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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 10,438

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Trump plans a rally. Meanwhile, Tillerson to meet Russians at G20 and Pence to meet with Merkel

At Munich Security Conference.


Washington (CNN)Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford meet face to face with their Russian counterparts Thursday, as the Trump administration evaluates the future direction of US-Russian relations.

Tillerson, a former oil executive who was confirmed as Secretary of State two weeks ago, departed Wednesday for a G-20 ministerial meeting in Bonn, Germany -- his inaugural international trip as the United States' top diplomat. He'll be joined in Bonn by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and representatives from the world's other major economies.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday that Tillerson and Lavrov will meet on the sidelines of the conference on Thursday. It will be their first such meeting since Tillerson took office.

Also this week, Trump's Vice President, Mike Pence, plans to address the Munich Security Conference over the weekend and meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The meeting will be Merkel's first in-person encounter with a member of the Trump administration since the inauguration last month.

Edit to add that Dunford is apparently going to Azerbaijan to meet with his Russian counterpart.

The more I think about this, the more I think Trump is doing a "look over here, not over there" move. How much media time will focus on his circus rally instead of these meetings? The article notes the Dunford one was just announced. I wonder if that's partly because of the Flynn debacle.

"Russia brushes off Flynn resignation, looks to Rex Tillerson for negotiations"


After defending Flynn amid the controversy, Russian lawmakers are now signalling a turn toward U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in improving ties.


The Russian establishment has not harboured any illusions about the Trump administration’s pro-Russia stance for some time now, said Alexei Makarkin at the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies.

“This infatuation with Trump in Russia is over, and Flynn as a person who has contributed to this infatuation stopped being perceived as a figure who can have a real impact on the U.S. foreign policy,” Makarkin said.

The nomination of Tillerson, former chief executive at ExxonMobil, showed the Russians that he, not Flynn, would be doing the negotiating, Makarkin said.

A few thoughts on this:

- Tillerson has long standing ties to Russians and a mutual interest in extracting as much oil as possible, especially in the Arctic region.

- I wonder how much intel Flynn already gave them.

- Hmmm - Center for Political Technologies.

Colbert on Michael Flynn's White House Tenure


Anyone else getting an Ollie North vibe from the Flynn situation?

"At least two candidates have turned down the job of White House communications director."


Controlling the message coming out of Donald Trump’s White House may seem like an impossible task — and it’s one that many are hesitant to try right now.

The White House has gone without a full-time communications director since Trump was sworn in last month, and although chief of staff Reince Priebus is spearheading a robust effort to fill the position, his overtures to several Republican communications professionals have been met with a lack of interest, according to a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the situation. At least two candidates have turned down the job, a position normally coveted by Washington political operatives, according to another source familiar with the conversations.

Interesting point WA Solicitor General makes about discovery and depositions for full court case


On Thursday, Purcell told reporters that discovery and potential depositions during the full court case could provide critical insight into the events leading up to the executive order.

“We would like to get some answers about what really was the order of events,” said Purcell. “We’ve heard a number of different stories from the administration about who did what and when, and whether this was even reviewed by the national security agencies.”

Hmm, I don't think 'alternative facts' will go over too well in the courtroom.

Yemen raid was approved over dinner


The mission was approved over dinner five days after the presidential inauguration by Trump and his closest advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his special adviser and former Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon, as well as defence secretary General Jim Mattis.


The special forces, apparently lacking full intelligence, were confronted by heavily-fortified positions, including landmines, and faced heavy gunfire from buildings all around during the 50-minute firefight. One of the US planes sent in to help had to be left behind and was deliberately destroyed.

US military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.

The mission had been prepared under the Obama administration but it had not been approved.

"Its The Apprentice, Supreme Court Edition, as Trump Summons Finalists to White House"


It’s “The Apprentice, SCOTUS Edition.”

Mr. Trump, who has a penchant for the theatrical and loved teasing out suspense in his key appointments throughout the campaign, plans to bring his two top choices for the United States Supreme Court to the White House ahead of his announcement tonight at 8 p.m., according to a CNN report.


Trump wants a big show for his Supreme Court rollout. Networks oblige
The major broadcast networks are set to carry President Trump’s Supreme Court announcement live on Tuesday evening, cutting into regular prime-time programming.

The coverage by ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox broadcast affiliates is likely to significantly expand the television audience for the president’s announcement, which has taken on the air of a reality television special. Mr. Trump has used his Twitter account to encourage Americans to tune in for the event.

What's next? Call or text to 555-1212 to choose the next person he fires?

Travel ban impact outside the U.S.


Employee of an international airline at Dubai airport
We’ve had no written instructions yet from the US, at least not on the frontline, and the instructions that we have received don’t mention dual nationality or green cards – it’s very unclear what to do.

Some people are being stopped, while others are being given the benefit of the doubt. So if, for example, a passenger is Syrian holding a US passport we’re turning a blind eye – we’re pretending we haven’t seen the Syrian passport.

One passenger stuck in the airport here is a Syrian green card holder who was denied boarding. Her family, her job, her whole life is in the US and when she asks us when we will allow her to go home, none of us know what to say. Unfortunately because she’s Syrian it’s difficult for her to get a visa for Dubai and it’s difficult for her to go elsewhere.

At the moment her chances of getting into the US depend on which airport she goes to. If she’s landing in New York they’ll send her back, if it’s Houston they might accept her – what we’ve found is it really depends on which shift is operating; it’s not even a standard airport policy.

Chart of Senators' positions and statements on Trump's travel ban

I noticed this in the Guardian's live coverage:

Wondering if your senator backs or criticizes the travel ban executive order?

This Google document shows listssenators alphabetically, noting whether they have opposed or remained silent to the ban, any link or public statement about it and the dates they will be up for re-election.

It also includes contact information, such as their office address, phone number and online contact details.

The document shows, for example, Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona, a Republican, has spoken out publicly against the ban, while Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana, has made no statement.

The link goes to this spreadsheet :
US Senators on Muslim Ban
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