No Ethics Whatsoever

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Ivanka Trump isn't even pretending to conduct herself in an ethical manner. It's as if there's one set of rules for everyone in Trump's orbit and another set of rules Democrats will be expected to live by when they return to power. She isn't even trying to eliminate the obvious conflicts of interest that permeate everything she's doing while serving in the White House. If this was about Chelsea Clinton, impeachment proceedings against Hillary would have already started:

Donald Trump isn’t the only Trump with potential conflicts of interest in the White House.

Ivanka Trump — a senior White House adviser who is doing everything from lobbying the Senate on tax policy to representing her father at a G20 summit of world leaders — will pull in more than $1 million a year from the family business that has continued to develop luxury resorts across the globe during the Trump presidency.

Some of those Trump-branded developments are hiring state-owned companies for construction, receiving gifts from foreign governments in the form of public land or eased regulations and accepting payments from customers who are foreign officials.

Ivanka Trump’s continued relationship with the businesses affiliated with the Trump Organization creates countless potential conflicts of interest prohibited by federal law and federal ethics standards as she works as a special assistant to the president. And just like her father, she is being accused of violating the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution that forbids government officials — not just presidents — from accepting gifts from foreign governments without the approval of Congress.

“To the extent she’s still taking money and she’s still in the West Wing she has many of the same issues,” said Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy at Common Cause, a nonpartisan group that has examined Donald Trump’s conflicts of interests.

We've seen countless stories like this since the inauguration. No one is going to do anything. It's going to be swept under the rug. We are living in a time of pervasive corruption.

The people who enforce federal law and federal ethics standards right now can be found wandering the halls of Congress, wondering whether or not retiring this summer would be preferable to having to become the minority party in the House and the Senate. Unless, of course, there's a miracle and Russian interference in the 2018 midterm election allows the GOP to stay in control of the Legislative Branch.

 

The British Response is Weak and Ineffectual

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The problem here is that Britain's response to Russian agents deploying a nerve agent in one of their towns is too measured and calm:

More than 240 witnesses have been identified as police investigate the Russian ex-spy poisoning "at speed", the home secretary has said.

Amber Rudd praised the professionalism of the police who are now looking at more than 200 pieces of evidence.

The investigation into the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is now in its sixth day.

Meanwhile, Det Sergeant Nick Bailey, who fell ill attending the pair, has denied he is a "hero".

Mr Bailey remains seriously ill but is awake and engaging with his family.

Ms Rudd said both Col Skripal, 66, and his daughter, 33, who are being treated at Salisbury District Hospital, remain in a "critical but stable condition" after being exposed to a nerve agent.

The pair were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on Sunday 4 March.

Given all of the stupid shit on television right now, I can't understand why this isn't a bigger deal. The fact that Russia believes it will get away with killing people on foreign soil should be a wake up call to every Western democracy. The sad fact is, no one cares and no one is concerned about this. When it happens in the United States, maybe then people will start to understand that Russia is a lawless state that is using terrorism as a means of eliminating dissent.

What are they waiting for in Britain? An engraved invitation to complain to the Russian Ambassador? They should have started throwing people out of the country as soon as they knew what had happened.

How reassuring. You've been exposed to nerve agent handled by a Russian assassin. Please go wash your stuff!

Up to 500 Salisbury pub-goers and diners have been told to wash possessions as a precaution after nerve agent traces were found.

Trace amounts of the substance used to poison ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found on and around a table where the pair ate at Zizzi restaurant, the BBC has learned.

The table, along with other items, has been removed and destroyed.

Scientists have advised police it could take weeks for the premises to reopen.

Traces of the nerve agent were also found at the Mill pub in Salisbury.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital, are understood to have eaten on a table away from other diners.

Prof Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, said the risk of harm to fellow diners was "low".

The Russians Have Gone Too Far

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Britain has a useless Prime Minister. Her government is not up to the challenge of responding to the Russians:

British lawmakers have voiced their anger over the “brazen and reckless” attempted murder of a former spy using a deadly nerve agent, with one accusing Russia of having potentially committed an “act of war.”

Former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, remain in critical condition in the hospital after they were found unconscious on Sunday as a result of being exposed to an as-yet unspecified nerve agent. The police officer who first responded to the scene, who had been in intensive care, is now “stable and conscious” and has been named as Sergeant Nick Bailey.

Local newspaper the Salisbury Journal reported that police had cordoned off the graves of Skripal's wife and son, appearing to confirm previous reports that their deaths are now part of the ongoing investigation by British counter-terrorism police. Liudmila Skirpal died of cancer in 2012, and Alexander Skripal died in St. Petersburg last year.

As speculation mounted that Russia was responsible for the attack, the British government’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said: “The use of nerve agent on UK soil is a brazen and reckless act. This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way.”

But she added: “If we are to be rigorous in this investigation we must avoid speculation and allow the police to carry on their investigation. The investigation now involves hundreds of officers following every possible lead to find those responsible.

Britain should go straight to NATO and invoke Article 5 and begin the process of preparing a response to this threat that will, once and for all, convince Russia to stop carrying out these assassinations. I don't care if it's polonium or nerve agent or a blow dart filled with poison--this bullshit has to stop. 

I do agree that it is an act of war, and the United States should get involved. We are locked in a struggle with Putin's regime and it involves a cyberwar, a struggle to keep Russia from interfering in Western democracy, and now it involves reckless attacks with chemical weapons, albeit on a small, localized scale. Trump is badly compromised by the Russians. This means we are looking at an attack on an ally and our own government will be as feckless as possible.

Every single property in London owned by an absentee Russian oligarch should be seized outright and the Russian ambassador should have already been sent home. If you want to get back at Putin, start by hurting everyone who benefits from his kleptocratic ways.