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The stupid sanctions should be lifted immediately. There is nothing worth keeping those measures. Time to move on from Obama's childish and worthless sanctions which have only damaged the world's economy.

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4 hours ago, elijah said:

Probably some, but there are others that won't be that happy like Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. Of course Ukraine from those outside of the EU.

 

You always say the say, I always say the contrary. Russia has zero interest in those territories and their only interest in Crimea was strategic, that's why they have been there for the past... 700 years? 

But yeah, let's change history :lol:  

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2 hours ago, karbatal said:

 

You always say the say, I always say the contrary. Russia has zero interest in those territories and their only interest in Crimea was strategic, that's why they have been there for the past... 700 years? 

But yeah, let's change history :lol:  

But Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia have like 30ty percent Russian minority in their eastern parts. If a referendum is a valid way to secede from a country and become part of another, is it a far fetched possibility?

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The reason of Ukraine was not the Russian population but the NATO decision of having there a base, blocking the Russian base. Which was the main reason of the whole NATO - EU agreement,  in the first place.  Russia lost its strategic place in the Black Sea. 

There's been NATO forces in the baltic countries for years and there's never been a problem with Russia. Because it's not strategic for Russia, only for the NATO.  

But let's not digress.  

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2 minutes ago, elijah said:

But Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia have like 30ty percent Russian minority in their eastern parts. If a referendum is a valid way to secede from a country and become part of another, is it a far fetched possibility?

 

Donetsk and Lugansk also held referendums and Russia could care less about their willing to secede from Ukraine like Crimea.

Russia only supports those movements when it has a very clear strategic interest. In case of Crimea it was all about securing the Sevastopol port for its black sea fleet. The issue about the language of course gave them a huge boost, but in the end of the day it was obviously about an strategic decision.

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Exactly.  

Russian population in Ukraine have been suffering marginalisation since the early 90s and Russia never payed atention.  They only intervened when the agreement about Sebastopol was broken by Kiev.  

So the theory about Putin going to conquer new territories is another alternative fact.  

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7 minutes ago, Nessie said:

 

Donetsk and Lugansk also held referendums and Russia could care less about their willing to secede from Ukraine like Crimea.

Russia only supports those movements when it has a very clear strategic interest. In case of Crimea it was all about securing the Sevastopol port for its black sea fleet. The issue about the language of course gave them a huge boost, but in the end of the day it was obviously about an strategic decision.

Donetsk and Lugansk situation is ongoing so hopefully you are right and there are no changes of the borders again anywhere in Europe.

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Apple, Facebook, Google, Uber and Netflix join slew of companies to take legal action against Trump

The brief was filed late Sunday in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and emphasises the importance of immigrants in the economy and society

Ninety-seven companies, from Apple to Zynga, filed an impassioned legal brief condemning President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, stepping up the industry’s growing opposition to the policy.

The amicus brief was filed late Sunday in the ninth circuit court of appeals and emphasises the importance of immigrants in the economy and society.

The companies originally planned to file the brief later this coming week, but accelerated efforts over the weekend after other legal challenges to the order, according to people familiar with the matter.

The participating technology companies include Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Intel, Netflix, Snap and Uber Technologies. Companies beyond technology signed on as well, including Levi Strauss & Co and yoghurt maker Chobani.

“Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies,” the brief states. “America has long recognized the importance of protecting ourselves against those who would do us harm. But it has done so while maintaining our fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants—through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country.”

Late Friday, a US district judge temporarily lifted the Trump administration’s ban, freeing refugees and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries to enter the US. An appeals court declined to immediately reinstate the immigration restrictions over the weekend.

The technology industry has been among the most vocal in opposition to Trump’s immigration policies.

Bloomberg News reported earlier that several large tech companies, including Microsoft and Alphabet, are planning to sign an open letter to President Trump expressing concern about the immigration order and offering help fixing it and other policies.

“We share your goal of ensuring that our immigration system meets today’s security needs and keeps our country safe,” said a draft of the letter obtained by Bloomberg News. “We are concerned, however, that your recent Executive Order will affect many visa holders who work hard here in the United States and contribute to our country’s success.”

Travis Kalanick, Uber's chief executive officer, stepped down from President Trump’s business advisory council last week after criticism from customers and drivers.

His participation in the council, along with more than a dozen other US executives, prompted blow-back on social media after the controversial executive order on immigration. It snowballed into a #DeleteUber campaign that benefited rival Lyft.

“Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country’s success and quite honestly to Uber’s,” Kalanick wrote in an email to employees obtained by Bloomberg. “There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/donald-trump-apple-zynga-facebook-google-uber-intel-netflix-file-legal-brief-against-immigration-a7564501.html

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3 hours ago, pjcowley said:

Apple, Facebook, Google, Uber and Netflix join slew of companies to take legal action against Trump

The brief was filed late Sunday in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and emphasises the importance of immigrants in the economy and society

Ninety-seven companies, from Apple to Zynga, filed an impassioned legal brief condemning President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, stepping up the industry’s growing opposition to the policy.

The amicus brief was filed late Sunday in the ninth circuit court of appeals and emphasises the importance of immigrants in the economy and society.

The companies originally planned to file the brief later this coming week, but accelerated efforts over the weekend after other legal challenges to the order, according to people familiar with the matter.

The participating technology companies include Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Intel, Netflix, Snap and Uber Technologies. Companies beyond technology signed on as well, including Levi Strauss & Co and yoghurt maker Chobani.

“Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies,” the brief states. “America has long recognized the importance of protecting ourselves against those who would do us harm. But it has done so while maintaining our fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants—through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country.”

Late Friday, a US district judge temporarily lifted the Trump administration’s ban, freeing refugees and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries to enter the US. An appeals court declined to immediately reinstate the immigration restrictions over the weekend.

The technology industry has been among the most vocal in opposition to Trump’s immigration policies.

Bloomberg News reported earlier that several large tech companies, including Microsoft and Alphabet, are planning to sign an open letter to President Trump expressing concern about the immigration order and offering help fixing it and other policies.

“We share your goal of ensuring that our immigration system meets today’s security needs and keeps our country safe,” said a draft of the letter obtained by Bloomberg News. “We are concerned, however, that your recent Executive Order will affect many visa holders who work hard here in the United States and contribute to our country’s success.”

Travis Kalanick, Uber's chief executive officer, stepped down from President Trump’s business advisory council last week after criticism from customers and drivers.

His participation in the council, along with more than a dozen other US executives, prompted blow-back on social media after the controversial executive order on immigration. It snowballed into a #DeleteUber campaign that benefited rival Lyft.

“Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country’s success and quite honestly to Uber’s,” Kalanick wrote in an email to employees obtained by Bloomberg. “There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that. The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/donald-trump-apple-zynga-facebook-google-uber-intel-netflix-file-legal-brief-against-immigration-a7564501.html

So will trumpets boycott? Like they did with Starbucks?!! :lol2:

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7 hours ago, Nessie said:

The stupid sanctions should be lifted immediately. There is nothing worth keeping those measures. Time to move on from Obama's childish and worthless sanctions which have only damaged the world's economy.

This 

:thumbsup: 

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http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-russia-putin-apology-20170206-story.html

Kremlin wants Fox News to apologize for calling Putin a "killer"

By Mansur Mirovalev

image.jpg Bill O'Reilly interviews President Trump for a pre-Super Bowl broadcast on Sunday. (Fox News)

The Kremlin said Monday that it wants Fox News to apologize for the “insulting” comment its host made about Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him a “killer.”

In an interview broadcast Sunday, President Trump told the network’s Bill O’Reilly that he respected Putin.

“He’s a killer though,” O’Reilly interjected. “Putin’s a killer.”

In the 16 years that Putin has been either president or prime minister, several Russian opposition leaders, human rights activists, journalists and whistle-blowers were assassinated or died under suspicious circumstances.

The Kremlin, which has always denied involvement in any of those deaths, lashed out at the network. “We think that such words from a correspondent of the Fox News network are unacceptable, insulting,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told journalists in a conference call. “And we would, honestly, prefer to receive apologies.”

In the interview, Trump also appeared to defend Putin.

“There are a lot of killers,” he said in response to O’Reilly’s accusation. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent? You think our country’s so innocent?”

“I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers,” the news host said.

“Well, take a look at what we’ve done too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes,” Trump said. “... A lot of killers around, believe me.”

Trump cited the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He could have also been referring to drone strikes that have killed civilians or assassinations sponsored by the CIA.

Still, Andrew Kuchins, a senior fellow at Georgetown University and an expert on Russia, called Trump’s remarks "inappropriate."

Though the U.S. Army and intelligence services, as well as those of most other world powers, have conducted targeted killings abroad, he said, the deaths of high-profile members of Russia’s domestic political opposition are a different matter.

“There the position of moral equivalence gets a lot less defensible,” Kuchins said.

He said Trump's comments could also cost him political support, because the public is unlikely to accept the idea that the U.S. is on par with an authoritarian regime, and Congress has widely regarded Russia as an adversary.

Democrats and some Republicans quickly attacked Trump for his remarks.

“When has a Democratic political activists [sic] been poisoned by the GOP, or vice versa? We are not the same as #Putin,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said on Twitter.

Russia’s best known political killing is that of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence officer who called Putin's Russia a "mafia state" and fled to England. In 2006, he was poisoned with radioactive polonium — “probably” under orders from Putin, a British judge ruled last year.

His symptoms resembled those of Yuri Shchekochikhin, who died in 2003 of what also appeared to be a poisoning. A lawmaker and investigative reporter, he had looked at the suspected role of the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency, in a series of 1999 apartment bombings that Putin blamed on Chechen terrorists.

Other critics have been shot to death. They include Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister who had lambasted Putin's policies and published several reports detailing corruption allegations against him; Natalya Estemirova, an activist who investigated hundreds of cases of human rights violations committed by Ramzan Kadyrov, a pro-Kremlin leader of Chechnya; and Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist who uncovered war crimes committed by the Russian military in Chechnya.

Boris Berezovsky, a powerful oligarch who claimed to have installed Putin as prime minister in 1999 but later fell out with him and fled the country, was founded dead in his London apartment in 2013. The cause was hanging, and a British coroner expressed doubts that it was a suicide.

The O’Reilly interview with Trump was not big news in Russia. Kremlin-controlled media reported on it with the headlines “Trump snubs a reporter” and “The deaths of many people are the fault of the U.S.”

Russian politicians, public figures and state media have lauded Trump for months while lambasting his predecessor, President Obama. The embrace of Trump follows decades of antagonism between the two countries, with a brief respite during the 1990s.

Trump for his part has praised Putin’s leadership qualities and pledged to restore ties with Moscow.

After a telephone conversation last month, Putin and Trump agreed to join forces to fight Islamic State and help resolve crises in the Middle East and North Korea.

Trump told O’Reilly he welcomed cooperation with Russia. “I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world, a major fight — that’s a good thing.”

By the end of the Obama presidency, the relationship between the two countries had hit its lowest point since the Cold War as Moscow had annexed Crimea, supported separatists in eastern Ukraine and helped save Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government from crumbling.

Russia accused the U.S. of ignoring its interests in Eastern Europe by pushing for NATO expansion and installing an antimissile defense shield. It also claims that Washington organized nonviolent “color revolutions” in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine and financed political opposition in Russia aimed at seizing power and deposing Putin.

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"nonviolent color revolutions". Give me a fucking break. The ukraine turmoil was anything but "nonviolent". A huge mess captained by neonazis thugs in central Kiev which ended up in street bloodshed. There was nothing peaceful about that apocaliptic scene. This is LA Times publishing a little alternative fact.

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Rosie O’Donnell was trending on Twitter earlier with people urging Saturday Night Live to have her go on as Steve Bannon. And Donald Trump too. She's game! 

Make it happen SNL! Rosie, finish him! :IMG_1564:

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Oh my god this SO needs and I think will happen!!! :D Will be absolutely epic! Perfect casting and timing. She's been destroying him on Twitter like 24/7 so just for her to get out would be great lol  Rosie and Alec are buds so...dunno why this would NOT happen unless Rosie has pissed off some senior SNL people like Lorne Michaels etc...lol She's def has been on at least a few x (hosted etc..). Again, it'll all come down to where things stand. I'm sure she would've rejected the idea asap if Rosie was salty at SNL or visa versa lol I adore her but hate to say it but she doesn't play well w/ others :/ lol

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/02/07/betty-devos-education-secretary-confirmation/97589282/

Betsy DeVos confirmed Education secretary; Pence casts deciding vote

Todd Spangler, Detroit Free PressPublished 12:29 p.m. ET Feb. 7, 2017 | Updated 45 minutes ago

636202874742196609_b03_v2_devos_0118.jpg

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as the nation's 11th Education secretary Tuesday in a historic vote, ending a tumultuous battle over her nomination.

DeVos, 59, has long been a polarizing figure in Michigan's political and education circles for her support of school vouchers and charter schools. In the weeks since a rocky confirmation hearing, she became a cause celebre for opponents who say she is unfit and unqualified to serve. Congressional offices were inundated with angry calls urging her to be rejected, she was the subject of angry teacher protests nationwide, and her performance as a nominee was ridiculed on Saturday Night Live.

With only two Republican members of the Senate — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — refusing to support DeVos' nomination, it left Democrats with a 50-50 tie to block her. Vice President Pence, in his role as Senate president, cast the tiebreaking vote in her favor.

It marked the first time in U.S. history that a vice president was called upon to break a tie vote over a presidential Cabinet nomination, which are usually routine votes regardless of which party is in power: No nominee has been rejected since John Tower's nomination as Defense secretary in 1989. In order to confirm DeVos, Republicans also held off confirming Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., as attorney general, needing his vote.

Reaction to DeVos' confirmation was swift.

Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, targeted potentially vulnerable senators who backed DeVos for defeat in 2018, including Jeff Flake of Arizona and Dean Heller of Nevada. She said "their constituents ... will cast their votes next year to kick them out of office for selling out their state’s public schoolchildren."

Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.6-million-member American Federation for Teachers, said the outcry over DeVos' nomination showed that, "the 'public' in public education has never been more visible or more vocal."

The conservative Club for Growth applauded the victory, saying DeVos beat back a "full-court press" by teachers unions, aided in part by its own "six-figure investment in TV and digital ads and robocalls to caution potential Republican defectors."

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a likely GOP candidate for governor next year, also praised the vote. "For 28 years, Betsy DeVos has made it her mission to ensure children receive a quality education, and now she will be able to do that on a much large scale."

As secretary, DeVos takes over an agency with about 4,500 employees and a budget of about $70 billion that administers and establishes policies for federal assistance to the states for secondary schools and higher education, as well as helping to enforce federal laws involving schools.

Some Republicans have called for the department's dissolution, arguing it is a federal intrusion into what should be a purely state and local institution. However, DeVos has vowed not only to enforce public laws but to support traditional public schools, saying she advocates for any kind of school that gives parents and students the choices they want.

DeVos said at her hearing she supports "any great school" — including public schools and those beyond what "the (public school) system thinks is best for kids, to what moms and dads want, expect and deserve."

Democrats, noting that she and her wealthy family — she is the wife of Amway heir  Dick DeVos, a former Republican candidate for Michigan governor — have spent millions on behalf of conservative candidates and causes, rejected her claims. They said she had no experience as an educator, administrator or even as a parent or student in public schools. Collins and Murkowski, too, said they worried that her commitment to public schools was not great enough to earn their support, since there are few choices to public schools in their rural states.

Democrats went further. They argued that she doesn't understand the policies she'll be tasked with enforcing, noting that in her hearing  she fumbled a question about a landmark 1975 law protecting education for students with disabilities, seeming unaware of the law. She also made a joke at the hearing, saying she would not necessarily support banning guns from all schools because of the potential threat from grizzly bears in some wilderness areas.

"It's not Democrats who are bitter about the election," said Senate Minority LeaderChuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "It's the American people who are bitter about the nomination of Betsy DeVos." He added that she "could not answer the most fundamental questions about public education."

But even as Democrats went to the Senate floor to talk about DeVos throughout the night Monday, Republicans continued to defend her, saying her support of charter schools and school choice, if anything, suggests a secretary who is prepared to shake up traditional education.

“I have every confidence that Mrs. DeVos will lead the Department of Education in such a way as to put our students first,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday. Last week, after Collins and Murkowski announced their rejection of DeVos, other potential Republican targets quickly coalesced around her. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., tweeted, "Lest there be any doubt about how I'm voting on @BetsyDeVos she had me at 'school choice' years ago."

As Republicans and DeVos' supporters argued that her support of charter schools in Michigan has led to improvements in education, Democrats and DeVos' other critics said the evidence suggests otherwise, such as in Detroit. While DeVos has said “a lot that has gone right in Detroit” because of charter schools given the level of poverty, data from Detroit Public Schools and charters schools have shown neither with particularly strong results.

A Free Press review of 2015 results on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Performance showed that 9.6% of students in the district were considered proficient on the exam, compared with 14.5% of charter schools. DeVos has also been criticized in Michigan as having helped to defeat efforts to subject charter schools to more scrutiny.

Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., argued against DeVos’ confirmation, saying she has “undermined efforts to regulate Michigan charters even when they’ve clearly failed” and that “her hostility toward public education disqualifies her.”

DeVos' support of school vouchers, which allow public money to follow students to the schools of their choice, and charter schools, which often operate outside the traditional neighborhood public school system, goes back decades. While supporters say they generate competition and give students and parents important educational choices, detractors say they can rob traditional public schools of support. Many Democrats support charter schools as well, however.

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Reading up on her views and ideology on education, with Betsy Devos being chosen as Secretary of education,  I feel great pity for teachers, parents and most of all public school pupils.  Dreadful decision and not at all helpful to families and public schools.  The gap between Public and private schools will get bigger and wider.  

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I have a different take on the DeVos family since I live in their backyard. Grand Rapids is only 40 minutes north of Kalamazoo and I know many business leaders within our community who know them well and talk about how they're a extremely kind, generous family. Republicans and democrats alike. Plus, their philanthropy must be commended in what it's helped do for Grand Rapids and west Michigan a whole. While I disagree with them on pretty much every issue politically, they're not as ideological as the national media would have you believe. 

That all being said, Betsy DeVos has absolutely no business being within 100 miles of the Dept. of Education. She is without question one of the most unqualified individuals to ever run a national department I've ever seen in my lifetime. 

Make no mistake, she was chosen to be a pawn while Trumps stooges dismantle public education. Many local republican leaders here in Michigan are aghast at the notion she even accepted it and truly believe there may be some kind of blackmail between Trump and the DeVos family regarding business ties with their company, Amway, which operates in over 100 countries around the world. 

The DeVos family despises Trump and never endorsed him so sadly it makes sense. There absolutely needs to be a congressional investigation into the ties these two families may have. Then again, there's a mile long list of investigations when it comes to this monstrosity in the White House. 

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how does it feel living in a country where Trump "Grab them by the Pussy" rules, Mike "anti LGTB" Pence in the 2nd man, "Betsy" handles education and Gaga is the "brightest star"?

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