Pssst… wanna know the definition of the word ‘wanker’? What do these idiots know anyway, other than how to count pennies? And idiots who don’t… plus: The Street of Shame.

Pssst… wanna know the definition of the word ‘wanker’?

Confronted by evidence of a sharp slowdown in the British economy he supposedly manages on behalf of Queen Theresa, as the Brexit shocks finally start to work through, Chancellor Philip Hammond tweeted (!) as follows:

“Choice facing the British ppl: strong & stable Govt w/ T May to lock in econ progress vs J Corbyn’s coalition of chaos-a risk to our economy.”

Who’s he kidding? He doesn’t even realise ‘strong and stable’ – a dreary cliche concocted by expensive Aussie spinmeister ‘Sir’ Lynton Crosby and nonsensically repeated at every opportunity by May et al – as in: “I’ll have the steak, please, and make sure it’s strong and stable” – has already become this week’s joke.

‘Coalition of chaos’ is another infantile slur dreamed up by Crosby. Presumably it hasn’t occurred to him that between 2010 and 2015 it was his own party that was in a coalition, not Labour. And if you don’t think the Tories’ Brexit has caused chaos you must be living in a campervan and drying your socks on a tree.

Tories, eh? Fucking liars, the lot of them.

“Pew, it smells rather strongly of stable…”

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“We will get out there and we will be become incredibly successful because we will be insecure again. And insecurity is fantastic.” – Peter Hargreaves (quoted in Reuter’s report, 11 May, 2016.)

“Brexit leaves industrial firms staring into regulatory void” – Reuter’s report, 26 April 2017.

 

What do these idiots know anyway, other than how to count pennies?

By: Business Correspondent, Sterling Pound ©2017. @longliquidlunch.com

Another billionaire ‘disruptor’, money-man Mr Peter Hargreaves, has hoved over the BogPo’s horizon, thanks to a sidelong reference in a piece by George Monbiot in today’s Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/25/vote-labour-jeremy-corbyn-theresa-may?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=223208&subid=19570602&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

If you have ever wondered why these people do it, seek to use their vast wealth to undermine our institutions, disrupt the liberal-democratic consensus and bend the system to their greedy desire to aggregate to themselves even more obscene wealth, as if the entire goal of existence is to amass as much treasure as you can and then die without it, the following extracts are pretty much self-explanatory:

“Hargreaves financially supported the Leave.EU campaign in 2016, and wrote to 15 million UK householders asking them to support the leave campaign in the European Union membership referendum. … (he) said that the Brexit will lead to insecurity, which will turn out be very effective. … the companies in the FTSE 100 Index may turn out to be very profitable because of the referendum decision.” – Wikipedia

From Wealth Manager magazine (sorry, I’ve lost the reference date. Ed.)

“The number of billionaires living in the UK has exceeded 100 for the first time in history with Peter Hargreaves’ relentless rise up the wealth charts continuing. The Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) founder saw his wealth rise by £867 million in 2013, according to the Sunday Times Super Rich list. This rise is largely thanks to the doubling of HL’s share price in 2013 from £6.81 to £13.54. Shares in the firm closed at £12.09 last week.”

So at least he’s owned up. Brexit was a scheme to manipulate the markets. Let’s just pause and consider.

“Saving money by design”

Like British waistlines, numbers have been expanding rapidly. We now bandy words like ‘billion’ and ‘trillion’ with barely a thought. Were you or I to win a million pounds on the Lotto, we would consider ourselves rich. I doubt I have earned a million pounds in my entire career. But a million pounds is not real wealth. Once you have paid half a million for a four-bedroomed 1950s semi-detached house in the suburbs of Manchester or Birmingham, thrown a party, taken the cruise and bought your kids annuities, a new Jaguar standing on the forecourt, the income you’ll earn from investing the balance will be a few hundred pounds a year at best.

Let’s remember, to be a ‘billionaire’ you have to be earning at least a hundred million a year and still have assets valued at 900 million or more. A million is a thousand thousand. A billion is a thousand thousand thousand…. Pounds, dollars? How does anyone get to be a billionaire, let alone a multi-billionaire like Peter Hargreaves? It would take you or me a thousand Lotto wins, a thousand lifetimes.

It requires total dedication to Mammon, that’s for sure. No time for love and laughter.

Mr Hargreaves knows that ‘insecurity’ – presumably of the kind that nearly kicked-off a nuclear war last week – is good for capitalism.

He is by all accounts in person a modest man who, apart from the odd non-executive directorship, lives quietly in retirement on his farm in the West Country, growing his own vegetables and never betting “more than £5” at the races – despite owning several racehorses. He founded his investment company, Hargreaves Lansdown, in 1981, from his bedroom. It still affords him a living.

What therefore could this trained accountant, said to be worth £2.4 billion, possibly gain from amassing more and more totally unneeded wealth? Given that it’s not going to get him into Heaven?

He would either have to be a sociopath, a Scrooge cackling madly atop a huge pile of gold, or he genuinely believes that forcing the Stock Market to more and more perilous heights is a Good Thing for the British economy; grossly overvaluing the nation’s industrial assets, enriching himself and his friends at the expense of gouging the sick, the poor and disabled, the cheated schoolkids, thwarted Millennials, companies sitting on an unused cash pile of £700 billion and counting; money denied to the socially useful departments of the State and to the ones who actually do the work – you and me.

There could be no other reason for wanting to drag Britain out of the European Union and possibly bring down the entire edifice of peaceful postwar co-operation, gradually increasing prosperity and civil society in Europe, could there?

Ironically, it is said, Mr Hargreaves actually ‘lost’ £400 million as a result of his carefully planned campaign going pear-shaped. He won the Leave vote, but his prediction of boom times in the City failed to materialise; while official figures are now showing an economy beginning to slide southward; city jobs leaving; Britain’s shared global influence waning.

Altogether now…

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And idiots who don’t…

Nick Ramsay, chairman of the assembly’s Public Accounts Committee, said the report was the latest example of poor handling of Welsh Government funding for the private sector.

“I am particularly concerned that the auditor-general has identified a lack of Welsh Government oversight of payments made by the project to related companies, and also the use of taxpayers’ money to purchase a Buckinghamshire-based engineering company that later went into administration,” he said.

Circuit of Wales (however! Ed.) said the report represents a “clean bill of health” for the plans and project and shows that its directors “have been completely exonerated of the false claims made over the misuse of public funds”. – BBC News Wales, 27 April.

Once again millions of pounds of Welsh taxpayers’ money have been ploughed willy-nilly into a gobsmacking vanity project that any hard-headed commercial manager would have dismissed as pie-in-the-sky from the get-go. The report bears it out, but the directors are ‘exonerated’. Of course they are, bless them.

In this case, Circuit of Wales (you might alter the name to ‘circuit-and-see’) is, or hopefully was, a £400 million speculative wheeze to build a motor-cycle racing circuit and theme park dedicated to outdated vulgarities on what has been described as ‘undeveloped moorland’ – in other words, in the spiritually uplifting, quiet and peaceful environment of the upland habitat that makes Wales so scenically special for visitors and the resident wildlife.

Just the place in fact for screaming engines, squealing tyres, clouds of ethanol-laced petrol smoke, the fatty stench of burgers, incomprehensible announcements bellowing over a tannoy raised to volume 11, a litter of styrofoam fast-food trays and plastic beer mugs; queues for the car park and the overflowing toilets.

The BogPo’s own experience of managing projects is on a smaller scale, admittedly, but your Uncle B. was once hired to set up a £1.5 million publicly funded project in Wales that turned out to be another scam, and can safely say that if anyone came to me proposing to blow £400 million on a 100% guaranteed risk-free business opportunity to create ‘six thousand jobs’ and attract three quarters of a million visitors a year to an oil-soaked motor-bike racetrack in the middle of fucking nowhere, I would have booted them out of my office and told them to go and earn a living.

Instead, the Welsh Assembly Government, mordantly known as WAG, handed them £7 million of your money and mine, no questions asked, just to think about it, basically – with a promise of more that has now thankfully been withdrawn.

The really successful con-men of this world know that the secret is to flatter the mark with the promise of rewards so huge, kickbacks so pleasing, artists’ impressions so alluring, they cannot but hand over their wallet, their shirt and trousers too. And if the initial proposal looks like failing, you don’t row back – no, you make the proposal even BIGGER!

“As well as a motorbike circuit, the proposals now include mountain bike trails, a BMX park, concert facilities and indoor skiing.”

Also underwater discus-throwing, women’s bog-snorkelling, wheelchair golf and courses in accountancy for dummies.

The ask is that if Wales puts up half – £200 million – the rest will come from ‘private sources’. Circuit of Wales however has itself apparently put nothing in, having no assets, no security, no liability whatsoever, the project being what’s known as a ‘blank-paper’ proposal; i.e. made of nothing, just like the Universe. Even that did not ring alarm bells; not even when £35,000 of the money was alleged to have ended up being ploughed via some other circuitous route into a domestic garden makeover for Circuit of Wales’ CEO, Mr Michael Carrick.

Brickbats and bureaucrats

Welsh funding agencies have a simply appalling record over the years of handing out public money irresponsibly to anyone who comes along, without having the slightest idea of what the project is, what it involves, what its chances of succeeding are, who is behind it and where the money is going… oops, has gone.

The bureaucrats who infest these quangos, created only to find imaginative ways of blowing the €1.6 billion cheque posted to Wales in the early noughties by the EU in ‘Objective One’ funding designed to bring on economic basket-case areas, are without doubt among the most inexperienced, poorly qualified, dimly-illuminated, gullible and second-rate managers to be found anywhere outside London and the Garden Bridge project.

According to a Lib-Dem party newsletter, my own local authority has been scammed by a very large and well-known multinational accountancy firm; being persuaded to hand over £1.6 million to buy what was described in a TV documentary last year as a generic ‘report’ they sell to all who ask, giving what appear to be the same suggestions as to how the council can save money…. It is honestly enough to make grown men cry, how stupid and unwary these bureaucrats are when confronted with real professionals skilled at separating gullible provincials from their purses.

Working in the funded sector myself fifteen years ago, as a project manager I encountered several examples of ambitious and obviously undeliverable £multi-million projects proposed by individuals who, my bullshit detector instantly assured me, were nothing but opportunistic con-men. Yet the Development Agency was always happy to provide ‘matched funding’ so poorly overseen that invoices were not checked and public money lost.

(For locals in the know, I mention only Gelli Aur, the Dragon studio and The Pop Factory.)

All it took in those days to separate a bureaucrat from reality was the expansive promise of improbable numbers of new ‘jobs’ or ‘qualifications’ everyone knew would never be delivered, or would at best be only temporary; for, in a way, this is a tragedy of simple people driven to desperation by earnest hopefulness.

The coal and steel industries that powered the economy are dead and gone, or at their last gasp. Whole communities have been blighted, among the poorest in the land. Regeneration funding has focussed almost entirely on the capital and its grandiose dockland developments. Between the far south and far north of Wales is a vast expanse of upland wilderness dotted with hardscrabble sheep farms, hidden villages and a few small towns linked by winding, impassable lanes, rural communities reeking of decay and abandonment.

Living almost in the exact centre of that economic void, I myself was able to find no fulltime work for almost two years, ending up in a low-paid menial job with many unpaid senior management responsibilities piled on. There is, to put it bluntly, fuck-all work available (to the unconnected); fuck-all money. No growth, no inward investment – put off by distance, Ruritanian infrastructure, shoddy old housing and the limitations and extra costs of having to operate bilingually.

Young people still leave, or start-up short-lived hairdressing businesses, for which they win pitiable ‘entrepreneurship’ awards. The economy is agriculture, seasonal tourism in poor-quality facilities, care homes, charity shops, macJobs in supermarkets. We have at last got a few Mbps of Broadband, things are slowly improving, we have a new Tesco… .

Small wonder that, into this atmosphere of gloom and decay come greedy business folk with fake Rolexes, selling their snake-oil, scenting ‘regeneration funding’ with no questions asked – no paper trail, no comebacks, and an administration eager to cover up its egregious errors in case of putting off more genuine investors, who are so few and far between. Eager not to reveal its shortcomings, its petty corruption.

When the first tranche is spent, as in the case of Circuit-and-see, the principle is invariably that of throwing ‘good money after bad’, rather than sensible loss-cutting. You can always come back for more, knowing there’s no-one counting the pennies.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-39706499

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Britain now stands at number 40 in the league table of press freedom around the world.

The Street of Shame

We’re coerced from birth into believing Britain is a ‘free’ country, and once outside the evils of European domination we shall be even ‘freer’. Britons “never, never, never shall be slaves”, in the words of old Rule Britannia! (although we bought and sold a few in our time).

I imagine the vast majority of people will never know this, perhaps if they did they wouldn’t even care, but according to the annual report by the pressure-group Reporters Without Borders, Britain now stands at number 40 in the league table of press freedom around the world.

Fortieth, out of 180 countries. Britain? It’s absolutely shameful.

But dammit, we invented freedom of the press!

No, we didn’t. The C18th sedition laws made us the least free country in the world for exchanging information at the time when newspapers as we know them were first coming into being; especially when they were critical of the establishment, which could legally get you hanged. Government has always had an instinct for suppression, for secrecy.

Then camed Murdoch.

The freedoms our press gained to lie and cheat and hack people’s phones and publish dumpster-garbage about celebrities and horoscopes and randy vicars and Arctic killer-blasts and vegetable cancer-cures and vegetables that cause cancer and phoney ‘opinion’ polls and the evils of the Common Market, feral migrants, footballers, ‘our heroes’, treacherous judges, devil dogs, benefit scroungers, Madeleine McCann and Muslims – oh, yes, sexually incontinent politicians too and their fiddled expenses – were dearly bought.

Tony Blair’s Freedom of Information Act made it easier for the press and broadcasters, as well as pressure groups, to hold government to account. Theresa May’s Investigatory Powers Act by contrast, passed almost without notice in January by a crapulous, disorientated and Brexit-obsessed Parliament, has created a different kind of surveillance society that puts the East German Stasi in the shade and has knocked us down ten places on a list that ought surely to reflect the civilized virtues that make our world.

Instead we are entering a new era of barbarism.

“RSF said the act was a possible “death sentence” for investigative journalism in Britain, owing to its lack of protections for whistleblowers, journalists and their sources, and that it set a damaging precedent for other countries to follow.” – The Guardian

But even that is not enough for The Law Commission, that demands draconian penalties for journalists merely handling sensitive information, with no ‘public interest’ defence, such as the Panama Papers that exposed the dodgy dealings of so many secretive offshore investors – such as the late tax-dodging father of former Prime Minister, David Cameron. The wealthy must be protected.

Top of the press-freedom list, as of so many other indicators of civilized life, is Norway. North Korea has knocked Eritrea off the bottom spot as Eritrea apparently allowed a handful of journalists into the country last year while North Korea was still executing people for listening to South Korean radio broadcasts.

Down also at No. 43 is the USA, where President Trump has labelled the press ‘enemies of the people’ and his advisor, Mr Bannon, told the Washington Post and the New York Times to ‘shut up’ and think more carefully before criticising the President; and where Mr Bannon’s foreskin, the college vampire Steven Miller, was issuing dire warnings in the media that ‘the President’s powers are not to be questioned’. The tragedy is, they aren’t being.

I expect this will cost ‘the land of the free’ a few more points in next year’s list.

For sure, we’re in good company. But as long as the BogPo stands for freedom, truth and beauty, Britain yet stands with us.

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The Pumpkin – Issue 16: “Take away that shining bauble”; Cromwell’s message from the grave. Hiding in the Shadows: connections with Fundamentalism. Protecting the Light of Reason. There’s always a letter: Trump, terrorism and Islam.. Sleaze in the Pacific….

 

“Look, you put the money in here and out comes another load of demented, self-contradicting shit!”

Dear America, ye have long revered the Gettysburg Address as a founding statement of your democracy. Here is an equally brief but pertinent, epoch-making speech you need to nail to the White House door now, even though it has not yet been 100 days:

Dissolution of the Long Parliament by Oliver Cromwell, given to the House of Commons, 20 April 1653.

“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practise of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

“Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

“Ye sordid prostitutes, have you not defil’d this sacred place and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you who were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

“In the name of God, go!”

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“Freedom of speech is at stake, even as freedom of belief is being shut down by these insanely corrupted religionists”

Hiding in the shadows: Connections with fundamentalism

The Pumpkin has recorded in a previous Post now over 40 policy statements, ‘executive orders’ and congressional bills introduced during Mr Trump’s first three months in office, aimed at destroying the independence of the scientific community.

These range from the appointment of powerful billionaire Exxon-Mobil oil boss Rex Tillerson as the senior US ‘diplomat’, Secretary of State, a man with no departmental background and an apparent disdain for career-diplomatic expertise, and ‘the King of Fracking’, Harold Hamm’s shill Scott Pruitt to the EPA; via the rollback of environmental protections introduced under Obama, to the defunding and banning of publication of scientific research and public information by federal agency employees in the field of environmental protection or climate monitoring – even the National Parks.

If you need to know what – apart from the vast amounts of money paid to lobbyists in the Washington ‘swamp’ by the Energy industry, evil climate disruptors like Myron Ebrill, and funnelled into the Presidential campaign to ensure a Republican victory (many Republican politicians are so in hock to oil and coal barons that they have no independence of thought or action) – lies behind Mr Trump’s climate-change denialist policies, merely consider that Stephen K Bannon is Trump’s chief policy advisor; and that Bannon is in turn funded by the Mercers, spectacularly wealthy hedge-fund manager and IT whizz Robert and his terrifying daughter, Bekah – rabid Christian fundamentalist plutocrats who have ploughed tens of millions of dollars from their bottomless money-pit into ultra-rightwing causes, including the notorious Breitbart News, which promotes a reconstructivist – almost nihilist – agenda, advocating pulling down the rotting edifice of Western democratic institutions and rebuilding society along orthodox religious lines, guided by the wisdom of the money-makers.

“I don’t know about hands, but my strange cranium has space for three of your human brains.”

Bannon, a co-founder and former editor of Breitbart News, has fallen from grace lately as the appalling administrative shambles, the endless policy failures and reversals and faux pas of the President’s first 100 days in office have been partly stabilized by a palace coup. The military has effectively taken over much White House policy, driven by the hawkish new National Security Advisor, Lt-Gen HR McMaster, a man with a face made of endangered tree-wood and a curiously elongated cranium hinting at some extraterrestrial origin; and by Mr Trump’s most trusted aide, his son-in-law, the 36-year-old property speculator and plastic toy, Mr Jared Kushner.

However, Mr Bannon clearly had a profound effect on Mr Trump for a good long while, and despite his dissolute appearance he holds certain views of the world which include a kind of purist Crusader mentality when it comes to the global supremacy of the Church Militant.

This affiliation may account for the strange relationships between the Trump campaign, elements of his subsequent slimmed-down administration, and religious Orthodoxy, such as:

  • the discredited racialist, Confederate and Christian fundamentalist, Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, the little Yoda dwarf, busy licensing the police to commit any acts of violence against protestors and minorities, locking up people who dare to interrupt his hearings and threatening to jail the producers of medical marijuana;
  • the unqualified ‘Education Secretary’, the Creationist Betsy DeVos (another heavyweight backer of the Trump campaign, whose husband Dick’s Spectrum Healthcare company is thought to be linked to the Ukrainian owner of Russia’s largest private bank, Alfabank, Mikhail Fridman);
  • the Commerce Secretary Mr Wilbur Ross, consigliere to the Trump family and part-owner of a part-Kremlin-owned money-laundromat called Bank of Cyprus, whose chairman Dr  Joseph Ackermann was CEO of Deutsche Bank in 2008 when Trump defaulted on a $640 million loan; the bank fined $14 billion for money-laundering;
  • and the Kremlin – where a powerful movement supported by Mr Putin and some of his pet oligarchs and spiritual advisors like Aleksandr ‘the new Rasputin’ Dugin, bids to restore the hegemony of the Russian Orthodox church. (Dismissed as phoney patriotism by the New American, in an article arguing that Putin is using Christianity as a weapon to control his people and bring down the decadent West. Now read on…)

Leading the conservative charge against the pernicious influences of both science and ecumenicism in the Vatican, profoundly opposed to the ‘liberation theology’ of Pope Francis, is the American, Cardinal Burke – staunch Republican (he threatens to excommunicate Democrats); friend of Steve Bannon, and friend of the crusading Opus Dei movement.

Like the Masons and the Illuminati, Opus Dei is precisely the kind of secretive, creepy ‘resistance’ movement machinating against the liberalisation of Christian orthodoxy to spark off endless conspiracy theories. A trawl of websites commenting on the subject displays a Manichean struggle for the soul of the Mother Church, with deeply opposed viewpoints – sometimes within the same outlet.

The complete Burke.

Stories, both hotly confirmed and denied, have been swirling around, suggesting for instance that Mr Bannon and Opus Dei may be on the same course politically, their aim being to discredit and undermine the current liberal-democratic consensus – the ‘permissive society’ – and its allies in the irreligious scientific community, which is now something like 98.8 per cent convinced of the reality of a planet heating to a dangerous degree as a result of manmade changes to the atmosphere; a thesis inimical to the interests of billionaire fundamentalist Christians, many of whom are tied to the fossil fuel industry – and to the Trump administration; but which excites the teleological wings of both the Christian and Muslim faiths with the prospect of the ‘End times’ perhaps even in our lifetimes.

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2015/05/opus-dei-the-vatican-pentagon-connection/ (Warning: Do not read this unless you were planning to kill yourself anyway.)

God, the reasoning goes, promised after the Great Flood by the sign of a rainbow that he would never again attempt to destroy his Creation. The great extinction threatened by climate change and warned about by so many increasingly alarmed scientists cannot therefore be real and must instead be a worldwide conspiracy to obtain more tax dollars for research programmes (I know, it’s rather silly, given we’ve known the effects of burning fossil fuels for over 100 years. Some conspiracy!).

Amplified by a hatred of government, this ‘Green tax-grab’ of course is a profound meme among America’s gun-toting Bible Belt Christians, Trump’s core dumbfuck supporters, played on for all it’s worth by the Energy industry lobby, that has benefitted from ‘Dark Money’ funding, both by American and often illicitly ‘laundered’ Russian petrodollars.

And behind that, is surely a drive to lift the regime of sanctions imposed against Russia over its illegal annexation of what Mr Putin has described as its ‘spiritual home’, Crimea, to enable co-operative agreements with Exxon-Mobil to drill for oil in the Arctic, where trillions of dollars’ worth of oil reserves are thought to lie. (Conspiracy theories not being necessarily always to do with the secret genetic bloodline of Jesus…)

For an ‘alt-right’ Christian view of Mr Putin, in case I haven’t convinced you, New American quotes the following passage from a notorious practitioner:

“Vladimir Putin Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize: Putin took over as President of Russia in 2000 when the country was in an economic mess. Putin has brought economic prosperity…. Putin put the crooked Jewish billionaires in prison and supported the Christian churches against the gays. He kept America out of war in Syria and Iran. Putin is aggressively combating the financial shenanigans of the New World Order.” — Texe Marrs, author, founder of Power of Prophecy Ministry (New American, April 22, 2014)

(The Pumpkin couldn’t resist looking up the entertaining Mr Marrs on Wikipedia. A virulent anti-Semite and anti-Papist, anti- actually pretty much anything, “In 1999 he alleged that former United States President George H.W. Bush would be involved in a black mass in a chamber within the Great Pyramid of Giza…” Yes, there’s more.)

On 10 April 2017, Mr Bannon’s Breitbart News – a rightwing website of dubious editorial integrity, funded by the Mercers and frequently quoted as gospel by the ‘useful idiot’, Trump – reported that Cardinal Burke had ‘denied ever meeting Steve Bannon’. On 12 April, however, it reported Cardinal Burke as agreeing that he might have had a ‘brief interview’ with Bannon in 2014. Other websites of a profoundly conservative kind hotly deny the claim that the two are linked; however, on 22 April, the Catholic spiritualist Aleteia website wrote:

“In one of the cardinal’s antechambers, amid religious statues and book-lined walls, Cardinal Burke and Mr. Bannon — who is now President Trump’s anti-establishment eminence — bonded over their shared worldview. They saw Islam as threatening to overrun a prostrate West weakened by the erosion of traditional Christian values, and viewed themselves as unjustly ostracized by out-of-touch political elites.”

http://aleteia.org/blogs/deacon-greg-kandra/steve-bannons-vatican-ties-a-meeting-of-hearts-with-cardinal-burke/

The Bannon thesis of course presupposes that ‘Islam’ is some sort of centrally organised and co-ordinated, monolithic conspiracy, rather than a fissiparous world religion with deep doctrinal divisions and degrees of adherence, like Christianity.

Now…

Opus Dei is linked with the White House via an individual called Joseph E Schmitz, a former Pentagon wonk and, naturally, a ‘security advisor’ on the Trump transition team.

Schmitz is a former director of Blackwater, now defunct (after massacring too many innocent Iraqi civilians by mistake) – but once the world’s largest private army, founded by Erik Prince, who is the brother of… Betsy DeVos, and who is also a Trump security advisor and a Dark State ‘fixer’ available for clandestine overseas missions.

(Please bear in mind that there is almost no-one left in any official positions in the State Department and that the actual Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is excluded from key foreign policy meetings. Now read on…).

His Wikipedia entry also states that Schmitz is a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (I’ll leave the link in. You’ll go freakin’ crazy!)*.

And Blackwater has also been linked with SMOM, among whose members are… well, a lot of people whose names you may recognise, not a few of whom instigated the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Interviewed on Democracy Now, Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept said:

“Joseph Schmitz is, in many ways, in Washington a total clown and a joke because of his insane worldview that has no bearing in the modern world, and yet he continues to get government contracts. He was—he was getting paid by the inspector general on Afghanistan under the Obama administration. And, you know, so he’s part of—I wouldn’t even put him in the category of neoconservatives. I mean, it’s really more the neo-crusader crowd that Joseph Schmitz is a part of.”

Bloomberg News (April 18, 2017) reported:

“Prince was very much a presence, providing advice to Trump’s inner circle, including his top national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, according to people familiar with his activities. Trump was weakest in the area where the stakes were highest — foreign affairs. Among those his aides turned to was Prince, a man whose specialty is paramilitary security forces.”

And the bonkers Illuminati News, with whose general thesis you may find it hard to agree, in 2007 nevertheless reported:

“Blackwater is a religious army serving the Pope in Rome through the Order of Malta, which is itself considered under international law, as a sovereign entity with special diplomatic powers and privileges. Like Blackwater, the Order of Malta is “untouchable” because it is at the heart of the elite aristocracy. … Then we come to another SMOM member, important to what is transpiring in Iraq. Educated at the Jesuit Georgetown University, former Pentagon Inspector-General Joseph Edward Schmitz, Blackwater’s operations chief, is a member of both SMOM and Opus Dei.” – http://www.illuminati-news.com/2007/1014.html

And when you carry on with that article, you will find appended a list of other supposed members of SMOM providing links back in time to some of the backers of the Nazi party – less far back, to politicians like Tony Blair and George HW Bush, media mogul Rupert Murdoch – and also to worldwide Freemasonry and… the Carlyle Group, a private club linked to the global arms industry, that networks billionaires with politicians.

Yes, them again.

The key point is not the accuracy of the information, but the extent to which conservative Catholicism may have penetrated the upper echelons of the Pentagon and those current and former members of the State and private security establishments most closely involved with the so-called War on Terror, who are advising the ‘useful idiot’ in the Oval Office.

And Trump has, basically, told them to just get on with it and to hell with the rules.

Now, you will not find this web of connections actually presented to you in one single place, unless you investigate them one by one it may not appear so evidential. We have not yet found conclusive evidence that Trump is the Anti-Christ…. What the BogPo has dug up in just a couple of hours from online sources both reputable and weird can be explored further, using the small selection of links (both dead and alive) I have given in these Posts.

Please make up your own minds! I think by now you may have grasped the somewhat perplexing nature of the Trump administration and its many connections to a web of conspiracy theories, both persuasive and far-fetched; to world Catholicism, Russian Orthodoxy, shadowy ‘secret societies’ with ultra-nationalist agendas, and their disruptive billionaire funders. The links are there, even if the proof isn’t.

And as most of the stories date from long before Trump was even adopted as the Republican candidate, his Presidential coup d’etat can hardly be blamed for the rash of speculation about his financial and spiritual connections; the ‘Fake news!’.

 

*Try not to confuse the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta with the Knights of Malta, who only come out at night… (ha ha) and, indeed, the Knights Templar, which no longer exists except as a pastiche organization hunting Syrian refugees in Bulgaria.

Every web site about the Knights of Malta has the same text: “VATICAN CITY The Knights of Malta, an ancient Catholic order which operates as global charity, has its headquarters on one of Rome’s most exclusive streets, the … ” so they must really just be an innocent Catholic charity operating in 105 countries, who according to a news story just fired their Grand Whatsit for distributing condoms through an aid agency.

Whereas the actually real Sovereign Military Order etc. also claims to be based on the Via Condotti in Rome, has quasi-national status at the UN and operates ostensibly as a worldwide medical charity.

For the terminally confused, read: http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/01/19/who-are-the-knights-of-malta-and-what-do-they-want/

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Pumpkin vindicated: shock horror

Readers, Spammers, Likers, Followers and Those no longer reading this, muh bogl, will be all too aware that The Pumpkin has been bogling for weeks about the sinister connections between Russia, Wikileaks, Super-nationalists and the Billionaire Disruptors behind an attempted take-down of Western political institutions.

Finally – well, almost, we hope, finality might rest with the Good Guys, if they can be found – Carole Cadwaladr, The Guardian‘s point-woman on this story, has begun to make the connections herself. For the unfolding drama, see:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/23/when-nigel-farage-met-julian-assange?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=222804&subid=19570602&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

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“Curious how money makes words so worthless”

Protecting the Light of Reason

Today’s march by, hopefully, tens of thousands of scientists worldwide (several of them probably religious believers) protesting Trump’s fatuous attempts to muzzle them and to discredit more than a hundred years of patient, evidence-based and increasingly worrying climate research, will of course achieve nothing. Opponents will point to unity among scientists as proof of collusion.

However, the curiously muted coverage to date by even the most reputable independent media, such as The Guardian and the BBC, of Trump’s brazen evisceration of the federal agencies, his attempts to silence communicators and pervert inconvenient truths, and the outright lies, fabrications, insane beliefs and denials of the profoundly corrupt Energy-bidness shills in the Republican-controlled Congress, their mouths stuffed with petrodollars – curious how money makes words so worthless – the silence of the press needs to be broken.

Freedom of speech is at stake, even as freedom of belief* is being shut down by these insanely corrupted religionists. The media must speak louder, must shout this from the rooftops, that thought itself, the light of reason is under attack.

Instead, it remains shamefully quiescent.

Why?

The Pumpkin would like to know. Mere suspicion is not proof.

*Rumour hath it (05 May) that a Congressional bill is in preparation declaring the primacy of the Christian religion in matters of faith such as LGBT rights, gay marriage, abortion and discrimination against minority faiths. Watch this space for further news of attempts by the administration to destroy the First Amendment prohibiting the creation of a State religion.

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There’s always a letter

“Paris Champs Elysées gunman named as Karim Cheurfi. Officials say a note from IS group was found near his body.” – BBC News

Look. The most intelligent thing we can say about this credulous urban baboon who shot and killed a policeman, Xavier Jugelé, and wounded two others before himself being killed is that, whatever else his motive might have been, it was almost certainly not to advance the cause of the worldwide caliphate.

Cheurfi was 39, a French-born, minor career-criminal who had recently served ten years of a 15-year stretch for a previous attempt to kill policemen in the course of a robbery. Hardly Imam material, then.

You or I could probably concoct a suicide bid and then offer to take a few kafirs with us, and IS would happily endorse you and publicly claim a victory after the event, as they are losing badly on the ground in Syria and Iraq and need the publicity, which world leaders in the throes of elections and enclosed in their campaign bubbles are all-too wont to give them over every small-scale incident possibly ascribable to the worldwide Islamic conspiracy.

But in writing?

A Reuter’s report clarifies:

“Released on probation in 2015 from a further two-year jail term imposed for lesser offences, Cheurfi was arrested again in February after threatening to kill police officers – but released for lack of evidence.”

The evidence that was lacking was any indication of Islamic radicalisation: in other words, he was probablyt just another nutter with a grudge against the authorities and a wish to go out with all guns blazing, who happened to be a Muslim. Just like Khalid Masood, the Westminster Bridge attacker, in fact. French security services say they have ten thousand names of such people on their database; far too many to monitor.

You have to ask yourself if these attacks are quite what they seem?

Could such people – embittered loners, petty criminals, ex-cons, the rootless unassimilated children of migrants – be persuaded to carry out these almost inevitably suicidal attacks, perhaps by cash payments for their families, on behalf of political causes not always connected with religion? Both Cheurfi and Masood were well above the age at which radical Islamists generally launch their planned assaults, usually with the aim of taking down as many “unbelievers” as possible.

If French officials did indeed find a note “near his body” signed: “Best of luck, save us a virgin! From your mates at IS HQ, Raqqa, Syria”, an old cynic like myself might jump to the conclusion that either he wrote it himself or someone perhaps from or acting on behalf of (or imagining they were acting on behalf of) the anti-immigrant Front Nationale might have written it, to provide some broader incriminating evidence to justify an anti-Islamic platform four days ahead of the first round election. (Four days is the required interval – in 1924 the Daily Mail notoriously published an incriminating letter from Moscow, urging Labour supporters to commit acts of sabotage. Four days later the Tories won the General Election. It was an MI5 forgery.)

The bombs in Dortmund that targeted the Borussia coach were, for instance, laid at the door of Islam by the Kremlin-shill, Farage and the usual ultra-nationalist suspects until it became clear from a ‘note’ found at the scene that it was an unusually imaginative attempt to profit from a share-price dip by an individual in the finance industry, unrelated to the worldwide war on terror. His arrest has occasioned not one word of comment or contrition from the right.

But someone must have provided Cheurfi with the AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle. They don’t grow on trees, even in the Schengen zone. Just the type of weapon an IS terrorist might use? Too much so?

The principal beneficiary from this timely incident involving a Muslim man will, of course, be Mme Le Pen, whose comments on the incident have been predictably inflammatory, even though the tougher security measures she is promising are already in place following earlier attacks. Guided presumably by the indefatigible Sebastian L v. Gorka, his British-Hungarian alt-right Christian advisor on the global war against Islam, see above and elsewhere, Mr Trump was quick to inveigh against the terrorists, tweeting:

“Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!”

…the word “terrorist” being now synonymous only with global jihad in The Oxford Dictionary of Bannonisms.

Mr Trump does at least seem to remember where Paris is, although he underestimates by far the resilience of the French people, who survived five years of occupation under the Nazis who, believe me, were infinitely more dangerous than the Islamists; and presumably got the news of the attack from his favourite Fox TV, reeling from the loss of their popular and entirely innocent show host, Bill O’Reilly – a man in late middle-age with racist and mysogynistic (I’m waiting for someone to come up with ‘raceogynist’) tendencies who, it’s said, was wont to phone his female work colleagues with the news that he was masturbating as they spoke.

Mr Trump supported his friend Mr O’Reilly in tweets only last week. Thus he probably wouldn’t have seen or taken onboard the other news that three policemen had simultaneously with the Paris shooting been shot in Seattle during the course of an ordinary robbery; or that

“Race is what drove a homeless African-American man in Fresno to shoot and kill three white men on Tuesday – bringing his homicide total to four since last week, the city’s police chief said during a news conference. “We don’t believe it’s a terrorist act,” Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters about the Tuesday rampage led by suspect Kori Ali Muhammad. “We believe it’s a hate crime.” – USA Today.

A statement freighted with prejudice: a hate crime can’t be a terrorist act because terrorists… what?

Anyway, you see, in the USA – unlike France – such shootings happen every day. So often, in fact, that they go largely unnoticed. Only when there is the faintest possibility of an actual Islamic jihad operation do the demagogues bother to tweet their outrage. “Hate crimes”, racially motivated police shootings and attacks by white racists go unremarked. And some of them may be carried out by disaffected minorities and criminals without any reference to ISIS, or the results of elections. Even though some perpetrators might be amused to shout “Allahu akbar!” as the police take them down.

But Mr Trump’s immediate assumption, without yet having the slightest idea who had carried out the shooting, or why, was that it was religiously motivated. He shoots from the lip – bleats from the tweet, whatever whimsical expression you prefer to employ.

He doesn’t think, because he can’t. Intellectually perhaps the laziest man on the planet, sufficient entirely unto himself, he lacks the mental acuity, the background checks, the perspective.

But it will no doubt have an effect bigly on the outcome of the French election, he hopes. I’m sure he would love Le Pen to win, not only one more lady-leader pussy to grab but one on the right side of the alt-right Wall, whose intemperate actions in office might well justify his own lunacy.

After all, both are supported and funded by the Kremlin.

NOW… having written all that, the Reuter’s report goes on to say that French police are interested in a second man named as Youssouf al Osri, a “very dangerous man” who is indeed linked with IS, a known organiser of atrocities and who, according to Belgian police, crossed the border into Belgium by train before the attack but later “turned himself in” at a police station in Antwerp.

And it seems IS may have thought the Paris attack was carried out by him, which is why they claimed it and thereby unintentionally put their man in the frame, perhaps compromising a bigger operation. As yet no connection has been established between the two men.

Oops.

So all we can take from the pointless murder of poor Officer Jugelé, a veteran of the Bataclan massacre, is that nothing in the world makes much sense right now, except confusion.

But Donald Trump, at least, cares about him.

Although he doesn’t know his name, obviously

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South Pacific

Christ, is there no end to the astonishing litany of sleaze, corruption and filthy dealings surrounding this orange slug and his slimy billionaire cronies, before he has even spent 100 days in office? (That’s not in THE office, he has spent virtually three days a week playing golf, at a cost so far to the taxpayer of over $30 million.)

According to investigative journalist Allan Nairn, interviewed on the Democracy Now cable channel, it appears the US has a familiar grimy hand once more in the politics of another of its backyard dominions, Indonesia; where, in 1965, after an unannounced summit meeting on board a US destroyer at Reykjavik between the young and dashing President Kennedy and the elderly grandee Tory walrus, Harold Macmillan – who got on surprisingly well – an almost bloodless coup was mounted, that ousted the left-leaning reform populist Sukarno and brought to power the kleptocrat Colonel – then General – Suharto.

There followed an attempted genocide, supported by the CIA and the British Navy, of the supposedly “Communist-leaning” ethnic Chinese population. Around a million died or were left to rot in island jungle camps. Later, Suharto – known as “Mr 10 per cent” for his habit of skimming contracts with foreign companies – licensed multinational US and Australian mining companies and Japanese logging companies to ravage the pristine landscapes of the islands, as they continue to do today with horrific effect. A secessionist movement in East Timor was brutally suppressed by the army, until intervention by Australia put an end to the genocide. Eventually “Mr 10 per cent” was ousted in a popular uprising and retired to live on his $30 billion fortune before dying, of “multiple organ failure”, in 2008. Hanging was clearly too good for him.

The New York Times wrote:

“As the leader of one of the world’s most populous countries, Mr. Suharto and his family became notorious for controlling state enterprises and taking kickbacks for government contracts, for siphoning money from state charities and for committing gross violations of human rights. Yet Mr. Suharto remained virtually untouchable to the end…”

One gets the impression he would have earned maximum respect from the White House.

Thanks, indeed, to the USA – paranoid about a possible communist takeover and another Vietnam; greedy for natural resources, the rapid Islamisation of the archipelago has only lately impinged upon the consciousness of the State Department – which has now been gutted by a Trump administration better fascinated with shiny military toys going bang than with the dreary grind of diplomacy.

Indonesian politics have been rent for years as successive dictators supported by the US have done pretty much what they liked to line their pockets provided they did not conflict with US corporate interests. That, and the growing influence of radical Islam – Indonesia has the highest population per head of Muslims in the world, but is said to be “moderate” with pockets of violent al-Qaeda-afiliated extremism – and the turbulent conflicts between ambitious leaders of factions within the nation’s enormous and frequently genocidal army, some for the president, some against – all out for themselves – appears to be leading imminently towards another coup.

The Pumpkin is even now learning about connections with Trump’s pick for tax reform czar, the multi-billionaire Carl Icahn: “Secretary for Deregulation” (his principal qualification appears to be an interest in deregulating his own businesses, the slimy fucker); his mining interests in Indonesia, his use of a local IS-affiliated militia in promoting a coup against the elected moderate President Widodo, who has begun to impose controls on Icahn’s massively polluting and environmentally destructive mining interests; the Indonesian military and Trump’s own business connections in Jakarta.

For, yes, Trump Organization has hotel building projects ongoing in Jakarta. And yes, the Orange Oligarch has been videoed in amicable meetings with known corrupt Indonesian politicians with whom he has business connections. And yes, it looks like no-one will find the time to do anything about it because the stench of sleaze and corruption and treason hangs so thickly about him and his scumbag administration of all the Christian billionaires that it is becoming impenetrable and impervious to rational analysis.

Did you need to ask?

Nairn’s article can be viewed at: theintercept.com/2017/04/18/trumps-indonesian-allies-in-bed-with-isis-backed-militia-seeking-to-oust-elected-president/

Democracy Now interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSf4Q8eWWtk (and see Pt 2)

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I see no ships

What can one say?

Mr Trump made a speech threatening North Korea with dire retribution if Kim Jong-Un went ahead with another nuclear test to celebrate his daddy’s birthday, Kim il-Sung Day. A big “armada” was sailing towards the region, bristling with missiles.

Mr Trump’s officials, including General McMaster and the futile press secretary, Sean Spicer, a bullying and inarticulate little cretin, the snow-capped walking advert for Anusol, Vice-President Mike Pence, all backed him up.

We’re comin’ to get you. Don’t mess with Murcah! USA, USA!

And off went Mr Pence to reassure America’s allies in the region, South Korea, Japan, that they could rely on the good ol’ US of A to protect them, despite all the awful things President Trump had promised on the campaign trail, that he would do if South Korea and Japan didn’t nuke-up and defend themselves.

And then, as we know, it turned out that the “armada”, a battle squadron consisting of the Nimitz-class carrier USS Carl Vinson, a couple of destroyers and a frigate, probably a supply ship too, were in fact 3,500 miles away on the other side of the Pacific, heading for a long-planned joint exercise with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean.

For five days, the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful armed force in the world in all history was threatening nuclear war against a tiny adversary nation, based on the entirely erroneous belief that he had a force in the area capable of carrying out his executive orders.

And nobody contradicted him, because he never listens to expert advice, preferring Breitbart, Fox News and The Beano to provide the vital briefing he needs to get round the golf course this weekend.

Mr Trump then made another speech in Cincinatti, in which he was unable to remember the name of the Speaker of the Senate, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, his closest ally in the House and co-author of his failed healthcare bill. Several times he called him “Ron”, clearly confusing him with retired Congressman Ron Paul, founder of the flakey Libertarian Party.

Since the occasion on which he got up and wandered out of the Oval Office forgetting to sign the Executive Orders that had only just been put in front of him by the team of gurning sycophants with which he insists always on decorating the empty space behind his chair, to big-up his image, apparently put off his stroke by a question from a journalist, there has been growing speculation that the President is suffering from dementia.

Not Congress, not the FBI that is grindingly slowly pursuing at least three separate investigations involving possible treason and money-laundering charges, not the Vice-President who is constitutionally authorised to immediately remove a President who might remotely be considered unfit to be in charge of the nuclear codes, seems willing or able to act, paralysed by self-interest, respect for the Office and confusion engendered by such a plethora of possible causes for impeachment that it is impossible to know where to start.

And now Mr Trump having screwed-up the chances for a North Korea war, Mr Tillerson, an oil company executive for 30 years who knows fuck-all about diplomacy, and who has no counsel from any experienced career diplomat as there is no-one left at the Middle East desk in the State Department, where hundreds of vacant specialist positions remain to be filled, whose only relevant know-how is negotiating lucrative drilling rights and bribing bloodstained dictators, has started making threatening statements and entirely unjustified assertions against Iran.

I fear we’re all fucked if they don’t get this guy and his incompetent gang of pirates out within the next two weeks. As Oliver Cromwell so succinctly put it:

“Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation.”

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Now concentrate

The American Jewish Committee said the Pope should rethink his “regrettable” reference to concentration camps. The term “concentration camp”, which predates World War Two, is nonetheless evocative of the centres set up by the Nazis for slave labour and the extermination of millions of Jews and others.” – BBC News.

They can’t resist any opportunity to require people to “rethink”, can they? Even the Pope!

Of course the Pope was thoughtless to say it of Muslims. We live in an era where none but the self-appointed monitors of linguistic imprecision dares to speak words like Holocaust; Nazi; Hitler; “concentration camp” in any context other than narrowly, specifically of the historic suffering of the Jewish people. To raise those old tropes merely allegorically is to court political and spiritual disaster: the opprobrium of the powerful Israel media lobby, ever vigilant for cultural misappropriation; the fierce retribution of the Representatives, who bid to own language itself.

Of course, refugees are not being systematically persecuted, worked to death, starved, shot – gassed.

They are instead dying from an excess of hopefulness: by the thousand in deserts and at sea. The survivors, many of them are being trafficked into slavery, hunted by vigilantes, others rounded up and, yes, those not yet assimilated through some civil process are being concentrated in camps; deprived of livelihood, liberty and identity.

It’s a matter of definition. And when you are the Pope, especially this Pope, are you expected to stay silent on the matter, in case you give offence to some other aggrieved, self-aggrandizing minority?

It is surely counter-productive to aggregate to yourselves the term “concentration camp”, in order to deny the wrongs done to Muslim refugees and others, the historic wrongs done to civilian internees from the Boer Wars onwards, perhaps even further back during the American Civil War – the thousands of gays, people of colour, the mentally and physically disabled – Jehovah’s Witnesses, for God’s sake – resisters, who perished under the Nazis’ systematised racial purification programmes, who were not Jews – the hundreds of thousands, millions who perished for other reasons in the Soviet gulags, the Japanese internment camps, Pol Pot’s Cambodian killing fields, Suhartos’s Indonesian hellholes, Assad’s torture dungeons.

Against six million Jewish lives, where do we place, how do we honour 27 million Russians slaughtered by the same tyranny? Comparisons, Shakespeare probably wrote*, are odious. In the annals of mass-murder, every life should count as all lives.

Counter-productive, because by censoring self-appropriated language the Israel media lobby provides the perfect hiding place from which those horrors are again bidding to re-emerge.

“Regrettable”? “Evocative”?

Where are their voices? What words should they be denied?

*No: “The earliest recorded use of this phrase appears to be by John Lydgate in his Debate between the horse, goose, and sheep, circa 1440.”

 

Bang, bang, you’re dead – Lock ’em up! And: Why are the Tories still making people suffer? Election news, and A Game of Two Halves.

Britain needs stronger leadership. And kickass shoes.

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“I spent a good part of my childhood hiding under the bedclothes in terror, anticipating the flashover, the mushroom cloud…. that’s why I have this abiding belief that all politicians are criminally insane.”

Bang, bang, you’re dead

So I was lying in bed this morning thinking my bogling days were over, there being nothing more to say when both the Vice President of the USA and the Deputy Foreign Minister of North Korea are seriously threatening to nuke the shit out of each other and, by extension, us.

They clearly have no idea any longer of what is involved in this grotesque pantomime, a complete failure of the human imagination. It is beyond comment or parody that these lunatics were even able to contemplate visiting this monstrousness on the world, just to see who can piss higher up the wall.

And now it turns out, the Americans were only joking about the USS Carl Vinson nuclear carrier fleet ‘sailing towards North Korea’, it’s still in Australia. Hasn’t left. Fake news!

The really disturbing part of that is that the President, the Commander-in-Chief of US armed forces, DIDN’T KNOW WHERE THE FLEET WAS. He didn’t fucking know, he saw an old picture on TV and thought by some amazing coincidence the fleet was heading for North Korea and he could safely threaten Kim Jong-un with nuclear annihilation if the fat kid who’s name he couldn’t remember, and who he hadn’t realised could only have been 12 years old when he was supposedly in ‘failed’ negotiations with Bill Clinton, let off another test.

Nobody at the Pentagon corrected him, because he hasn’t restored the lines of communication with his service chiefs since taking office; nor is there anyone at the State Department to offer special advice on Korea, he only learned the political situation was ‘complicated’ when President Xi gave him a ten-minute potted history of relations between China and North Korea at Mar-a-Lago ten days earlier. He had done no homework before receiving the Chinese leader. There is no-one at the China desk in the State Department either. The ambassadorships of both Japan and South Korea remain vacant.

If it seems inconceivable that President Trump is a danger to the world, owing to some supposed mental condition I am not qualified to diagnose, I urge you to view a clip of a recent press appearance in Wisconsin at which he is unable to remember the name of Paul Ryan, his closest ally in Congress, co-author of his disastrous Trumpcare health bill and Speaker of the House. He persistently refers to him either as ‘Ron’ or ‘Paul’ – former Congressman Ron Paul being an entirely different individual and the leader of the flakey ‘Libertarian Party’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoE3NTuZCiM

This is the most dangerous US President in history and he must surely be removed immediately, he is not fit to hold any sort of office.

But he’s not the only power-crazed loony in the asylum.

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Election News

From: Chief Political Correspondent, Laura Facebook ©2017. @laurasweeplace

So then after months of lying to everyone that there’s no need of an election until 2020, Theresa May too goes for the nuclear option.

A General Election, to be held on 8 June, with the expectation of getting such a fucking huge Commons majority – her very words – of Dumbfuck Tory backbench Eurocides that no weeping libtards in her party will ever dare again to question her huge Brexit bomb, the biggest ever dropped – Doris Davis’ Brussels Bunker-buster; that will put paid forever to Donald Tusk’s dreams of reuniting Britain to the EU.

It was too good to be true, wasn’t it, the last 25 years.

“Might as well have the election now if we’re all going to die in a nuclear fireball.”

I spent many nights of my childhood hiding under the bedclothes in terror, anticipating the flashover, the mushroom cloud. It accounts for much of my lifelong depression. I used to have nightmares about it.

Later, at Big School, rather than the endlessly boot-polishing, belt-blancoing army cadet corps I joined the Civil Defence, where we wore a blue boiler-suit and learned how to rescue ‘survivors’ from the unlikely location of the upper floors of H-bombed buildings; presuming they had followed the advice contained in the forerunner of a 1970s government pamphlet called Protect and Survive, which famously advised householders how to turn their kitchen table into a fallout shelter.

Presciently, the pamphlet was reprinted only last month and is even available as a PDF download. Did the publishers know something we didn’t? And would a more fashionable ‘island’ unit be as good, as I haven’t got a kitchen table?

Those millennarian snowflakes who protest that we baby-boomers have stolen all the Easter eggs need to know, we still all have PTSD from the Cuban Missile Crisis. We deserve help, not censure.

You weren’t living within pressure-wave distance of RAF Bomber Command, Uxbridge like I was, while (thankfully unbeknown to us at the time) in October 1962 a US Air Force major was holding off the guy with the nuclear codes at gunpoint to stop him triggering Armaggeddon before the missile ships turned back.

That’s how close it came.

Listening to the planes thundering over the house through the darkness at rooftop height, not knowing if they were ‘ours’ or ‘theirs’…. We lived with the imminent threat of nuclear annihilation for 40 years. We wept tears of relief when the Berlin Wall fell.

And now the fucking monsters are taking over the asylum once again.

That’s why, I’m afraid, I have this abiding belief that all politicians who get to the point of having ‘leadership’ ambitions are criminally insane and need to be locked up permanently for the sake of the planet.

And therefore abides the belief, must it not, that Mrs May has only been encouraged by the result of last weekend’s referendum in Turkey effectively making Recep Tayipp Erdogan emperor-for-life on a bare majority of 51.2% to 48.8%. Mr Trump, too, has been quick to congratulate him on his almost Trumpian success, a tiny and decidedly dubious electoral college-approved margin giving him unbridled powers to sack the Prime Minister, abolish the constitution, re-establish the Ottoman Empire and imprison or hang anyone he doesn’t like; especially journalists.

God, how Trump must envy him that!

Is there something about these wafer-thin majorities that’s starting to look a mite suspicious? Brexit 52% to 48%… Austria: fascists 49.7%, good guys 50.3%… Clinton 51% to 49% (reversed by the Electoral College). Polls in France currently have two sets of candidates so level with one another that when their votes transfer to the second-round runoff they will make no difference, it’ll still be roughly a 50-50 split and whoever shades it by one vote will be the new Russian poodle: Macron: 23.1%; LePen: 22.4%; Fillon: 19.3%; Mélenchon: 19.3%; Hamon (who? Ed.): 8% (Telegraph, 17 April)

I suspect they’re designed to make Mr Putin’s 101% majority at the next election look especially convincing.

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Shock Horror – Pound Surges, Market Crashes!

On a shockingly horrible day in the markets, in the wake of the announcement of a Special Election confirming Mrs May in her position as Supreme Brexiter and Prime Minister for Life, speculators forced the pound to surge from $1.24 to $1.28, at a huge 1/2% the biggest one-day rise since the last one, as confidence in the FTSE-100 Index collapsed completely on news of a stunning Conservative victory in the June election seven weeks away, losing 180 points and knocking £45 bn off the purely notional price of shares.

The Index later regained consciousness to close up at several thousand, whatever, while British manufacturers who had been enjoying an ongoing boom in export orders since the Brexit referendum last June caused the pound to devalue by 16% ran out into the streets, rending their apparel and coating one another in sackcloth and ashes.

Mother Theresa is 57.

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Oh dear, there’s no money (except our donors are sitting on it)

Tory think-wankers are still banging on about ‘balancing the budget’ through continuing austerity programmes that impact most severely on the poor, the disabled – schools, housing and hospitals.

British companies however are sitting on a cash pile of £700 billion, having for years since 2008 pleaded ‘uncertainty’ to justify their woeful lack of investment. FTSE-100 CEO pay has increased by vastly more as a percentage figure than other workers’ salaries and now averages £4 million a year: 120 times greater than the average pay of workers and managers in their businesses – who are, it must be said, doing all the real work.

The next incoming government must address this horrendous inequality, which isn’t justified by CEO performance (Telegraph, 16 April) or by the old excuse of ‘buying the best’ in competition with other countries, and force companies to invest more in raising wages from the bottom-up, imposing a cap on uninvested corporate profits. These should be subjected to far higher marginal rates of corporation tax, banded and rising after four years to 100 per cent – full confiscation of unallocated financial assets, even those held offshore.

The release of so much capital would fund a national investment bank for small businesses and local infrastructure projects, enabling a large increase in funds available to local authorities to build social housing and fulfil the highly desirable plan to integrate social services into the NHS and staff them fully.

At the same time executive salaries, bonuses and share options need to be brought in line with other indices: the 21 per cent increase in CEO pay in 2016 alone when compared with pay increases in the public sector typically of one per cent is absolutely unacceptable and unjustifiable in the present economic conditions and must be reversed.

It is not the job of government to make its people suffer.

 

A show of strength

“Explaining her decision to hold the vote, Theresa May said Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum.” – BBC News

Translation: “Some people still aren’t onboard with the programme. I’m running this and I don’t want snowflake Parliamentary democracy getting in my way.”

If you haven’t grasped the dimensions of their paranoid madness already or if you disagree with my view of politicians, it appears that Mr Jeremy Corbyn of Labour, Mr whoever the Lib-Dem man is, Ms Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP, the Plaid Cymru housewife, the Green Woman and some MPs from Northern Ireland, none of whom stands a cat in hell’s chance of winning the election, but all of whom could well lose seats – in Corbyn’s case by the score – between them have the power to deny Mrs May her election.

So brave are they all, so gung-ho, they won’t even consider ganging-up on the Tories, 1000-1 on favourites to win a thumping majority.

A law was passed not long ago permitting general elections only once every five years. To have her snap election, Mrs May needs to get that law overturned first. Then there has to be a 2/3rd majority in the House of Commons before the writ can be issued. At present the Tories have a narrow working majority of only 17. The others could therefore in theory gang-up together to stop this horror show, designed to turn Britain into a virtual dictatorship as Mrs May vows to ‘crush’ all Parliamentary opposition to her bruising ‘Black and blue’ Brexit.

But none of them dares to show fear.

So they’re all saying stupid bravado things, dumbfuck blockbuster movie cliches like: ‘Bring it on!’ Scottish Labour (beaten out of sight by the SNP in 2015) has also insisted it is “ready” for an election, while the Lib Dems – who lost over fifty seats at the last election – said they were “relishing the prospect”.

“Asked whether he was the next prime minister, Mr Corbyn added: “If we win the election, yes…” (Ibid.)

He’s trailing by 20 points. I don’t think he even has a personal rating.

Do you see what I mean?

Fucking crazies.

Lock ’em up.

“It’s no good, I can’t hear it tweeting.”

A game of two halves

“The big winner of the night – and now the largest party of the Dutch left for the first time – is the pro-European ecologists, the GreenLeft. The party’s success, for many, is down to their young charismatic leader Jesse Klaver, who is being hailed as the “Jessiah” with similarities to Justin Trudeau.” – Guardian Today, 16 March.

“Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet” –

For the edification of confused readers, environmentalist McKibben has reacted to news that Trudeau is continuing his public policy to support the (already exceeded) 1.5 deg. C. global warming target of the Paris accord while allowing energy companies, including the Koch Brothers, to extract another 173 billion tonnes of crude oil from tar sands in Alberta and pipe it to Texas for refining and export.

“Canada, which represents one half of 1% of the planet’s population, is claiming the right to sell the oil that will use up a third of the earth’s remaining carbon budget”, writes McKibben, apparently oblivious to other, more immediate threats: for instance, Trump’s removal of emissions limits for methane released by oil and gas drilling and fracking operations; and the enormous, ongoing releases of methane from the rapidly warming Arctic seabed and surrounding areas of thawing permafrozen tundra, including northern Canada.*

Anyway, it seems the hypocritical little shit, Trudeau, has his country’s best economic interests at heart. Just dig that mother up.

Meanwhile, granted unbridled licence by the Orange Glow, US companies are said to be producing ‘record amounts’ of oil and gas from shale (fracking – which is causing previously unknown levels of seismic activity in execution-mad Oklahoma).

As a result, world oil prices have started to fall again, threatening the jobs Trump was sworn to protect and increasing greenhouse emissions from burning hydrocarbons, in which he doesn’t believe.

A relief to know politicians never improve or grow wiser, however pretty they look.

*BBC reports (29 April) Trump has signed an Executive Order overturning bans on oil drilling in the Arctic. “Will create thousands and thousands of jobs!”

The USA is already overproducing, driving down the world price and costing thousands and thousands of jobs in the oil industry.

This pompous, bloated, bankrupt small-business buffoon knows nothing about anything.

You already have all the evidence you need to impeach, imprison or hospitalize the madman. You choose – but just get rid of him.

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Global warming – Latest

By: Science Correspondent, Polly Nomial-Trend ©2017. #snowflakesarea-fallin’

Just seen a wasp. Early?

Bad.

The Boglington Post – A matter of belief; Return of the Teenager! You have to be Caracas – Police brutality, Quote of the Week, Human Extinction and more.

“A report by the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PACAC) said MPs were deeply concerned about the allegations of foreign interference in last year’s Brexit vote.” – Guardian Today, 12 April

A matter of belief

My colleague over at The Pumpkin has been struggling for two weeks to point out to anyone who would listen, basically nobody, that approximately two-thirds of the way through the Congressional Intelligence Committee hearing on 20 March, a brief and apparently unnoticed exchange took place between the Ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff and FBI Director, James Comey.

As I can’t summon the energy to sit through five hours of video coverage again, I’ll paraphrase:

Do you believe the Russians could have interfered with other elections (than the US election), such as in Europe or with Brexit? asked Schiff. Yes Sir, I do, replied Comey.

The exchange has not been reported anywhere in the British media.

Now, anyone could say what they ‘believe’. Christians and Muslims have detailed theories about all sorts of things that aren’t objectively true, but which form the basis of a belief system that extends to the entire cultural context of their lives and even to honor killings, acid attacks on women, terrorism and internecine warfare.

The Director of the FBI, by contrast, has to be someone whose logic is a bit more remorseless and factual than merely extending to a fervent belief, for instance that the biological offspring of the Creator of the universe, born of a virgin on Christmas Day, was executed, rose from the dead and walked on water.

(A recent poll in fact showed that only 17% of a sample of 2,000 British adults believe in the literal truth of the resurrection. The number rises to 50% in the case of professed Christians.)

When the Director of the FBI says he ‘believes’ something, he is exploiting a euphemism. Packed into that one word is a world of secret knowledge, of informers and researchers, of cyber-security experts, of tappings and snoopings and hackings and interrogations, evaluations and briefings, cross-referrals and triangulations, reports and filings leading to the establishment of legally enforceable hard facts concerning criminal or subversive activities that may not, at this stage of the investigation, be spoken of in open committee hearings.

Mr Comey had earlier confirmed by a complex series of signs, nods and winks and masterfully polite evasions that his organization is indeed embarked upon a number of separate investigations relating to ‘any’ communications between the Trump campaign staff and Russian ‘diplomats’ or ‘oligarchs’ – disruptive players seeking, the media surmises, to undermine the democratic process – if not also to ensure the election of some ‘useful idiot’ or compromised politician who will, directly or indirectly, further their hegemonic ambitions.

The Three Brexiteers: Davis, ‘The Doctor’ and Doris (r)

Who better fit the latter category than our three Brexiteers: Davis, ‘The Doctor’ and Doris, and their gormless Empire Loyalist, neo-Thatcherite henchmen (plus the odd useful female)?

What set of circumstances could better improve the opportunities for Mr Putin and his cronies to shore-up their borders with the European Union and regain influence over the border states, formerly part of the Soviet empire, even occupying territory to keep them from falling into the clutches of the evil NATO, to disrupt Europe’s security, than a good, well-rigged election?

Indeed, my colleague at The Pumpkin has also been speculating in every corner of the media, wherever a person of no standing can obtain a readership; and in emails to politicians, on this very question, a point about how and why the registrations database had been caused to crash 48 hours before registrations closed:

“…there were clues that a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) using botnets – a network of computers infected with malicious software – was used to overwhelm the site… the committee’s report said. While the incident had no material effect on the outcome of the referendum, the committee said it was crucial that lessons were learned for future votes that must extend beyond purely technical issues.” (Ibid.)

What the report of the report does not however go on to say, is that a DDOS attack (and the sudden, unexplained emergence of what the Committee suggests was 500 thousand new voters, reported at the time to have been two million) was not the only possible use of botnets: for, as we know – there have been other reports that suggest this – the US election campaign was also marked by a surreptitious campaign of disinformation, using detailed analysis of individual voting intentions (‘data-harvesting’ from personal social media uploads and conversations) to target specific messages to potential opposition voters.

Were that to have occurred in Britain – and there are wealthy eccentric, Europhobic  ‘disruptors’ such as Mr Arron Banks and Mr Jim Dowson who have come forward to say that is certainly what they intended to do; also reports that a British company, Cambridge Analytica, allegedly owned by the ultra-rightwing US hedge-fund manager, the multi-billionaire Robert Mercer and his ultra-ultra-rightwing daughter Rebekah, hefty backers both of Republican candidates ($22 million) and the Breitbart News website, was engaged in just such ‘data-harvesting’ activities – then it could very well not be said that: “the incident had no material effect on the outcome of the referendum”.

That’s just wishful thinking.

Belief.

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Life after Brexit

A Commenter on a Guardian news story about pension rights for British expats writes that he was standing on London Bridge with a female friend, an entirely English person, who happened to be talking on the phone in French to a colleague in France.

And a man came by and shouted ‘Fuck off back to Paris, you French cunt.’

It seems difficult and risky to move elsewhere in these trepidatious times, but I really don’t want to live any longer in this fucking awful dystopian ‘dictatorship of the cretins’, which these dogshit-ignorant arsewipes are so proud of that they cannot accommodate living on the same planet as, or even maybe being, someone with an actual education, culture or good manners; who might (but does not) come from 30 miles away across the Channel.

Do you?

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Life after life

…it is evident that the maximum methane global warming potential temperature trend of 50 intersects the 2 degree centigrade temperature anomaly line in mid 2027 at which time humanity will completely  lose our ability to combat the earth atmospheric temperature rise. This diagram also indicates that methane will be an extremely active global warming agent for the first 15 years during the early stages of the extinction process. At the 80 o F (26.66 oC) Permian extinction event temperature line (Wignall, 2009), which has a 12.177 oC temperature anomaly above the 1980 mean of 14.49 oC,  the lifetime of the minimum methane global warming  potential veil is now some 75 years long and the temperature so high that total extinction of all life on earth will have occurred by this time.

2012 paper by Prof. Malcolm Light: Global Extinction within One Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heatwave and Surface Firestorm (Arctic-news. blogspot.co.uk/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html. Passage refers to a graph.)

The good news for millennarians hoping soon to meet their invisible friend Jedoof is, the process is moving faster and faster. The 2012 paper is way out of date.

“…a polynomial trend based on NOAA July 1983 to January 2017 global monthly mean methane data points at twice as much methane by 2034. Stronger methane releases from the seafloor could make such a doubling occur much earlier.” (Ibid.)

Mr Trump is very happy this evening. After three months of total fucking chaos and incompetence the more extreme elements of his military are now in firm control of the White House. The Pentagon has won out over the CIA and is insanely going back to dropping huge bombs on peasants hiding in caves in Afghanistan. We’re back to Vietnam: the theatre of war Trump avoided serving in. The US army is damned if it is going to forgive a past regime that let itself be beaten by asymmetricals wearing flip-flops. Now it’s payback time.

Having spent years criticising US military adventurism abroad and won an election on a non-interventionist platform Mr Trump is now entirely in favour of anything that prettily explodes, US troops being sent by the thousand into Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen – a carrier fleet to North Korea, threats against Russia, China – a quadruple increase in civilian ‘collateral’ deaths from US airstrikes in just two months.

Let’s remember, the violence in those regions did not erupt spontaneously: it is the legacy of past Western interventions, and don’t let any conservatives tell you otherwise.

The compulsive lying old mobster thug, Trump has thus already laid the murders of many ‘beautiful’ children onto his financial crimes and given military hawks such as Mad Dog Mattis and HR McMaster their severely shaven, curiously shaped heads.

His knowledge of foreign affairs is clearly zero, his diplomatic service has been so hollowed out that he has no expert advice on traditional theatres of US power projection, no capacity to conduct diplomacy, and is simply making policy on an increasingly sick and senile hoof. He has done a 180-deg. handbrake turn on literally every campaign promise he made: maybe he just doesn’t remember what he said, and doesn’t care: the scam is going off nicely so far.

For God’s sake, impeach him. Arrest him, before the crazy orange fucker kills us all. What is the FBI doing? Why is it taking them so long, when everything is out there in open space for all to see?

Get on with it, Comey. Man up, lovely eyes. You already have enough ammunition to put him in prison for the rest of his worthless life.

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More anon

Readers, Spammers, Likers, Followers and People No Longer Reading This, muh Bogl, will know that from time to time I wonder about why it is that some totally obviously spam messages get through the WordPress filter while thousands of other messages, some of which might actually be genuine, don’t; and ask why people are bothering to do this,  praising my stuff to the skies in an unknown language in which the words are real but the syntax isn’t.

Just to update you, I’m no longer getting messages from ‘Pussy’, my number one fan is now someone (or a program) calling themselves ‘Gay Porn’.

Does WordPress seriously imagine I am going to Approve any of this botty crap for onward transmission to actual humans? It must have a purpose, a function, a reason – but no-one tells me what. Who bothers to send this stuff, and why? It is not as if they are even after my bank details.

It would be great if you could actually talk to WordPress about it, but they also seem like an alien lifeform. I should write to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, maybe, and ask if he couldn’t go back to the drawing-board and invent us a new worldwide web, free from all this spying and passwords and Russian shit.

Postscriptum: RIP – The teenager returns!

Yes, the lad has returned, and in only five hours accomplished what I had not been able to face, or even to contemplate doing in its technological complexity, conducting the last rites for muh li’l Asus laptop thing, that fell to pieces after almost six years of constant hammering, cunningly transferring soft stuff and setting up magical things.

How do they do it, with no special training? I don’t even have to stick pieces of cardboard over the trackpad anymore, to stop the words flying about!

Consequently you are reading the first words sent   from muh NEW laptop thing, courtesy of Messrs Hewlett and Packard.

Congratulations.

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“Beating and killing and jailing and torturing people is not going to put food back in the mouths of the security forces either, their moms, wives and kids.”

You have to be Caracas to work here

Demonstration in Venezuela. (Reuter)

A question I’ve long wanted an answer to is why so many youngish working-class men are always so willing to put on riot gear and beat the crap out of a bunch of unarmed demonstrators?

It happens everywhere. A demonstrator was killed in Venezuela last week, hundreds of mostly students injured, gassed, arrested and disappeared into police cells for some enhanced conversation.

The protests in Caracas against the presidency of Nicolas Maduro have a perfectly sensible rationale: oil-rich Venezuela is virtually a failed state. With the slump in oil prices, corruption and economic mismanagement, people are going hungry, normal household goods like toilet paper have disappeared; the shops are empty. Inheriting the downside of Chavez-ism, Maduro has no answer but a brutal police crackdown and blame the USA.

So these guys who put on riot gear and flak jackets and masks and helmets and throw pepper spray and teargas, rubber bullets and buckshot, shoot off water-cannon, they have families: mothers and fathers, wives and kids, who are all suffering under an incompetent regime. Their own mothers and wives are queuing for hours every day for a little overpriced bread and bottled water. There’s 1,000 per cent inflation: the bread costs three times as much by the evening as it would have in the morning, and three times as much the next day.

Yet day after day the riot squad is happy to be ordered out on the streets to brutalise other people just like themselves, their fellow citizens who only want better politicians to take over and put things back in order again, feed the people – not the leftwing elite holed up in the palace, in the assembly. These demonstrators are not funded by the CIA anymore, this is not a rightist putsch to get the landowners and the business community back in power; it’s a plea for social justice.

Beating and killing and jailing and torturing people is not going to put food back in the mouths of the security force, their moms, wives and kids. But the world over, it’s always the way. A brutal dictator – take your pick – can always rely on an army of thugs and goons to do their dirty work even at a cost to their own standard of living. Why?

Okay, the cops are getting paid by the government. They took an oath to support the State. But history shows that time and again, these revolutions eventually succeed in toppling the regime; usually to replace it with something worse, but change does eventually come; the shops do fill up again.

So loyalty to a lousy failing President clinging to office is only staving off defeat. The day when there won’t be anyone in government to pay the goon squads will come, and they will have to transfer their loyalty to someone else.  Even now, their wages are depreciating faster than they can buy stuff – even food to feed their own kids.

What is the point? What do they gain?

You’d think the police, the armed forces, the informers and the torturers would side with the people who want to bring about change, to restore the economy, put food back on the table, deliver a better life; not with an increasingly desperate and authoritarian President who has no answers to the problems affecting them and their families, and whose personal career ambitions are causing such great harm to the ordinary people.

But they don’t.

In country after country, decade after decade we see heavily armed police, paramilitaries, the army all too happy to go out and shoot and gas and beat and imprison and torture the very people who might do them some good.

It’s frankly inexplicable, other than in terms of the worst aspects of human nature:

They enjoy it.

“We’re kickin’ down your doors”. Welcome to Trumpworld. (A/G Jeff Sessions abandons ‘constitutional policing’. Justice Department says ‘anything goes’.)

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“The dreadful reputation British soccer hooligans gained thirty years ago has never been allowed to go away”

Match-fixing

And in Madrid, eight Leicester City football fans were beaten and hauled off to police cells last night in advance of tonight’s Premier League championship match against Atletico.

Winesses report that about 300 fans were drinking mostly peacefully in a square where they had been told they could congregate, when riot police arrived and charged at them, hurling chairs and bottles and hitting the fans with rubber truncheons. BBC journalist Phil Mackie was on hand to witness the unprovoked attack:

“As I was talking to them there was a charge. Police officers just charged a group of Leicester fans who were, as far as I could tell, just walking past and chatting to each other. Three of them were pushed to the floor and hit with batons and bundled into the back of vans and taken away.” – BBC News

The eight arrested have been charged with ‘causing a mess’. Perhaps there was an element of retaliation there for Monty Python’s Inquisition sketch? Spanish police also claim six of their officers were ‘attacked’.

This sort of thing happens almost every time British football fans go abroad, however well-behaved and amenable they are. The dreadful reputation British soccer hooligans gained thirty years ago has never been allowed to go away and is invariably used as an excuse for police provocation, brutality and overreaction: the ritual duffing-up of the fans and the pressing of spurious charges has become part of the sport.

Of course, the roughhousing and  intimidation has only one purpose: to improve the chances of the home side by causing consternation, press criticism and discrediting the behaviour of the visiting team and its supporters, who can never win.

Cheating, in other words.

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Quote of the Week

Mr Charles Chestnut, a Rochdale, Yorks. man who burned down his new ‘dream home’ in Wales after a dispute with the Halifax Building Society over non-payment of his mortgage, has been gaoled for five years.

“When asked by judge, Geraint Walters if he had any submissions to make, Chestnut, who represented himself, said: “I would like to go free please.” – Guardian Today

This surely ranks alongside the Spike Milligan epitaph: “I told you I was ill”, as one of the best victim statements on life that I have ever seen. And another I’ve just heard from theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, guesting on Sam Harris: “I get paid to hallucinate”.

Whizz, bang, pop: The Pumpkin – Issue 15. Plus: Beating the Retweet; Tending to the Extremes.

Mr Xi reveals he also has tiny hands. So far, so good.

Before we start, will the BBC please sack their supine, regime-compliant, uncritical so-called ‘Senior US Editor’ John Sopel? The man is a pathetic pushover, a Trump shill who makes no effort to investigate, establish or explain the unpleasant truths behind his shallow, cliche-ridden reports but merely contents himself with praising the satanic Orange Liar and its traitorous regime.

Fuck him. He is less a journalist than a PR baboon.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/live/bbcone

(Is it okay to say this sort of thing over the Interwhatsit? I mean, they won’t withdraw their advertising? Ed.)

For a complete contrast to the routine disgraceful normalisation of Trump’s dystopian White House in UK media, The Pumpkin suggests you read Adam Gopnik’s piece in The New Yorker, 6 April. It’s not as long as the URL would suggest:

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-new-dark-art-of-trump-towerology?mbid=nl_TNY%20Template%20-%20With%20Photo%20(154)&CNDID=49581041&spMailingID=10780658&spUserID=MTkwODY5NzgyMTM0S0&spJobID=1140557724&spReportId=MTE0MDU1NzcyNAS2

Thank you, carry on.

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Where’s this going?

By: Pumpkin Chief  America Editor, John Sopoor ©2017 @anywherebuthere

The world is agog. What does this overnight change of policy towards Syria mean?

My assumption is it means General McMaster is now running the country, and after rationalising the Bannon problem on the Security Council has taken Jared Kushner under his wing; while Ivanka will have “softened” her loving father’s approach with a few tearful, well-chosen words about dead “beautiful” children; as if Assad hasn’t been killing both beautiful and plug-ugly children indiscriminately by the thousand for the last six years while Trump supported his predecessor’s drone-infested non-intervention policy that he now says was responsible for the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. (The UN has charted 161 chemical attacks during that time.)

(And as if he didn’t have his goons throw a woman with a “beautiful” crying baby out of one of his campaign shenanigans last year. And as Jonathan Freedland points out in The Guardian today, as if Trump hasn’t been trying for weeks to ban Syrian children from fleeing to safety in the USA.)

It means that Mr Trump is holding a summit with President Xi today – ringside tickets at $200 thousand apiece – and wishes to send a strong signal from General McMaster that he means business over North Korea, business over the South China Sea, business over… er, business. Sixty cruise missiles at $832 thousand each just to crater an airfield is not a rap over the knuckles for Assad, it is a show that the Orange Oligarch can afford to blow $50 million of US taxpayers’ money on a one-night stand. Sixty missiles incidentally manufactured by Raytheon, a company listing as a stockholder, one… er, Donald J Trump.

It no doubt amused someone that President Xi learned about the assault over dessert. After all, did the Chinese not invent fireworks?

It means Mr Trump has had a chat with Mr Putin who has reluctantly agreed to get his men out of the target area while Mr Trump has a play with his missiles. Suitably patriotic images of their bright, hopeful rocket trails leaving US destroyers up past Old Glory into the night sky have been distributed, and Mr Trump’s weak and failing old eyes will have sparkled in the light. The chat probably took place a few days ago, when Mr Trump called to commiserate with Mr Putin over the St Petersburg train bombing.

Hope that it represents any sort of a coherent policy shift on Syria seems less certain. The mainstream media held in such contempt by Bannon/Trump has rushed yet again to hail this example of his maturity, firmness and wisdom, as they did after his disastrous budget speech that had only the virtue of not having been written by him. The media has got to stop normalising Trump and support those in government and the security services who are working to impeach him.

However much you respect the office, the tenant is not what you would wish him to be. He is a well-suspected financial criminal, a con-man, a compulsive liar, a nepotist and serial bankrupt with traitorous and amoral associates. He owes millions of dollars to your enemies’ private and State banks. He is so clueless and biddable as to be a danger to world peace. Find somebody better.

I am reliably informed by MSNBC that of the 530 vacancies in the State Department that opened up at the start of the Trump administration, for want of a better word, 76 days ago, including most of the top diplomatic positions, only 12 have so far been filled. There is still no China desk, so Mr McMaster will have had his work cut out preparing the ‘President’ for the summit.

The senior diplomat, the unqualified Mr Tillerson is operating virtually a high-wire act without a net: he travels with just a small clutch of ex-oil industry cronies and no press pack. He doesn’t trust civil servants, and indeed staffers have been ordered not to address him, or even to look at him directly. (This might be because he is too important, blindingly effulgent even, but it looks to me more like shame.)

It seems to suggest that negotiators with any Middle Eastern diplomatic experience are going to be thin on the ground, despite Kushner’s baptism of fire on a joint Iraq-Kurdish security round-table last week at which the only other US delegate supporting the 14-year-old plastic wunderkind appears to have been a man identified as one of Mr Trump’s personal bodyguard; a goon in a track-suit prominently displaying the Adidas logo.

Where I am struggling for air is to understand why no-one has asked if, the instant Mr Trump makes the inevitable gaffe with ‘Xi who must be obeyed’, the Chinese leader would not simply ask for the money back? Although China has recently dumped a lot of US debt, which has fallen to only $1.12 trillion (Japan is now America’s largest creditor), Mr Trump and his business associates have outstanding loans from Bank of China (and other banks) worth almost $1bn (Mother Jones).

Then, it wouldn’t be the first time the President has defaulted on his debt.

Only previously, he didn’t have the American taxpayer to cover it; and $50 million-worth of 1,000-lb whizzbangs to brandish at his creditors.

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False flag? So fake!

The usual response from the Russian smoke machine to accusations of foul play is that the victims must have murdered themselves or possibly killed their own children to gain some more effective intervention from the Western powers.

In the case of the attack on Khan Sheikhoun they played a minor variation, suggesting that kindly Syrian fighter-bombers must have accidentally struck a warehouse known to contain rebel supplies of Sarin gas, thus inadvertently releasing a poison cloud. (If it was known to contain banned chemical weapons, why was it allowed to be bombed? The Pumpkin was under the impression the Russians had cleared out all Assad’s stockpile three years ago?)

The ingenious theory was debunked today by Guardian journalist Kareem Shaheen, who managed to get into the small town in Idlib where he found that there was indeed such a warehouse, but that it contained only silos empty apart from some rotting grain, and hadn’t anyway been significantly damaged. While yesterday, the BBC unearthed a chemical weapons military expert who pointed out that any Sarin if hit by a bomb would have been destroyed, as it burns.

Of more use to the Russian case however is the question, why would Assad still be using poison gas on civilians, when he is so clearly now winning the war?

Was he confident there would be no American retaliation? Was it a test of the Trump administration? Are there rogue elements in his airforce hoping to drive a wedge between the Americans and the Russians to take the heat off ISIS? Was it force of habit, simple terrorism? Or is Sarin just cheaper than using high-explosive? And if the Shayrat airbase was indeed the point of departure for Syrian planes armed with Sarin bombs, why didn’t Trump order the silos destroyed with specialist nerve-gas-killing warheads, which the Americans have? Why did he leave the base operational?

No-one has yet succeeded in answering it, and may never do. None of it adds up.

But certainly it has been of enormous value to the flailing Trump administration, providing him at last with the opportunity to look tough and decisive in a popular (-ish) cause with little risk of starting WW3 at the same time as diverting salacious media attention away from FBI and Senate probes into the treachery, confusion, financial finagling, nepotism and rank incompetence in the White House.

A helping hand, possibly, from his friend and banker, Vladimir Putin?

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Beating the retweet

What is going on?

YouTube appears to be censoring critics of the Trump regime.

Since a number of large advertisers pulled out of Google and other social media platforms in protest at their ads appearing coincidentally alongside ISIS beheadings and other horrid content, several online news and comment channels have had their advertising pulled too.

But not by the advertisers who want to remain with them.

Having invested heavily in studio facilities, broadcaster David Pakman has been increasingly despairing as despite his three million weekly pay-per viewings his ad revenue slumped to a low of 34 cents on one day last week. Pakman was unable to get any information out of YouTube but has been told by his furious advertisers that they have been told that the mention of various keywords in his opening title sequence referring to controversial subject matter that might be discussed on the show has triggered the ad placement algorithms to shut down their advertising content, leaving him with only the few small sponsors he plugs on-air and his subscriber base.

The Pumpkin also likes to steal material from the Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell shows on MSNBC. In the past week, several issues of the broadcast have become ‘Content unavailable’, although the shows are listed in the sidebars to the main pages. Where the show is available, the picture has been messed with so that you get a small vignette of the actual show inset into a larger frame of just picture noise, or a tiled duplicate of the smaller frame; apparently for ‘copyright’ protection purposes, although there was no problem with copyright up to ten days ago. Not only that, but content posted as ‘NEW’ with a today’s or yesterday’s upload date is often found to be weeks old.

Both Keith Olbermann and Mike Malloy seem not to have added any new content the past week. If they did, I can’t find it: ‘current-date’ postings to the YouTube menu of both broadcasters are anything from one month up to 7 years old. And if Thom Hartmann, the one broadcaster on RT America who isn’t a propaganda mouthpiece for the Kremlin, hasn’t just taken a vacation, that show’s got a problem too; since he’s no longer around*. *Oh no, he’s back now.

What is going on?

These are not ‘fake news’ merchants, Islamists, religious cranks, global warming deniers or Russians, although they are occasionally strong and insightful critics of the Trump regime; that as the number of FBI and Senate investigations into his criminality goes on rising is increasingly meddling with internet service provision. Measures taken or mooted in the past week include ‘data-strip’ searches of travellers’ mobile devices, and extending rights to sell or pass on supposedly secure customer data without notice – including passing a law making it illegal to ever reverse the ruling.

YouTube is owned by Google. According to the Independent, Google could take a $750 million ‘hit’ while it sorts out its placement problem, five of the world’s largest advertisers having pulled out – with YouTube its hardest-hit subsidiary.

Has someone taken a decision to adversely impact channels specifically critical of the administration, under the smokescreen of a general boycott? Is the discussion content of these non-mainstream news programmes too much for Google’s delicate constitution to stomach – even while they continue to profit from selling your data to any and everyone? Or while the platform ad revenues slump, hopefully temporarily, is it more profitable to just not pass on the money to the content providers, thereby keeping the cash flowing?

What is going on?

(PS 23/04, advertisers seem to have discovered power: a boycott by 50 advertisers on Fox News has brought down the serial sex-pest, Bill O’Reilly, despite his huge… er, ratings.)

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Tending to extremes

A lengthy piece in the London Review of Books (7 January, 2016) by the legendary investigative journalist and war reporter Seymour Hirsh identified what has been a long-running civil war in US strategy over Syria, between the CIA and the Pentagon.

Their two opposing views formed in 2013 and highlight an obvious concern, ignored by the CIA, that continuing to arm and train the rebel forces against Assad would merely encourage the migration of moderate opposition groups to more hardline militias such as Jabhat al-Nusra and ensure a constant flow of arms to ISIS.

The CIA appeared to have learned little from the 1970s conflict in Afghanistan, where their creation of the Muhajideen force to counter the Russian insurgency – as in Syria also there by invitation – led to the growth of the Taliban. In 2013, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, the DIA however, took the opposite view, in alignment with the Russian policy, arguing that Assad was the better option as his removal would inevitably lead to extremists taking over, as they had done in Libya after the downfall of Gadaffi.

And the Director of the DIA from 2011 to 2014 was… General Michael T Flynn.

Thus, according to the Hirsh account, a secret policy was adopted of supplying the Assad regime indirectly via allies including France and Germany with ‘leaked’ US military intelligence, behind the backs of the Obama administration.

The dilemma for all the Western nations in Syria has simply been that, while everyone identifies Assad as the villain of the piece, an urbane, softly spoken, courteous and well-educated torturing, murdering, psychopathic pragmatist who gas-bombs his own people, before the war his broadly secular regime represented and possibly still represents the best hope for stability in the region and a bulwark against Iranian-backed Shi’a extremism; which for some reason we still regard as worse than Saudi-backed Sunni extremism.

This is now, one would have thought, a pretty optimistic view. Without continued support, either from Russia alone or a coalition of the unwilling, Assad could not regain and retain power while spending hundreds of billions of dollars on reconstruction, without maintaining his brutal repression of opposition elements and a flow of cash from China. The Russians certainly can’t afford to rebuild dozens of ruined cities.

To say as Tillerson was until this morning, that the ‘Syrian people will decide’ who is to lead them is just fanciful: the prospect of holding free and fair national elections beyond Assad’s safe-area west of Damascus, dominated by his own Alawite party, is surely non-existent; even if the voters were to return from the refugee camps in Turkey and the chilly fields of Croatia and Bulgaria to their blasted cities, the disruption has been almost total. Were they able to, by some miracle, it is certain they would vote Assad out. You imagine he would contemplate that possibility for one moment?

Now, however, with Russian intervention designed to break the deadlock and create a barrier – with or without Assad – against the spread of  Islamist contagion northwards into the Caucasus, thus putting the Russians into direct conflict with the generally anti-Assad, non-interventionist policies of the NATO alliance, America is in a pretty impossible position: arming and training the same supposedly moderate militias the Russians are trying to obliterate, but with both sides taking direct action against ISIS under a shared-skies arrangement that has now broken down as a result of Moscow witholding co-operation in feigned protest against Trump’s gestural rocketing of the Shayrat airbase.

Paint Turkey into the picture, however, its complex love-hate relationship with Russia, the Kurdish nationalist dimension, the bizarre machinations of its president-for-life, and you start to run out of mental capacity to grasp the full canvas. (Especially when you add-in China’s soft-power ambitions in the region….)

So we’ll ignore all that and speculate wildly instead about the energy industry.

x

Noble gases

One of the reasons no-one has been too exercised about the civil war in Syria is that Syria is not to any great extent an oil-producing nation; unlike its neighbour, Iraq; where the oilfields lie mainly in the northern area where Kurdish nationalist ambitions have created a proto- home state.

Offshore it’s a different story, with massive undersea gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean opening up opportunities for Israeli and US players.

Thus far, there appears to have been no exploration off the Syrian coast. But there seems to be no reason why the field should not extend that far north; indeed, there may be some additional reason for Moscow to take an interest: not to encourage, but to suppress competitive production.

The major fields under development are in the politically tortuous areas of Israeli waters, where an Oklahoma-based company called Noble Energy is sitting on massive reserves that are the subject of a legal action in the Israeli courts that has prevented them from exploiting their find. A decision is awaited later in the year.

The problem for all the energy players in the region is that there is so much gas under the sea – and maybe under the adjacent land; the Israeli- occupied Golan Heights, for instance – that prices have been tumbling; which naturally adds to Russia’s woes in the wake of the collapse in global oil prices; Russia being the dominant supplier in the region, and to Eastern Europe. But few buyers are willing to pile in to share in the bonanza if they know prices are only going to fall once they’ve signed the contract.

So it would be in Russia’s interests to restrict the supply of gas and force the price up; while at the same time using its Latakia and Tartus bases in Syria to break out of its Black Sea bailywick and project a little more ‘hard power’ in the region.

Noble, however (we’re not supposed to say who it is) in conjunction with an Israeli company, Delek, is talking of bypassing Syria to build an undersea pipeline directly to flood the Turkish energy market.

This would also conflict with Russia’s interests, as Gazprom is anxious to extend its market reach beyond the area of Ukraine, from which it profits little by exporting gas to a country that often fails to pay for it. And Gazprom also sells to Turkey and would not like to see its price undercut by Israeli gas. Turkey in turn is showing signs of fomenting trouble again in bi-partite Cyprus, which borders the gas fields to the west; and in other disputed Aegean islands. Does Erdogan have ambitions to explore and exploit his own ‘domestic’ energy sources?

There is the minor problem, too, that another major field is sitting off the coast at Gaza, discovered by British Gas. Israel is under pressure from Turkey to let the Palestinians immured in Gaza develop it as a means of providing themselves with a productive economy. There are both good and not so good reasons to say yes, since more prosperity for Gaza would reduce the hold of Hamas on the populace, but it’s being fiercely contested by rival interests.

And a shareholder in Noble is… President Donald J Trump. (Or was, under the Emoluments Clause he’s not supposed to be profiting from foreign investments; although the words ‘conflict’ and ‘interest’ are among the many thousands missing from his vocabulary.) Hence the presence of Noble director, George Papadopoulos as Foreign Energy Security advisor to the Trump team. (Another climate-change denier, incidentally, from the oil-soaked Hudson Institute.)

The Jerusalem Post (23 January reported on a productive meeting in Washington between Papadopoulos and ultra-right Israeli settler leader Yossi Dagan, after which George purred: “We are looking forward to ushering in a new relationship with all of Israel, including the historic Judea and Samaria” – settler code for the East Bank. Settlers are the last people who would approve a deal on gas with the Palestinians. In February, after a meeting with a bemused Prime Minister Netanyahu, Trump modified US policy on settlements and greenlighted a return to the ‘one-state solution’, effectively marginalising the Palestinians as second-class Israelis living permanently within a system of religious and ethnic discrimination.

Which might all sort of explain why General Flynn, who since leaving the Army has been earning (and failing to declare) large sums of money as a PR consultant of various kinds to the anti-Israel Erdogan regime, while also working for several Russian interests, and having fed all that US military intel to the Assad gang, is no longer persona grata in the Oval Office, and instead is urgently seeking the protection of the FBI.

A version of the story can be found on the RealNews channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO13RDfDWMQ

Ken, Ken, Ken… Just stop digging! Move on, okay? At 50C we’re fucked.

“Livingstone said he had not been asked by Labour to refrain from repeating his comments about Hitler, and that the disciplinary process was like “being in North Korea”.

“Tomorrow belongs to me!”

Photo ©Daily Mail

Ken, Ken, Ken… mate, just stop digging! Move on, okay?

Oh dear, Ken Livingstone. Red Ken as was, eh? What is he like?

The former Mayor of London, everyone admits, did a brilliant job, completely transforming a failing city: congestion charging, free bikes, free love, special protection for crested newts – rationalising the public transport infrastructure… yes, he made the trains run on time.

Okay, a few criticisms, like starting the process whereby Putinist oligarchs and Arab oleocrats continue to launder their ill-gotten gains through the rampant housing market; or at least not dissuading it. Not many signs that his successor, Mr Johnson did much about it either.

But Ken has always been a controversialist; a man who frequently gets himself into holes and, like the Russians of Knightsbridge, keeps on digging. For sheer self-righteous indignation he has few peers, except with the pro-Israel, pro-Zionist lobby among the “Jewish community” of Britain. (Such a “community” may not be said to exist at the best of times, given the broad diversity of views and cultural practices among Britain’s 250,000 Jews, but we’ll gloss over that, as many do. These are not anyway the best of times.)

And now he is of an age when creeping senility is merely hardening his view that he is a priceless national treasure who must not be criticised for anything; even the most arrant tactical stupidity. Oh, Ken! Dear, dear Ken.

Thus it was that, a year ago, in an interview with Vanessa Feltz about his professed loyalty towards the then-Labour leftwing candidate, Naz Shah, he blurted out some apparent nonsense about Hitler and his “support for Zionism”.

Now, while mention of the name Hitler in the title is said to increase book sales by 15 per cent, all politicians must be aware that its use in political discourse must be done with the utmost circumspection. Vague generalisations will not do. But Boris managed to get away with it: no-one accused him of antisemitism when he likened the EU to the Third Reich.

The original accusation of  “antisemitism” laid against Ms Shah, who went on to get elected after offering up the expected grovelling apology, concerned a silly Tweet she had sent to her friends group, in which she had taken an anti-Zionist meme – as it may have been, or it could have been a perfectly innocent geographical comparison, I have no idea – showing the map of Israel superimposed on the US state of Iowa, and added the caption “job done!”.

I suffer from an irritating habit of understanding the difference of when someone is just being amused by their own parti-pris sense of humour, and when they are deliberately issuing hateful propaganda for political ends. My own verdict, for what it is worth, which is not a lot, is that Shah was making a wry and not especially controversial private observation, that from a Muslim point of view it might have saved 70 years of violence if the European Jews had settled postwar in an uninhabited part of America instead of in Palestine, where there was a native population that has subsequently been marginalised and often brutalised by a flow of incomers who may be seen either as “indigenous but absent for the past 1900 years”; or as “oppressive colonisers”, depending on your point of view.

Nevertheless, there is a powerful lobby in Britain that is perfectly capable of utterly disregarding the first, “it is my humour” option, and seldom misses an opportunity to cry “antisemite!” when feeling offended; to stir up offence and to start a witch-hunt, especially against a Muslim, Labour MP, in order to keep up the pretence that the Likud government’s view that “might is right” should continue to dictate unpopular Israeli policy uncriticised and unhindered by any in the West.

Meanwhile, anyone thinking of going into politics should seriously consider their social media usage: you get away with nothing nowadays. Personally, I have no social media accounts. This li’l bogl would be more than enough to condemn me as anti-pretty much everything.

Believe it or not, people are actually paid and encouraged to go on social and mainstream media at the drop of a hat, to cry their “offence” and to respond to any hint of a point of view to the contrary with angry denunciations. One such, principal apologist Mr Regev, has been rewarded with the Israeli ambassadorship to London. Ms Shah on the other hand was accused by this group of Zionist trolls of wanting to “deport all the Israelis” from Israel, and other people went along with this propagandistic, Islamophobic assertion. Their bad.

Look. Have I got space here to dilate on the history of the Zionist movement from its invention in the latter part of the C19th up until 1932, when Hitler’s party came to power in Germany; the 1933 Enabling Act abolishing the powers of the German Presidency, leaving the Chancellor unopposed in his position; the subsequent Othering of the German Jews, the decrees confiscating their businesses and property, de-platforming of scientists, artists and writers; Kristallnacht, the deportations, the slave labour camps, mass murders by SS Einsatzgruppen death squads in the occupied territories and finally, the industrialized slaughter of millions?

Then the subsequent battle of wills of the survivors against the British mandate in Palestine – the terror campaigns by the Haganah and Irgun groups – the “ethnic cleansing” of the native Palestinians, the expulsions, the wars against their neighbours and the Occupation (happy 50th), the massacres at Shabrah and Chatilah, the immuring and blockade of Gaza, the punitive expeditions, the Intifada and the resistance, the abstraction of water and destruction of livelihoods, the relentless building and post hoc validation of illegal settlements, the creation of what now looks like an apartheid single-state, by what some Jewish historians themselves call the “Settler-colonialist” movement?

No, I haven’t. It’s all much too controversial, territory into which one dare not stray for fear of being hounded from pillar to post with cries of “antisemite”, no further such discussion being tolerable as European and American graveyards are desecrated and Jewish citizens targeted by Islamist terrorists and ultranationalistic white supremacists apparently feeling licensed by populist demagogues to raise the spectre of persecution once again, in a hideous cycle of attrition; it’s impossible.

Now is clearly not the time.

I dare however remark that, while it is only the holocaust-denying, alt-right revisionist ‘fake’ historians of the Chicago school who have linked the name of Adolf Hitler to Nazi support for Zionism, there are some respectable historians (such as AJP Taylor, who suffered academic persecution for his revisionist views on the “accidental” origins of WW2 and Hitler’s intentions, now more normally accepted) who have pointed to documentary evidence that there was indeed a section of the National Socialist party before 1933 that tended to favour the idea of encouraging Jews to leave Germany of their own volition.

Indeed they may have financed the settler movement to some degree and, indeed, expediently professed some admiration for their values of sturdy independence and briefly supported their ambition to create their own separate state. But there is no evidence that the pro-Zionist tendency included Hitler himself; and it was rapidly discouraged. Nor does the evidence explain, excuse or exonerate the responsibility of the party leadership subsequently for acts of genocide.

But we can’t discuss it. Nor is it particularly relevant that we should discuss it; someone should tell Ken there is no reason to keep raising the matter, it is relevant to nothing outside possibly the context of history books. No-one really cares about this detail; you are only giving a hostage to fortune for ignorant racists to seize on some debatable alt-fact to justify their prejudices.

I might also comment without fear or favour that saying this does not make me an “antisemite” or a Holocaust-denier, okay? I merely state an objective fact: that some reputable historians have pointed to this short-lived phenomenon; however retrospectively controversial their findings may be. But I appreciate that it does not suit some people’s narrative or their current political objectives to admit for a second the possibility that there may have been collusion at any time between the Nazis and the proto-state of Israel prior to the adoption of the policy of genocide.

It is a sensitive point: my argument is that it is very much in your interest to make it a sensitive point, to use such arguments as a basis for stirring up resistance when it may not much be of special concern among the “Jewish community”, who have more important things to worry about. History cannot alter the realities of the past; nor can anyone, neither Mr Arkush of the Board of Deputies, who asserts with maximal indignation and assumed  offence that he regards today’s news as  “a new low” in the history of relations with the historically antifascist Labour Party, which he and Rabbi Mervis continually hammer as institutionally racist; nor even Mr Livingstone.

But it can be used against reason, which seems not much valued nor respected anywhere in the era of “alternative facts”.

Now, back to poor Ken. Dear Ken.

Comparing the Labour party executive to North Korea is even more wildly imaginative than comparing Hitler to the Zionists, or whatever the hell he was trying to say. Let us not ignore the Trump theory, that Ken (71, going on 72) is in the early stages of dementia. His stubborn refusal to confront not just the possibility that he and his revisionist historical sources may be wrong, but that it is probably better just to shut up about it, since he is no expert, is doing all kinds of damage that could be avoided if he would just get off his horse and drink his milk, to borrow a line from John Wayne.

He needs to understand that the only people who give a fuck about Hitler and the Zionists are the Zionist lobby making maximum political capital out of his pernicious vapourings.

His repetition of the theory; his insistence that he is in the right, his complaint about the mild slap on the wrist the party machine has inflicted on him, which he refuses to recognise as anything other than a historic abrogation of his right to free speech; these are understandable reactions, but unwise. That he cannot see it as his ruin, and that of the party, is an expanding tragedy.

Better they had hung him out to dry, torn up his party card for life, sacrificed one of their totemic supporters, than suffer yet another existential crisis at a time when they are under relentless assault by the media over their dysfunctional leadership and shambolic underperformance in holding a rampant Tory party to account over such more pressing matters as the unfolding nightmare of Brexit, the “50p Housing Benefit” scandal and the deliberate running-down of the NHS.

The Labour Party cannot afford Livingstone any longer. He is doing this deliberately, I imagine, in order to force the Party to confront its divisions and lack of direction, to divert attention away from the inadequacies of Mr Corbyn; and to keep himself in the public eye, no doubt – retirement can go hard. But it’s not working, so he can just cut it out.

You’re all as awful, self-righteous and obsessive as one another, frankly.

Just stop digging! Move on, okay?

 

2017

Anyone imagining that all such controversies matter a damn had better look at this:

http://arctic-news.blogspot.co.uk/ (5 April)

To summarise:

El Niño underway in the Pacific (wrong year). Gulf Stream heating up. Methane plumes erupting from the Arctic seabed. Sea surface temperatures 5.9°C warmer than 1981-2011. Central Africa currently exceeding 50 deg. C. Hundreds of wildfires burning in central Asia – CO2 measured at over 510 ppm, air heavy with sulphur.

Major flooding from Cyclone Debbie in New Zealand and Queensland (“1 in 500-years event” – second time in six years); devastating landslides after record rains in Colombia and Peru; millions of acres of Chile and the southern states of the USA burned; snow and tornado warnings nightly. Low-lying Vanuatu (wrecked by Cat 5 ‘Pam’ two years ago) threatened by tropical cyclone Cook (10 April).

Bleaching reported of two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef. 10 April: +28 Deg. C (83F)  in New York.

Can’t the lying rich fuckers in the White House  see where this is inevitably heading?

Out on my walks, I notice it – again. Spring arrived maybe a month early. Astonishing rapid growth, everything out chaotically all at once; trees in leaf, masses of blossom, carpets of daisies like snow – bluebells already – 23 Deg C. today, cloudless skies. My neighbour made a new front lawn: in five days from seeding his grass is 2″ high.

Guys, we’re basically fucked here.

 

 

We no longer vote, we purchase. Woman of the Dunes. And NOx? Get rid of the fucking thing!

“What opinion polls have taught us is that politics is not about practicalities: it’s about opinions.”

We no longer vote, we purchase.

By: Chief Political Correspondent, Laura Facebook ©2017. @Laurasweeplace.

Director Comey demonstrates his strange thumbs. And Gary Cooper’s lovely eyes…

Ten days ago I wrote a piece called Wake Up Britain, You’re Being Disrupted!

I seemed to be the only person who had noticed that the FBI Director, James Comey, had agreed at a Congressional Intelligence Committee hearing on 20 March that Russia had had a murky little hand in the Brexit referendum.

So although I still appear to be the only person who has noticed, as there has been no mention of it anywhere, nevertheless I was delighted to read an article on the Guardian Today website this morning, in which various politicians appear to have woken up to the threat posed to the democratic electoral process by ‘Dark Money’ ops.

Except that the article had appeared since I went to bed at midnight and was already Closed for Comments by half-past ten this morning, indicating that its quota had been filled by ‘Dark Thoughts’ while Britain yet slept.

The Comment I wanted to make was that the Electoral Commission, which looks into such matters, seems to be living in the previous reality; worrying that ‘political parties’ may be using technology to get away with influencing voters outside the normal rules of election spending. It is something they feebly admit they can do nothing about, since the bulk of the spending is invested in creating the technology and that can be done outside the period during which spending is controlled.

And actually, my point is that it is not political parties generally that are sucking-up vast volumes of data like a Korean trawler in a Yellowfin tuna shoal, and using it to target automated messages – bots – against individual voters; it’s hostile governments and wealthy private individuals – Disruptors – seeking for their own ends to undermine our democratic institutions.

Political parties have ceased to have any relevance in the Facebook age of individual realities. They haven’t quite noticed yet: but in the USA, for instance, the traditional two-party system is completely broken, as it has become impossible to show that there is any degree of unity within the philosophical boundaries that were once defined by the party labels. Politicians affiliate with whoever is going to spend the most money getting them elected; not with one another, or with blocs of voters united in opinion or aspiration.

This is also completely true of Britain’s disintegrated Labour party; and increasingly of its Conservative rivals. While voters might still retain some measure of loyalty to one side or the other, it’s purely symbolic: they want what they want. MPs generally don’t. When it comes to party agendas and manifesto pledges ideology has become amorphous, out of shape; broadly malleable, and responsive to individual needs and single events – such as a Daily Mail headline.

The more important vote politicians are chasing now is the consumer preference. We no longer vote, we purchase. What opinion polls have taught is that politics is not about practicalities, policies, outcomes: it’s about opinions.

This matter of choice has arisen, I contend, as a result of fifty or sixty years of consumer capitalism, whereby the acquisition of products and the commoditisation of debt; the availability of plastic money as a substitute for the real thing, that does not have to be earned; individual preference, brand loyalty if you like, has replaced the group dynamic – the social altruism – of political affiliation.

People long ago ceased to be referred to as ‘customers’ or ‘passengers’, whatever defined them as the users of specific services; we all became ‘consumers’. The idea took hold that as consumers we had general rights, rather than a specific contract. Thus students became consumers of education, entitled to achieve a degree regardless of academic attainment. Sick people purchased with their National Insurance tax subvention, medical services of which they had a right to demand cure.

The internet has enabled the widest possible exchange of subjective performance reviews of individual experiences consumers have with purchases – of products and services, but also of political policy outcomes as they affect the purchaser. Hence the widespread view that politicians are all the same, all corrupt, all out for themselves – it’s not true, necessarily, but it accurately reflects the attitude of the perennially dissatisfied purchaser – who is indeed ‘out for themselves’ in demanding exceptional treatment related to their private situation and aggravated when it is not forthcoming; principally because someone else is getting it unfairly.

Thus in politics, voters have become consumers of political services at every level, from the right to expect working drains and less immigration, to the right to demand that we leave the European Union, or the United Kingdom – as political outcomes, or products we have purchased with our votes; regardless of the wisdom of such actions from a historical and economic perspective. Our consumer satisfaction is reflected in the polls, and is thus invarably negative – as all products and services are marketed with an expectation of built-in dissatisfaction in order to keep us consuming.

Another win-win-win for the uber-capitalists, I fear. And still they keep on grabbing more.

Anyway, it’s a worthwhile read:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/01/dark-money-threat-to-uk-elections-integrity?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=219998&subid=19570602&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

And for a companion piece that restates what I have said many times on this, muh bogl, that the EU was our last line of defence against the corporatist Big Data takeover of our country, here’s Will Hutton:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/26/finally-reacting-disruptive-supermacy-of-facebook-and-google

x

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans to charge the owners of diesel vehicles £24 a day to enter the Inner London area.

Cough, splutter, croak: the ‘yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-pane’ (TS Elliot)

I was just three years old, born and living in London, in December 1952 when the Great Smog arose, and in five days of choking, sulphur-yellow emanation carried off twelve thousand of my fellow Londoners.

Of course, I wasn’t really aware of it. Maybe I was even shipped out for safety to my grandparents in the western suburbs, I have no memory of it. I survived, anyway, although my repeated bouts of “bronchitis” – actually, undiagnosed asthma – put me in the school sanatorium with great regularity thereafter. I got through a lot of books; a lot of watery, concentrated National Health orange juice, the only cure.

But I do remember other, similar events as I grew up.

Most of those who died were elderly people whose health had been damaged long before, in the privations of the Great Depression and by years of war rationing, inhaling brick-dust and smoke from the bombing. Most of them had smoked heavily all their lives; many lived in mouldy, draughty, damp and dusty, unheated housing with coal or gas fires, and worked in unregulated industries.

It was in that sense a culling of the weak-chested.

So I do sympathise, I really do, with city dwellers. I left London 35 years ago, moving erratically westwards until I arrived on the coast at Boglington-on-Sea, where fresh, onshore Atlantic breezes blow the filthy stuff – air – up the valley, across the hills and far away, back into the begrimed faces of the people of Birmingham whence it probably came.

Even so, our sunny days are often masked and cooled by a thin veil of brownish cloud, or the diaphanous wisps of con-trails merging overhead; while out at sea, the coast of Ireland sixty miles away may be identified by a line of darker sky staining the horizon.

Pollution.

In the light of growing health concerns, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khani has announced plans to charge the owners of polluting diesel vehicles £24 a day just to enter the Inner London area; and other measures. Furthermore, after chatting to his counterpart in Paris, he proposes to have diesel cars banned from London altogether by 2025, via a strategy of limiting their access during the daytime.

It isn’t a problem for me, as I no longer have a reason to drive into London. But I do, I have to confess, own a car with a small diesel engine, that I use dreadfully inefficiently as a local runabout, seeing as I never go anywhere nowadays. My Committee of Discarnate Entities has been prompting me to sell it for months now, but it’s just too damned convenient. Besides, I like it.

For I was one of the thirteen million motorists conned into believing diesel cars were nowadays cleaner and cheaper to run than petrol; although the instant you think about it, it can’t be true. All of us have at some time in our motoring lives been stuck behind a lorry grinding up an incline in second gear, belching black stuff. We secretly know, don’t we, that we’re pumping out the same greasy mix of gases and sooty particulates; only less visibly. (In my defence, I have never seen anything nasty coming from my exhaust.)

We believed diesel had changed its spots. Thanks to improvements in refining, the stuff was practically drinkable. It would carry us further on the same quantity, and be less damaging to our engine. It had low sulphur. And when burned, it was 25 per cent less laden with CO2, the greenhouse villain. We knew diesel emits more particulates; but particulates were good, because they cut down the sunlight that’s heating the planet. And anyway, the particulate filters in the new generation of smaller, more efficient diesels would take care of it; just as the catalytic converter and the removal of lead ‘anti-knock’ additives, new engine designs had taken care of the problems with petrol.

Diesel has a high content of nitrogen which, when burned, produces various oxides of nitrogen: NOx; while the filtration of larger particulates leaves the smaller, more damaging particulates unaffected. These get into the lungs more easily and can trigger asthma and cause children’s lungs not to grow fully. Three hundred thousand British children live within 150 yards of a main road. Burning any fossil fuel has its downsides; which sounds like a rather cynical underestimation of the probability that we are on the verge of the greatest mass extinction since the Permian, 250 million years ago, thanks to our brute stupidity and selfishness.

Nitrogen oxides at ground-level react to produce O1 – ozone, a poisonous gas (not to be confused with good ozone way up in the stratosphere which cuts down life-destroying UV radiation.) Plus, of course, if everyone reverted to petrol-driven cars, logic tells us the CO2 emissions targets couldn’t be met… 13 million petrol-fuelled cars output 61 million tonnes of CO2 annually, so we’d expect an additional 15 million tonnes of the warming stuff from any mass changeover.

So electric cars are the answer in cities… No, you’re just shifting the emissions from the cars to the generators.

Listen, don’t let anybody – least of all, the Mayor of London –  tell you atmospheric chemistry is easy, or free from ‘fake news’. Wikipedia describes NOx thus:

“NOx is a generic term for the various nitrogen oxides produced during combustion. They are believed to aggravate asthmatic conditions, react with the oxygen in the air to produce ozone, which is also an irritant and eventually form nitric acid when dissolved in water. When dissolved in atmospheric moisture the result can be acid rain which can damage both trees and entire forest ecosystems.”

But, as an example of how complicated the arguments are, it is necessary only to turn to the website of Science Daily, which scoops up the latest reports – such as:

“Climate researchers are warning that efforts to reduce air pollution could, if not well designed, make global warming worse. Limiting emissions of manmade nitrogen oxides, a strategy to control ozone in the lower atmosphere, would result in increased methane abundance and lead to additional greenhouse warming.” – American Geophysical Union

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010417075108.htm

For, as we know, methane is many times more efficient at absorbing heat than is CO2.

Now, this raises several questions. Is the effect on climate change and citizen health so strong as to really make a difference, given the relatively small quantity of NOx produced by however many diesel vehicles there are in a city like London? Aren’t the supposedly cleaner gases produced by burning ordinary refined petrol just as likely to have indirect harms too? Sulphur is one, that turns in rainy weather to H2SO4 – sulphuric acid.

Nitric? Sulphuric? Carbonic? You takes your choice.

Then, we have to consider what proportion of nitrogen pollution in the city is attributable to smaller, more efficient diesel-engined private cars, and what to the many other sources of NOx – including commercial vehicles, boats on the river, fashionable wood-burning stoves, aircraft overflight and many industrial processes. A 2005 report from the University of Washington found that 22 per cent of NOx – over 8 million metric tons worldwide – comes from natural background emissions in the soil. (Ibid.)

So maybe the Mayor of London needs to order the Royal Parks tarmacked over, as they produce more NOx than private cars?

As I’m not an atmospheric chemist, I have to write ‘finally’ here. Although it’s a lot more complicated and convoluted I’ve reached the limits, both of my understanding and of my interest. But in defence of us poor diesel drivers, who paid a premium price for this extra efficiency and environmental kindness we were promised, that since the scandal of VW’s clever software that ‘fixed’ the results of lab tests turns out to have been a bit of a hoax, and who now stand to lose a lot of money, I should point out:

The unpleasant and unhealthy smogs that have returned to London since the 1956 Clean Air Act ended the winter misery of coal-induced sulphurous miasmas have one element in common with them: the weather.

This winter over large areas of the northern hemisphere, high pressure systems predominated, creating what are known as ‘inversion layers’, where lighter, warmer, smog-laden air becomes trapped under a layer of heavier, colder air and with the lack of wind at low altitude can neither dissipate nor get blown away. As little is done at the time to reduce the sources of these emissions, the air gets progressively fouler. Indeed, some studies suggest that in the centres of the world’s megacities, vital oxygen levels can drop to dangerous lows.

Climate scientists have blamed these high-pressure systems on a weakening of the jetstream wind owing to warming of the Arctic reducing the ocean temperature differential with the north Atlantic and Pacific. It seems likely therefore that we can blame this last winter’s smogs on global warming caused by the very gases that are choking our citizens.

What I have not yet heard anyone say in regard to this, I would say irreconcilable, argument between the advocates of diesel versus petrol-engined cars, and the damage they are doing, both to the environment and to our children’s and old people’s health, is the blindingly obvious:

There are far too many cars in our cities.

You don’t need a car in London! Get rid of the fucking car, it’s costing you a fortune to park, to run. You’ve got 24-hour public transport, you lucky things! Just think how much money – and how many lives – you’ll save.

So, wake up, Sadiq. Ban them all!

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Spring is Sprung

Despite the belief among a growing number of scientists that we’re doomed and life on earth has nine years to go before a Permian-level extinction, hasn’t this Spring just been fucking spectacular?

I suppose it depends on where you live, but here on the west coast we had no snow this winter, a couple of days and a few nights of ground frost only; only one winter storm (max 94 mph) and average rainfall.

Last week the sun came out and everything just exploded into leaf, blossom, flower and growth confusingly all at once. Lawns became suddenly snowy with a thick carpet of daisies; bluebells lurked in odd corners, yellow anemones and cheerful dandelions clashed vibrantly with the gorse – never have I seen gorse so thickly covered in acid-yellow flowers. Birdsong fills the air as the little feathery tweets vie for territory over the constant thrum and roar of the traffic.

My neighbour dug over his scabby front garden to make a lawn. Within five days the grass he seeded was already up and two inches high. Not all of this ought to be happening so early in the year. Even holidaymakers were arriving, months early.

I’d been noticing for the last few years that vegetation cover in the shit-strewn exurban river valley across the road, that passes for our local park, has been getting denser. We boast a variety of environments and habitats, from marshland and succession woodland to the sewage farm and a cricket ground; all of it is thriving as never before.

I read that it’s down to the extra CO2 in the atmosphere.

Spring, as they say, is in the air! Enjoy it while it lasts, peeps.

x

Woman of the Dunes

You may be following the latest twist in the Watergate saga.

A Scottish judge has ruled on a legal technicality against a case brought by retired social worker Rohan Beyts, who was suing the Trump Organization for breach of her Data privacy after three Trump employees at the International Golf Course near Aberdeen photographed her ‘taking a whizz’, as Americans say, in the rough.

They subsequently sent the photographs to the police as evidence that a criminal offence had been committed. A prosecution was brought, but rapidly dismissed as the law in Scotland allows ramblers in the open countryside to take a discreet pee if they need to; even on the hallowed sands of a $120 million Trump links course.

I may move to Scotland in that case.

This intrusion on her private moment, argued Beyts, as she had committed no crime, violated her right to privacy under the Data Protection Act.

Sadly, Sheriff Donald Corke was reluctantly unable to convict because, despite bristling with CCTV cameras and computers containing visitor and employee records, the loss-making TIGC had somehow overlooked the legal necessity to register under the Act and could therefore not infringe it.

Nevertheless he had some pretty strong words to say about Trump’s hired goons:

…she was entirely within her legal rights at the time, and her distress at being photographed and charged was very real. She had “a reasonable expectation of privacy”. She shouldn’t have been photographed, Corke said. “I have to emphasise that officious bystanders who photograph females urinating in the countryside put themselves at very real risk of prosecution”, he added. (BBC News)

So the poor woman ended up paying £300 costs, although that’s been more than covered by the £3,000 raised from a crowdfunding website.

It’s a 9-iron short of a sand wedge from at least two points of view; not least showing as it does how poorly Donald Trump’s thuggish business methods have gone down in the locality.

First, any mention of women urinating in the same breath as the name Donald Trump must raise a wry smile; and secondly the Orange Buffoon just signed off on another of his larky Executive Orders, effectively abolishing the US equivalent of the Data Protection laws relating to internet service providers and platforms.

They can now make whatsoever use of your data pleaseth them, without your knowledge; and it’s an ordinance that hasn’t gone down very well, even with the Dumbfucks: the ruling has polled an 80 per cent national disapproval rating, to match Mr Trump’s historically unprecedented personal low 35 per cent approval after only 75 days in office.

So bad.

Added to which, the new Director of Homeland Security, ‘retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly’, is reportedly considering extending ‘extreme vetting’ to ALL non-US nationals entering the country – not just terrorists and brown people, but even returning residents and nationals of friendly countries with reciprocal visa waivers.

Yes, Brits too, we’re so special.

‘Extreme vetting’ means examining your social media and other data usage for signs of anti-Americanism, or even connections to it. Visit Disneyworld next holidays and you may find yourself having to hand over your laptop, all your passwords, your email Contacts folder, your mobile phone (to inspect the photo files and see who you’ve been talking to) and answer a battery of new questions about your attitudes to ‘right to life’ (abortion), ‘religious beliefs and affiliations’ and the ‘war on terror’ (Islamism), with a very good chance that if you aren’t sufficiently onboard with the program, they’ll send you home – or worse.

Among the checks he expects to add would, of course, be intense scrutiny of blog Post contents.

Ooops.

Ah well, at least my numbers might start to creep up.

Mr Kelly is quoted as saying, if you don’t like America, don’t come. He’s got a funny way of being likeable. Tourism numbers are already substantially down as a result of the failed Muslim ban, so this latest Trump-pleaser is likely to send them crashing through the floor, costing the hotel and resort trade billions of dollars.

Therein lies hope for travellers, as many of Trump’s oligarch cronies and indeed the Orange Hotelier himself depend on tourism dollars for a sizeable slab of income, and are likely to notice when they have shot themselves in both feet.

The chance is, of course, that outrage among the US’s allies around the world could also result in retaliatory measures against US tourists entering our quaint old countries. Tourism employs three million people in the UK, 75% of them British nationals; and Americans, our number one visitor nation, spend around £3 billion here.

Suck on that, Theresa.

Next time don’t hold his hand, reminding us of Clint Eastwood and Clyde the orang-utan – just push him down the fucking stairs.

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Scumbag News

Britain awoke this morning to a photograph of ‘Dr’ Liam Fox, the Business Brexit, palling-up with Rodrigo Duterte, the underdressed Philippines dictator who has likened himself to Adolf Hitler – for stupidly mentioning who’s name Mr Ken Livingstone is – again – being investigated, although he has said nothing illegal as far as anyone can see; just dumb.

In Duterte’s Philippines, around ten thousand people have been murdered by police death squads and vigilantes at his express instigation since he came to power, for having any connection with the drugs trade – even just alleged users. Indeed, he claims to have murdered a few folks himself, just to show how it’s done. And of course not long ago he was referring to the US President as ‘that son of a whore’, and so on.

Why is Dr Atlantic even speaking to this potty-mouthed, pockmarked little psychopath? It’s not for medical reasons, but to try to set up some squalid trade deals to replace our perfectly good existing arrangements with the EU; to which end, Fox uttered the immortal words:

“We have a foundation of shared values and shared interests”.

What a total cunt. But yes, you probably do, ‘Dr’ Fox.

Britain is proud of you.

(Photo: The Guardian/British Embassy, Manila)