake News Media, together with their Partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to convince people that we are in, or will soon be going into, a Recession," Trump tweeted on Friday in a clear attempt to assuage concerns. "They are willing to lose their wealth, or a big part of it, just for the possibility of winning the Election. But it won’t work because I always find a way to win, especially for the people!"

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