Gesture politics with a vengeance

“Together we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.” – President Donald J Trump, marking Holocaust Memorial Day without mentioning any Jews.

Sunday am

It’s so frustrating when supposedly professional journalists steer the course of debate up the most unhelpful alleyway by setting an agenda for a breaking story and then sticking with it come what may, missing the main point with the deadly efficiency of an armless blind man reading Braille.

Yes, of course it’s morally wrong and against the UN Charter to refuse to take in refugees. It may even be racial discrimination (see: Australia). Theresa May should know, she’s refused to take in enough of them herself. Children Theresa May has refused to take in are freezing to death in parts of  #Europe or have disappeared into slavery. She doesn’t mind as long as the editor of the Daily Mail is happy. She is a woman, Zoe Williams of The Guardian points out, with no moral compass. That goes in spades for her “attractive opposite” (an opposite with whom she says she agrees on almost every point of policy so long as it results in a trade agreement), President Trump.

It’s administratively inept. To strand people at airports and put them in detention centres or send them back to their point of embarkation when they’ve got papers and visas and work permits and residence permits and travel tickets, they’ve already passed security checks and are just trying to get to what they thought was home, because of their original nationality,  through an arbitrary administrative decision they wouldn’t have been aware of before paying the non-refundable fare and setting out, is completely wrong, of course it is. It’s just cruel. You can’t do these things without giving people notice.

Mr Trump however says that Bannon told him, if he had given them notice, there would have been a rush of ‘bad dudes’ trying to get in to beat the ban. So wouldn’t it have been simpler not to ban people at all? That way, the border force could have carried on as they were, keeping ‘bad dudes’ out, instead of encouraging ‘bad dudes’ already in the country to retaliate in bad-dude ways? And what are the ‘bad dudes’ going to do when the ban expires after 90 days? What comic books has Mr Trump been reading? It’s all bullshit.

And as I started to report below the next pull-quote, it’s probably unconstitutional and discriminatory on religious grounds to ban Muslims but let in Christians (God, not more!) and other ‘minority faiths’. Already a court in New York has ruled against it, although reports suggest the border force is taking no notice, another milepost on the road to totalitarianism.

None of that is the point!

The point is, it’s a FUCKING STUPID POLICY!

It’s not going to do a damn thing to stop another terrorist attack. In fact, it’s going to encourage several more. Maybe that’s the idea?

IS has already announced, loudly and clearly, its strategy of encouraging lone-wolf attacks in their followers’ own countries without importing arms and personnel, without detectable local organization and independently of central command. Travel bans will not affect them. But they may well react to them, giving the Trump/Bannon axis of evil the excuse they need to declare, in effect, martial law, massively extending the powers of the President.

Of course, as he has told the world, Trump knows “more about ISIS than many generals”. That’s probably because, as he previously asserted in a Washingon Post interview, he was “probably better trained militarily” at the New York Military Academy than many of the 82 thousand mainly conscripted grunts who gave their lives in Vietnam so the pussy-grabbing draft-avoider with a bone in his foot and a brain made of congealed greed could live to become Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

I don’t know how Americans can live with themselves, so sick is this grotesque individual.

So the point is, most terror attacks are perpetrated by home-grown terrorists, not by Iraqi refugee families with British citizenship visiting Disneyland. And all the al-Quaeda and IS-inspired atacks in the past fifteen years do not add up to an existential threat to the United States of America or one square mile of it. All the panic and confusion Trump is creating for the airlines is not designed to stop terrorism, it’s to tell the Dumbfucks who voted for him they weren’t wrong; he could do it, regardless of whether or not it makes sense, because he’s fucking Donald Trump and you’re living in his reality, not the one you thought you were ten days ago.

It’s gesture politics with a vengeance; and on a truly impressive scale.

Postscriptum

At least three top national security officials — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, who is awaiting confirmation to lead the State Department — have told associates they were not aware of details of the directive until around the time Trump signed it.

Despite his public defense of the policy, the president has privately acknowledged flaws in the rollout, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. – The Guardian, livestream coverage 31/01/2017

Aside from the intriguing concept of a person with knowledge of Donald Trump’s thinking – people have been searching for years – it seems quite clear from this extract from an AP story that Trump may have been the only person who knew what was in the executive order he signed, banning Muslims from a list of countries and specifically Muslim Syrian refugees from entering the US.

A more alarming reading of the report might suggest that the President, who likes to watch TV, had not read it himself before blithely signing off a flawed policy. More terrifying still, he was apparently on the phone to the Director of Homeland Security discussing implementation of the policy when a White House staffer interrupted to inform the expert that “I’m sorry, the President just signed the order”.

 

 

 

Why do people vote for cretins?

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen claims opposition MPs are too accustomed to the UK not having control over its immigration policy, which is why they’re criticising Mr Trump.

This is to ignore the obvous retort, that Labour has been in opposition since 2010 and it is Mr Bridgen’s cunty friends in the Tory Party who have been in ‘power’, albeit with a few Lib-Dems thrown in, for the past six years. And, occasionally, before that.

So if we don’t have control over immigration policy, whose fucking fault is that, Andy?

The pro-Brexit MP castigates Labour for lecturing another country over trying to control immigration, as if that is what any intelligent politician would genuinely believe Mr Trump’spolicy is really about. It’s a snide observation, pathetic political point-scoring and insensitive at a time of crisis. Mr Boris, however, the very Foreign Secretary, agrees. He quite approves of the way Mr Trump has imposed a one-man democracy on the USA.

But controlling immigration is not what Mr Trump is doing! He is guaranteeing the security of the American people from ‘bad dudes’.

As any fule kno, the United States is already one of the toughest countries to get into in the world, having an immigration police force of notoriously knuckle-dragging insensibility toward visiting humans. But the rough-tough, self-sufficient, pioneering Americans, armed to the teeth, all 320 million of them, are petrified of the little mouse that is global jihad.

Not one American has been killed in the USA in the last 20 years by a ‘terrorist’ from any of the countries Mr Trump has included in the ban, but many Americans simply will not be convinced their entire way of life is not under threat from Muslims; that new hostile Indian tribe galloping around the encircled wagons. Even leading Republican Senator Paul Ryan, who once declared that he would never vote for Trump, now agrees; stopping maybe one percent of the people entering the USA will prevent terrorism.

Bullshit. Is he a cretin too? Or has he just reached that pitch of desperation where he feels he has to support the office of President come what may, regardless of the fact that the demented fuckwit they elected doesn’t give two dry shits for Congress, the constitution or the law?

It’s an absolute untruth too, to say that Britain does not have control over its immigration policy.  I suggest you travel to France for a week via St Pancras station and Lille: even as a native Briton you will have your nationality and right to return questioned when you buy your ticket online, you have to give Eurostar a passport number in advance, your passport is inspected six times and your baggage X-rayed or searched possibly three times en route.

Mr Bridgen runs a market gardening business in Leicestershire with his brother. Who does he employ as pickers among his 230 staff? Why, of course, exclusively British graduates…

But Mr Trump has argued forcefully that a terrible mistake was made by the Obama administration in not intervening in Syria and thus ‘creating’ the ISIS monster, that he tells everyone is an existential threat to the United States of America.  So he wouldn’t be happy with Mr Bridgen even though Mr Bridgen (a former Royal Marine) later voted to bomb ISIS in Syria, because, according to his Wikipedia entry:

“Bridgen also forced a Government U-Turn over plans for military intervention in Syria after he organised a letter to the Prime Minister signed by 81 fellow Conservative MPs, demanding Parliament be given a vote on whether the UK should send military assistance to Syria.” – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Bridgen

And that fateful vote, as we all know, persuaded Mr Obama not to punish Mr Assad for crossing the  ‘red line’ on chemical weapons, which enabled Mr Putin to intervene to remove Mr Assad’s chemical weapons in exchange for a pledge to support him against Islamist militias and Mr al-Baghdadi, which escalated into direct Russian intervention in the war, thousands possibly of civilian casualties, a fragile ceasefire and the loss of much American face.

Mr Bridgen has in fact supported a number of worthwhile policies, and was a critic of Mr Cameron, the worst prime minister we have had since Eden. So he is not entirely a Tory cunt. But he is an ardent Brexit ‘Leave’ campaigner, despite some curious goings-on in which he appears to have been falsely accused of rape by a rumoured former mistress of Nigel Farage, an allegation brought to the notice of police by a mystery caller. The affair destroyed his marriage, and he sold his house for £2 million. Again, I am indebted to Wikipedia for this narrative. It would seem enough to make anyone abandon UKIP.

Mr Bridgen has also campaigned for MPs to be paid lots more, claiming they are suffering dire hardship as a result of the paltry £75,000 a year they receive, plus expenses. He has declared extra-Parliamentary income earned off the bowed backs of his Portuguese sprout pickers or whoever of £7,700 A MONTH. As I am also jolly clever, although not an MP, public-school educated and have never earned £7,700 a month, or even half that, as my primary income, even from gardening, might I be forgiven for suggesting Mr Bridgen is not quite in touch with the reality of life in modern Britain, apart that is from being beastly to immigrants?

 

Grounds for dismissal?

I’ve worked for a fair few insecure, overpaid, overcompensating bullies in my time, who imagined that because they’re paying you a lousy rate for 37.5 hours a week they own you body and soul – especially when they know you’re better at the job, better educated and smarter than they are.

All you’re worse at is counting money into the small hours, imagining there is more to life.

These idiots love to keep you under their thumb: spying on you, reading your emails, refusing to let you set your own work agenda or suggest sensibly that you could sometimes work from home when there’s absolutely no reason for you to schlepp into an urban nightmare every day, thus seeing your kids only once a year…. you know the sort.

Cunts. (Can’t Understand New Technology, Shitheads)

I once worked for a guy who’d been a car salesman in a previous life, who demanded that I accept a company car purely on the grounds that the crappy Ford I was driving had a bigger engine than his BMW…

You see what we’re up against?

And now Mr Trump, the supreme role model for corporate bully-boys everywhere, has fired the acting Attorney General of the United States for upholding four district court judgements overruling parts of his immigration order, and insisted his orders be carried out, overturning the rule of law and making it subsidiary to executive power.

Back down to earth, Mr Ken Hare, the groundsman at Southend United FC – currently 7th in League Division One having won only seven of their last 21 games – has reportedly been sacked after 27 years in the job, because the pitch was frozen and a game had to be called off, leaving them with only one point. The weather in the south-east of England and, indeed, the rest of Europe to the right of us, had been unusually cold for a while.

It had even been on the news.

The cunts who own or manage the club, known not without justice as The Blues, reportedly argued that Ken should have warned them how cold it was going to get, giving more time to rearrange the match. As if he was somehow personally responsible for the weather. As if they might have imagined it doesn’t occasionally freeze hard overnight in winter, even in maritime Southend, and invested in a pitch-heating system.

It is of course difficult to gauge the external temperature for yourself while you might, say, be swilling champagne in the Jacuzzi with a bevy of lovelies, or visiting your money in Bermuda and paying no attention to the weather forecast on the TV. Of course, there is no imputation that football Directors might not exactly be the outdoor, Bear Grylls type, or that they could have been rendered by comfortable circumstances insensible to the natural environment; or that they completely lack their own judgement and commonsense, the curiosity to look out of the window

In a statement the club protested, defensively: “People generally lose their positions as a result of not doing their job.” (BBC report)

What, the groundsman’s contract said he had to be able magically to forecast the weather?

No, cunties. People if they make a mistake in their work after 27 years of faithful service generally receive advice, support, training. Then if they keep on making the same mistake you have a tribunal, and if you don’t receive satisfactory assurances you can send them a final warning. Only then do you fire them.

If you have any decency, you give them ample opportunity to get away from your abrasive regime and find a better job before you deprive them of their livelihood. It’s your job as a Director to know and follow the rules of the Employment Act. Have you been doing your job as a Director? Did you follow, or even know, the rules?

Doing one’s job does not immediately become not doing one’s job with a single failure to meet retroactive expectations of the miraculous.

But it seems the hire ’em, fire ’em culture that afflicts the tormented egomaniacs in football coaching at the top, where a run of one consecutive loss can spell curtains (for a week or two, until another vacancy turns up), is spreading now throughout the game.

Team failure is never the owners’ fault, the directors’, the players’. No, it’s always the manager’s. Until, apparently now, it’s the groundsman’s.

The difference being, I doubt that The Blues were paying Ken £4 million a year.

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The Pumpkin – Issue 2

Google Images

   The Trumpkin

Twitter Wars

The suppression of inconvenient information, the bullying and hijacking of public media by the Trumpenführer and his henchmen are gathering pace.

Key federal agencies – who knew they were still open for business?, since there’s been no announcement so far as The Pumpkin has heard about the appointments of new directors to replace those whose terms automatically ended last Friday – have received orders apparently emanating directly from the White House preventing their staff from publishing information. According to BuzzFeed, the orders include the banning of “news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content.”

Also banned, are over 2,000 scientists working for federal agencies from publishing or delivering research papers at international conferences; a potentially career-damaging restriction I should imagine could be tested in court.

And there’s some suggestion too that these orders may also be being applied to the Defense Department, preventing public discussion of the administration’s military-backed global oil-grab strategy.

This is somewhat disturbing.

As two of the statutory functions of these agencies are to publish information about their activities and to educate the public, we appear to be entering a long, dark tunnel of fake news, alternative facts, rewrites of history, threats against information sources, promotion of ignorance and reliance entirely on subjective personal beliefs, opinions and feelings to create government policy in critical areas of scientific investigation.

To turn off the tap of facts.

The impression given is there appears to be no government, only the absurdly large pieces of paper Trump is signing by the cartload, with similar relish to the nocturnal tweets he’s been spraying around like a sexting teenager; ‘executive orders’ which the TV coverage shows him not reading before signing them. Has he even read them? No democratic debate so far, even in the profoundly and cynically undemocratic, gerrymandered Congress. that tried to abolish its own ethics committee: only the dictatorship of a disassociative, megalomaniacal personality in second infancy.

“L’état, c’est moi”, as the other Sun King, Louis X1V used to say.

Agencies affected include, naturally, the Environment Protection Agency and the US Department of Agriculture, both of which have research departments working on climate change, which the intellectually lazy and unlettered Trump has insisted is merely a “Chinese hoax”, “bullshit”, and has promised to “scale back”, along with NASA’s earth monitoring unit; so we may never know. The wayward President’s current stance on the subject has however been moderated, reportedly on the mildly alarmed advice even of his new Secretary of State appointee, Rex Tillerson, recent CEO of Exxon-Mobil, and the man tipped to take over the EPA, Oklahoma governor Scott Pruitt (previously quoted as saying he would abolish the agency altogether).

Neither is exactly a fan of anthropogenic climate-change modelling, but both at least now agree, things appear to be hotting up, for whatever reason. Not that either of them wants to do anything about it, but both practically realise that denial is not an option, unless you are bonkers. Or the boss.

Trump’s haunted-looking Press Secretary Sean Spicer, purveyor of the “alternative fact”, is reported on CBS as saying of the President’s response to the weird weather: “He’s trying to make sure we use our resources appropriately, that we maximize things to make sure that we don’t do so at the detriment of economic growth and job creation.” Which sounds like a highly scientific, yet curiously inarticulate and unprepared response to a question about 2016 having been globally the warmest year ever recorded.

Yes, let’s “maximise things”.

There is as yet we believe – belief is fact, ask the evangelical VP Mike Pence – no announcement of any FEMA aid for areas of Georgia and Mississippi flattened at the weekend by a succession of 50 powerful tornados, despite urgent pleas from governors and officials, the destruction of over 2,000 homes and more than twenty deaths, with others including a two year-old child still missing. The devastation has been compared to a nuclear bomb going off, which he knows all about. Does Trump take anything seriously, other than his stupid, self-aggrandising 2,000 mile-long Mexican wall, that he “knows how to build”?

(I see that Lego is to start manufacturing in China…)

One national park service, Badlands in South Dakota, is now at the centre of a Twitterstorm, after its Twitter account was “taken down”, following the hasty publication of widely available data on atmospheric and oceanic CO2 concentrations. The information and more is being rapidly retweeted by subversives, after the agency put out an unconvincing statement claiming the original tweets had been the work of a disgruntled former employee. According to Rachel Maddow of MSNBC TV, staffers in federal agencies anticipating closure have been reported desperately downloading scientific data to private media, lest they be lost in a Trump-inspired bonfire of the sanities.

In an amusing (and probably fake) footnote provided in The Guardian report:

“The Department of Defense tweeted on Monday: “Social media postings sometimes provide an important window into a person’s #mentalhealth”, which some pundits considered a reference to Trump’s occasional early morning Twitter rants.”

You betcha.

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The Pumpkin

Meanwhile over in Washington DC, six journalists are facing possible prison terms of up to 10 years for the felonious crime of riot, after being ‘kettled’ by police along with 200  activists and bystanders while covering the unrest that broke out at the Trump inauguration. Prosecutors have presented no specific evidence against the individuals, who have been charged under a catch-all indictment alleging association, criminal damage and assaults on police.

And meanwhile, the President (says he has) ordered a thorough investigation into claims that Hillary Clinton’ 2.8 million votes popular majority was dishonestly engineered by a conspiracy involving five million “illegal immigrants” who were not entitled to vote.

Claims that only he, the President, is making.

Crazy, or what?

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/badlands-national-park-twitter-goes-rogue-starts-tweeting-facts-about-the-environment

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jan/24/journalists-charged-felonies-trump-inauguration-unrest?

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/25/donald-trump-voter-fraud-investigation-illegal-voting

Photos: Google Images

 

Just what the hell is going on? #1

Question: Why does The Guardian website not permit comments on any news stories about Trump or immigration and so swiftly terminates the heavily redacted discussion threads on its Comment is Free section?

Answer: Maybe it’s because the paper lost £69 million last year and is running shit-scared of any controversy that might attract the notice of Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne (to lean on an old joke from Private Eye). Maybe a wise decision, as a US court has just given permission for Melania Trump to sue the Daily Mail for repeating a claim that her immigration status might not …. you understand.

A further, less obviously answered question might be why this esteemed organ and last repository in the British media of relatively free, intelligent speech chronically under-reports issues such as the clampdown on distribution of news and research in the US scientific community? The orders were issued three days ago, so where are Messrs Toynbee, Milne, Harris, Jenkins, Freedland, Hyde, Chakraborty… the rest of the North London phone directory …. and their urgent warnings on censorship?

My feeling (as a former news aditor) is that we’re getting a kind of reductionist view of the new administration, where each new outrage – today it’s a trade war with Mexico – is treated entirely on its own merits and in isolation from the cumulative effect of all these gagging orders and banning orders and paranoid tweets emanating from the Oval Office, each preposterous policy initiative blurted out in rambling, nonsensical speeches and infantile soundbites on the campaign trail to excite the Dumbfucks now becoming a terrifying reality nobody imagined in their wildest dreams would come true. Half the worst of what he is doing is getting lost in the fog of comment.

And why is everyone still trying to pretend that now he is President, Donald Trump has miraculously been cured of his delusional, paranoid dementia, his sheer infantile vindictiveness? Thank God for Ed Miliband, who said on Newsnight last night: This is not normal.

Bloody right, Ed. It isn’t.

 

Just what the hell is going on? #2

And, as expected, last night from the Pirates’ Den came the “Executive orders” to repel boarders.

Muslims (from designated “terrorist countries”, but not from the teeming human warehouses of suburban Paris, Brussels, Dortmund; from the grimy Edwardian terraces of Luton, Bradford and Sheffield, where the actual ‘terrorists’ are breeding? I can see how this is going to work…) to be prevented from entering the US, even to visit Disneyland with their kids. Actual Syrian refugees to be turned back, rather than comprehensively vetted and then welcomed. The Wall – for which he still insists he will “make Mexico pay”.

You’d have to imagine a grown man that can make up these pathetically naive prescriptions for national security is not normal.

But I have a different theory.

Much of the time you can’t see Trump’s eyes. They are hooded by folds of puffy, orange flesh, and deliberately narrowed to make himself look a real mean hombre.

Yesterday though, we caught sight of him glancing up at his henchmen, after he’d added his decisively unreadable squiggle with a big black pen to more of the huge “executive orders”, that are probably just bills and shopping lists and Biblical texts and anything else his desperate Transition team can cobble together for the boss to sign on camera, since he never reads them anyway.

And I noticed that his left eye is conspicuously asymmetrical, aiming off to the left, larger than the right, and slightly protruding. Compare this with earlier images of Trump in this 30s, when his gaze was parallel.

It could of course merely be a mild strabismus, an age-related weakening of the muscle, or a possible sign of raised blood pressure. But it could be a symptom of something more serious.

Does the President maybe have a brain tumor?

(alt-fact alert: the following medical information about a serious condition that may or may not be affecting the President may or may not be factual.)

Might it explain the obsessive irrational behavior and counterfactual statements that often contradict themselves in the next breath; the ponderous re-assertions of empty phrases he imagines to be portentous; the paranoia, the illusory nightmare world of persecution he seems to inhabit?

Interviewed on the BBC today, Trump repeated over and again, how the world is “in a mess”. It’s a slogan he’s been pumping out for months, with himself as the solution and the savior. He seems to relish it, rather than despair along with the rest of us.

We all like to agree, it’s a mess, but actually it isn’t, quite. Over a billion people have been lifted out of poverty by globalization, death rates are down, birth rates are down, murders are down, violent crime is down, endemic diseases are under better control, employment is up, wages are up, food production is keeping up, everyone in the developing world has a mobile phone, a Facebook account and a solar-powered TV,  the global economy is recovering strongly now after the 2008 crash, we’re discovering new planets….

Of course there are pockets, exceptions, flashpoints. Thirty million Americans, for instance, living below the poverty line. But that line is rising! By and large, there are fewer wars going on, insurgencies are being driven back, IS is in retreat, Northern Ireland, Colombia more or less at peace, an agreement on Cyprus, some progress on Syria….

While today’s most heartwarming story is that of the Chinese worker who set off in the all-pervading smog to cycle back to his home city only to be stopped by police for riding on a motorway after 30 days’ travelling… 500 km in the wrong direction. Did they fine him? Did they waterboard him? Did they shoot him with his hands up?

No, they had a whip-round at the next toll booth and bought him a rail ticket.

No world is “in a mess” when that can happen.

Where the world might be in a mess is on the environmental front – and that’s where Trump: his policies, his obstinate false beliefs, his unconstitutional cross-shareholdings with energy-related companies and his billionaire, climate-ignoring Transition team with its connections to Big Oil, is himself the cause, the symptom and the continuation of the mess he believes the world is in. (Or does he? Buy my book! Ed.)

The world will soon be in a bigger mess, however, if he continues baiting China over Taiwan, trade barriers and their claim to the Paracels and Spratly islands in the South China Sea.

We recall that in July last year, fifty top security officials published a letter warning that Trump represented a significant danger to the world and was not a fit person to become President. “He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the US Constitution, US laws, and US institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary” they said, refusing to vote for him. And, of course, Mr Trump has succeeded in ticking every one of those boxes in his first week.

But are we all missing something?

An interview for MSNBC with Dr Harold Bornstein, Trump’s personal physician (if it can be believed that the grimy, shambolic old man with an earring, straggly gray hair down to his shoulders, whose rambling attempts at a confession recorded in a scruffy old office were frequently interrupted by his anxious, nagging wife, was really the personal physician of the billionaire Obamacare refusenik and not a Saturday Night Live prankster) suggested heavily that the “Doctor’s note” claiming Trump was “The healthiest individual ever to have run for President” might not have been written by an actual GP with a medical degree.

The choice of boastful, unscientific language rather gives the game away. It sounded bizarrely familiar. Dr Bornstein’s testimony included the claim that he had been contacted to write the letter at very short notice, given “five minutes” while a chauffeur sat outside in a limo with the engine running. Just long enough, one supposes, to slot in the difficult names of some minor medicaments the President-elect was taking – statins, and so forth – and to append a shaky signature.

And Dr Bornstein’s eventual conclusion, voiced to camera? “Well, what can you expect, he’s a seventy year-old man.”

One with a serious underlying physiological condition affecting his cognitive processes, possibly?

‘m not a expert.

Just sayin’.

Chairman of the Water Board

“Waterboarding absolutely works.” – The Wit and Wisdom of Donald J Trump.

How does he know?

Extensive studies have been carried out into the effectiveness of sublethal “enhanced questioning” techniques by the CIA, the army, etc.

And after reviewing thousands of pages of evidence from actual cases, the experts concluded that torture is, by and large, ineffectual. It doesn’t work. Being nice to prisoners works better. Give them a pack of cigarettes. Get them on your side. This “fact” – the conclusion of experts, who have genuinely waterboarded people, that waterboarding doesn’t work – is well known. Has been for years.

So how does Donald Trump know that “Waterboarding absolutely works.”?

He doesn’t.

He just imagines it does.

Because he says it does. Someone ‘told him’.

And then he says it doesn’t harm anyone anyway, even the military get waterboarded during training. Sure he did.

He has no personal experience of either torturing, or being tortured. At least, one assumes not, although I expect he might have shoved a few of his fellow pupils’ heads down the toilet at the New York Military Academy. That’s the kind of guy they’re now scared to say he was. A bully.

One assumes – but then, why would one assume it? – that he does not personally waterboard his business victims and associates for information. The only tortures he inflicts are financial and mental: he fires people he thinks are losers. He doesn’t pay his contractors. He threatens to sue ordinary people over personal slights. He crushes his pretty young wife in public, and she’s trying so hard.

Having the morals and manners of a large, orange garden slug – you know, one of those impressive slugs you think is a pile of dogshit until it moves – does not make anyone a security expert. Except that the President is an expert on everything, as we know – torture included.

Promoted sideways at the New York Military Academy after complaints from fellow students, Trump is quoted as saying the school provided him: “More training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.” (That remark reveals almost every damn thing you could ever want to know about Donald J Trump, who managed to avoid actual service in Vietnam while 58 thousand untrained conscripted grunts were dying for him to become Commander-in-Chief. I don’t know how you can be an American and live with this.)

“I did very well under the military system,” Trump said in an interview. “I became one of the top guys at the whole school.” – The Washington Post (No, he didn’t! Ed.)

And therefore – cogito ergo est – waterboarding works.

Waterboarding is good!

Waterboarding is fine, believe me. I know.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decades-later-disagreement-over-young-trumps-military-academy-post/2016/01/09/…

 

Does it matter?

Does it matter that taxpayer-funded sources of scientific information on climate, environmental and geological issues are being deliberately suppressed by the Trump administration?

There are many other sources from which we can monitor the climate, the environment, whatever they don’t want us to know. But shutting down the homeland services could present a serious public danger.

Amusingly, I’m just watching a 1990s made-for-TV docudrama, ‘Supervolcano’. Catch it if you haven’t, it’s on YouTube and it’s quite jolly.

So you’ll be aware then that in the movie, all of the information that streams out into the media about the (at present supposedly negligible, though overdue) possibility of a major eruption at Yellowstone, all of the normal public safety information and educational services, all of the information needed for crisis management, comes from…

The Yellowstone National Park service – part of the National Parks Service, that monitors volcanic activity in the park.

So now, if “29 million” Americans are threatened with flashover death from 500 deg. C. pyroclastic flows moving at 800 kph, inhaling a widening plume of windblown pumice ash (“like liquid concrete in your lungs”, no survivors within 100-mile radius), “nuclear winter” conditions prevailing around the globe for years, followed by starvation, riot and cannibalism, the collapse of civilization, ha ha….

Serves you right.

You’ll be the last to hear about it, suckers.

Now, Supervolcano was mostly fiction. What about the Arctic plume?

The Arctic plume isn’t fiction. Forty-four million Americans have been suffering a lethal ice-storm as we write. Destabilization of the jetstream owing to Arctic ocean warming has brought terrible conditions to the midwest – again.

Where are those Americans in real danger going to get their safety information from? From the Governor’s office. And where does he get his information from, now the NPA too is in comms lockdown?

God, presumably.

To Sanity and Beyond: Trumpkins, and a BogPo Manifesto for Labour

The Wit and Wisdom of President Donald J Trump

“We want to start making our products again. We don’t want to bring them in; we want to make them here. That doesn’t mean we don’t trade because we do trade, but we want to make our products here.

“If you look at some of the original great people that ran this country, you will see that they felt very strongly about that.”

Yes, Donald, thanks for the historical detail, expressed as if by an unlettered idiot; I read about it in the Declaration of Independence.

It says something like:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Of course, it could be an ‘alternative fact’ that the original great people that ran this country ever said such a thing. And, however technically, you may believe you derive your power from the temporary consent of at least a large minority of the governed; and that your constituents may indeed have perceived – somewhat blindly, I may interject – that you are the man to effect their Safety and Happiness.

But I see nothing about the unalienable right of a handful of deplorable billionaires to sequester half the wealth of the American people for their own ends. I see nothing democratic about a system of democracy under which local legislatures controlled by political parties can simply disenfranchise whole swathes of their adult voter populations with a stroke of the pen in order to gerrymander their constituencies.

I see nothing smart about antagonising other countries, making violent and destabilising threats, merely because your fellow businessmen have chosen to profit mightily from exporting their manufacturing processes there.

I see nothing in the Declaration of Independence about making secret alliances with inimical foreign powers, nor about squalid, geriatric ‘pussy-grabbing’ Presidents who have avoided paying their income tax for twenty years by exploiting dubious loopholes, refusing to cede the unconstitutional control of their global business interests to anyone other than the plastic-faced junior members of their own families.

I see nothing about tyro fascist administrations threatening the freedom of the press unless editors agree to print their barefaced lies and propaganda in place of more self-evident truths; about blatant interference in the affairs of independent businesses; about rule by executive order and menacing Tweet, bypassing the people’s Congress.

I do however register the phrase ‘just powers’.

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Did ‘some of the original great people that ran this country’ make themselves clear enough for you, Mr President?

Warlord

Poor Barron Trump.

Not only could the President not spell his name, but at the age of 10 he already looks on camera like more of a snooty little moneybags than his father did as a teenager.

Privileged, pampered, entitled – damaged.

Of course, it’s unworthy to drag the kid into the general shitstorm of hatred for his horrible giant-baby father, who has just made donating aid to  family planning clinics around the world illegal, in order to please his sick-shit Christian VPOTUS Mike Pence – the guy who delivered the Evangelicals vote for the no time for God-botherin’ Trumpkin.

You don’t get to choose your parents, now clearly they won’t get to choose you.

And that contemptuous sneer on his angelic little face might only have been nerves. How would you feel, up there on that podium, gazing into space, wondering where all the people your dad says he can see have gone?

Being raised by the servants of advertent parents who value themselves not by their real wealth and what good they can do with it, but by the amounts of money they can convince other people they owe without consequence – is, in my view, child abuse.

And we know, don’t we, that as Papa Schtrumpf packed the pampered and wayward little Donald off to military academy, from where he mysteriously failed to get drafted for service in ‘Nam, thus ensuring his survival to abuse the parents of those who fell in a later futile Presidential war, the poor little sprog is going to have to do the whole British Royal Family thing: cold showers, gridiron quarterbacking, scorpions in his socks… character-building stuff – before being generously awarded academic qualifications and embarking on the round of nightclubs, money-grubbing slappers, late-night rescues from police custody by expensive lawyers, car crashes, cocaine and the paparazzi feeding-frenzies that doubtless awaits the Crown Prince as he grows up.

But I really can’t bring myself to care for that cold and arrogant little face. The boy is visibly a monster in the making.

Yes, I know, it’s unfair to disparage the heir-apparent at such a young age. Poor, poor Bazza. It’s not his fault he has the expression of a kid who knows that one day when at the age of 23 he inherits the White House, he will be even more of an arrogant, self-serving little bastard than his geriatric dad, grinding the faces of the losers, abrogating trade deals real people sweated years to put in place, testing out how huge are the insincerities he can get away with, how much extra money he can make, on the ideological grounds that ‘Murca is not just a lump of rock on the same planet as the rest, but a nation fully entitled by its hidden history of genocide and immigration by the formerly huddled masses, by its massive nuclear arse ‘n’ all, to its insistent third-rate hegemony over a dying planet.

Happily, none of us is likely to have grandchildren who will survive the coming extinction, thanks to his father’s staffer picks, of the human – and every other – race. Little Barron Trump with his cool, fifth-grader ‘blow-me and be my first lady’ Hollywood kid hairdo is the last of his line.

But no fair! Kids grow up to rebel against their parents. Barron might well yet become the secret leader of the American Socialist Party. The most cheering thought that occurs to me right now, however, is that he’s going to have to be best buddisz with Cruz Beckham. Or that he turns out gay.

Reading his expression as his geriatric father was sworn in to become already on Day One the most unpopular president in US history, you worry about the other little billionaire ‘friends’ who will be security-vetted to play Minecraft with him in the White House media room.

I mean, if he drowns one of them in the waterboarding pool, if a gun goes bang while he is enthusiastically showing it off, if another mate dies from a cool party-drug overdose, if security has to call in the Cleaners to mop up an actress, we know, don’t we, that someone ain’t goin’ to jail.

But a kid who looks like he already pulls the wings off of flies …..

Oh, stop it! Just a kid. Unfair.

(Memo: sack self. Ed.)

 

Weather News

44 million face ‘crippling’ ice storm this weekend…
Officials beg Trump to send help after storms kill 20 across the South (NBC News)
Tens of millions throughout the plains and the Midwest are bracing for dangerous winter conditions that could last for several days.

Across the South, 50 unconfirmed tornadoes were reported from Thursday to Sunday as four severe storms moved south from Georgia and Mississippi into the Florida Panhandle, said Frank Giannasca, a senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

The worst of the damage was in Georgia, particularly in Dougherty and Cook counties. Seven deaths were reported in Cook County, where a tornado demolished (200 homes on) a mobile-home park (in Adel).

“If you were to see it today, it’s like a war zone,” Adel Mayor Buddy Duke said at a news conference early Monday evening. In Dougherty County, Georgia, where four people were killed, county commission Chairman Chris Cohilas said Monday that he has been “begging FEMA for boots on the ground. it looks like a nuclear bomb went off”

Get used to it.

Does Trump send help? We don’t hear.

Maybe he’s too busy with his new position as C-in-C, ordering his special troops fighting ISIS alongside Kurdish militias in Iraq to ‘take the oil’. Questioned, Press Secretary Spicer tells journalists it’s not the sort of policy the administration wants to discuss publicly.

So it’s true? That’d be a first.

 

Church Times

“One must observe, must one not, as well that no congregation ought to have been too taken aback by the unexpected news that the Koran recommends that Muslims should not worship Jesus?”

An unholy row is simmering in Glasgow after a Scottish Episcopalian minister, the Very Revd Kevin Holdsworth, dared to include a reading from the Koran in a service at St Mary’s Cathedral last month.

One of his colleagues, the only Revd Colin Ashenden, who is the Queen’s chaplain in Scotland, has resigned from the Chapter in order to be able to criticise the Very Revd Holdsworth freely, because of His Veryness making him a little less assailable by the lower ranks, presumably.

Now outside the tent pissing in, Revd Ashenden said the passage, which explains (in Arabic) that Jesus was the son of Mary and a great prophet but sadly not the Son of God and ought therefore not to be worshipped by Muslims, had caused “serious offence”; although the intention one infers was to make the point that Jesus isn’t worshipped by Muslims, but that nevertheless they hold him with such reverence that native Christians might look on them at least with grace, if not exactly favour.

“There are a number of members of the congregation who have written open letters complaining of the profound upset they experienced as people who are part of the Eucharistic community who had come to worship Christ,” Slightly Revd Ashenden is quoted as saying, in a BBC report.

Are we supposed to believe that the Very Revd Kevin was making a serious attempt to convert his congregation to the ways of the Orient? That he expected them to suddenly worship Muhammad instead? Perhaps anticipating the elevation to the throne any day now of Charles 111, the ecumenical crown-prince with a thing for Islam? Or was it merely ‘for information’, as they say?

Services can get pretty repetitious after years of attendance, and it’s not uncommon for pastors of all denominations to try to liven them up a little, if they can. Perhaps the Very Revd Kevin saw importing an inoffensive Muslim student to read a bit from his own holy book as preferable to riding a unicycle naked up the aisle with a plastic daffodil stuck up his bottom?

One must observe, must one not, as well that no congregation ought to have been too taken aback by the unexpected news that the Koran recommends that Muslims should not worship Jesus.  Otherwise, they’d be bloody Christians, wouldn’t they?

It summarises the main difference between two of the main divisions of the old Abrahamic religion, really. The third, Judaism, is also equivocal on the thorny subject of whether Jesus was the Son of God or just a posthumously successful if slightly off-the-wall prophet and anti-Roman guerilla leader – although later Romans played that down.

We have known about it all for quite a while now. About 1,394 years, indeed.

Now, I think it’s probably quite a good thing that Muslims are occasionally reminded that their own Islamic community as portrayed in the Daily Mail and elsewhere, perhaps on Nigel Farage’s boring chat show, doesn’t contain the only tiresome, hypocritical, self-regarding, uptight, thin-skinned, ignorant God-botherers in Britain, worse even than Radio 4 listeners; and that Islam doesn’t have a monopoly on howls of outrage over the most idiotic points of doctrine anyone could possibly take umbrage at on a wet Sunday afternoon in Barmulloch, when they’ve finished the easy crossword.

Let us remind ourselves soberly of the fate that befell corner-shop proprietor, Mr Asad Shah, hacked to death (in Glasgow, as it happens) by a Muslim fanatic who accused him of apostasy over the sending-out of cheery Christmas cards to his Christian customers. (Did the killer not read the bit in the Koran where it says Jesus was born to Mary? That’s what we’re celebrating, fuckhead.) And, of course, of what might befall you if you were to retweet a line-drawing even just for critical review purposes, should it purport to share the mildest pleasantry about the humourless, bitter and vindictive You-know-who Upstairs.

Such extreme religiosity isn’t confined only to fundamentalist Islam, as we see. Very often, religion is the last resort and only hope of the desperate. The Very Revd Kevin’s dimwitted but noble attempt to introduce a note of ecumenicism probably wouldn’t play well to a Glasgow congregation; the city where even the football teams hate one another along sectarian lines, and they’re both technically on the same hymn-sheet.

It’s a Good Thing, I suppose, that the Eucharistic Community in Glasgow doesn’t go about driving lorries over the corpses of Christmas shoppers, machine-gunning the patrons before blowing themselves up in theatres, but is merely content to write prissy, aggravating ‘open letters’ to unheeding Bishops, protesting at being asked to think for a moment beyond the walls of their limited mental capacities.

Muslims in turn might remind the Eucharist Liberation Front (Glasgow branch) that cannibalism, even the mild, symbolic variety practised in the C of E, ought to inspire revulsion, not worship, in any sensible human being. And it’s illegal. Only not, I think, in Britain?

A former choirboy, it always struck me as weird how one could spend hours intoning dreary Victorian hymns about Jesus dying for our sins on the cross, before eagerly celebrating the Original Sin by tucking-in to parts of him, as represented by a wafer biscuit and some indifferent plonk that have miraculously been transmuted by a Very Revd in a frock into His Actual Body and Blood (in the case of Catholicism, only symbolic in the case of the Prods – same victim, different verdict).

Clearly, one man’s worship is another’s three-course meal.

But what this tendentious nonsense demonstrates is that religion is a kind of mental illness; the utter, self-abasing dependancy on a phantom parent. Was a peripatetic rabbi with heretical views, for whose existence there is almost no historic evidence other than a bunch of cut-and-paste Gospels and some misogynistic epistolary exhortations from @Peter’s PR man, Paul of Tarsus, the Son of God (whatever that means?), or was he not?

Who cares?

Who can prove it either way?

There is no accounting for what might cause offence (such as this Post!) to any high-minded person living in the grim, dark, bandit- and pibroch-infested, snowbound country made out of sheer granite, that invented Presbyterianism for the amusement of industrial workers on Sundays, as if hewing two tons of coal a day wasn’t penalty enough for being born.

Long before the Yahoo! website gave the world’s congenital cretins a platform for their Komodo-dragon salivating, poisonous prejudices and (pardon me, Babe) pig-ignorant opinions, that have now inexplicably come to command the centre-stage of our political discourse, religion was a useful outlet for humans to express their fathomless and violent irrationality in a safe space.

As long as they didn’t fall out with one another over the precise details.

Postscriptum

I see I have a Like! But I’m confused. My Liker has responded before (unlike the rest of you lazy tossers content to float on my li-lo rather than blowing up one of your own). Indeed, every time I slag-off religion in my hearty, ex-muscular Christian fashion, up she pops with a Like.

The possessor of her own website, thanking Jesus for saving her – and not the other few hundred victims of her condition who die every year; not the medics and the drug-company research assistants and the shrinks who presumably turned her life around – I am nevertheless very happy to accommodate, nay even welcome, Beautybeyondbones to my world of sanity, and beyond.

 

THE BOGPO MANIFESTO

If the Labour Party can’t get it together and the Lib-Dems are too small to matter, while UKIP just basically stinks, then it’s up to me to devise a manifesto for the 2020 election.

Instead of paying corporation tax to the Treasury, all limited and public liability companies should be required to ensure their employees receive a much higher ‘living’ wage, no less than one twenty-fifth that of the highest paid executive. Shareholder dividends and executive bonuses should be capped at a realistic percentage of profits. Employees should be encouraged to join shareholder schemes and to achieve Board representation (see below for rules applying to Directors’ appointments.)

This higher wage would be offset by a ‘universal basic income’ of £140 a week for all qualifying by right of residence over 18, and £200 a week for all qualifying over 24. Those on the lower rate would pay no tax on their UBI; while those on the higher rate would pay a 10% marginal tax on income over £200 a week, to help offset the UBI. All other income over £200 a week would attract tax at 20%. Personal allowance should be scrapped.

Saving should be encouraged, with banks unable to set a differential between savings rates and loan rates of more than 12%. Savings rates should be sustained at a minimum of 3% above LIBOR. Customers should be limited to no more than three debt instruments, being credit cards or other loans, and receive a free financial health-check (not a sales call!) with an accredited advisor once a year.

Companies would pay their employees after deduction of basic income, which is paid by the State. All benefits, except Housing Benefit and the Personal Independence Payment, would be scrapped. Payable for all at 68, the State Pension would top-up the basic income by £40, to £240 a week.

The National Health Service to be assisted by a levy from additional taxation on sugar, refined wheat, tobacco, alcohol (but not wine), aviation, intensive livestock farming, financial transactions over £1 million and new cars. Available only to unemployed and seeking work or disabled and unable to work, Housing Benefit should be extended to those with mortgages from Day One, but be tapered off after 40 weeks (as opposed to the other way round at present). The ‘bedroom tax’ should be abolished and replaced by incentives to let spare accommodation.

Companies should be required to pay an ‘automation dividend’; a 40% tax on jobs that are replaced by automated systems, robots, AI etc. or that are outsourced to developing countries.

This revenue could be used to reduce or eliminate student tuition fees. Higher-level degrees are to be admitted to the student loan scheme. University degree years should be made more flexible and early years provision increased. Mature students (over 30) returning to or starting degrees should continue to receive the basic income and pay no more than 20% towards housing costs. Local authorities relieved of the burden of education costs would increase their social services and social housing provision.

Properties bought for ‘investment’ and left empty for more than six months should attract 100% purchase tax and the money spent on ending homelessness.

Other incentives to work or study should be created; low-interest credit unions promoted and a diesel car scrappage scheme introduced. ‘Faith schools’ and fee-paying public-schools registered as charities should lose their charitable status and become public liability companies (PLCs). Grammar schools and Academies should be absorbed into the comprehensive system.

All company directors prior to appointment should be required to pass a ‘business driving test’ demonstrating knowledge of the Companies Act, Employment Acts, the Shops, Offices and Factories Act and the Health and Safety at Work and Working Time directives (or whatever will replace them), as well as relevant consumer protections; also passing a numeracy test, verbal reasoning test and a psychometric evaluation of their fitness to employ staff.

Companies should be required to offer job appointments as a priority to British permanent residents before widening their search to include non-British passport holders. That includes the Governor of the Bank of England. The types of contracts offered to employees should be legally clarified and brought under the Employment Acts to prevent ‘zero-hours’ and other ‘freelance’ or self-employed workers from exploitation. Employees should have an expectation of wage increases in line with inflation.

The Pumpkin Extra: Doomsday Edition

The Pumpkin Extra: Doomsday Edition

 

Trumpkin (n.) An angry mole-rat; an orange vegetable of the cucurbit family. (Google Images)

Trumpkin (n.): bulbous orange-coloured fruit of the cucurbit family,  a gourd. Sometimes carved into faces to scare children on Halloween (cf).
(Google Images)

New, improved Truth

‘White House press secretary Sean Spicer also went on the attack.

‘”There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable, and I’m here to tell you it goes two ways. We’re going to hold the press accountable as well.”

‘Referring to the inauguration crowds, Mr Spicer said: “This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe. These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm about the inauguration are shameful and wrong.” – BBC News report, 22 January.

So now we are starting to see the true face of the Trump era: his press secretary says telling the truth is shameful and wrong; so he doesn’t. The crowd at his boss’ inauguration ceremony was the biggest ever, period, and if the press doesn’t report that as absolute fact they will be “held accountable”.

The undoctored visual record and statistics from the Washington public transport network prove irrefutably and stand for all time as witness that the crowd at Trump’s triumph was about one-fifth the size of that attending President Obama’s 2008 inauguration, with acres of empty seats in the bleachers and standing room only everywhere, while the Nilsen ratings showed the TV audience was also well down.

The swearing-in was, it’s true, accompanied by a large demonstration, with ‘ugly scenes’ involving police and anti-Trump protesters. The following day, millions of women around the world took to the streets to demand there should be no erosion of their right to equality and civil liberty under a misogynistic, racist and authoritarian administration.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that the President’s personal ego-bearer has decided this was the greatest reception ever accorded by an adoring public to an incoming office-holder. He personally counted “1.5 million” people in the crowd, he had the best view of anyone, and so that’s what it was.

The truth.

Many commenters have tiresomely waved their old swastika flags around to hail this or that political action or entity as being ‘like the Nazis’, or ‘like Hitler’. It’s generally a gratuitous comparison. Trump himself has compared the CIA and FBI investigations into Russian interference in his election as like ‘Nazi Germany’, although he also says he loves the agencies and supports them “1,000%”….. Another of his little Freudian slips, I fear. He loves Nazi Germany?

But I can think of no more succinct a metaphor for fascism than that first naked attempt by Sean Spicer – remember the name, one day he will be as well-known as Dr Josef Goebbels – not just to manipulate the supposedly free press by putting a slant on a story or feeding them fake news or favouring one journalist over others or covering something up or issuing an unwarranted security ‘D-notice’ or slipping a dastardly new, undebated policy out under cover of some blown-up ‘storm in a teacup’ story –  all the minorly propagandistic manipulations and deceptions that go on all the time in the corridors of shame.

No, this was a genuine abuse of a power only momentarily conferred that day, in blatant violation of the First Amendment: “The dress is purple and white, not black and red, and if you people can’t see it that way despite all the evidence of your own eyes, if you don’t accept and print New Truth, we have the power to destroy you.”

Four more years.

Resist.

 

69

Theresa May was only the eleventh world leader to be telephoned by President-elect Trump on his dubious election victory and invited to congratulate him. The UK’s most noxious ambitious nonentity, Farage immediately hopped on a flight to be photographed in a golden lift with the Trumpkin, the little sucky British elevator boy looking immensely pleased with his PR coup, like a chimpanzee in heat.

But like the instantaneous conversion of the roistering Prince Hal to majesterial seriousness on becoming King Henry V, Trump has swatted away the Falstaffian Farage: “I know thee not old man, look to thy prayers”, and invited May to Washington this weekend, her Louis Vuitton overnight bag packed with tax concessions to US corporates, as the first of the formerly sceptical world leaders who must now beat a path to the door of the Sun-King from Queen’s and pay homage to the world’s most powerful psychopath.

It hurts to laugh, but here are Mrs Yin and President Yang, nose to tail: May, desperate to get some hot action on the global trading front as a buffer against the hawkish Europeans and their fearsomely frigid Brexit negotiators, desperate to cling on to the rotting transatlantic partnership nobody in the USA from Trump down to the real elevator boy even remembers existed; firing rogue missiles accidentally at Florida – look out, Ivan! -; and here is Trump, desperately unpopular, poll ratings already in avalanche mode, globally reviled, feared and hated before he’s even started work on destroying the German economy and the free press, before the first breeze-block has been laid with dribbly Chinese cement by an unpaid contractor in his historically pointless, silly wall; desperately seeking validation from somebody, anybody, another photo op – even some witchy old pussy from golf-course-land…

Do we know anyone who isn’t overwhelming the NHS with psychosomatic illnesses and ‘inadvertent’ accidental injuries, brought on by profound depression? This morning, I missed my footing going downstairs and whacked my head hard on the wall.

It really isn’t the kind of thing I usually do, even on a Sunday.

It felt more like a cry for help, really.

 

Essay

“There’s no correlation, believe me, between intelligence and the ability to make money.”

From: Environment Correspondent, Norma Winters ©2017. @spacex.com

 

As Trump grasps the reins of power in America and vows to restore jobs in coal and oil and gas extraction, that we thought and hoped had gone forever, as they have in many other countries not afraid to face the future, the fate of our fragile atmosphere now hangs in the balance. It becomes easier to blame greedy US shareholders and overpaid executives – and, now, the ‘disappointed’ voters of post-industrialising middle America –  for the reckless endangerment of our one shared planet.

The barbarous appointments of extreme climate-change deniers to positions of power over the environmental agencies, the elevation of the ruthless Exxon oil boss Rex Tillerson to have charge of US foreign policy, are likely to cause dismay around the globe as Trump threatens to dismantle the already out-of-date Paris accord, that attempted to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 deg C. We may already have passed that threshold. As reported in Scientific American magazine, warming since 1900 is accelerating rapidly, reaching 1.48 degrees in the first three months of 2016.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-flirts-with-a-1-5-degree-celsius-global-warming-threshold1/ (cut-and-paste link)

As expected, 2016 ended up the hottest year in recorded history, coming on top of the previous second hottest year – 2015 (only marginally cooler than 2014). The Arctic is threatened, rising temperatures heralding a devastating release of stored methane; a far more effective greenhouse gas than CO2. The Jetstream is in chaos, bringing terrible winter conditions to Europe but warming the Arctic. In the southern United States, the tornado season has arrived, two months early. Sixteen people have died.

I’m old enough to remember the great blanketing smogs that killed thousands in London and other British cities in the early 1950s; somehow as a toddler with asthma I lived through them. So I can sympathise to some extent with the choking citizens of Beijing and Guangzhou . This year’s smogs in northeastern China have been of epic proportions, joining up to become the worst and most lethal ever.

No-one seems to relate the atmospheric conditions to the vertiginous rise in the numbers of cars in those countries, that have virtually – and in some cities compulsorily – replaced bicycles as the popular mode of transportation. Car production has become a measure of economic health; in truth, it’s a harbinger of disaster.

In the 1950s, there were very few private cars. It was the unexpected nationalisation of Iran’s oil industry, on which Britain had largely depended for its supply, and a series of poor winters that forced householders to burn cheap Welsh brown coal, emitting plumes of sulphur dioxide that became trapped under inversion layers caused by high-pressure weather systems.

Which is why I react with scorn and derision to statements that China is ‘leading the way’ globally in reducing carbon emissions.

As a long overdue public health measure, Britain introduced the world’s first Clean Air Act in 1956, 60 years ago. We knew what to do then, it was elementary: stop burning coal in our domestic fireplaces. Not burning coal was something we were rapidly able to legislate for, as the British were used to taking orders after six years of total war, and by and large it worked as new sources of heating were rapidly developed, ‘central heating’, depending on cleaner and more efficient (though still polluting) centrally generated, nationally distributed energy.

So, given that we knew and had experienced the public health and environmental risks and the measures needed to eliminate them back in the 1950s, why has it taken China the best part of 60 years to even start thinking about not burning coal when they also have a major problem from automobile emissions to contend with? Is it good enough to say, oh, they were a peasant economy, Chairman Mao held their development back through the years of the Cultural Revolution? (Better at least than continuing to blame the colonial British.)

A centrally directed economy, they could so easily have followed Britain’s lead and banned the burning of fossil fuels at a much earlier stage. Instead, they continued (and continue) to burn as much domestic coal as they could cheaply dig out of the ground in a reckless bid to catch up with Western manufacturing economies, without looking for any cleaner solutions until recently; and they are, literally, reaping the whirlwind.

The rush to solar and wind power is, in characteristically Chinese fashion, vertiginous: already, within about seven years China has become the world’s largest generator of electricity from renewables; but so are they still also the world’s biggest polluter from fossil fuels and industrial effluents.

For years after it became clear in the late 1970s that carbon dioxide levels were rising to dangerous proportions (the probable warming effect of CO2 absorbing sunlight had been known for 100 years), China and India were prominent in resisting all attempts to stop them polluting the atmosphere on the infantile grounds that it was the ‘right’ of all developing nations to achieve their full economic potential regardless of the known environmental risks, arguing that the northern nations had no right to lecture them as we had already translated our own coal reserves into manufacturing supremacy and were merely trying to maintain our relative economic advantage.

Two wrongs, they say, don’t make a right. China is now ruefully surveying its devastated landscapes, its filthy, contaminated rivers; gulping its remaining oxygen through gas masks. Normal atmospheric oxygen is 20 per cent of the mix of gases we breathe. All creatures other than anaerobic bacteria need oxygen to live. In parts of the ‘developing’ world, in the teeming, choking supercities the oxygen level can fall at times to as low as seven per cent.

That’s a model for the rest of us to view with considerable alarm.

Climate scientists are not very good at explaining just why the biota – and hence, the human race – is potentially doomed to extinction within decades. We imagine, don’t we, that rising sea levels or something are the main threat; superhurricanes, or possibly ‘resource wars’, declining food production; incursions by millions of starving refugees from sub-tropical latitudes.

All those things put together are going to happen, are already happening, but they do not appear to threaten the existence of all life on the planet. Even a nuclear war would probably not achieve that.

Oxygen depletion does, however. And as the seas warm, and acidify with poisonous CO2, the plankton dies and melting ice dilutes the salinity, those vast engines of production are producing measurably less oxygen. We are changing the balance of our atmosphere at a measurable rate.

For the first time ever, last summer the northern Jetstream was found to be meandering so wildly around the globe that it merged for a time with the southern Jetstream. Huge ice shelves in the Antarctic are breaking up, glaciers disappearing in the Andes, the Alps, the Hindukush. Northern Arctic sea ice this winter is at its lowest recorded extent, and its thinnest. One and a half trillion metric tonnes of methane lies stored in the Arctic sea and its bordering tundra. Just a few billion tonnes evaporating into the atmosphere will be enough to trigger runaway warming. In December 2016 the mean temperature in some areas of the Arctic was 20 deg C above normal. In January 2017, it’s been measured locally at up to 50 deg C. above normal.

And we have possibly the most wilfully, scientifically ignorant President in history in the White House, a barely literate moral imbecile with the attention span of a flea, who says he believes that tens of thousands of scientists all around the world, from a whole variety of different disciplines, not just climate scientists, are involved in a secret Chinese conspiracy to damage the US economy.

Actually it’s no secret, but not in the way he thinks. As President Xi vows to continue with China’s leading role in the Paris damage limitation exercise, embarrassed and fearful about popular unrest at the environmental degradation of his cut-price economy, China continues to try to force the pace of economic growth at a wholly unsustainable 7 per cent a year.

Its plentitudinous middle-class goes on growing, its car population goes on increasing, and why not? Look at the US! Look at Britain – we registered another two million cars last year, which after scrappage brings the number of cars in our little island to 32 million: 128 cars for every mile of road – not including a further six million motorcycles, buses and commercial vehicles. Cities are poison traps: according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, now threatened: “A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.”

You do the math. And then add the NOx.

So, yes, we in the West, the North, are deeply guilty. The Industrial Revolution began in Coalbrookdale, Derbyshire in the 1740s and we’ve been burning every bit of stored fossil energy we could get our hands on ever since: keeping our buildings overheated, manufacturing stuff we can throw away or burn, providing half the population with a ton and a half of individual wheeled transportation unit with in-car entertainment we can throw around enjoyably at speed on roads eating up our green countryside and devastating the prospects of our rapidly extincting wildlife.

It’s been fun, hasn’t it.

And now it’s almost certainly too late to stop.

In the days after the 9/11 attack on New York, planned and carried out mainly by Saudi Wahabbists – Saudi Arabia controversially being at the time, the USA’s biggest source of cheap oil imports – a stop was put for three days to all commercial flights over the USA.

Within a matter of hours it was noticed that the skies were becoming clearer, the sun brighter. It was then more generally realised that water vapor and sooty carbon particulates injected high into the atmosphere from jet engines had reduced sunlight by about 20 per cent over the five decades’ long relentless growth of air travel, and no-one except maybe farmers had much noticed. Now the pollution was gently falling from the sky, leaving purer, cleaner air.

There are plenty of other sources of muck that gets pumped into the sky, as well as volcanoes. We may recall the discovery in the 1980s that chlorofluorocarbons – CFCs – used in a variety of industrial processes and consumer white goods were eating the protective ozone layer, allowing more cancer-causing UV rays to reach the ground. An international ban followed, and the holes in the ozone have been closing up again.

If only global warming caused cancer, we might have done something about that too.

By reflecting sunlight, high-altitude particulates – pollution – have been protecting us from overheating the atmosphere as the CO2 content has risen steadily from 280 ppm in the mid-C18th, to over 400 ppm today. So let’s burn more! Maybe, but the more sunlight that’s reflected, the less is available for growing food crops. Generating particulate smog is inimical to our health. We’d need to go on doing it, probably forever. The atmosphere would go on getting more polluted. And the colder the weather, the more fuel we’ll burn.

So it’s a self-defeating strategy. The only way forward is renewables.

It’s been calculated by some climatologists that if we stopped ‘civilization’ – all generation of fossil-fuel energy: no flying off on holiday, no manufacturing, no cars, no heating, no lights or pumps, flat mobile phone batteries – all of it now, right now, it would make absolutely no difference to the warming of the climate.

The additional CO2 necessary to get us to a probably unsurvivable six to 10 deg C. of warming by 2026 is already in the system; and without the reflective cooling effect of pollution we would start to see a rapid and irreversible rise in global temperature, not in decades, but within DAYS.

The world is teetering on a knife edge.

And the worst of it is, Trump may even know this, but just not care. He has too many wealthy donors to reward; rapacious billionaires who stupidly imagine their gargantuan wealth will save them from sharing the fate of the rest of the planet. (There’s no correlation, believe me, between intelligence and the ability to make money.)

He may just be crossing his little fingers, hoping that the fast-approaching extinction of the species doesn’t arrive on his watch.

Of course, there will be no-one to bury his grandchildren.

Does he care?

Footnote

At more than one billion metric tonnes a year, China consumes roughly a quarter of the world’s coal output. (Although beaten to first place as the world’s worst CO2 polluter by Canada and its miles of stinking tar-sands). Figures showing declining consumption are invariably revised upwards, producing a small year-on-year growth. A helpful explanation is provided by:

http://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/8780-China-s-coal-consumption-and-CO2-emissions-What-do-we-really-know (cut and paste link)

 

RETWEEP

I’m not one for plugging links,  have no idea how this stuff works, but I’m going to risk a suggestion anyway that you view this YouTube vid, principally because I keep trying just to give you a dead link as usual, to let you choose to go there or not, but this image comes up every time I try to paste the URL, I can’t get rid of it and I can’t make it any smaller, so I’m taking it as an omen. (Acknowledgments to whoever made it, sorry about your copyright and that.)

I’m not endorsing the content, although as a former journalist I’d say it’s serious reportage, of public interest. And the Trumpkin was inaugurated today. A black day in history. So bad.

If nothing else it shows that theories about the Russians and Putin and Israel and Trump’s seldom-mentioned mob connections – it’s no disgrace, you can’t build in New York or operate casinos in Atlantic City without ’em – fixing the election, have to stand comparison with the alt-right stuff, the Breitbart ‘News’ website connection, that ghastly blonde skeleton who goes on air all the time defending him (I’m bad on names, thank God. Kitty something? Pussy Galore?).

What it all tells us is that in politics, money corrupts  and absolute money corrupts absolutely. Yet about 2/3 the way through, we’re shown a list of the obscenely wealthy donors to US political causes and, hey, you know what? There are just as many filthy rich capitalists donating to liberal causes, as much money every election time as most of us are likely to see in a lifetime, as there are to the neo-Nazis!

So what we’re seeing here is a kind of tennis match between men with big yachts. Only, we’re the ball.

PS – guess what Trump has tweeted in response to his dire poll ratings, the worst ever for an incoming no-joke President on Inauguration Day?

‘Rigged!’

Bless.

And, okay, couldn’t resist… This one says it all:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LFkN7QGp2c

 

But…. Special Inaugural Issue of The Pumpkin

The Pumpkin, 15 January

a-peeled-pumpkin-allows-for-amazing-shading-and-extreme-levels-of-detailGoogle images
Pumpkin (n): a bulbous, orange-coloured fruit of the cucurbit family, a gourd; capable of being grown to weights in excess of 1,000 lb. Often hollowed-out and carved into faces for scaring children on Halloween (cf).

 

STOP PRESS!!!

It’s Rhexit for Rebellious RI!

From our roving correspondent, Jim Questions ©1700, @what’sthis?ohyes.

ri_fl“Residents of the state of Rhode Island have voted overwhelmingly by a margin of 397 to 396 to Leave the United States of America.

“News of the vote in a snap referendum called overnight by Governor Gina Raimondo has produced shockwaves across the timezones of this great continent as day follows night.

Live feed: Attorney General Peter Kilmartin: “The people have spoken and we are out. Independence is the name of our capital city, and independence is our game. It’s always been in our blood. This is the finest hour in Our Island Story. It’ll be great, believe me.

“Henceforth we shall go, er, forth unto the shining, sunlit uplands, free from oppressive rule by the do-nothing, donut-munching federalist debt-monkeys of Washington DC. Once we have regained control of our borders, American migrants will no longer have  freedom to steal our jobs, sponge on our private insurance-based medical facilities and rape our womenfolk. Our internationally renowned jewellery industry will be free to trade under NAF… I’m sorry, under WTO rules, at cost, with the likes of India and Swaziland, wherever.”

“Asked whether Ms Raimondo favoured a hard or soft Rhexit, Mr Kilmartin joked, “So, she’s a woman, you do the math! Either way, those stars will have to come off!”.

A flurry of incoherent Tweets is expected shortly from President Trump, who is known to favour the breakup of the Union and segregation from the majority black South, together with the abolition of the minimum wage. Or any wage, come to that.

“This is Jim Questions for BBC News, Expenses-in-the-Mailbox, Rhode Island.”

 

But…

From our Washington insider, Golda Rayne ©2017 @splashpoint.org

“Washington has been rocked by intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered a covert effort to interfere in the election to boost Trump and harm his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump hinted that he might scrap Obama’s retaliatory sanctions against Moscow, and said he was prepared to meet Putin after taking office on Friday”. – BBC News

Spot the one tiny, glaring anomaly in this extract from a BBC News website report today (15 January).

Yes, it’s that naughty little conjunction.

‘But’.

So, despite the intelligence agencies’ (note the plural) ‘conclusion’ that the order to hack the party organisers and get some useful dirt came directly from the top honcho in the Kremlin, ‘but’ Trump is happy not only to do the business, ‘but’ to REWARD Mr Putin for his efforts to sway US voters, provided some unspecified deal can be struck down the line.

‘But’….

Clearly, Trump has no beef with the Wall Street Journal, as he does with half the other press publications and websites in the USA he doesn’t like and has publicly threatened to destroy. Fake! Witch! Chinese plot!

He won’t do press conferences anymore, probably, but he does patronise loyalty, until it no longer suits him.

He’s happy to plant his own disinformation in the heart of downtown capitalism, the home for instance of rapacious global investment bank Goldman Sachs, whose executives appear to have been given the keys to Capitol Hill in the opening salvos of Mr Trump’s long heralded swamp-cleansing operation.

This, despite his many Trumpist followers imagining they elected him to reverse the globalisation of their jobs and wages.

Ain’t happenin’. So good.

Is Goldman Sachs the bank the ‘billionaire’ is said to owe $billions to? Well, no, we don’t think so, that’s Deutsche Bank, whose wallet-crunching $14 billion fine from the Securities administration for one kind of finagling or another largely went away last month (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38412816)

Today, he’s quoted as tweeting that unnamed intelligence ‘insiders’ – note that, folks, he’s penetrated deep inside his own security services, he’s not getting it from untrustworthy official briefings from the Hillary-flunkies at the top – have dismissed the ‘golden showergate’ dossier as garbage.

That’s presumably because it was compiled by the 30-year time-served MI6 Russia specialist, Chris Steele, mainly on info gleaned from… ‘intelligence insiders’. Believe me, you can trust ‘em!

Plus of course Steele was paid by dissident Republicans to write those horrible, nasty things about someone else called Donald Trump. You can never trust people where there’s money involved.

Thus we have a President-to-be (on Friday, God help us) who has both accepted and denied that Russia attempted to interfere in the election, which he initially said was rigged against him, but which turned out to be rigged against his opponent.

Anyway, he knew somehow that it was rigged.

And who has denied – despite accepting the first premise – the second premise, that he is the victim of a ‘kompromat’ sting operation – although it’s thought by Westminster ‘insider’, the spy novelist and MP Chris Bryant, that Putin has been digging the dirt on most western political and business leaders over the years, and Trump would be no exception.

(And how do we imagine did former Home Secretary and hence spymistress, Theresa May, persuade the neo-Thatcherite Brexit plotters to butt out? Knowledge is power, they say.)

Mr Putin agrees with his friend, it’s all bollocks. Why would Trump need to buy prostitutes, when he can, er, buy any woman he wants? (Although, of course, boasts Putin, Russian prostitutes are the best in the world. Are these people real?) It seems Putin has a sense of humour, too.

It may be a stretch from there to the idea that Putin has so much actual dirt on Trump that he came to own the candidate and rig the election, especially at the nomination stage – ‘but’ Trump does nothing to help himself by constantly singing Putin’s praises. Too soon to be revealing his pro-Moscow hand.

It may be too, that it’s good policy and politically advantageous to appease Moscow, to treat Putin as a trustworthy ally capable of accepting a deal, to nip the new Cold War relationship in the bud, to talk-down NATO and bait the Chinese leadership with crude hints about their One China policy, although few Republicans would agree with any of that.

It may be good policy to want (for obscure reasons) to destroy the Mexican economy; although it’s arguable that two outcomes will inevitably be an increase in illegal migration (you can’t keep out invaders with a wall, it’s never been done) and redoubled efforts to push more revenue-earning drugs into the white barrios of crumbling US cities.

And it may be good business to send bullying threats to car manufacturers, even German ones, to stop building cars in Mexico and export jobs instead to the USA. Although it’s difficult to see what business it is of his where VW or Mercedes choose to build their cars?

Perhaps it’s the first stage in building a Trumpkin world.

As we know, the Trump-Clinton election has thrown up a mass of such contradictions, all of them leading back on themselves. That Trump, for instance, was claiming the election was rigged – and when it came to it, and he’d won, we’re beginning to understand that it was rigged – only not against him.

How often he pardons his own misdemeanors and denies accusations through clumsy and inadvertent attempts at misdirection – usually after the obvious trick has been performed. He just can’t let criticism go, to the point where he only draws attention to himself as the probable miscreant. Delivering a confused version of events that suggest he does in fact have something to hide, when silence would be the best defence. Hey mom, look, you didn’t catch me with my hand in the cookie jar! That’s ‘cos I’m smart!

But he doesn’t do dignified silence. Patience is not one of his many virtues.

You might for instance accuse me of robbing the store down the road, and instead of saying no, I didn’t rob the store, I was dining with friends (a checkable alibi) I might say: well, if I did rob the store I’d be the best store-robber ever, and you know, robbing stores is so bad, Hillary robs stores, she should be in jail.

His vanity and solipsism simply won’t allow him not to try always to usurp the power of his accusers, to feel superior to the miscreant he’s accused of being, even if it proves him to be that miscreant. Is that maybe because he is? Is he the one maybe who secretly feels he should be in jail?

It’s a psychological manifestation known as ‘transference’ Whatever happened, if it’s good I must have done it, whoever did it, because I’m the best at it; if it’s bad I’ll say you did it, although I’d be better at it.

And now he has the nuclear codes. Let’s hope Obama slips him the wrong ones.

 

Is it a coincidence that Davos was the name of a Dr Who villain?

It’s like we’re seeing parallel universes today, one behind the other, where the mighty and privileged are able to access different levels of reality through their own private wormholes, moving freely between dimensions whose portals are denied to the rest of us.

The billionaires move comfortably and with assurance in their own continuum, passing through us like neutrinos, as if we were but shadows. The richest eight men in the world are said by Oxfam to own as much wealth as the bottom 50 per cent of the world’s population. How did that happen? Yes, we all bought an iPhone.

Once upon a time we would have acceded to this bullshit, maintaining our bowed, serf-like position, tugging our forelocks, cheering the procession and knowing our place in the grand scheme of things.

‘But’ – the men who stole the world are also eating it up and poisoning our atmosphere at a terrifying rate. Scientists increasingly despair that it could all be over in the next 20 years. Gone. We have the technological means and the knowledge to organise against it, don’t we, and we’re mad as hell, aren’t we. Honest. Now what’s on TV?

And here we are at Davos once again, the migratory feeding-ground of the super-rich, where the talk is all of carving up the world, with some maybe lifting their well-coiffed heads from the swill bucket long enough to offer through their hardworking PRs, a passing flicker of liberal anxiety about those they’re leaving to fry or drown.

‘But’ this year, they have snow! How good is that, Exxon?

Is this so-called ‘post-truth’ world one manifestation of the insane belief of these Godlike beings that they can easily escape the worst consequences of the coming holocaust, whose seeds they have irreversibly sown?

Is there any version of events that the rest of us can now either untangle or believe?

Oh, ‘but’…

The fear is, people may soon remember Mao’s maxim: power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Maybe Trump will one day regret his late endorsement of the much misread and misinterpreted 2nd Amendment.

 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially in advance

How would the Brexit crazies have voted, I wonder, if they had realised the British government was going to have to suck it up practically forever from the Presidential germophobe, Donald ‘The Pumpkin’ Trump, in the hope of getting some slippery, one-sided trade deal putting US corporations in charge of our economy and legal system and ensuring they pay no tax in the UK, that the Tories can spin as our brighter future out of Europe?

With the hardest possible Brexit looming, do they not understand that the old Springboard UK system cannot possibly work, as the US is not going to want its goods crossing the Channel via Harwich with a 45% trade tariff slapped on at Calais and Rotterdam.

Following on the heels of the appalling Nigel Farage and his sickening photo op joshing with the Pumpkin and sundry alt-right crazies in the sparkly elevator of doom, the speccy little swot and arch-Brexit plotter, Gove has become the second ‘important’ British representative to jet over, doing a servile  ‘interview’ for Rupert Murdoch’s The Times with the Louis 1Vth of Queen’s, before Trump has met even gobby Boris, the official Foreign Secretary and feral Brexit clown.

Meanwhile, in a petty act of revenge for her humiliation at the European summit last month, when she wasn’t invited to dinner and had to make do with a can of Stella and a kebab in the foyer… no, sorry, got that wrong: as a token of our anticipated reduced contribution to European affairs, we have Eurostarred three junior civil servants from the Foreign Office over to Paris, where actual foreign ministers and John Kerry are meeting to try to cobble together a last-second two-state solution to the Arab-Israel conflict before Trump gets into office and fucks it all up.

Signs that that might happen are that he has already said he wants to roll-back the UN declaration on the illegality of Jewish settlements in the West Bank; he’ll support Netanyahu if he wants to move the Jewish capital symbolically to multi-faith Jerusalem, ending all hope of a Mid-East peace deal forever, and abrogate the US’s signature on the Iran nuclear treaty.

Britain’s downsized junior delegation, the Children’s Crusade in miniature, is in fact just an early step in a campaign of cringing supplication to the Orange President to graciously invite Britain to be ‘first in the queue’ for a free-trade deal (the word ‘queue’ is used only in symbolism, a word the British will understand as we are famous for our queues, there is no ‘queue’ as such, it only means ‘within the next seven years’).

Mrs May has a delicate balancing act, on the one hand to convince the Brexit boobies we are open for business outside Europe, so great, and on the other to not upset the Trumpkin too soon by sending Boris to Paris to referee the ‘kikes v. wogs’ match; a fixture I imagine Trump and the armaments industry would prefer to see permanently rained-off.

After all, you can do business with the Israelis. Those Arabs are just sore losers. So sad.

Further info: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/15/uk-snubs-middle-east-peace-summit-in-paris-to-keep-trump-onside

 

Silence is Golden

But hark, what is that we hear?

Nothing. Golden silence, is what.

We hear no donkey noises from the ass, Farage. Perhaps he is taking a Christmas break from worshipping at the manger of the Christ-child?

No braying he makes at his friend, Mr Gove’s clever extraction from the Sun King of an unexpected admission that his majesty believes Brexit to be A Thoroughly Good Thing, and that Britain has thereby regained its precious national essence.

How strange, by contrast with Mr Farage’s bitter, if not practically racist outburst, following President Obama’s mild and intentionally helpful intervention in the runup to the referendum last June.

Mr Farage indeed moaned longly and loudly about Mr Obama’s right to express the official view at the time of the US Government, that Brexit would be A Bad Thing Altogether.

It was, Farage opined, an outrage that a US president should interfere in the affairs of a foreign state, failing to agree with Farage.

‘The Spirit of Britain’ stopped short of using the uppity n-word expression, but only just. The clear implication wa that Mr Obama was, in some sense possibly racial, inferior to the Great White British People whom he dare not lecture on the subjects of law and politics – Mr Obama’s career specialities, as it happens.

But the Trumpkin is a different matter.

The God-King-Emperor over the Water is welcome to come and manage the entire Brexit process if he so wishes, ensuring no backsliding from the triumvirate of snowflakes agreeably living it up in Chevening House. The Trumpkin understands Brexit better than anyone else. Why, at Xmas he sent Mr Davis, Mr ‘Dr’ Fox and Mr Boris free giftwrapped signed copies of his little gold book, The Art of the Deal. ‘Pour encourager les hors d’oeuvres!’ he wrote in the flyleaf.

Interference? Why, bless you, Sire, it’s no hardship to be told we’ll get a quickie trade deal as a reward for covering the country with large, tasteless hotels and loss-making golf courses nobody plays on, to hear such welcome threats of tariffs on German cars (as if the EU wouldn’t immediately respond with tariffs on British-made cars, especially Fords and Vauxhalls built in Britain by US manufacturers – there being no British carmakers anymore*) and to have our fear and loathing of refugees and other foreign elements expansively pandered to.

*PS Rolls Royce, the engineering company that no longer makes the German-made Rolls Royce cars, has reportedly paid someone an eyewatering seven-figure sum, close to £ a billion, to get off a Serious Fraud Office charge of bribing wogs to win contracts over the last 25 years (see a Post on the subject, passim.)

You see how great Britain could be if we weren’t subject to these sorts of intolerable controls from Whitehall?

 

Fake News

Trump to lead Space-X Mars mission

Inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced that President Trump is to pilot the first manned expedition to the red planet.

‘Who in the world would possibly know more about piloting missions to Mars, now that Gene Cernan has gone to that great lunar crater in the sky?’ asked Musk rhetorically at a press conference in Davos, Thursday. ‘Let the President slip the surly bonds of Earth, this is a result for pumpkins everywhere.’

Believed to be the world’s first actual trillionaire, Musk has been developing the Space-X thruster for several years and recently conducted the successful launch of a small, hand-powered rocket in the Mohave desert, after a series of earlier mishaps.

‘We are confident that this will be the one’, said Musk. ‘One leaping giant man, a man-kind stepping on a giant, to coin a phrase.’

Led by the President, the one-way mission to establish a permanent colony on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor will be crewed by his son-in-law, Mr Jared Kushner, sons Eric, Donald Jr; 12-year-old Barron von Trump as ‘Cabin boy’, and daughter Ivanka as ‘Stewardess’. All of them are highly trained space-mission people, with years of experience watching Star Wars.

A ticket to fly to the Red Planet is expected to cost ‘at least’ $698,000,000. Among the jet-setting passengers on the nine-month journey will be a number of multi-billionaires: the Russian president, Vladimir and Mrs Putin; Mr and Mrs Bashar al Assad, Mr and Mrs Rex Tillerson and their ex-son ‘Bright’ Bart; King and Mrs Charles 111 of England – and Mr and Mrs Michael Gove, as ‘The Little Couple’.

The ‘Stowaway’ has been named as Mr Nigel Farage.

The aim on landing in the Cosa Nostrum will be to continue the human race while the Earth goes to hell in a handcart. Quipped Musk: ‘It’s shit or bust. Now get out, His Majesty doesn’t like newspapers. No press! Doesn’t read ’em, either!’

Commander Trump, who stated in support of his application that he scored the highest ever number of points playing Space Invaders,  was not available for comment.

 

 

The sleaze is just impenetrable; the stench unbearable.

The Pumpkin News

January 2017

“It doesn’t do to try to out-Nazi the Nazis. Nazi-ing is what they do best.”

 

Life’s full of contradictions, ain’t it?

From: Our Man in Washington, Fargel Narrage, ©2017. @sunningdalegolfclub.net

It seems odd.

Why would the Kremlin have built up a dirty dossier on Trump especially?

A ‘kompromat’ blackmail operation going back several years, in order to turn him into the Manchurian Candidate, a Russian sleeper: yet, until last summer, there was apparently no prospect of a narcissistic, bullying, misogynistic, tacky reality TV show host; a notoriously thin-skinned and defensive, autocratic global business tycoon with no political experience or friends in Washington, a corporatist foreign policy agenda and an utter disregard for the truth as a negotiating tool ever being nominated as the Republican candidate?

If it was an investment, boy is it paying off.

According to the veteran Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, who interviewed him in 1988, even then he was harbouring ambitions to ‘make America great again’. Long before President Obama brought the nation to its knees with affordable healthcare for all, and Crooked Hillary was abusing children in a pizza parlor in Washington, Trump was arguing that the US was being ‘kicked around’ (a curious echo of the notorious Nixon resignation press conference, where he moaned: “‘now you won’t have Nixon to kick around any more”) and had lost its standing, power and credibility in the world. In the right circumstances, yes, he would run for President…

So did Russia have a hand in creating the circumstances – while at the same time ensuring they had leverage over their man? They say you can’t kid a kidder, but Trump is so vain, it’s a major weakness that he always imagines himself to be on top, which of course in a golden-shower situation with prostitutes you aren’t. (That was a joke, I imagine. Odd flashes of humor alert.)

I’ve noticed, by the way, that whenever he is accused of wrongdoing, Mr Trump always turns his denials into diversionary narratives, in what may be unconscious admissions of guilt. “I own hotels, so I know about secret cameras” would be one of them. Seriously? He has those in his hotels? “I’m a germophobe” (so was Howard Hughes, it must go with the money) was his way of denying the story that he paid prostitutes to piss on a Moscow hotel bed. Not: “I’m a happily married man, I would never do that!” but a dubious medical explanation invoking a mental disorder. Crazy.

Is it possible that the highly experienced and apparently well-regarded by his fellow Brit spooks, former MI6 Russia desk chief Chris Steele, who has been named (unusually) as the author of a 35-page report on the alleged dossier, and who is said by the CIA to be a reliable source, has had this stuff planted on him in an elaborate Kremlin double-bluff operation?

The report is months old, and was apparently commissioned by unnamed dissident Republicans opposed to the Trump nomination – Steele (who has gone into hiding) now runs a private intel company in London and charged £130,000 for his services. Why has US intelligence, that has known about this stuff for six months, only now at the eleventh hour released a two-page digest via John McCain and CNN, with a leak for insurance to Buzzfeed, casting doubt on the President-elect’s loyalties?

The obvious reason is because of his attacks on them over the other claim that Putin in person had authorised the hacking, both of the Democratic National Congress and of the opposing Republican National Congress; and that Wikileaks had chosen to, er, leak only the former, to discredit Hillary; while remaining curiously mute about whatever the hackers had found out about the Republican campaign.

The man from Ecuador

Not long ago, Trump was calling for Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange*, to be executed. Now it seems he can’t sing his praises highly enough, although of course he denies that the leaks have benefited his campaign at the expense of his opponent’s.

Which may be why he has put the inept Rudy Giuliani in charge of America’s cyber security. The former Mayor of New York’s crime-busting consultancy boasts of its record on cyber security, a claim that inevitably resulted in a torrent of fun memes from the hacker community, who immediately set-to rummaging around in his files before going public with the many, many failings, software redundancies and pathetic safeguarding inadequacies of Giuliani’s firm’s own systems.

So then if you wanted the Russians to have free access to your servers, you know who to call.

So many contradictions: so much ‘don’t do as I say, just pay for what I do and pray I don’t fuck it all up’. As Heraclitus wrote, ‘all is flux’.

With the latest allegations, Trump has childishly compared the CIA and FBI to ‘Nazis’; although in the illusory, quantum world of Trump’s strategic brain the row which that caused could be a ploy to draw attention away from the congressional hearings into the profound unsuitability of his ghastly crew of billionaire donor appointees to his transitional cabinet.

Already over a thousand lawyers and academics have signed letters protesting the appointment of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions 111 – Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama – as Attorney General on the grounds that his ‘non-racist, pro-Civil Rights’ CV is a total fabrication and a whitewash. He never defended those cases, they point out, he prosecuted them. It’s on record, if only the Senate investigators care to look.

The choice of the ‘Nazis’ epithet was instructive; a Freudian slip. Just as the media has been anguishing over Trump’s choice of alt-right high priest and Breitbart News co-founder, the dissolute-looking Steve Bannon, as his strategic advisor, and the overall tenor of a far-right, authoritarian/white supremacist administration taking shape, Trump comes out with this bit of transference: if we’re the Nazis, so are you, with knobs on!

It doesn’t do to try to out-Nazi the Nazis. Nazi-ing is what they do best.

And then there’s the nasty bullying and freezing out of and treatening to sue media that reports on things he doesn’t want them reporting on. It’s bound to result in the self-censorship as survival strategy that will help to cover up whatever nefarious deeds he has planned (his friend and media strategist, Peter Thiel, another litigious and thin-skinned billionaire, has already put one news website out of business in a $35 million lawsuit over outing him as a gay man).

It does not bode well for a new administration claiming that it wants to get closer to Russia – Trump has frequently spoken admiringly of his fellow kleptocrat, Putin, and rubbished the North Atlantic alliance – to be falling out so badly with its intelligence community, especially with NATO/Russian relations on a knife-edge (the US has just sent three thousand troops with tanks and battlefield nukes to Poland, a move cheerfully hailed by the Kremlin as an act of aggression – after all, does it not make their frequently denied incursions into Ukraine a symmetrical strategy?).

Why is he saying those things, in complete contradistinction to the pronouncements of his pet generals, like the eminently reasonable-sounding ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, who has very clearly asserted that he is resolutely pro-NATO in the face of Russian aggression? (Unless he really isn’t. Who knows what the hell these people will say next?)

On the other hand, what has the CIA ever done for us, that was open, honest, ethical and above-board? And when did they stop interfering in other countries’ elections?

Anyway, today the Trumpkin is again offering an olive branch to Moscow: do good things with us and I’ll lift those sanctions. Does he mean resolve the Syria conflict, fire Assad, withdraw the troops from the Baltic, get out of the Donbass, take our side against China and help to defeat IS? Probably not. Do another kleptocratic deal over drilling rights with Rex Tillerson and Exxon, the hell with the welfare of the ordinary Russian people, we’ll put billions more dollars in your Panama account, we’ll forgive you for Crimea and your mates can go back to digging out their Knightsbridge basements, is more like it.

As if those contradictions weren’t enough, today comes a report that Israeli media are saying their intelligence agency, Mossad, has been warned by the CIA not to share intel with the White House until links with Putin have been thoroughly investigated as they fear Trump has been compromised and is not to be trusted with secrets that might find their way back to Teheran.

Trump, however, has been bullishly supportive of the illegal settlements in face of Obama’s profound reservations and the recent UN resolution; and he has pledged to roll-back the Iran nuclear deal that a hawkish Tel Aviv finds so uncongenial.

Is he just saying those things to keep Israel quiet, to divert attention away from the Russian connection, which might fatally compromise the State Department’s position with Tel Aviv? To get in good with the Manhatten set? Or just covering-up some underlying mid-east strategy we don’t hear about through his incoherent tweets and speeches, like invading Iran? God knows, he has enough retired generals on his transition team (“I know more about ISIS than any generals, believe me…”).

Or does he just want Netanyahu’s blessing to put his brand on hotels in Tel Aviv? How deep is his strategy, beyond just utilising his serendipitous position to make more money for Trump Family Enterprises Inc?

The worst thing about this transition to a new ‘anti-political, swamp-reclaiming’ paradigm in US politics is its sheer murkiness. The sleaze is just impenetrable, the stench unbearable.

Meanwhile the diehard Dumbfucks of the rustbelt continue to worship him, even as his overall poll ratings slide and the list of those with funerals to go to on Inauguration day grows longer.

Quite a good timeline of the dirty dossier affair, or what is likely to become known as ‘golden showergate’, can be found on:

http://uk.businessinsider.com/timeline-russia-trump-sex-blackmail-golden-shower-dossier-2017-1

*The plot so far: Julian, an Australian citizen, is skulking in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape charge because he fears being extradited or even renditioned from Stockholm to the USA over the leaking of the Snowden files, where he faces a potential life sentence. He has claimed in his defence that he was ‘compromised’ by US intelligence, using a woman who seduced him at a reception and then cried rape when he had another go in the morning, as you do – it being the best time of day before a long leisurely breakfast. He presumably hopes that by aiding the Republican candidate in the US election by helping to compromise the Democratic candidate through the release via his Wikileaks website of damaging intel gained by Russian hackers, he has given himself a get-out-of-jail card with President-elect Trump.

Does this stuff have an outcome?

 

Long live the King!

I had one of those brief, lucid dreams last night that, as I was walking along the riverbank, an elderly woman passing-by on the footpath muttered to me that she had heard the Queen had died.

I haven’t been trusting those Palace bulletins about Her Majesty suffering from a ‘heavy cold’, that’s been keeping her for weeks at Sandringham away from her official duties, it’s what they always say when the old monarch is on the way out. It’s more likely pleurisy; pneumonia – antobiotic resistance.

The unworthy thought that immediately popped into this cynical old walnut was, of course, that she should hurry up if she’s going to go, get it over with this week.

Not that I have anything against her, or would wish anyone away before their time, but…

The death of the Queen of England after 65 years on the throne and the controversial accession of my old school chum, the mystic Charlie-boy, would be a story of such huge global importance that they would surely have to postpone the Trumpkin’s inauguration on Friday as a mark of respect.

Possibly for long enough to get impeachment proceedings or a white-coat job under whatever passes in the USA for our mental health act, as he is clearly dangerously unstable, under way before he can pass an executive order like Caesar Augustus did, making himself a God.

 

All news is fake news

You can’t believe anything you hear on the news.

According to the news, Britain was heading for a little ice-age today as an ‘Arctic Maritime Air Mass Event’, or ‘winter’ as it’s colloquially known in January, flooded the country, bringing ‘up to 4 inches  of snow’, ‘freezing temperatures’ and ’60 mph winds’ to all parts.

It wasn’t quite what the weather forecasters were saying, but it was a story to divert attention from whatever was really going on.

Thanks to the news, thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes on the east coast, ahead of an expected ‘two-metre tidal surge’ that at the time of writing has yet to eventuate*. This morning’s high tide passed off normally, to everyone’s great surprise, but who knows what horrors will be borne on the waves when darkness falls and the tide returns? (Spoiler alert: none. Didn’t happen, folks.)

In what remains of Europe, it’s been minus 30 deg C. Some Greek islands are cut off by snow. People – mainly poor villagers with no heating, refugees huddled in tents – have been freezing to death.

That’s winter news for you. But we don’t like to hear about freezing refugees, as we’ve spent the last two years fending them off with boathooks and their deaths are on our consciences. So that’s not much in the news.

Here on the west coast it’s been a bit windy and quite cold, about 3 deg C, although it warmed up later. We had a brief hailstorm last night accompanied by a rumble of thunder. I phoned my ex-sister-in-law in London – okay, she phoned me, I never phone anyone, I’m a phonophobe – as I was concerned about images of snow blanketing the capital. Oh, she said, yes, we had a little flurry here but nothing has settled.

Something is going on. The news media cannot be getting this agitated about a little bit of normal wintry weather in January for no reason.

What are we not being told? Probably lots of things about how shitty everything is getting.

One clue was contained in a TV weather forecast, where the forecaster showed us the weather map from the same day in 1983, when we had a similar plume of cold air moving down from the Arctic and the country was blanketed with snow. The average national temperature that day over the UK was minus 8 deg C.

Winters are definitely getting warmer.

So now, the only way to find out what’s really going on is to forget the BBC. Visit al-Jazeera, Russia Today (RT), Breitbart, Buzzfeed, NSNBC.

Telling it like it is.

*Oh, but the surge arrived unexpectedly ahead of, or after, high tide, not sure which, but not at the same time, and 30 homes on the seafront in Yorkshire were flooded. Better safe than sorry, eh? Back you go then.

 

Keep calm and carry on

Theresa May obviously watches the BBC’s Casualty rather than the American documentary, House.

British medical soaps invariably involve patients who are personally known to and in some kind of dramatic relationship with the medical staff, who are generally in dramatic relationships with one another.

It’s all rather staid. Like Theresa, actually. And when things go wrong in Casualty, they seem to do so in ones. (Unless some writer on drugs has written a Christmas special where an airliner falls from the sky into the hospital yard. Even then they never seem able to afford more than a dozen cast members and a rented ambulance.)

Without wishing to come over all Andrea Leadsom, as a father-of-two I have to comment that, without offspring, it is impossible to expect that Mrs May has had much contact, either with the education sytem, or with the NHS. Later in life, if one has failed to make it big, as they say, if one has not become the PM, one’s disintegrating carcass is increasingly thrown on the mercy of doctors – a quality in their case that can be sometimes strained.

My own painful experiences with hospitals in the past six months suggest that in order to portray a more realistic frontline medical unit in action, writers and producers need to introduce a more, er, random element to their narratives. A study of Chaos theory might not go amiss. For Casualty, to bring it into the 21st century one might cheerfully substitute the new programme title, ‘Mayhem!’

Plus, obviously, treble the number of groaning extras held for days on trolleys in corridors, if they can be prised out of the ambulance queue, and quadruple the number of blue-uniforms rushing hither and yon, desperately recycling half the number of beds needed to treat the legion of referrals of mostly elderly hip-fractures from A&E and possible cardiac cases from GP surgeries, patients who may have to wait weeks before they can finally be operated on or discharged into an uncaring, underresourced, underfunded ‘community’.

Like the public elevators, half the equipment won’t be working, and the other half won’t have enough staff to operate it. To get to your destination, you will have to fight your way through a bazaar of fundraising cake-stalls, jugglers and snake-charmers.  ‘Tests’ will all come back negative, because positive results cost money. There’ll be a three-week wait to see your own GP, after your appointment to make an appointment. If they are under 50, your GP won’t know how to examine you and probably would feel a bit squeamish doing so. They won’t risk a diagnosis for fear of being sued, so they’ll send you away with a scrip for more tests.

I’d bet Theresa May gets her information about the NHS from watching Casualty. See, this episode there are only two patients on the ward. One is about to haemorrhage violently, but the junior doctor has not spotted it because she is concerned about her upcoming disciplinary hearing, in which she will be accused of  purloining the contents of the drugs cabinet for her boyfriend just out of prison. The other patient is the ex-lover of the wife of the senior registrar, who is having an affair with the consultant anaesthetist. Enter as an emergency admission after attempting to leap from a bridge, the self-harming, anorexic daughter of patient one, adopted at birth…

But Charlie Fairhead, at 103 the world’s oldest charge nurse, will quiver sagely and health will be restored.

So all of the experts screaming for help are just being hysterical. Everything is under control. Look, that lovely Indian anaesthetist has got personal issues! Her qualifications are perhaps not quite bone fide. But her colleagues will rally round before she goes home for the evening for a glass of well-chilled Chardonnay and a bunk-up with the senior registrar’s wife.

Crisis, what crisis?

Taboo

Adherents of the new BBC1 Saturday nite series Taboo will know what I mean.

The obvious solution to the problems of Brexit is to revive the British East India Company. A bit of corporate ruthlessness is what’s needed. A spot of privateering. A private army. Out of Europe, our many borders under control once more, we can no longer afford to treat Johnny Foreigner, especially of the duskier varieties, with kid gloves.

After all, can we not manage their countries better than they can?

In their own interests, of course.

 

 

Fuck the Daily Mail, O Lord, and other useful imprecations for Sunday worship.

The BogPo: An apology

Sorry we’re late, folks, I keep having to travel to London to sort out my mum’s flat and plough through a mountain of dispiriting paperwork showing how for years she was bullied and ripped-off by her landlords, banks, BT, greedy ‘dogs’n’donkeys’ charities and crooked mail-order companies, to see if there’s anything left.

I mean, £59 for a small pot of foundation makeup? And how did an investment fund of £120k turn in seven years into one worth £102?

Ah, sweet mystery of life, as they used to say.

I have to go again tomorrow, to hopefully meet at 7 am Monday with some council employees who we’re paying to take a few bulky items away. It’s an average six-hour drive, which at my age I’m finding incredibly wearing. A night in a sleeping-bag. And £30 to park… Hopefully this is the last, although it means saying goodbye forever to the urban village where I was born and raised – a village I now call without irony or malice, ‘Beirut on Thames’.

Anyway, here we go.

Fuck the Daily Mail, O lord – right up its shitty, mean-spirited, jingoistic fat arse.

The familiar refrain starts up in my liberal lefty snowflake breast as I read that ghastly, ambitious, greasy-ladder-climbing Priti Patel, Boris Johnson’s bus conductress and something-or-other for International Development (oxymoron in today’s insular climate) has summarily wielded the axe to a £5m programme to improve the lot of women in Ethiopia, on the grounds that the money ‘could be better spent elsewhere’.

On consultants, presumably. Or sending Boris to kiss Jared Kushner’s holy little gilded ring?

And as she says it has nothing to do with the long-running campaign of banner headlines in the Mail claiming Britain is funding nothing more worthwhile than an Ethiopian ‘girl band’, we must accept her explanation, must we not.

Or, as that great patriot and vigilant defender of Britain’s Just About Managing middle-class, Dacre of the Mail (salary: £1.5 million) has thundered, week after week, funding Ethiopia’s ‘Spice Girls’ to the tune of less than 0.05% of our international development budget (in turn, o.7% of our £1.4 trillion GNP) is a colossal abuse of UK taxpayers’ money.

Because the programme, known overall as Girl Effect, uses as its promotional flag-bearer a five-piece girl band called Yegna (the g is silent, as in gas-chamber).

BBC News describes the project in somewhat different terms to those now well understood by readers of the Mail:

The five-strong pop group was founded in 2013 and aims to tackle issues including domestic violence and forced marriage through its songs and online videos.

They perform a weekly drama and talk show on Ethiopian radio, as well as running a YouTube channel. They released their first song, Abet, meaning “We are here” in Ethiopia’s official language Amharic, four years ago.

It is part of the Girl Effect project, which was created by the UK’s Department for International Development and the Nike Foundation in 2011, which said Yegna aims to “change the culture of Ethiopia in a good way, to explain the problems in the society”.

God forbid we should use a penny of the massive wealth of this country to do things in a good way, after centuries of doing the opposite. Or that any aid should be imaginatively aimed at achieving cultural change through targeting young people in a language they understand, rather than simply dumping sacks of rice and tinned milk on a few starving babies; the stock image of  chronic ‘African dependency’ favoured by prim British Conservatives dispensing their cold crumbs of Victorian charity.

Perhaps Messrs Bono, Geldof, Posh Spice and other well-remunerated luminaries of the pop world, assuming they have not lately been carried off by the Grim Showbiz Reaper, might be persuaded to dip into their sherbet fountains accounts to at least soften the blow, as the women of Ethiopia return to the life of uneducated, clitoris-mutilated, black-eyed, underage, half-starved, rapine domestic servitude they knew before the British government cravenly bowed to the will of the people, as channeled by that bullying monster, Dacre.

Fuck the Daily Mail, probably Britain’s most disgusting cultural manifestation after Nigel Farage – who, I see, has been given his own nitely radio talk-show on LBC, to make up for losing his £85,000 a year salary from the European Parliament – you know, the unfair, undemocratic institution he has been dreaming for many years of bringing to ultimate destruction, claiming a healthy salary and indecent quantities of expenses from it while yet he may.

Something to keep the taxi drivers awake, I suppose.

Postscriptum

To declare an interest, I once got a royalty cheque from Ethiopia for £8 for an educational TV script I’d written years earlier for Thames TV. Of course, I couldn’t bring myself to cash it.

 

Crisis, what crisis? Oh, that crisis!

Readers of this, muh bogl, will know that my mum died just before Christmas. She’d been rushed to a city-centre hospital after collapsing at home with chest pains, that turned out to be not a heart attack but the discovery that she was drowning in fluid produced by a massive tumour on her lung – not the product of the 20-a-day habit she kept up until the last, but an unlucky secondary metastasised from a returning, previously non-aggressive breast cancer.

In fact, she had multiple conditions – she would have been 93 in December – and had had increasing difficulty in walking, to the point where she could no longer get to the front door, down the many stairs of her second-floor flat. She was effectively a prisoner, a vulnerable woman trapped in the otherwise empty building for nights on end, until a cleaner came on Fridays.

She’d been begging to be moved to sheltered accommodation after the building was acquired last year by a ‘rental management’ company. Until then she’d been fiercely independent. Her rent was artificially low, about one fifth of what the area might support nowadays, mostly paid for by the Pensions department and controlled by the local authority – whose social services and housing departments were powerless to offer her a safer alternative unless the new landlords decided to evict her.

Instead, the owners were waiting for her to die; and failed to comply in any way with their duty of care to a vulnerable tenant, carrying out no safety audit or premises inspection, as that had been done five years earlier when the local authority intervened to force her previous landlord to carry out repairs and improvements on a damp, mouldy and unheated flat they had not touched in over thirty years; failing to understand that their tenant of 51 years could not afford to move anywhere else.

How to make repairs to a duplex apartment near Harrod’s, so an old lady can be made more comfortable.
20161208_201428

#1: let’s put in central heating…

As she ‘blocked’ a bed in the hospital, which could do nothing for her other than provide palliative care in a general ward frantic with activity day and night, groaning, chalk-faced old ladies being wheeled in and out for X-rays at 2 am, we raced to come up with a solution.

There was no possibility I could provide nursing care in my tiny cottage, 250 miles away.

Between the NHS and her local authority, a solution was proposed that would have involved sending in teams of two carers every four hours to look after her at home; the only drawbacks being they couldn’t provide cover at night when she was most vulnerable, parking is impossible and the flat was in a horrific state as she had already started packing to move, imagining she would soon be rehoused – there’s a two-year waiting list for care home places – while a firm of property clearers and auctioneers had been through the place like magpies, scattering drawers and papers everywhere, leaving dusty holes where her furniture had been and a generous receipt for £500.

#2: safer wiring.

#2: and safer wiring.

She had sold her bed – it was an antique – or thought she was about to, and a new, put-you-up cot was still in its box in the hallway.

A put-you-up cot. For a 92-year-old woman with osteoporosis.

Dying was really her best medical option at that point.

This weekend, Red Cross CEO Mike Adamson (Red Cross volunteers are providing many ancillary services in our hospitals) has described the NHS as a humanitarian crisis:

“The emergency care system is on its knees, despite the huge efforts of staff who are struggling to cope with the intense demands being put upon them. This cannot be allowed to continue. The scale of the crisis affecting emergency care systems has reached new heights, as we predicted, mainly due to a lack of investment in both social and acute health care beds, as well as emergency department staffing.” (BBC News)

And the NHS director’s pantomime-horse reply?

‘Oh no it isn’t!’

Why not? Because ‘we’ve got a plan for the winter.’

Is Donald Trump running the NHS too? It’ll be so great, believe me.

‘Told you so’ corner

“It hinges perhaps on what the Leavers mean by ‘sovereignty’ – ours, or their own? They appear in fact to have no idea of how they propose to direct the UK economy going forward; what ‘trade deals’ may be done, that we do not benefit from already. They are like bungling art thieves who steal a priceless painting so hot that no-one in the collecting world will touch it. The British people have mistakenly voted for a principle, not a policy.” -The Boglington Post, 24 June 2016

“Contrary to the beliefs of some, free trade does not just happen when it is not thwarted by authorities: increasing market access to other markets and consumer choice in our own, depends on the deals, multilateral, plurilateral and bilateral that we strike, and the terms that we agree. I shall advise my successor to continue to make these points.

“I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power.” -Sir Ivan Rogers, Britain’s not-so Permanent Representative to the EU, in his resignation email to his staff, expressing his frustration that no-one in Government has a clue what to do about Brexit.

(He has today been supported by Canada’s EU ambassador, who agrees with his assessment that Brexit could take ten years to repair and be ‘catastrophic’ for the UK economy in the meantime.)

 

Pumpkin News

News that the Trumpkin has been at it again, petulant late-nite tweets spewing from his rhinestone-studded stateroom slagging Meryl Streep as a ‘greatly overrated’ actress.

Ms Streep, who has won probably more awards than the entire US Olympics team,  had delivered a speech at the Golden Globes that could have been interpreted as critical of Herr Strumpf’s notorious cripple-mocking appearance at a campaign rally last year. Although we have all seen it a dozen times on TV, and it made President Hollande of France throw-up, the Orange One furiously denies it ever happened (“Well, he would, wouldn’t he?” – Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963)

  • Is an obviously intelligent, thoughtful, well-informed, mature woman who happens to work successfully as an actor entitled to criticise the poor behaviour and ugly demeanour of the inexperienced and incompetent President-elect?

I would say so, yes. We all are.

  • Should she be regarded as an absurd, self-important airhead who should know her place, because that is the perception some presidents-elect and others, non-actors – TV personalities –  may sometimes have of actors in general?

I’d say not, no. It’s a statistical fact that not all actors can be fuckwits; any more than all politicians and all businessmans. Some ‘reality TV’ show hosts seem pretty vacuous, though. I mean, Anti-intellectual and Dec?

  • Is the platform at the Golden Globe awards the right place to make political speeches to a roomful of absurd, self-important airheads, where they will easily be dismissed by politicians and businessmans as the usual tiresome drivel spouted by luvvies in moments of cocaine-fuelled euphoria?

Again, I should have thought probably not.

  • I should have thought Miss Streep’s better bet then would be to put her perfectly valid conspectus in writing, say 750 to 1,000 words, and mail it to the editor of The Guardian, the New York Times; Pumpkin News or the Huffington Post, or to appear in person on one of the many serious US cable TV shows offering pre-resistance to Trump’s horrific cabinet, a rogues’ gallery of billionaire carpetbaggers, sagging old drunks, congenital cretins and gung-ho military fantasists.

It might have some effect, although nothing much is working so far.