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
“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.
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
“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