The Pumpkin – Issue 19: ‘Slumdog Billionaires’; The Only Way Is Ethics.

 

“For some reason I don’t seem able to breathe?”

I’m sorry, but your President is a racist hypocrite

A few days ago, two American men, one an army veteran, who stepped in to try to stop a white supremacist dogturd yelling abuse on a Portland, Oregon train while waving a knife at two terrified young muslim girls, were stabbed to death.

In the dock the gross-looking, unrepentant, arrogant little piece of trailer-trash shouted Trump-like slogans about ‘America First!’ – apparently unaware of the fact that he’d just butchered two fellow white Americans.

‘America First!’ is of course the English for ‘Allahu akbar!’

From the White House there was only silence until, three days later, in face of a growing public campaign to get the President to at least say something appropriately condemnatory, if only to express some sympathy with the dead men’s families, the orange fatarse tweeted that the killings were ‘unacceptable’.

While his official Twitter feed, that he doesn’t write, grudgingly admitted that ‘the victims were standing up to hate and intolerance’, the following day the President of the United States of America posted this on his personal feed:

“The Fake News Media works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don’t want America to hear the real story!”

This is an intolerable situation for any American, to have elected as President a self-serving Philistine with arrested development and zero affect, a grossly spoiled, solipsistic child-man who is more concerned about his personal fucking reputation than about the lives of the more decent of his citizens, or even the fate of his country, now branded around the world thanks to him as a pariah state.

As if to rub in the point, within minutes of the latest outrage in London, in which eight bystanders and three perpetrators were killed on Saturday night, and many more injured, in a car-and-knife rampage on London Bridge, this treacherous racist pig was on the phone to Prime Minister May, hypocritically offering any help and support the US could give.

He knows, we feel certain, that it was British intelligence that alerted the National Security Administration in 2015 to the suspicious activities of his wrecking-crew on the campaign staff and their many contacts with Russian spies and money-laundering oligarchs. We feel sure therefore that the phone call was intended merely to suggest that we could still be friends, despite the scornful attitude of the EU and the rest of the world.

To add insult to injury – this outrage on our streets is none of his fucking business but he seems determined to make political capital – he has since launched an astonishing attack on the muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The Guardian reports:

“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack,” the president wrote on his personal Twitter account, “and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!”

“The mayor, Sadiq Khan, did not use the phrase “no reason to be alarmed” in a statement overnight or when he spoke in a television interview earlier on Sunday.” – The Guardian

So, more shameless inventions squirting from the President’s lying Twitter feed. When will he be imprisoned? He would be an embarrassment if he weren’t so incredibly unpleasant.

What Khan actually said was:

“This was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night,” he said. “I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.” (Ibid.)

No longer trusted by the European allies, like the school bully toadying up to any kid who isn’t already his victim, desperate for validation, America and Brexiting Britain now need one another more than ever.

For Trump, those two American heroes were just a pair of losers. As far as he is concerned the only evil terrorism is Islamic evil terrorism, which he proposes to continue bombing into submission, at whatever cost to the rest of us, because he sucked up the Bush line about the ‘war on terror’ and he liked the sound of that.

He will make what propaganda he will out of terrorist attacks abroad – Islamic resistance that his own foreign policy is clearly exacerbating – while remaining sanguine about the vile tide of white racism he has unleashed in America.

That pleases his loyal band of dumbfucks, who are just now waking up to the news that he’s put their taxes up and slashed their healthcare to enrich his billionaire friends and funders, and swamped his administration with Wall Street insiders and fossil lobbyists; but who don’t seem to mind.

We are reminded that two weeks from today will mark the anniversary of the horrific murder on a Yorkshire street of the rights campaigner and pro-Remain MP, mother-of-two Jo Cox by Thomas Mair, a deluded ‘Britain First!’ loner with ties to a neo-Nazi group in South Africa.

A murder celebrated at the time on ‘social’ media by many of Donald J Trump’s extremist supporters with howls of delight.

Evil. Sick. Demented slime-dwelling creatures with a grossly overinflated sense of their importance, granted to them by the capitalist illusion of unregulated ‘social media’.

Unacceptable.

x

Slumdog Billionaires

Amid the global contumely and condemnation both abroad and at home of Mister Trump’s singular repudiation (against the best advice available) of the Paris accord, as now doth America, so stands he sadly alone.

And that’s just where he seems happiest, bathed in the refulgence of his own self-pitying solipsism.

Poor Donny, nobody loves you now.

Except he’s not really alone, despite not being able to recruit staff to replace the ones he’s already fired because he doesn’t trust them. I mean, would you?

For Steve Bannon is back in the shadows, having thrown Mister Trump’s politically inexperienced son-in-law, plastic boy Mister Kushner, 36, a successful millionaire property developer (as the supine and compliant wankers at BBC News keep calling the billion-dollar bankrupt), under the giant crunching wheels of the FBI juggernaut last week with a well-aimed leak to the New York Times about his undeclared meetings with Russian officials.

We could possibly swallow the line about opening a back-channel to Moscow, were it not for two clues that it might not be true.

One, he lied about it; or rather, failed on oath to tell the truth. Why? If opening back-channels with known spies when front-channels aren’t working is a good thing for foreign relations, why not say so? But why not wait until Trump was inaugurated before playing footsie with the enemy? And why did other members of the transition teams – Flynn, Sessions, lie more than once about their meetings with Russians?

And two, what on earth was Kushner then doing, having meetings with Sergei Gorkov – the head of VneshEconomBank, or VEB, a Putin crony heading a known FSB intelligence service slush-fund operation, who has no diplomatic credentials whatever?

Add to that, Kushner was not an accredited government official with a security clearance at the time of the meetings, and was thus not legally in a position to hold unofficial meetings with Russian diplomats. It’s illegal under the Logan Act for an ordinary citizen to treat with a foreign power; which possibly explains why he wouldn’t own up to it as it made him an unregistered foreign agent.

Just as had been General Flynn, now thought to be pouring what remains of his heart out to the FBI; Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, all under the spotlight now but all sometime Trump appointees to the campaign team. Not to mention poor Nigel Farage, whose overweening vanity appears to have landed him in the compromising rats’ nest of slumdog billionaires surrounding Orange Satan.

Let’s be charitable. Let’s say, Mister Trump was innocently ‘cucked’ by a conspiracy of Russian agents. His known past associations with New York and Russian mafia figures seem to have been based merely on a mission to do business and to win, whatever it takes; rather than on any desire to personally run drugs or pimp trafficked women. In the mafia, loyalty to the family is everything. Trump is loyal to no-one but his great big beautiful self.

Nevertheless he seems to have a history of courting shady characters while assiduously avoiding criminal proceedings. He perhaps sees criminal types usefully as ‘winners’ rather than ‘losers’, because they have money to flash around and a total disregard for the norms and conventions of society, which he sees as a conspiracy of the losers.

It’s possible, is it not, that he was willing to work with, to turn a blind eye to, a nasty little cabal of traitors, sanctions-busters, money-launderers, PR sloths and verminous oil-industry lowlifes willing to go-between where you and I wouldn’t, because he saw only the advantages for his campaign of playing dirty.

The downside – life imprisonment for treason, possibly – never crossed his greedy old mind, other than as a Freudian transference of his own culpability onto his political opponent, ‘Crooked Hillary’.

It’s an old mind that appears to be failing, to judge by some of his TV appearances. I especially recommend the one where, in the middle of a meeting with Kushner’s mentor, Israeli hardman Binyamin Netanyahu, the Donald just stands up looking confused, brushes away a handshake opportunity and stumbles off the stage as if he has no idea where he is, leaving Bibi clearly puzzled and annoyed. It’s not the first time he has gone wandering off like that.

But his spoiled infantilism, his apparent auto-immunity from responsibility, his notorious Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder that means briefings have to be presented to him in short comic-strip form, the overbearing narcissism that means to retain his interest those briefings have to include frequent mentions (in a positive light) of his own name, praising him for his wisdom and maturity; those abusive meltdowns when he feels he is the only person he can trust to do things properly, or when he’s no longer the centre of attention – Entrepreneur Syndrome – a burning desire to please his authoritarian father – those are the attributes that leave him intensely vulnerable to the Iago of the Oval Office, Stephen K Bannon.

The Pumpkin feels that Trump – sorry, Mister Trump – is in fact in the grip of two separate but conjoined conspiracies; we have previously shown they are linked by money and religion. There is the Russia thing, where it still has not been shown that he is not financially compromised by private bankers, as many people seem to suspect, or worse; and then there is the alt-right nationalist, fundamentalist Christian Breitbart News connection, fronted by Bannon and backed by the Mercers, Robert and daughter Rebekah.

Did Mercer weaponize the Russian-hacked Hillary intel through his Cambridge Analytica company to fix the election of his boy Donald? Just askin’.

Anyway, so, whatever, back to Kushner – sorry, Mister Kushner – and his dealings with the Russians. You see, lots of cable TV news anchors are putting two and two together, and leaping to the unlikely conclusion that the meetings with Ambassador Kislyak were to get a deal whereby Orange Dad would lift Obama’s sanctions and restore the two Russian embassy ‘holiday compounds’ in New York State and Maryland that Obama shut down because of the Trump campaign’s close Russia connections, to which he had been alerted by foreign intelligence services in 2015.

Was that in exchange for a bailout from the VEB’s Gorkov to cover the Kush’s huge losses in the property market? Essentially putting the son-who-also-rises in the same bad applecart as Orange Dad? As in “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” – Eric (Little Nazi) Trump.

It is obviously much too fanciful to speculate that the whole thing might have been Vladimir’s idea. ‘Don’t worry about the $1 billion Steve Bannon accidentally told the Fake News press via his back-channels that you owe twenty banks, plastic tovarich, don’t bother getting it from Soros, he’s not happy with you anymore. We’ll consolidate the loan in exchange for a few simple concessions, like you let us have the cozy rats’ nests back that the nasty black man took away; and if you take off those silly financial sanctions too we’ll let Tex Tillexxon drill the fuck out of the Arctic, now you’ve melted it for us.

How’s that for improving relations?

x

The only way isn’t Ethics

Yes, sorry.

While all this may or may not have been deniably going on, Mr Trump back from holiday abusing the EU and NATO ‘allies’ has rediscovered what his right hand is for and signed into Executive purgatory pending congressional rubber-stamping a number of useful new measures we in Britain probably aren’t going to hear about on the credulous BBC news, courtesy of our man in Washington, John Sopoor.

For instance, Congress purportedly has oversight of what used to be known as ‘ethics’ in government. You know, anti-corruption, influence peddling, nepotism, illegal acceptance of foreign emoluments, peddling of US immigration visas, obstruction of justice sort of things.

Among the latest edicts to emanate from the Oval Office has been the suspension of ethical oversight for President Bannon and 16 other members of the cabinet.

All these Trumpointees were in the anomalous position of having worked until recently as paid lobbyists, or as persons with clear conflicts of interest, having previously worked in private-sector companies and now finding themselves in positions of authority over branches of the government responsible for matters pertaining to their previous employments, as it were.

Those conflicts of interest were just about mitigated by a two-year separation rule. Now, the New Swamp has been granted immunity from ethical oversight, to enable them to more quickly and efficiently carry out their mission of destroying the administration and unpicking the regulatory environment, especially where good governance conflicts with the interests of their billionaire backers.

It’s all more businesslike, you see.

And as we recall, Mr Trump has never quite understood the role of an Opposition party in the two houses of Congress. Obama was a Democratic Party choice, so obviously the President hates Democrats, especially more popular ones; as they don’t have a majority in either house, which makes them poor losers.

But when it came to getting things like the wonderful healthcare bill through, the Democrats were just a complete nuisance, weren’t they, opposing everything he is trying to do to make America great again?

Donny’s not sure he can abolish Democrats entirely, but he can make certain of one thing. They won’t be interfering in this tiresome, Fake News thing about Russia and the FBI. Why, he’s never had any dealings with Russia, except the ones he has had.

His latest diktat therefore seeks to prevent any Democratic party politicians, such as the Ranking member, Senator Warner of the Intelligence committee, that is due to hear more possibly damning testimony from that bastard Comey on Monday, from requesting information from the FBI without first getting permission from the Republican chair of the committee, Senator Burr.

Because he doesn’t have power to order the Democrats around, he’s using his position as Chief Executive and therefore head of the security services (bypassing General Kelly, the head of Homeland Security) to tell the FBI instead that they are under no circumstances to co-operate with Democratic representatives and senators investigating his connections with Russian intelligence, unless authorised so to do, effectively by him.

To what lengths, one wonders, does Trump have to go in the obstruction of justice to earn himself an indictment on grounds of a federal crime? Well, it seems his new Italian lawyer buddy has told him, the Prez is immune to prosecution for pretty much anything unless and until he’s been impeached and removed from office for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’.

Anyway, it’s now being reported that he is weighing-up with his lawyers the possibility of using executive privilege to prevent Comey from testifying. How incriminating would that be? In the words of the repellent former Exxon contractor and current Trump energy adviser Myron Ebell, on hearing of opposition to the withdrawal from the Paris accord, ‘Who cares?’

So he seems like Nixon to be at liberty for now to go on trying to impede or make go away the many lines of investigation into himself and his cronies; but he is surely stacking up a mountain of trouble if the House Republicans eventually understand they’re going to be the biggest losers in history in 2018 if they don’t Dump Trump and find someone more capable and less disaster-prone – although for the GOP that’s going to be a stretch.

They’re almost all straw men, fossil-fuel shills and fundamentalist cretins who couldn’t find anybody better than the ineffective and appalling Trump the last time. Ted Cruz? Rick Santmoron? Mike Pence? Please God, not the spaniel-eyed nodding-dog Paul Ryan? while no-one in their right mind would want to follow Trump into the White House, with all the media attention and odious comparisons that would create; and with Trump’s paludine appointees still in place.

No, the genie is out of the bottle, the evils out of Pandora’s box, the system broken. President of the United States is just not a viable employment any longer for any normal, sane human being, which is why you have Trump now. Get rid of him, and get rid of the office. You don’t need ’em.

Free yourselves from institutionalized tyranny, is our advice.

Postscriptum

The Pumpkin has just been watching Mike Nichols’ clever movie of Joseph Heller’s bleakly comic novel, Catch 22, again.

He’d forgotten how like the young Donald Trump is the character of Milo Minderbinder, the heartless entrepreneur who swaps the aircrews’ parachutes for a consignment of cotton-wool balls he coats in chocolate to sell as cakes. Later on, he persuades another US squadron to bomb his own base so he can collect the insurance on the cotton-wool balls he can’t shift.

Of course, such things could never happen in real life.

x

I love Paris in the Springfall

“…the target for restricting warming to 1.5 degrees C is already tragically out of date.”

The Pumpkin went slightly overboard on Wednesday night, trolling several Trump supporters in base language over the Paris thing. He blames an incipient 24-hour virus and a bottle of inexpensive Merlot.

In fact it seems unlikely that serious environmental damage will be done as a direct result of abrogating the treaty. It’s more a matter of the global shame and embarrassment most Americans were feeling the next day, the loss of leadership, knowing that everyone now thinks they’re a bunch of uneducated, small-minded ecocidal maniacs who want to withdraw from the world behind a big wall and overthrow the postwar applecart, playing right into Mister Putin’s relatively large hands for such a small man.

There are two reasons why abandoning the accord will make little difference.

One is that the target for restricting warming to 1.5 degrees C is already tragically out of date. The Paris accord is a feelgood declaration, something for the nations of the world (except only Syria, Nicaragua and the USA) to come together over, but it’s far too little and too late to stop a life-denying six degree rise occurring before 2030.

But the second is more encouraging. Many US State governors and big-city mayors have come out in force to tell the deluded President he’s wrong and they’re going to go on aiming for carbon reductions whatever Bannon, the religiose fuckwits and fossil-fuel shills in the White House and in Congress are saying, and have recommitted to the Clean Energy policy of the Obama administration, which was actually working.

After all, they’re the ones who are having to mop up the floods and beat out the wildfires, find the water for agriculture, hold back the sea and reconstruct the tornado-smashed suburbs and trailer parks, that are costing the nation $billions.

And they’re being supported from the most unlikely quarters; apart from the filthy, rich Koch Brothers, the creepy uncles you wouldn’t want at your wedding, almost every energy corporate CEO and tech billionaire has come out of the bunker to tell the President he’s wrong about controlling emissions; that renewables are a business opportunity, not a threat; that there are five times more jobs in solar than in coal. (You have to admire their principles.)

That’s likely to make him even madder and more isolated, but even so.

Anyway,he’s not listening.

The Pumpkin is also feeling very positive about President Macron of France. So far he appears not to have put a foot wrong, apart from one of his ministerial appointees being hauled out of the Quai d’Orsée and charged with tax fraud. Can happen to anyone – and frequently does nowadays. He’s got a crushing handshake one has to admire.

In fact The Pumpkin is thinking positively again about moving to France, if possible, now the threat of Marine le Pen has temporarily receded, to get away from Theresa May – although Corbyn’s poll ratings have been dramatically narrowing since he bought a suit, so it might be worth hanging on.

And a brilliant speech from Macron, a blast against the Monstrous Trump: ‘make the world great again’ – in English, too. Classic. And he’s told Putin where to get off. Formidable!

It’s also a very good sign, we feel, that the governing Fine Gael party in Ireland has chosen by a big majority, as its new leader and Prime Minister, or Taoiseach, a second-generation Indian immigrant doctor who came out as gay in 2015.

That, and gay marriage too? Ah, da toimes, dey are a’changin’. It certainly spells the end of the shameful history of domination by the Catholic church in Ireland.

Excuse the poor attempt at a Dublin accent.

x

Death: the art of the deal

BTW, where does Britain stand as a major exporter of probably illegal arms to war-criminal Saudi Arabia, now that Mister Trump has bought the shop?

His $300 billion deal ought to cover most of their child-killing needs for the foreseeable future, closing-out BAe as a key supplier. So much for Mrs May’s supine adherence to the postwar protocol that Britain supports the USA in any of its adventures, advisable or otherwise (except Harold Wilson, who courageously kept us out of the Vietnam war – thus sparing my life. Ed.)

And as usnews.com reported: “A new administration and a new arms deal in the Middle East sends shares of defense contractors soaring.”

It seems no amount of bribery makes one immune to a bigger deal.

Kushner was impressively able right there in Riyadh to persuade the CEO of Lockheed-Martin to lower the price of some high-tech arsenal of death or other with a single phone call to clinch the bargain.

God knows what that’s cost the American taxpayer: while Mrs Kushner was no doubt delighted to accept a $100 million ‘donation’ from the shameless Saudis on behalf of a private charity she runs, promoting – all together now – women’s rights. (She has of course recused herself from benefiting personally, under the Foreign Emoluments clause, while in office.)

Women’s rights. From the Saudis!

Women’s rights.