Tillerson Out


Chaos rules:

Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of State, ending a tumultuous tenure as America's top diplomat that was marked by a series of public disagreements with his boss — President Donald Trump.

Trump plans to appoint CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace the former Exxon Mobil chief executive. The president picked deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the spy agency. 

The Washington Post first reported the news, which the president quickly confirmed in a tweet. Trump thanked Tillerson for his service and said Pompeo will do a "fantastic job." 

Since Tillerson took the post in February 2017, mixed messages repeatedly came out of the White House and a State Department with diminishing relevance. The intramural clashes between the president and secretary of State came amid major international crises, including a potential nuclear showdown with North Korea.

Tillerson is not being fired because he said something mean about Russia:

ABOARD A U.S. GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent in the U.K. is “a really egregious act” that appears to have “clearly” come from Russia. 

Nevertheless, Tillerson said that it was not yet known "whether it came from Russia with the Russian government's knowledge."

Apparently, Tillerson spoke out against Russia after he knew he was being fired. 


Apparently, it's as much of a shit show as anything else:

Rex Tillerson did not talk to Donald Trump before he was fired Tuesday and apparently found out from the president’s tweet about it this morning, according to the State Department. A report from The Washington Post—which broke the news of Tillerson’s firing—claimed Trump asked the outgoing secretary of State to step aside last Friday, days before his strongly critical comments against Russia on Monday. However, a statement from Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein, tweeted by ABC News’ Conor Finnegan, said: “The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security. He will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and the foreign ministers he has worked with throughout the world. The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling. We wish Secretary Designate Pompeo well.”

This is what happens when you work for Donald Trump. You end up finding out your fate when he taps it out on his insecure phone with his ridiculously short fingers.

An American Secretary of State was just fired by Tweet without so much as a conversation.

No Ethics Whatsoever


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


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".