Left Justified

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Queen Elizabeth Hosting President and Mrs. Trump in Upcoming Rare State Visit

June 2, 2019 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media
H.M. The Queen at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London, 18 December 2012. Picture courtesy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In the 67 years that Queen Elizabeth has sat on the throne as Great Britain’s leading royal, she has met almost every sitting president.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first US president to meet Queen Elizabeth, but she met Harry Truman when she was still Princess Elizabeth.

For a rare royal state visit, protocol demands that a formal invitation of the Queen be issued to the head of state “on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth office,” of Buckingham Palace. It is usual for there to be a ceremonial welcome, a state banquet, and additional meetings with other British officials. There is also a formal farewell ceremony.

President Trump will not only have his wife, Melania along, but all his grown children will join him, including Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump.

The Trumps will also be meeting some other members of the Royal Family.
President Trump met the Queen once before, in 2018, for tea. At the time Trump described how the meeting made him feel to interviewer Piers Morgan:

“I was thinking about my mother. My mother passed away a while ago and she was a tremendous fan of the Queen. She thought she was a woman of elegance, and my mother felt she was a great woman. I remember even as a little guy, if there was any kind of a ceremony to do with the Queen, my mother would be watching the television — she wanted to see it.

“I was walking up and I was saying (to Melania), ‘Can you imagine my mother seeing this scene? Windsor. Windsor Castle.’ And it was beautiful, it was really beautiful, but the Queen is terrific. She is so sharp, so wise, so beautiful. Up close, you see she’s so beautiful. She’s a very special person.”

The first US president Queen Elizabeth met was Harry Truman, in 1951, when she was still just a princess. The only US president she did not get a chance to meet was President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Most of the presidents, however, did not get an official state visit. Trump’s visit is just the third of its kind, while the others met the Queen, but with less pomp and circumstance surrounding the meetings.

The other two presidents who also were royally feted in this particular way were George W. and Laura Bush in 2003 and Barack and Michelle Obama in May 2011.

The Queen had the Kennedy’s for a banquet, not an official state visit, in 1961. In 1970, 1977, and 1984 she met the Nixons, Carters and Clintons, but more informally than what a state visit demands. There was a formal dinner in honor of the Reagans in 1982 at Windsor Castle. During Carter’s visit the Queen mother was a bit perturbed with Jimmy Carter’s behavior after he kissed her on the lips in greeting.

“Nobody has done that since my husband died,” she is claimed to have said.

Assange Gets 50 Weeks Jail Time for Jumping Bail for Seven Years

May 5, 2019 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media
Assange in Ecuadoran Embassy in 2012

Julian Assange, the mastermind behind the whistle-blowing, secret-revealing Wiki Leaks website, was sentenced to almost one year in prison for jumping bail almost years ago, in 2012.

At the time he jumped bail Assange was sought by the Swedish government for questioning about his role in the rape and sexual assault of two Swedish women. According Assange’s lawyers, he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in fear of extradition to the United States by Sweden. The US charged Assange with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in the US for his role in what was one of the largest leaks of government secrets in 2010. If extradited and found guilty Assange, who is now 47 years old, could be imprisoned for a maximum of five years.

In 2017, during his time in the embassy in London, the Swedes dropped the rape charges, since they could not proceed with the investigation as long as he was held-up in the embassy, but the US did not drop their conspiracy charges. With Assange’s recent forcible arrest at the embassy in early April the Swedes have stated they are considering re-booting the rape investigation and charging Assange before the statute of limitations prevents a trial in 2020.

After his dramatic arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy Asssange, who is Australian, was brought to Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The was consequently found guilty of breaching bail and sentenced to 50 weeks for that transgression.

As the judge read his decision and the sentence Assange supporters called out “Shame on you” to the judge as a passive Assange was led away.

Trump Refrains from Nominating Anyone to UN Human Rights Committee

April 18, 2019 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media
UN General Assembly. Photo courtesy of
Patrick Gruban

The Trump administration has bowed out of nominating a candidate to serve on the United Nations Committee on Racism. Some say it is a sign that the United States is continuing its path to distancing itself form international bodies and other human rights issues.

One official said that the US could have just missed the deadline to find a replacement for the Obama appointee to the position, Gay McDougall. But others argue that missing the deadline only serves to strengthen the critics notion that “the Americans just don’t care about these kinds of things anymore.”

But officials of the Trump government see it differently.

“Although the United States did not nominate a candidate this year for election to the committee, that in no way diminishes our global leadership on efforts to eliminate racial discrimination,” one official said.

People at the state department at first believed that the Trump administration would just re-nominate Gay McDougall for the position she already fills. But allowing the deadline to pass without nominating anyone sent a bad signal about the US’s concern for racism across the globe.

This separation from world affairs is nothing new for the Trump government. He decided to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord; pull out of the Iran nuclear deal; and he discarded the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. He also pulled the US out of the UN Human Rights Council, and also harshly condemned the International Criminal Court.

American candidates usually have no problem being accepting to the committee, and McDougall was no exception. She has about 9 months left on her current four-year term, and she is planning on staying on until the end. “I regret that I’m not able to continue, and that was not of my choosing,” she declared.

Chinese Woman Arrested for Unlawful Entry to Trump Retreat Mar-a-Lago

April 3, 2019 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Yujing Zhang, 32, was caught after a short time inside Mar-a-lago carrying two Chinese passports and several computer-related devices, one of them containing malware. President Trump, although now in Florida, was playing golf at a separate location at the time of the incident.

Mar-a-lago

The woman lied to Secret Service agents in order to enter the premises, but she was apprehended soon after.

Zhang told the Secret Service agent at a checkpoint outside the Palm Beach exclusive club on Saturday afternoon that she was a member of the club and wanted to use the pool, and used her passports as her ID. Perusal of the list of members did not reveal Zhang as a member, but a club manager thought she was the daughter of a member and they let her enter.

Once she got inside, however, she was questioned again, and she changed her story. She told the receptionist that she arrived at Mar-a-lago for a conference sponsored by the United Nations Chinese American Association which had been scheduled to take place that evening. Unfortunately for Zhang’s story, the event had been cancelled, unbeknownst to Zhang. That’s when Secret Service was called in and she was searched and then arrested.
Zhang was found with four cellphones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive and a thumb drive. Computer malware was found on the thumb drive. There was no bathing suit among her belongings.

Federal prosecutors are charging her with making false statements to federal agents and entering a restricted area illegally. She will stay in custody until her hearing next week.