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The State Department’s entire senior management team just resigned
By Josh Rogin January 26 at 11:02 AM
The Washington Post
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.
Tillerson was actually inside the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, taking meetings and getting the lay of the land. I reported Wednesday morning that the Trump team was narrowing its search for his No. 2, and that it was looking to replace the State Department’s long-serving undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy, who has been in that job for nine years, was actively involved in the transition and was angling to keep that job under Tillerson, three State Department officials told me.
Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
In addition, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr retired Jan. 20, and the director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, Lydia Muniz, departed the same day. That amounts to a near-complete housecleaning of all the senior officials that deal with managing the State Department, its overseas posts and its people.
“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”
Whether Kennedy left on his own volition or was pushed out by the incoming Trump team is a matter of dispute inside the department. Just days before he resigned, Kennedy was taking on more responsibility inside the department and working closely with the transition. His departure was a surprise to other State Department officials who were working with him.
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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray: "We Will Not Be Intimidated by the Authoritarian Message Coming from This Administration."
"I am willing to lose every single penny," Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said in a response to President Donald Trump's threat to withdraw federal funds from "sanctuary cities" like Seattle.
by Heidi Groover • Jan 25, 2017 at 4:20 pm
Today, as President Donald Trump issued plans build a border wall with Mexico and crack down on cities that offer refuge to undocumented immigrants, vows to fight back were issued by city, county, and federal officials from Seattle.
"I am willing to lose every single penny to protect those people," Murray said of immigrants, refugees, and Muslims, groups that have been the targets of Trump's onslaught of executive orders in recent days. One of Trump's executive orders, issued today, takes aim at "sanctuary cities," like Seattle, that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Trump has said he plans to cut federal funding to such cities as a way of coercing them to cooperate with deportations or punishing them if they refuse. Another order will restrict immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.
In a press conference outside City Hall today, Murray called this "the darkest day in immigration history since the internment of Japanese-Americans."
In 2015, Seattle received $85.3 million in federal funding, according to the mayor’s office. Of that, nearly $40 million went to the city’s Human Services Department. About $15 million went to the city’s transportation department, $12 million to the Office of Housing, and $9.4 million to the Seattle Police Department. The rest went to the fire department, public utilities, parks department, and Office of Economic Development.
King County Council Chair Joe McDermott said in an interview today the county would continue that policy. McDermott did not know the specific portion of the county budget that comes from federal sources. He said federal dollars flow into departments across the county but are concentrated in transit and public health.
"Like many of his executive orders, he’s been vague and inexact in exactly what his order is directing and specifics are lacking," McDermott said. "But the value King County will hold firm on is that we’re a safe place for immigrants and refugees."
So, can Trump really strip all federal funding from sanctuary cities and counties? That's up for debate.
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GOP lawmakers hope for message of unity, focus from Trump
by ERICA WERNER, AP Congressional Correspondent
Thursday, January 26th 2017
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Congressional Republicans are hoping for a message of unity and focus from Donald Trump in his first appearance before them as president.
Trump was to speak Thursday to House and Senate GOP lawmakers at their annual policy retreat. Despite a rocky start to his administration, many lawmakers are optimistic about delivering change in a new era of GOP control over Washington.
They would like to see a Trump committed to their agenda and results, not a president who veers off course into conspiracy theories about voter fraud or who keeps litigating the size of his inaugural crowds.
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As Trump targets ‘sanctuary cities,’ Seattle plans budget cuts
by David Kroman | Crosscut
Wednesday 25, January 2017
Just hours after President Donald Trump revealed an executive order that threatened to punish so-called “sanctuary cities,” Mayor Ed Murray delivered a bold statement, feet from his Japanese-American husband, Michael Shiosaki. “Today, January 25, 2017, is the darkest day in immigration history in America since the internment of Japanese Americans.”
Seattle officials have known this day was coming since they woke up on November 9; Trump had long threatened to pull federal funding from cities that refused to aid federal authorities in tracking down undocumented workers. His executive order Wednesday is light on details, but it commits his administration to begin the process of considering what would get cut and from where.
Any hope that Trump the president would differ somehow from Trump the candidate is quickly disappearing.
Seattle is a prime target: Murray was among the first mayors in the country to defy Trump’s threats, announcing that city officials would not ask immigration status and would not help federal authorities. And while neither Trump nor anyone in his administration has said how or where these cuts would unfold, Murray is already preparing.
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'Blue Lives Matter' Bill in Louisiana Makes Resisting Arrest a Hate Crime
Anti-police brutality activists argue that the law will be used disproportionately against people of color.
Published 25 January 2017
A police chief in Louisiana is now applying the its “Blue lives matter” law, approved by the state’s Democratic governor last year, which allows officers to charge those who resist arrest in any situation with hate crime against law enforcement.
“These laws, like most laws in America, will be used to criminalize blackness itself,” Black Lives Matter activist and journalist Shaun King wrote in a column for the New York Daily News Wednesday. “White police officers will disproportionately enforce this new felony hate crime statute against people of color. Conservatives will then say more people of color are being charged with this ridiculous felony because people of color resist arrest more.”
St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Hebert told the local KATC outlet that he was already applying the law and he hopes that “law will not only save lives, but make offenders think twice before resisting arrest.”
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UW Republicans to Protestors After Shooting: "It's Time Your Flame is Put Out"
by Sean Nelson • Jan 25, 2017 at 4:37 pm
Even as the victim (name withheld by request) recovered from the gunshot wound he sustained outside an event sponsored by the University of Washington College Republicans Friday night, the group posted a message to Facebook that suggested violence is the logical byproduct of disagreement with Donald Trump and offered a warning to anyone who protests their future events.
(Details below about the UWCR's next campus meeting, which is scheduled for tonight at 6pm.)
UW College Republicans sponsored the UW campus stop of the gay white nationalist blogger Milo Yiannopoulos's Dangerous Faggot tour on Friday, which drew a sold out crowd of around 700 and a group of at least twice as many protestors against Yiannopoulos's hate-filled message. Though the mood between supporters and protestors was contentious, it was not generally violent—until a 34-year-old man was shot and rushed to Harborview.
Despite the news that the shooting victim was there to protest Yiannopoulos's hateful message, and reports that the alleged shooter was clearly on hand to see and support the pro-fascist blogger's agenda, UW College Republicans have portrayed the incident as having been caused by the victim—and more broadly, by the act of protesting itself. Here's the language in the message posted to the group's Facebook page on Saturday morning:
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Shooting victim at Milo Yiannopoulos event wants 'dialogue' not charges
Man who was shot in the stomach while protesting at a Seattle speech by rightwing provocateur wants ‘dialogue and a restorative justice’ instead
Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco | The Guardian
Wednesday 25 January 2017
The victim of a politically charged shooting at a public speech by Milo Yiannopoulos in Seattle is calling for dialogue and “restorative justice” rather than criminal charges.
The victim, whose attorney asked that he not be identified by name, was shot in the stomach while protesting at a speech by the rightwing provocateur at the University of Washington on Friday night. He remains in the hospital and has undergone multiple surgeries, his attorney, Sarah Lippek, said on Tuesday.
The shooter was a Trump supporter who sent a Facebook message to Yiannopoulos asking for an autograph while waiting in line for the controversial event, according to the Seattle Times.
The shooter turned himself into University of Washington police on Friday night but was released “in consultation with the prosecuting attorney’s office” and “pending further investigation”, according to police.
UW police major Steve Rittereiser declined to provide an update on the investigation but said two suspects had “presented themselves to us at the police station”. The prosecutors’ office recommended that police release them, he said.
The investigation is ongoing, but Rittereiser said “there were no outstanding suspects in this case” and that the release of the suspects “did not pose any danger to the campus community”.
The release of the shooter has prompted consternation among some anti-Trump activists, who see a double standard in how leftwing protesters are treated by police. But the victim does not want to see charges filed.
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The Border Adjustment Tax For Dummies: Who Will Pay For The Wall?
Tony Nitti, Contributor | Forbes
January 26, 2017
[This is worth reading, because while Mr. Trump wants a direct tariff, others in his administration want a border adjustment tax, which actually is different in terms of how it works internally, and is interesting from a financials standpoint. It will still start a trade war and 100% will come out of American consumers, of course, that's no different. But the mechanism is interesting.]
The wall, of course, will cost money -- approximately $15 billion, in fact. Earlier today, White House Press Secretary and alternate reality resident Sean Spicer explained that the U.S.could "easily pay for the wall" by imposing a 20% tax on all imports from Mexico.
If you were one of the millions of TV viewers who instantly reacted to that statement by tilting your head to the side like a confused Labrador, then this post is for you. And don't feel bad: there is a lot more to what Spicer had to say today. This is not about a simple 20% tax on Mexican imports; rather, it would first require a major sea change in the way the U.S. taxes corporations. And here's the M. Night twist waiting for you at the end: despite what Spicer said, even if the 20% tax is in fact enacted, it won't be Mexico left footing the bill for the wall. It'll be you.