Thursday’s bogl, here today: The summit of his ambitions… Israel -some lessons are better left unlearned… No, don’t let him out… GW: flushin’ hot and wet

As his wealth increases by $275 million a day … “Jeff Bezos makes more wealth in 10 seconds than the median Amazon employee makes in a year.” – Bernie Sanders

 

“Keep ’em coming, he’ll be here any minute…”

“I have just witnessed this treasonous president grunting like a pig with his trousers round his ankles while singing for Putin’s Russia and throwing America and its allies under a bus” – Comment on CNN web page.

The summit of his ambitions

Look. President Trump now leaves a concerned world no options.

He is either a fool or a tool.

There is no inbetween, no workaround, no theory of Mind, no alternative universe in which this appalling man might dwell, sane and cogent and free from the malign clutches of the shrewd little KGB man in the Kremlin, either due to his incomparable stupidity or his fathomable treachery.

No fewer than seventeen security agencies in the USA (who knew?) stated back in 2016 and have stated many times since, their conviction on the basis of glaring evidence that Russia “meddled” in the election.

On balance, “meddled” must be a euphemism for “crashed in like a bull elephant with a bloody great stiffy after a herd of females on heat”. Endlessly polite, Americans.

US security agencies were apparently slow to react to the promptings of their European allies. Obama did as little as possible to respond, not out of treachery but – give him the benefit of the doubt – out of moral order: he was sensitive to the probability that the Republicans would have roasted him for nobbling the chances of their man, had he done more than expel a few diplomats and close a couple of ‘rest facilities’ Mr Trump immediately spoke of reopening while complaining that Obama had “done nothing” about the cyber-attack he himself imagined as having been carried out by a 400-lb gorilla..

Within months, arraignments were flying thick and fast against Trump appointees of one sort or another who had all had to admit, they had lied to FBI interrogators about the extent of their dealings with Russian officials, or even the extent of their paid lobbying work on behalf of Russian clients.

Even the Attorney-General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions 111, an olde timey Southern Confederate  garden gnome, Trump’s misguided appointment to the Justice Department (does he ever get anything right?) was not immune, and was obliged to recuse himself from further investigations; a stance President Trump has reportedly raged over now and then as it has left him exposed to allegations of obstructing justice and unable to fire his tormentors at will.

For the benefit of the few Americans who don’t understand, Britain’s GCHQ is not a security agency per se, like MI5 (domestic) or MI6 (foreign). It is a hi-tech, sensitive listening post, a resource bristling with antennae, an information black hole, that monitors global communications traffic, yours and mine, for signs of sedition, supplying security data to the world’s intel agencies.

In 2015, GCHQ flagged to the FBI and NSA that certain Trump cronies in the campaign and the transition and eventually the fragmenting administration team were getting on the phone to Moscow rather too often, discussing ways of subverting the 2016 and 2018 elections. The espionage monitoring teams were alerted and individuals put on watch, who were not already on watch. (You see, The Thing has been running on for some time, which is why it is strange to imagine Americans who are only beginning to rub their eyes and scratch their woolly heads in wonder.)

Since then, Congressional committees have reaffirmed it: Putin had sought to block Clinton and take whatever else was on offer; which, to his enormous delight, was the most ignorant, incompetent, narcissistic, greedy, careless and biddable candidate on the planet.

Donald J Trump, reality TV show presenter, superannuated playboy, six-times bankrupt property developer, international “business tycoon” with known US and Russian mob associates, billion-dollar debtor and former Democrat voter with liberal values, now a self-deluding political opportunist attracting a disaffected working-class voter base he would scrape off his shoe.

“Maxillo-facial surgeons will be having a field day, so many dropped jaws will need wiring”.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel looking into possible collaboration, has now indicted 25 named Russian politicians and intelligence agents who, he is fairly convinced, were behind various hacking and disinformation operations in the runup to the 2016 election.

To see the Trump brand on a Moscow skyscraper, to hold another beauty pageant, to put himself in a position where he could profit ad libitum from the office of President and remain immune to indictments concerning his many dubious financial deals, this prisonable individual Trump was apparently prepared to sell his country down the river.

Or so a growing majority of Americans believe, who can now be in no doubt after witnessing the most humiliating press conference in modern history, that they have elected a President who is either unfathomably stupid, or impeachably corrupt.

Despite the mountain of evidence with which he was forearmed before going into the conference chamber, Mr Trump claims he confronted Mr Putin in private over his attempts to subvert American democracy, and Mr Putin not only hotly and plausibly denied it, but offered to help with any investigations into the affair, which was good enough for Mr Trump as the two of them had gotten along so well together.

Maxillo-facial surgeons will be having a field day, so many dropped jaws will need wiring.

Mr Trump then returned to his familar themes: the FBI’s “witch hunt” against him, the lies of the “Fake News” media, his nonpareil economic and polling successes, the evils of immigration, the duplicity of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton, and her thirty thousand deleted emails – which were without a shred of a doubt hacked by the GRU with his approval – her use of a “private server” thought to be AOL, but which the technologically illiterate Trump believes has gone missing – no, really!

His final conclusion was that there was no reason to believe Russia was behind the hacks and the misinformation. Why would they be? he asked, disingenuously. It must have been the Democratic party. (He cannot stop rerunning obsessively in his mind, the election that brought him to power, only on a minority vote.)

If this is Watergate repeating itself as farce, it’s actually no longer funny.

“America has been toppled by a global syndicate of billionaire disruptors, not by Bernie Sanders.”

After a week in which Trump insulted and demeaned his principal allies, attempted to “meddle” in German and British internal politics, played with himself photo-opportunistically on one of his loss-making golf courses (then billed himself £50k on the US taxpayer) and generally did whatever he could to aid Mr Putin’s scheme of breaking-up NATO and the EU in advance of their summit, few Americans outside his crazed evangelical voter base, whose jobs are fast disappearing behind his lunatic trade wall against China; whose health insurances are evaporating in the wake of his $1.4 trillion tax giveaway to the wealthiest 1%, can be in any doubt now that he is hell-bent on the destruction of America, if not the entire Free World.

There can be no doubt that it is deliberate policy, that he is somehow “owned” by Putin, whose smirk when asked about that said it all, and that America has been defeated by a weaker opponent without a shot being fired. While some may hail the premature end of the neoCon experiment known as the Project for the New American Century, we should be wary of the alternative. America has been toppled by a global syndicate of criminal billionaire disruptors, not by Bernie Sanders.

Nothing will now be done to prevent Russia from doing whatever it can to ensure another Republician majority in Congress in November. Indeed, a party of Republican congressmen travelled to Moscow two weeks ago to cement Trump’s treachery; leaving behind the question: can he be stopped?

Whether on his own account, motivated by the Iago-like, nihilistic whisperings of his former security advisor, Steve Bannon, or whether he is doing Putin’s bidding for fear of exposure of some secret so terrible he would not survive it – and that would have to be pretty terrible – Trump surely has to be finished now. Vice-President Pence’s endorsement of every filthy, rotten word of Trump’s Helsinki press conference surely looks like a positioning maneuver for the Big Job; his repellent sycophancy reminding everyone why they have so little appetite for regime change.

Even were he not the world’s most egotistical sociopath, both intensely sensitive to and yet inured to public opprobrium, The Great Negotiator must now see he has nowhere to go; no chips to play with. After the disastrous miscalculation of his North Korea summit, that everyone warned him about beforehand, this latest debacle has revealed him for what he is.

Nothing, and nobody: a made-for-TV cartoon businessman, far out of his depth on the world stage.

A pretentious, self-interested, helium-filled blimp.

A fool – and a tool.

Postscriptum

This may be one of the most important pieces of reporting you will see this week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySZvUCFR4tk

In it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explains clearly and unambiguously what the President’s statements might mean in the light of new indictments in the Mueller probe; and warns America to be prepared for the revelation that their entire administration, President Trump and the Republican party in Congress have been deeply compromised by a sophisticated Russian spying operation, of which there is now incontrovertible evidence.

 

…and here are the Jews (sorry… couldn’t resist.) (You’re fired. Ed.)

Some lessons are better left unlearned.

“Writing in the progressive-leaning Haaretz newspaper, Mordechai Kremnitzer, from the faculty of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the bill would “remove the mask so as to reveal the ugly face of ultranationalist Israel in all its repugnance”.

If you or I had said that, we would be hysterically accused by the Vested Interest Lobby of rabid antisemitism. Thank God, there are still many Jews who resist the idea of an Israeli apartheid state run on religious lines. Especially as the row has erupted at a time when Israel is again deploying its high-tech, high-explosive, low-risk ordnance to smash Hamas’ feeble home-made rocket batteries in Gaza.

I agree, all Hamas has to do is stop resisting. That would be to overlook 70 years of armed struggle with no conceivably good ending. But it would end the pain for Israel of constantly having to explain its policy of summarily executing Palestinian teenagers for throwing stones into no-man’s land from behind the Gaza fence.

You want to say it, whoever you are. Compassion is not a religious matter, sometimes it goes hand-in-hand with righteous anger. But of course, it’s an outrageous offence to use the N-word about today’s Israel when making gratuitous historical comparisons.

It’s just that some lessons are better left unlearned.

“Israel is in the throes of political upheaval as the country’s ruling party seeks to pass legislation that could allow for Jewish-only communities, which critics have condemned as the end of a democratic state. For the past half-decade, politicians have been wrangling over the details of the bill that holds constitution-like status and that Benjamin Netanyahu wants passed this month.” – Guardian

What is proposed is, ironically, a law that would be totally unconstitutional in the USA, Israel’s major sponsor, where the imposition of a State religion is expressly forbidden. It conflicts profoundly too with the hugely hopeful speech the founder, David ben-Gurion, gave to the United Nations in 1948, promising that Israel would be a sanctuary for all peoples of the region, of all religions.

The pragmatic Mr Netanyahu has crapped on that. So where are the noble aspirations now?

No doubt, the squalidly self-interested Trump regime will welcome the move on various grounds: the President’s son-in-law’s deep connections with both uncle Bibi and with organized crime figures in Israel; the convenience of the new law in enabling the annexation of East Jerusalem; Trump’s doctrinaire monoculturalism and brute support for whatever measures seem cruellest in any situation.

And, look, why is Netanyahu, who is close to arraignment on corruption charges, so emboldened now as to push for this “repugnant” legislation to pass through the bowels of the Knesset? Could it be that Trump’s infantile support and praise for ‘hard men’, tinpot dictators like al-Sisi, Duterte, Orban and Alayev, is giving hope and succour to greedy authoritarian bastards the world over?

Can we really say that the lights are going out? Not to put a fine a point on it, people the world over were probably asking the same question in 1938 and it still took them by surprise.

 

“The average cashier at McDonald’s would have to work over 895 years to make what the company’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, earns in one year.” – Bernie Sanders

 

Don’t let him out

Last week in my cups I trolled the Blessed Mary Greeley website after she republished uncritical comments on the case of “Tommy Robinson”, the gaoled racist, and attracted a deal of sympathy from the Deplorables.

I wanted to write more but had no time, so here’s what I would have written on her Comments thread:

 

I apologize for my brief outburst earlier, and would like to Britsplain what is going on in the case of “Tommy Robinson” for American followers of Mary Greeley, who may be receiving an oversimplified version of the story. (I hesitate to use the word ‘facts’, for fear of being branded some sort of realist.)

As for me, It is true that I had an urban education, being brought up by a couple of jobbing actors with a love of words, but I am only a retired domestic caretaker and handyman, I have no special status as a pinko liberal snowflake.

Among other media, The Independent reported:

“Robinson was jailed after admitting contempt of court by live-streaming details of a trial that was subject to blanket reporting restrictions at Leeds Crown Court last month.

“The 35-year-old, who was jailed under his real name of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had already been handed a suspended sentence for the same crime and was told he could have caused the trial to collapse.”

Now, this is my comment: He admitted the offence. Let’s think about that.

Had there been a re-trial of the offenders, who were found guilty and sentenced to long jail terms through the proper exercise of our justice system, it would have involved their victims facing an uncomfortable cross-examination a second time.

Robinson (Yaxley-Lennon) was clearly not, as some say, hoping to expose a cover-up by the authorities of crimes committed by “Muslims”, at some personal sacrifice; his arrest was a publicity stunt, around which far-right groups from all over Europe have mobilized, provoking the reaction of politicians, Christian, Islamic and Jewish groups, the press, ‘people of decency’ and of course, Antifa activists. Which, of course, he is very happy about.

And while his lawyers appeal, he is keeping the pot boiling with alarming claims that he fears being assassinated by Muslims while in jail; statements for which he has no evidence but which play to the gallery and are unfortunately swallowed whole by Mary Greeley followers.

It’s pretty clear that Robinson did not care about the victims at all, but was only seeking an opportunity to amplify his paranoid views on a wider stage about a ‘Muslim takeover’ of Britain. Otherwise he could have waited one more day for the trial to finish and expressed his views happily without running the risk of arrest and prosecution.

Nor did he seek to defend himself; clearly hoping that his imprisonment would galvanize support for his anti-Islamic campaign. Whatever your views on immigration, and frankly I cannot see why people should not be able to live freely wherever they choose, there are a quarter of a million Americans living in Britain and welcome, the #freetommyrobinson movement has provoked a kneejerk reaction by a wide range of social extremophiles to a dogwhistle act of self-martyrdom by a convicted criminal.

Muslims – many of whom migrated here decades ago as citizens of former, exploited British dominions – comprise just 3.6 per cent of the population and cannot be regarded as some threatening monolithic bloc or an “invasion”. Islam in Britain is not under any centralized control. There are factions and degrees within Islam just as there are within Christianity.

Islamist extremists comprise a tiny minority that may be growing as a result of Islamophobia; mostly native to Britain, their views have been shaped by propagandists mining the history of abusive Western interventions in majority Muslim countries; as well as by aggressive policing.

Many of his supporters have tried to argue that Robinson was merely exercising his right to demonstrate lawfully in a public place, ignoring that he was livestreaming himself on Facebook – ensuring a worldwide audience for his views on British justice while prejudicing the trial.

We have long had “Judges’ rules” here in Britain about not commenting publicly on court cases while they are ongoing. The anonymity of witnesses is always enforced in the case of minors and sexual abuse charges. Robinson knows this perfectly well.  The right of free speech in Britain does not extend to breaking a legal injunction protecting children from intrusive harrassment.

Another argument that is being put forward in Robinson’s defence is that he has said no more about the trial than has been reported in mainstream media. The same supporters then go on to argue that the “politically correct” media has kept silent on the subject of grooming and rape cases involving organized groups of mainly Pakistan-origin migrants. They cannot have it both ways.

And in fact, such cases until they come to trial have been extensively reported in the media, which helped to expose the perpetrators in the first place. No-one is excusing their vile behaviour; the point being, these were not religiously motivated crimes, as Robinson and his supporters insist, demanding a wrongful interpretation of Islamic practices.

I don’t burgle a house because I was baptized a Christian, I do it because I’ve found it’s an easy way to make money.

Many supporters, while claiming that theirs is a nonviolent, non-racist movement and that Robinson is opposed to the far-right, although he seems to share many of their views, do so with a great deal of violence in their voices, the occasional Hitler salute and a willingness to oppose those whom they perceive as Islamist fellow-travellers in a never-ending war (when was the last time any of you Christian soldiers saw the inside of a church?). Forgive us older ‘lefty luvvies’ if we see echoes of the 1930s in all of this, but they are there.

It is true that officials locally failed for years to intervene in those sex trafficking rings, fearing accusations of racism and possible revenge attacks; but there was no centralized policy of politicians and the media to avoid charges of bias against immigrant communities of mainly Pakistani origin, suggesting that organized sexual abuse of vulnerable minors is a cultural norm in Pakistan. It may be outside the cities, I don’t know.

And that the victims were mainly vulnerable young white teenagers? It’s surely a matter of the easy availability of a victim pool: we need to look at the economics of austerity: poor housing, inadequate schools, homeless families, hopeless parenting, drug abuse, underinvested industries and underfinanced local authorities, before we even start to blame Muslims as a clade.

I don’t expect the bulk of Mary Greeley followers to understand or agree with my analysis, but you might do us the courtesy of appreciating that we are governed by laws in Britain that have evolved over centuries of struggle against the ruthless authoritarianism of a privileged landed class to be as fair and tolerant as the mass of people deserve.

Make no mistake, we will defend them.

You on the other hand have put yourselves under the autocratic rule of a demented old thug, a serial liar and incompetent administrator; possibly even a compromised Russian asset, whose only interest in the presidency is to enrich himself and his children. I accept it may be difficult to see it from your position; or perhaps you just don’t care anymore.

MAGA? Good luck with that. But let’s not free the Tommy Robinsons of this world. Not just yet. In any case, he’s achieving more from his cell than he ever did outside.

 

GW: flushin’ hot and wet

Nigeria: Over 30 people have reportedly died in flooding. Severe flooding struck Ogun State in south western Nigeria on 13 July after a period of heavy rain caused rivers to overflow. Torrential rain between 15 and 16 July caused deadly flooding and widespread damage in the northern state of Katsina, situated on the border with Niger. Flooding in south eastern Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) has left at least 2 people dead. – edited from Floodlist.

Update, 17 July: The Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, has confirmed that 48 people have now died in the flooding. 20 people are still missing. “This is the worst natural disaster I have ever witnessed in my life. I believe this is the worst ever seen in the state,” the governor said.”

China: Severe flooding since 12 July in Sichuan and Gansu provinces in China has left at least 15 people dead and caused widespread material damage. Almost 1 million have been affected by the flooding in Sichuan province, where 3 people have died. As many as 100,000 people have been evacuated in Santai, Beichuan, and Pingwu counties, state news agency Xinhua reported. 12 deaths were reported in neighbouring Gansu province.” – edited from Floodlist.

Japan: a 39 deg. C (102F) heatwave has resulted in over 2 thousand hospitalizations and at least 7 deaths in the wake of the devastating floods and landslides in the southwest that killed around 200 and forced the evacuations of 5 million people.

USA: 100 deg. F-plus temperatures are persisting over much of the SW this week while New York and much of the east coast is experiencing 90 deg. F. plus. Phoenix Az once again leads the way with 42 deg. C (107F). Cooler conditions are forecast for Canada, where more than 50 people have died from heat-related conditions this month. (source: The Weather Channel)

Europe:  “At least 11 wildfires are raging inside the Arctic Circle as the hot, dry summer turns an abnormally wide area of Europe into a tinderbox. The worst affected country, Sweden, has called for emergency assistance from its partners in the European Union to help fight the blazes… The Copernicus Earth observation satellite, which gives daily updates of fires in Europe, shows more than 60 fires burning in Sweden, with sites also ablaze in the Arctic latitudes of Norway, Finland and Russia.

The Weather Channel/ Floodlist/ Guardian

 

Spanish onions

“Problems with the submarine first became apparent in 2013 when it was discovered it would be too heavy to float, necessitating a redesign to make it lighter and spread the weight over an extra 10 metres.

“But that means the vessel is now too long to fit into the submarine dock in the Spanish naval base at Cartagena…” which is having to be lengthened at a cost of €16m. – Guardian report, 19 July

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Americans in Britain, you have nothing to fear but Trump himself… Kicking the immigration ball out of the park… Daylight Raabery: kenneling the Brexit Bulldog… GW: bemoaning again the shortage of paper towels… The Living End: God damn Microsoft and their lousy enterprise.

Essential reading

“Nationalism, tribalism, dislocation, fear of social change and the hatred of outsiders are on the rise again as people, locked in their partisan silos and filter bubbles, are losing a sense of shared reality and the ability to communicate across social and sectarian lines.” – Michiko Kakutani, writing in The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/14/the-death-of-truth-how-we-gave-up-on-facts-and-ended-up-with-trump

“The President should be above the law, Sir.”
“What law is that, Brett?”
Trump welcomes his pre-pick to the Supreme Court gravy train.

 

“By all means, wear your tartan trews and carry a man-bag”

You have nothing to fear but Trump himself

Americans living in Britain also have to worry about Trump’s visit to Britain, according to the U.S. embassy there. The U.S. State Department has warned Americans in Britain to “keep a low profile” and “be aware of your surroundings” this week due to demonstrations being planned against the president. – Washington Post

American officialdom at its most paranoid. “Be aware of your surroundings”, what, are innocent tourists from Omaha once more going to wake up in foggy Limehouse Reach with sore heads and a metallic taste, trussed and rolled, asking of the concerned copper bending over them: “Officer, where am I?”

Look up to the sky, guys. Does a humorous protest involving a large orange effigy of your infantile President wearing a nappy flying as a blimp above London look like evidence of a wicked conspiracy to threaten the lives of your citizens on the streets – many of whom will undoubtedly be keen to share in the general revulsion here at the demented baby-snatcher’s furtive visit to your special relations?

Or is it an example of that unfathomable British irony you just don’t get? (I particularly liked the protestor bearing a placard: “We shall over-comb”)

The general mood in Britain at the moment will more likely see Americans embraced on the streets, if they dare to emerge from their air-conditioned hotels and bank offices, along with everyone else from wherever in the world they hail, as fellow victims of the global conspiracy to screw the common people.

By all means, wear your tartan trews and carry a man-bag, if it so pleases you. We have never been so united in our inclusivity as we are the morning after our multi-ethnic young footballers somehow carved a triumph out of a predictably dreary defeat in Moscow.

If you don’t want to read this bit, look away now:

Alfred, Lord… tennis on!

Your Uncle B was otherwise glued to the second of two totally incredible, historic quarter-final men’s tennis matches in one gloriously hot and sweaty afternoon at Wimbledon – on TV, but nevertheless – and saw almost nothing of the football.

Singles tennis is like one wall-to-wall penalty shootout lasting four hours, a duel to the death with a passion and intensity and an athleticism rarely seen on the dank pitches of the North.

After his fascination with the early rounds, Bogler decided he never wanted to watch another football match in his life: just a lot of expensive haircuts strolling around, kicking the ball back and forth to the goalkeeper, hacking at one another’s shins, tugging pathetically at one another’s shirts, harrassing their opponents pestilentially like annoying sand-flies, wrestling strikers to the ground, falling over and rolling about in feigned agony, hamming it up like Sir Henry Irving playing Romeo, making sickening appeals of childhood innocence and loss, wheedling to the referee with much eye-rolling, gesticulation and gibbering supplications to Heaven, none of it with any apparent intention of ever scoring goals, being the whole purpose of the game; but occasionally taking wild swings and hoofing the ball over the stand – having, in England’s case, seemingly no knowledge of how to do it, other than through the determined application of professional techniques for the obtaining of setpiece free kicks….

Did Gareth Southgate never tell Raheem Sterling it is absolutely within the rules of the game to take the odd power-shot from the edge of the box, or pass to an unmarked shirt, rather than run around in circles waiting for the fullbacks to arrive and dispossess him of the ball?

Ugh. Boring, boring. VAR? Humbug! And I won’t even start on the awful mateyness of the commentators, or the curious fact that neither the BBC nor ITV, who were sharing the coverage alternately, would ever deign to mention that a match was being televised on the other’s channels. Fucking childish, if you ask me.)

Get over yourselves, teenage State Department baboons barricaded in your hideous new (“Such a bad deal”) embassy.

You have nothing to fear but Trump himself.

 

“…the lesson would have been salutary to those who still imagine that a white face and calf-length shorts are a mark of national greatness.”

Kicking the immigration ball out of the park

The WaPo also comments boldly today on the multi-ethnic nature of European teams and the fringe debate going on between French intellectuals as to whether we should allow ourselves to remark openly that 85 per cent of the French squad comes from African minority backgrounds, or simply accept that we are all citizens of La République now, regardless of hue and culinary differences.

(We should all gang up against Croatia for the final, however, recalling their wartime support for the Nazis and the exclusive whiteness of their players, also for bringing their domestic politics so blatantly into the European Championship in 2016.)

It’s a pity in a way that England didn’t get through to a final against France, a team we might have beaten, as half the England squad also consists of ethnic minority players native to Britain. I fear we run the risk of being labelled racist for even observing it, but the combined effect would have been salutary to those who still imagine that a white face and calf-length shorts are a mark of national greatness.

I’ve been noticing something different, which is that the further east and north you go in European football, the fewer black and brown faces you see in their squads.

This chimes with the BogPo’s frequently Posted opinion that there is a religious-right, white-nativist movement lurking behind the disruptive and – as we are finding out too late – illegally financed campaigns to bring down the EU, the US constitution and other democratic institutions, largely emanating from the East, where a new Soviet bloc is emerging*, where klepitalism is the new collectivism.

A more rational explanation for the anomaly is, of course, the post-colonial movement of former native subjects to the ‘mother countries’, that has been going on since the 1950s. Nor Croatia, nor Poland, nor Iceland, nor Sweden, nor Russia have ever made colonies of African nations and consequently have no obligations to their past imperial connections.

In fact you can tie the two together. It is a curious phenomenon noticed by researchers following the EU referendum, that the fewer immigrants there are living in any part of the country, the greater is the local hostility to immigration.

Wikipedia recorded not long ago that the entire Muslim population of profoundly Islamophobic, virulently racist Hungary, busily erecting fences to keep out the brown tide of Syrian refugees against all norms of civilized compassion, not to mention UN and EU rules, was less than 5,500; most of them ethnic Hungarians.

Incidentally, what happened to Hungary as a once-great footballing nation? Ferenc Puskas, and that lot?

Maybe they could use a few limber young Africans to pep-up the squad?

*To illustrate this alarming assertion, a convoluted situation is emerging in the Czech Republic, one half of the divided former Soviet satellite state of Czechoslovakia, where a far-right, libertarian, anti-immigration government led by a wealthy oligarch Prime Minister under investigation for corruption has had to go into coalition with a regional bloc of hardline, old-style Communist politicians linked to Moscow in order to stay in power.

Watch that space, if you can!

x

“By appointing him to purportedly “negotiate” Britain’s inevitable no-deal exit from the EU, Mrs May has guaranteed her own departure.”

Daylight Raabery: kenneling the Brexit Bulldog

In the wake of the resignation of the hapless David Davis, Britain’s so-called “Brexit Bulldog”; who is, one imagines, relieved to have found a way out of the firing line, new Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab gave a fairly shoddy account of himself on the BBC’s Today show this morning.

The poor chap has been dumped in the unenviable position of having to promote St Theresa’s waffly agenda for Brexit, supposedly agreed unanimously by her fractious cabinet at a meeting last week, when he obviously doesn’t believe a single idea in it can or should be allowed to work.

Despite his reputation as an up-and-coming Tory high-flier with half a brain, his answers to some fairly light grilling by Mishal Husein consisted almost entirely of dredging up the good old Vote.Leave slogans.

The May compromise deal will absolutely allow us to “regain control” of our laws, our sovereignty, our borders, our courts, our senses, our women and our knife criminals;  guarantee jobs, allow us to trade freely with the rest of the world (i.e. the USA) with no customs tariffs or hard borders, and to rebuild the empire while curbing unwanted immigration – except, obviously, for where our shitty trade deals with the rest of the world (i.e. the USA) might oblige us to take in more of their citizens….

It’s heartbreaking, how stupid these Brexit moral imbeciles think we 48 per cent – nearly 17 million – Remainers are. It’s all lies, they know it, flying-unicorns land, but they won by a tiny margin, so we have nothing to say about it. And the pity is, the triumphalist Leave tendency in the minor shires and the abandoned wasteland of the north is still painfully unaware of what really underlies their misplaced vote.

That’s because Raab is at heart more of a Brexiteer than any of the ambitious plotters in – or now out of – the cabinet.

Revealed by Open Democracy yesterday, is the probably well-known fact that Mr Raab is deeply involved with and influenced by the ideology of the Institute for Economic Affairs, a messianic neo-Thatcherite libertarian think-tank masquerading as an educational charity, which has quietly insinuated itself into the heart of the Tory party over the past few years, calling itself the Free Enterprise Group.

The IEA is linked with a number of conservative Christian lobbying and funding institutions in the US, on whose web pages butter would not melt, but which are clearly engaged in the experiment to cleanse the Union of its heretical multicultural socialist-democratic elements and unsavory permissivist tendencies.

Just taking one as a for-instance, the Templeton Foundation funds university projects in such esoteric areas as research on the biological basis of Atheism.

Reading between the disarming lines on their tasteful website one senses the only reason for funding research to discover a scientific basis for disbelief in the improbable (it’s called rationalism) would be to reassure believers they can use anti-science to counter those unbelievers who are opposed to their set of improbable dogmas.

In other words, to convert the heathen.

Open Democracy finds that the IEA is reluctant to reveal the sources of its funding, however the Templeton Foundation is said to have donated more than half a million dollars to the IEA through the American Friends of the IEA, which was originally set up with tobacco money to fight the campaign against smoking.

Are we draining the Swamp? You bet! Right into your living room.

The IEA invites speakers like Raab, who are on published record as arguing that the British worker is a lazy fellow, and that for his own good, among other things, the abolition of workers’ rights, environmental and consumer protections, the total privatization of the NHS, pensions and State welfare fallbacks, combined with tax cuts for corporations, are necessary components of the New World Order.

Do you see the parallels between Raab’s intentions and those of, say, Steve Bannon, whose poisonous libertarian ideology based on the snivellings of Ayn Rand still infects the befuddled old brain of the US President?

Do you see how this plot against consensus liberal democracy, “The Thing”, is unfolding?

With just those few hints of an agenda that obviously demands the dismantling of the EU as our protector of civil liberties and the “caring State” in favour of an ultra-capitalist free-for-all, one sees immediately the nature of the enemy, the true aim behind Brexit being to deregulate the economy in favour of the wealthy and the exploiter class.

One of a clutch of new Tory MPs elected in 2010 who are believed to form the core membership of this so-called Free Enterprise Group, Raab is now the fox in the chicken-coop.

By appointing him to purportedly “negotiate” Britain’s inevitable no-deal exit from the EU, Mrs May has guaranteed her own departure.

And an eternity of spin and misery in corporate servitude for the rest.

 

GW: bemoaning again the shortage of paper towels

Afghanistan: at least 10 people are known to have died and many others are missing after a landslide brought on by rapid ice melt on the 11th and 12th caused a dam to burst in the northeastern province of Panjshir, sweeping away a village, Floodlist reports. Rescue teams have been sent to the area.

Puerto Rico: “The remnants of Hurricane Beryl brought heavy rain and wind to (the US protectorate) from 09 July, causing flooding, and (to the) Dominican Republic from 10 July, where almost 8,000 people (were) evacuated. The National Hurricane Center said Beryl had weakened to a tropical storm on 7 July, as it approached islands in the eastern Caribbean.”

Mexico: severe flash floods have again affected several states and cities, including Monterrey, causing widespread damage.

India: “Authorities have rescued hundreds of people stranded in the state of Maharashtra after heavy rainfall and flooding. 1,500 passengers were evacuated from a stranded train about 40 km north of Mumbai. 3 locations recorded more than 200 mm of rain in 24 hrs on 10 July.”

Japan: death toll in the Hiroshima floods now 179. “A heatwave in southern Japan has killed at least eight people, dealing another blow to a country still recovering from the worst flooding in decades. Six people died on Saturday, and two people on Sunday, Kyodo News reported, as thousands sought medical treatment for heatstroke and heat exhaustion.” – CNN

Russia: prolonged heavy rainfall caused the river Chita in Eastern Russia to burst its banks, flooding the city of Chita, 8 July.

USA: A newborn baby was killed and several people injured when a sudden storm struck Watford City oil town in N Dakota on 11 July. A 127 mph EF-2 tornado ripped through a trailer park. Phoenix Az. experienced 70 mph winds, torrential rain AND a blackout dust storm on the 10th, almost 100k residents were left without power.

UK: The longest, driest heatwave in 40 years continues, with many areas defying forecasts of storms, and temperatures are set to rise again at the weekend. Salad crops have failed and supermarkets are relying on imports.

Meanwhile, the country has racked up its first thousand hours in a year when no electricity needed to be generated by coal. “Renewables provided record amounts of electricity, with more than 7.4% coming from solar over the past four weeks. In 2012 (coal) supplied 40% of electricity – this year so far it has provided less than 6%.” – edited from BBC News, 13 July

Northern Hemisphere: “The first six months of the year have made it the hottest La Niña year to date on record,” said Clare Nullis of the World Meteorological Organization.

“Taiwan is the most recent place to report a new high with a temperature of 40.3C in Tianxiang on Monday. This followed a flurry of other anomalies. Last week, a weather station in Algeria reported a maximum 51.3C on 5 July, the highest temperature reliably recorded in Africa. In California, daytime records were also set last week at Chino (48.9C), Burbank airport (45.6C) and Van Nuys airport (47.2C). In Canada, at least 54 deaths have been attributed to the prolonged heatwave and high humidity in Quebec. Montreal saw a new record high temperature of 36.6C on 2 July. In Europe, the WMO has warned of droughts, wildfires and harvest losses after the second hottest June on record. Over the past two weeks, records have been set in Tbilisi (40.5C), Shannon (32C), and Belfast (29.5C)” – edited from Guardian report, 13 July

Edited from Floodlist/ CEWN #128/ BBC News/ Guardian Green Light/ CNN

 

The living end

God damn Microsoft and their lousy enterprise.

For days, the BogPo has been persistently dogged by a message from the beanbags of Microsoft, politely requesting an urgent appointment to upgrade my system.

The messages became more insistent, until yesterday I was offered the opportunity to set a time, or else. I dialled through to 23.30, by when I expected there would be no more tennis on. (In the event, thanks to the marathon semi-final between two enormously tall men, Anderson (RSA, 6’8″) and Isner (USA, 6’10”), that ended 26-24 in the fifth set, there almost was.)

Microsoft immediately concluded that I must have meant 16.15 and pursued me every 20 minutes throughout the afternoon’s viewing with a button asking them either to get on with it, or please to wait just another hour as I was busy.

Eventually I took the dog out and left them to it.

When I returned, I found a series of pages on the screen, one after another offering me choices to setup this or that feature. I chose what I hoped would be the least invasive options of my personal space, that wouldn’t allow them to track my every fart and scratch, and toddled up to bed.

This morning, lifting the lid I find the computer is stuck in Sleep mode, where I definitely did not leave it. Pressing keys and wiggling the mouse fails to wake it. Turning it off and on again finally works, until a message comes up, asking me to restart again as it needs to diagnose and repair a C-drive error.

What have these incompetent lunatics at Microsoft done now? To my brand-new, barely affordable laptop, shiny-silver and thin as a biscuit, that I have had only a month?

And now I find that their slime-trail over my computer has terminated a number of my regular accounts: The Washington Post no longer recognizes me as a subscriber, The Guardian  and BBC iPlayer want me to sign in… I don’t know what my fucking passwords were three years ago, do I? Does anyone?

And then I notice that, for some unknown reason, the control bar of the WordPress WP program is no longer offering me the Underline option. The icon has just vanished.

Why do I have a feeling that nothing is ever going to be the same?

God damn them and their lousy enterprise.

Fucking Microsoft.

 

 

The Pumpkin- Issue 57: The Wit and Wisdom of Donald J Trump, #297 and his cretinous attacks on NATO allies… You’re demeaning us all, Theresa… “Why is this lying Nazi pig being invited to meet the Queen?”… GW: let’s all get together and catch up… End of.

Essential reading….

“The blooding process has begun within the democratic world. The muscles that the propaganda machines need for defending the indefensible are being toned up. Millions and millions of Europeans and Americans are learning to think the unthinkable. So what if those black people drown in the sea? So what if those brown toddlers are scarred for life?” – Fintan O’Toole, The Irish Times, commenting on our new leaders’ “pre-fascism” trial runs. 

http://www.irishtimes.com/…/fintan-o-toole-trial-runs-for-fascism-are-in-full-flow-1….

 

“I say, PM, isn’t this a bit extreme?”

 

The Wit and Wisdom of Donald J Trump, #297 and his cretinous attacks on NATO allies

“Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting from 60 to 70% of their energy from Russia (It’s actually 50%, only of gas), and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that’s appropriate because I think it’s not and I think it’s a very bad thing for Nato.”

(Kindly note: Mr Trump has a rival interest in exploiting Israel’s offshore natural gas reserves via an undersea pipeline to Europe via Turkish Cyprus – a key factor behind Russia’s blocking policy in Syria. Now read on….)

He went on to accuse Germany of only spending “a little bit over 1%” of its economic output on defence compared to the 4.2% spent by the US “in actual numbers”.

Germany actually spends 1.24% and the US 3.5%, according to the latest Nato estimate. – BBC News, 11 July

(He then went further, demanding that NATO members spend FOUR per cent of their GDP on defense, against whom or what he did not specify. This is the President, we remember, who immediately on meeting Merkel for the first time last year, presented her with an invoice for almost a trillion dollars for American forces defending Germany against Russia since 1945. His grasp of history seems to be as poor as his understanding of geopolitics, or as offensive as his manners, whichever comes first.)

But look, sighs The Pumpkin, exasperated again by Mr Trump’s oddly skewed, partisan view of what NATO is.

This 2% commitment is a highly subjective, arbitrary figure. 1.24% of Germany’s massive GDP is far more than 2% of, say, Greece’s. A large part of the UK’s 2.1% spend goes on buying American weapons platforms, for instance the chronically expensive F-45 project. That’s what he likes, but the truth is, that high capital spend has resulted in a dangerous depletion of our overall force capability across all three platforms.

Nor should we overlook the point that much of that laudable UK defense spending is taken up with things like pensions for all those superannuated generals and admirals we can’t find work for; expensive ship refits, and the maintenance of mothballed MoD facilities.

NATO does not have a standing army, it is not the military wing of the EU. America does not ‘pay for’ NATO, nor was the idea ever that NATO should pay America for its nuclear shield when it is there principally for the defense of America.

If America wants NATO-badged troops in Afghanistan, why should America not pay for them? It’s their pointless, unwinnable war. And Germany is already the second largest contributor behind the US in terms of force commitment (Mr Trump understands only money (‘actual numbers”), not degrees of commitment.)

Each country within the alliance has its own defense requirements: the likelihood, for instance, of Russia suddenly invading far-off Spain seems remote, but Spain has security interests in Spanish Morocco and a longstanding insurgency problem there. Their defense doctrine will differ from, say, Poland’s, where Russian incursion is more of a historically realistic prospect; or Greece’s, where a sense of Turkish threat still lurks.

Then there is the matter of countries choosing whether or not to have compulsory military service, often using conscription only as a means of creating an alternative labor force for emergency relief work and community projects, keeping volatile young men off the streets. Should that cost be included?

What about the contribution of NATO forces to UN peacekeeping missions and disaster relief? Does that go on the President’s invoice? Above or below the line?

And would Trump be pleased if a NATO country were to spend 2% of its GD entirely on civilian protection measures? Surely, that counts as defense too?

It really isn’t the simple, zero-sum game the Mad Emperor imagines.

The point of NATO is that, were, say, Russia to suddenly invade the Baltic states, even though they weren’t directly threatened, both Spain and Greece would be committed by Article 5 to rally to the common cause, with whatever resource they have available. GDP spend is no guarantee of effectiveness.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an alliance of independent nations committed to mutual defense; not, as Trump seems to think, an outpost exclusively of the American empire, to be taxed mercilessly without representation. Talk of “shouldering the burden” is a nonsense: NATO is a collective, not a unitary organization.

In the end it was economics that ended the Cold War

In May 1945 the collapse of Nazi Germany left the US and the Soviet Union eyeball to eyeball across the ruins of Berlin and what Churchill called the Iron Curtain descended across Europe. For 44 years, a Cold War was waged politically, economically, culturally and by covert military means globally between the two superpowers – until in 1989 the East German regime, a puppet of Moscow caved in the face of popular unrest; there was no Soviet intervention, and the Berlin Wall came down.

At that point the world realized the years of American hostility had been effectively propping up the regime in Moscow. The enemy was revealed to be a paper tiger: the economy of the USSR was a rotting basket case, and the world had to learn to accept there was only one superpower, that could do more or less what it liked.

During all this time, the NATO alliance existed in reality to justify a US presence in Europe, virtually a militarized camp, and to support the US in its ideological struggle with Communism, as part of the postwar settlement: a repaying, if you like, of the debt Europe owed America for its intervention in the war.

In the end however it was economics that ended the Cold War, not militarism and the skulduggery of the security communities; economics that accounted for the rise of the German economy and the creation of the world’s largest single market – from which US corporations have made vast amounts of virtually free money.

So if anyone owes anyone a debt, the US owes its NATO allies for supporting a profitable superpower rivalry against Communist (anti-Capitalist) ideology for over four decades, sometimes to its own imperilment, merely to facilitate American hard power projection and corporate expansion over a quarter of the globe.

Mr Stoltenberg should stop wringing his hands and tell Trump to go read a book. The European allies have nothing to answer for, and should stop pretending Trump is anything other than a crass, bullying, sick old monster driven by money, ego and mad ideas of how the world works.

If he doesn’t like the dreadfully unfair disparities within NATO, which I’m sure he doesn’t really believe in, this is just his way of doing bidness, Mafia-style, why doesn’t he slash the US defense budget, spend less on “defending” Europe against its non-existent external enemies – Europe’s enemies are even now emerging from within – and more on looking after his own benighted dumbfucks and their Ruritanian infrastructure?

Oh, right. The extra $90 billion he added to his grotesque trillion-dollar defense budget last year isn’t for defending Europe against Russian expansionism; it goes to the defense contractors and the arms salesmen who fund the Republican party, and they’d like more, please.

It’s all about self-interest.

As usual, the pigs have it.

x

“…one of your more endearing traits is that you appear to have been in a coma since the 1960s.”

You’re demeaning us all, Theresa.

Following the resignation of her embarrassing Foreign Secretary, Theresa May effusively welcomes Trump’s fleeting visit, avoiding those areas – especially London – where the nation’s entire policing resource has been called out to suppress dangerous acts of satire and ridicule and the flying of inflatable blond babies, citing our enduring “special relationship” with America.

A relationship largely sustained through Britain’s role as a bridge to the EU, which she is tasked by The Will o’ the People with demolishing.

When politicians are in trouble, they flock together. But Mr Trump has made it abundantly clear: he “really liked” Boris Johnson, a man with bizarre blond hair, a man who clearly enjoys locker-room banter about grabbing a bit of pussy; and he believes he will find Ms May’s sad little nation in “turmoil”.

The Pumpkin peeks out of the window. Nope, no turmoil.

The likelihood that anyone in Britain would actually try to assassinate the President is vanishingly small. If no-one in America has yet, where millions viscerally hate him and have the legal means to blow his fuckin’ head off with an untraceable weapon from a Walmart store, why would we? He’s not our liability, but I can imagine someone like, say, Russia’s crime tsar, Simeon Mogilevitch wanting revenge for Trump’s casual reneging on his casino investments.

A Dallas scenario is not improbable, any less than Her Majesty serving the royal couple cucumber sandwiches laced with Novichok.

No, he’s not without enemies; and, as The Pumpkin has speculated before, some of his more curious behaviors are possibly consistent with a past private role as an informer against his Russian gangmasters.

Theresa, one of your more endearing traits is that you appear to have been in a coma since the 1960s. There is no “special relationship”, you poor booby; the orange pig despises you, and us, and Angela, and Europe, and NATO – whoever Putin wants him to despise, he issues official Presidential tweets making it absolutely clear that he despises us all equally. Despising people is what he does best.

So stop sucking so hard on his golden, furry anus smelling alluringly of cheeseburger, Theresa. He’s not going to give you a great trade deal, whatever he promised.

You’re demeaning us all.

 

This way for the Skylark

If you pay Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago chocolate-cake and cockroaches-in-the-kitchen resort $200 thousand, you can become a privileged member.

As the beneficial owner, despite his promise to put his business interests in trust while he stinks out the White House, Mr Trump reportedly continues to profit from the income of his tacky golfing resorts.

Latest is, membership of Mar-a-Lago also comes with the promotional offer of a free tour of Trump’s official transport, the supposedly highly classified interior of Airforce One.

Government property.

While tours of the big bird have long been at the discretion of Presidents seeking campaign funds, it is believed this is the first time a President has used Airforce One for his own personal financial gain.

Why are we not surprised?

(Report: TYT ‘Ring of Fire’ podcast)

x

Long-ish Essay

It may be said of Trump one day that “at least he made the bandwaggons run on time”.

Why is this lying Nazi pig being invited to meet the Queen?

“The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, cancelled a trip to Europe and the Middle East that was due to start on Wednesday and expanded the search and rescue effort, which involves 73,000 members of the self-defence force, police officers, firefighters and coastguard personnel.” – BBC News

The Japanese leader’s response to an environmental disaster in the far south of his country, taking personal charge of the rescue efforts, contrasts sadly with President Trump’s shameful failure to take any notice of the major floods, the lethal heatwave and fires now ravaging the western half of his country; any more than he did last year when, for instance, 140 people died as a raging wildfire gutted a large area of suburban housing in Santa Rosa, California; or when a huge storm brought millions of tonnes of fire-scorched hillside down on homes over a 30km front in Mendocino County, following the Thomas fire.

He couldn’t care less: California did not vote for him.

Oh, yes, he and the expensively shod Melania spent a couple of hours last year patronizing the flood victims of Houston, Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey; Houston, the oil and gas and hazchem capital of the United States, source of much of his funders’ obscene and planet-destroying wealth.

He belatedly dropped by to insult the families of the 17 victims of the school shooting in Florida, seizing the moment to make himself out to be the real victim, of the FBI’s ‘witch hunt’ against him: without which, maybe they’d have had more time to prevent these terrible incidents from occurring, before spending the rest of the weekend (and Monday) on the golf course at Mar-a-Lago, down the road.

(Perhaps the FBI would be less concerned if he stopped acting like President Putin’s overweight candy-stuffed Borzoi and started taking an interest in Russia’s illicit role in his election? Treason is still a crime, even in Trumpland.)

And stung by comparisons with W Bush and Katrina, he chucked a few paper towels at the survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, a country he hadn’t realized was part of the United States.

Berating the survivors as lazy, and criticism of his underwhelming response as a Democrat plot, he refused to offer more help until they repaid “Wall Street” the tens of millions of dollars he claimed his buddies at Goldman Sachs had lent the poverty-stricken administration.

Four thousand and more of the US citizens he took a solemn oath to protect at his inauguration died unnecessarily in the aftermath of that storm, since when there has not been a word from the White House.

The truth is, he’s not interested in anyone’s welfare. His sole focus now is on the Othering of “non-white, non-Americans”.

Already, young army recruits from immigrant families with intermediate residency status, hoping to benefit from the longstanding tradition that military service can set you on the road to citizenship, are being quietly let go; often without being given a reason. The reason being, naturally, that he plans to have them thrown out of the country they volunteered to defend.

We recall – I know, it’s a lot to recall – last year, Trump’s brutal demand that the Army fire all its transsexual recruits. It caused an outcry, General Mattis at first refused, but after a period of quiet reflection (apart, that is, from all the other noisy distractions this fatuous oaf creates hourly through his insane, bellicose tweets) the policy went ahead anyway. The fags and foreigners are gone. No doubt the blacks will follow.

And now, we are learning, only a concerted effort by his staffers prevented the armchair general from invading Venezuela last year, to remove Maduro. Like most flabby old cowards cheering on from the bleachers, he’s gagging for a military triumph. It had obviously not occurred to him that he could just stop Exxon and the CIA from encouraging the collapse of an oil-producing competitor.

Trump, whose own grandfather fled from compulsory military service in Germany in the 1890s, and after keeping a brothel in the Klondyke kick-started the family’s New York criminal property empire, has described undocumented migrants and legitimate asylum seekers alike as “animals”.

(The Pumpkin has blogged before, the curious observation that, despite inheriting $200 million from his dad, Fred, such that he need never have worked in his life, Trump still behaves very much like an old-timey immigrant himself; a bare-assed, Chaplinesque kid from the Bowery who believes he has to claw his way out of poverty by hook or by crook, doin’ whatever it takes, however dishonest, to secure his place in the sun. A curious mindset.)

After packing the benches with conservative judges, many of them random nominees, placemen with no legal qualifications or experience in jurisprudence and courtroom practice, thanks to his Supreme Court nominee, the corporatist Gorsuch, he has finally succeeded in banning travellers from certain Muslim countries from entering the USA, even with existing visas – and imposed a ban on Syrian refugees claiming asylum. (Not terrorism-exporting Saudi Arabia, naturally.)

Of course, national security cannot possibly play into these policies. Any ‘Enemies of the State’ would surely have arrived by now! His pursuit of this absurd vendetta, based on nothing but prejudice and his stupid promise to his dumbfucks to ban “all Muslims” from entering the country is purely vexatious.

He has frequently falsified crime statistics to try to claim, entirely without merit, that immigrants are responsible for the majority of crimes against the white citizenry;  citing Germany as a country that let in many migrants and “look what happened!” Nothing “happened”, other than a political backlash by the usual rightwing suspects encouraged by Trump’s weird rodomontade; and, of course, a rash of hate crimes committed by white natives against immigrants.

And in another recent speech, he announced he is considering further “tax reforms” of the kind that have already benefitted the top 10 per cent (as well as property developers, specifically) with a $1.4 trillion giveaway of additional Federal debt, to be paid for by the removal of health insurance and other social benefits (including schools, housing and youth opportunity programs) from 32 million Americans.

We seem to have forgotten, too, that his business enterprises abroad have led him into some very dark alleyways. The New Yorker reported last year, for instance, on the money trail leading from Trump Organization via daughter Ivanka to a dubious hotel development in Azerbaijan, Trump Baku, thence to Transport Minister and crime family boss, the oligarch Mammadov – and on, via a dodgy Indian property development business to the al Quds division of the Iranian National Guard, no less – a sanctioned terrorist organization notoriously laundering money to obtain foreign currency with which to buy arms.

Who now remembers that little entanglement? The detailed reporting appears to have had no consequences whatever for the President, shocking though it appeared to be.

“He could take a shit on the Queen of England’s carpet and they’d cheer him on.”

It may be said of Trump one day, the insensible Orwellian pig, this crude, misogynist, made-for-TV pretend business thug who contemptuously threw candy at the German Chancellor during the G7 in Toronto, sneering: “Don’t say I never give you anything, Angela”, that “at least he made the bandwaggons run on time”.

Like his avatars, Putin, Orban, Erdogan, he has demonized journalists, on whom it now appears to be open season. In the wake of the murder by a white-supremacist of five journalists in Annapolis two weeks ago, he has described us all as “really bad people”; a classic case of transference.

His abuse of the messengers is merely a cynical ploy to control a media agenda he already owns. While his economically bankrupt trade tariffs and withdrawal from global trade agreements (“very bad deals”) are costing hundreds of thousands of American jobs and handing them straight to China; a country where he and his putrid son-in law and daughter have extensive financial exposures.

And at recent rallies he has ratcheted up the rhetoric, pledging to remove all non-Americans from the country; even those on Green Cards and special category work visas. Why? Modern America needs skilled workers, from wherever it can find them. But his dumbfucks making minimum wage in dinosaur industries, fast-food and ripoff malls don’t.

He pushes and pushes at the boundaries, just to see how far he can go with his brutal tactlessness, his vindictiveness, his childish insults, his atavistic instincts and cruel humor; what they will accept. So far, it looks like they will accept anything. He could take a shit on the Queen of England’s carpet and they’d cheer him on.

Even while he sneakily recruits immigrant labor for his own businesses on those selfsame visas, and places production contracts for his shoddy MAGA hats in China, US producers are suffering from labor shortages and migrant roundups. Reports are emerging of many families being split up by deportations, even of people legally in the country, for minor traffic violations and so on.

This slimy, corrupt, deceitful charlatan, a known business associate of organized crime figures around the world, is deliberately emulating the provocative tactics of the National Socialists in Germany in the 1930s.

His crude policy is to animate his fervent base of well-armed, demented housewives and bible-totin’ rednecks, for whom no disgusting, inhumane policy redolent of the Nazi era is a sufficient reason to abandon their blind faith in him; although an increasing number are, leaving only the worst and most biddable.

As Fintan O’Toole perceptively writes (see above), history shows it is not necessary to have a majority vote in the country to install a corrupt dictatorship, provided you have a sufficiently motivated core of supporters fanatical enough to undertake despicable and violent acts against a demonized, dehumanized minority – one that can be blamed for all the ills that are inflicted on the masses in reality by the greed of the rulers and a system rigged against the workers.

The worst is, they know that. They know the richest one per cent have stolen half the wealth of the nation, their wealth, but they can’t get at them, past the guards and the gates and the private armies; past the electronic surveillance, the drones, the special laws and privileges; the superyachts and the money; the bent judges and corrupt representatives. So they turn instead in a fog of comforting lies and rend those worse off than themselves.

Virtually alone among Americans, 68 per cent of specifically Republican voters have expressed their enthusiastic support for Mr Trump’s “Zero tolerance” policy of removing the children of migrants at the Mexican border, babies as young as a few months ripped away from their mothers, criminalized by the mere fact of their being there, to places of secret detention all over the country; many, as he admits, now lost and never to be reunited. Private firms are doing this for him. He has even found a way to monetize human grief.

And you thought my headline is maybe a bit excessive? I tell you, no words exist to describe this filthy, sick Nazi pig. He is beyond all human lexis.

At first, Trump tried to deflect the international outcry over his revolting act of inhumanity by blaming a “law” that does not in fact exist, passed by “Democrats” who never passed such a law, claiming that only Congress could overturn it; within hours thereafter to grudgingly sign an Executive Order without benefit of Congress, appearing to overturn that non-existent law, as he saw votes possibly disappearing.

But the evil practice is still going on, as he knew it would.

Weighty, 500-page Congressional reports continue to trickle out, their conclusions proving Trump indisputably to be a serial liar; none daring to say so in so many words.

He has been lying about the so-called “crimes” of his arch-enemy, Hillary Clinton and her election campaign, that he still demands she be locked up for (he has called for the abolition of habeas corpus, insisting in the case of the border migrants that trials are a waste of money).

He is lying too about the role of former FBI Director James Comey in investigating Clinton and instigating the ‘witch hunt’ against Trump for political reasons at the head of a corrupt and demoralized, in his terms, federal investigations force – all self-contradictory bullshit carefully calculated to undermine public trust in any law enforcement agency that might conceivably stand in his way.

As with his “birther” libel against President Obama, so the cynical, relentlessly exploitative, media-savvy Trump has created a conspiracy against himself, to unite his followers behind any lie they’re happy to believe; yet another tactic straight out of the central-casting fascist dictators’ playbook.

Yet he continues to proclaim the untruth that successive reports all exonerate him of the accusation that he colluded with Russia in the 2016 election campaign. Those reports have so far had nothing whatever to do with “Russiagate”; an issue with which only a guilty man, liberal pundits argue, would be so constantly obsessed; an itch that only someone with something to hide would so obsessively be scratching.

Trump would claim if he could that that the New York phonebook exonerated him, if he thought the dumbfucks would swallow it.

Nothing he has said about any of this supposed conspiracy by a hostile “Deep State” loyal to his hated predecessor, Obama, is remotely true, but it is promulgated in those areas of the media he already controls; while disparaging all others as “lügenpresse”.

His financial relationship with the ever-reliably supportive channel, Murdoch’s Fox News has been laid bare; yet 42 percent of American voters continue to believe everything Trump cronies like the rack-rent landlord Sean Hannity and slimy Tucker Carlson report, the bilious rapturings of hate-spewing harpies like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, even when their grosser calumnies are exposed for the lying garbage they are.

“Just the border kids thing is an automatic one-way ticket to a clawshake with Beelzebub.”

It all resonates with the prejudicial dog-vomit, the selfishness and vengeful God-inspired hatred and envy these folks feel in their hearts towards the rest of humanity; a world many of them, so-called Evangelicals (who dominate the White House staff and hold weekly prayer meetings there), whipped-up by filthy commercial hucksters like Jim Bakker, hope will end soon so they can meet their Invisible Friend in the sky.

They’re that fucking crazy.

Do they seriously believe He’s not going to send them straight down to the eternal fires of Hell for what they have become? Just the border kids thing is an automatic one-way ticket to a clawshake with Beelzebub. Let alone the 19 women now alleging serious sexual assaults against the President; all of whom, he says, are money-grubbing liars. So why is he paying them?

And still the Mueller investigations into Trump’s campaign team and his murky business activities grow more tentacles, like the Hydra. Yet as we head into the summer recess, no impeachment proceedings are forthcoming, so besmeared and compromised with Trump’s stinking fishburger guano is the supine Republican party, their mouths stuffed with coal; and by the Fall so many more horrors will have been unleashed from Pandora Trump’s big box no-one will even remember the present batch, let alone last year’s, that have already been forgotten or dismissed. (See many Pumpkins passim!)

How in God’s name this unholy monster was created and unleashed on the American people and the world at this perilous time is difficult to say. Many have tried, but he appears – has throughout his undistinguished life appeared – to be untouchable. Sheltered by the vast wealth of the oligarchs, his rise to callous, self-serving, kleptocratic autocracy seems assured for the foreseeable future: Orwell’s old boot, stamping on a human face forever.

 

Taking back control

Theresa May, doing comedic Tommy Cooper impression, complete with hand gestures: “Brrrr-exit… Just like that!” (Groans from assembled Tories) “Shouldn’t you have put on the fez, Prime Minister?” (Laughter, resignations, Brexetera.)

 

GW: let’s all get together and catch up.

The Climate and Extreme Weather News website fell a few days behind this week, so there aren’t many surprises to report from the world’s citizen journalists and local news services – although the toll from extreme weather events continues to spiral upwards.

Historic flooding in Japan made a few lines and half a minute of video in the national news, largely on account of the millions evacuated and scores drowned or buried in mud. Otherwise, the mainstream media still resolutely refuses to connect the dots.

Japan: The death toll in the “historic” Hiroshima floods rose today, 10 July, to 155, with around 79 still missing. 2 million households have been compulsorily evacuated; 2 million more advised to leave. Tokyo was rocked by a M6 earthquake over the weekend.

China: floods in the south and east of the country have killed 16. There’ve been more floods and landslides too in neighboring districts of Vietnam.

“Schools and offices across Taiwan have been ordered to close and hundreds of flights have been cancelled as the island braces for a powerful and life-threatening typhoon. Soldiers are on standby amid fears of landslides and flash floods as Super Typhoon Maria bears down with 130mph winds and torrential rain.” – Independent, 10 July jh

Australia: just racked-up its hottest 12-month spell on record.

India: For yet another year, increasingly prolonged and heavy monsoon rains have brought flood misery to the north. 33 people have reportedly died in Assam province, 5 more in Mumbai. The Punjabi city of Lahore in Pakistan was flooded, causing 6 deaths, on 3 July after 6 in. of rain fell in 24 hours. Floods in Nepal killed 12.

Africa: there’ve been more floods in Nigeria, where 10 people, mostly young girls, drowned on 02 July; and Ghana, where 7 people died on the 29th.

The western half of the USA and parts of Canada have continued to be affected by storms, floods, wildfires and extreme heat since the middle of June, with numerous fatalities confirmed. It is, of course, all a Chinese hoax.

Europe: there was severe flooding in Italy and Greece at the end of June, as yet another major cyclonic system appeared over the eastern half of the Mediterranean. As previously mentioned, the town of Moena in Italy was deluged with a massive hailstorm, turning roads to rivers of ice, etc.

Meanwhile, as of 10 July much of the UK is still sitting under a ‘heat dome’ extending from the Atlantic, although cooler, cloudier weather has been circulating down from the North Sea over the east coast. Record temperatures have been set in Wales and Scotland, and a number of large moorland fires continue to burn. There’s a decided air of fatigue setting in among players at Wimbledon.

CEWN #127, citing local sources/ The Weather Channel/ Floodlist/ BBC News/ The Guardian

Climate trolls are clearly either insane, unfathomably stupid or just enjoy winding serious people up. I assure you, guys, it’s not got “half-a-degree colder”, just because 2016/7 was “half-a-degree warmer”! It’s still warmer than before. Duh.

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End of

Yellowstone: the biggest geyser in the park, following a M3.2 earthquake in nearby Montana, the Steamboat erupted at the weekend for the 11th time this year, hurling small rocks into the air. The most times it has gone off in previous years was 3 in the whole of 2003. USGS park director Poland writes that it’s normal for geysers to erupt; worse if they don’t. The Pumpkin believes bears may also shit in the woods.

Hawaii: after two months, the vast caldera at the top of Mt Kilaueia is still collapsing into the void caused by the escape of the magma chamber through old underground lava tubes. 24 miles away in now uninhabitable Leilani Estates, Fissure 8, the one that’s causing most concern, continues to spew huge quantities of lava flowing to the sea; an Olympic swimming-pool’s-worth every 25 seconds!

Ozone: not a boyband, but the poisonous single-atom nephew of oxygen, ozone in the heat-blasted parts of the USA is regularly exceeding danger levels. However in the upper atmosphere, ozone protects us against cancer-causing UV radiation. You might remember the crisis in the early 1990s of holes appearing in the ozone layer, that were put down to chemicals called CFCs used in manufacturing processes, as a propellant in aerosol cans and as coolant in refrigerators? They were rapidly banned by international agreement, and the holes started to close.

Only they’re opening again. Vast quantities of CFC-11 are being illegally used in China, in the manufacture of cheap insulation panels for all those thousands of blocks of flats they’ve been building. Not only that, but CFC is a greenhouse gas, retaining heat in the atmosphere, worsening global warming. BBC Science reports:

“China’s polyurethane foam makes up about one-third of global production, so if they are predominantly using an ozone-depleting substance it will set back the closing of the ozone holes by a decade or more. As well as the ozone layer, CFC-11 has a warming impact. Researchers estimate that if the use of the chemical continues, it would be the equivalent of CO₂ from 16 coal-fired power stations every year.”

 

Now slow space travel

Israel has announced it is sending a manned mission to the Moon.

Well, it’s a UN-protected territory they haven’t yet built illegal settlements on.

If I heard the item aright, they expect the mission to take two months. But hang on, it took the Americans only three days!

Then we recall the 40 years the Israelites took, getting the less-than two hundred miles from Egypt to the Promised Land.

Haven’t they heard of SatNav?

 

Surviving climate-change… Call it “refocussing”, Sajid… The EU needs to make an example of Hungary, and fast… The Wit and Wisdom of Donald J Trump #27… GW: and the heat goes on… The water no works – a personal reflection (May contain embarrassing medical details).

 

Surviving climate-change 

Near where I live is an unspoilt bay, and behind the beach is a low-lying, reclaimed estuary, from where in the 1850s the river was diverted away along the coast to deliver more water to the harbor.

Separating the two is just a shingle bar.

And living in a blue, two-room tent on the land side of the shingle bar, protected by a fence made from driftwood and stuff in garbage bags, is a homeless man.

He’s been there since last autumn.

He seems to bear a charmed life, as every spring-tide and storm surge now washes right over the barrier into the river and the fields behind. How the waves don’t wash him away, seems like some kind of miracle.

Truly he’s an inspiration to us all.

 

Home Office News

Call it “refocussing”.

“94 year old South African Myrtle Cothill visited her only daughter Mary, aged 68, in the UK in 2014. Whilst in the UK, Myrtle’s health deteriorated and her family were told that if she left she would be at greater risk of death within months of her return to South Africa. After a huge public outcry Myrtle was granted leave (to stay) on human rights grounds in 2016. But she is left to pay the fees to extend her visa every 2.5 years. It’s a huge financial burden as Myrtle obviously cannot work, her 68-year-old daughter Mary lives on a small pension, and Mary’s 62-year-old husband David (who suffers from Parkinson’s) battles on working part-time as a cashier in a supermarket.” – Petitioner, Jan Doerfel

Yes, the Home Office is once again threatening to order their barely sentient G4S goons to wrestle a 94-year-old blind woman with health issues onto a plane back to South Africa, where she has no living relations, her only daughter being British (a former nurse, and a registered carer).

But if she bungs the government twelve hundred quid, she can hang on for another couple of years.

Are we really that hard up, we have to start blackmailing vulnerable elderly couples caring for their aged parents?

Have we really become so intolerably nasty, cruel, miserly and grasping a nation? The sixth largest economy in the world? For why?

Oh, right. No room for foreigners, eh? When 6 per cent of the land mass of Britain is categorized as “developed”, we clearly have a problem finding space.

Except in Myrtle’s case, obviously. She’s living in her daughter’s house. The house is already there. So the problem doesn’t arise, does it.

Oh, well, what about Resources, eh? She’s non-productive and eating up our taxes demanding NHS healthcare for complex issues.

So am I (see below). And I get paid the State pension for doing it. Pay me £100 thousand and I’ll leave tomorrow. Cheap at the price.

And by the way, I doubt she qualifies for free NHS care, after only two years on a temporary residency visa.

But she’s not like us, she’s a funny color!

Actually not. She looks just like your grandma. And mine. But she does have a funny accent, so let’s send her back to bongo-bongo land.

Mrs May’s big election manifesto promise was to take care of the “Just about managing” lower-middle class. A promise totally, some might say cynically, abandoned as she teeters helplessly this way and that atop a fence of her own making over her party’s irreconcilable divisions on Brexit strategy, a crisis that has subsumed all other policy delivery and thwarted the functions of responsible governance.

Millions of people like “Mary” and “David” are living under this Toryshambles in conditions of worrying borderline poverty, many of them elderly first-generation migrants, a small step from potential disaster, watching their tiny incomes and benefits shrink while their costs of living rise inexorably. The coming reprise of the banking crisis will destroy them.

Conditions, one has to add, entirely brought upon themselves by the “Just about managing” class voting (twice, at least) in what seems like total ignorance for this historic blunder: the double-whammy of an inept minority Tory government buoyed up by Irish bigots, and Brexit.

Against this background runs an undercurrent of xenophobic resentment encouraged by the media targeting the same demographic, that has infected the bureaucracy so deeply that only root and branch reform can weed it out. And who can be bothered?

With so many injustices piling up as a result of Theresa May’s “Hostile Environment” policy on immigration (clergymen’s daughters are the worst, ain’t they?), the unthinking autocrat’s political solution to competent humanitarianism, the Home Secretary clearly has some Home Work to do over the holidays, don’t you, Sajid?

Call it “refocussing”? It’s enough to make you tear your hair out.

Er…. Oh.

 

“Europe is entering a new dark age. But it is already too late. They have no idea how dark the age is going to get”

The EU needs to make an example of Hungary, and fast

Or, then, you could consider the case of Hungary.

In 1956, a student protest escalated into a fullscale revolt against communist rule and the government fell. The Soviet Union sent tanks into the capital. “On 4 November”, recalls Wikipedia, “a large Soviet force invaded Budapest and other regions of the country. The Hungarian resistance continued until 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed in the conflict, and 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees.”

To cement his position in power, here in July 2018 the ultra-rightwing nationalist demagogue and one-time liberal protégé of George Soros, President Victor Orban has pushed through legislation, among other things criminalizing NGOs that provide aid to legitimate asylum seekers in his country. Hungary is barring its doors to refugees in open defiance of the UN Convention and EU law, to secure the popularity of this calculating thug among his white supremacist bigots re-running old battles against the Ottomans.

Open Democracy reports:

“The new laws target individuals and groups who provide assistance – including legal advice – to asylum seekers. Those convicted face up to 1 year imprisonment. NGOs that provide advice and assistance to refugees also face a potentially crippling tax of 25%.

“The legislative changes were labelled the ‘Stop Soros‘ laws. George Soros is a Hungarian-American billionaire financier and philanthropist. He has given large sums of money to immigrant and human rights groups over the years. He has also long been the target of far-right and antisemitic conspiracy theorists, including in his native Hungary.”

For the Orwellian fanatics beginning their assault on European democracies, it’s essential to have a hate figure, and for the expediently anti-Semitic, Islamophobic Orban the Hungarian-born Jew, Soros, who once paid for him to go to Oxford university, will do; just as Turkish voters are being taught by the clearly insane President Erdogan that his former friend and colleague, the exiled cleric Fetullah Gülen, is responsible for their ills; almost all of which have been brought about by Erdogan’s own economic incompetence and dogwhistle isolationism.

Was this Hungarian refugee kid maybe you, Orban, you miserable, ungrateful little fucker?

Clearly, this overbearing item, Orban has no grateful recollection of the events of 1956. I do, I remember my grandmother, an officer in the Red Cross, being dispatched to Vienna to process his terrified refugee family – at least, those like them who perhaps did not collaborate – and bring them to safety in the UK.

(That was the year after my grandfather, a postwar economic adviser to the Hungarian government and senior wartime MI6 executive, met a suspicious death in 1955 while ‘on holiday’ in neighboring Yugoslavia.)

We took in 27 thousand Hungarians, and if the Home Office were doing its job it would now round up any surviving refugees and their “British” offspring and intern the whole fucking lot in a camp on the Isle of Man, to remind Hungary what the outcome of their beloved leader’s pro-Russian fascist policies will inevitably be.

Buit they won’t, because I feel sure there is some not-so secret admiration in the British government for Orban’s hardline stance on immigration.

If Orban does vaguely connect with the events that must have affected his family 62 years ago, it has moved nothing in his black and empty soul, other than a hatred of the left, of anti-authoritarianism. It goes without saying, this shitty fucker needs to be expelled from the European Union, and fast.

Nothing in his expedient regime meets the rules and higher aspirations of the Union, so he should take his Ruritanian rutted feudal demesne, get on his ox-cart, and leave, now. Let him serve the Russian Tsar. We should not waste another tax cent on the bastards.

What ambitious pigs like Orban, Austrian vice-president Strache, pretty-boy Wilders, the Le Pen Addams family and Italy’s curiously not-quite Prime Minister, the n’drangheta mob-sponsored Salvini – not to mention Rees-Mogg, Johnson and the rest of the Brexit cunts – are not noticing, is that they have almost no time left in which to work their shitty little power-plays.

It’s over.

We’ve fucked the planet. Something entirely new and different from the 1930s is needed now, and they ain’t got it.

Europe is entering a new dark age. But it is already too late. The current crop of rightwing hopefuls have no idea how dark the age is soon going to get for them and everybody else.

 

The Wit and Wisdom of Donald J Trump #279

Speaking at a veterans’ fundraiser in West Virginia, Trump solemnly informed the gathering that coal is the best form of energy for “national security” because it’s “indestructible”. You can’t bomb it, like you can a pipeline, and it’s not affected by rain…. (Yes, he said that!)

Mr Trump has previously imagined at a rally last year that “clean coal”, a scientific term referring to storing carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations underground, an expensive technology still at the experimental stage, meant you wash the dirt off before burning it. Seriously.

We can only imagine that Mr Trump’s fascination with coal derives from his gratitude to some of his biggest donors, Koch Industries and Murray Energy.

Meanwhile, investigations are focussing on Mr Trump’s relationship with Fox News, which, it now appears, may have made $15 million-worth of undeclared campaign contributions to his election campaign in 2016 through hours of free advertising masquerading as serious reportage.

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GW: and the heat goes on

Japan: “Flooding and landslides have killed at least (76) people and left dozens missing in western areas of Japan. Most of the deaths have occurred in Hiroshima prefecture, which has been hit by torrential rain since Thursday. Hundreds of homes have been damaged. About 1.5 million people have been ordered to leave their homes and three million more advised to do so. Authorities say it could potentially be the worst weather disaster Japan has seen in decades. … In the town of Motoyama, 600km west of Tokyo, 583mm (23in) of rain fell between Friday morning and Saturday morning.” – BBC News, 08 July

Pakistan: “Severe weather, including dust storms and heavy rainfall, has affected parts of Punjab Province in Pakistan over the last few days. At least 6 people died after flooding in Lahore, capital city of Punjab province, on 03 July. Local media reported record levels of rainfall in the city. Further heavy rain fell in other areas of the province the following day. … a further 7 people have died and 29 injured in different areas of Punjab Province since the flooding in Lahore.”

Nigeria: “Local media are reporting that at least 8 people have died in flooding in Niger State. At least 2 others are still missing.”

USA: “Heavy rain caused surface flooding in Houston, Texas, on 04 July. Some central areas recorded 7.8 inches (in 24 hrs). Several bayous, including the White Oak Bayou, broke their banks. 3 southern Minnesota counties have declared a state of emergency as flooding caused by torrential rains washed out roads and damaged property.” – Edited from Floodlist reports.

“Thousands were forced to leave their homes in Santa Barbara County, Ca. on Saturday as a fast-moving wildfire driven by strong winds and triple-digit temperatures destroyed 20 homes and other buildings, and officials declared a local emergency. The Holiday Fire, one of more than three dozen major blazes burning across the US west, broke out on Friday evening and raced through the seaside foothills. The flames forced more than 2,000 people to flee their homes, and left thousands more without power.” – Guardian, 08 July

Italy: “As much as 130 mm of rain (5 in.) fell in under 4 hours on 03 July in the town of Moena and surrounding areas in the province of Trentino, northern Italy. The torrential rain caused rivers to overflow and sent mud and flood water raging through Moena’s streets. Other areas of the province also saw severe weather, including thunderstorms, lightning strikes and strong winds.”

UK: Our heatwave continues – still no sign of rain in West Wales. Wildfires continue to burn here, and outside Manchester. Scotland has recorded its hottest ever day, according to provisional figures from the Met Office. On Thursday 28 June, a temperature of 33.2C degrees was measured in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire.

Atlantic: after a month of quiet, the first Atlantic hurricane is strengthening for an assault on the Lesser Antilles islands. Hurricane Beryl is tiny: only 35 miles wide, but packin’ a punch. (Latest: No, Beryl has weakened to a TS but a new system is forming SW of Bermuda. Sea temperature and windshear are not currently conducive to hurricane formation.)

The Weather Channel/ Floodlist/ Guardian/ BBC

 

The water no works – a personal reflection

(May contain embarrassing medical details)

Once again your old Uncle B. has had to draw upon the seemingly infinite resources of the NHS to get him out of trouble.

He’s beginning to realize that however young you imagine you look, and however invincible you feel as you are lugging 25kg bags of ready-to-mix concrete and large paving slabs about your tiny garden, ignoring your protesting muscles, anno domini is creeping up behind you – fast.

My sweet new neighbour was astonished the other day when I confessed that I planned to turn 70 next year. “I thought you were maybe in your late 40s!”, she exclaimed, disappointment written over her pretty brow (her boyfriend has left her.)

Readers, Spammers, Likers, Trailers – and Those No Longer Reading This, muh bogl –  will be au fait with the dismal tale of my retinal surgeries earlier this year, that have left me with a degree of vision in one eye that resembles looking through the bottom of a beer glass, only with a missing bit in the middle.

Opticians tell me sadly, no improvement can be expected, no lens can correct it.

Yesterday, more drama ensued as an ambulance arrived and bore me off to the local hospital.

I felt a bit embarrassed about that, as I was not dead or gasping for air, had not fallen down the stairs or accidentally mistaken weedkiller for milky coffee.

I did try, twice, to get in the car and drive myself to Casualty, but the discomfort was extreme – no cash for a taxi, and after four hours of desperately trying to drain my old bladder – Blad the Impaler, as I have christened him – to be rewarded only with a few drops at about 4 a.m. and nothing at all thereafter, the agonizing contractions were coming thick and fast.

(Such wimps, we men. If we only knew! Sigh.)

I had Googled “urinary retention” at about 3.30 a.m. and become alarmed at the possible knock-on effects of all that straining, not least the damaging back-pressure on my kidneys. Newton’s Third Law also comes into play when you squeeze that hard, that often into your pelvic floor, as any pregnant lady kno’, and it gets leaky the other side.

At 05.30 I called the hospital, but after twenty minutes with the phone in Casualty ringing off the hook the receptionist advised me to call my GP Out of Hours service, who in turn told me to go to hospital. I explained about the car, the discomfort, the contractions; she agreed that an ambulance was the best option and she was calling one for me.

After another hour went by, and no ambulance, I called the GP again. The surgery was awake by now, and casually informed  me that today’s waiting-time allowance for non-emergency cases is four hours, although the ambulance station is only four minutes from here. I explained about the non-“emergence” of any urine for the past ten hours, the back-pressure on the kidneys, and she relented. My conveyance arrived four minutes later. Almost.

Once inside the medical campervan I underwent a battery of tests, blood pressure and sugar, heart still beating, pupils correctly dilating – all the while noticing that my arms and legs appeared embarrassingly begrimed with concrete dust and garden soil. So tired had I been after lugging half the stock of my local builders’ merchants home, that I had thrown myself into bed without showering, which I rarely bother with anyway.

The clodpolls had sold the rest of the pile of bricks I had earlier reserved and paid for, and had been collecting 50 at a time. “Sorry mate, you can’t get hold of those now for love nor money”, said the man, with much eye-rolling, sucking of teeth and, finally, an offer of a small compensatory discount for non-matching bricks – so now I have to construct a strangely piebald wall.

Life has consequences, of which deep embarrassment is one. Be Prepared! was the motto when I was a boy scout, and I had ignored it. Never put off until tomorrow… etc., but just take that shower; vacuum that sitting room; walk that dog; badger that urology department for an appointment; have those bricks delivered now, while you can!

The proximate cause of the blockage, I suspected, was the bottle of Merlot I’d imbibed while sitting on a hard chair in my sitting-room watching the shadows lengthening over the Centre Court at Wimbledon, enjoying the friendly banter and televisual comradeship of Claire, Boris and Martina, all the while inflating my old prostate, already the size of an avocado, crushing my urethra flat.

It happens sometimes, about every six weeks. I’ll spend half the night straining over the wc to little effect, but always there’s been relief as the sun comes up and I get going with the milky coffee and have to rush to the drain behind the kitchen in a sort of Pavlovian response to various psychological triggers, before spending a day dodging behind trees and whizzing in people’s front gardens.

After that, it’s always settled down – always, until the day the ambulance arrives and the curtains of the neighbours start twitching in curiosity and hope.

And now, Dear Persistent Reader, now I have a bag strapped to my concrete-dusty leg, filling with slightly bloody-looking urine as the catheter the willy-man shoved up my pipi gradually drains what may turn out to be the rest of my life away, through a bewildering complex of tubes and ingenious valves: a contraption it will be my task now to master and manage, possibly forever.

I forgot to ask him, what happens if you get an erection? Probably you never will again. And I worry about going swimming. But it’s quite handy, never having to rush to the bathroom, or worry about finding a tree. You just go wherever you are, even while having conversations with unsuspecting neighbours!

It is punishingly sore, though; and I have had to adopt a curious, crouching gait, slowly hobbling along after Hunzi, who still requires walking twice a day in the exurban space that, etc. (Later I discover lovely Mario, the Italian charge nurse who speaks little English, has strapped the thing on too low down on the leg, causing the tube to pull tight.)

It may be like this, only until I can get to see the urologist, a Ghanaian gentleman who also speaks little English, in what I have been hopefully promised will be a fortnight’s time. He might release me from the contraption, provided no lasting damage has been done by it. These NHS people are all very lovely and helpful, albeit incomprehensible, but I couldn’t help reflecting that my biopsy (happily negative) was twenty months ago and there’s been no follow-up contact since.

The NHS is great in emergencies, when you finally get through on the phone; when the ambulance finally arrives. Nowadays, that’s about as far as it goes. Endless forms are filled, that you suspect will go nowhere (“So, P., can you tell me about your medical history? Are you allergic to anything? No? Cool!”); repeated, not apparently relevant tests (blood pressure checked three times in two hours, although why? I’m not ill!), all procedurally highly efficient, no doubt – but once you’ve been gratefully discharged with a bagful of spare tubes and minimal instructions as to how to manage the rest of your life (“Any questions, see your GP” – never mind the three-weeks waiting time), you’re entirely on your own.

Apart from Hunzi, that is. You’re never alone with a lovely dog.

He even slows up for me, looking anxious.

Bless.

 

 

Son of Novichok… The last human?… An aviation mystery… GW: Upstairs in the attic, blowin’ up me rubber ring…

Polling finds that “20 percent of Americans would deny Muslims who are American citizens the right to vote.” While over 60 percent of Republican voters support separate internment for the children of migrants at the border. – Washington Post report.

 

“And afterwards we can sign a non-disclosure agreement…” (photo: knowyourmeme.com)

 

“You’d have to invoke quantum theory to explain it.”

Son of Novichok

A couple living in Amesbury, Wiltshire (eight miles from Salisbury, scene of the nerve agent attack on Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia last March), Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, were taken to hospital on Saturday night, unconscious, with a mystery illness at first assumed to be a drug overdose.

“The police and government … said they were keeping an open mind…. By the end of the evening, the police announced the tests showed it was Novichok, a type of nerve agent originally developed in Russia.” – BBC News

Someone had recognized the symptoms from the last incident. As it just happened to be the same hospital that saved the lives, just about, of the Skripals. And just up the road, boffins at the chemical weapons research establishment were instantly able to confirm the samples were indeed Novichok.

Lucky, or what? I mean, it could have happened anywhere. And again, none of the unprotected first responders appears to have been affected, even though they did not immediately know they were dealing with a deadly contaminant engineered to kill on contact.

What are the odds, eh?

England getting to the quarter-finals of the World Cup; a minister lying in the House about a deeply pessimistic report of the disastrous Government attempts to iron-flat the social security system; a Prime Minister floundering as Brexit bully-boys in her cabinet send her ultimatums to wreck the economy; a drama involving an entire youth football team trapped in a cave complex in Thailand have left this astonishing story somewhere down the running order, but by tomorrow it will be number one, and rightly so.

Just what the hell is going on? As Mr Trump might ask.

No-one has any idea, and what remains of the government is clearly panicking; while the police advice to the frightened people of Amesbury? “Wash your clothes. Don’t pick anything up unless you know what it is.” Very helpful, I’m sure. What does “anything” mean? What does this stuff look like? It’s a secret!

Then there’s the media. The BBC’s security correspondent, Gordon Carrera, is also floundering. His unlikely explanation: “Perhaps this is some of the Novichok prepared for the attack (in March) and discarded – maybe somewhere like a park, a house – and maybe these two came across it.”

Perhaps. Maybe. Just what you want from a security expert.

Look. Forty-something couples living in agreeably sleepy country towns, people called Dawn and Charlie, can’t automatically be assumed to be involved in post-Soviet era skulduggery.

But might they be?

Murders in Midsomer generally involve shotguns, quarrels about overgrown Leylandii hedges, adultery – or hitmen from The Smoke whacking crime barons’ retired business rivals. They don’t include deadly compound nerve agents and GRU goons acting on a nod from Putin.

Apart from the weapon of choice, and the proximate locations of Salisbury, Amesbury and the grim facility of the Porton Down biological warfare establishment, it might seem nothing would link the two murder attempts – assuming they were murder attempts, and not accidental own-goals.

The initial response of the Russians to hot accusals from Mrs May in the wake of the Skripal incident was, as usual, to argue that it was only the West trying to discredit Putin prior to his re-election in May. Or, to divert attention from her problems over Brexit. Or it was MI6 tidying-up one of its own double-agents who’d gone rogue.

The obvious reason then for attacking innocent villagers apparently at random would be for Russian agents to exonerate the Russians: “there’s an epidemic of Novichok in your country, comradeski; it’s not ours, it must have escaped from Porton Down, and been left carelessly where anyone can find it; why, would you think we would deliberately target a former double-agent living peacefully in retirement in the heartland of the British defense industry?” And so on.

So, a diversionary tactic to cover-up for the first attack. Really?

The BogPo will return to this diverting spy story as soon as we learn more – if we ever do. The key, we suspect, will lie in the occupations of the two victims and what relationship they have with Porton Down, or with the security establishment; a key that has tantalizingly not yet been turned after four months. We are being told absolutely nothing.

Because the sheer impossibility of the story is that this poisoning could have been accidental. If the attack on this couple was accidental, then so must have been the attack on the Skripals – and therefore not an attack at all. What are the odds against two innocent couples being accidentally poisoned eight miles and four months apart by the same Soviet-era military nerve agent no-one wanted to admit still exists?

You’d have to invoke quantum theory to explain it.

For now, it seems highly unlikely that Dawn and Charlie are just collateral damage from the previous incident. They have to be connected. Novichok has, we learned at the time, a half-life: its effectiveness decays. March was a long time ago for this stuff to have hung around. Why Amesbury? And why now?

And, what, the would-be assassin just happened to throw a bag of it away, where four months later, Dawn and Charlie, out gathering magic mushrooms in the forest, managed to find it and smear themselves with it? It’s a compound substance, the individual chemicals are non-toxic. You have to blend them to make it active. Or so we are told.

The extent of their involvement may never come out, but involved in the Skripal affair they most certainly must have been somehow.

The probability of a second Russian attack in the UK using a banned military-grade substance, right in the middle of the feelgood World Cup football tournament in Russia, after the global furore caused by the last one, is vanishingly small, although it will be blamed on them. Is that what they are relying on? The sheer implausibility of this awful thing happening twice?

There are no coincidences in the world of espionage.

 

Day 5: “Theresa May said on Thursday that Salisbury and the wider area remained “very much open for business”. – Guardian

She’s definitely losing it.

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Sometimes there’s an air of ‘fin du monde’ about a sunset over the west coast. (Photo: The BogPo)

Nature Notes

“…one could almost be the last human on earth. Someone has to be.”

The last human?

Hunzi and I take our daily constitutional along the cycle path through the exurban space that passes for our local park, round the small, tangled wood beside the town sewage works and back. It is, as I have noted before, a space far from the nearest poisoned farmland, compartmentalized into many enticing habitats:

  • A clear, pebbly-bottomed stream, once long ago teeming with salmon and sea-trout, now shrunk in the unaccustomed weeks of sunshine (thanks to a blocking high-pressure area out in the Atlantic) to less than half of its normally quite respectable girth;
  • its murmuring, tree-lined banks, mainly willow and alder, where hopeful signage tells us voles are being protected. I’ve never seen one, only a kingfisher once, ducks, and a couple of times a heron; plenty of feral cats, though;
  • open areas of heath-like quality, infested with gorse and broom; shoulder-high thickets of brambles;
  • an impenetrable forest of spiny sloe-trees (Prunus spinosa) planted by Post Office workers in honor of a colleague long deceased;
  • marshy areas, temporarily bone-dry, supporting patches of reed-grass, bullrushes and goat-willow;
  • hanger woods creeping up hillsides crowned with open sheep-pasture;
  • succession woodland on the valley floor pockmarked with overgrown, ancient flood-traps, where bluebells in the early spring radiate their ultraviolet glow amid discarded bag-waste and the detritus of winter floods;
  • an arboretum, mostly birch, their trunks crazed with some virus that is causing great black galls and cracks in the silvery bark, filled with a powdery orange mildew;
  • two railway embankments (one a narrow-gauge line with a Puffing Billy steam locomotive, for tourists), warrened by rabbits;
  • a half-acre wildflower meadow rapidly filling with new bracken, so late in the season; its tall grasses drying brown in the heat;
  • a private cricket ground, scorched and brown; the university playing fields, newly shorn of their riot of buttercups; the sewage works popular with shit-hunting gulls, before you come upon the industrial estate and community recycling facility….
  • some ribbon development visible through the trees, halfway up the valley sides;
  • a nearby, thundering main road, beside which Hunzi, Katz and I have been condemned by my Committee of Discarnate Entities and the immutable Karmic laws of the Universe to live, surrounded by shouty people with power tools.

We walk through all of the above for about 40 minutes as usual, listening for the loud explosions of the seed cases of the gorse in the sunshine. It is late June, 24 degrees with a faint sea-breeze hardly troubling the topmost leaves and – albeit half-blind in one eye, and through sunglasses – over the course of two miles I observe the following tally of wildlife:

  • 1 meadow brown butterfly.
  • 1 moth, gray, of undetermined species.
  • 2 worker bees, foraging among the bramble blossoms.
  • Possibly 2 or 3 other bees on the wing, not pausing long enough to be identified.
  • 2 grasshoppers, heard not seen.
  • About a dozen flies, some trying halfheartedly to be annoying.
  • 1 blackbird, ground-feeding.
  • 2 corvids – I never know, are they jackdaws?
  • 1 pigeon, stupefied upon a wire.
  • In the far distance across the rooftops along the side of the valley, four or five gulls.

Otherwise all is still, silent apart from some desultory midday birdsong and the distant rumble of traffic. Around us, in the overgrown verges, the woodlands and the meadows, amid the ridiculous profusion of early summer verdure, that ambushed us only three or four weeks ago, is an ominous shortage of invertebrate life.

On this stunning day, blue sky smeary with the jet-trails* that tragic American halfwits are constantly posting they believe are proof of a conspiracy between NASA and the Pentagon to control the world’s weather, a conspiracy that must have involved tens of thousands of aero-engineers, maintenance crews and airline executives from a hundred countries for over 60 years without anybody saying anything, on this, the flattest of flat earths (bounded, presumably, by the Ohio state line), we appear to be facing extinction.

Not that there is anyone much around to notice: a postal worker on his way to work – we acknowledge one another with a cheery grunt almost every day, whom I have never seen wearing long trousers, a man in his 50s – and a solitary cyclist, a person I don’t recognize, a visitor helpfully dressed for identification purposes, unmistakably as a cyclist.

The welcome disappearance, after a busy weekend, of waddling, multiply tattooed  harridans, their snarling pitbulls and even more obese daughters pushing prams with one hand while keeping up intense monologues on their cellphones with the other; the lack of joggers dispelling clouds of Lynx in their wake, the dearth of silly grownups on roller-skates and skateboards are welcome reminders that one could almost be the last human on earth.

Someone has to be.

It might not be too bad.

 

An aviation mystery

* Jet trails, hmmmn. You know what? They’ve stopped!

The usual messy sky over the valley. (Photo: the BogPo)

Here just outside Boglington I walk Hunzi for two hours every day around the valley, observing with mild trepidation that we seem to be directly under a busy flight path for commercial airliners heading out to sea en masse, up to 20 at a time.

The sky is usually, as I have written, criss-crossed with vapor from their engines, spreading out and creating a high-level haze of stratus cloud over the valley.

And since the weekend, at least – it takes time to register these things – they’ve pretty much completely stopped. Disappeared off the radar, as it were.

I’ve spotted only three, maybe four, in the past week; two of those way off in the distance; and last evening at sunset I heard a solitary airliner cruising overhead, but could see nothing in the clear blue sky.yh

The weather here has been most unusually dry, hot and sunny for weeks, and we have even had our very own wildfire – it burned for four days and there were helicopters and everything, dumping water, but it didn’t make the national news.

Otherwise, nothing. I point out the empty sky to a few other dog walkers I judge capable of independent thought, and they look mildly surprised and say, oh yes, you’re right! We hadn’t noticed. (That’s Boglingtonians for you, they never notice a thing until you point it out to them.)

But nobody has an explanation.

It’s another mystery to be cleared up in the fullness of time.

 

GW: Upstairs in the attic, a’ blowin’ up me rubber ring

Canada: “6 more people have died in Montreal’s heatwave, bringing to 12 the city’s total death toll from the extreme weather conditions that have gripped central and eastern Canada, health officials said on Wednesday.” (Guardian). Emergency services have received over 1200 calls as temperatures have lingered for days in the mid-30s C, 90s F. Another 5 possibly related deaths were recorded in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

India: 16 people died as a result of severe weather in Maharashtra, many in lightning strikes, between 22 and 24 June. Santa Cruz observatory in Mumbai recorded 231.4 mm rain in 24 hours. Since 29 May, over 1 million people have been affected by heavy monsoon rains and severe flooding in the north-eastern states. As of 25 June, the number of deaths stands at 239.

“At least 3 people died in Jammu and Kashmir, northern India, after days of heavy rainfall. Authorities suspended the famous Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage due to threat of floods and landslides.””Floods and landslides caused by heavy rainfall since 01 July, 2018, have claimed 12 lives in Nepal, with a further 6 injured and 3 still missing.”

Vietnam: floods and landslides triggered by recent heavy rain in northern areas of the country have killed at least 7 people and destroyed almost 50 houses. Nam Giang in Lai Chau province recorded 386 mm (14 in.) of rain in 24 hours to 24 June.

Myanmar: At least 30 people have died in floods and landslides in Myanmar since early June when this year’s monsoon rains began. 6 people were killed in a landslide that buried a staff quarters in Kachin state on 22 June and 5 more in flooding elsewhere. Record rainfall fell in Mon State on 17 June. Rakhine state and Magway Region were severely affected by flooding and landslides in early June.

Darfur: torrential rains on 21 June destroyed 430 houses in six displaced persons’ (internal refugee) camps in Zalingei, Central Darfur. High winds accompanied rain that lasted all night. Large numbers of families are now living in the open after the rain destroyed their houses and they lost what little they owned.

Ghana: “five people have been confirmed dead and one missing following a heavy rain that caused flooding in some parts of Kumasi. Heavy rain began during the evening of Thursday 28 June. During a 24 hour period to 29 June, Kumasi recorded 115mm of rain. A further 76 mm of rain fell the following day.”

Edited from officially sourced reports on Floodlist.com/ 

Oman: the coastal city of Quriyat (Qurayyat) on Tuesday 26 June posted a 24-hour low temperature of 42.6°C (108.7°F) from local midnight to midnight. “According to weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera, this sets a new world record for the hottest 24-hour-minimum temperature ever recorded.” The maximum temperature in Quriyat peaked at 49.8°C (121.6°F), and topped out at 50.6°C, 123°F in Joba – another record.

USA: 30 June: baseball-size hail pelts north Texas, Colorado.

A dome of intense heat—not too far from record intensity for so early in the summer—will migrate from the Rockies to the Midwest and Northeast by this weekend, accompanied by worsening air quality. An unusually thick layer of dust from the Sahara will bring hazy skies to the central U.S. late in the week. Temperatures are expected to reach or exceed 110°F in Arizona on Tuesday and Wednesday.” Dangerous levels of ozone are being warned of.

Meanwhile, thanks to cooler waters over 2,000 bathers have reported being stung by jellyfish off the coast of Florida in the past two weeks. Wunderground specialist, Dr Jeff Masters complains that the Atlantic hurricane season has got off to a disappointingly slow start, but “June has already seen four named East Pacific storms with the arrival of Daniel on Sunday, and at least two more named storms are possible this week before the month is out.”

“At least one person died in flash floods that hit areas around Des Moines, Iowa, on 20 June. The city of Johnston recorded 8.4 inches (213.36 mm) in 24 hours. Rivers broke their banks and emergency services including teams from Des Moines Police department carried out dozens of high water rescues of people trapped in flooded homes or vehicles.” (Edited from Floodlist)

Europe: Heat warnings are out across much of southern Europe and across the Mediterranean to the Adriatic, where amber warnings have been given for severe thunderstorms over Greece. Details on Meteoalarm are, as usual, scanty, so we can’t be sure what a yellow advisory will add up to in Spain, but we find that even the Irish Republic is being warned of temperatures in the high 20s C, while here in Boglington tomorrow we are looking at a possible 30C, 86F.

Welcome to the apocalypse. Saddleworth Moor, Manchester, England, 28 June. (Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images.)

UK: as temperatures climb into the 30s C, high 80s F, a brushfire has consumed a 4-mile stretch of Saddleworth Moor, Manchester, after weeks with almost no rain. The peat subsoil is smouldering, making it difficult to contain. Denizens of the US west will no doubt have got over the limitations of the language by now, but Britain’s first major wildfire in years evoked all the cliches, as the “dry as tinder” scrub burned, “One resident described seeing “ash falling like rain” (more like ash, shurely? Ed.) and another said it “looked like the apocalypse”. The Hollywood version, presumably.

How brown was my valley? The view across the parched Boglington cricket club ground, 02 July. (Photo: The BogPo)

Here in Boglington we’ve had three days of wildfires burning further up the valley, but as yet nothing to make the news. People here are curiously incurious. You point toward the roiling smoke plume three miles away and the heavy haze hanging over us and they say, oh yes, we thought we could smell something, what is it? 33C is the forecast for tomorrow and apart from the smoke we still have wall-to-wall sunshine and more scorching heat forecast, odd for usually monsoonal late June.

Russia: “a crane driver died trying to prevent his rig from falling on the city’s wedding palace when a powerful storm hit Bernaul on the 23rd June. It left the city almost totally without electricity and caused water supply shortages. Traffic lights failed, and trees, fences, billboards were smashed.” – Siberian Times

According to its Wikipedia entry, Abakan is the capital city of the Republic of Khakassia, located at the confluence of the Yenisei and Abakan Rivers in central southern Siberia. As of 7 pm this evening, 25 June, local time, the temperature there was 35C, 95F.

Greece: flash flooding followed 24 hours of heavy rain in the south and midlands. 28 and 29 June the rain moved north and east, causing widespread flood damage and washing out roads in Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.

Meteoalarm/ The Weather Channel/ Siberian Times/ Floodlist

Storm over Barnaul, Siberia, 23 June. (Picture: Vyacheslav Postnikov)

World Cupballs

“Well, his arm was not in an unnatural position. It’s still joined to his body.” BBC commentator.

The Pumpkin – Issue 55: The War on Drugs targets children – with drugs… Midterms: And the beat goes on… Open letter to: the BBC Board – Trump news coverage a shameful disgrace… Sensationalism gone mad… GW: turning up me collar, gazing at the sky… To irony and beyond

“To Infinity and beyond!”
‘Dorothy’ Trump muses wistfully that “there’s no place like space” as he plans to build a golf course complex on the moon (Image: mashable.com)

 

 The War on Drugs targets children – with drugs

“A series of heartbreaking investigative stories published Wednesday by Reveal and The Texas Tribune highlights the disturbing conditions many undocumented children have been allegedly forced to endure in privately run shelters set up to house them as they await proceedings to determine whether they can stay in the country.

“One of the more gruesome details includes allegations that children at the Shiloh Treatment Center near Houston, Texas were routinely dosed with unneeded antipsychotics to keep them quiet and compliant.”TYT report, 22 January.

You might muse on the thought that the overbearing and unconscionable immigration officials, sick and twisted demons let loose by the Trump regime, are the ones who require anti-psychotics.

Worse, children are being transported all over the country in secret, in the middle of the night. Local authorities are not being informed of their arrivals. Officials have lied to airlines refusing to carry separated children about the identities of parties of children smuggled aboard, to the consternation of crew members (MSNBC report). No records are being kept linking children as young as eight months with their parents being held in detention, so that most will never find their families again.

Fears are growing that children may end up with human traffickers or fostered by abusers.

This Presidency is a Pandora’s Box of horrors and must be ended by any means.

The most effective being a bullet through the head.

Picturing history

“Hello little girl, would you like a job in my administration? Only the best people.”

Inevitably, Sandra Sanchez, the crying toddler photographed on the border while her mother is searched by an ICE agent, has gone in two days from being an icon of US brutality towards refugees and a star of Time magazine’s July cover image, to being merely a tired and fractious little girl whose mother was being patted down by a kindly Mexican border official before they were put into protective custody “together”.

There is no getting away from the fact that hundreds of similarly young children have been snatched from their families, distributed throughout the country and will probably never be reunited with their parents. Almost every iconic photo-journalistic image in modern history from the Civil War ‘dead’, to planting the Stars and Stripes at Iwo Jima and the Red Flag over the Reichstag, to the burning child in Vietnam has been debunked or downplayed as a fake, yet nothing can detract from the narrative truths and the symbolic power they represent.

x

x

“…the RNC (Republican National Committee) has given a contract for the mid-term elections to a top GOP operative involved in the theft of 87 million Facebook profiles”

And the beat goes on

In case anyone might be silly enough to imagine the first duty of the Republican party isn’t to get itself elected by hook, but most certainly by crook, and that the dirty tricks department has shut down in the face of media exposure since November 2016, Politics News reports: “The AP (Associated Press agency) has released a bombshell report about Trump and Cambridge Analytica’s 2020 election meddling plans.

“The Trump 2020 campaign just got caught hiring former Cambridge Analytica employees to work on the re-election campaign for the President.”

(See also Private Eye #1742 with news of former Leave campaign staffers walking into well paid ‘revolving door’ jobs with organizations run by former Leave.EU and other Brexit conspirators. Here in Britain too, “The Thing” goes on….)

“Today’s AP report also confirms that the RNC has given a contract for the mid-term elections to a top GOP operative involved in the theft of 87 million Facebook profiles in conjunction with the Trump 2020 campaign. Former Cambridge Analytica data scientist Matt Oczowski created a company called Data Propria and hired some of the bankrupt Cambridge Analytica’s former employees, then sold his company to the penny stock company CloudCommerce (CLWD).

“Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale also sold his marketing company to CloudCommerce and now the two men are working together on CloudCommerce’s new data analytics division.

“Parscale denies that the Trump 2020 campaign’s current goal with Data Propria is to re-elect the President, but says instead to impact the 2018 mid-term elections.

“AP reports: ‘I am laser-focused on the 2018 midterms and holding the House and increasing our seats in the Senate,’ [Brad Parscale] said. ‘Once we do those things, I’ll start working on re-electing President Trump.’” – Politics News.

Oh, just switch off your phones.

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Open letter to: the BBC Board

Trump news coverage ‘a shameful disgrace’

“It is clear to most that the President’s aim is to use the issue of children in cages and ‘soft-sided structures’ , a controversial policy he himself has created and is deliberately exacerbating, to force the Democrats into voting with hardline Republicans to pay for a border wall”

Dear Board member

I wish to draw your attention to an interview at six minutes to eight this morning on the Today program between presenter, Justin Webb and a Mr Frank Gatney, who is not so far as I know an actual employee of the US government but was said to have a previous connection with the Trump campaign.

Mr Gatney’s role was to defend Mr Trump’s morally indefensible policy and well-attested lies as regards the forcible removal into secret detention (and worse – ‘tender-age shelters’? What the fuck?) of the children of Latin American refugees, SOME LESS THAN ONE YEAR OLD, many of whom cannot now be traced or linked with any parent, who – it is your editorial policy – must be referred to as ‘migrants’, and who may never see their children again.

Instead, your bulletin writers repeatedly used the phrase ‘illegal immigrants’, when the fact is that these babies and toddlers are not ‘illegal immigrants’ in any sense other than that defined by the President himself, on no other authority: THEY ARE POLITICAL PRISONERS; HOSTAGES. In most cases it is reliably reported by US media that the parents have arrived at the southern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona borders legally claiming asylum under the 1948 UN Convention on Refugees, and have not attempted illegal entry.

This action in itself, of claiming asylum, if at the border and not at US embassies in their own countries, has been unilaterally declared by the President to be ‘illegal’; a status in law which, he has lied, was created and is being maintained by the opposition Democrat party, a position which is quite clearly preposterous and held by a two-thirds majority of Americans to be so. If it can be traced anywhere, it is to the Republican Bush administration.

The President has described these people, many of them women and children fleeing from gang warfare, rape, torture, extortion and murder in their own countries, a state of affairs nurtured over decades by clandestine US security operations in support of extreme rightwing politicians, corporate entities and the so-called ‘war on drugs’, as ‘animals’, claiming that they are all potential violent gang members (he is obsessed with a Los Angeles gang called MS-13, most of whose members are US-born.).

Thus, year-old animals are held in concrete pens in San Diego with only aluminum thermal sheeting for blankets, while the psychopath cries orange crocodile tears, oh, the poor babies, it’s all the fault of those heartless Democrats.

In fact, no-one knows where the very youngest children have been taken, the administration refuses to say. The assumption is, they’re being put up for adoption. Many of the girls, too, have been spirited away to secret detention, Chibok-style, where one imagines them being married off to Trump-supporting ‘incels’ – unattractive young men who cannot get girlfriends. (So far it’s only an unworthy thought. Ed.)

He could stop this immediately. But he is playing a game.

Mr Gatney repeated the President’s entirely unsubstantiated assertion that the children are not even the migrants’ own. He seems to have got that idea from Ann Coulter, a demented and skeletal Fox news harridan, who claims that the children are all ‘crisis actors’ employed in a conspiracy to embarrass the White House.

Were your editors awake, they would know that this is a party line supported only by a handful of White House insiders, among them known racialists and white Christian biblical fundamentalists such as A-G Sessions, dead-eyed college vampire Stephen Miller, press spokesmouth Lyin’ Sarah Sanders and Secretary of Homeland Security, Neilsen; who, last night, tried to dine at a Mexican restaurant of all places, until she was howled out by protestors. Just how stupid and insensitive do you have to be, to get a job with Trump?

It is clear to most, and he has admitted it, that the President’s aim is to use the sight of children in cages and ‘soft-sided structures’ – a controversial policy he himself has created and is deliberately exacerbating and the sound of their crying, to force the Democrats into voting with hardline Republicans to pay for a border wall; as he is so desperate to deliver a rash, off-the-cuff election promise he made in 2016 to his support base in advance of the midterm elections.

Yet Mr Webb made no attempt whatever to challenge Mr Gatney on any of the points he made, putting your editorial line on this story considerably at variance with other media, such as this morning’s Guardian, which offered a fair and balanced view but nevertheless put the growing protests even within the Republican party at the heart of the story.

With one honorable exception, John Sweeney’s 2016 Panorama report on Trump’s mafia connections, the BBC’s entire attitude to the Trump administration from the outset has been one of supine, uncritical subservience. The continuing normalization of this dysfunctional, abusive and highly anomalous presidency by the BBC is a national embarrassment.

Mr Trump as has frequently been noted is entirely unfit for office, in the opinion of many respectable commentators in the USA and that of millions of decent and sensible Americans. His actions are irrational and reprehensible, his economic policies self-serving and untutored, his foreign policy on the face of it based on financial extortion and bullying; his one-sided and antediluvian authoritarian views on many issues, abusive ad hominem Twitter attacks and his clear contempt for the constitution, judges, women and minorities are repugnant to most Americans; nevertheless he continues to enrich himself and his family through egregious breaches of the Emoluments acts and tax reforms beneficial to himself and his donors.

You have consistently failed to produce a critical analysis of this Trump regime within a coherent overview, but – as with the climate change story – treat every new pronouncement (and very few of the gaffes) in isolation. In consequence, I see and hear frequent references to Trump’s policies and statements that indicate only a very limited public understanding in the UK of the appalling nightmare he is inflicting on his country.

It takes little effort to inform oneself and the nation of these matters, but it appears from the flaccid and respectful reports of your Washington correspondent, Mr John ‘Sopoor’ that everything is perfectly normal, if perhaps a little unconventional, when it is so clearly not normal, and conventional only by the standards of a banana republic.

Do you imagine it is NORMAL that in the USA in 2018, children as young as FOUR are having to represent themselves in immigration tribunal hearings because no responsible adult or legal counsel is available? Is it NORMAL for the Attorney-General of the United States, where the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the freedom of the State from religious intolerance, to claim that God has sanctioned this evil policy? Is it NORMAL for the President of the United States to call for due legal process to be carried out without recourse to the courts?

Why are you not reporting this on the Today program, instead of putting up lying shills for the White House to defend a crime against humanity without tearing their testimony to shreds?

Mr Trump has withdrawn this morning from yet another international body, the UN Council on Human Rights, that he perceives as challenging and weakening global US hegemony. Your unbalanced response to this story was to carry without comment or question, the tendentious statement by UN Ambassador Hayley, complaining among other things of the Council’s unfair treatment of…. Israel, a gross violator of human rights.

(It seems particularly rich that Ms Hayley should describe the Council as a ‘cesspit of political bias’, with many members themselves being human rights violators, when Mr Trump so frequently expresses admiration for brutal dictators: Duterte, al-Sisi, Erdogan, Xi and Kim Jong-un, and claims half-jokingly that he wishes he could be more like them.)

I, Sirs, do not wish to accept the status of humble subject in a resurgent, exceptionalist American global empire, under the dominion of a senescent, sociopathic moral imbecile with self-serving, thuggish, anti-democratic instincts, even if the BBC does. From the start of this presidency, your editorial stance has been consistently behind the curve; partial, supine and cowardly: a shameful national disgrace.

And while I have your attention, is it possible someone could explain to me why it is that of all the categories of programming listed on your ‘Contact the BBC’ web page for viewers and listeners to offer criticism or suggestions, ‘News’ is the one button that refuses to work?

Thank you.

Postscriptum:

MSNBC News is currently (20 June) reporting the refusal of some state governors to allow the deployment of their national guard units or the use of state resources to support Trump’s filthy and corrupt immigration policy on the border.

Follow the story with Lawrence O’Donnell on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4w8mzUKczI

Post-postscriptum:

Two mornings later, the BBC finally has reporters in south Texas and has interviewed the scathing Trump critic and contributor to The Atlantic, the laconic David Frum.

Most of the coverage went out before 7 a.m., but it’s a start – although the asylum applicants are still “illegal” according to Trump, and BBC journalists haven’t really worked out that Trump’s Executive Order (it wasn’t, it was a memorandum) apparently backtracking on his original edict to A-G Sessions won’t make a difference to the 2,500 kids already in custody in secret camps all over the USA, where they can’t be traced, and who may never be reunited with their parents.

Two good news items, several US airlines are refusing to carry separated children, and a couple who hoped to raise $1500 to put up a bail bond for a Nicaraguan family found themselves with $15 MILLION after three days of pledges from over 350 thousand Americans.

Trump has so miscalculated, but as a fully qualified sociopath how was he to know that gaoling 10-month-old children might blow up in his puffy old criminal face?

Meanwhile, Army lawyers are having to be drafted in to prosecute cases in the secret border courts – another illegal act on the part of the regime as US forces personnel are not allowed to take part in policing internal affairs.

Steve Cortes, a CNN political commentator who serves on the Trump 2020 election advisory council, wrote in an email: ‘I think the president was deeply distressed by the images of children missing their parents. I also think we all need to realise that neither President Trump nor our law enforcement caused that very unfortunate circumstance; rather, these victim children were totally mistreated by their parents or guardians who chose freely to commit the serious crime of illegal trespass into our country with children in tow’.” – Guardian

Is there a possibility this toady sonofabitch with his lying blubbery lips clamped firmly around the orange anus smelling faintly of cheeseburger, sucking on it hard whilst massaging the little furry scrotum with loving tenderness, could be taken out, tarred and feathered and thrown into a pit of fire, as required by his Godalmighty, fucking Republican bible?

Please God, is there? Just askin’.

“On Friday (Trump) railed against ‘phony stories of sadness and grief’ and paraded the families of people killed by undocumented immigrants, drawing a pointed comparison by saying: ‘They’re not separated for a day or two days. These are permanently separated, because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens’.”

What the lying old bastard didn’t say was that of the nine families he paraded for his own re-election, eight were grieving for relatives who had died in ROAD ACCIDENTS.

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Sensationalism gone mad.

“One cannot permit unique opportunities to slip by for the sake of trifles.”

This somewhat trite and unexceptional maxim, a version of ‘stick to the knitting’, has got everyone’s knickers in a twist at the University of Exeter, as the words appear to be contaminated with the virus of …. National Socialism!

The connection might have escaped your notice reading those anodyne words, but after a silly scandal involving some students exchanging racist tweets, for which the university was in no way responsible, the poor old Dean and Chapter (interest alert: my son was a postgrad student there) are now having to defend themselves against accusations of being Nazi sympathisers; possibly even party members.

To be fair, the prat in the PR department who found the quote on the internet and stuck it in a student guidebook ought to have recognised the attribution to one Erwin Rommel, and paused for thought. He is quite famous.

But numerous notable (not ‘notorious’, BBC!) military leaders down the centuries have also been cod philosophers, it goes with the territory.

Business management trainees studying ‘Leadership skills’ have probably been stuffed silly with pithy quotations from far worse brutes than the shrewd and urbane Rommel, generally regarded as being among the great military strategists of history. If Hitler had only listened to him instead of wasting all the concrete and slave labor in Germany trying to build a stupid wall around France, he might well have changed the course of the D-Day landings.

The Nazis were pretty horrible, but by no means uniquely so. Our continuing obsession with them is not particularly helpful or healthy, leading as it does to trivial false comparisons and ludicrous witch-hunts against incautious latter-day politicians, comedians and academics.

They should be allowed to get on with their jobs without undereducated, self-appointed moral guardians pointing their sticky fingers at whatever they least understand, lazily resorting to bad historical comparisons to make – what? – their pointless points.

It’s sensationalism gone mad.

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GW: turning up me collar, gazing at the sky

USA: Another tropical storm that hasn’t quite made it as a hurricane is moving up from the Gulf of Mexico, the second in little over a week. Parts of far south Texas have had up to 15 inches of rain in 24 hours (to 20 June) and there are flash flood warnings out in many areas.

“(More than 60) sinkholes and washed out roads were reported Sunday (17 June) as flash flooding triggered by heavy rainfall swamped several towns from northern Minnesota and Wisconsin to Upper Michigan. ‘The majority of us can’t even get home. Roads are collapsed. Bridges are collapsed. Roads are covered in water.’ – local resident. The Radigan Flowage Dam west of Dairyland, Wisconsin burst, and the Tamarack and St. Croix rivers were flooding. 4-7 in. of rain fell in just 7 hours.”- edited from Wunderground.

And here’s the menu for just this last week’s issue #126 of Climate and Extreme Weather News, consisting of citizen videos from places affected by severe weather events.  I can’t face expanding on it, it speaks for itself: the entire northern hemisphere is flooding in a band around the globe, at roughly the 40th parallel (start of the subtropical zone). Some of these images are truly apocalyptic. Go to:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKjOjC0LxmA

Indonesia: Banyuwangi flood Turkey: Kahramanmaras flood Lebanon: Ras Baalbek flood Israel: Negev flood Ivory Coast: Abidjan flood Ghana: Accra flood Mexico: Guanajuato, Aguascalientes & Tamaulipas floods The USA: Texas & Midwest floods Myanmar: Monsoon floods India: Monsoon floods China: Guizhou floods Serbia: Uzice hailstorm & flash flood Italy: Messina flash flood Malta: Mriehel flood…

Jesus, the Negev desert?

Ivory Coast: “At least 18 people have died in flooding in the department of Abidjan. The Country’s National Civil Protection Office (ONPC) said that heavy rainfall that began during the evening of 18 June (about 6 in. falling in 24 hours) resulted in flooding that caused at least 18 deaths and severe material damage.” Many more days of rain are forecast. – Floodlist

Myanmar (Burma): Record breaking heavy rain has triggered flooding and landslides in parts of Mon State in the south of Myanmar. The towns of Mawlamyine and Mottama are the worst hit areas. Local media report that at least 1,000 people have been displaced by the flooding. Mudon, a town in Mon State about 22 km south of Mawlamyine, recorded 297 mm of rain in 24 hours between 16 and 17 June. – Edited from Floodlist.

Relief agencies are trying to shore up structures in camps housing Rohingya refugees across the border in Bangladesh, ahead of the main monsoon rains due next week. Many have been moved to higher ground. A number of people have already died in flooding and landslides.

Turkey: Several provinces in Turkey were hit by heavy rain and flash flooding over the weekend, 16 to 17 June. A child is still missing after being swept away by flooding in Selendi district in the province of Manisa on 16 June. Parts of Istanbul were also flooded, causing traffic chaos. – Edited from Floodlist.

Serbia: 13 June, massive hailstorm over Uzice. Streets turn to rivers of ice, etc.

Climate Reanalyzer points to quite high temperature anomalies persisting in northern latitudes: Canada/Alaska and Siberia – also over Antarctica.

Your Granny notes a corresponding uptick in seismic activity around the globe, earthquake locations frequently corresponding with extreme heat and floods. Seismologists and meteorologists tell me there’s no correlation, but then do they talk to each other?

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To irony and beyond

1. Thanks to the abnormally hot weather in Europe, there’s a shortage of carbon dioxide (CO2).

I’d better repeat that:

Thanks to the abnormally hot weather in Europe, there’s a shortage of carbon dioxide (CO2).

You can still learn stuff even at my age. I’ve been learning from a BBC website article that the fizzy bubbles the manufacturers put in your refreshing cold drink along with a pound or two of sugar and a raspberry are a by-product of the fertilizer industry.

Shall I repeat that unlikely assertion too? No, okay. Anyway, it appears to be true.

And the fertilizer industry shuts down for maintenance in the summer, so the fizzy drinks industry is complaining that rising demand for fizzy drinks has led to a critical shortage of the very same gas that is causing the abnormally hot weather in Europe.

It’s beyond irony.

Food miles

2. On our walk yesterday, a van is turning around in front of us. The driver leans out and asks for directions to a house about twenty yards away. The side of his van bears the legend: “Frozen food, freshly delivered to your door”.

Curious, I ask the driver where he has come from. With a rueful grin, he gives the name of a town 75 miles north of here.

Just around the corner, 12 minutes’ walk away is a large Morrison’s supermarket. It has three whole aisles of frozen food cabinets. Just in town are an Iceland – frozen-food specialists – a Lidl, a Tesco and a Marks & Spencer food hall, along with half a dozen convenience stores, all with freezers.

I’d describe it as insanity. Then I think about the £7.50 CD I just bought via the Amazon. I could have bought an MP3 download; it could have come by regular post and been shoved through the letter-flap; but no, it was instead couriered, signed-for, from the United States.

Mea maxima culpa.

On the wrong lines

3. Network Rail’s policy of cutting down 2 million trees to reduce the perennial problem of ‘leaves on the line’ has ignited controversy.

Also a certain amount of smugness, as, deprived of tree-shade, in the current 30 deg. hot spell the lines are buckling in the sunshine, forcing trains to slow to a crawl.

The same crawl with which they accommodate themselves to slippery wet leaves every year,  but without the climate-damaging dendrocide.

 

 

The Crime of the Century… History on Repeat… GW: with her kilt a’ blowin’ above her ears… Hitting the buffers… No Fly Zone #2

“Eat your damn broccoli, Donald.”
“Won’t. Shan’t. Horrible deal” #Ihateyoumommy.

 

Warning: extreme polemic; vitriol; abusive language; moral indignation.

“In a little over 500 days of streaming lies, base insults, cretinous mismanagement and vile misdeeds, Trump has absorbed all our outrage. … We find it difficult any longer to care.”

The crime of the century

A woman is breastfeeding her 18-month-old infant. An armed guard rips the child away and thrusts it into a baby seat in a car. The car drives away. The mother does not know where her baby has been taken, she may never know.

Soon she finds herself locked in a cell, accused of something that is not a crime in international law. She has no right to representation. Habeas corpus no longer applies. Eventually, after a few months, she will be sent back to wherever she came from, to endure whatever it was she came to escape. Rape, torture, murder, who cares what?

North Korea?

No, America – the southern Texas border. June 2018.

The Land of the Free.

Where crimes against humanity and gross breaches of the UN Convention on Refugees are committed multiple times daily by untrained, unaccountable, gum-chewing trailer-trash on the orders of the racist Georgia dwarf, the cretinous little Trumpsucker, Attorney-General Sessions, cowed and subservient to the whim of an insane would-be dictator waging war on children.

Trump. A lying, groping, money-obsessed conman; a filthy, self-admiring, profligate old brute, a cowardly moron who openly admires the murderous thugs and kleptocrats ruling totalitarian countries, castigates and belittles America’s democratic allies and publicly regrets that his country is, or was until he was invented, ruled with dignity by laws and moral values.

Trump, who blatantly lied to the press that ripping families apart was a “law” passed by the previous Obama administration, that he can’t change. (Clue: it isn’t, and it wasn’t, and he could.) At every hint of criticism, he desperately lies that the Democrats are preventing him repealing the non-existent “law” that he himself imposed six weeks ago, that has led to the internment of over 2 thousand children and counting.

Of course, what he wants is to trade the children for support for his insane border wall, not because it will work, he knows it won’t, but because he promised it to his dumbfucks and they’re too stupid to know that it’s a total white elephant. Bjt if he delivers it, they’ll deliver the White House to him for another four years of this horror show.

Of course, we see too that an order for several billion dollars’ worth of concrete will also make the mafia-controlled concrete supply business that he was involved with in New York through the late “Fat Tony” Salerno and the Genovese crime family a bunch of happy bunnies.

This “zero-tolerance law” is his official new immigration policy, Welcome to Trumpworld, where any migrant – people he has likened to “animals” – turning up at an official border crossing and claiming asylum according to international law is automatically declared “illegal” as if they had entered the country by some backdoor route, and is judged to be guilty of a crime; a charge extended to the “smuggling” of their own children, if accompanied by any.

How sick can you get, confiscating desperate people’s children as “contraband”?

At last, the world is beginning to take notice of a repugnant, amoral and illegal no-entry policy that began with Bush, and continued through the Obama administration but has been ferociously extended under Trump. The Guardian reports (15 June):

“A spokesman for the US Department of Health and Human Services (sic.) said on Thursday that the department had selected the Tornillo port of entry as a temporary shelter location, 40 miles south-east of El Paso, in an area of desert where temperatures routinely approach 100F (37C).

“The facility will be able to accommodate up to 360 children in “the next few days,” said the spokesman, Kenneth (‘big, bad’) Wolfe.

“Asked if children will be kept in tents, Wolfe said the facility would have “soft-sided structures,” but didn’t immediately clarify what those structures would be.”

Soft-sided structures. This Orwellian doublespeak is entirely characteristic of the grotesque, slimy dishonesty of a quasi-fascist, criminal dictatorship rampaging out of control.

Pressed on the moral issue by reporters yesterday, the fat, sweaty sack Sanders, shortly to be outgoing press spokesbitch to the foul-smelling Trump house of shit, quoted Romans, chapter something-or-other, a piece of ignorant Bible Truther sophistry about the proper application of the law under fucking God. What an awful woman she is, a snarling, sneering, dissembling, hypocritical insult to the intelligence, a gross Pharisee with fat, sweaty kids of her own; a rank, dyed-in-the-wool hypocrite.

To impose this illegal policy, secret courts are in session 24 hours a day, rubber-stamping guilty verdicts by the thousand. Secret camps have been set up, where thousands of children automatically seized from their parents are interned at the rate of 50 a day, some as young as one, without access or recourse to their parents, who have been branded as criminals without rights and are locked up, never to see their children again.

Many children are said to have been housed in cages. 1,400 boys are being held in an abandoned Walmart supermarket. The girls have been separated from their siblings. A few reporters and congressmen have managed to gain access to selected camps (access to the main camps has been denied). They report, there is no specialist childcare, no trauma counselling for terrified children, no proper healthcare or education, no toys or books or games or cellphones. Just grim-faced border guards and lines for food.

It’s a hastily arranged children’s gulag. Some of the younger children are being sent on to “sponsors” – anyone who wants a child, for whatever reason. There is little scrutiny or vetting. No-one even knows where many of those children are; not even the prize bitch, Neilsen, secretary for Homeland Security, who is in charge of this filthy crime against humanity. White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, who since working for Trump has become, like all the others, a man utterly bereft of morals, honor or courage, thinks maybe “foster homes, or whatever.”

OR WHATEVER.

This is TRUE. It is happening today, in America.

Do you hear about it on the BBC News, where that supine and useless little weasel, John Sopoor is in charge of generating whatever thin trickle of respectful and uncritical praise for the criminal psychopath, Trump comes out of the USA?

Where is Save the Children?

Where is the UN?

Where is the entire fucking population of America, with its vaunted claim to Christian decency?

In a little over 500 days of streaming lies, base insults, cretinous mismanagement and vile misdeeds, Trump has absorbed all our outrage. We are morally confused, crushed, mentally exhausted. We find it difficult any longer to care.

It is how fascism grinds everyone down, the boot stamping on a human face. We see migrants drowning in the Mediterranean every day: over 47 thousand have died making the crosssing from North Africa and Turkey. What’s a few hundred more foreign children, brown vermin, broiling in the desert, buried in unmarked graves? Refugees from war, famine, rape, torture, unbearable poverty – climate change.

How can we absorb them all?

And we say nothing, do nothing, as the crime of the century unfolds before our lowered gaze.

At least the SS carefully documented their victims.

We could start by telling every American in Britain to fuck off home. Don’t let them in. There are tens of thousands, by the way. You’re not wanted here, you dirty immigrant, we should tell them. Didn’t vote for Trump? Your problem. Go home and vote for someone else. Just go home, immigrants, useless, dirty, skiving Yankee trash, fuck off, before we start interning you in camps.

You’re no longer welcome here. You’re not even human. You’re just animals.

And take your filthy ratbag little scum-children with you.

Why, that would surely be the crime of the century. And they wouldn’t like it, would they.

They wouldn’t like it.

 

And are we any better?

“French border police have been accused of detaining migrant children as young as 12 in cells without food or water, (falsifying birth dates on “refusal of entry” documents), cutting the soles off their shoes and stealing sim cards from their mobile phones, before illegally sending them back to Italy.

“A report released on Friday by the charity Oxfam also cites the case of a “very young” Eritrean girl, who was forced to walk back to the Italian border town of Ventimiglia along a road with no pavement while carrying her 40-day-old baby.” – Guardian

Then of course there was the case last week of Italy and Malta refusing port facilities to a rescue ship with 629 migrants on board, including 100 children and pregnant women, plucked from unseaworthy vessels off the Libyan coast..

This is only going to get worse as the warming of the planet accelerates out of control, food security breaks down and countries south of the Mediterranean or the US border become uninhabitable.

The BogPo advises that you need to prepare for some very unpleasant happenings before the end.

x

History on repeat

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce” is a maxim attributed to Karl Marx, a C19th tragedian who 100 years later later repeated himself as Groucho. (You’re fired. Ed.)

The highly rated MSNBC journalist, Rachel Maddow today draws attention to the extraordinary parallels between the events of the later Nixon administration and those of the early (or, hopefully, late) Trump presidency; particularly with relation to the slush funds operated by both presidents’ “personal lawyers”, respectively Herb Kalmbach and Michael Cohen.

In Kalmbach’s case, he went to prison after turning evidence against Nixon for a lighter sentence in regard to a charge that he used the fund – amassed from leftover election donations – originally to secretly finance a campaign to prevent the segregationist George Wallace from winning the governorship of Alabama, so as to nobble any attempt on the presidency; and thereafter to pay-off the secret team Nixon put together to burgle the Watergate building.

In Cohen’s case, it appears he may shortly be charged with offences connected with selling access to the White House, both for large corporations like AT&T and the Swiss chemical giant Novartis, but also to foreign interests and at least one Russian oligarch, using the fund to enrich himself and the president; and to buy off women, including the porn star Stormy Daniels, with kiss-and-tell stories of affairs with the serially adulterous Trump, immediately prior to the election – making the money an undeclared and, in part, an illegal foreign campaign donation.

Equally extraordinary, one supposes, is the wounded reaction of both lawyers to being chopped off at the knees by their presidents. Trump is reportedly furious at the way Cohen has handled matters, albeit on his orders. (Actually he’s perpetually furious with anyone he perceives as disloyal, which is, ultimately, everyone who ever works for him.) Poor Cohen is bewildered: he has frequently declared actual love for the grotesque psychopath who “mentored” him.

Maddow recalls, Kalmbach reportedly dissolved in tears in the courtroom on being faced with the truth of what he had done, wondering plaintively why Nixon did not protect him.

Both stories involve controversial far-eastern summits with the leaders of enemy nations: in Nixon’s case with China and in Trump’s with North Korea. Both were spun as absolute triumphs of spontaneous diplomacy; although in Trump’s case he got nothing out of it and is having to send his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, out to mop-up the mess he has caused by announcing completely out of the blue, and without consulting anyone, an end both to sanctions and the annual joint military invasion rehearsals with the south; neither of which was mentioned in the joint communique.

These meetings are going to be seen by future historians, if there are any, as virtually identical, spontaneous foreign policy interventions against the accepted wisdom of sector experts to distract public attention from domestic troubles.

Where the element of tragedy creeps in, is in Trump’s fulsome and elaborate statements of praise and admiration for the kleptocratic despot, Kim Jong-un, which have been branded as disgusting by North Korean exiles around the world.

Kim’s record in office has been brutal: unparalleled in modern history, according to the UN.

For Trump to acclaim Kim as a fine young man, a leader with a great sense of humor, who “loves his people”, when he has slaughtered and tortured and imprisoned and starved them by the hundreds of thousands into total obedience to his selfish whims is quite remarkable, unless one assumes that those are actions which chime perfectly with Trump’s solipsistic view of his own official powers, frustrated by the limitations of the US constitution.

A clue to the almost symbiotic relationship that seems to have developed between the two men is how Trump sees Kim (with 180 degrees of historical inaccuracy – Kim’s father and grandfather were also brutal dictators who had already imposed their personality cults on a starving and cowed population) as a young man of 26 or 27, faced with the daunting challenges of holding his nation together, and having to hang tough in the face of his enemies, real or imagined, following his revered father’s death.

This ludicrous false narrative exactly mirrors Trump’s own: inheriting at 27 his brutal and remote father’s shabby, mafia-linked New York property empire, that even more callous and dishonest measures were required to manage – the challenge: to overcome his own manifest inadequacies as a business leader with tendencies to extreme laziness, pleasure-seeking, zero concentration ability, disinterest in externalities and inconvenient facts, narcissistic and vainglorious fantasizing.

A case of history repeating itself, first as farce and now very possibly as tragedy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy3rtpYC-PI

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GW: with her kilt a’ blowin’ above her ears

Arctic: “…(air temperature) was as hot as 32.7°C or 90.9°F on June 11 on the coast of Hudson Bay (just a few miles south of the Arctic Circle); 30.7°C or 87.3°F on the coast of the Laptev Sea (north of Siberia). It was 6.6°C or 44°F over the North Pole due to hot air flowing from Siberia over the Arctic Ocean on June 13. Water near Svalbard was as warm as 16.1°C or 61°F on June 4, versus 3°C or 37.4°F in 1981-2011. CO₂ levels were 420 ppm over the North Pole on June 12; very high methane peaks are increasingly appearing. (edited from ‘Sam Carana’/ Arctic News, 11 June)

Two conclusions from the above: 1) the Arctic is warming ten times faster than the rest of the hemisphere and is beyond saving, leading to a forecast of runaway climate change due to methane emissions, fracturing of the jetstreams and ocean currents; 2) the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report to world governments due out shortly is deliberately understating the degree and speed of global warming to avoid panic and preserve the now-redundant Paris accord, so that positive action is unlikely.

UK: Gale force winds and heavy rain battered northwestern areas of Britain – Scotland, Northern Ireland, Cumbria, North Wales in an unusually powerful June storm, named Hector, on 14 June, bringing down trees and power lines. Windspeeds of 60 to 70 mph may be unprecedented for places like Glasgow at this time of year. – Met Office

Europe: the past week has seen quite extreme weather, with many thunderstorms, intense rainfall and flash flooding affecting parts of France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The town of Crnomalj in Slovenia was bombarded with golfball-sized hailstones on 8 June.  “A slow-moving storm system brought record heavy rain to parts of northern France between 11 and 12 June, triggering floods in Paris and a landslip that caused a train to derail. Meteo France said that Paris recorded 78 mm of rain in 24 hours, a record for a June day.” Parts of Bavaria recorded over 10 cm of rain in one day. (edited from Floodlist reports).

Portable toilets blowing off in Colorado Park. (The Weather Channel)

USA: The 416 fire burning for two weeks near Durango in Colorado has destroyed over 34 thousand acres of forest and driven many people from their homes. After ten days it was still only 15% contained but as of 17 June, it was reported, heavy rain is slowing its spread. Campers managed to set fire to 500 acres near Carson City, Nevada, while trying to burn the contents of their impromptu latrine in a high wind. 15% contained…

Mexico: 115 mph Tropical Storm Bud brought some respite from the brutal 49 deg. C. heatwave that melted traffic lights and killed 3 people in Guadalajara, which has since experienced flash flooding. Bud is heading up the Baja peninsula and weakening, expected to dissipate over southern California and New Mexico, thence to push on up into the SW states bringing rain to many places currently droughted.

The disorganized system known as Invest 91 is expected to cross the Gulf of Mexico in the next few days, bringing heavy rain to the east coast of Mexico before moving up into Texas and Louisiana, but is not now expected to strengthen into a Harvey-style ‘super-soaker’ hurricane.

There’s been flash flooding in the capital of Panama.

Dust storm adds to killer air quality over New Delhi, 9 June. India has 14 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities.

Northern India has experienced more storms, extreme heat, flooding and landslides. 26 people were reported killed in a dust storm in Uttar Pradesh on the 9th June, many by lightning strikes. The capital, New Delhi continued to swelter in 40 deg. C. heat and was “plunged into darkness” by dust on the 9th.

Meantime, “torrential monsoon rainfall has caused flooding and landslides … As of 14 June, at least 3 people had died and around 36,000 displaced in Assam. … Manipur, where 6 people have died, and Tripura, where at least 3 people have died and 15,000 displaced. … Monsoon rain, strong winds and high waves continue to batter the south western state of Kerala, where 13 people have died in the last few days. Mumbai was deluged, causing travel disruption (edited from Floodlist reports)

Refugees from Myanmar were flooded out of camps in Bangladesh. 12 dead in landslides. Floods in neighboring Myanmar. Typhoon Ewiniar dumped 25cm of rain on Guangdong, China in less than a day.

New Zealand: a “deep subtropical low” brought chaos to parts of North Island on the 12th. Farmland, roads and 1000-plus homes were underwater in the Gisborne and Hawkes Bay areas for the second time in little over a week.

The first signs of an El Niño have been detected in the Pacific.

Climate & Extreme Weather News #125/ BBC News/ UK Met Office/ The Weather Channel

Antarctic: “Ice in the Antarctic is melting at a record-breaking rate and the subsequent sea level rises could have catastrophic consequences for cities around the world, according to two new studies. A report led by scientists in the UK and US found the rate of melting from the Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years and is now vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time.” – Guardian, citing an article in Nature.

Mars: a giant dust storm covering a third of the planet has enveloped NASA’s Opportunity rover, which has been slowly trundling about measuring and observing things for 14 years, despite an expected operational life of only weeks. BBC News reports that its grabbing arm is suffering from ‘arthritis’ and the vehicle has gone into ‘sleep’ mode, from which an alarm clock wakes it periodically to check what the weather is like outside.

I imagine it opening one bleary eye, grunting and turning over, gradually its breathing becoming a stertorous snore again; Radio 4 murmuring in the background. It reminds me of the first Wallace and Gromit film, A Grand Day Out, where the pair build a rocket and go to the moon to sample the Wensleydale cheese (from which it is made), only to have to contend with its singular inhabitant, a cantankerous and lonely old gas cooker that has developed an obsession with winter sports.

 

Hitting the buffers

“Dr Adolfo García-Sastre – director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute – told this week how research has discovered that flu viruses are jumping from pigs to dogs and what potential threat that poses to humans after his team’s scientific study appeared in the journal MBIO.

“He explained: ‘The majority of pandemics have been associated with pigs as an intermediate host between avian viruses and human hosts. In this study, we identified influenza viruses jumping from pigs into dogs.’” – (Express)

Warning: this may kill you.

….making Man’s Best Friend, Man’s Newest Lethal Enemy. Cases of doggy deaths are being reported in America, from “H3N8, a virulent, potentially deadly strain of canine influenza that public-health experts say is being spread to the U.S. from infected dogs imported from foreign countries.” (VINNews)

Those damned immigrants again, they’re just animals.

Now comes a suggestion that the new H7N9 version of bird ‘flu that has caused a number of cases in humans in, where else, China, might be the undetermined “Disease X” that the WHO imagines triggering another 1918-style “Spanish ‘Flu” pandemic, with potential for over 30 million casualties, if or more likely when it mutates into a virus that can be transmitted between humans. It has a 38% mortality rate. (Express, 15 June)

We’re a’ doomed. Doomed, I tell ye!

(To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dad’s Army – and Private Fraser, whose catchphrase that was – the Post Office has issued a set of commemorative stamps featuring the principal cast.)

 

No Fly Zone #2

The good news is, blowflies have started appearing in my kitchen.

With deep respect to Follower, Mark C Smith, who writes eloquently of his disgust at flies, the absence of flying insects of all kinds is a cause for worry.

You still see very few out in the valley, even after six weeks of warm weather here in Boglington. It’s like the vegetation, that’s exploded again like last year after a very late start, is just silent, deserted, although my poor old eyes have those black floaters sometimes and I have to check to be sure what I’m seeing flying around isn’t actual insects.

I remember as a young person, a countryside a’buzzin’ and a’flutterin’ with insects. Now it’s silent, almost deserted.

Hunzi’s bone, that he likes to leave out to ripen before consuming, had just three flies around it yesterday. A pack left out, that had contained meat, showed evidence of some eggs the next day.

And there have been a couple of moths around at night, not the weird little clothes moths everyone’s been complaining about, that fall out of packets in the kitchen – proper moths. While my total butterfly count since May has been just 7 whites and 3 browns; maybe half a dozen bees of various kinds, a couple of beetles.

It’s not looking good; but then, I was really concerned about the trees a few weeks ago, that were lifeless and bare, and now look at them. So maybe it’s too early to worry.

I don’t like flies much either, although sometimes one might perch on your knee, looking up at you with their big compound eyes, and almost seem to be wondering intelligently about you; it’s interesting, too, that experiments show they have a different perception of time from us, which is why it’s so hard to swat one with your rolled-up copy of The Oldie.

I seem to be altering my perception of time too. I’m never sure what day it is anymore, they all look the same. I promised a friend on Monday I’d help him out with moving some stuff, Tuesday or was it Wednesday? In the event, it was already Thursday night before I remembered with a guilty start that I’d forgotten all about it. No sooner have I got up, than it seems to be bedtime again.

And nothing done, except maybe this.

Help.

(Once again The BogPo leads the pack… this from The Observer, Sunday 17 June:)

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/17/where-have-insects-gone-climate-change-population-decline

 

Flyzone

No, not a boyband made of flies – southwest Wales, where locals are complaining of a plague of flies – or, winged creatures, as the local paper calls them. (There are numerous Old Testament imaginings enshrined in Welsh culture, even today.)

“Llanelli and neighbouring towns are under attack from an invasion of winged creatures. Some are having to eat meals in their cars and hang up multiple traps to try to catch the flies which have descended in huge numbers.”

(This old subeditor takes it that the writer means “some” people, not – as would be inferred from the subject of the previous sentence – flies, who don’t, obviously, have cars.)

It’s more probable that they haven’t “descended”, like a Biblical plague, but have rather emerged, from their breeding places in the interstices of the door and window-frames of older buildings, where numbers can easily increase into the hundreds.

And it’s odd, because here in Boglington, 65 miles north of Llanelli there aren’t any flies at all. Well, one or two. Maybe they all moved south for the winter.

 

PS Yellowstonezone…

The big Steamboat geyser at Norris Junction may have gone off at the weekend for the tenth time so far this year, on the basis of seismic data. Previously the most times it’s blown in an entire year: 3, in 2003. Sign of rising magma, volcano recharging.

Hawaii: Big Island eruptions continuing, new fissure, huge Mt Kilaueia caldera continues to collapse thousands of feet into the empty magma chamber, triggering M5.1 earthquake. Quake swarm continuing, approaching 10 thousand M1.5 and larger recorded. Still concern that Mauna Loa – world’s largest active volcano – may be next to blow. Some possibility that the whole island has been shifted.

USA: possible signs of incipient volcanism in southern California/Baja Mexico.