Trump invites Putin to White House meeting

Donald Trump seems to have decided to double down on his Helsinki debacle. He says he has invited Vladimir to another meeting, this time in Washington.

It’s hard to know whether eyebrows have been raised again, they stayed raised, or they have just given up oand been plucked.

Reuters: Trump invites Putin to Washington despite U.S. uproar over Helsinki summit

President Donald Trump has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington this autumn, the White House said on Thursday, a daring rebuttal to the torrent of criticism in the United States over Trump’s failure to publicly confront Putin at their first summit for Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election.

NY Times: Trump Invites Putin to Washington, Blindsiding His Intelligence Chief

President Trump plans to invite President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to visit Washington in the fall, the White House said Thursday — an invitation that stunned the nation’s top intelligence official, who said he was still groping for details of what the two leaders had discussed in their encounter this week in Helsinki, Finland.

Reuters: Russia ready to discuss Putin Washington visit: Ifax

Russia is ready to discuss a proposed new meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, Interfax news agency cited Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, as saying on Friday.

Meanwhile: Sanctions law behind Putin’s request to Trump for former U.S. officials

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s request to U.S. President Donald Trump for a joint investigation of former U.S. officials sought by the Kremlin for “illegal activities,” including a U.S. ambassador to Russia, is just the latest effort in a years-long campaign to undermine a U.S. law that imposes financial sanctions on Putin’s officials.

The Hill: White House Rejects Putin Proposal to Interview American Citizens

The White House on Thursday backed off a proposal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to question U.S. citizens over alleged crimes in Russia after initially indicating President Trump would consider the matter.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

Trump was widely criticised for being a pussy with Putin, so in typical fashion tries to sound like he is really tough: Trump: I’ll Be Putin’s Worst Enemy If Relationship Doesn’t Work Out

  • President Donald Trump vowed in an interview with CNBC that if his dealings with Russian leader Vladimir Putin don’t “work out, I’ll be the worst enemy he’s ever had.”
  • But he also said that, “Getting along with President Putin, getting along with Russia is postive, not a negative,” Trump said.

Also typically, he is all over the place, saying something for everyone in his support base.

Also typically he tries to portray Obama as weak (he was) in comparison to himself.

  • Trump blasted his predecessor, President Barack Obama, for having been a “patsy for Russia” — while claiming he has been “far tougher on Russia than any president in many, many years. Maybe ever”.

Image result for trump russia

#MeToo strikes in Washington

Apart from a certain president it seems that sexual harassment, assault and inappropriate behaviour has struck Washington, showing signs that it is now politically toxic.

CNN: The #metoo movement comes to Washington

Consider what has happened in the last week alone (in reverse chronological order):

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R) is resigning from Congress, as the House Ethics Committee announced tonight that it will investigate whether he engaged in “conduct that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment.”

In a statement announcing his resignation, Franks acknowledged that he learned this week that the committee was looking into complaints from two female former staffers.”Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others,” Franks said in the statement.

* Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) announced on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon that he plans to resign by the end of the year after a series of allegations that he groped and forcible kissed multiple women.

* Michigan Rep. John Conyers (D) resigned his seat on Tuesday following a series of allegations of sexual harassment from former staffers.

* Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) was revealed by The New York Times last Friday to have used $84,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim against him. The House Ethics Committee has established a subcommittee to investigate Farenthold’s alleged actions as well.

And that list doesn’t even take into account the allegations that continue to swirl around Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore as the December 12 special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions draws ever closer.

And that president has chosen to openly back Moore – Trump urges Alabama voters to back Roy Moore:

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday voiced support for Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican Senate candidate dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct, during a rally that foreshadowed themes for next year’s midterm elections.

”Get out and vote for Roy Moore,” Trump said ahead of Tuesday’s election.

The race in the heavily Republican state heated up last month with accusations that Moore sexually assaulted or behaved inappropriately with several women when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.

Moore, a conservative Christian and former state judge, denies the allegations, and Trump formally endorsed him on Monday.

Trying to avoid losing an election is still a priority for trump, going against the growing wave of disapproval of sexual misconduct.

Women’s rights marches

Coinciding with the Trump inauguration there have been women’s rights marches around New Zealand yesterday and around the world.  They are happening now in the US.

RNZ: NZ leads marches for women’s rights

At least 2000 people turned out to the march in Auckland this morning – a bigger turnout than organisers had anticipated.

Many were carrying banners and placards as they walked from the US Consulate, near Britomart, up Queen Street to Myers Park.

Some read “Women of the world unite”, “Girl Power” and “My body, My rights”.

Several opposition MPs, including Labour’s Jacinda Ardern, the Green Party’s Catherine Delahunty and NZ First’s Tracey Martin were at the march.

In Wellington about 600 protesters gathered at Parliament grounds with signs declaring solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington movement.

Organisers say a further 300 to 400 people were at rallies in Christchurch and Dunedin.

New Zealand marchers might be a bit miffed at CNN coverage:

Australia was the scene of the first major international march, with thousands joining an anti-Trump protest in downtown Sydney.

Organizers said up to 5,000 people attended the protest at Martin Place; police estimated the number was closer to 3,000.

Around the globe similar rallies were scheduled in London, Berlin, Rome and many other cities in Europe, South America, Africa,  the Middle East and Canada.

CNN reports on marches in Nairobi, Cape Town, Ghana and Malawi.

Marches were also planned in cities up and down the United Kingdom, from London to Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast and Edinburgh.In London, large crowds joined a 2-mile march starting outside the US Embassy and ending with a rally in the city’s historic Trafalgar Square.

However most attention is on Washington.

RNZ:  Women’s rights marchers set to visit White House

Hundreds of thousands of people have massed in Washington DC for a march in support of women’s rights, on the first full day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

From a live stream in Washington:

washingtonwomenmarch

The demonstrators, most wearing pink knitted hats known as “pussyhats”, gathered for speeches at the National Mall outside the US Capitol Building. Activist filmmaker Michael Moore addressed the crowd, and urged women to run for public office.

The Washington Post reported organisers had originally sought a permit for 200,000 people but now expected as many as 500,000, possibly dwarfing yesterday’s inauguration crowd.

They intended to march to the new president’s front gate at the White House after the speeches.

The event, the brainchild of Hawaiian grandmother Teresa Shook, was intended as an outlet for women and men who consider themselves feminists to vent their frustration and anxiety over Mr Trump’s victory.

 

 

Andrew Little supports SAS againstISIS

Andrew Little, in an official visit to Washington DC as Opposition Leader, has said he would  support sending Special Air Service troops to fight Isis if the right conditions were met.

NZ Herald: Little now backs SAS in Isis war

Those conditions were having a clear and realistic objective, that it would have to be part of a multinational mission mandated by the United Nations and that the level of risk needed to be acceptable.

He also said there had to be a consensus between the US and Russia before any intervention would be effective.

Mr Little denied it was a change in the party’s position, but it is certainly not a view he has expressed before.

This does appear to be a change in Labour’s position on the fight against ISIS.

Back in February in Radio NZ in Iraq deployment condemned:

Leader Andrew Little said the party opposed the deployment to Iraq.

Mr Little told Parliament the Iraqi Army was demoralised and riven with corruption, and had been for 10 years.

He said New Zealand could not fix the Iraqi Army, saying it was disorganised, broken, treacherous and corrupt.

New Zealand could help to build a functioning government, that could be assisted by advice from this country and help with reconstruction.

He said New Zealand had a reputation as an honest broker, as shown by its success in securing a seat on the UN Security Council, and it should show leadership on this issue by helping create a true nation state in Iraq.

Mr Little also said that New Zealand was exposing its soldiers to even greater risk if they were sent to Iraq without adequate legal protections.

The SAS are in Iraq training them to help fight against ISIS.

Stuff in October in Battlelines drawn on Iraq trip.

Labour MP David Shearer’s line that New Zealand’s contribution is “barely significant”, while also criticising the prime minister for putting a two-year time limit on the deployment because the “need doesn’t go away in two years’ time”.

That may have been a signal of a changer in Labour thinking. But…

Shearer’s focus on the personal in relation to Key’s trip is a surprise given Labour’s previous positioning on Iraq.

Key’s visit to Kiwi troops at Camp Taji was a platform for Labour to relaunch its attack on the Government for sending troops to Iraq.

Labour leader Andrew Little’s assault on Key over Iraq was the defining moment of his leadership so far.

Perhaps Shearer has convinced Little of the realities of ISIS and the Middle East mess.

And/or perhaps Little’s visit to Washington has given him a does of reality beyond his local Labour bubble.