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State Department staffers in full revolt against Trump and Pompeo for smearing and assaults on longtime diplomats: report

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President Donald Trump’s administration has been, by general consensus, a dismal time to be a foreign service officer. The State Department has been bleeding talent ever since he took office, and things got worse as Trump fired Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch while his personal lawyer established a backchannel to extort their president for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Behind the scenes, according to a new profile in The New York Times, many career diplomats are revolting against the president, and cheering on those civil servants who are testifying in the impeachment investigation.

In particular, many of them are using the hashtag #GoMasha, to encourage Yovanovitch as she tells her story to Congress.

“What we’ve seen is a dawning recognition that Foreign Service officers are just as deeply patriotic as their colleagues in the military,” said Molly Montgomery, a 14-year veteran of the Foreign Service who left the federal government after briefly working for Vice President Mike Pence. “There’s a feeling of immense pride that the public is seeing Foreign Service officers for who they are.”

“There’s outrage over the mistreatment of career officers and failure to stand up for them,” said former Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns. “There’s pride in the dignity of those officers in these undignified times, and in how vividly their plain-spoken courage and professionalism brings to life the wider value of public service.”

“Right now I think morale is really probably as low as I have ever known it in the 35 years that I served in the Foreign Service,” said former director general Linda Thomas-Greenfield, one of the many longtime civil servants who left in 2017 as the new administration was taking shape.

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Montgomery worries that the damage all this is doing may be permanent. “There’s a deep worry about what will become of the Foreign Service when this is all over. About who will be left, and whether the norm of an apolitical Foreign Service trusted by the State Department’s political leadership can be restored.”

You can read more here.


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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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