The Pumpkin, Issue 60: Lawful investigation? You’re fired!… Fore!… GW: boil, roast or fry, there’s more’n one way to cook a planet

Yes, The Pumpkin is back after its summer vacation, with more great whatever for you!

51% of Republican voters now believe the media to be “the enemy of the people”. 52% of Republican supporters polled were not concerned that Mr Trump’s criticism would lead to violence against journalists. 23% of Republicans, and about one in eight Americans overall, believe Mr Trump should close down mainstream news outlets like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Quinnipiac/Ipsos polling, 16 Aug. (BBC)

Goldsmith: “We cannot, as a party, rightly and robustly criticise the leader of the opposition for his attendance at this (pro-Palestinian) conference while allowing the attendance of a Conservative peer at the same event to pass without comment or complaint. To do so would be to indulge in hypocrisy and double standards.”
BoJo (for it is he): “I couldn’t have put it better myself!”

 

“I’m the President and you’re not….”

Lawful investigation? You’re fired!…

More interesting developments in the Trump obstruction of justice inquiry:

“Rachel Maddow shows the prevalence of classified intelligence in the Trump Russia investigation and notes that the people Donald Trump is threatening with having their security clearance revoked are those who would need that clearance to testify for the investigation.” – MSNBC TV – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXTy99W8jsw

You may recall, there’s been some debate about whether President Trump has been technically and unlawfully attempting to throw a spanner in the works of the FBI and Special Counsel inquiries into possible ‘colusion’, as he spells it, by his campaign team with Russian attempts to influence his election.

Prime suspicion of malfeasance fell on the Orange Slug himself after he fired the FBI’s director, James Comey in May last year. First, he said it was because Comey had shown political bias against Hillary Clinton (no, honestly…) but then in a notorious ABC interview he said it was because of the Russia thing that he wanted to make go away.

And that’s what he also told Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in a meeting at the White House, that he was now free of that problem.

In the meantime, his National Security advisor, Gen. Flynn, had been fired after admitting lying to the FBI about his failure to disclose his PR activities on behalf of the Russian government, and was rumored to be about to turn State’s evidence against the Trump campaign.

And Trump then embarked on a painfully obvious bid to try to discredit the Special Counsel investigation under Bob Mueller, and to get that closed down, sparking much speculation that he feared it would get too close to the financial affairs of himself and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

His weedy campaign of Sunday tweets has involved trying to brand the inquiry as a Democratic plot, conveniently ignoring that Mueller and most of his team are lifelong Republicans; and pretending that Mueller’s resignation ten years ago from membership of a Trump golf club over a fee dispute amounts to a conflict of interest.

We then had to reconsider the equally notorious meeting with an unofficial Russian delegation at Trump Tower on 9 June, 2016, in the light of new evidence concerning a plainly false version of those events that seems to have been concocted between Trump and his then press advisor, Hope Hicks, aboard Airforce One.

That was a bid to exonerate son Donald Jr and divert attention from the question of what Trump Sr might have known about the meeting beforehand, held ostensibly to commission “dirt” on the Clinton campaign. The presence of Manafort and two “former”Russian intelligence officers also with extensive experience of laundering money through offshore vehicles suggests other possible avenues of inquiry.

Trump subsequently doubled-down on his attacks on the New York Times and other mainstream media that had reported on it; attempting to force the US Postal Service to increase its charges for Amazon deliveries, lying that they offered a loss-making discount, in a bid to damage Amazon boss Jeff Bezos over adverse reporting in his well-regarded  Washington Post newspaper.

Since then there have been a number of indictments in the Mueller probe against former Trump campaign officials, including against a list now of 26 Russians or Russian companies strongly believed to have been involved in hacking the Democratic National Convention, phishing attacks on voter rolls, arranging illegal campaign contributions and stealing emails from Clinton and her senior campaign people; with or without the knowledge and agreement of the Trump campaign and possibly the candidate himself.

Yet Trump continues to try to pretend that there was no Russian interference, and if there was he personally had nothing to do with it; to suggest otherwise is a “witch hunt”, and does not intend to do anything about it, despite all agencies reporting that the attacks on the US electoral system are continuing.

There has been a clear tendency on the part of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, a nasty little claque of anti-American Republican traitors led by Sen. Devin Nunes, a man who looks and acts as though Trump has his children chained to a radiator in a basement somewhere, to attempt to take down the officers involved in the investigation one-by-one, while also mysteriously refusing to confront the ongoing problem of Russian dirty tricks.

Who are they working for?

Last Friday they claimed another scalp in the shape of Peter Strzok, a senior FBI officer who had foolishly insulted Candidate Trump ages ago in a frivolous series of emails sent to a colleague he was having an extramarital affair with, thus proving that the much later investigation of the Russia thing was all a fake news Democratic witch hunt, or whatever Trump whines it is against him personally.

Strzok just happens to have been the head of the counterintelligence unit at the FBI that investigates and keeps tabs on some 45 Russian agents in America, known in spy parlance as “sleepers”, individuals strongly suspected to have been active in planning and carrying out Putin’s disruptive agenda. He has also strongly hinted to a Congressional committee under oath that he possesses information relevant to the Mueller probe.

Coincidence? Making adverse remarks about a presidential candidate who goes on to win is hardly a sacking offence, nor unique one supposes among officials; and he had already accepted a disciplinary suspension.

This smacks of Trump’s infantile vindictiveness; but is also more disturbing, in that once again, it serves the Putin agenda to weaken the investigation and the institution of the FBI.

One Russian, Maria Butina has already been arrested, allegedly having infiltrated the National Rifle Association and arranged a $30 million “dark money” pipeline via the NRA to the Republican campaign; but it’s thought that without Strzok at the helm, the Russians will have a clearer field to mess with the November midterms and the 2020 Presidential election.

(A minor adjunct then to suggestions that Trump’s entire foreign policy agenda, particularly towards NATO, is being driven from the Kremlin, so useful is it to the ex-KGB puppetmaster.)

And, as Rachel Maddow points out on her influential MSNBC news show, his scalp virtually concludes a clean sweep against senior FBI officials who were named by the former director under oath as witnesses to a key telephone call from Trump, which Trump denies making, that Comey immediately minuted as having contained a clear and illegal order to drop the investigations into Gen. Flynn.

Five of the six witnesses, plus Strzok, have now been fired or forced to resign after being reassigned to lowlier positions and are presumably no longer in a position to testify against the President’s version of events.

Together with his increasing tendency to exclude even the head of national intelligence, Adm. Dan Coats, from the decision-making loop on matters the President himself defines as being of “national security” interest, such as the threats to take back security clearances from former CIA and FBI officials (which he has now carried out in the case of his fiercest critic, ex-CIA head, John Brennan) the evidence of Trump’s growing authoritarianism and confidence in his more outrageous actions against his own administration throws an ever-darker shadow.

What is he up to, and at whose bidding?

Together with Trump’s not entirely successful efforts to pack the District Court benches with supine placemen, many of them completely unqualified, and now a chance to nominate a second ultra-Conservative judge to the Supreme Court; plus a renewed Twitter campaign of bullying insults against Trump punchbag, Attorney-General Sessions, and the entire Justice Department, it appears that the Republican hierarchy is quietly gnawing away at the softer parts of the system to undermine any future attempt to indict the President on charges of which he insolently demonstrates more guilt with every cretinous tweet that streams from beneath his tiny thumbs; every inarticulate tirade.

Even his counsel, the increasingly bizarre Rudy Giuliani, now seems to have abandoned any attempt to defend his client, instead adopting the curious posture in media interviews of admitting with a lopsided flash of his atrocious false teeth, yep, he did it, so what?

The depth of corruption in the Trump era was luridly revealed in email evidence during the first trial of his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, on (amongst others) bank fraud charges.

The prosecution alleged that – under some pressure to repay money to a Russian oligarch he had defrauded – Manafort had obtained a $10 million loan he couldn’t pay back from an obscure small bank, apparently on the understanding that the CEO would be offered a senior post in the cabinet should Trump win. A further email was introduced, in which Kushner, having been asked to shortlist the manager – seemingly a preening, self-regarding booby – for the possibly lucrative post of Head of the Army, replied “On it!”

Added to the alleged slush-fund operated by Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, acting as a gatekeeper for privileged access to the White House while paying-off Trump’s former mistresses; the financial shenanigans while in office of Trump cronies like Carl Icahn and Wilbur Ross, the blatant corruption of Environment agency director Scott Pruitt; as well as Trump’s many egregious breaches of the Emoluments clauses of the constitution, his nepotistic appointments – the revelation that Kushner and Ivanka Trump had made over $80 million between them while supposedly in the employ of the government – and the sense is, this kind of thing is just the tip of the iceberg.

Yet the problems of proving Trump’s documented links with Russian organized crime and his apparent subjection to foreign influence pale by comparison with the intricate question of how to prosecute such crimes when they are committed by the incumbent of the sacred office of President. Americans are complete idiots, aren’t they, when it comes to the grovelling respect they show to their profoundly fallible institutions.

As The Pumpkin has mentioned several times before, it seems likely that a spoiled brat brought up with Mafia figures around the family table, who has specialized all his shitty life in getting away Scot-free with appalling, borderline criminal dealings – where necessary buying off or intimidating claimants – a mob boss in all but name, is not going to go down easily, even to an avenging-angel type like Mueller.

We may have to go on filling the news agenda with Trump, and more Trump, for a long while yet.

 

Fore!

A clue to Donald Trump’s bluff demeanor is being overlooked by many commentators, if not all.

He plays golf.

More than that, he is addicted to it.

He is probably the worst player in the world for all I know, playing off a handicap of 103, maybe, and it’s said he has been known to cheat! I don’t know how, nudges the ball into a better lie when no-one is looking, drops a new ball when he’s lost the last one in the rough and doesn’t count it as a penalty stroke, or just lies his fat head off about his scores, most probably all the time.

“Climb every mountain…” Trump in dogged pursuit of golfing excellence.

He hasn’t quite got to the stage where, like President Kim Jong-un of North Korea’s father, Kim Jong-il, it is said of him that the first time he ventured onto the golf course, he scored eight holes-in-one. But the day cannot be far off when Lyin’ Sarah is sent out to solemnly inform the press corps that the President has broken par.

So addicted to the Scottish game is President Trump, that he has spent in the region of $100 million dollars of taxpayers’ money on playing golf virtually every three-day weekend since his inauguration day. Naturally he plays at his own resorts and then sends the bill for the food and accommodation for his large security detail and personal entourage to the Treasury, netting a helpful profit in the process.

It is somewhat at odds with his boast on the campaign trail that he would be the hardest-working President ever. (In fact he works less than four hours a day, including lunch.) It demonstrates a certain hypocrisy, too, since he so frequently criticised his predecessor for being absent on the golf course. Trump has played many, many days more golf than Obama ever did.

In addition to hacking around a course, he also likes to own them. According to his sons, Trump borrows huge sums of money from the Russians to build and manage golf courses all over the world, usually at a loss, and to add those tacky resort hotel facilities with fake Time magazine covers of himself framed on the walls, for which huge membership fees are charged to further line the Presidential pocket.

(Not only is he a golf bore, he is completely insane. Now read on…)

According to the indefatigable Wikipedia, there are only ten golf courses in the whole of Russia, so Russian investors probably have other motives than the promotion of a healthy outdoor activity involving a little white ball, a bag of sticks, a slave and 18 infernally difficult holes over a four-mile walk round a field. The clean, fresh air of the golf course can do wonders for the color of your money. Well, not actually yours….

But it’s not the playing of the game, so much, to which I allude.

It’s rather the players, and their casual political attitudes.

There’s currently a debate raging about Trump’s insolent behavior toward all groups of people other than his own, a group which largely consists of himself: especially women and minorities, whom he regularly stoops to insult on a personal level. Such suburban conservative attitudes are familiar, are they not? And in the modern way, come under the blanket accusations of racism, homophobia and misogyny.

His somewhat basic, unreconstructed political philosophy sparks the kind of outrage one might reserve for the clubman in the blazer, all gray slacks and loafers, propping up the bar at the 19th hole, well into his fourth double G&T, loudly voicing his lofty and disparaging opinions about foreigners, immigrants, Chinese imports, the PC brigade, environmentalist tree-huggers, queers, benefit layabouts and uppity n-words; the absurdity of regulation and the unfairness of rich people having to pay taxes, just like poor people, of whom there are far too many and whose breeding habits should be discouraged.

To such a man, having left “the missus” at home playing bridge with her dried-up friends, when sufficiently in his cups women become pigs, dogs and other animals; servants a lower form of life; employees treacherous leakers; friends and allies ripe for disparagement; enemies fit for ridicule and name-calling – the club committee ripe for cronyism and corruption.

(And of course, when the time comes to pay the bill and be poured into a taxi, he will have left his wallet at home.)

As is the way, more witnesses are coming forward with tales of the horrible things Trump says in private; especially when backstage on the set of his tawdry reality TV show, The Apprentice. To add to the “Omarosa tapes” (look it up), magician Penn, politically engaged Libertarian half of Las Vegas cabaret act “Penn and Teller”, who unwisely took part in one episode, says Trump bandies vile racist and sexist slurs around the studio all the time; describing him as “capricious” and “petty”.

Give such a man, such a saloon-bar bore with his trite opinions on show, his uneducated, bombastic and short-sighted solutions to solving the problems with which he sees the world – i.e. himself alone – beset; hand him the terrifying and complex power of the Presidency of the world’s greatest military and economic empire; surround him with fawning acolytes and incompetent, venal satraps, and his dull-minded prejudices, now unquestionable, grow like a cancer until he is all purulent, tumorous matter.

 

“Quick, more Factor 50!” California burning.

GW: boil, roast or fry, there’s more’n one way to cook a planet

France: 1 missing, 1600 evacuated as rivers overflow in southern departments after 100 mm of rain falls in 1 hour. Meteoalarm, 18 Aug: Corsica threatened with Orange-level “damaging” thunderstorms.

Italy: “About 30” (now 38, 5 missing) including at least one child dead after the Morandi autostrada bridge in Genoa collapses during heavy rain. Police reported a violent cloudburst. “It was just after 11:30 when we saw lightning strike the bridge,” eyewitness Pietro M all’Asa was quoted as saying. “And we saw the bridge going down.” – BBC News.

Portugal: near-record temperatures, major wildfire at Monchique, other fires… and in Spain around Alcantara, where temperatures reached 43C. While in the Austrian Tyrol, and southwards into Serbia, violent flash floods followed intense rainfall around the 6th Aug.

UK: remnant hurricane Ernesto arriving as a minor Tropical Depression.

Canada: parts of Toronto are flooded and two passengers rescued with moments to spare from a rapidly filling elevator as up to 120 mm of rain falls in 1 hour.

Turkey: 10 August, 1 dead reported in a landslide in the north as flooding causes major infrastructure damage in Ordu province.

(All above from Floodlist, 13 Aug.)

India: “At least 20 people have died in the state of Kerala in south west India after torrential rain triggered floods and landslides from 08 August, 2018.” Update: “Local media reported 5 more fatalities between 14 and 15 August, bringing the death toll to 44 since the recent spate of flooding began a week ago.” Further update: 17 Aug. death toll now exceeding 320. “Heaviest rainfall in 100 years”.

Flash floods and landslides in Kashmir and Jammu kill 4 “after at least 19 people died in the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh”.

Between 8 and 12 people were swept away and 45 stranded by a flash flood at a scenic waterfall in Madhya Pradesh, after a sudden surge of water due to heavy rain upstream during the afternoon of 15 August.

(compiled from Floodlist reports)

In neighboring Myanmar: 12 dead, 150 thousand displaced by monsoon flooding; thousands of acres of crops lost. Hanoi, Vietnam – floods. Yulin City in China was hit by a powerful storm on 7 Aug, with widespread flooding amid a Red alert from the authorities. 100 mm rain fell in 3 hours. In the north, 8 people were killed by floods in Baiyin City when their cars were swept away. (CEWN #133)

Korea: North and South still experiencing record 40C (104F) heatwave. Nighttime bringing little relief with temps still over 30C all night. Heavy crop losses reported in North; 30 dead in South.

Australia: Almost 80 fires were burning along the New South Wales coast on Thursday, 15 Aug, having ripped through more than 1,000 hectares in recent days. No lives or homes were in immediate danger. (BBC Weather. It’s the middle of winter!)

Wheat harvest down by 50% as a result of the worst drought for decades across NSW and Queensland. Mini winter heatwave in NW around Perth gives way to rain and snow.

“A new study says the rate of rainfall in Australia during thunderstorms is increasing twice or even three times beyond expectation, and much faster than would be expected from global warming.” – Floodlist, citing Climate News Network

More than 30,000 people were evacuated from municipalities in southern Colombia, after heavy rainfall between 11 and 12 Aug. In Mexico, the city of Chimalhuacan was inundated on 15 Aug. following torrential rain. Island of Grenada: torrential rain, floods.

USA: California records its hottest July month in 124 years of record-keeping. Many areas suffering unbreathable air quality as a result of fires. Sea surface temperatures exceeding 80F (26.4C).

“A locally intense heat wave atop long-term warming has pushed the San Diego area into atmospheric and oceanic territory unseen in human memory. The first ten days of August have seen overnight lows hovering in record territory night after night. Meanwhile, the surface of the Pacific Ocean near San Diego is warmer than anything observed in more than a century of recordkeeping.” – Bob Henson, Wunderground

To add to the huge Carr Fire, the Mendocino Complex Fire has rapidly spread through 285 thousand acres near Los Angeles and is still not controlled. Firefighters arriving from Australia and New Zealand to help.

Meanwhile the eastern US is enjoying yet another band of heavy rainstorms moving up from the south, a cold-weather pattern that has remained virtually unaltered all year and caused extensive flood misery:

“Flash flood watches have been issued for all of eastern Pennsylvania, some southern tier locations of central New York, New Jersey, northern Maryland, eastern West Virginia and far northern Virginia, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Harrisburg and most New Jersey suburbs of the New York City Tri-State area. … isolated extreme rainfall totals could occur”.

Florida meanwhile has declared a state of emergency over an unprecedent infestation that coastal residents say stinks and causes skin allergies. “Red tide” is a naturally occurring algal bloom caused by Karenia brevis that forms in marine water. The algae make the water toxic for marine wildlife. (The Weather Channel)

While more than 150 wildfires are burning across the western USA, and around 600 in Canada (140 new fires were started by lightning strikes in British Columbia alone in just one day, 12 Aug) The Weather Channel’s fire map is showing an uncountable number of blazes burning all across Brazil and central South America; all contributing to the global carbon overload.

President Trump has blamed California’s environmental laws for reducing the amount of water available to fight fires, although firefighters say that’s not the case; Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, has blamed environmentalists for opposing the cutting down of trees, although that policy was pushed through by the timber industry.

You get the leaders you wish for.

Pacific: 110 mph Typhoon Soulik aiming for southern Japan. Cat 4 (140mph) hurricane Hector losing strength as it heads northwestwards in mid-Pacific, 350 miles south of Hawaii. Not exected to make landfall. Some possibility of Tropical Storm Lane, now strengthening to Cat 3 or 4 hurricane, brushing the Hawaiian islands.

Arctic: global methane levels, averaging 1898 ppb, peaked at 3048 ppb on 6 Aug and much is coming from the Arctic regions. Sea temperature off Svalbard island was 22C, 69F – 16.4C higher than the June-August average between 1981 and 2010. Overall, the Arctic has warmed by 5.7C since 1880. (Arctic News)

World: Wildfires and extreme weather events around the globe just in the past few weeks are estimated to have cost hundreds of billions of dollars in insurance claims. Sweden alone is believed to have suffered $100 billion fire losses; German farmers have taken a $3 billion hit; the possibility of a breakdown in food transportation post-Brexit is overlaying a droughtfall in UK agricultural output as grain prices are already rising; the largest ever recorded in California, the Carr Fire is still ablaze near Redding and the cost to date is estimated at $1.5 billion.

“The month of July was marked by record-breaking heat, deepening droughts, and destructive wildfires in areas all around the globe,” said Michal Lorinc, an analyst within Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight team. “Nearly every major continent recorded some type of peril impact that will lead to a major cost to agricultural interests,” he added.

(Insurance Journal)

(Additional reports from Climate & Extreme Weather News #132, #133; MrMBB333 blog.)

Hitting the buffers…

After more than a year of heaving up anything from 20 to 70 earthquakes a day, Yellowstone has fallen silent, which is worrying in itself, as that’s when the experts say you need to worry. The Blessed Mary Greeley observes that the Utah university seismometers are showing a lot of fresh magma intrusion and possible signs of outgassing in the Lake area at the heart of the caldera. She’s worried too. As is the USGS warning tourists about rising poisonous gas emissions.

On top of everything else, your old Granny W. speculates, why not?

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John Supine fails to strike again… Ausweise, bitte #2: deregulation and the rise of the investocrats… It’s unbelievable! 3500 lies and counting… GW: “Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting”… This is not happening!

“I’m SHOCKED. Shocked, I tell you, to learn that my former Son Donald Trump Jr, my ex-Son-In-Law and trusted Advisor Jared Whats’isname, someone called Manafort I barely knew, my lyin’ lawyer Jim Cohen, who I never met, SERIOUSLY CONFLICTED Special Counsel Robert Mueller who treacherously resigned from my own Golf Club ten years ago and 17 Dems, WITCH HUNT!!!!! failed LIAR James Comey, weak Gen. Kelly, even Weaker Attorney-General Sessions, the traitor Jew Rosenstein, old Giuliani who is obviously senile but I keep him on the payroll out of pity, my friend President Kim Jong-un who BETRAYED ME BIGLY with new rockets, the DISGUSTING Fake News Media, deluded Security Director Coates, cryin’ Steve Bannon, the losin’ demoralised FBI, Crooked Hillary and the entire Democratic caucus in Congress have been COLUDING… coluding, I say, a FEDERAL CRIME, with a lot of 400-lb people out there and maybe even couldn’t be the Russians, to get DONALD TRUMP elected again… LOCK ‘EM UP!”

John Supine fails to strike again

If anyone doubts my rebranding of the BBC’s senior editor in Washington as the totally uncritical “John Sopoor”, or “John Supine”, one has only to visit BBC News, 01 August, and his reporting of a new, really disturbing, mentally deranged series of tweets from Trump.

“The president’s tweet today might be seen as relevant.”

What is this pathetic little man reporting on?

Well, let’s look at the case of the fascist thug, “Tommy Robinson” (not his real name), who has just been freed on bail by the Appeal Court in the UK after a few weeks in chokey, pretending to have been starved and abused by the Government. His crime was to broadcast his forthright views on the criminal trial of a dirty cabal of Pakistani immigrants accused of exploiting children for prostitution. We have laws relating to commenting on criminal trials while they are ongoing, and he happily made a martyr of himself by pleading guilty to contempt of court; something for which he was already on probation.

Mr Trump, who has previously attempted to minimise the role of Paul Manafort as his campaign chairman in 2016, has just tweeted out that the trial of Mr Manafort that began yesterday on a range of charges including money laundering, tax fraud and acting as an undeclared foreign agent for the kleptocrat, Viktor Yanukovitch, ousted premier of Ukraine and friend of Putin, should be halted for obscure reasons, one being apparently that, unlike Al Capone, Manafort hadn’t actually killed anybody.

It is perfectly clear that Mr Trump is terrified that Manafort will ultimately be forced by the prospect of life in prison to break and tell the Mueller investigation what he knows about “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia, about which Trump has lied expansively.

The “relevance” of which Supine feebly speaks is in fact yet more evidence, atop a vast pile of incriminating tweets in the possession of Special Counsel Mueller, of Trump’s increasingly risky and desperate attempts to shut down the investigations – perverting the course of justice; a justice that is bearing down heavily on his own past crimes; a justice he affects to despise, to which we can now add contempt of court.

So poor.

Fire him.

“In voting to Leave the EU, people obviously imagined that minimizing the numbers of foreign workers in Britain would restore their value in the jobs market.”

Ausweise, bitte #2: deregulation and the rise of the investocrats

“We also strongly recommend re-opening the debate about ID cards or some form of national identity management system to reassure people in a world of ever rising human flows that we know who is in the country, for how long, and what their entitlements are.”

Thus, Mr David Goodhart, author of The Road to Somewhere (“about the best book-length guide to Mayism anyone has produced – Guardian), “whose reservations about mass migration and support for the principle of native favouritism in the allocation of public services have made him a bête noire for liberals.” – Guardian, 30 July.

I’m afraid the BogPo is not entirely reassured. People who use expressions such as: “ever-rising human flows” do seem to have a certain sociopathic detachment from the human race, nicht war? Especially as net immigration has actually been falling, more for economic reasons than because of hostile natives like Mr Goodhart.

In other words, if you are currently an EU citizen who, probably for work purposes, needs or just wants to Remain in the UK after next April Fool’s Day, and you do not take out expensive residency rights, you should have to buy a ticket to obtain the services of the NHS, to sign-on at the JobCentre, to obtain employment, rent a room, get married, or travel in and out of the country.

(Spend too much time out and you may not be let back in.)

It seems odd to think of all those 400 thousand French illegals in London next spring, finance industry workers undocumented and skulking in the shadows, waiting for the knock on the door.

A previous attempt under the Blair government to introduce ID cards resulted in a furious public backlash, people channeling Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner: “I am not a number, I am a free man!”; and frankly, in a free country, one could see why. However, post-Brexit Britain will no longer be such a free country, despite the twisting of the f-word in the lying mouths of the Brexit conspirators.

We have already seen exposed, under Theresa May’s zero-tolerance policy towards undocumented migrants, that netted hundreds and thousands of people who were here legally but did not have the correct paperwork because their arrival predated changes in the rules, the dark underbelly of a Britain that is hostile towards outsiders, however benign and useful their presence may be*.

And frankly, my dears, when Brexiteers talk of “regaining control of our borders”, well, after 69 years in this country, born to British nationals, I have observed that on the very few occasions I travel abroad, even just to France for a week, I am obliged to enter details of my passport and nationality on applying for travel tickets, to pass through two passport controls on the way out, another on entering France, two on leaving France, and again through one more passport checkpoint on re-entering my own country; as well as being subjected to Customs declarations and sometimes searches and pointed questioning, both on leaving and re-entering the UK.

And that’s inside the borders of the EU, where the law (it’s more a theory) clearly states that you may freely travel – without a passport! Any form of ID, such as a driver’s license, should do.

If all that implies that we have somehow “lost control” of our borders, I shall hate to see what life is going to be like in HM Prison Britain, post-Brexit.

Those Brexiteers have been selling you a pile of smelly pants for years. Their authoritarian instincts qualify for a broad definition of modern “fascism”: that unholy alliance of State, capital, military and church empowered by an atmosphere of engineered mistrust, nativist exceptionalism and a confected mythology of a past golden age that conceals the virtual enslavement of an entire population.

The immigration argument has nothing to do with the facts: unemployment has continued falling throughout a period when large numbers of European immigrants have been arriving, but still a majority of Britons believe migrants are “stealing our jobs” and – perhaps more pointedly – “driving down wages”.

Importation of low-cost labor might fairly be categorized as part of the capitalists’ strategy to reduce costs and boost shareholder value. The export of manufacturing jobs to lower labor-cost countries (“globalization”) was no longer proving as cost-effective as it once did, owing to the rise of the middle-class in those countries. As workers in China became wealthier and more negotiable, China ceased to be primarily a producer-economy and is now seen more as a promising consumer market.

The obvious answer was to find people in countries like Romania and Bulgaria, new EU arrivals, who were able to sustain themselves somehow on minimal wages because of pre-existing economic and currency differentials betwixt here and there. In an era of already stagnant wages, native British workers were naturally going to resent any further drag on their incomes, and willing to ignore the real reasons for their misfortune in favor of targeting the immigrants.

In voting to Leave the EU, people obviously imagined that minimizing the presence of foreign workers in Britain would restore their value in the jobs market. There is no evidence whatever that that will happen. The unemployment rate in the USA is 3.8%, a historic low – migrant workers are being discouraged and deported wholesale – corporate taxes have been massively lowered as a bribe to raise the living standards of low-paid workers – yet wages continue to fall.

Shareholder greed – the rise of the investocrats – rampages on unabated.

With Parliament in recess and a dearth of actual politicians, who will, if they have remained awake for the past nine months, have hightailed it as far over the horizon as EasyJet can take them, it is the turn of the lobbyists to crawl out of the woodwork.

The BogPo wrote last week of the relationship between Mr Dominic Raab, the swivel-eyed Brexiteer, ardent privatizer, deregulator and advocate for free trade with anyone on any terms, who is now the fox in charge of the Brussels negotiating coop, and a hard-Brexit think-tank funded from the USA.

Our Post was based on an article in Open Democracy, but it seems other eyes too have been on the think-tank, the Institute for Economic Affairs, that since 1955 has been lobbying for an economic system based on the vaporings of Professor Hayek, the grandfather of neoliberalism and godfather to the Friedmanite monetarist economics pursued so disastrously in the 1970s by Thatcher and Reagan.

Mr Raab and the IEA have it seems enjoyed a close relationship, but the IEA has extended its tentacles deep into the Conservative party and the Leave campaign, obtaining much funding from Conservative and Christian lobby groups in the USA.

It now stands accused of, effectively, selling access to government ministers via its contacts in the party; the specific case in point being hormonally-enhanced beef producers in the state of Colorado (the beef, that is, not the producers, one hopes), two of whose representatives were caught up in a sting operation by a Greenpeace agent working undercover in collaboration with The Guardian newspaper.

“The director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (Mark Littlewood) was secretly recorded telling an undercover reporter that funders could get to know ministers on first-name terms and that his organisation was in ‘the Brexit influencing game’.

“The IEA chief was also recorded suggesting potential US donors could fund and shape ‘substantial content’ of research commissioned by the think-tank and that its findings would always support the argument for free-trade deals.” (30 July)

Such as the one-to-one free-trade deal being assiduously lobbied for by the Colorado beef producers: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/30/brexit-influencing-game-iea-us-rancher-tucker-link

But the operative question is surely, in whose interest is it to go shipping carbon-intensive meat halfway around the world, undercutting British beef producers on the basis of lower welfare and consumer safety standards than those imposed by the EU; inevitably driving down production standards in the UK and admitting rapacious US factory farming corporations and their chemical overloads to British soil on a low-or-no regulation basis.

Why do we need to buy American beef, when we can perfectly well produce our own? (Answer: because this is about a globalist ideology, not about common sense.)

And do we imagine this will be the only deal British ministers will be desperate to do, to mitigate the lunatic decision to abandon a bigger market just 26 miles away across the Channel? When the dam bursts, thousands of producers around the world will be queuing to do deals that are most definitely not in the interests either of British consumers or British producers.

But if you can drive down prices at the till, the Brexiteers will privately argue, regardless of whatever shite you are palming off on the consumer, however many British producers you drive to the wall, you can keep wages at rock-bottom, and thus sustain a higher return on capital invested; enabling shareholders to maintain the bare minimum level of investment in production capacity and pocket more of the profits for bonuses, tax-free offshoring and stock buybacks.

Claiming to be entirely a research institute for educational purposes, the IEA is a registered charity qualifying for special tax status. The Guardian story is, there are growing doubts as to whether it is in fact operating as a charity under its memorandum and articles, or whether it is a quasi-political lobbying entity undeserving of charity status; that played a key role in conning the British public into voting to leave the shelter of a well-regulated European economy.

We think the answer is pretty clear, don’t you?

*www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/aug/01/hostile-environment-immigrants-crept-into-schools-hospitals-homes-border-guards

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It’s unbelievable! 3500 lies and counting.

Roughly 40 per cent of Americans polled say they believe everything or most things Donald Trump says. The other 60% think he tells the truth some of the time, rarely or never.

The President’s dedicated truth-checking team at The Washington Post confirms, even before the North Korea summit, in 497 days he had told over 3,250 outright, verifiable lies. Many of them are about those “enemies of the people”, the failing fake news media.

It’s a relentless assault on an objective reality he avoids living in, and upon anyone or any entity that might, if the veil were rent and the truth be told, destroy him and his carefully constructed personality cult.

Analysts seem to agree, his constant, almost hysterical undermining of alternative sources of facts is deliberately designed to enhance the tendency of his poorly educated voter base to believe only in his version of events; a classic hallmark of the dictator down the ages.

He has to do this, because he actually has no cards in his hand: he is totally out of his depth in the job and being elected to the White House has exposed his lifelong career of minor crime and business deceit to potentially prisonable scrutiny.

So we’re probably well over 3,500 now. The volume is increasing, as is the outright dishonesty of his many tweets and self-serving false statements about trade, the economy, Russia, NATO, immigrants, Brexit, the Mueller ‘witch hunt’ against him, public healthcare, tax, Senator McCain… his wealth… NO COLUSION! and the maundering garbage he spews over his adoring fans in aircraft hangars across the nation, where he has been campaigning for re-election since the day after he was elected the first time.

The frightening thing is, the adoring dumbfucks neither know nor care. What matters is that Trump says it, not whether or not it is true. For millions of Americans of the more deplorable sort, he remains the triumph of hope over expectation. Even leaders of evangelical Christian churches are instructing their congregations on pain of hellfire, never to question his innumerable marital infidelities. He has changed the landscape of America in unimaginably short order.

40% of a voter population is easily enough to create the momentum for a frighteningly authoritarian regime, of the kind Americans have ever experienced only in small doses, as perhaps during the McCarthy Communism hearings, under the anti-sedition president John Adams, or the four-term FD Roosevelt, whose authoritarianism was essentially benign, although many believe he was – horror of horrors – a Socialist.

The brainwashing is absolute. The more illusory it proves, the more the myth of the rugged individualism of the white man is invincible.

An interesting discussion of Trump’s pathological assault on reality can be found on the PBS Newshour channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNSFBgWlVyI

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GW: “Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting” (Lennon-McCartney)

USA: Temperatures in the triple digits will remain into the first weekend of August across northern and central portions of California. Temperatures have averaged about 4 degrees above normal this summer. This includes in Redding where the explosive Carr Fire continues to blaze a path of destruction. Highs typically range from the middle 80s at the start of June to near 100 in late July in Redding. (Accuweather)

Video of the Carr fire is truly heartbreaking. Over 100 thousand acres gone – 159 square miles. How does the wildlife escape this horror? How does anyone even start to try to put it out? The sound of air burning is just terrifying. One thinks of Dresden. (CEWN #131) Are you watching, Trump, you fat, useless old cunt?

The Washington Post reports on a record-breaking hot month in California: “In July of 2017, Death Valley experienced the hottest-ever month in recorded history. On Wednesday, it will break its own record, concluding a month in which the average temperature of the valley—both day and night—was an incredible 108 degrees. (The max. 127F over five days was not quite the hottest ever reached.)* Rain falling on the town of Imperial, Ca. was measured at 119F, 48C, the hottest rain ever recorded (Wunderground).

Weirdly, temperatures on the California coast have been barely into the mid-60s F. all this time; while there have been severe storm, tornado and potentially catastrophic flood warnings out across a broad swathe of the midwest as an unusually loopy jetstream pattern persists.

Pacific: Storm Hector intensifying to a Cat 1 hurricane south of Hawaii, some trackers have it passing 50 miles from Big Island, where Mt Kilueia continues to erupt.

Caribbean: Grenada was hit by heavy rain and flooding from 01 August. The rain was caused by a tropical wave interacting with the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Landslides, flooded homes and roadways and land slippages throughout the island. Full damage assessments  yet to be carried out. (from Floodlist)

Japan: Typhoon Jongdari smashed into Honshu island Sunday with 115 mph winds and heavy seas. 140,000 homes were left without power and over 36 thousand evacuated, with around 40 injuries reported. Jongdari arrived in the wake of a record-breaking heatwave causing 80 deaths and 22 thousand people to be hospitalized, following the record rainfall, floods and landslides in the south around Hiroshima at the beginning of the month, in which around 200 people died and 8 MILLION were evacuated. 4 thousand people are still homeless.

The heatwave in Korea continues. South Korea set a new all-time heat record of 41.0°C (105.8°F) at Hongcheon, a town in the northeastern province of Gangwon. Temperatures in Seoul reached 38C, 100F and no relief in sight. Farm crops failing, fish dying, food shortages feared. (CEWN) Weather historian Maximiliano Herrera avers, this is the worst heatwave in Korean history, since last year’s. (Wunderground)

There’s further monsoon flooding in Myanmar, 10 dead, 100 thousand displaced, while 100 people are still missing following last week’s dam burst in Laos (Floodlist reports). The death toll in India‘s monsoon floods is put at 537, 58 dying in Uttar Pradesh on the 27th. Assam has re-flooded, 5 dead. 2 died in floods in the capital, Delhi, affecting 10 thousand homes. There’s severe flooding again in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

China, 176 thousand Ha (435 thousand acres) of Heilongjiang province underwater, 250 thousand homes affected. (CEWN)

Parts of eastern Australia are suffering their worst drought in living memory. About 98% of New South Wales is drought-stricken, and two-thirds of neighbouring Queensland. As a result, farmers are having to buy in food for their livestock. The government’s aid for drought-hit farmers has now topped A$1bn (£564m). Parts of Australia saw the second warmest summer on record between December and February, and the country as a whole saw its driest July since 2002. (from BBC News)

Colombia, Venezuela both experiencing severe flooding, population movement exacerbated by a MILLION refugees from Venezuela, many needing food assistance. Santo Domingo del Táchira in western Venezuela, recorded 818.6 mm of rainfall in July, 2018. This is the second highest monthly rainfall amount ever recorded in Venezuela (normally 500 mm.) (from Floodlist)

Europe: 28 July, The Washington Post reported:

“It’s the longest heat wave in Europe since 1976, and although expectations for Friday’s heat were tempered somewhat by widespread summertime storms in Britain, places in mainland Europe still baked. Amsterdam and Rotterdam posted their hottest temperatures ever recorded Thursday, 94.6 and 97 degrees (34.8 and 36.1 Celsius). London and many other cities also recorded their highest temperatures of the year over recent days. About a three-hour drive north of Paris, the French border city of Lille recorded an all-time record high of at least 99.7 degrees (37.6 Celsius).

After a cooler spell, temperatures are forecast to push up into the high 40s C in Spain and Portugal this week, possibly even touching 50C, sending a plume of hot air over the rest of Europe up into the British Isles by Friday. Holidaymakers have been warned not to go out in the daytime and 11 thousand firefighters are on standby.

Greece: The death toll in the Attica fires has risen to 91. Since 26 July Athens has been hit by powerful cyclonic winds and deluged by heavy rainfall with local flash floods. (CEWN #131). Severe flooding in Romania. Sweltering heat has trapped much of France and Germany, with crops shrivelling in the fields. In Paris, the temperature did not fall below 20C overnight for 10 nights.

Israel: record-breaking heat has encouraged widespread fires. (CEWN)

Arctic: The sea surface temperature near Svalbard (77.958°N, 5.545°E) on July 18 was 17.2°C or 63°F. This compares to an average sea surface temperature at the same location on roughly that date between 1981-2011 of 5°C or 41.1°F.

On 28 July the temperature in Banak, northern Norway, at 70 degrees of latitude, was 31.2C, 87.8F.

Arctic sea ice volume on July 9 was at a record low for the time of the year. “Sam Carana” (Arctic News blog) points out that while the extent of the ice has hardly changed, owing to fresh meltwater freezing, over a meter of thickness has gone, and “complete disappearance of Arctic sea ice in September 2018 is within the margins of a trend based on yearly annual minimum volume”; which, they warn, can happen abruptly as more heat and wave energy are pushing northwards into the region and the circumpolar jetstream is slowing down again.

Methane levels are again very high, reaching 2817 ppb on 9 July.

Criminal acts by the Trump regime

A 2014 ban on neo-nicotinoid pest killers

 

(Shutterstock.com)

* This matter of day and night temperatures raises an interesting point. When the International Panel on Climate Change or whoever reports that the average global temperature has increased by, whatever – 0.59 degrees? since whenever – 1981? they are taking the average as the median point between the highest and lowest temperatures recorded around the world, day and night, summer and winter.

Actually, if you take the average of only the highest, i.e. the noonday temperatures, which is where the heating effect is most obvious, global warming is between 2C and 4C already (and much higher at both poles). It’s the extreme temperatures that do the most damage, and record heat events vastly outnumber record cold. Hot is getting hotter!

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This is not happening!

Five million Facebook viewers have now allegedly viewed a video by ultra-evil energy lobbyist Marc Morano, throwing up a totally spurious case to deny that man-made climate change is real and ongoing.

“Morano’s only evidence to dispute the (97%) expert consensus on human-caused global warming is to quote an economist who agrees the consensus is 90–100%, and that the experts are correct that humans are responsible for global warming.”, writes Dana Nuccitelli in The Guardian, 25 July.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jul/25/facebook-video-spreads-climate-denial-misinformation-to-5-million-users

Morano’s other theses, that it’s impossible to separate the effects of industrial CO2 emissions from natural background changes and other causes; and that “scientists can’t say with 100% certainty that 2016 was hotter than 2015 due to the margin of uncertainty in the data”, are also lies easily debunked, if only by looking at more than the limited number of sources he has selected to feed his confirmation-bias.

(There is, for example, a single Danish survey that climate-change deniers have fixated on, showing global temperature was actually static for 19 years between 1989 and 2008. In fact the Danish scientists have since stated that their data were selectively misinterpreted by a climate-change denial blog that was picked up and amplified in the rightwing media; global temperature has NOT been static; besides, we know that each of the past 402 months (totalling 33 years) has been fractionally warmer than the equivalent month the previous year, without a break.)

Those are in any case pretty feeble premises on which to deny what anyone can see is happening just by going for a walk in the park, or by viewing the disturbing citizen-generated cameraphone images of floods and wildfires on a reliable website like Climate and Extreme Weather News. The cumulative impact is terrifyingly persuasive.

True, those things have happened in the past, but not with the intensity and frequency with which they are happening simultaneously all around the globe today. We are heating the planet many thousand times faster than the planet has ever heated itself before, the logic is remorseless: you cannot keep changing the balance of gases in the atmosphere without it having an effect – and the current weather anomalies are entirely in line with the forecast symptoms.

Endearingly, when interviewed Morano openly admits he is lying. It’s his job, his business (he runs a number of false-front climate-change denial agencies masquerading as expert scientific institutions) to try to create a case for denying the reality of a planet being dangerously warmed as a result of (mainly) carbon dioxide emissions from burning the fossil fuels profitably extracted by his paymasters.

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earnestly explained in the face of growing catcalls and a record-breaking vertiginous plunge wiping £billions off his stock value that Holocaust deniers posting on his platform were wrong, but might perhaps have good intentions.

Fake news is everywhere, possibly even on this site, although here we do our best to insult our victims on the basis of whatever evidence of malfeasance and cretinism we can stand up through logic, prior knowledge, reason and a little superficial research.

There’s nothing any of us can really do about global warming, it’s too late anyway. The weather will go on getting more extreme, more chaotic; more people will suffer, first the poor and then creeping up the wealth scale until billionaires are huddling in their extensive underground climate-controlled bunkers, at the mercy of their private security armies; more regions of the world will cease to support normal life, to produce food and shelter, until there is nowhere left to escape to.

So if Marc Moron wants to go on yelling into the firestorm, let him. He’s (possibly) a bestial, money-grubbing American ignoramus who fucks camels in the zoo at night, just sayin’, but the only harm he’s really doing is to lull stupid teenage Facebook subscribers into a false sense of security.

It’s perhaps the best place for all of us to be now.

 

Old times

There were three women wearing white coats wandering around, seemingly doing nothing in particular, opening and closing drawers, gazing into space, in the pharmacy section of the supermarket.

I asked one if they had some astringent lotion and she replied: “Yes, but I’m sorry, I can’t serve you before two o’clock, it’s the lunch hour. We’re only allowed to dispense prescriptions.”

No-one was there having a prescription dispensed. No-one was eating lunch. The board announcing the Opening Times made no mention of a 1 p.m. hiatus.

It was just the rules.

Sometimes I feel like we’re still living in the 1950s, and it’s not particularly comforting, whatever you may think.)

“Hello, dear peeps. Al Sissi here, your beloved President. Lovely weather I brought you, no? Please take advantage of our free hanging service while Muslim Brotherhood stocks last. Concessions available for teenagers and mentally retarded.”

The BogPo is closing down now for a week of fun and frolicking with a catheter bag, sandals and a microphone. I know, but what can you do? It’s August. You’ll just have to think for yourselves.

The Pumpkin – Issue 59: Is John Sopoor finally growing a pair?… Are we all going to die on 1 April next year? … GW: keeping us in the loop… Some birds never find the food… In praise of Kenny Wheeler.

“Non, non, absolument pas, je vous dis! Jamais! Sacre bleu! Zut alors! Completement impossible! C’est de la merde!! A quoi pensez-vous, monsieur l’idiot?” (etc., ad infinitum).
Britain’s new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab can hardly believe his luck as Barnier goes off on one over the Chequers white paper.

 

Is John Sopoor finally growing a pair?

The BBC’s hitherto uncritical Washington correspondent, John Sopel seems to be waking from the self-induced coma he has been in since the inauguration of the Tangerine Dream in January last year. Yes, he has noticed that the President tells the occasional lie.

Of the two he has spotted out of several thousand well-attested falsehoods, Supine refers to the frequently repeated boast where Trump tells his dumbfuck supporters he cleverly predicted Brexit on 22 June, 2016 – the day he arrived to play golf at his Turnberry course, the day before referendum day – when in established, verifiable fact he said nothing whatever about it until the 24th, the day AFTER the referendum.

Sopel finds it to be of interest that Trump then appointed an entire PR person to lie full-time about this somewhat confusing claim, out of all the many lies and rowing-backs of lies and doubling-down on lies and lying about lying, and sending putzes like Lyin’ Sarah Sanders and dim Sean Spicer out to explain what the president really meant, which was the opposite of whatever he was denying he ever said, only he never said it, so you better not print that he did, or else….

To the BogPo, whose mind is also wandering, it seems just like the kind of thing I’d do, if I had a free budget for paying people to tell the media what I wanted to say but didn’t have the intelligence to say it right the first time. But then, I predicted Brexit in May, 2013.

“Donald Trump was speaking at a rally in Kansas City. And he came out with a memorable phrase that sounded as though it had been lifted straight from George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. He said: “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”
“Or it is. There is just a concerted – and sometimes it would seem – systematic effort to make you think otherwise. Forget alternative facts. This is rewriting history.” – Sopel/BBC, 25 July

There seems to be little concern here for what Trump also told his audience; another pile of tragically hopeful, disused, flag-shagging military veterans whom he would deign to scrape off his shoe:

“Don’t believe the crap you hear from the media. … many Democratic politicians are “disciples of a very low IQ person,” (Rep. Maxine Waters, a frequent Democratic critic of the President’s; also a black person with a military record who receives many death threats from Republicans pissed at her criticisms of their hero, and responds: You better be able to shoot straight….)

Following this repellent racist slur, the filthy, lying orange slug with an IQ below 90 went further, which is short for ‘Full Führer’, as Sopoor reports:

“He also falsely accused Democrats of being “OK” with crime in the US. “They want open borders, and crime’s OK,” Trump said. “We want strong borders and we want no crime.” – Sopel/BBC

This total fabrication linking immigration with crime is par for the course at Trump rallies, the Gargantuan lies, total misrepresentations of the truth, wild claims of persecution, whining pleas for sympathy and manipulative slurs repeated over and again against manufactured hate figures; the self-victimization of a narcissist with nothing to offer but his dreams of a moneyverse, where war veterans (if of South American origin) are deported for minor traffic violations, splitting up American families, to countries where they may never have lived.

Because: “We want strong borders and we want no crime.” Although he knows, the lousy fucker knows, the little pictures have been shown to him, that immigrants commit less crime than the natives and are themselves more likely to be the victims of crime. But he bangs on with his obsessive meme, the hysterical pleas for love and understanding, the constant whingeing about ‘Fake nooze’ and the great ‘Witch hunt’, Hillary’s emails…. his messianic demands to believe in only Trump and his version of the world growing louder as the midterms approach.

Christ, but he is one predictable, reprehensible, lying racist fuckwit.

Tragically, the dead cat bounce of the US economy since the disaster of 2008 is running away with itself, rapidly overheating, and the presidential ignoramus is taking all the credit, despite doing his damnedest to destroy it with his insane tariff wars aimed at reversing non-existent trade gaps in his imagination.

Nevertheless the short-term gains may see him back over the line in 2020.

God help us.

x

Dark he was, and swivel-eyed… Dominic Raab describes a tasty British mangel-wurzel to the Commons, 25 July.

“Anyone knowing the very basics of food production … would know just how difficult it would be for industry to stockpile food.”

Are we all going to die on 1 April next year?

“With their comments – presumably meant to assure us that they have a plan, or at least a clue – May and her ministers have shown us instead how woefully under-prepared we are. Brexit is perhaps the most complex thing the UK has attempted in the lifetime of most of us, and it is being run by people who don’t understand the absolute basics.”

The quotes above are taken from a scathing article in The Guardian (26 July) by former special projects editor, James Ball, evaluating the reassuring claims made by the government that we shan’t run out of food if we exit the EU at midnight on 29 March, 2019 without a Customs deal, because we’re fully prepared for anything to happen.

Far from it being another example of “Project Fear”, the slur thrown at the Remain campaign during the run-up to the referendum, Project Reassurance – “We don’t know what we’re talking about but if the worst does come to the worst, there’s no Customs deal and the refrigerated lorries grind to a 17-mile halt tailing back from Calais you can queue for the basic ration at your local army barracks” – is coming from the new Brexit secretary, the swivel-eyed Eurosceptic, Dominic Raab.

If even he thinks it’s all going to be a dystopian nightmare, this rabid Brexiteer plotter and would-be privatizer of the Welfare State, this Tory CUNT (Conservative and Unionist Neo-Thatcherite) par excellence, calmly planning for the breakdown of civilization that he and his money-breathing co-conspirators have been hoping for, then it’s time to panic.

Because they’re all away now for six weeks’ holiday, maybe for the last time as free-dwelling Europeans visiting their agreeable second homes in Tuscany, which all good Remainers fervently hope the Italian authorities will immediately confiscate, so nothing gets done as the clock ticks loudly down to midnight.

Shortages of food and food ingredients are far from the only terrors No Deal holds. Michael Ryan, eponymous boss of the popular no-frills airline (you tell ’em! Ed.), seems pretty convinced his planes will fall from the sky – at least, they won’t be able to overfly or refuel in Britain as the deal with the EU ensuring Open Skies will instantly collapse.

Likewise, our membership of the medicines agency that licences drugs for use all over the EU will automatically lapse and hospitals will run dry as the winter ‘flu cases die by the score, coughing blood and moaning gently on their gurneys in the car park.

At that point, Ball writes, the government anticipates that “industry” will rush to save us with all the food they’ve been stockpiling – except, this isn’t Mesopotamia, 3500 BC. There are no “grain stores” held in stone jars against a washed-out summer, everything nowadays is shipped around Europe or flown in from Chile on a “just in time” delivery schedule giving producers and supermarkets about a day’s grace before production and distribution grind to a halt. Nobody stockpiles food.

And, he argues, neither Raab nor May has any kind of a clue about how the food business works, accounting for their absurd overoptimism. What happens, he asks, if the industry has to gear up at much unwanted expense to meet the challenge, leasing huge amounts of refrigerated warehouse space, hiring staff, and May does a last-minute deal to let the lorries in?

And what nobody seems to be taking much notice of, so gorgeous is the weather in what well may be all of our last summers, is that if it doesn’t produce the right kind of rain, and soon, all across Europe from the polytunnels of Alicante to the unending steppes of Russia, we’re not going to have enough food for all of us anyway, the supermarket shelves will rapidly empty, the doors will close, Christmas will be cancelled and the riots and looting begin.

Stockpiling what?

So that’s another alarm clock that’s ticking loudly while the little Raabs bury their fanatical dad up to his blue-blooded chin in sand and the ice-cream of Eternity drips melted strawberry flavoring on the sandal of international ridicule.

Ho hum, vodka and tonic, I think, slice of lime, and it’s back to the garden for your old Uncle B.

x

Carr fire: Redding, Ca. this morning, 27 July. “President Trump has not commented on the fires.” (Guardian). No, well. No votes in California.

GW: keeping us in the loop

Dr Jeff Masters of the now-hopelessly dysfunctional and sensationalist Weather Channel website, that used to be an erudite forum called Wunderground, or Weather Underground, has a scholarly essay today on a possibly dangerous situation developing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Parts of the Gulf are showing sea surface temperatures about 1C above normal, creating a breeding ground for hurricanes at the peak part of the season, where no proper hurricanes have yet formed since early June owing to unfavorable wind conditions at altitude. That’s now changing.

The key is apparently that the temperature anomaly at the surface needs to extend down about 100 meters to create a sufficient reserve of energy. Meanwhile, scientists are looking to the behaviour of the Loop Current, a feature that pushes this warm water around (and kicks off the Gulf Stream at its southern end), making its energy available to the right kind of cyclones, and which has recently split in two.

The conditions are now approaching those that in the recent past have spawned the most powerful, Cat 5 hurricanes in the Gulf. If I may quote Dr Masters:

“When a Loop Current eddy breaks off in the Gulf of Mexico at the height of the hurricane season, it can lead to a dangerous situation where a vast reservoir of energy is available to any hurricane that might cross over. This occurred in 2005, when a Loop Current eddy separated in July, just before Hurricane Katrina passed over and “bombed” into a Category 5 hurricane. The eddy remained in the Gulf and slowly drifted westward during September. Hurricane Rita passed over the same Loop Current eddy three weeks after Katrina, and also explosively deepened to a Category 5 storm.”

http://www.wunderground.com/cat6/High-Octane-Hurricane-Fuel-Gulf-Mexico-2-Loop-Current-Eddies

The hurricane season continues into September.

Meanwhile, across the western Pacific two more storm systems are strengthening into typhoons, of which there have been quite a few this year: Tropical Storms Jongdari and Wukong. Weather Channel reports: “Jongdari is strengthening in the western Pacific (winds now 75 mph) and may take an unusual path toward mainland Japan this weekend”, making landfall as a Cat 1, to add to the miseries of Japan’s devastating storms and heat this past month.

Wukong seems to be headed for northern China/Kamchatka as an outlier on a larger rotation in the north Pacific.

Jongdari latest: to hit Nagoya prefecture near Tokyo tonight, 28 July as a Cat 1, with forecast 15 inches of rain over the next 24 hours.

Greece: after the terrible fires that claimed more than 80 lives in areas around the capital, Athens; including the devastated holiday resort of Mati – 40 are still missing – comes a warning of severe thunderstorms for the weekend, and probable floods.

Arctic circle: “Description: Potential disruption due to extreme high temperatures from 5PM EEST THU until 12:59AM EEST FRI. Cities affected: Ahvenniemi, Aikkila, Juuma, Finland.” (MeteoAlarm). The northern Scandinavian heatwave continues unabated, with many wildfires still raging. Scientists are watching with alarm as shallower, warmer waters around the Arctic ocean are once again pluming methane. A 50- gigatonne “burp” is a theoretical possibility, that would send temperatures around the planet soaring uncontrollably “within minutes”.

USA: “Numerous tropical downpours since the weekend have caused major flash flooding in parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, where water rescues were reported and a disaster emergency was declared in at least one Pennsylvania town. Parts of the interior mid-Atlantic have been swamped with over a foot of rain.” (Weather Channel) Heatstricken California is threatened with heavy storms.

28 July: A fast-moving wildfire, the Carr Fire, is burning through the suburbs of the city of Redding (pop. 90k) in northern California. 2 dead, 9 missing, 48 thousand acres destroyed, many homes, and only 3% controlled. Temperatures in the region exceeding 42C, 100F day-to-day with strong winds forecast to last another week. 1.3 million acres – 89 fires – are burning in the western US. (reporting: The Guardian and others)

UK: Heatwave broken by powerful thunderstorms in the south. Didn’t fulfil predictions of a record 38.5 C anywhere, only 36C in Norfolk on Thursday, now there’s a forecast for those east coast US storms spiralling across the north Atlantic to hit us after Sunday, it looks like the long drought may be coming to an end. Not before farmers in many sectors report 30-50% losses. Food prices already rising.

 

Some birds never find the food

My nice new next-door neighbour owns a little wiggly dog of uncertain provenance: long, low, mostly gray, shaggy-coated and pug-faced,  looking like a cross between a pekingese and a stoat.

She’s quite a sweet little dog if you’re okay with the ingratiating type that rolls over to have its tummy tickled by a complete stranger. I’m not, but – neighbours – I do my best to smile and say, what a sweet little doggy. There, there. Oh, you want more? Thinking: I’m real glad of Hunzi, a proper dog.

Our tiny front gardens share a path and are open at the side, so when Ayshea – that’s the neighbour – lazily chucks the little dog out the front door – they have no back garden – Lola – that’s the little dog – is free to come into my garden and snaffle the food I started putting out for the birds two weeks ago, along with a bowl of water for the freakish hot weather we’ve been having.

Starting with a flock of half a dozen sparrows, birds were very quickly attracted to my little pop-up cafe under the uncontrollably spreading umbrella of the Photinia. Soon larger birds arrived, a pair of blackbirds, two collared doves, each requiring its own special menu.

As demand soared, twice a day I was cooking up a batch of seeds pelleted in suet, special wild bird mixture, dried mealworms and heels of bread that I chopped up into big crumbs, often sacrificing my breakfast in the process, as the supermarket has always just sold out of plain hand-stretched ciabbata loaves, the only kind I like, no matter what time I get there, leaving an unsold pile all day of other, specialized ciabbata loaves adulterated with olives or sun-dried tomatoes and cheese.

I ask the bakers why they think normal people would want to eat bread impregnated with olives when they could buy good, plain bread and some olives in a jar, or sun-dried tomatoes and a block of cheddar, and put them together if they really wanted bread with olives, or cheese and tomato flavor, and there’s no real answer: it’s the store policy.

There are few nastier things to taste than bread and apricot marmalade with olives in it, I’m sure you agree. Especially when you have my eyesight and have bought bread with olives by mistake. The labels are hand-printed and not always clear to read.

Anyway, there was little Lola, snaffling the birdfood that I was scattering on the ground, especially the crumbs of what would have been my breakfast, and I called her a little monster, affectionately as I hoped, but I fear Ayshea may have overheard through the open window, because she called the dog in and shut the door, and a certain froideur seems to have descended between us.

So I jumped in the car and drove to Charlie’s hardware emporium and bought a bird table tall enough to frustrate the dog with her little stoaty legs; set it out in the garden, poured an extra helping of bird food in the tray and sat back in the window to watch what the birds would do.

Three days later, and most of the original food is still mouldering on the table far above their anxious, darting heads, while the bewildered birds wander about the garden, pecking hopefully at the bare ground where sustenance used to be found. Only the pigeons seem smart enough to have worked out where the food now is.

The words “gutter” and “stars” flash through my head, and I draw a life-lesson from them.

Always look up, even if you have just pissed your pants in Morrison’s car park, trying to buy bread.

x

Jazz alert

In praise of… Kenny Wheeler

A brief footnote, you know how you get into the groove of ultimate satisfaction thinking, yes, that’s the last car I’ll ever want or need to buy, no more houses for me, I’m fine living here, abroad is the same everywhere so why travel? I can’t be bothered reading fiction anymore, life’s too short, etcetera?

So I’m in a space where, with around 400 recordings ranging from Miles Davis to Alice Coltrane, I no longer want to hear any jazz music that doesn’t feature the following personnel: Dave Holland on bass, Jack de Johnette on drums, John Taylor (or Keith Jarrett) on piano, featuring Norma Winstone on vocals, maybe Chris Potter on tenor – and Kenny Wheeler, the late, great Canadian flugelhorn player, who was like an erratic angel broadcasting from another realm.

No trumpet player in jazz history has ever sounded like Kenny, who also wrote most of his own stuff. I can only suggest to the novitiate that you may consider he produces the plangent yet triumphal tone reminiscent of a prodigious 13-year-old soloist under the wing of a respected old conductor secretly dying from emphysema; a bright, hopeful boy or girl who will one day move to the big city, for now brilliantly channeling Elgar Howarth in the front row of the ageing silver-band of a doomed mining community somewhere in the north, hoping against hope to win just one final competition – and they do!

You know what that sound is, I’m sure.

I would die happy if someone could just keep this divine music coming. But Kenny must have been one of the most under-recorded musical geniuses of the jazz-ignorant 1980s.

Sadly, having had to buy a new laptop after I killed the old one in a fit of frustration with its habit of flinging my carefully composed texts out of the Window for no reason I could discover, some invisible keyboard shortcut I kept triggering by accident as my three fingers flew over the worn-out keys, I no longer know how to transfer from CD to music folders, so that I can carry Kenny and the others around with me wherever I go.

With the old computer it was automatic, but for some reason Media Player works differently on this machine. I just managed to transfer one folder across before the old one died, and can’t anyway now remember how I did it.

The old laptop had a DVD tray, transferring music was easy, you slid the CD in and Media Player would obligingly pull up the track list and ask if you wanted to rip it? Whereas this new miracle of slimline technology – “In Search of Incredible”, indeed – obliges you to find some extra outside source and my brand-new Teac CD player infuriatingly has no line-out function other than to the speakers.

My son thinks I’m insane. Just sign up for Prime, or a Spotify account, Dad! Only £9.99 a month, unlimited music and you can make your own playlists! I sniff suspiciously. But they won’t have the more obscure stuff I like! Try me. So he goes online to his phone for about 15 seconds and sure enough, they even have Alice Coltrane’s Ptah, the El Daoud album I bought a week or so ago. So I really have no excuse not to cancel my charity subscriptions and get online, except I don’t trust any of those fuckers not to sell me to the highest bidder; to report my odd taste in music to the Security services.

So as my Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone collection of CDs exponentially grows in relation to the shrinkage of my small savings, and my limited shelf space fills up until the CDs are stacked on the floor, it stays on disk while I glare frustratedly at this power-packed new laptop, thin as a silver biscuit and about as useful.

x

Dear Ivanka Trump, just who the hell are you?… The Amesbury Horror… Scorched Earth Policy: turning America into the shithole of the world… GW: gettin’ sick of weather “experts” and their feeble excuses… Lies on a Summer Night… End Times: Can we have the bill, please?

Forestuff

“…they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.” – (The Guardian, 23 July)

– Technologist, Dr Douglas Rushkoff, describing a bizarre “conference” he was very well paid to speak at, that consisted of just half a dozen worried billionaires sitting around a table seeking answers to profound questions concerning their own survival as the new master race. 

Readers of this, muh bogl, might kindly recall that we Posted some time ago a Long Essay about the survivalist ambitions of the money-breathers. Made most of the same points, I think. Can’t remember when, doesn’t matter. Here’s the link: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/23/tech-industry-wealth-futurism-transhumanism-singularity

 

“you must surely realize in the still of the night that you have no qualification whatsoever to make policy on anything other than your own cheapjack fashion empire?”

Dear Ivanka Trump

Just who the hell are you?

With your preposterous sense of overentitlement, your absurd, deluded “first family” arrogance, you have announced that, in view of the failure of your fashion brands owing to your dad’s unpopularity, you have decided to shut them down (at the expense of many poor Chinese workers’ jobs) and concentrate instead on making long-term policy for the government of the United States of America.

The insouciance is simply breathtaking. You were never elected to anything!

The trophy wife of a slimy, chronically overgeared property developer – himself the teenage son of a criminal fraudster and convicted blackmailer, a squalid, rack-rent corporate landlord desperate for money – as pretty as you once were, you must surely realize in the still of the night that you have no qualification whatsoever to make policy on anything other than your own cheapjack fashion empire!

With the greatest of respect, Ivanka dear, you know fuck-all about running the world, let alone your local precinct, whose name you don’t know. You have never run for office, or hosted a town hall, or counseled a homeless mother of two trapped on opioids!

You may have been there, Davos and places, met world leaders who are running rings around your sad old dad, but you haven’t yet earned the T-shirt. And if you imagine your demented ignoramus of a father who wants to fuck you has any greater depth of knowledge of anything other than borderline criminal activity, hatred of America and the most stunted and brutal, self-defeating, outdated economic theories since before Mr Glass met Mr Steagal, well, then you know even less than I imagine.

As the daughter of America’s most catastrophic President in history, the total phonus-balonus, a bullying, blundering incompetent elected by fraud on a minority vote, another bankrupt business failure with a history of murky dealings involving organized crime, an elderly bloviate clearly suffering in the advanced stages of dementia, who needs medical help more than constant praise, you have lost all sense of proportion.

This is surely the apotheosis of the celebrity culture, when the population, so brainwashed by the vapid outpourings of the little social media devices babbling in their ears and on their screens, devices whose aggressive marketing has created an elite claque of slave-owning “tech billionaires” living in a bubble of their own paranoid reality and shareholder greed, that they no longer have any sense of what’s relevant or material, permanently enslaves itself to total mediocracy.

Government by TV ‘stars’. it had to happen, I suppose, since the common people have little else to compare them with and are not educated to know that there are no easy answers to the most complex problems of our age.

Just check-out the latest Trump speech, in which he fervently urges his dumbfuck supporters not to believe anything they hear or see, other than what he tells them is happening: his nightly re-imaginings of reality in 280 characters or less…. It’s terrifying; the self-contradictory outpourings of a drowning man, the King Over the Water so far out of his depth in the job it has rendered him insensible to all externalities; his personal mythology a kind of mental prolapse, a turning inside-out of the theory of how to do stuff without shitting out your own bowels.

What we are facing is a world in which the “survivors” of Big Brother and Love Island, Trump’s Apprentice; the Kanyes and Kims and other “whodey?s” of popular fantasy, are accorded exactly the same status as the patiently trained politicians and diplomats, the ingenious industry leaders and studious philosophers, the Nobel prizewinning scientists and rectitudinous University deans, when it comes to understanding and managing evermore complex world events: trade, manufacturing, diplomacy, agriculture, technology, climate change, war… unless they are available to your superficial nostrums entirely divorced from context and complexity.

I mean, like, Palestine, Syria, Facebook, the markets – how hard can they be? You just say what you want to happen, and hey presto!

Merely because they have been made into celebrities through sophisticated marketing to produce fully exploitable robotic figures who now – what – by virtue of their ubiquity have a claim to rule in the political, industrial, academic and scientific spheres, the intellectual space, because – what – knowledge, experience, wisdom, intelligence, maturity and deep education count for nothing anymore, so divorced are they from the median student of life and her Twitter feed?

It’s the political victory of the liberal arts over the empirical sciences, in the CP Snow analysis.

Are we now saying that Kim Kardashian would also be an ideal President of the USA, merely because she has been promoted by astute and cynical showbusiness mavens to cult status through emphasizing the prodigious size of her buttocks? Is that even a serious thing? Do you know, women are dying from having stuff injected in their asses to make them look like this fabulous confection, this useless and pitiable drain on our shrinking resources – this cultural prostitute?

Kardashian appears to have no other talents, apart from being the daughter of one of the celebrity advocates of the wife-beater and probable murderer, OJ “The Juice” Simpson, having married an inexplicably popular and unreliable “rap” artist whose philosophical gibberings rival those of the footballer, Eric Cantona, for sheer banality. (And that, of course, is the whole point of her appeal to millions of aspirant teens – you don’t need anything more to succeed beyond your own wildest dreams, provided you keep your ass in shape and buy the product. To hell with the suicides.)

Are we being asked from now on to accept that some permatanned genius like one of the indistinguishable Kardashian sisterhood couldn’t possibly do a worse job of fucking up the planet than Trump, given an adequate marketing push? While trashing classical culture with the other hand? the made-for-TV Taliban?

Is he the benchmark for future Presidents whose executive powers will be limited to deciding what to call their latest range of underarm deodorant? (And then languidly reach out an arm to blackmail another small state before returning to the matters in tiny hand, the construction of a policy tweet, the guzzling of a cheeseburger.) Whose Twitter followers outnumber the stars in the galaxy? Whose YouTube makeup videos suck in millions of dollars in advertising to desperate kids with normal adolescent blemishes?

Fortunately, this whole horror show is winding up as the planet heats beyond human endurance.

Ivanka Trump’s latest commercial venture, concentrating on making policy for the future of the Free World, in which incidentally you and I will struggle to live, even if she survives for a while longer, is going to have to cope with some pretty difficult conditions in the next few years.

The BogPo only hopes she’s vain and stupid enough to lead us out of the wilderness into the sunlit uplands of vacuous commerce and superficial expertry, if only by accident.

x

Sucker berg

But maybe all is not lost!

“Facebook shares tumbled on Wednesday after the social media network’s revenue and user growth fell short of investor expectations …. 2.23 billion monthly active users at the end of June … was up 11% compared to 2017 – the slowest growth in more than two years.” – BBC Business

The biggest ever single-day drop in a company’s market value, Facebook lost another $119 billion Thursday. The Zuck is personally $16 billion lighter tonight. He won’t be going out!

Hold on. You mean, 11% more suckers are still signing up to Zuck’s college scam, regardless of being told repeatedly what Facebook really is and how it exploits them?

Okay, maybe all is lost.

 

“…what are we talking, ‘Poison, by Dior’? ‘Collusion, by Trump’?”

The Amesbury Horror

So, Russian nerve-agent victim Charlie Rowley recovered consciousness, and has explained to police and subsequently the media what happened. It isn’t as the BogPo speculated last week, an extended conspiracy: Rowley and poor Dawn Sturgess turn out to have been almost exceptionally ordinary people, two recovering addicts caught in the social care system, it was incredibly bad luck, but it’s equally intriguing.

The Guardian writes:

“The man poisoned with the nerve agent novichok has claimed the substance that killed his girlfriend and left him critically ill came in a perfume bottle that was sealed and wrapped up.”

So, the police have cleverly concluded, it can’t have been from the same batch as was used to try to assassinate the double-agent, Sergei Skripal in Salisbury last March. Why not?

The obvious inference is surely that the same batch was split across two or more similarly disguised containers; it would not be an over-imaginative ploy, to smuggle the agent in a perfume bottle of the kind you might bring into the country, say as a duty-free purchase on a commercial flight; and to ensure that if one attacker failed, the other would get through.

There’s more than one!

Now, clearly, if (as the Russian disinformation campaign has tried to pretend) the poison had come from an illicit batch on a shelf at Porton Down, retained in defiance of the international rules on chemical weapons by the devious British for spies presumably with romantic inclinations, it wouldn’t have been in a wrapped and sealed perfume bottle.

Unless it’s kept on a shelf of pre-mixed 1980s compound nerve agents heavily disguised as duty-free goods for handy use in any circumstances. (One certainly hopes Ryanair or whoever weren’t pushing it to passengers by accident.)

But if the assassin/s arrived on a flight, probably via somewhere else, from Moscow, surely it was the perfect method of getting the poison into the country. And if it was convincingly sealed and wrapped, then the most likely explanation is that some agency with the sophisticated ability to refill, seal and cellophane-wrap a perfume bottle in such a way as to make it undetectable and not suspicious to Customs could be responsible.

And, a thought – why split the batch? Well, any container of liquid over 100 ml would be confiscated at Security.

So the Guardian expert’s weird speculation suggests that the media don’t have a clue:

“…if Rowley is correct about the perfume bottle being boxed and sealed (why would he not be? Ed.), it may undermine the line of inquiry that the novichok that he and Sturgess came into contact with had been discarded by the attackers of the Skripals.”

Oh, really? So there was more than one team of Russian knockoff-artists blundering about the Wiltshire countryside looking for former agents to eliminate, all using sealed perfume bottles, and no connection between them?

How do these dimwits get employed on apparently serious news organs, when your Uncle Bogler struggles to get by on his pension because you bastards won’t pay to read his illuminating insights?

The most obvious inference, my dears, is that the attackers had A SPARE BOTTLE which they discarded when they got the message, “job done”.

The question now being, are there more discarded perfume bottles littering Wiltshire – what are we talking, “Poison, by Dior”? “Collusion, by Trump”?

Charlie, by Revlon? No, that would be too…

Actually, the question is, what was in the package Yulia Skripal reportedly brought into Heathrow through Customs when she visited her father? Would she have known what she was carrying, or might it have been a plant? And if we have heard Charlie’s version of events, why haven’t we heard hers?

Surely, even if Sergei is still a cauliflower, she could shed light on the whole affair?

Poor Charlie doesn’t now remember where he found the bottle, and there’s no confirmation the police have it, although we must assume they do. He says he gave it to his girlfriend as a gift: Dawn sprayed it on herself, but he only got some on his hand and washed it off.

One lived, the other died. It’s an arbitrary journey, life.

He says it was oily and odourless. This correlates to what my defense-industry-orientated son tells me about the nature of novichok and how it works – faster when inhaled; almost instantly replacing your proteins, or some such, with nerve-blockers, than when in contact with the skin.

So the spray action would have been useful, both to coat a door-handle, and as a sniffer.

Meanwhile we have heard nothing more of reports that the police have a number of suspects in view, Russians who came and went around the time.

Nor of the BogPo’s innocent question: why was Skripal ensconced by his MI6 handlers (who are based in London) in a supposedly safe house in Salisbury, right in the southern heartland of the British defence industry, and furnished with a vivid red BMW car?

Was he some sort of tethered goat?

We have heard nothing more, either, from Det Sgt Bailey, who was also inadvertently poisoned; in what sense was he a ‘first responder’, and how did he know to go straight to the Skripal house if they were unconscious when found a few miles away, unless he already knew who they were?

And what of the coincidence, that both couples spent time in the same park in Salisbury, visited by hundreds of people every week, on the days they were poisoned? What separate action then ties them together across four months in time?

It’s one heck of a mystery, ain’t it.

x

Scorched Earth: turning America into the shithole of the world

Before being dragged from his $43 thousand private phone booth, his manicured and expensively lotioned fingernails squealing on the whiteboard, the profoundly corrupt and borderline insane administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who “very much did not want to leave office” (for details of his bizarre crimes, see Posts passim) tried to push through one more incomprehensible piece of environmental vandalism.

So-called ‘glider trucks’ are new truck cabs that are sold without engines and gearboxes, allowing the haulage company to retrofit their own engines after purchase. Such engines may have been recovered from crashed or dumped trucks, or are recons from decommissioned rigs.

They are naturally older, more polluting units that don’t meet Clean Air Act stipulations, but because they predate the rules, don’t have to.

Either stupid or desperate, persuaded by the manufacturers’ marketing bullshit, US hauliers see only the immediate cost saving and not the long-term extra costs of the maintenance cycle and breakdown issues.

Or the hideous environmental and human health consequences of NOx pollution.

But there you go, or not.

According to the Vox website:

“…the EPA’s (own) tests showed that even shiny new glider trucks can spew upward of 55 times the amount of pollution of modern trucks.”

The Obama administration – them again – had moved to issue an order under the Clean Air Act limiting the numbers of these child-killing monsters to 300 a year, still 300 too many in the BogPo’s view. Pruitt’s last venal sin was to try to overturn the order.

To quote Michelle Obama, what is the matter with these people?

Happily, there’s been an 11th hour intervention by the courts.

In an update to its 18 July story, Vox reports:

“The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by a 2-1 decision issued an emergency stay on Wednesday in response to a lawsuit by the Environmental Defense Fund and other environmental groups. The order forces the EPA to enforce stricter rules on “super polluting” glider trucks as the court considers permanently overriding Scott Pruitt’s final decision as the EPA’s leader.”

The BogPo notes that this is only one of a very large number of unutterably stupid, evil and callous moves by the filthy Trump administration, shilling for its energy bidness donors, to turn the United States, still in parts a beautiful country, into the shithole of the world, the Mines of fucking Mordor, before Americans throw the bastards out on their ears, and has only one uncomprehending question:

Why?

To which a faint echo calls back:

Money.

PS: Mr Pruitt has been replaced by Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the coal industry.

No doubt his nickname will now be Andrew “sixteen” Wheeler. (Insert wry orange trucker face.)

For the rest of this horror story – basically, FitzGerald, beetle-browed CEO of the leading glider truck manufacturer in America, happens to fund the very same university engineering department that helpfully produces a report for Pruitt, against the findings of his own agency, claiming the trucks are just as clean as new ones.

See him shaking hairy knuckles with a beaming Donald Trump, who just loves real Americans and big shiny trucks – go to:

http://www.vox.com/2018/7/8/17544380/scott-pruitt-epa-truck-pollution-glider-kit-loophole

x

GW: gettin’ sick of weather “experts” and their feeble excuses

Greece: 24 July, the death toll in wildfires mostly now out in places along a wide front east of the capital, Athens now exceeds 70, including (it’s reported) a group of 26 people found huddled together in a field 50 metres from the sea, overcome by thick smoke in the coastal resort of Mati. Details are still emerging but it’s thought many children are among the dead. Emergency workers have been evacuating locals and tourists by boat.

“Italy, Germany, Poland and France have all sent help in the form of planes, vehicles and firefighters, and Spain and Cyprus have offered Greece assistance, but with temperatures set to soar again they are in a race against time to get the fires under control.

“Help is also needed in Sweden where at least one person has been killed and dozens injured by forest fires there as soaring temperatures continue across much of Europe.” – BBC News, 24 July

Norway, too, has around 100 wildfires burning. In Latvia: a state of emergency has been declared in the farming sector, as there has been no rain since 03 May. In Poland, agricultural production has fallen by 33%. (Climate & Extreme Weather News #130)

Italy: a flash flood raced through the town of Canosa in Puglia, 23 July after a torrential rainstorm. (CEWN)

Japan: The national weather agency has declared a natural disaster, with at least 80 deaths recorded in the past week. A spokesman warned that “unprecedented levels of heat” were being seen in some areas. Around 35,000 people have been admitted to hospital with heat stroke. The heatwave shows no sign of abating, forecasters say. On Monday (23 July), the city of Kumagaya reported a temperature of 41.1C (106F), the highest ever recorded in Japan. (from BBC News) The 37C heatwave is continuing in nearby Korea, and on the Chinese mainland

Laos: “Hundreds” of people are missing and an unknown number dead after a dam collapsed in the south-east of the country. The collapse at the hydroelectric dam in Attapu province late on Monday sent flash floods through six villages, Laos News Agency said. More than 6,600 people have been made homeless. – BBC News. It’s reported the dam was still under construction when heavy rain caused a landslide further upstream.

Pakistan: a damburst in Ghizer district caused by heavy rain swept away a village on 17 July, isolating three more villages. No reports of casualties, but 2 people died and another was injured in flash flooding in nearby Diamer district on 18 July, bringing the death toll in monsoon floods and landslides to 42 since the end of June. (from Floodlist, 24 July) More deadly floods have hit northern India, and the Philippines’ Luzon island as a result of record monsoon rains. (CEWN)

West Africa: parts of Liberia, including the capital Monrovia, experienced flooding on 18 July after days of heavy rain. Flooding caused “significant material damage and severe transport problems” and … also affected parts of neighbouring Margibi County. As of 19 July, a total of 31,186 people were affected, including thousands of children. (from Floodlist, 24 July)

USA: “At 3 a.m., it was 98 degrees in Gaviota on the Santa Barbara coast about 125 miles west of Los Angeles, the weather service said. Maximum temperatures were predicted to be 20 to 25 degrees above normal virtually everywhere.” – CBS News

As the heatwave in the west shows no sign of letting up (49C, 120 deg. F recorded outside LA) , a wildfire near Yosemite National Park has consumed more than 30,000 acres. “More than 2,900 firefighters from as far away as Virginia are fighting the blaze. As of Friday evening 20 July, the fire was only 6 percent contained.”

Meanwhile, “a fire near Portland has consumed 79,000 acres and forced 75 households to evacuate. It’s just one of 160 wildfires scorching southern Oregon. In Colorado, wildfires have already ripped through 175,000 acres, and the ensuing rains have brought mudslides along the freshly denuded landscape.” – edited from Vox website, 23 July.

Last year’s fire season affected more than 10 million acres, making it the second-worst on record behind 2015.

The wholesale price of Californian lemons has risen by 40%. In Canada, British Columbia is again bearing the brunt of an extended wildfire season, with a huge blaze reported at Mt Eneas.

Over in the east, however, what The Weather Channel is calling an “extremely odd” weather pattern is developing, with heavy rainstorms and more flash floods expected.

Russia: Siberian Times reports:

“People from remote Eveno-Bytantaisky and Zhigansky districts turned to newspapers, begging local media to explain ‘the devilry’ of what happened. Their remote communities were plunged into darkness – even though they should have 24 hour light at this time of year. ‘The sun went out around 11am, and didn’t come back until about 2pm. I couldn’t see a thing without switching lights on. We took torches to walk outside, but actually no-one wanted to be on the street because the feeling was as if something heavy in the air was pressing on your chest’, said one resident.

“After the sun returned, locals found a thick layer of dust covering everything outside.”

UK: Forecasters warn that temperatures in the south later in the week could hit 36C, 96F. The National Farmers’ Union has warned of crops “parched to the bone” and livestock farmers resorting to using winter rations, as grass has stopped growing. Several places in England have gone without significant rainfall for 54 consecutive days. – BBC News

The last survivors leave the city… Greenwich Park, London (photo: EPA)

Here out in the west today, 24 July, we have cool, cloudy conditions for the second day running, with occasional rain.

Lucky us, eh?

Oh, right. The sun just came out again.

 

Lies on a Summer Night

The BBC website has a disgraceful feature: the “5 places that have just broken weather records”, each entry accompanied by a ridiculous excuse from a tame weather “expert” explaining the specific reasons why it should have happened in that particular location.

But for the absolute worst in climate change denial on the BBC, what I would consider to be a sackable offence on the part of David Shukman and his producer, go to:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/video_and_audio/headlines/44961700/uk-heatwave-2018-why-is-it-so-hot

And take a sick bag.

Of course, you can’t put individual events down to a general trend of runaway warming, can you, can’t join the dots without panicking the populace. These are all just local anomalies that can be easily explained as funny things happening out of the blue because of technical stuff like the jetstream winds, that have unaccountably gone a bit loopy! Whoops! Why, we had worse during the war!

We’re fine, honest.

(The BBC has never, so far as I know, reported the faintly disturbing news that in July 2016 for the first time ever recorded, the northern circumpolar jetstream became so unstable that it broke apart and crossed over into the southern hemisphere. It might also be worth pointing out that 2015, 2016 and 2017 were the hottest years on record, and without an El Niño yet this year is rapidly gaining on them.)

Responding to the setting of what may be a new record for the highest temperature recorded in Africa, the 51.3C (124.3F) at Ouargla, northern Algeria, on 5 July, for instance, “Environment Correspondent” Matt McGrath writes:

“Algeria could see a sweltering 8C rise by the end of this century. The extreme temperatures of recent weeks may be a foretaste of the norm in decades to come.”

No they won’t, because a jolly-old 8C “sweltering” average rise over pre-industrial temperatures is not survivable by humans or most other animal and plant species. And on present trend will in any case have occurred long before the “end of the century”, a birthday party nobody now alive will see out.

x

End Times

Can we have the bill, please?

Earth Overshoot day – the day in the year when we pass the limit of sustainability in our consumption of food and natural resources, has moved forward again, by two days, to 1 August. As of next week we’re living on borrowed time until after Christmas, when we start living on borrowed money.

“To maintain our current appetite for resources, we would need the equivalent of 1.7 Earths, according to Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation that makes an annual assessment of how far humankind is falling into ecological debt.

“While ever greater food production, mineral extraction, forest clearance and fossil-fuel burning bring short-term (and unequally distributed) lifestyle gains, the long-term consequences are increasingly apparent in terms of soil erosion, water shortages and climate disruption.”

“‘The day of reckoning is moving nearer'”. – Guardian “Green Light”, 23 July

Yellowstone News

The giant Steamboat geyser in the park has gone off for the 12th time this year, according to the Blessed Mary Greeley’s reading of the USGS runes. The most it’s ever managed before is three times in the whole of 2003.

 

Mental Health News

As the end times and planet Nibiru approach ever nearer, scattering dust and unknown types of UV light, Americans just get crazier. Here’s a typical exchange from the MrMBB333 weather phenomena website:

Someone:

“Its really weird mars has a planet wide dust storm and we have sand off the Sahara going crazy too…I wonder if something from space like gravity waves is to blame?or the planet’s all being on one side of the sun?.”

Mars is sonoluminescent and not a solid object.
imineti (edited):
Jason Hand exactly! Planets are wandering stars as it says in the Bible, earth is flat, space is the waters of the firmament. We cant get past the firmament which is why we will never go to space, they faked Moon landings because the Moon is in the firmament and is also a light (a cooling light, seperate light source from the Sun, we can prove thise by measuring the temp of light, moon light is cooler than the night shade). God bless.
I don’t see with profound thinkers like these in the majority, how we’re going to survive the next twenty years. Maybe it’s time to go?

The summit of his ambitions… Israel -some lessons are better left unlearned… No, don’t let him out… GW: flushin’ hot and wet… Bag-man 2: The agony is etched on our faces

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 operator in the Kremlin, due either to his incomparable vanity or his fathomable greed.

Why is no-one seemingly able to march into the Oval Office and take him in for questioning? Something is clearly wrong with the constitution: the privileges of the office of President should not be allowed to override the calumnies of the incumbent, especially where treachery is suspected.

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.

And, the New York Times reliably reports, the Once and Future King was personally briefed in detail about the threat and Putin’s documented approval of the operation, two weeks before he was inaugurated in January 2017, and did nothing about it – apart from shifting blame onto Obama. While all four of the Russians who met mysteriously at Trump Tower on 6 June, 2016 – a meeting he consistently denies any knowledge of, yet where his son, his son-in-law and his campaign chairman were present while he himself was in his office down the hallway – got tickets to his failed inaugural ball.

What is any idiot supposed to think?

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 FSB 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 person in a bedroom.

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 racist gnome with twinkly old mint-julep eyes, 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 involving Russia; a stance President Trump has reportedly raged over 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 craggy 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, vindictive, careless and biddable candidate on the planet.

Donald J Trump, reality TV show presenter, superannuated playboy, six-times bankrupt property developer, international “business tycoon” and walking-talking “brand”, 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

At the time of his inauguration he had NO IDEA about what being the President of the United States of America really involved, behind the grand front. He had never read the constitution. He imagined the President was somehow the chief executive, that he employs the American people, and was mortified when he discovered the president is actually EMPLOYED BY the American people, for whom he has nothing but contempt. He is now trying to reconcile the two positions, with little success to date.

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

Robert S Mueller 111, the special counsel looking into possible collaboration, has indicted 26 named Russian officials and intelligence agents who, he is fairly convinced, were behind various hacking and disinformation operations in the runup to the 2016 election. Writing in the Washington Post, David Ignatius interprets the timing of the indictments and the great detail they go into as sending a signal to Putin prior to the summit, that he’s got a bigger security problem than the US does.

To see the Trump brand on a Moscow skyscraper, to hold another pussy-grabbing 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, to avoid embarrassing exposure this prisonable individual Trump, facing multiple lawsuits, 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.

But I will repeat it: Trump had a two-hour face-to-face in Helsinki with Putin, the only witnesses their two translators, and neither the State Department nor the Pentagon, the CIA nor you or I, has the faintest idea what was discussed or agreed between the two men.

Mr Trump then returned publicly to his familiar 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, her 30 thousand deleted emails – which were without a shred of a doubt hacked by the GRU with his foreknowledge – 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 Republican 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 and backed by the Russian mafia. 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 would have been 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, indebted as he is to the dodgy Bank Hapoalim; 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 the darkness 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 an elite pinko liberal snowflake from the coast. Just a hardworkin’ old Brit with time on my hands.

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.

“Reporting restrictions” is a legally binding condition that prevents speculation in the media or on social media about the outcome of a trial prior to jury deliberation and verdict, so as not to influence the jury or expose witnesses to intimidation. We have that in Britain, where we frown on people abusing their freedom to make others less free.

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, and that he is being starved and tortured by the British State; bogus statements for which he has no evidence but which play to the gallery and are unfortunately swallowed whole by Mary Greeley followers who will swallow anything.

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 American citizens 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 legally 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 – amplifying the offence and ensuring a worldwide audience for his views on British justice and Islam 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; he has not been jailed for his repugnant views. The right of free speech in Britain does not extend to breaking a legal injunction protecting children from intrusive harassment.

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 “politically correct” 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. Here, anti-discrimination laws do not prevent criminal prosecutions where appropriate.

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 recently 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.

“Emergency officials in Mongolia say that parts of the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and several provinces have been affected by flooding caused by heavy rain since 11 July. Emergency teams have carried out dozens of rescues and hundreds of people have evacuated their homes. Power supply and roads have been damaged.”

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. South Korea has for the second year in a row been hit by a 37 deg. C, (98.6F) heatwave.

Vietnam: Reports say that 5 people died and 13 are missing after Tropical Cyclone Son Tinh swept over the north of the country, bringing heavy rain, floods and landslides. Heavy rain has also caused flooding and evacuations in neighbouring Cambodia.

Philippines: Manila, Quezon and other parts were hit by Typhoon Son-Tinh (aka Henry), 15 July, causing extensive flooding, waist-deep in places. Up to 6.5 in. of rain an hour was reported by the national weather bureau.

India: 14 people die in heavy monsoon rains in Kerala, and 32 in Gujarat. Further casualties have accompanied “incessant” rainfall in Nepal.

Middle East: temperatures in southern Iraq and the Gulf states have exceeded 51 degrees C., 124F in the past week. Omidich in Iran recorded 52.1 deg. C., 125.78 F. Sustained temperatures of this kind are not survivable by humans.

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. Mariposa County, Cal., Yosemite National Park – 45 thousand acres ablaze, famous sequoia trees threatened, including the General Sherman. 160 fires burning in Oregon. (source: The Weather Channel/CEWN)

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.

A white-out storm with cyclonic winds hit Zaragoza in Spain. Another at Valenza in Italy also causes flash-flooding. Many cars drowned. More on the bizarre heatwave across Scandinavia: temperature data now in show up to 33.5 deg. C. (92.3 F) in Stockholm, Sweden; 31.7 C in northern Finland. Hundreds of people were evacuated after flooding hit parts of the Tatra Mountain region in northern Slovakia on 18 July following two days of heavy rain. Some areas recorded more than 160 mm of rain in 48 hours.”

The Weather Channel/ Floodlist/ Guardian/ CEWN #129

 

“…if you are ever offered the option to go about with a bag strapped to your leg and a pipe up your pipi, resist with all your might.” 

Bag man 2: The agony is etched on our faces

So, after a night of torment, two weeks and a day ago I was ferried, groaning loudly, by ambulance to our small county hospital a mile away, where a tube was inserted through my old feller and my exploding bladder relieved of about a gallon of Merlot.

Some people, I gather, do this to themselves or one another for fun and sexual gratification. All I can say is, it fuckin’ hurts.

I’m assuming this was another instance of urinary retention being caused by my avocado-sized prostate, the subject of continuous investigations and no action for the past 7 years since it was first diagnosed going rogue.

The prostate, a gland in men normally the size of a walnut whose main function is to produce seminal fluid, something it hasn’t done since that night in… but I digress,  becomes inflamed, possibly – it is not in the literature that it behaves erratically like this – and temporarily cuts off your urinary canal, known as the urethra.

It happens occasionally that I struggle all night to pee, anticipating floods the next day, but never with this air of finality. Just nothing would come, and I feared for my kidneys.

While I was yet spread out like a patient etherised upon a table – which I sort of was – relief still passing across my face – a small and passingly ugly gentleman pushed into the room attended by a pretty young acolyte, to whom he pompously addressed most of his remarks.

I took it by that, that he was a consultant, probably trained on the set of Carry On Doctor! by James Robertson-Justice himself; also by the fact that I understood one word in three of what he was saying; his English and my Hindi not quite meeting in the middle.

Anyway, it appeared I was being offered the choice of whipping the tube out there and then, or leaving it in situ pending a meeting with the urologist “in two weeks time”. He himself sadly could do nothing, being a proper surgeon and not a bladder man.

He seemed pretty authoritative about the timing, while I added the calculus that I was shortly going away for a week on another of the expensive jazz-singing workshops I try to do every year and did not want to end up in a French hospital, magnificent though they are, if I should get completely blocked again – this whole sorry saga having begun seven years ago at one of those agreeable French chateau weeks when I unaccountably pissed myself for the first time since infancy while trying to find an unoccupied bathroom amid the chaos of French 18th-century plumbing arrangements.

Dear Readers, Scammers, Likers, etc., if you are ever offered the option to go about with a bag strapped to your leg and a pipe up your pipi, resist with all your might. I have had the most awful two weeks, the worst of which has been the agonised attempt every 20 minutes or so, or whenever I get in the car, or out of it, by my bladder, old “Blad the Impaler”, to void itself of the catheter and its security balloon; resulting in a cascade of pee escaping around the tube.

Sitting down is painful and risky. Standing is painful. Walking with a tube up your thingy is even more painful; especially when the hospital has given you the wrong kind of bag and you have half a mile of tube pulling at you. Only lying down brings relief; getting up again triggers yet another intense contraction and a familiar trickling feeling.

I am in bits thanks to the force of gravity.

So it was with trembling hands and heart a’flutter that I ripped open the appointment letter that finally arrived this morning.

Mr Aniyah, the urologist – Uriyah the Peep, as I now think to call him – will deign to see me on the 17th… of December.

Five months away.

This is the fucking useless National Health Service, of which we idiot British are so proud. In a county of 77 thousand people, 39% economically inactive – i.e. retired people with chronic urinary conditions – the so-called Health Board has seen fit to employ one overbooked Ghanaian bladder-man on a half-time basis.

The waiting lists stretch to eternity; the agony is etched on our faces.

We surely must be able to do better?

x

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

Good to be able to rely on our NATO allies.

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 soccer 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 alongside him, 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!

Postscriptum

Lest anyone be under any illusion that Britain is still a free and welcoming country by comparison with, say, Hungary or, now, Italy, this article in The Guardian, 01 August, will finally disabuse you of any notion that we are immune to the tide of modern fascism sweeping Europe and America. Regretfully, I cannot say it disabuses many other people targeted by the repellent Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ policies:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/aug/01/hostile-environment-immigrants-crept-into-schools-hospitals-homes-border-guards

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“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 services.

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.

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“…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 Revolutionary 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 in any language 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 2016/17 was “half-a-degree warmer”! It’s still warmer than before. Duh.

x

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, traveling the less-than two hundred miles from Egypt to the Promised Land.

Haven’t they heard of SatNav?