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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)

House Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump's mental health

Why wait until July?

House Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump's mental health
By Nathaniel Weixel - 06/05/19 04:55 PM EDT

House Democrats plan to hold an event intended to highlight what they say is President Trump’s deteriorating mental health.

House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said he and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) will host Dr. Bandy Lee, a Yale School of Medicine psychiatrist who edited the best-selling book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”

“We are planning to do something where she can make a presentation to other members, so that they'll be aware of what she's been working on,” Yarmuth told The Hill in a brief interview.

Yarmuth said he anticipates the event, which was first reported by the Washington Examiner, will happen sometime in July.

Yarmuth said he thinks it’s important that members of Congress and the public understand the position of Lee and the other psychologists in the book, which argues that Trump’s mental health has deteriorated to the point where it poses a threat to the country.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 5, 2019, 06:30 PM (0 replies)

Trump Claims He Made The Air Cleaner Just By Being President


Posted on Wed, Jun 5th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Trump Claims He Made The Air Cleaner Just By Being President

In Ireland, Trump claimed that the US now has the cleanest air and water in the world because he is president
Trump said, “We have the cleanest air in the world in the United States, and it’s gotten better since I’m president. We have the cleanest water. It’s crystal clean, and I always say I want crystal clean water and air. I haven’t heard his comments, but we’re setting records environmentally.”


The US doesn’t have the cleanest air and water in the world

According to the American Lung Association’s State Of The Air report for 2019:
The “State of the Air” 2019 report shows that too many cities across the nation increased the number of days when particle pollution, often called “soot,” soared to often record-breaking levels. More cities suffered from higher numbers of days when ground-level ozone, also known as “smog,” reached unhealthy levels. Many cities saw their year-round levels of particle pollution increase as well.

More than four in 10 Americans, approximately 43.3 percent of the population, live in counties that have monitored unhealthy ozone and/or particle pollution. The number of people exposed to unhealthy air increased to nearly 141.1 million. That represents an increase from the past two reports: higher than the 133.9 million in the 2018 report (covering 2014-2016) and the 125 million in the 2017 report (covering 2013-2015). Close to 20.2 million people, or 6.2 percent, live in 12 counties with unhealthful levels for all three measures.
Trump is lying about the state of US air and water

Due to Trump’s rollback of environmental regulations, the nation’s air and water are getting dirtier, not cleaner. The progress that has been made has nothing to do with Trump and is attributed to the Clean Air Act, which was passed in 1970.

Trump is trying to deny climate change with an empty claim that everything is great. He believes that his mere presence in the White House has cleaned up the nation’s air and water.

His bragging would be silly if the policy behind it weren’t making the American people sicker every day.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 5, 2019, 05:30 PM (4 replies)

Warren's Astonishing Plan for Economic Patriotism

Warren’s Astonishing Plan for Economic Patriotism
Robert Kuttner
June 4, 2019

I have been a fan of Elizabeth Warren for a long time. Her combination of deep knowledge of how American capitalism works, her capacity to narrate the lived experience of American working families and tie it to radical reforms, and her sheer integrity are unsurpassed.

Her rollout of one brilliant policy proposal after another and her ability to connect those to a political understanding of the American situation has been just stunning. But Warren’s latest plan is in a class by itself, even for Warren. She calls it an Agenda for Economic Patriotism.

Warren’s proposal does nothing less than turn inside out the globalist assumptions pursued by the past several administrations, Democrat and Republican alike. Where they have pursued more globalization of commerce as an end in itself (and as a profit center for U.S.-based multinational corporations and banks), Warren’s goal is to bring production and good jobs home.

Even better, she knits it all together with a coherent plan, beginning with a new Department of Economic Development “with the sole responsibility to create and defend quality, sustainable American jobs.”


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 5, 2019, 04:25 PM (18 replies)

Trump Planted 5 Stories About Royals Moving Into Trump Tower: CNN


Trump Planted 5 Stories About Royals Moving Into Trump Tower: CNN
Olivia Messer
Updated 06.05.19 12:23PM ET / Published 06.05.19 10:38AM ET
Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters

Between 1981 and 1995, President Trump planted at least five fake stories in New York tabloids alleging that members of the British royal family were considering moving into his properties, CNN reported Wednesday. The stories were allegedly spread by the real-estate mogul himself, according to biographies of the president. Trump even reportedly spread a rumor in 1983 that Prince Charles and Princess Diana were looking at buying an apartment in Trump Tower. All of the reports, however, were shut down by Buckingham Palace. Despite those denials, Trump told Howard Stern in 1993 that Princess Diana was once again looking to buy an apartment in Trump Tower. “I hope she’s looking at—she is really hot. She has gained 20-25 pounds, she looks great,” Trump reportedly said on the Howard Stern Show. “There could be a love interest. I’d become King of England. King of England. I’d have to leave, I’d have to lose the New York accent quickly.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 5, 2019, 03:54 PM (6 replies)

'What Does He Think He Is?': Chris Matthews Destroys Trump For Bringing His Sleazy Kids To London


Posted on Tue, Jun 4th, 2019 by Sean Colarossi
‘What Does He Think He Is?’: Chris Matthews Destroys Trump For Bringing His Sleazy Kids To London

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews obliterated Donald Trump on Tuesday for bringing his children to London – even Tiffany – and forcing world leaders to “kiss the butt” of his family members.

“This is the second week in a row he’s been visiting with emperors and now he’s meeting with the Queen of England,” the MSNBC host said. “What does he think he is that he brings his family with him like a royal?”

Matthews openly wondered when members of the Republican Party are going to defend the republic from a man who is acting like an aspiring authoritarian leader.

“When is someone going to raise their hand and say, ‘I’m not going to kiss the butt – again – of one of your family members? I’m not going to do it.'”


Matthews said:

He also likes monarchs. This is the second week in a row he’s been visiting with emperors and now he’s meeting with the Queen of England. What does he think he is that he brings his family with him like a royal? … The president of the United States – he is head of state. A woman can be head of state, too. This is the way it works. You are elected the head of state. You’re not elected king. … The Republican Party is called the Republican Party, lower case. They believe in a republic, not a monarchy. When is someone going to raise their hand and say, ‘I’m not going to kiss the butt – again – of one of your family members? I’m not going to do it.’ Yet he insists that they do it.

Trump is “a walking emoluments clause violation”

As Jason Johnson, politics editor for The Root, told Chris Matthews on Tuesday, Donald Trump is “a walking emoluments clause violation.”

The president’s decision to bring his family along with him on his trip to London doesn’t just demonstrate – again – how Trump views himself and his children as American royalty, but it’s also the latest example of how he is using his political power to enrich himself and his family members.

After all, as Jill Colvin of the Associated Press pointed out on MSNBC, it’s particularly inappropriate that Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump were rubbing elbows with world leaders in London while simultaneously continuing to run the president’s business.

“These are people who run the president’s business, who are profiting from the Trump name,” Colbin said. “And to bring them along, to let them use the social media images of it just adds more and more questions about all of the ethical issues.”

Ultimately, Trump might see himself and his family as royalty, but what the world has again seen during his visit to London is that he’s nothing but a royal embarrassment.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 5, 2019, 09:03 AM (35 replies)
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