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The Rude Pundit: Just Stop It: Trump Didn't Rise to Any Damn Occasion in Europe

The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
Just Stop It: Trump Didn't Rise to Any Damn Occasion in Europe

It's absolutely ludicrous that Donald Trump is getting praise for his appearance at the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy. Sure, he read a speech that a reasonably eloquent fifth-grader could have written, and he didn't even pause to say how much the property there was worth or how he could have killed Hitler single-handedly with a secret plan he had. Obviously, everyone thought Bumblefuck O'Douchenozzle was gonna saunter up to the lectern, fart into the mic, shit on the gathered leaders, and scream, "Do you love me now, Vladdy?"

But just because he acted vaguely normal, the motherfucker didn't all of a sudden become a goddamn statesman. If our mark of success is now "Oh, good, he didn't teabag the Queen," then nothing really fucking matters anymore.

Besides, in just about every other circumstance, Trump was the blithering cockknob he usually is. He said that the UK's National Health Service would be on the table for trade negotiations (before walking that back since, if true, it would probably end Brexit immediately). He didn't seem to understand that Ireland wasn't part of the UK and that a border wall with Northern Ireland would pretty much lead to an explosion of violence. He insulted Nancy Pelosi and Robert Mueller while talking to Fox "news" by those Normandy graves. And he was fucking obsessed with Queen Elizabeth and the royal family, saying that "There are those that say they have never seen the queen have a better time, a more animated time," and you just think that, if it's true, how fucking awful the queen's life must have been for her first 93 years.

Truly, being royalty who are just figureheads with almost no real power must seem like a dream for Trump. Everyone gives you money and a gold house and all you gotta do is wave from a carriage every now and then? That's a gig. Trump must love that shit.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Jun 9, 2019, 09:37 PM (11 replies)

Buttigieg urges LGBTQ community to turn differences into social change

Buttigieg urges LGBTQ community to turn differences into social change
Associated Press Published 11:43 a.m. ET June 8, 2019 | Updated 4:06 p.m. ET June 8, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg told an audience in Iowa on Friday that coming out as gay has empowered him in a way he did not anticipate, and he called on others to harness their differences into social activism.

“I’m going to make the case that anyone who has ever felt like an ‘other’ has a kind of power. And among others, it’s the power to relate,” the South Bend, Indiana, mayor told about 300 LGBTQ activists and supporters at a banquet honoring Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard, who was beaten to death in 1998 for being gay.

“And we can see in our various identities the beginning of a new kind of solidarity,” he added.

Buttigieg’s quiet, Midwestern approach, combined with his array of experiences — from Rhodes scholar to Afghanistan veteran to married gay man — has begun capturing the interest of Democratic activists around the country, including in Iowa, where he has been campaigning more regularly.


He argued against the Trump administration’s ban on transgender troops serving in the military.

But he came back to the point that LGBTQ Americans, but also racial and ethnic minorities, had a special calling to step forward and act on behalf of one another, especially in an environment he characterized, without mentioning President Donald Trump, as increasingly hostile to such communities.

“Not that your experience of being an ‘other’ is the same as mine,” he said. “But it gives us the basis to look out for each other.”

Posted by babylonsister | Sun Jun 9, 2019, 07:39 AM (3 replies)

White House Reportedly Blocked Written Testimony of Official on Climate Change


White House Reportedly Blocked Written Testimony of Official on Climate Change

By Daniel Politi
June 08, 2019
8:15 PM

The White House blocked a senior intelligence analyst at the State Department from issuing written testimony on climate science to a congressional committee. The testimony, which warned human-caused climate change is “possibly catastrophic” became the subject of controversy after officials from the State Department refused to delete references to scientific findings regarding climate change. The White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, and National Security Council all raised objections to parts of the testimony, saying the citing of climate science did not match the administration’s official stance on climate change, according to the Washington Post.

Rod Schoonover, who works in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, was ultimately allowed to give his testimony before a House Intelligence Committee hearing but he was barred from submitting written testimony. Even his oral testimony was in doubt for a while though, according to the New York Times, which reviewed internal emails demonstrating just how opposed officials were to him presenting scientific findings. “The testimony still has serious concerns with internal components and focuses heavily on the science,” Daniel Q. Greenwood, deputy assistant to the president in the White House office of legislative affairs, wrote in an email. “Because it doesn’t reflect the coordinated IC position, or the administration’s position, there is no way this can be cleared ahead of the hearing,” he wrote, using IC to refer to the intelligence community.

Experts said that while reviewing testimony is common, this effort to delete significant portions of the document seemed to be a bit extreme. “I have never heard of basic facts being deleted from or blocked from testimony,” Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said. That is particularly the case considering that members of the administration were objecting to citations of work conducted by federal agencies, including NASA.

The National Security Council objected to almost every page of Schoonover’s prepared testimony, claiming it contained “lots of climate alarm propaganda.” The White House Office of Legislative Affairs proposed cutting five pages of the scientific foundations for the rest of the testimony. Among the controversial statements? Factual claims such as, “The Earth’s climate is unequivocally undergoing a long-term warming trend as established by decades of scientific measurements from multiple, independent lines of evidence.”

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump said that he believed climate change “goes both ways,” noting he didn’t regret his decision to pull out of the Paris accord. “Don’t forget, it used to be called global warming, that wasn’t working, then it was called climate change, now it’s actually called extreme weather because with extreme weather you can’t miss,” the president said.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jun 8, 2019, 09:03 PM (1 replies)

Jay Inslee Says He May Defy the DNC on a Climate Change Debate

Jay Inslee Says He May Defy the DNC on a Climate Change Debate
He claimed the DNC is effectively “blacklisting candidates who want to have one.”
Rebecca Leber

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he won’t rule out participating in a primary debate on climate change, a move that—if he followed through—could risk his being barred from participating in the formal Democratic National Committee sponsored debates.

“I cannot rule out any other debate that would highlight both the necessity of defeating the climate crisis and calling for the candidates to step up to the plate,” Inslee said in an interview with Mother Jones on Thursday, while calling from the road in Seattle, Washington. “Sixty-second sound bites, which is all you’ll be able to get in a party debate, is grossly inadequate to the task.”

Inslee claimed the DNC is “trying to eliminate an opportunity to have a debate” by effectively “blacklisting candidates who want to have one.”

“You have to understand how constricted the opportunity for a full discussion for this will be when we’re talking about mobilizing and rebuilding the entire economy to decarbonize over the next couple decades,” he said. “You can’t describe the mobilization of the economy in 60-second sound bites.”

When asked about this matter, DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa replied, “It is the DNC’s job to organize the debate schedule, and the ground rules on unsanctioned debates were made clear with all the candidates, including Governor Inslee, and media partners months ago.” The DNC welcomes candidates to join issue-specific forums instead.

At the moment, there is no climate change debate scheduled, whether sanctioned by the DNC or not. But Sunrise Movement, the primary Green New Deal advocacy arm that is planning to protest outside the second debate in Detroit, told Mother Jones it is considering staging its own. “The American people deserve a climate debate,” Varshini Prakash said in a statement to Mother Jones. “If the DNC isn’t willing to put it on, we’ll consider organizing one ourselves.”


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 7, 2019, 04:57 PM (45 replies)

D-Day for the VHA?

D-Day for the VHA?
Suzanne Gordon
June 6, 2019
Trump officials set the agency up to fail with a new program that outsources veterans health care to the private sector.

On Thursday June 6, the Trump administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leadership launched its new Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP). Established under the VA MISSION Act of 2018, the VCCP will outsource the care of millions of America’s most vulnerable veterans to an army of private hospitals, physicians, and other providers.

But rolling out this new initiative on anniversary of D-Day, the allied invasion of Normandy during World War II, could not be more ironic.

Seventy-five years ago, American troops were well prepared for the invasion of Normandy. Today the troops on the home front, the thousands of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, clerks, and administrative staff who have been assigned to help veterans cope with what the Trump Administration has called a “revolution” in veterans’ health care, are deeply concerned about the future stability of this new program.

Over the course of the last two months, dozens of physicians, local VA medical center leaders, and union activists (not to mention veterans who are expected to benefit from the new options and representatives of veterans service organizations) have told the Prospect, that the VCCP is deliberately designed to set them, and the VHA, up for failure.

Consider these examples of how the program is being undermined: Under the VCCP, veterans who have to drive 30 to 60 minutes or have to wait more than 20 or 28 days for an appointment will be eligible to see private-sector doctors and hospitals. Veterans and their care providers are supposed to discuss whether moving from the VHA to private-sector care doing so is in the patient’s “best medical interest.”


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 6, 2019, 08:26 PM (2 replies)

What we learned from the Trump family's London vacation


What we learned from the Trump family’s London vacation
There must have been reasons for Eric, Donnie Jr, Tiffany and the rest to have accompanied the president on his state visit. Does the answer lie in their social media postings?
Hadley Freeman
Thu 6 Jun 2019 04.00 EDT
Last modified on Thu 6 Jun 2019 17.04 EDT

How did the Trump family’s UK state visit look from social media?

Charlie, via email

I’m glad that you have emphasised that this was the Trump family’s state visit, as opposed to just the president’s, because this was very much – I just need to cue up Sly and the Family Stone – a family affairrrrr! Zzzzip! Record scratch! Sorry, that was a bad booking for this party, given that, according to the New Yorker, whenever the man now improbably known as President Trump would visit his casino in New Jersey, “the bosses would order all the black people off the floor”. So come on, Stones: you can leave through the fire exit, and be quick about it, please. This is a presidential issue.

Quite why US taxpayers were funding Trump’s four very definitely adult children to come on a family holiday to London has never been explained by a White House administration whose only consistent policy has been “never explain, never apologise”. Yet, in an administrative snafu, someone with self-awareness has been hired to run the White House’s Instagram account and he or she notably cut the Trump juniors out of all photos posted of National Lampoon’s London Vacation. Even Ivanka only makes a fleeting, possibly accidental appearance, even though, as we all know, she has a very important job in the White House that she totally got on her own merit.

Yet while the White House itself might have been strangely reluctant to record this made-for-TV sequel to the 90s comedy King Ralph, the Trump juniors were documenting their every move online with the enthusiasm of, well, hopelessly basic American embarrassments. And given that this presidency was pretty much won on social media, it makes sense to recall its high points the same way.

Ivanka kicked things off with a photo of her outside the V&A, on her way to visit the Christian Dior show, and as an American taxpayer, can I just say how thrilled I am to have paid for her to do this? Other highlights include what is now known as the Children of the Corn photo, in which Ivanka peers mournfully through a window in Buckingham Palace alongside her husband, Jared Kushner, who, judging from his recent TV interview appearance, has Botoxed his brain. Another photo shows her sitting at a boardroom table “to discuss advancing our bilateral trade relationship”, and of course she would be there, being the – wait a minute, let me check my notes. I need more time. Ah! She is the “informal adviser to the president”. Is that just code for “favourite child”? Nothing strange AT ALL about her being at these talks, looking very much like Boardroom Barbie. And before anyone cries “sexist”, I say that not because Ivanka is an attractive woman. I say it because she is an idiot.

Which brings us to Dumb and Dumber, AKA Donnie Jr and Eric. Donnie, sadly, left his girlfriend, former Fox News presenter Kimberly Guilfoyle, back in the US, which is a shame, because she would have been the sludge on this whole trip’s cowpat pie. Still, Donnie wasn’t a total bust: the photo he posted of him and his siblings in the Churchill War Rooms was a real insight for those who ever wondered what Britain would have looked like if the Nazis had won the war. Eric Trump is best known for the lawsuit issued against his charity, and his presence here, alongside his pregnant wife Lara, was so inexplicable I have nothing to say about it. Other than that his fondness for placing a hand on his wife’s stomach (“Look what I did!!!”) in photos is so creepy it should be illegal.

I loved youngest Trump daughter Tiffany’s decision to dress like Aunt Pittypat for the dinner at Buck House. But more than that, I loved that dinner. One day, can the person who decided which American was paired with which Brit – Ivanka with Liam Fox! Kate Middleton with Steve Mnuchin! Sarah Sanders with Prince Michael! – explain how those decisions were made? And will I go to hell for wheeling out the shamelessly predictable Star Wars cantina analogy? Ah well, too late.

But it was the King of Social Media, the big Don, who definitively won this trip’s social media war, when he marked D-day by furiously tweeting at 1am on Wednesday about “psycho Bette Midler”. You can take the Trump out of America, but you can’t take the Trump out of Trump.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 6, 2019, 07:46 PM (11 replies)

Watching Elizabeth Warren Come Alive


Watching Elizabeth Warren Come Alive
After the heartbreak of 2016, she’s making some women believe that a woman could actually win the presidency.

By Dahlia Lithwick
June 06, 20191:48 PM


Do I worry that Elizabeth Warren isn’t fantastic on the stump? I do. But Warren doesn’t seem to care much about being loved. She cares a lot about explaining where things fell apart. So her campaign goes to tiny blue-collar towns in tiny red states she cannot hope to win, and she talks about opioid addiction with Trump supporters who have never met a presidential hopeful and may never meet one again. The labor here is about connecting the dots more than lighting crowds on fire.

Watching this play out on the trail, I couldn’t help but think of an idea Rebecca Solnit recently explored in a piece about our possible newfound resistance to “great men” theories of governance. Solnit suggests that we may be finally tiring of:

the hero as an attention-getter, a party-crasher, a fame-seeker, and at least implicitly a troublemaker in the guise of a problem-solver. And maybe we as a society are getting tired of heroes, and a lot of us are certainly getting tired of overconfident white men. Even the idea that the solution will be singular and dramatic and in the hands of one person erases that the solutions to problems are often complex and many faceted and arrived at via negotiations.

What Solnit is holding out as the new ideal of leadership is not, by any stretch, exclusively female. But it is an idea less tethered to goose bump–y speeches, or the kind of charisma that leaves an audience thrilled yet unable to recall any idea actually expressed. We’ve now elected two “charismatics” in a row to the presidency, and the model Warren is building, while not lacking in surface polish, surely doesn’t coast on it. Her campaign is less TED talk than graduate seminar. And her “students” become evangelists of her big ideas more than evangelists of her.

I don’t know whether Elizabeth Warren can win the Democratic primary. I’m not yet certain a woman can win at all. A country that is OK prosecuting women who miscarry isn’t really a country I recognize, much less one I can believe in. Worse, I shudder at the implication that Warren, the woman, will do all the grueling legwork of educating voters about corruption, and banking, and unions, and debt, so that some man in a glittering cape might swoop in and charm our socks off next summer.

Women are often told they react emotionally to candidates, while men are meant to admire and appreciate complex policy. Warren is disrupting that paradigm. She leans less on charisma or charm, or even emotion, than on that elaborate PowerPoint she keeps stowed in her head. It’s a different approach from the men out in front of her. A warm and effusive Joe Biden has been coronated the favorite without having to break a sweat. Bernie Sanders has long had some of the most loyal supporters around, in part because he is so unabashedly “himself.”

But the women who come to these early Warren rallies like being addressed by an adult as adults. At a time when America has devalued teachers, empathy, expertise, and planning for the future, Elizabeth Warren serves as one reminder of what we have lost. It doesn’t mean the voters will necessarily throng to her side. It just means that the women I spoke to, and more and more of the women I know, don’t mind being educated about how everything went so terribly wrong in their political lifetimes. Elizabeth Warren can explain it, and has a plan for it, and believes she can fix it. It’s not glittery, and it may not make your heart beat faster in a stadium. But in a world of noise and bluster, her clarity has its own sort of charm.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 6, 2019, 03:58 PM (34 replies)

Trump's giant gender gap: 62 percent of women say they are unlikely to vote for him

Trump's giant gender gap: 62 percent of women say they are unlikely to vote for him

In a new poll, a significant majority of American women who are registered to vote say they are not likely to support President Trump’s re-election effort in 2020, setting him up with a gender gap that may prove difficult to overcome.

In the June 1-2 survey, 62 percent of female registered voters said they were unlikely to support Trump’s bid to obtain a second term. Fifty-three percent said they were very unlikely to back Trump while 9 percent said they were somewhat unlikely. Thirty-eight percent of women who participated said they were likely to back Trump.

In the 2016 election, exit polls indicated that 41 percent of women who voted chose Trump meaning that he has likely lost some support from women during his presidency.

The survey found that male voters were more evenly split about re-electing the president with 51 percent of respondents saying they were either somewhat or very likely to support him and 49 percent saying they were somewhat or very unlikely to support Trump, within the poll’s 3.1 percent sampling margin of error.

A majority of women of all age groups said they would decline to support Trump while men’s opinions differed based upon their ages. A 57 percent majority of men between 18 and 34 said they were unlikely to support Trump while a narrow majority of men 35 and up, 54 percent, said they were likely to support the president.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 6, 2019, 03:24 PM (7 replies)

Irish funeral firm rents out four limousines to Trump for $1m

Irish funeral firm rents out four limousines to Trump for $1m
Cars could be used for short jaunt to Doonbeg at a cost of $116,879 per mile – or not at all

Rory Carroll and Severin Carrell

Wed 5 Jun 2019 00.00 EDT
Last modified on Wed 5 Jun 2019 08.25 EDT

They are, by all accounts, wheels to die for. JP Ward & Sons, an Irish funeral services home, rents out its fleet of Mercedes E-Class limousines not just to mourners but to anyone who wants to travel in style.

A killer price tag has not deterred the latest customer: the White House. It is so keen to use the vehicles for Donald Trump’s two-day visit to Ireland that it is spending nearly $1m (£788,000) of US taxpayers’ money to rent them.

The Trump administration paid the family-owned firm based in Bray, County Wicklow, $935,033 in four tranches, according to USASpending.gov, an official portal that records federal government spending.

The state department did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation that the outlay was to rent four vehicles, which would work out at $233,748 per vehicle.

The presidential entourage’s hotel bills have also drawn scrutiny. State department documents show US taxpayers have spent $1,223,230 on VIP accommodation at the InterContinental hotel on Park Lane in Mayfair, London.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 5, 2019, 08:03 PM (5 replies)

US to label nuclear waste as less dangerous to quicken cleanup

US to label nuclear waste as less dangerous to quicken cleanup
Energy department says labeling some waste as low-level at sites in Washington state, Idaho and South Carolina will save $40bn
Associated Press
Wed 5 Jun 2019 17.33 EDT

The US government plans to reclassify some of the nation’s most dangerous radioactive waste to lower its threat level, outraging critics who say the move would make it cheaper and easier to walk away from cleaning up nuclear weapons production sites in Washington state, Idaho and South Carolina.

The Department of Energy said on Wednesday that labeling some high-level waste as low level will save $40bn in cleanup costs across the nation’s entire nuclear weapons complex. The material that has languished for decades in the three states would be taken to low-level disposal facilities in Utah or Texas, the agency said.

“This administration is proposing a responsible, results-driven solution that will finally open potential avenues for the safe treatment and removal of the lower level waste,” said Paul Dabber, the energy undersecretary. “This will accelerate cleanup and reduce risk.”

The agency will maintain standards set by the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “with the goal of getting the lower-level waste out of these states without sacrificing public safety”, Dabber said.

Critics said it’s a way for federal officials to walk away from their obligation to properly clean up a massive quantity of radioactive waste left from nuclear weapons production dating to the second world war and the cold war.

The waste is housed at the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina, the Idaho National Laboratory and Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state – the most contaminated nuclear site in the country.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 5, 2019, 07:26 PM (5 replies)
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