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