You have "no regrets" about accusing your predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower, the White House press secretary has insisted.
Should I remain in bed, leave my country or fight against the dragon?
( see also the story by Wolfgang Hampel,
' Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say ' )
Betty and Don MacDonald in Hollywood
Betty MacDonald's mother Sydney with grandchild Alison Beck
Betty MacDonald fan club fans,
you can join Betty MacDonald fan club on Facebook.Thank you so much in advance for your support and interest.
We are celebrating International Women's Day today.
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women's Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900's - a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women's Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women's Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.
"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights," says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. Thus International Women's Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action - whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women's Day has been occurring for well over a century - and continue's to grow from strength to strength.
Let's praise Betty MacDonald, Mary Bard Jensen and their mother Sydney Bard - three outstanding ladies, writers and artists.
We got very interesting new info for updated Betty MacDonald biography.
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel and Betty MacDonald fan club research team are going to include all these new details and info in updated Betty MacDonald biography.
More info in Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter March.
If you'd like to join Betty MacDonald fan club you only have to press the join button on Betty MacDonald fan club blog.
New Betty MacDonald fan club fans will receive a special Betty MacDonald fan club Welcome gift during March.
Send us your email address to our contact address, please.
Wolfgang Hampel's Vita Magica February was outstanding and so was Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen
Wolfgang Hampel and Betty MacDonald fan club research team are working on an updated Betty MacDonald biography.
This very new Betty MacDonald biography includes all the results we got during a very successful Betty MacDonald fan club research which started in 1983.
You'll be able to find unique Betty MacDonald treasures in our Betty MacDonald biography.
Betty MacDonald biography includes for example interviews with Betty MacDonald, her family and friends.
We got many letters by Betty MacDonald and other family members even very important original ones.
Our goal is to publish a Betty MacDonald biography that shows all the details of Betty MacDonald's life and work but also to present her fascinating siblings.
Dear Betty MacDonald fan club fans let us know please what you are interested most in a future Betty MacDonald biography.
Do you prefer an e-book or a so called real book?
Wolfgang Hampel and Friends of Vita Magica visited Minister of Science of Baden-Württemberg, Theresia Bauer in Stuttgart.
They visited Landtag and had a great time there.
Do you have any books by Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard Jensen with funny or interesting dedications?
If so would you be so kind to share them?
Our next Betty MacDonald fan club project is a collection of these unique dedications.
If you share your dedication from your Betty MacDonald - and Mary Bard Jensen collection you might be the winner of our new Betty MacDonald fan club items.
Thank you so much in advance for your support.
Thank you so much for sending us your favourite Betty MacDonald quote.
You'll be able to read more info during February.
We are so glad that our beloved Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is back.
New Betty MacDonald documentary will be very interesting with many new interviews.
Alison Bard Burnett and other Betty MacDonald fan club honor members will be included in Wolfgang Hampel's fascinating project Vita Magica.
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel interviewed Betty MacDonald's daughter Joan MacDonald Keil and her husband Jerry Keil.
This interview will be published for the first time ever.
New Betty MacDonald documentary will be very interesting with many interviews never published before.
We adore Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli
Thank you so much for sharing this witty memories with us.
Wolfgang Hampel's literary event Vita Magica is very fascinating because he is going to include Betty MacDonald, other members of the Bard family and Betty MacDonald fan club honor members.
It's simply great to read Wolfgang Hampel's new very well researched stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett, Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others.
Linde Lund and many fans from all over the world adore this funny sketch by Wolfgang Hampel very much although our German isn't the best.
I won't ever forget the way Wolfgang Hampel is shouting ' Brexit '.
Don't miss it, please.
It's simply great!
You can hear that Wolfgang Hampel got an outstandig voice.
He presented one of Linde Lund's favourite songs ' Try to remember ' like a professional singer.
Thanks a million!
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli and our 'Italian Betty MacDonald' - Betty MacDonald fan club honor member author and artist Letizia Mancino belong to the most popular Betty MacDonald fan club teams in our history.
Their many devoted fans are waiting for a new Mr. Tigerli adventure.
Letizia Mancino's magical Betty MacDonald Gallery is a special gift for Betty MacDonald fan club fans from all over the world.
Don't miss Brad Craft's 'More friends', please.
Betty MacDonald's very beautiful Vashon Island is one of my favourites.
I agree with Betty in this very witty Betty MacDonald story Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say by Wolfgang Hampel.
I can't imagine to live in a country with him as so-called elected President although there are very good reasons to remain there to fight against these brainless politics.
Donald Trump has "no regrets" about accusing his predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower, the White House press secretary has insisted.
Sean Spicer said that Mr Trump's explosive allegations over the weekend still stood, and that the president would now wait for investigations to run their course.
Don't miss these very interesting articles below, please.
My favorite is Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, a person you have probably never heard of even though he’s been in Congress since the 1980s and is currently head of the prestigious Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.
I think the future dinosaur flatulence will be the behaviour of 'Pussy' and his very strange government.
Poor World! Poor America!
Don't miss these very interesting articles below, please.
The most difficult case in Mrs.Piggle-Wiggle's career
Hello 'Pussy', this is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
You took calls from foreign leaders on unsecured phone lines, without consultung the State Department. We have to change your silly behaviour with a new Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cure. I know you are the most difficult case in my career - but we have to try everything.......................
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sent his brilliant thoughts. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang!
Hi Libi, nice to meet you. Can you feel it?
I'll be the most powerful leader in the world.
Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say
Copyright 2016 by Wolfgang Hampel
All rights reserved
Betty MacDonald was sitting on her egg-shaped cloud and listened to a rather strange guy.
He said to his friends: So sorry to keep you waiting. Very complicated business! Very complicated!
Betty said: Obviously much too complicated for you old toupee!
Besides him ( by the way the First Lady's place ) his 10 year old son was bored to death and listened to this 'exciting' victory speech.
The old man could be his great-grandfather.
The boy was very tired and thought: I don't know what this old guy is talking about. Come on and finish it, please. I'd like to go to bed.
Dear 'great-grandfather' continued and praised the Democratic candidate.
He congratulated her and her family for a very strong campaign although he wanted to put her in jail.
He always called her the most corrupt person ever and repeated it over and over again in the fashion of a Tibetan prayer wheel.
She is so corrupt. She is so corrupt. Do you know how corrupt she is?
Betty MacDonald couldn't believe it when he said: She has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.
Afterwards old toupee praised his parents, wife, children, siblings and friends.
He asked the same question like a parrot all the time:
Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?
I know you are here!
Betty MacDonald answered: No Pussy they are not! They left the country.
They immigrated to Canada because they are very much afraid of the future in the U.S.A. with you as their leader like the majority of all so-called more or less normal citizens.
By the way keep your finger far away from the pussies and the Red Button, please.
I'm going to fly with my egg-shaped cloud to Canada within a minute too.
Away - away - there is nothing more to say!
Daniel Mount wrote a great article about Betty MacDonald and her garden.
We hope you'll enjoy it very much.
I adore Mount Rainier and Betty MacDonald's outstanding descriptions
Can you remember in which book you can find it?
If so let us know, please and you might be the next Betty MacDonald fan club contest winner.
I hope we'll be able to read Wolfgang Hampel's new very well researched stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett, Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others - very soon.
It' s such a pleasure to read them.
Let's go to magical Betty MacDonald's Vashon Island.
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund and Betty MacDonald fan club research team share their recent Betty MacDonald fan club research results.
Congratulations! They found the most interesting and important info for Wolfgang Hampel's oustanding Betty MacDonald biography.
I enjoy Bradley Craft's story very much.
Don't miss our Betty MacDonald fan club contests, please.
You can win a never published before Alison Bard Burnett interview by Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel.
This CD is a golden treasure because Betty MacDonald's very witty sister Alison Bard Burnett shares unique stories about Betty MacDonald, Mary Bard Jensen, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Nancy and Plum.
Wolfgang Hampel's Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and Betty MacDonald interviews have fans in 40 countries. I'm one of their many devoted fans.
Many Betty MacDonald - and Wolfgang Hampel fans are very interested in a Wolfgang Hampel CD and DVD with his very funny poems and stories.
We are going to publish new Betty MacDonald essays on Betty MacDonald's gardens and nature in Washington State.
Tell us the names of this mysterious couple please and you can win a very new Betty MacDonald documentary.
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is beloved all over the World.
We are so happy that our 'Casanova' is back.
Another rare episode (from March 21 1952) of the short-lived comedy soap opera, "The Egg and I," based on best selling book by Betty MacDonald which also became a popular film.
The series premiered on September 3, 1951, the same day as "Search for Tomorrow," and ended on August 1, 1952.
Although it did well in the ratings, it had difficulty attracting a steady sponsor. This episode features Betty Lynn (later known for her work on "The Andy Griffith Show") as Betty MacDonald, John Craven as Bob MacDonald, Doris Rich as Ma Kettle, and Frank Twedell as Pa Kettle.
Betty MacDonald fan club exhibition will be fascinating with the international book editions and letters by Betty MacDonald.
I can't wait to see the new Betty MacDonald documentary.
Enjoy a great breakfast at the bookstore with Brad and Nick, please.
Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen
Betty MacDonald forum
Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I
Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - cyclopaedia.net ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - DBpedia ( English / German )
Wolfgang Hampel - people check ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )
Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French )
Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)
Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel
Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD
Betty MacDonald fan club items
Betty MacDonald fan club items - comments
Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I
Betty MacDonald fan club groups
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Greta Larson
Betty MacDonald fan club fan Heiderose Teynor
Rita Knobel Ulrich - Islam in Germany - a very interesting ZDF ( 2nd German Television ) documentary with English subtitles
Sean Spicer said that Mr Trump's explosive allegations over the weekend still stood, and that the president would now wait for investigations to run their course.
He also sought to clarify Mr Trump's accusation that Mr Obama had made “another terrible decision” to release prisoners from Guantanamo Bay - and wrongly stating official figures to justify his attack.
In a day which was designed to be all about the Republicans’ much-vaunted healthcare plans, Mr Trump started the day by claiming that 122 “vicious” Guantanamo inmates had returned to the battlefield, “released by the Obama administration”.
In fact, only nine of the 122 were released under Mr Obama’s administration, according to the September report by the Director of National Intelligence.
He then launched a defence of his six-week old administration, amid a series of reports at the weekend detailing blazing, expletive-filled rows within the Oval Office, and staff members being “grounded” in Mr Trump’s fury.
“Don't let the FAKE NEWS tell you that there is big infighting in the Trump Admin. We are getting along great, and getting major things done!” he tweeted.
He also then went on to express his support for the Republican plans to repeal and replace the hated Obamacare health system, which were unveiled on Monday night.
“Trumpcare doesn’t replace the Affordable Care Act, it forces millions of Americans to pay more for less care,” said Chuck Schumer, the Democrat leader of the senate.
More worryingly for the Republicans, many within their own party expressed concerns. Rand Paul, the high-profile Kentucky senator, described it as “Obamacare light,” saying it did not go far enough.
“Americans have choices, and they have got to make a choice,” he said. “So maybe rather than getting that iPhone they just love, that they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”
A new iPhone currently costs around $700 (£575). But a year of health insurance for an individual is over $6,000, meaning that an iPhone is only slightly more than one month of insurance.
The ban was immediately met with threats of legal action. Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, said he was scrutinising the new order and stood ready to challenge it.
According to his executive order, all refugee arrivals will be stopped for a period of 120 days. Unlike in the previous text, Syrian refugees are not singled out for a permanent ban on entry.
Furthermore, citizens from six countries will, from March 16, be prevented from entering the United States, unless they have previously been granted a visa.
And the new ban does not priorities entry for “persecuted minorities” – a proviso which critics said unfairly blocked the entry of Muslims.
Mr Trump’s first attempt to implement a travel ban, in January, was a chaotic series of announcements, clarifications, wrongful detentions, protests and court cases that culminated in an appeals court ruling that it was unlawful. Nigeria - a country not on the list - on Monday warned its citizens not to travel to the US after many were sent home at the airport.
But this time round the administration was determined to ensure that the roll-out of the ban was smooth.
Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, on Monday used a press conference to reassure US allies that the measures would be implemented in an “orderly” way.
He explained that the decision to drop Iraq from the list of countries was due to an “intense review” of security procedures, and a realisation that the state department and the government of Iraq were already working on a rigorous screening programme.
Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, then laid out why the government felt the ban was necessary, stating that “the majority of people convicted in our courts for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from abroad.”
John Kelly, the homeland security chief, said: “Unregulated, unvetted travel is not a universal privilege, especially when national security is at stake.”
The roll-out was greeted with approval by most Republicans – even those who initially criticised the first attempt.
Paul Ryan, speaker of the house, praised it while Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator known for his scathing response to many of Mr Trump’s actions, said he thought it would withstand legal challenges.
"It's drafted in a fashion as to not be a religious ban, but a ban on individuals coming from compromised governments and failed states,” he said. “This executive order will help achieve President Trump’s goal of making us safer."
But critics of the travel ban were not impressed by the new wording. Amnesty International described it as “wrong-headed and counter-productive.”
Ben Carson tries to clarify slave comments
In an introductory speech to staff at the HUD after he was confirmed by the Senate last week, Mr Carson shared anecdotes from his past career as a neurosurgeon and praised immigrants who worked long hours to build a better life for their children.
Trump, Offering No Evidence, Says Obama Tapped His Phones
Continue reading the main story
Will Russia connection become the Trump administration's Watergate?
The US president’s joint address to Congress this week was well received but was rapidly overshadowed by revelations that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, had twice spoken with the Russian ambassador during last year’s presidential election.
As it has emerged that other members of the Trump campaign – including his son-in-law Jared Kushner – also met with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, the Kremlin connection seems destined to be the putative scandal that will not go away for the White House.
The relentless drip-drip of evidence has prompted comparisons with the Watergate affair that felled President Richard Nixon. It has also become regular sport for comedians on late-night TV. In Florida, the president was due to visit a school and meet Republican leaders on Friday but Democrats kept up the pressure in Washington. They argued that Sessions’ meetings with the ambassador contradicted his own sworn statements to Congress during his confirmation hearing. Sessions claimed on Thursday that he met the ambassador in his capacity as a senator, not as a campaign surrogate. On Friday, the White House tried to steer criticism of Trump associates and their meetings with Russian officials away, by drawing parallels with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, who was photographed meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in 2003. In a characteristic diversionary tactic, Trump tweeted an old photo of Schumer and Putin smiling and snacking together with the message: “We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!” Schumer swiftly replied: “Happily talk re: my contact w Mr. Putin & his associates, took place in ’03 in full view of press & public under oath. Would you &your team?
Speaking to reporters, the White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders echoed the president: “I mean Chuck Schumer sitting and having drinks with Putin and that’s not a news story, but apparently a volunteer for a campaign bumping into one at a conference where there’s, again, dozens of other ambassadors is newsworthy.” Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian-backed hackers’ interference in last year’s presidential election did not go far enough. “Everybody knew that there was something completely out of order that was going on, so for him to say, well, I was just meeting with him in the normal course of a senator meeting with an ambassador, the Russian ambassador, everybody knew was hacking our system is beyond naive,” she told an event organised by Politico in Washington. “It’s almost pathetic. It’s almost pathetic. “So he did not tell the truth, and now it has come out that he did not tell the truth, and now what you see is there are other people in the Trump administration who have met with the Russian ambassador, in view of some one of the biggest intelligence officers of the Russian government, in Washington DC.” Some US media reports have suggested that Kislyak acts as a spy recruiter, a charge that Moscow has ridiculed as paranoia.
Pelosi added: “So this recusal is an admission that something went on but it’s not sufficient. There are two things. One is the recusal as a surrogate of then candidate Trump’s campaign and having communication with the Russian government knowing they were hacking our system. That’s what the recusal is about, however narrow it is. “The other part of it is the possibility of perjury, which is punishable by law for anybody else. Certainly we should have that be standard for the highest-ranking law enforcement person in our country.” Sessions, who was the first senator to endorse Trump for president, told his confirmation hearing in January that he “did not have communications with the Russians” and did not know of any by other campaign staff. Democrats have variously called on him to recuse himself from all potential investigations, retestify before Congress, resign or be charged with perjury, while demanding an independent commission to investigate. Richard Blumenthal, senator for Connecticut, urged the embattled attorney general to return to the Senate judiciary committee to “testify under oath” about the conversation at his office with Kislyak. “I’d like him to explain what was said during that September 8 meeting,” Blumenthal told MSNBC’s Morning Joe program. “And what came of it, and also what other meetings there may have been, because if he misled us as to that meeting, what other meetings might he also have failed to disclose?”
The congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, has called for Sessions to quit, saying he “clearly misled” the Senate about contacts with Russian officials, and demanded that a special prosecutor be appointed.
Schiff also accused the FBI director, James Comey, of withholding crucial information about its investigation into Russian meddling in the election, and raised the prospect of subpoenaing the agency. “I would say at this point we know less than a fraction of what the FBI knows,” the California Democrat told reporters after a briefing with Comey. “I appreciate we had a long briefing and testimony from the director today, but in order for us to do our investigation in a thorough and credible way, we’re gonna need the FBI to fully cooperate, to be willing to tell us the length and breadth of any counterintelligence investigations they are conducting. At this point, the director was not willing to do that.” Speaking to Fox News on Thursday evening, Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, reiterated that he did not discuss the campaign with Kislyak. “When I campaigned for Trump, I was not involved with anything like that,” he said. “You can be sure.” Despite the conclusions of US intelligence agencies, Sessions refused to say whether Putin favoured Trump over Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. “I have never been told that,” he told the host, Tucker Carlson. “I don’t have any idea, Tucker – you’d have to ask them.”
Trump has consistently denied business or political ties with Russia but has also been conspicuously reluctant to criticise Putin and raised the prospect of reviewing sanctions against the country. Opponents argue there is circumstantial evidence that Trump colluded with Moscow to help his campaign but definitive proof has remained elusive. Last month Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign amid controversy over his discussions with Kislyak in late December. On Thursday, it emerged that Kushner joined Flynn at a private meeting with the ambassador at Trump Tower in New York. Another campaign aide, Carter Page, did not deny meeting Kislyak during the Republican national convention. And the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s son, Donald Jr, was probably paid at least $50,000 for an appearance late last year at a French thinktank whose founder and wife have strong ties to Russia. Trump, meanwhile, said that Sessions was the target of a “witch-hunt” and declared his “total” confidence in him. He tweeted: “This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality.”
Since you’re here …
So far, the controversy has claimed one political scalp, with the resignation of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser on the grounds that he misled the vice president about his contacts with a Russian ambassador.
Some senior Republicans have issued their boldest challenge with a vow to get to the bottom of the matter, while Democrats have demanded an independent probe.
Yet even from early on in the Republican's bid to be president, Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin have loomed large.
From warm words between leaders to a salacious dossier compiled by a former MI6 agent, here are the links to Russia that have overshadowed both Mr Trump's candidacy and his presidency.
The Trump and Putin 'bromance'It was in the midst of the Republican primaries, with Mr Trump's place as the party's frontrunner for the nomination far from assured, when eyebrows were raised at the warm words exchanged by the Russian leader and the Republican presidential candidate.
Speaking after an annual televised press conference in December 2015, Mr Putin said the Republican candidate was "a very outstanding man, unquestionably talented".
"It's not up to us to judge his virtue, that is up to US voters, but he is an absolute leader of the presidential race," he added.
The bromance continued after Mr Trump won the Republican nomination, suggesting in July he would be open to forming a partnership with Mr Putin to tackle the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
"When you think about it, wouldn't it be nice if we got along with Russia...Wouldn't it be nice if we got together with Russia and knocked the hell out of [Isil]?" he said.
Mr Trump said he felt he could get along with the Russian president, and was glad to have received a compliment from him. "Well I think when he called me brilliant, I'll take the compliment, okay?" Mr Trump said. "Look, it's not going to get him anywhere. I'm a negotiator."
Having won the election in November, the then president-elect continued to woo his Russian counterpart, praising Mr Putin as "very smart" for not engaging in a tit-for-tat row with the US over the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats accused of espionage.
Jeff Sessions recuses himself from Russia probeJust three weeks after being confirmed as the country's attorney general, Mr Sessions faced calls to resign after it emerged he had two conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign season last year.
Mr Sessions, an early supporter of President Donald Trump and a policy adviser to the Republican candidate, did not disclose those communications at his confirmation hearing in January when asked whether "anyone affiliated" with the campaign had contact with the Russians.
“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
As attorney general, Mr Sessions oversees the justice department, including the FBI, which have been leading investigations into Russian meddling and any links to Mr Trump's associates.
Mr Sessions insisted he had done nothing wrong and was acting in his capacity as a senator. But he said he was happy to follow the counsel of his ethics advisers at the department of justice who said he should step aside from the FBI’s investigation.
Nancy Pelosi, the house Democratic leader, led calls for his resignation. "Jeff Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearing before the Senate," Ms Pelosi said in a statement released on Thursday. "Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign."
Michael Flynn and the lifting of sanctionsIn the biggest blow to Mr Trump's nascent presidency, his National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned after it emerged he held secret talks with Russia before entering the White House.
Mr Flynn admitted in his resignation letter he took several calls with the Russian ambassador to the US before entering the White House, which is potentially illegal under the 1799 Logan Act.
Mr Flynn, who has argued for closer ties with Russia, has acknowledged being paid to give a speech and attend a lavish anniversary party in December 2015 for the state-controlled RT television network in Moscow, where he sat beside Mr Putin. But he hasn't said who wrote the check or for how much. An RT video from the Moscow event showed Mr Flynn rising during a standing ovation following the Russian leader's address.
As president-elect, Mr Trump suggested he scrap the sanctions - imposed by the Obama administration in late December in response to Moscow's alleged cyber attacks - if Moscow proves helpful in battling terrorists and reaching other goals important to Washington. "If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody's doing some really great things?" he told the Wall Street Journal.
Trump campaign's 'contacts with Russian spies before election'Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Mr Trump's presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, the New York Times reported, citing four current and former US officials.
However, the intercepts alarmed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr Trump was speaking glowingly about Mr Putin.
He added: "Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community".
Paul ManafortHired in March to shore up Mr Trump's primary campaign team, Mr Manafort only lasted until August and was a divisive figure from the start.
However, it was his business dealings in Russia and Ukraine that ultimately led to his resignation as campaign chairman.
Mr Manafort called the allegations "unfounded, silly, and nonsensical". Yet the damage was done.
The former MI6 spy's dossierArguably the most explosive reports concerning Mr Trump's dealings in Russia was a dossier compiled by a former MI6 agent that emerged in January, shortly before he was due to enter the White House.
The file was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and was initially funded by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats.
The 35-page document alleges the Kremlin colluded with Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and that the Russian security services have material that could be used to blackmail him, including an allegation that he paid prostitutes to defile a bed that had been slept in by Barack and Michelle Obama.
It also meant his already strained relationship with the intelligence community deteriorated further. "I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out there," he said.
Carter PageA foreign policy adviser to Mr Trump during the campaign, Mr Page resigned in September after a number of reports about his links to Russia.
The former adviser to Gazprom, Russia's state gas behemoth, raised eyebrows last July when he blasted the United States for showing "hypocrisy" towards Russia, during an address in Moscow. Page said the US and other Western countries unfairly vilified Russia for its problems, including corruption, which he said was just as easily found at home.
Donald Trump's campaign explicitly denied a claim the Trump Organisation used a private server to communicate with Alfa Bank.
In an interview with MSNBC, Mr Page said: "I never met him anywhere outside of Cleveland."
President Trump, an Unlikely Champion of Affordable Child Care
Donald Trump's Congress speech (full text)
February 27, 2017
Floats mock president
Donald Trump rapes Statue of Liberty at German Carnival
The Statue is smiling victoriously, holding up the President's separated head, the constitution in her other hand. Both floats followed one another in Düsseldorf's Carnival parade this Monday, telling a story for the spectators: The constitution is under attack - and retaliates. Crowds were cheering when both floats were displayed.
Carnival parades take place all over Germany from Sunday till Tuesday. The ones in Düsseldorf and in Cologne are the biggest of their kind, each broadcast live in German television, and each with 1-1,5 million spectators on the streets. "Carnival has a big tradition in Germany, it is famed for its exuberance and its exaggerated images", the US embassy's press department in Berlin stated, wishing a good time to all revelers. Carnival floats designed as political caricatures are a big tradition in Germany, their motives publicly discussed. Last year, a Düsseldorf float showed Donald Trump screaming at the Statue of Liberty; "Make fascism great again" was the slogan painted on his hair. Pictures of the float went viral in social media; international media like the "Washington Post" covered it.
More pictures of this year's parade floats are available here - captions are in German. Responsible for the floats at the Düsseldorf Carnival parade is Jacques Tilly, artist and cartoonist. This year, populist movements around the world (including Germany) are the main topic of his work. "We're experiencing a right-wing populist revolt, and it's attacking the values of democracy", Tilly said about his creations. More about the Düsseldorf Carnival parade (in German)Hier geht es zur Bilderstrecke: Die Mottowagen von Tilly beim Rosenmontagszug 2017
Betty MacDonald fan club fans,
we share a very special gift by beloved and very popular Betty MacDonald Fan Club Honor member Letizia Mancino.
We know you'll enjoy it as much as we do.
Thanks a Million, dear Letizia Mancino.
You are an outstanding writer and artist.
We are so proud and happy to have you with us.
Letizia writes: One should not underestimate Wolfgang Hampel’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty MacDonald’s friends.
We agree. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang Hampel for doing this. You founded Betty MacDonald Fan Club with four members.
Now we have members in 40 countries around the world. A dream came true.
Mary Holmes did an excellent job in translating this great story.
Thank you so much dear Mary Holmes.
We are really very grateful.
All the best to Letizia, Wolfgang and Mary and to all Betty MacDonald Fan Club fans from all over the world!
Following in Betty’s footsteps in Seattle:
or some small talk with Betty
Copyright 2011/2016 by Letizia Mancino
All rights reserved
translated by Mary Holmes
We were going to Canada in the summer. “When we are in Edmonton”, I said to Christoph Cremer, “let’s make a quick trip to Seattle”. And that’s how it happened. At Edmonton Airport we climbed into a plane and two hours later we landed in the city where Betty had lived. I was so happy to be in Seattle at last and to be able to trace Betty’s tracks!
Wolfgang Hampel had told Betty’s friends about our arrival.
They were happy to plan a small marathon through the town and it’s surroundings with us. We only had a few days free. One should not underestimate Wolfgang’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty’s friends, even though it was holiday time. E-mails flew backwards and forwards between Heidelberg and Seattle, and soon a well prepared itinerary was ready for us. Shortly before my departure Wolfgang handed me several parcels, presents for Betty MacDonald's friends. I rushed to pack the heavy gifts in my luggage but because of the extra weight had to throw out a pair of pajamas!
After we had landed we took a taxi to the Hotel in downtown Seattle. I was so curious to see everything. I turned my head in all directions like one of the hungry hens from Betty’s farm searching for food! Fortunately it was quite a short journey otherwise I would have lost my head like a loose screw!
Our hotel room was on the 22nd floor and looked directly out onto the 16-lane highway. There might have been even more than 16 but it made me too giddy to count! It was like a glimpse of hell! “And is this Seattle?” I asked myself. I was horrified! The cars racing by were enough to drive one mad. The traffic roared by day and night.
We immediately contacted Betty MacDonald's friends and let them know we had arrived and they confirmed the times when we should see them.
On the next morning I planned my first excursion tracing Betty’s tracks. I spread out the map of Seattle. “Oh dear” I realized “the Olympic Peninsula is much too far away for me to get there.”
Betty nodded to me! “Very difficult, Letizia, without a car.”
“But I so much wanted to see your chicken farm”
“My chickens are no longer there and you can admire the mountains from a distance”
But I wanted to go there. I left the hotel and walked to the waterfront where the State Ferry terminal is. Mamma mia, the streets in Seattle are so steep! I couldn’t prevent my feet from running down the hill. Why hadn’t I asked for brakes to be fixed on my shoes? I looked at the drivers. How incredibly good they must be to accelerate away from the red traffic lights. The people were walking uphill towards me as briskly as agile salmon. Good heavens, these Americans! I tried to keep my balance. The force of gravity is relentless. I grasped hold of objects where I could and staggered down.
In Canada a friend had warned me that in Seattle I would see a lot of people with crutches.
Betty laughed. “ It’s not surprising, Letizia, walking salmon don’t fall directly into the soft mouth of a bear!”
“ Betty, stop making these gruesome remarks. We are not in Firlands!”
I went further. Like a small deranged ant at the foot of a palace monster I came to a tunnel. The noise was unbearable. On the motorway, “The Alaskan Way Viaduct”, cars, busses and trucks were driving at the speed of light right over my head. They puffed out their poisonous gas into the open balconies and cultivated terraces of the luxurious sky- scrapers without a thought in the world. America! You are crazy!
“Betty, are all people in Seattle deaf? Or is it perhaps a privilege for wealthy people to be able to enjoy having cars so near to their eyes and noses to save them from boredom?”
“When the fog democratically allows everything to disappear into nothing, it makes a bit of a change, Letizia”
“ Your irony is incorrigible, Betty, but tell me, Seattle is meant to be a beautiful city, But where?”
I had at last reached the State Ferry terminal.
“No Madam, the ferry for Vashon Island doesn’t start from here,” one of the men in the ticket office tells me. ”Take a buss and go to the ferry terminal in West Seattle.”
Betty explained to me “The island lies in Puget Sound and not in Elliott Bay! It is opposite the airport. You must have seen it when you were landing!”
“Betty, when I am landing I shut my eyes and pray!”
It’s time for lunch. The weather is beautiful and warm. Who said to me that it always rains here?
“Sure to be some envious man who wanted to frighten you away from coming to Seattle. The city is really beautiful, you’ll see. Stay by the waterfront, choose the best restaurant with a view of Elliott Bay and enjoy it.”
“Thank you Betty!”
I find a table on the terrace of “Elliott’s Oyster House”. The view of the island is wonderful. It lies quietly in the sun like a green fleecy cushion on the blue water.
Betty plays with my words:
“Vashon Island is a big cushion, even bigger than Bainbridge which you see in front of your eyes, Letizia. The islands look similar. They have well kept houses and beautiful gardens”.
I relax during this introduction, “Bainbridge” you are Vashon Island, and order a mineral water.
“At one time the hotel belonging to the parents of Monica Sone stood on the waterfront.”
“Oh, of your friend Kimi!” Unfortunately I forget to ask Betty exactly where it was.
My mind wanders and I think of my mountain hike back to the hotel! “Why is there no donkey for tourists?” Betty laughs:
“I’m sure you can walk back to the hotel. “Letizia can do everything.””
“Yes, Betty, I am my own donkey!”
But I don’t remember that San Francisco is so steep. It doesn’t matter, I sit and wait. The waiter comes and brings me the menu. I almost fall off my chair!
“ What, you have geoduck on the menu! I have to try it” (I confess I hate the look of geoduck meat. Betty’s recipe with the pieces made me feel quite sick – I must try Betty’s favourite dish!)
“Proof that you love me!” said Betty enthusiastically “ Isn’t the way to the heart through the stomach?”
I order the geoduck. The waiter looks at me. He would have liked to recommend oysters.
“Geoduck no good for you!”
Had he perhaps read my deepest thoughts? Fate! Then no geoduck. “No good for me.”
“Neither geoduck nor tuberculosis in Seattle” whispered Betty in my ear!
“Oh Betty, my best friend, you take such good care of me!”
I order salmon with salad.
“Which salmon? Those that swim in water or those that run through Seattle?”
“Betty, I believe you want me to have a taste of your black humour.”
“Enjoy it then, Letizia.”
During lunch we talked about tuberculosis, and that quite spoilt our appetite.
“Have you read my book “The Plague and I”?”
“Oh Betty, I’ve started to read it twice but both times I felt so sad I had to stop again!”
“But why?” asked Betty “Nearly everybody has tuberculosis! I recovered very quickly and put on 20 pounds! There was no talk of me wasting away! What did you think of my jokes in the book?”
“Those would have been a good reason for choosing another sanitorium. I would have been afraid of becoming a victim of your humour! You would have certainly given me a nickname! You always thought up such amusing names!” Betty laughed.
“You’re right. I would have called you “Roman nose”. I would have said to Urbi and Orbi “ Early this morning “Roman nose” was brought here. She speaks broken English, doesn’t eat geoduck but she does love cats.”
“Oh Betty, I would have felt so ashamed to cough. To cough in your presence, how embarrassing! You would have talked about how I coughed, how many coughs!”
“It depends on that “how”, Letizia!”
“Please, leave Goethe quotations out of it. You have certainly learnt from the Indians how to differentiate between noises. It’s incredible how you can distinguish between so many sorts of cough! At least 10!”
”And also your descriptions of the patients and the nurses were pitiless. An artistic revenge! The smallest pimple on their face didn’t escape your notice! Amazing.”
“ I was also pitiless to myself. Don’t forget my irony against myself!”
Betty was silent. She was thinking about Kimi, the “Princess” from Japan! No, she had only written good things about her best friend, Monica Sone, in her book “The Plague and I”. A deep friendship had started in the hospital. The pearl that developed from the illness.
“Isn’t it wonderful, Betty, that an unknown seed can make its way into a mollusk in the sea and develop into a beautiful jewel?” Betty is paying attention.
“Betty, the friendship between you and Monica reminds me of Goethe’s poem “Gingo-Biloba”. You must know it?” Betty nods and I begin to recite it:
The leaf of this Eastern tree
Which has been entrusted to my garden
Offers a feast of secret significance,
For the edification of the initiate.
Is it one living thing.
That has become divided within itself?
Are these two who have chosen each other,
So that we know them as one?
The friendship with Monica is like the wonderful gingo-biloba leaf, the tree from the east. Betty was touched. There was a deep feeling of trust between us.
“Our friendship never broke up, partly because she was in distress, endangered by the deadly illness. We understood and supplemented each other. We were like one lung with two lobes, one from the east and one from the west!”
“A beautiful picture, Betty. You were like two red gingo-biloba leaves!”
Betty was sad and said ” Monica, although Japanese, before she really knew me felt she was also an American. But she was interned in America, Letizia, during the second world war. Isn’t that terrible?”
“Betty, I never knew her personally. I have only seen her on a video, but what dignity in her face, and she speaks and moves so gracefully!”
“Fate could not change her”
“Yes, Betty, like the gingo-biloba tree in Hiroshima. It was the only tree that blossomed again after the atom bomb!”
The bill came and I paid at once. In America one is urged away from the table when one has finished eating. If one wants to go on chatting one has to order something else.
“That’s why all those people gossiping at the tables are so fat!” Betty remarks. “Haven’t you seen how many massively obese people walk around in the streets of America. Like dustbins that have never been emptied!” With this typically unsentimental remark Betty ended our conversation.
Ciao! I so enjoyed the talk; the humour, the irony and the empathy. I waved to her and now I too felt like moving! I take a lovely walk along the waterfront.
Now I am back in Heidelberg and when I think about how Betty’s “Princessin” left this world on September 5th and that in August I was speaking about her with Betty in Seattle I feel very sad. The readers who knew her well (we feel that every author and hero of a book is nearer to us than our fleeting neighbours next door) yes we, who thought of her as immortal, cannot believe that even she would die after 92 years. How unforeseen and unexpected that her death should come four days after her birthday on September 1th. On September 5th I was on my way to Turkey, once again in seventh heaven, looking back on the unforgettable days in Seattle. I was flying from west to east towards the rising sun.
Is this Mr. Tigerli?