The BogPo, a Trump-free zone: Old Bigot writes (The rules of cricket)… The old one-two… So deport me! … GW: Your gran, rescued in a rubber dinghy by three handsome firemen

Well, almost…

“You’re May, right ?”
“I am. And you must be Nuts…” (Photo: The Independent)

 

“God help us if war broke out, we’d be too busy to defend ourselves, worrying what to call the enemy without causing them offence…”

Hello again.

Old Bigot writes:

You know, at this time of year as the nights draw in and the snow lies crisp and even; as robin redbreast poses fleetingly on a spade handle in the irridescent twilight and is gulped down by next-door’s cat, we may sit by the fire, staring into the flickering flames, wondering why some of them are red and some blue, and contemplate the complete fucking insanity of the modern world.

In writing about it, I might be guilty of contempt of court, although God knows these days I wouldn’t be the only journalist courting that risk for a good story, but I have been struck by one particular example in particular, the case of the England cricket all-rounder, Ben Stokes*.

Ben, a fit-looking young fiery redhead, was (it is alleged) caught on CCTV outside a Bristol pub (or club, I’m a bit vague on the details) taking a poke at one of a bunch of local idiots who had been persecuting his party, probably calling Ben’s teammate ‘gay’ and/or other such words that if we said they were insults would inevitably upset one or other group identifying as such-and-such; and thus technically being the possible cause of a minor affray in which no-one emerged either with much credit or very much bruising, as far as one can tell.

Nobody died. (PS: I now understand a minor orbital fracture was involved.)

Young, and sometimes not-so-young, mildly drunken, testosterone-fuelled British working-class lads, well-paid sportsmen and pumped-up squaddies from the military have been causing similar affrays with fisticuffs outside hostelries from Land’s End to John O’Groats on a Saturday night since God were a lad. It’s what we men do, let off a bit of steam after a hard week at the coalface. It’s totally British Values. Someone spills your pint, eyeballs your girlfriend, insults your team, it gets out of hand, then wallop, it’s finished and off home to beat-up the wife before Sunday roast.

Similar retaliations on a national scale are not unknown to history either.

Only not any more, it seems.

The ‘alleged incident’ happened weeks and months ago, but the press is still snouting around excitedly, Mr Plod is still ponderously ‘investigating’, ‘charges’ are still being weighed by the Public Prosecutor, a ‘trial’ is still being contemplated, poor Ben is still suspended from his rather valuable job and without him the England cricket team have had to put up with yet another sound ten-wicket thrashing by Australia, the Hated Ones – only none of their quick bowlers or century-smashing captain Smith has been ‘arrested’ and ‘questioned’ and ‘cautioned’ and ‘charged’ over it, they get away with that sort of violent affray down under, every time the old enemies clash at the riotous Gabba stadium in Sydney. Cricket, it ain’t.

So what the hell is there to ‘investigate’? The guy evidently punched someone on a provocation. Okay, his bad. But when did we stop banging-up battered and dishevelled miscreants for the night, parading them bleary-eyed before the magistrate in the morning, letting them plead guilty to “drunk and disorderly”, fining them 50 shillings with a caution, bit of compensation possibly ordered if at fault of injury, end of story?

Police officers relax after a hard day wasting public money. (timbrink.nl)

What on earth has happened to us as a society? What happened to our practicality, our robust pragmatism? Where’s our commonsense ability gone, to just sort things out firmly but if possible fairly? Why can we no longer manage our complex human behaviours without an appeal to some authoritarian, overworked third party? Why are the police and the DPP and the courts squandering vast amounts of precious time and public money on this totally trivial incident? Just because Stokesy’s newsworthy, a sporting celebrity?

It’s an absolute outrage. Just tick him off, pocket the money and let the poor man get on with his life, win a few matches for us, can’t you?

But, oh no, we’re changing the name Britain to ‘Bythebook’. It’s enough to make anyone of my generation weep, we’ve turned into a nation of pathetic plastic snowflake dwarfs, terrified of our shadows. God help us if war broke out, we’d be too busy to defend ourselves, worrying what to call the enemy without causing them offence.

And as for the ludicrous, pointless, heartbreaking, multi-million pound cost and waste of immensely valuable, desperately needed, strategic crime-fighting resources in the face of cut after slashing cut in the police budget, hundreds of trained men and women spending thousands of wasted hours raking over the cold, dead embers of lurid allegations made by instantly discountable ‘survivors’ of ancient sexual improprieties against long-dead politicians and tottering old celebrity ‘entertainers’, unable just to say no for fear of upsetting genuine victim groups in the current fugue of moral outrage, I won’t even start.

Who’s that poor sod, Leslie, a superannuated TV kids’ show presenter, “put his hand up a woman’s skirt” at a hen night party in a club about thirty years ago? And now hauled up in court over it? How many years in choki at the taxpayer’s expense is that worth? Why’s he even having to bother denying it? Can’t they let him say sorry, he doesn’t remember much, and everyone move on? And that gropy old US Senator who was a washed-up comedian, Franken, he’s been forced to resign while his accusers make Time magazine’s Persons of the Year cover. Only Trump survives, with his gagging orders and non-disclosure clauses.

For Pity’s sake, what have we come to? Are we to cram the remaining interstitial spaces in our rotting understaffed Victorian gaols with elderly rakes who once put their hand on a young intern’s knee, or patted their bum at a party? In a world where militarized mass rape, starving cholera-ridden stunted children, state-sanctified murder and ethnic cleansing are the order of the day, and we do nothing about it so as not to upset the fucking arms manufacturers? This is really a decadent first-world luxury, this sort of vindictive moral crusade designed to ‘deliver a lesson’ most of us dreadful old men got, thank you, years ago.

Has the Director of Public Prosecutions never been to a hen night? I expect she probably must have. Did she put her hand out to touch the thrusting, gold Lurex-clad groin of a male stripper ‘for luck’? And regret it in the morning along with the seventh Jägerbomb? Or does that sort of serious criminal assault only happen in the North?

I’d hate to upset anyone’s feelings, but.

‘Free Ben Stokes’, is my motto for the week.

And he doesn’t wear Lurex.

*For the benefit of my many American readers, Russian Spammers, etc. the rules of the English national game of cricket were first codified in the late 18th century. Old Bigot writes:

The laws of cricket, explained

“Cricket is played with flat-faced bat and hard leather ball between two teams of 11 players, the object being for the fielding side to break the ‘wicket’ (a structure of three upright wooden sticks, or ‘stumps’) of 10 of the batting side while giving away as few runs as possible. Runs are scored by the two batsmen who are ‘in’ (hence, an ‘innings’) exchanging ends between the two wickets or striking the ball across a boundary marker.

“Batsmen must defend their wicket against the bowler while scoring as many runs as possible, but may be dismissed by being ‘bowled’, ‘caught’ (the ball not first having touched the ground) ‘run-out’ by a fielder breaking the wicket with the ball before the running batsman has safely gained the ‘crease’ line, or trapped ‘leg-before-wicket’, the umpire determining that the ball was impeded by any part of the player’s body. The bowling end is changed ‘over’ every six balls.

“The side with the most runs or the most wickets in hand at the end of the allotted number of ‘overs’, within the agreed time limit, or having dismissed the opposing side with fewer runs, wins. Owing to the weather, too many longer matches (a ‘Test’ is scheduled to last up to 5 days) were ending inconclusively in a ‘draw’ and so a measure known as ‘Duckworth-Lewis’ was devised to produce a statistical result. (Tea is taken at 4 pm.)”

Play!

x

(Warning: too much information.)

“I stand, head leant against the cold tiled wall, dreaming of sleep, holding on to the heated towel rail that stupidly only heats up when the central heating is on, which is almost never. The towels are never quite dry.”

The old one-two

One:

A wrenching pain splits my chest.

I fear I may be having a heart attack, or have burst my aorta. Or I have collapsed my lungs, or my diaphragm is torn and I will never sing again. Sundry other aches and pains briefly twinge and twang, then subside.

Actually, I am pushing down as hard as I can with every muscle I own into my pelvic floor, desperately trying to birth a few more dribbles and drops of urine through my crimped and crushed urethra. It’s 2.20 am and I’ve been in here for nearly an hour since being woken from a dream for the second time in the night by an urgent need to empty the bladder that merely mocks me.

Was it even full?

Virtually nothing dribbles out, each visit a teaspoonful, if that, and I need to relax through the throbbing pain and wait another three minutes before trying again. In the meantime I am taking sips of water. The danger is, if I cannot empty it I could burst my bladder; but the alternative is wizened, dried-out kidneys and a life on dialysis, so. Your choice.

I have stuffed a wad of toilet paper in my bottom to absorb the dribbles and wet farts, the blowback from the effort of straining to piss.

An entire night of this torture stretches ahead.

Lying down in bed only makes it worse. I am up every two minutes, schlepping back and forth to the bathroom, trying not to step on the dog. He is worried about me, hearing my feeble groans, and won’t leave the bedside. Please, God, this time…. Dribble-wibble, throb.

I wonder, should I call for help? It’s the recommended procedure, technically a medical emergency, but an entire ambulance? At this time of night? For an exhausted junior doctor to stuff a catheter up my pipi to drain the swamp? I’m too over-the-limit to drive myself, although not in the least bit drunk. What a waste of good whisky. And who would look after Hunzi and his li’l friend, Cats?

The tile floor is cold – it’s freezing outside but there’s no heating, I refuse to use it. Nor do I need lights, the Highways Agency pays to light my house with its bright new LED streetlights banishing both night and stars.

So I stand on the bathmat, head leant against the cold tiled wall, dreaming of sleep, holding for life to the heated towel rail that stupidly only heats up when the central heating is on, which is almost never. The towels are never quite dry.

This time I feel we are in for the long haul, my flabby and complaining old bladder, ‘Blad the Impaler’ and I. So I bring in a copy of the new Private Eye magazine, the When Harry met Meghan issue,  and read disinterestedly about bent politicians and city slickers, media shits and shysters, and groan at the unfunny cartoons and prep-school jokes, squinting at the tiny print by the light of the shaver point.

I have prostatitis – ‘benign prostatic hyperplasia’. It comes on like this about once a month, or whenever I travel and need to perform on stage, and often depends on what I’ve been drinking: in this case, last night a quart of Scotch. I call it my period.

There’s a chance it’s been brought on, not by whisky, but because we’ve just finished a run of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – a musical production in which I played the leading character, the miser Scrooge, in a physical performance you would not believe for a man of 68 who takes no exercise normally. It has taken its toll on me, I fear, in various ways.

But there’s almost nothing you can do with an enlarged prostate gland, except laser the tissue away – and in 70% of cases the operation leaves you leaking permanently into a bag strapped to your leg with a catheter in your groin. I’m already impotent from atrophy of the blood supply to my penis, so that side-effect is irrelevant.

Mr Aniya the hospital urologist has been up there, “where the sun don’t shine”, several times with various diagnostic tools and tells me it’s okay, it’s not cancer. He has an 18-month waiting list for appointments, so that’s a historic comfort. He sent me off to a clinic run by a very pretty nurse who I gather is married to a man even older than me, she made me piss into a funnel and agreed, I have almost zero pressure.

Just dribble.

I stopped taking the pills he prescribed two years ago. It seemed the only difference they made was to increase the panic attacks I get in the supermarket, with the bustle and the lights and the terrible cover versions of Taylor Swift-type twinkie-shit, or Queen, and what the hell to eat this evening when you’ve tried everything before?

Still, the upside is, the drought never lasts more than one night, before…

 

Two:

Next morning, on the return leg of our walk, Hunzi and I.

I sensibly had a pee before we left the house but the thought has just crossed my mind a mile further on that we may need another one anyday now…. There appears to be no urgency, but we head toward the Texaco gas station where there is a capacious disabled loo, just in case.

I have a vision of arriving home, just a few hundred yards along the street, only to have my usual minor calamity on the doorstep while fumbling hurriedly for the right key (of two, it’s a decision), hurling the shopping bags and the confused dog’s leash and the keys to the hall floor and rushing upstairs, ripping off my coat, fumbling with buttons, praying to Blad not to let go just yet, just a few more steps….

Too late.

There are certain places now that act as Pavlovian trigger points. Entering the kitchen down the steps from my studio is one; making that first coffee of the morning; running the water for the washing-up; the front doorstep another, where before I can even think of getting upstairs to the bathroom or using the handy drain out behind the kitchen, wrenching at these damn buttons, the stupid layers of clothing beneath, how does anyone ever manage to commit rape?

…disobedient muscles contract and release involuntarily, the hot pee starting to trickle down my leg.

The gas station is another such place, producing anywhere in the proximity of the toilet an immediate letdown reflex. It holds other terrors too, for the cubicle is often Out of Order, or busy… several times as the warm, dark stain spreads down my jeans we’ve had to run around the back of the building, behind the terrible Costcutter convenience store, where I’ve let go in the corner of the carpark. Probably in the full glare of the security cameras, but I don’t care. It’s a medical emergency, your Honour. It just… emerges.

Today we hobble home, an uncomfortable, rapidly chilling wet patch (it’s another cold day) spreading down the front of the most expensive pair of jeans I’ve ever bought, darkening down as far as my shoes. We have 300 yards of public street still to walk, crossing shamefacedly to the side facing away from the cars, hoping we don’t meet the neighbours coming the other way.

There was a guy, Tom I think, who used to come to choir. He would always sit next to me, because someone had told him I was the go-to person in our section, the bass section, if you weren’t sure of the notes. And he stank so badly of old piss, and after three weeks I had to excuse myself and quit the choir altogether. He’s long gone, I hear, but I haven’t been back.

Because now I too stink of old piss. It’s one of those evocative smells that never leaves you. Every now and again you get a whiff. You smell it just thinking of it. I’ve learned to wash out my chapfallen old feller more often, but it lingers in the crotch of every pair of trousers, in my underpants, my pajamas, my bedclothes

…accusing me of getting older by the hour.

x

“My knowledge of life in modern Britain sadly did not extend to remembering exactly when the War (sic) of the Roses broke out…”

So deport me!

I was just reading a BBC News article about poor Meghan Markle and the crazy hoops she’ll have to jump through (surely not! Ed.) to obtain British citizenship.

Surely Border Force  wouldn’t send her packing?

While I’m sure she’ll have absolutely no problem declaring that her fiancé ‘earns’ more than £18,500 a year (apparently Harry trousered a £20 million dividend from the Duchy of Cornwall last year, that’s a lot of organic biscuits), as a global ambassador of this-or-that she may struggle with the proviso that she has to spend a minimum of 270 days a year trapped on this dark and dismal island in the meantime, watching us tear one another apart like cannibals; while having to attend an interview with some bootface at an office in darkest Croydon is surely cruel and unusual punishment, even for a foreigner.

I doubt somehow that failure to complete the questions would result in her being immediately seized and delivered to Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre for Women and Babies. In fact she could become an avatar for a more compassionate approach. What we have here is the Princess of Migrants!

So, as you probably do, I instantly followed the link to a website where you can take the immigrants’ British Citizenship test for fun or practice. And as you do, almost certainly, I failed it; correctly guessing just 14 out of the 24 answers.

My useful knowledge of life in modern Britain sadly did not extend to remembering exactly when the War (sic) of the Roses broke out, in the fifteenth century, although I do know why and between what parties; nor precisely when Britain first became geographically separated from the Continent (Midnight, March 31st, 2019?), as I was born shortly afterwards.

I’ve turned out to be confused about the constituent parts of the national flag, assuming wrongly that the red cross bit is England. Apparently not. Nor, to my deepest shame, as I live there, did I recall that it was Henry V111 who first forced Wales to become part of the UK, as the Act of Union of 1707 which created the UK post-dates him by 160 years and I’d assumed that was when, but apparently it was Scotland.

I could not agree with the setter that pool is a ‘traditional pub game’ in Britain, as it is a more compact variant of snooker imported, I thought, from the USA. Not many Muslims would know much about pub culture, I imagine, especially as almost no-one drinks in a pub anymore, they’re closing at the rate of two a day. I do know that a coalition is a combination of two or more political parties in government, however the question betrays a certain ironic detachment on the part of the question-setter as we have not had a coalition government since 2015; unless, I suppose, you count the present shameful arrangement with the cave trolls of the DUP.

I was, frankly, shocked.

  • Which of the following is not a common swearword?

No, htat’s not a question, but seriously, nothing in the quiz appeared in the least bit relevant to life in Britain today: nothing on Brexit or pornography, nothing on Coronation Street, Bakeoff or Strictly Come Dancing, nothing about The War, the law, the weather or the honours system, the Royal Family (the Beckhams); how to buy stuff on credit or a seat in the House of Lords, how to get a quickie divorce or complain to BT about your broadband – why you need an Oyster card to get around London – but contained some awful, embarrassing, smug, self-congratulatory flammery, like asking the sitter to select five from a list of six statements with which they agree about how free and fair and decent and tolerant Britain is, which (apart from being a lie) is what any country will say about itself, even the worst flyblown dictatorships and rutted feudal demesnes; just tacky propaganda.

Not even the rules of cricket!

So I went on the Comment thread and tried to post the following:

“This so-called test is an insult, frankly, to earnest, honest, decent, hardworking people who just want to be part of our nation. It has no practical application or value whatsoever.  And we need them here. Now, give me the Guardian crossword… and where are the questions on football? Pop music? TV soaps? Shopping? Benefits? The things that truly matter to normal people, as opposed to whatever obsesses junior civil servants and their elevated political masters in their filter bubbles?”

(I didn’t mention the Wars, plural, of the Roses, 1455 to 1485, a dynastic tussle that ended with the Battle of Bosworth, my kingdom for a horse, and the enthronement of Henry V11 Tudor – a Welshman.)

And was asked to Log In, and went to do so, only to discover that a) I had to have a Facebook account before I could post my comment, very ‘free and fair’, and b) the website had already decided I was not me, but my son.

One of the ‘rub-your-foreign-nose-in-it’ questions was ‘Who invented the Worldwide Web?’ I knew the answer had to be Tim Berners-Lee, although there is a shade of opinion that suggests he didn’t quite, depending on your definition of what the Worldwide Web actually is. But as he was the only one on the list with a knighthood it was a no-brainer.

Anyway, I’m thinking of asking him to try again, because there is absolutely no reason for a website I’ve never been on before to identify my IP address as that of my son, who has his own trail of superannuated communication devices to play with.

Perhaps they’ll deport him, rather than me?

I’d love to be sent somewhere warmer, with nicer people, but I’m getting a bit old for that sort of thing.

x

GW: Your old gran, rescued in a rubber dinghy by three handsome firemen

Western Malaysia: “has been affected by flooding over the last few days. Around 13,000 people have been evacuated to special relief camps. Local media report that 2 people have died in the floods.  One area of Pasir Mas District in Kelantan recorded rainfall above 400 mm each day for 4 consecutive days from 25 November.”

Thailand: almost 400,000 people are affected by flooding in the south of the country. The department for disaster prevention reports at least 5 dead and states of emergency have been declared across a wide area. More heavy rain is forecast.

Australia: “December will commence on a volatile note across eastern Australia (Canberra area) with flooding rain and powerful thunderstorms expected. Residents should prepare for disruptions to travel, outdoor and weekend activities. The strongest thunderstorms may be capable of causing damage.”

Spain: “A short period of heavy rain in Andalusia, southern Spain, caused flash flooding in the provinces of Malaga, Granada, Seville and Cadiz on 29 Nov. A train was derailed near Seville with at least 21 people injured, 2 of them seriously. Local media said the derailment was caused by the heavy rain. Houses were damaged in several areas.”

Albania: “Torrential rain has caused flooding in central areas of the country, prompting dozens of families to evacuate their homes. A man died after he was electrocuted in flood water. Roads have been blocked, flights cancelled and schools closed. Over 70,000 homes have been left without electricity. Emergency services have evacuated 200 people after they were trapped inside a flooded shopping centre in Kashar. Heavy rain has also been reported elsewhere in the region, including in Macedonia, Croatia and Montenegro. More heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast…”

Italy: a huge waterspout formed off the coast comes ashore as a tornado and trashes the town of San Remo.

USA: Good news; the official Atlantic hurricane season ended today, 30 November, with no last-minute major disasters. “Preliminary death toll from Harvey is 84, and 95 from Irma. Hurricane Maria, though, may be responsible for over a thousand deaths. New research that has not yet gone through peer-review puts the indirect death toll from Maria in Puerto Rico at 1,085 and rising, according to a story published Wednesday at vox.com”

Thanks, Tweety-Pie. Oh, but I got an A+ from FEMA. The fuck you did. Useless asshole.

Total damage from this last, most busiest hurricane season has been estimated at $207 billion, comfortably beating an adjusted-for-inflation total of $185 billion for the second-most expensive ever hurricane year for the US, way back in 1893. On the same metric, Typhoon Ruby, that hit Hong Kong in 1964 killing nearly 800 people, might alone have caused $241 billion in damage. These are insured losses and capital recovery project costs only, there’s no accounting for the rest, hoi polloi.

No figures have been added, however, for an extended flood-and-wildfire season; and the effects of prolonged drought across most of the midwest. Hurricanes tend to edge other extreme weather events out of the news, but cities like Houston, New Orleans, Kansas City, Charleston and Las Vegas were all hit by severe flooding from other weather systems during the summer, while the California wildfire season was the worst ever in terms of damage and casualties.

Floodlist/ Wunderground/ Accuweather/

 

The end of Days

Mount Agung, eh? What a prick-teaser!

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To @Tweety-pie, terrorism is as terrorism does… Goodnight, Keith Olbermann… Fuck off, Trevor Kavanagh… Mr Trump is demented (as if we didn’t know)… GW: On the Prom with the global emergency sandwich-board.

“With Tweety-pie on our team, how can we lose?” Jim Dowson and friends hold back the Muslim hordes at the gates of Vienna. (Photo: Searchlight Magazine)

To @Tweety-pie, terrorism is as terrorism does

“Andreas Hollstein, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union, was at a kebab shop in the west German town of Altena when a man asked whether he was the mayor, then shouted criticism of his asylum policies and lunged at Hollstein with a foot-long blade … Hollstein was badly wounded, but saved after the kebab shop’s owner — a man of Turkish origin — and his son overpowered the attacker.”  – Washington Post, 29 Nov.

Over to you, Herr Trump. Oh, nothing to say? Righto, carry on.

And he has…

“Donald Trump’s Twitter account has retweeted three inflammatory videos from a British far-right group. The first tweet from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, claims to show a Muslim migrant attacking a man on crutches. This was followed by two more videos of people Ms Fransen claims to be Muslim. Britain First was founded in 2011 by former members of the far-right British National Party (BNP).” – BBC, 29 Nov.

Further proof, if proof were needed, that this man is a succubus in vaguely human form: a criminal imbecile, a proto-fascist and a danger to life. He may also have committed an offence in British law and must be refused entry or arrested at our border.

Nevertheless, to safeguard British trade with our biggest market (after the whole of Europe) and to ensure a receptive environment for more US health company carpetbaggers to come in and rob the NHS blind, Mrs May says the orange Nazi pig is still welcome to his crappy state visit.

The Brexit bunch have no shame, no decency, no perspective on history, no morals. Only greed and a lust for power.

Russia, Russia, Russia

‘Tweety-pie’ ought to be made aware that Britain First was originally the spiritual home, among others, of Scottish-born ‘millionaire’ (how? Ed.) Jim Dowson, until he left after questions were asked about his management of the organization’s funds. According to the anti-fascist Searchlight Magazine, Dowson is a self-averred Brexit ‘disruptor’ and virulent Islamophobe with an office in Hungary funded by oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, a ‘mysterious billionaire’ (HuffPo) with connections to the resurgent Russian Orthodox church, and to Putin’s ‘spiritual advisor’ Aleksandr Dugin. Dowson is also the progenitor of the fake-news, hate-news filled US Patriot News website (see Posts, passim).

“Dowson is active in Loyalist circles and helped launch the Protestant Coalition, who have links to Britain First. He is also an ex-Calvinist minister and anti-abortionist (he charmingly posts the names and addresses of clinicians) and set up a BNP call centre in Northern Ireland.” – Searchlight Magazine.

US readers might care to note that Britain is just waking up to the extent of ‘dark money’-funded ops that preceded the Brexit vote. Questions are being asked (though not answered) about the (Scottish) origin of one half-million dollar donation funneled to Leave.EU, an unofficial pressure group, via the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland – where donations are not required to be registered – into anti-European media advertising, and who paid for it.

Appealing to US supporters for money and volunteers to combat the Islamic invasion of Europe, Mr Dowson said this:

“This is not political, this is a fight between good and evil, black and white, a fight of the cross, a fight of Christ.”

And Mr Dowson has been caught on video, supplying support materièl to an armed vigilante group hunting Syrian refugees on the Bulgarian border.

This is the man whose repellent ideology Tweety-pie, the President of the United States of America is supporting with his little thumbs:

searchlightmagazine.com/2016/10/britain-first-extremist-filmed-joining-hate-filled-vigilante-group-hunting-down-asylum-seekers-in-bulgaria/

FOR GOD’S SAKE, REPUBLICAN DIMWITS, GET HIM OUT NOW!!!

x

Goodnight, Keith Olbermann

In a shock announcement last night, Keith Olbermann announced his retirement from active criticism of one Donald J Trump.

Who? You may ask. I offer the following heavily redacted biography from the invaluable Wikipedia:

“Olbermann was a sports correspondent for CNN in the 1980s, winning a Best Sportscaster award three times. From 1998 to 2001 he was a producer and anchor for Fox Sports Net.

(We have to forgive him that…)

“From March 2003 to January 2011 Olbermann hosted the weeknight political commentary program Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. He received attention for his pointed criticism of right-wing politicians and public figures. He has tried to resist being labelled politically, stating, “I’m not a liberal. I’m an American.”

And this has been… The Resistance (photo: hollywoodreporter.com)

Olbermann’s four times weekly articulate and erudite anti-Trump rants on the GQ Magazine YouTube channel have been a welcome and entertaining antidote to all the nasty garbage, the flattery, the fawning, the hatred, the fake news, the distractions and diversions and the outright lies spewed by Fox News and the rest of the putrid, alt-right establishment pond-media.

Keith’s new book, Trump is F*cking Crazy, a collection of his broadcasts has been my bedside companion for a couple of weeks now, so if I may be permitted one criticism of Olbermann both as an author and broadcaster, judging by his output it is that he does have rather a mighty opinion of himself at times.

We can forgive him that too. As a former broadcaster myself, I have been awestruck by his professional technique.

Last night on the show, before announcing that his theme has run its course – that he was not being given the bum’s rush (it wouldn’t be the first time), giving up in despair, being threatened or bribed to stop, as far as anyone knows, all four could be true – but simply had nothing left to offer, he identified seven strands of Fate that are fast closing in on Herr Clusterfuck, any one of which he believes will be enough imminently to end this disastrous chapter in the short but turbulent life of American democracy.

I trust we may see Olbermann again in the not-too distant future. For if there is one thing Trump knows very well how to do, it is to slip the noose.

If, however, we don’t, then I recommend the YouTube podcasts of Mike Malloy, a more emotive and scatological commentator altogether, and a disgraceful (but poignantly truthful) old renegade perhaps more after my own heart and style of polemicising than the urbane and well-tailored Mr Olbermann.

x

(Warning: the following article contains very strong language, extreme opinion, profound personal animus and probably fake news. But no nuts.)

Fuck off, Trevor Kavanagh

  1. The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) ruled Trevor Kavanagh’s column was “capable of causing serious offence” but did not breach the Editors’ Code.
  2. Mr Kavanagh said it was “acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem”.
  3. The Sun said he had already apologised.
  4. The regulator said the comment could be compared to language used at the time of the Holocaust.
  5. But a spokesman for The Sun said: “[He] didn’t realise that his words could be compared to the phrase ‘the Jewish Problem’. – BBC News

Jesus fuckin’ H Christ.

What, the ‘Editor’s Code’ sanctions articles supporting racial and religious violence? Incitement to genocide? Hate speech?

The “capability of causing serious offence” is not an infringement of the Editors’ Code?

Then what the fuck is?

God knows, I enjoy causing offence. But this?

What the hell is a “specific problem” applied to Muslims in general? Mr Kavanagh is, in the opinion of the BogPo, and has been for many years, representative of a repulsive lying bucket of putrefying dog-vomit known as the Murdoch press.

But never mind, the “senior political correspondent” of The Sun fake-newspaper, an ageing lamprey fastened to the arsehole of organized corporatist disruption, “didn’t realize” that he might have been behaving like a racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic old cunt?

(The BogPo would like to apologize to Mr Kavanagh, deeply and with maximum contrition, for any offence caused. In fact I said sorry last night while brushing my teeth in the bathroom mirror, so no need to bother again now.)

Oh no, of course anyone wouldn’t realize, who had just arrogantly dismissed 1.2 billion people as “a specific problem rather than a cultural problem”. Who the fuck does this fortunate fellow, this postcolonial “thing”, this hitman from the 4th Estate (that’s the one the Council flogged off) think he is? Donald Fucking Trump?

And the IPSO had little option but to vindicate the lying little fascist bullyboy, as – mirabile dictu – he’s on the fucking board!

Does corruption have any clearer a face than that?

Miqdaad Versi, assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the decision was “deeply disappointing, albeit not unexpected. What is truly astonishing is that regardless of the specifics of the Code, IPSO does not seem to have any concern that one of its board members used this Nazi-like phrase about Muslims.”

Though the BogPo regards all religion as a basket of deplorable superstitions, genuflections to the Invisible Man, and feels that self-identifying special interest groups are whingeing and whining a sight too much about their tragic sensitivities these days, we sympathise with Mr Versi.

The thing the comparatively well-paid Kavanagh-troll fails to understand is that his words have weight. Glib propagandistic generalizations are not journalism; they are a provocation to violence. To steal the clothes of Steve Bannon, Roy Moore and David Duke, to promote a white supremacist, post-colonial agenda in circumstances where the far-right is on the rise in Europe is naive, risky and, frankly, lazy and unprofessional.

If it is none of those things, then Mr Kavanagh is surely a traitor in search of a fascist dictator to validate his very bad-smelling excreta and he must resign his overprivileged position.

Kavanagh, fuck off. Just retire, you decrepit old whore. You and that tendentious old humbug, John Hymnphrys. Your time is over, you’ve had your quota, your world has passed you by, you understand nothing now.

Just fuck off and die, will you?

(Uncle Bogler is 68.)

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Mr Trump is demented (as if we didn’t know)

“Trump first startled reporters with talk of an invisible plane in October, when he discussed the F-35 at a military briefing in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico. “Amazing job,” Trump said then. “So amazing we are ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of new airplanes for the air force*, especially the F-35. You like the F-35? … You can’t see it. You literally can’t see it. It’s hard to fight a plane you can’t see.” – Guardian

To see this image literally, you will need a special pair of orange-tinted glasses. (jetairlinezz. blogspot)

He was particularly excited about the Lockheed-Martin F-35 fighter; an aircraft he believes is “invisible” and therefore hard to find, I should imagine.

It isn’t. Look! (Luckily none have been assigned to coastguard duty, otherwise distressed mariners might have trouble noticing they were being rescued.)

It nearly was invisible, because its development has been so afflicted with problems – for instance, test pilots were blacking-out when the oxygen failed, and the plane had a distressing tendency to stall in a climb – that the project risked cancellation. The breathing problem still hasn’t been solved:

“A team of engineers, test pilots, medics and others experts are ‘digging into this problem 24 hours a day,’ to try to identify the cause, an Air Force spokesman said. ‘It could be lack of oxygen. It could be too much oxygen, too much carbon dioxide.’ ” – Mail Online

Not that there could ever be too much carbon dioxide for Trump, who has evolved gills.

Pound for pound, it’s also about the most expensive military project in history, after the invasion of Iraq. But Mr Trump was prepared for that, too – informing the bewildered hardy seafarers in his customarily boastful and self-congratulatory fashion that he had managed to negotiate a deal with his buddies at Lockheed to cut the price, which no other President in history would have been willing or able to do, especially his favourite genocide, Gen. Andrew H Jackson; killer of many Pocahontases.

He hasn’t. Not according to military sources.

But just in case anyone thought the military was spending too much on the F-35, Mr Trump then divagated into the subject of the rest of his wonderful weaponry and how he has INCREASED spending to $700 billion, making it the greatest military in the world.

He lives in a fantasy world, a Wonderland of his own imagining, in which a heroic individual called Trump is at the centre of everything, a General controlling fast-moving, complicated events with skill and wisdom.

He isn’t.

He is completely fucking demented.

And now he is once again returning to the theme of That Tape, the Hollywood Access ‘pussy-grabber’, claiming it was all faked-up by CNN or whoever – although he admitted its authenticity only a few months ago, saying it was just ‘locker room’ bantz. Now in his diseased mind, it was a fake after all. He wasn’t there, whoever he was.

He is clearly rattled that his stout defence of the cretinous Republican candidate to replace Jeff Sessions in Alabama, ‘Judge’ Roy Moore, against whom the accusations of molestation of underage girls have been stacking up, has blown up in his face as the even-more women Trump has allegedly assaulted over the years have become emboldened against his efforts to silence them.

He really has no barriers, does he? He just doesn’t know when to keep his stupid trap shut.

Get him out!

*To date, Congress has voted less than 10% of the money needed to restore vital services to the 3.5 million stricken Americans in the hurricane-ravaged US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; but $54 billion more to the military, whose already obscenely bloated budget the compulsive liar Trump yet again has falsely claimed was being eroded by his predecessor.

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“For some time, it has been warmer than the 1.5°C guardrail that the Paris Agreement promised should not be crossed.”

GW. On the Prom with the global emergency sandwich-board and a soggy packet of chips

Bit by bit we are being washed away… Jamaica last week. (Daily Mail)

Caribbean: Four hours of torrential rain – a ‘month’s worth’ for November – creates impressive flash flood in coastal resort of Montego Bay, Jamaica. overwhelming drainage defences.

Indonesia: Sidoharjo, East Java trashed by slow-moving tornadoes. Idiots shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ stand out in the street gawking and videoing and are pelted with debris as trees, roofs, scaffolding and anything not nailed down fly off… 35 hospitalized, whole buildings destroyed. City then battered by heavy rain, 380mm falling in 24 hours.

“7 deaths were reported when a landslide struck in Klesem village in the Kebonagung Sub-district of Pacitan Regency. 2 further fatalities occurred in a separate landslide in Sidomulyo village,  also in the Pacitan district in East Java. 2 other victims reportedly drowned in flood water in the same area where rivers have overflowed.”

Thailand: Phetchaburi river overflows after heavy rain, floods – city under 3ft of water. Hundreds evacuated. 2 more die in renewed flooding in Vietnam as Tropical Depression Kirogi crosses the country.

New Zealand: “a slow moving storm that began around 15:00 on Sunday 26 November caused flash flooding in the small town of Roxburgh in the Central Otago District. Local media said 42.2 mm of rain fell in just a few hours.”

Australia: there’s concern for electricity supplies as an unprecedented November heatwave over Melbourne continues into its second week and air conditioner sales boom. Records were broken too in Hobart, Tasmania, where a peak of 31.5C last Friday (24 Nov) was 13 deg. C. above average for the time of year.

USA: record November temperatures ‘from the west coast to the plains’ are running 15 to 20 deg. C. above normal as strong winds, more cold and snow affect more northerly and eastern states; SW states continue to be plagued by tornadoes. Anaheim, Ca. recorded a temperature of 100F on 22 Nov. “According to climatologist Guy Walton: November will be the 36th month in a row where U.S. daily record highs outnumbered record lows.”

UK: After a run of unusually warm winters, this year’s La Niña, a weak jetstream and colder air displaced from the Arctic have brought endless rain, gales and temperatures now falling into low single-figures (and forecast to continue downward in places to -10C (14F) to much of the British Isles, with night frost and disruptive snow in the north. Nevertheless as GW reported a few months back, average winter temperature in the UK has increased by 2 deg. C. since 1981.

Two rivers burst their banks at Mountmellick, Ireland, flooding homes. Elderly residents couldn’t recall anything like it in their lifetime.

World: “Warming is accelerating. For some time, it has been warmer than the 1.5°C guardrail that the Paris Agreement promised should not be crossed. This conclusion follows from analysis of NASA land+ocean data 1880-October 2017, adjusted by 0.59°C to cater for the rise from preindustrial and with a trend added that also indicates that the global temperature looks set to cross the 2°C guardrail soon, with 2021 falling within the margins of the trend line.

This, warns Arctic News, does not take account of sub-surface ocean warming (93% of total warming has gone into the seas) and feedbacks that might speed up the process.

Arctic: From 1981 until 2011, averaged over the year ocean temperature off Svalbard island remained stable – even showing a slight cooling trend. Measurements this year (2017) however show that the Arctic ocean has warmed at the surface during this two-month early winter period since 2011 by an average of 13.9 deg. C. The blue line on the graph shows 1981 to 2011 (30-year) average sea surface temperature in Oct/Nov. The red line plots daily temperatures during Oct/Nov this year. (Graph: Arctic News/Sam Carana)

 

 

 

 

Arctic News/ Floodlist/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #83/ Wunderground

The Pumpkin – Issue 37: Goodbye, Keith Olbermann… A profoundly American phenomenon… Christianity has nothing to do with Jesus… Korruption Korner… GW: your old biddy sweltering in a Pak-a-mac.

“I say, I say, I say… My wife’s gone to the West Indies.” “Jamaica?” “Sadly, Bwana, not for many years… Boom, boom!”

 

 

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A profoundly American phenomenon

“…a majority of white voters backed a candidate who assured them that they will never have to share this country with people of color as equals. That is the reality that all Americans will have to deal with, and one that most of the country has yet to confront.” – Adam Serwer, The Atlantic.

The bewildering contradiction in American politics right now is why on earth 37% of the voters (and 80% of Republican voters) still believe fervently in the presidency of Donald J Trump, after nearly a year of unremitting, humiliating chaos in the White House.

A year of edgy farce, of daily leaks and childish tweets, bringing the office of President and by extension, an entire nation into the deepest disrepute; yet with seemingly no comebacks against Mr Trump, who – along with the absurd Mussolini faces he puts on – displays all the Presidential demeanor of a senescent spoilt brat caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

A year, during which the Gilded Clusterfuck has failed to deliver most of his election promises, pushed the nation’s friends away and brought its enemies right inside the tent, promoting many unstable, not to say corrupt and incompetent, cronies from the depths of the Washington sewer and the corporate lobbies to positions of destructive power in his Administration, in flagrant disregard of his oft-repeated pledge to ‘drain the Swamp’.

When Trump boasted in his customary fashion, a man apparently disconnected from the rest of humanity, that he could shoot somebody dead in Times Square and his core supporters would still vote for him, he defined something about the country that many modern Americans and non-Americans alike find deeply disturbing; apart from revealing, along with his frequent references to women bleeding from the eyes, that he is an irredeemable psychopath.

That ‘something’ is carefully and logically explored at length in a new essay timed to coincide with the annual Thanksgiving day celebration by the chief political correspondent of The Atlantic magazine, Adam Serwer.

It doesn’t make easy reading.

For, the contradiction is identified as a persisting strand of radical Puritanism in American society; a quasi-religious nativist instinct more redolent of colonialism than of unionism.

And not just among the supposedly disaffected, economically disadvantaged rural white working class, that hotbed of sub-violent neo-Nazi posturing underpinned by the Second Amendment ‘right to bear arms’ – though not to massacre schoolchildren. Serwer finds a disturbing bias in the attitudes of the middle-class towards people unlike themselves, that has found resonance in the Bannon-inspired, rambling rhetoric of a man most of the rest of the world believes to be temperamentally unfit to hold office; and they don’t care. He writes:

“Trumpism emerged from a haze of delusion, denial, pride, and cruelty—not as a historical anomaly, but as a profoundly American phenomenon. This explains both how tens of millions of white Americans could pull the lever for a candidate running on a racist platform and justify doing so, and why a predominantly white political class would search so desperately for an alternative explanation for what it had just seen. To acknowledge the centrality of racial inequality to American democracy is to question its legitimacy—so it must be denied.”

Serwer carefully demolishes the self-excoriating, liberal-media-generated myth that ‘Trumpism’ is based on inequality, economic stagnation and a groundswell of anti-Establishment, anti-globalist feeling. Few people are worse off than urban blacks and hispanics, yet they didn’t vote for Trump in numbers.

Instead, he points to something white voters will hotly deny: that their deep-seated antipathy towards religious and ethnic minorities and their desire to exclude ‘foreigners’ from the life of the nation is evidence of generations of racial bias. Regardless of the obvious fact that the USA is an immigrant society from the outset, those instincts were mostly imported along with the Europeans, encouraged by the lowly position of forcibly indentured Africans.

In many ways, Serwer argues, far from being victories for moderation and tolerance, the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement and the Obama era have only served to sharpen, rather than smooth away, the racial and religious divisions in America; and to heighten fear, suspicion and prejudice.

But, he argues, that is exactly the gallery that Trump is playing to.

Little else matters to the dumbfucks (as The Pumpkin affectionately calls them). Not…

  • his divisive promotion of the most cynical and contemptuous view of society; his worship of ignorance;
  • his efforts at demolishing healthcare for the masses, destroying what shreds of a social safety net still remain for the poorest in the most unequal economy in the world, where the dice are fully loaded in favour of the wealthiest;
  • his huge tax cuts for the top 0.1%, three of whom already own half of the national wealth between them; and for corporations that already pay little or no tax, adding $trillions to the national debt;
  • his draining of the economy to further glut the already bloated military-industrial complex; his crude militarism and ‘bomb the shit out of them’ diplomacy; his constant disparaging of the administrative apparatus, the media and the courts of law;
  • his vainglorious threats of unleashing nuclear holocaust against impoverished and demonized nations outside the ambit of US corporate interests;
  • his hollowing-out of the key departments of governance and global strategy in favour of simplistic formulae, centrally directed;
  • his scientifically illiterate attempts at removing consumer and endangered wildlife rights and environmental protections, undermining the global scientific consensus on climate change and censoring research;
  • his reckless permitting of dinosaur industries to ravage national parks, monuments and protected lands and pollute the air and waterways ad libitum, to placate the industrialists who fund the GOP;
  • his economic illiteracy, evidenced in his instinct for futile and damaging protectionism and threats against foreign manufacturers;
  • his blatant promotion of his family’s business interests and self-enrichment from his office; his nepotistic appointments; his skimming-off of children’s cancer charity funds raised by his own kids; the bizarre display at his resorts of fake Time magazine copies with himself on the covers;
  • his lack of concentration and temper tantrums – his desperate need for constant flattery – evidence of seriously arrested emotional development; his untreated ADHD adding to the frustrations that drive his malignant and vindictive reactions;
  • his heavy threats against the women who have accused him of inappropriate conduct; his childish inability to resist retaliating to every perceived slight; his total religious hypocrisy (money is the only God he worships);
  • his compulsive lying on every subject; his appalling record of staff management, appointments and firings; his tacky history in the glamour industry; his constantly blaming the Democrats for rigging an election his own party rigged; his constantly inflating his terrible approval ratings and turnouts;
  • his vainglorious boasting of his pathetic achievements, high intellect and sexual prowess; his frequent comparisons of himself with the greats of the past; his insulting of combat veterans and fallen soldiers and their families; his vindictive, self-destructive point-scoring against members of his own party; his constant whining about the ‘unfairness’ of criticism and his desire to deflect it onto Obama and Clinton;
  • even the suspicion – more than a suspicion – of collusion with Russia in rigging this election and the next, to defeat sanctions; his compromising $billion-dollar debts to foreign banks; his seemingly criminal attempts to forestall independent investigation of his campaign staff and his family’s business dealings; his multiple bankruptcies; his hero-worship of wealthy and violent kleptocrats…

…those are seen in Trump’s heartland community as negligible failings, ‘fake news’ compared with the one policy thread that he has pursued with vigor: namely the further marginalization of those considered not properly deserving of their place in American society: which is to say, not white, virtuous and Christian – his racialism.

“Overall, poor and working-class Americans did not support Trump; it was white Americans on all levels of the income spectrum who secured his victory.”

American Christianity has little or nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth

The Pumpkin has always been fascinated by the white American belief in the black man as somehow inferior, since the black man has played more than his part in lifting America to what the rest of the world would consider its greatness.

We outsiders regard ‘Great’ America as being its eclectic culture, its vibrant musical heritage, its industry, its sporting supremacy in many fields, its willingness to sacrifice in the cause of justice (when it is not creating injustice) – not its abusive domestic policies, its appalling record on foreign relations or, indeed, its ‘whiteness’.

It must really rankle when world-heroes like Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King are celebrated in the polls as ‘the greatest human being who ever lived’. And when a black man becomes President, and proves competent, even inspiring, in the role.

Yet the whites who dumbly vote time and again against their own economic interest for crooked chancers like Trump, the business ‘shills’ and the swivel-eyed lunatics on the fringe of the Republican party will, Serwer points out, hotly deny to a man and woman that they are in any sense ‘racist’. The very suggestion empowers their feelings of alienation, since it is the hated liberal coastal elites who use the term against them.

And I think herein lies a distinction I have often tried making, which Serwer really fails to make, that we need to separate racism from ‘racialism’ – the first implying some active and unprovoked animus towards people of a different caste; the latter being a bogus, pseudo-scientific belief in a hierarchy of ‘races’ – in which the white man naturally stands at the apex of Creation, and (perhaps) owes a duty of tolerant care and even fatherly kindness to the lesser of the species, as long as they remember their place.

The Pumpkin further observes that American Christianity has little or nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth and his teachings, since its fundamentals are those of the Old Testament, not the later Gospels.

While American Christians will hold their callused hands up to heaven and proclaim Jesus as their lord and saviour, if not also their best friend and cheap substitute for Obamacare, absolutely nothing Jesus is alleged to have said or done in his short lifetime with regard to love of one’s neighbour (regardless of origin), forgiveness of error or compassion for the poor seems to have registered; except perhaps with the black community; an irony, since Christianity was first fed to them as a means of colonial oppression.

A certain threadbare meanness seems built-in to the white nativist mindset that is hardly cause for prideful celebration; let alone elevation to national office. Regardless of his apparent wealth, it is perhaps Mr Trump’s narrow-minded vindictiveness, his mean streak that appeals to a God-fearing minority in the American heartland; although it is mostly bluster.

Another fundamental contradiction is therefore that American Christianity has more resonance with Biblical Hebraism – belief in an intolerant, autocratic and vengeful sun-God who promises you the earth in exchange for your burnt offerings and your total obedience.

You may not find many American Christians willing to acknowledge that Christ was himself a Jew, the end-product they acknowledge and revere having been created from a purely Jewish myth, and non-white. (Nor will they ever acknowledge that Islam is only a very minor variant of Hebraism and was not invented in 2001 by terrorists! Belief in Jesus as the Son of God, whatever that means, is essential, even if belief in his nonviolent teachings isn’t.)

Antisemitism is another core component of middle-American attitudes, a carry-over from the late-medieval mindset of the supposed ‘Founding Fathers’: a rather unpleasant, bigoted minority sect and a disorganized, pox-laden bunch of rectitudinarian misfits, whose hardscrabble survival on the very margin of the world Americans celebrate at this time of year as a vindication of hardy individualism over softheaded and dangerous collectivist tendencies: celebrate by collectively slaughtering and sitting down to consume millions of hapless fowl followed by flavorless pumpkin pie, all on the same day – doing precisely the same things – together.

There is thus something repugnantly smug and self-centered about American Christianity, which seems to have a great deal more to do with the vast enrichment of its more egregious snake-oil salesmen and the exploitation of the poor, the selling of indulgences (your pass to Heaven), the maintenance of inbred ignorance and fear of the Other, the anti-Constitutional link with State-directed patriotism, that sits uneasily alongside the more open-minded, generous, tolerant and outward-looking traditions of the rest of American society.

That this oppressive and distrustful minority, filled with preacher-sanctified hate against other minorities, should have seized power through a corrupt avatar and be celebrating the triumph of selfishness and crass anti-intellectualism today is faintly depressing to the rest of us since, unlike them, we cannot just ignore the rather obvious downsides to the Trump regime.

The truth is that Trump, the self-inflating ‘Reality TV’ blimp, a caricature beyond satire, who exploits solemn occasions to get back at his enemies or extol his ratings, who tweets out incoherent abuse of his own citizens and foreign leaders at four in the morning, who hurls paper towels derisively at hurricane survivors while demanding that they pay for their relief, does not himself believe in anything he says or tries to do. He lacks the mental capacity, knowledge, empathy and experience beyond his own narrow interests, yet has a teenager’s disinterest in listening to wise advice.

It’s a further cause for concern, since the manner in which his brutal campaign speeches aroused the monsters lurking in the hearts of middle America was so clearly dictated by other, even darker interests, of which the voters would have known – and still care to know – nothing. The machinations of disruptive billionaires and Russian troll factories are simply fake news. Because Trump says so. And he’s promised to send all the ethnic minorities away.

The question is, where does America go next? After a year in which ‘alternative truths’ became the currency of political discourse, a year in which politicians have shown well-remunerated disregard for the deep pit of slurry into which Trump is dragging their country – a year of political cowardice in which the ugly spectre of resurgent European-style fascism has received unchallenged endorsement from the Oval Office – The Pumpkin senses the setting-in of a hopeless neurasthenia among the bien-pensant class.

Insults and ridicule have not worked to evict him; neither have forensic research and critical analysis, informed debate in a media dismissed as ‘fake news’ by the likes of Steve Bannon and Fox News’ Sean Hannity, cynical purveyors of the new nihilism; and by Alex Jones, tortured exponent of insanity. Rational argument is banished with easy scoffing and threats of imprisonment or worse, while Trump’s continuing election rallies reinforce the message of hate and exceptionalism. Not for nothing have parallels been drawn with early 1930s Germany.

Frankly, at the moment there seems to be nowhere to go but down – possibly for another seven years, maybe with worse to come after.

Americans as they gather today to give thanks for all this are not a happy bunch of bunnies; those, that is, who still retain a measure of goodwill to all men. The others, still thankfully only a minority, will be firing their AR-15s in the air, filled with the turkey-cock sense of pride in their newfound supremacy, feeling power swell within their grasp.

Worryingly, The Pumpkin concludes, we may not yet know exactly how far this innate racialism has penetrated the wider American psyche; when it might emerge from the national hypothalamus, the ‘reptile brain’, to become the new normal.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/the-nationalists-delusion/546356/?wpisrc=nl_todayworld&wpmm=1

Like (postscriptum)

Within one minute of concluding the first draft of this piece, wrapping up against the gale and heading out of the office to walk Hunzi, my phone buzzed to say I had an email. It was from WordPress, relaying a ‘Like’ from a speed-reader calling himself Godinterest (but all in capitals).

I’ve commented before on how strange I find it that whenever I mention anything to do with religion, Christian bloggers are queuing up to congratulate me, as I’m frequently not very complimentary about the nature of their beliefs.

Perhaps they’re just grateful someone is talking about Jesus. Whatever the reason, thank you, welcome to The BogPo/The Pumpkin (two websites for the price of one!). Kindly know that anything Posted here is subject to frequent additions, editorial revisions and corrections, as this one is already being, sometimes over a period of days or months. I revisit regularly – so you can too!

 

Korruption Korner

“Tax records revealed in a new report showed that a Virginia-based non-profit organization gave millions to a group that took out ads urging GOP Senators to keep (Obama nominee) Merrick Garland out of the Supreme Court and put Neil Gorsuch in. Last year alone, The Wellspring Committee gave $23 million to the Judicial Crisis Network, which in turn spent $7 million on materials opposing Garland. After President Donald Trump was elected, JCN spent another $10 million in pro-Gorsuch ads.” – Cenk Uygur/TYT

Well now. Why would anyone spend seventeen million bucks to swing the nomination for a Supreme Court judge? Not, surely, out of political conviction?

The ‘dark money’ that bought Gorsuch’s seat came from ‘an anonymous donor’. The Pumpkin wonders if the name Philip Anschutz might be inserted in the frame – a leisure, media and oil billionaire funder of numerous far-rightwing causes (and owner of the ultra-conservative Weekly Standard) who has reportedly bankrolled Gorfuck’s entire career.

The impartial judge has never once ruled against a corporation – even in a notorious case where a truck driver was fired for abandoning his trailer in 30C-below conditions after his diesel ran out, the relief truck hadn’t got through the snow and he would almost certainly have frozen to death if he hadn’t set off in his cab for the nearest filling station. That was eight years ago – the driver hasn’t been able to get a job since.

Even justice is for sale in America – the most corrupt country on the planet, where bribery is now – thanks to a previous Supreme Court ruling removing caps on political donations – perfectly legal and is carried on by the billions of dollars in a blatant campaign of subversion of democratic values by its own politicians, nestled comfortably in the deep pockets of the corporations.

Just don’t go there. I never have.

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The Game Set: Matching the Face to the Project

Maria Sharapova, the brilliant tennis champion suspended a while ago for a drugs violation – well, she’s Russian – and charismatic Ivanka Trump lookey-likey, is in hot water again.

Not under an after-match shower, but over a property deal she lent her name to in India, whose developers have apparently run off with the deposit money paid by investors, without a brick being laid.

“Real estate firm Homestead Infrastructure is accused of taking tens of millions of rupees – millions of dollars – from home buyers for a project named Ballet by Maria Sharapova, a luxury apartment complex with its own helipad, tennis academy and other amenities.” – BBC News

Working up a sweat: Indian police would like to talk to her, and who wouldn’t? (cnn.com)

Five-times Grand Slam champion, Sharapova is ‘under investigation’, although there is no suggestion at this stage that she had any closer relationship with Homestead than just a coup for her PR people, and a bit of handy fee income when she wasn’t earning on the circuit, that’s gone horribly wrong.

But in light of this company’s previous record – another project involving F1 champion Michael Schumacher also didn’t get far off the ground – a lawyer for one of the indignant investors, who has lost $86 thousand, has put his finger on the problem:

“Singh said the police investigation based on his client’s complaint was testing relatively new legal ground – that celebrities endorsing projects that draw vast sums of money from investors had a responsibility “to do some due diligence” …before lending their name and credibility to it.”

So, guess who else we’re thinking about now? That’s right! An orange warning is out.

 

GW: your old biddy sweltering in her Pak-a-mac and plastic hat

Saudi Arabia: “Hundreds of people have been rescued from stranded cars and flooded homes after heavy rain hit parts of western Saudi Arabia on 21 Nov. Civil defence teams reported that, as of late 21 November, they had rescued 481 people, mostly from vehicles stranded in flood water. Heavy rain was reported in Ha’il, with over 100 mm falling in 24 hours. Streets were under water up to 50 cm deep in some of the affected cities, causing major traffic problems. In rural areas, wadis turned into raging rivers, causing significant dangers for drivers. Local media are reporting that several people have died after being electrocuted in flood water in both Jeddah and Mecca.”

Heavy autumn rainfall and floods are increasingly common over the Arabian peninsula, where record 46 deg. C + temperatures were set this summer.

Brazil: Campinas, nr São Paolo: torrential thunderstorm causes extensive flash flooding, streets turn to raging torrents, etc. Londrina (Paraña) sudden violent storm causes powerful flood; cyclonic wind brings down trees, power lines, etc.

Colombia: River Cauca floods; Bolombolo under 3ft of water.

Puerto Rico: “Aid requests from the governors of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of September’s Hurricane Maria total $102 billion, which would make Maria the second costliest (US) weather disaster in world recorded history (after Katrina). Approximately half of Puerto Rico’s 1.5 million customers still do not have power.” To date, Congress has voted less than ten percent of the budget required to meet the cost of the disasters.

Vietnam: 2 dead, 1 missing in floods. “Some areas of Thua Thien Hue and Quang Tri provinces recorded around 300 mm of rain in a 24 hour period to 21 November. Local media reported that reservoirs in the central and central highlands regions had released water to cope with high levels. Vietnam has been struggling to deal with a seemingly endless stream of storms – Doksuri, Khanun, Damrey, Haikui and Kirogi – since September this year.”

Indonesia: Rancaekek, Malangbong & Semarang, West Java – towns underwater.

Thailand: Hua Hin – underwater.

Australia: Melbourne experiencing record November (early summer) heatwave for temperatures (28 deg. C. – 82F plus) and likely duration, longest since 1850. Tasmania also ‘sweltering’ – press asking “What happened to Spring?”

UK: Persistent heavy rain – a month’s worth falling over 24 hours- has caused localized flooding across North Wales, Lancashire and Cumbria, where residents living in and around the River Kent were warned to take “immediate action”. Train services cancelled, schools and roads closed. “Isle of Anglesey county council said “major flooding” had hit Llangefni, where images showed water rushing down Church Street in the town’s centre. Meanwhile in Beaumaris rainwater caused the castle’s moat to burst, flooding a street in the town centre” – only in ancient Britain!

Temperatures in the south have been up to 6 deg. C above normal for late November; meanwhile north of the border, Scotland has had up to 20 cm snow and 85mph winds, with mountain roads closed.

World: Meanwhile, there are huge heat anomalies again in the Arctic, while cold air has been displaced to northern Europe, Russia, Canada it’s many degrees above normal north of the Arctic circle.

The Arctic News website, featuring a group of reputable but anonymous climate scientists calling itself ‘Sam Carana’ has not been updated since 7 October.

Floodlist/ NorthWest Evening Mail/ Guardian/ Wunderground/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #82

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The End

McDonalds – saving the world

Scientists at Reading University near London have discovered that fatty aerosols from deep fryers are binding with water molecules high in the troposphere and seeding clouds, which due to their oily composition hang around longer than normal and so reflect more sunlight back into space.

Just watch your step on that puddle, Gran.

The BogPo: Even the politicians are looking younger nowadays… And this second’s price is… GW: Sloshing through the puddles in me brand new Wellies… End of… OCD Notes.

The BogPoGAY ACTOR MADE PASS AT

MAN IN THEATRE SHOCK!

Reports, pp. 2,3,5, 11,12, 13, 14 (that’s enough celebrity content. Ed.)

 

“… Mr Trump now feels able to put his own distasteful sexual history behind him.”

Even the politicians are looking younger nowadays

I am now roughly twice the average age of many leaders newly emerging onto the world stage. It is not an encouraging thought that they are all young enough to have been my children. I do not yet consider myself mature enough to grasp the reins of power, although my groping days are long behind me. Yet these fresh-faced kiddies are setting themselves up to rule my world. And I don’t like the cut of many of their gibs, frankly.

The Washington Post today points at several of the new-generation tyros:

“…if the seemingly improbable occurs and (Luigi) Di Maio’s once-renegade Five Star Movement emerges victorious in Italy’s general election in March, the 31-year-old may join the growing list of youthful European statesmen as Italy’s next prime minister. In France, 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron shook up the political system by siphoning votes from both the left and right into a new centrist political juggernaut. In Austria, 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz is poised to form a conservative coalition under his rule.”

In New Zealand, the toothsome Jacinda Ardern, 37, recently scrambled over the electoral line to become Prime Minister and has already set out her stall by retorting to a Trump overture at the summit in Vietnam last week, that at least nobody turned out to protest her election. She was referring, of course, to the million-women march. Trump appears not to have gotten the reference, as he seemed quite pleased at the thought of so many people turning out to hail his ascension to the White House, the demented old thug (71).

Amazingly, he does not seem to have made a senile lurch in the direction of her Prime Ministerial pussy; perhaps he doesn’t yet take her sufficiently seriously; but following the exhumation of a very old photograph showing one of his congressional nemeses, the Democratic senator and former comedian Al Franken (66), taking part in a comedy sketch, appearing (without actually making contact) to fondle the armored breasts of a pretend-sleeping co-performer as a gag, in front of an audience, Mr Trump now feels able to put his own distasteful sexual history, and that of ‘Judge’ Roy Moore, behind him.

Other than for Christopher Steele’s Russian ‘pee-pee tape’ allegation, of course. That’s not going away in a hurry.

And then you have a new junior axis of evil revolving around the young American Emperor-in-Waiting, Jared Kushner, 37, and his young ‘friends’ in the Middle East.

His ‘friend’, the newly installed (on Kushner’s suggestion, via Orange Dad-in-Law) Crown Prince bin-Salman of Saudi Arabia, 32, and his other ‘friend’, bin-Hamad al-Thani, the 37-year-old Emir of Qatar, don’t seem to be getting along at the moment, but at least war hasn’t broken out between them, bin-Salman being far too busy supervising the genocide in Yemen.

Strangely, Mr Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, is also best budz with Israeli PM Netanyahu – at 68, and a fellow Libran precisely my age – and various dubious old billionaires in that part of the world. It betrays a certain ecumenism that could actually bode well for world peace. (That’s a joke, by the way. He just needs money, and doesn’t care where from.)

For, not every global leader was born yesterday. Putin is 65, almost as old as Bini and me, although bare-chest riding through mountain streams and wrestling bears keeps him looking younger (is that a little adjustment I seem to see around the eyes?). Mrs May is 61, Mrs Merkel 63, and neither of them appears to be trailing any more youthful Crown Princes behind them. The nearest thing we have in Britain to a juvenile Pretender, Jacob Rees-Mogg is 48, which hardly counts. (That’s just his birth age. His political age is more like 148.)

Thank God for soup kitchens. Is this Mock Turtle, or the real thing? It’s jolly good… is there more?

Prince Charles, the increasingly depressed and moth-eaten Heir Apparent to the English throne, is 69. His mother refuses to give up the day-job and at only 91 has at least nine more years before she reaches the age her mother managed, on a daily diet of gin. A case of genes and tonic? (Ouch, sorry.) At 32, Charles’ heir presumptive, William, Duke of Cambridge, is right in the groove of modern leadership, but does not appear to be one of Jushner’s charmed circle, having neither the brains nor the necessary wealth.

The kleptocrat and managerial incompetent, Mugabe of Zimbabwe is 94. He’s currently resisting all persuasive attempts to get him to fuck off the world stage, even under house arrest ordered by the military, whose tanks are on the streets of Harare. We’re pretending that the unpronounceable gentleman known as The Crocodile who is bidding to succeed him represents a generational change within the eternal Zanu-PF party, but he too is a veteran of the wars of independence and an instigator of the mass slaughter of opposing tribespeople that followed.

Although a youthful continent, relatively speaking, Africa seems unlikely just yet to abandon its inexplicable loyalty to these monstrously corrupt, self-aggrandizing old ‘liberation’ tyrannosaurs, who have done nothing with their hands steeped in blood and blood-money to liberate any of the continent they rule over, but merely assumed for themselves for decades the mantle of rapacious and brutal colonialism. And yes, there’s old Jacob Zuma, 74…. And the female Prime Minister of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 80 next year…

While the puppet ruler of Burma, the fragrant racist and genocide-denier Aung San Suu Kyi, is 72. And the Iranian President Rouhani, 69.

These senior citizens are all maintained in the rudest of health by the medical services of other, more advanced nations. So it may be a while yet before the world rids itself of my generation. And thank heaven, for along with the soothing sound of nails scraping down blackboards, with age comes wisdom, so they tell me.

Also home ownership.

x

And this second’s price is…

Until my mother died last year, I always had a reason to visit London.

True, it wasn’t the most vibrant or creative engagement with the city of my birth, chewing the fat for two days in her dilapidated kitchen over a couple of bottles of wine, in a lethal fug of smoke from the Chesterfield she consumed practically until the day they killed her, driven crazy by the sound-on-vision buzzing of her ancient, defective TV, that she no longer noticed; politely listening to the same old stories over again.

After she collapsed and was taken into a frantically busy inner-city hospital just a month before Christmas, a place more like a charity bazaar than an oasis of healing, I visited more frequently. And a fortnight later, I found myself traveling up twice a week to try to sort out her fifty-year mess of a flat before billions more in rent fell due.

She seemed never to have thrown away a single scrap of paper, and the evidence of her long financial entanglements with the landlords, with the crooked underwriters of Lloyds of London, with what seemed like half the financial services industry filled cardboard boxes and carrier bags and drawers and a massive old wooden filing cabinet someone was going to have to be paid to take away. If only we’d had a pound for every solicitor’s letter… but there was nothing left.

Getting to the flat involved what to me was quite an arduous journey, driving to the nearest station, finding long-stay parking (there isn’t any, officially, now they’ve put a Tesco on the old lot), changing trains and having to get across north London in the rush hour with poor Hunzi in tow. Who knew bus drivers no longer collected fares? What exactly was an Oyster card?

And, of course, you never knew how much the fare was going to be, depending on whether you booked it in advance, on the day, by post, at the ticket counter or using the machine on the platform – the time of travel, or the type of ‘saver return’, when you were travelling back….

And yet, curiously, what you were buying never seemed to change at all: the mileage, the rolling-stock, the service, the overpriced coffee always stayed the same.

Funny, that.

The London underground was so rammed with Christmas shoppers, tourists and commuters, exhaling germs to which I’d never been exposed (living where I do, I haven’t even had a cold for about twelve years), packed into steamy carriages tens of metres under the earth you’d never escape from if they decided to blow the train up, that I took to using taxis, and the hell with the expense.

But always a black cab.

It would never in a million years have occurred to me to download an app to my phone and summon an Uber driver.

Uber seemed to be a part of a world becoming increasingly alien to me.

After she died, the exigencies of removing what bits and pieces seemed worth salvaging from the clearance men meant making the six-hour drive to my mother’s flat by car, when I discovered that you could book a parking space (at £32 a day) online, just next door. The neighbours – a small business involved in some kind of obscure import/export activity probably involving espionage, arms dealing or offshore financial skulduggery, this being Knightsbridge – had monetized their precious forecourt, space for which I found myself having to compete. Websites now exist on which property owners can advertise, and you can bid to park your car there for the day.

What next? Could someone perhaps invent a marriage app? Book a wife by the hour?

From an article in today’s Guardian, I’ve learned that I would have had no way of knowing what an Uber driver would have charged for a fare from Euston to Knightsbridge, battling their way through the traffic snarl-ups created by contractors installing ex-Mayor Johnson’s demonic legacy, a cycle “motorway” carved against wisdom through the centre of town. Apparently, a computer in Los Angeles determines how much you will pay, depending on the time of day or night; the traffic, the degree of usage and how many Uber drivers are in circulation at any one time.

It’s called “dynamic pricing”, and it’s the most fucking annoying aspect of life in the 21st century anyone could possibly have invented.

But apparently it’s due shortly to come to a store near you.

The digital price tag has arrived.

It’s frankly incredible, knowing that the last bastion of certainty in life, the value of the goods and services you’re buying, enabling you to plan your expenditure, has become entirely transactional; a form of commercial triage. Okay, so if I lived in Morocco or somewhere I’d know the prices were purely notional and you’d pay whatever you could get away with, depending on the mood of the vendor.

But that was the whole point of supermarkets, wasn’t it, that the economics were relatively stable? The environment conformable. You’d know pretty much from week to week, what the cost of your shopping basket would be. You didn’t need language or financial alacrity to use supermarkets anywhere in the world.

Okay, prices would rise and fall, depending on the seasonal exigencies of supply, depending on demand, depending on this week’s promotions. But it was a relatively slow-moving process, that averaged out pretty much over all the items you bought.

So now, you pick up a bunch of bananas priced at £2, but by the time you get to the till the computer’s decided to charge £2.23p because someone at the branch in the next town bought another bunch of bananas at the same time….

Actually, it can be gratifying when you choose a wine that’s tagged at £8 a bottle, the kid swipes the barcode and brightly announces that’ll be £5.95. But that doesn’t always happen. £5.95’s probably the most it was worth anyway.

Booking travel tickets has equally become a lottery. I’ve grimped and mired about that many times on this, muh bogl. Not only is the return journey differentially priced (they know you’d probably like to come back, so they can charge twice as much), but prices online vary from minute to minute, giving new wings to the old adage: “He/she who hesitates is lost”. Only NOT hesitating could mean paying £100 more than you need, as the minute after you book it, the price of your journey takes a sudden tumble when the computer detects that your flight isn’t full enough, someone has cancelled… It’s raining in Alicante.

You simply have no idea when is the best time to buy. It’s all highly stressful.

In olden times, like when I was growing up, a business would calculate a range of fixed prices, based on an average calculation of service, sales and overhead costs, and on anticipated numbers of customers. The prices rarely altered. Now the blame for rising prices is thrown onto the customer: when you buy something, it automatically becomes more valuable and expensive for the next person, so you pay more.

On that basis, I’m sort of refusing to travel at all – I didn’t make my usual jazz pilgrimage to France this year on grounds that I was too depressed already to bother struggling with the rival attractions of Ryanair, Eurostar or Brittany ferries – all of them rapacious bastards – trying to predict how much the additional travel costs of each were going to be – assuming also that I would probably lose my ticket, or sleep through the call for my flight and have to book another at short notice – over and above the already generous payment for the accommodation, with the pound on the floor.

And then just as you’re about to push the Book it now! button, oops, some bloke in Dagenham presses it fractionally sooner, and back up goes the fare. Bidding on online auction channel YouTube, too, used to be a fairly comprehensible, straightforward process, until some slippery bastard invented a bit of software that bids a fraction higher than the winning bid automatically in the last nanosecond, enabling the overbidder to destroy the momentary optimism of thousands.

But what if….?

What if employers, or the government, suddenly were to discover the possibilities, almost infinite, inherent in “Dynamic payment“?

Well, employers are already in that game. No-one on a zero-hours contract has any real idea how much or how little they are going to be earning from hour to hour, let alone in a month – although for the time being the actual hourly rate seems to remain fixed. No-one is saying you have to negotiate your own minimum wage. Not yet. I imagine, though, that with services like Uber, the driver’s hourly rate probably fluctuates with demand as well.

It’s hideous.

Under the new Universal Credit wheeze, a Tory conspiracy against the working-class, for instance, if you’re self-employed – that’s most of the kids trapped in the ‘gig economy’, where your employer barely knows you exist – the benefits you’re entitled to change from month to month according to how much the Department of Work and Pensions predicts you’re going to be earning in the next month.

Any freelancer knows such predictions are almost impossible; most self-employment is just casual work for which your employer refuses to take responsibility, but the Department has imagined in its lunacy that your self-employment is a business; and should be run at a profit. Consequently, after a year they cut your benefits off altogether, in light of the massive profits you will now surely be making.

As an editor, I gave up looking for freelance work when I found myself bidding online for the cheapest hourly rate against dozens of probably illiterate competitors with fake degrees in Hong Kong and Malaysia, who seem to be able to live on a dollar a day. And for crappy briefs that usually involved enabling Chinese undergraduates to cheat on their exams.

But what if your employer, or the government that pays your Universal Credit, your pension, also had access to your entire purchasing history? What if they were able to determine precisely how much money you spend getting through the month, to the nearest penny, and allow you just that amount and no more (minus any items they disapprove of, like wine and cigarettes)?

We’d then have that Holy Grail thing nobody ever quite wants to vote for, the “Minimum income” – only determined by your expenditure, on a flexible tariff. (Except that everyone’s expenditure would be averaged out across the whole country and a fixed amount arrived at. We can’t allow for extravagance)

Expenditure on luxury goods would, of course, be discounted: the calculation would be based on a basket of allowables. Savings and taxes having been abolished, perhaps an occasional bonus could be declared to counter the depressing effect of constantly having to meet your expenditure targets or lose out.

Thus you would have absolutely no uncertainty about anything.

Carry on.

x

GW: Sloshing through the puddles in me brand new Wellies

Greece: “At least 16 people died early Wednesday in Greece as major flash flooding tore through several towns on the northwest edge of the Athens metropolitan area. Mudslides poured through the region after torrential overnight rainfall, inundating roads with bright red-orange soil and tossing vehicles like toys. In the town of Nea Peramos, some 1000 homes were flooded, according to deputy major Stavros Fotiou.  All of those reported killed by the floods were between ages 45 and 70, according to Greece’s national TV network ERT (as reported by the Guardian).” A state of emergency was declared on the island of Symi.

“The website Severe Weather Europe warned early Thursday that 48-hour rainfall amounts of 200-400 mm (8 – 16”) were possible on Saturday in parts of central and northern Greece.” The storm has been named ‘Numa’ and was sufficiently violent to be classed as a rare “Medicane” – a hurricane-like weather system, that more usually affects the western Mediterranean – indeed, a similar storm hit Malta two weeks ago. (21 Nov: Greece death toll confirmed at 22.)

Turkey: Freak hailstorm batters the town of Mersin in the SE of the country. Streets turn to rivers of ice, etc.

France: warning of unstable glacier above the ski-resort town of Chamonix in the French Alps as basal temperature approaches melting point; many Alpine glaciers already gone.

Indonesia: “At least 2 people died in flash floods in West Nusa province of central Indonesia on 19 November… floods affected 2,280 people in 15 different villages … 367 homes and 14 bridges were damaged.”

Bolivia: Cochabamba province: town of Ivirgazama underwater after torrential rainstorm.

Paraguay: Powerful storm hits Ciudad del Este: cyclonic wind brings down trees, buildings.

Colombia: Extreme rainfall produces flash flooding and a giant mudslide in the city of Corinto (7 Nov.). People missing, streets left 6-in deep in mud. Raging torrent flows through Santa Marta, city centre, seafront inundated.

Haiti: Floods caused by several days of torrential rain have left five people dead and thousands of homes damaged. Haiti’s civil protection directorate said on Thursday that between 14 and 16 November at least 10,000 houses were flooded.

Australia: Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, hit by sudden tropical storm. Wind gusting to 107 kph tears down trees and power lines. 12mm hail falls in 15 mins.

Vietnam: Yet another Tropical Storm, Kirogi, crosses Vietnam, bringing down trees and power lines and causing flash flooding in Saigon.

USA: Pacific ‘atmospheric river’ dubbed The Pineapple Express brings heavy rain and snowfall to western states. Three feet of snow dumped over northern California in 48 hours sets new November record. Tornado and 100 mph winds rip through midwest. To the east, ‘dangerously’ strong winds cause damage in New York; cold and snow cause commuter misery, 5 injured in scaffolding collapses. 100 million affected by storms.

Meanwhile the southwest and southern California enjoying record high late November temperatures up to 90F.

The sudden arrival of global cooling has set tongues wagging…

World: “October 2017 was tied for fourth warmest October for Earth since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA; NASA rated it the second warmest*. The January – October period was the third warmest such period on record, and 2017 is on pace to be Earth’s second or third warmest year on record, behind 2016.” In Dr Jeff Masters’ analysis, the fact that 2017 has been 0.18 deg. C behind 2016 is due to there having been no El Niño event this year, which normally results in higher temperatures still – and not to any intrinsic slowdown in the warming trend.

Wildfires in California last month that killed 40 people caused over $8 billion insured damage – it’s said, the costliest non-hurricane-(or war)-related event in US history.

*I love the US-centric nature of these reports… here in Europe, we’ve had temperature records since the late 1600s…

Climate & Extreme Weather News #80, #81/ Enikos.gr/ Wunderground/ Floodlist/ Aljazeera

 

End of…

Meanwhile, few people seem to be taking much notice of the huge increase in seismic activity, volcanoes and multiple earthquakes – especially all around the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, central America and southern California, and the eastern Mediterranean basin. Unusual places have been hit: a M5.2 for instance struck last week, deep beneath the Isle of Man, UK – in the Irish Sea, a rare event that didn’t even appear on the USGS list. No damage was caused on land.

“Scientists have warned there could be a big increase in numbers of devastating earthquakes around the world next year. They believe variations in the speed of Earth’s rotation could trigger intense seismic activity, particularly in heavily populated tropical regions.”  – Guardian, 19 Nov.

Proving that scientists (Universities of Montana and Colorado joint paper noting a correlation between 5-year cycles of slowing by 1 thousandth of a second a year and numbers of larger earthquakes) are probably just as batty as the rest of the online community of paranoiacs, Jeremiahs and revelationist Christian millennarians.

Let’s see, shall we?

(Another M7.2 in the Pacific yesterday caused a 1m tsunami to come ashore on Vanuatu. The media should be told, the wave height is not the point, it’s the wavelength of a tsunami that creates the danger.)

 

OCD Notes: checking on things so you don’t have to

  • Facebook CEO, 33 year-old Mark Zuckerberg’s personal fortune is estimated at 74 billion dollars.
  • At only 5’7″ in height, that makes him worth 9.05 billion dollars an inch.

The BogPo: One more heave… The stuff of legend… GW: Raindrops are fallin’ on muh ‘ead… Global cooling… End Times News/Fake News News… In Trumpworld, ignorance is power.

Where’s the crackers? Oh, right, that’s us. (Photo? via TYT)

“Where he appears to have miscalculated is in failing to realize the intense scrutiny he would come under as the ‘leader of the free world’, and just how bad he looks in the full glare of the lights.”

One more heave…

I’m delighted to say that my latest purchase of a £11.95 (plus £1.64 postage) jazz CD, The World According to Andy Bey – by the eponymous, strangely unsung bass-baritone vocalist and self-accompanying piano player (you have to be nowadays), of whose impressive talent I became aware only last Monday – has temporarily elevated Mr Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and hence its UK offshoot, Amazing.uk, to the coveted position of Firstmost Wealthiest American.

Following a 10% rise in Amazon stock this week, occasioned no doubt by my recklessly self-indulgent purchasing habits, Mr Bezos’ personal fortune has been swollen to $95 billion, meaning he has almost caught up with the part-owner of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, the non-American President Vladimir Putin, believed to be secretly the world’s richest man; as, of course, he owns Russia.

If we keep buying stuff online, we can get Jeff there, guys! One more heave!

The top three wealthiest men in America have profited mightily from very different business models.

Mr Bezos invented nothing, but started Amazon as an online bookstore, to the ultimate detriment of the trade. He has merely applied IT in a farsighted way, combining rapid distribution systems and algorithmic demand-drivers, to what used to be known as “mail order” retailing. Soon, your orders will arrive before you have thought of ordering them. His global emporium has since expanded to cover almost anything you can buy; however, to put it in perspective, despite my best efforts it ships four times fewer packages daily than its upstart competitor, the Chinese-owned Alibaba.

Bill Gates invented or encouraged the invention and development of the Windows operating system, which with clever marketing and ruthless business tactics he successfully turned into a giant Silicon Valley software monopoly known and pretty much universally loathed as Microsoft.

The third of the triumvirate, Mr Warren Buffet of the Hathaway Group used other people’s money and a certain flair for predicting the movements of stocks and shares to make lots of money out of nothing more substantial than money itself. Where other businessmen breed sheep, or cattle, Mr Buffet breeds hundred dollar bills by the cartload.

Galloping up on the rails behind these three is the youthful social media entrepreneur, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebookistan, constructor of a highly leveraged online chatroom for students meeting students, that (thanks to a $million investment from Mr Putin) has burgeoned in a few years into a multi-billion-dollar global information exchange with over 2 billion subscribers of all ages (your Uncle Bogler is not one of them).

The key to his vast wealth being that the Zuck has successfully monetized the personal data volunteered in cosmic quantities by Facebook’s unsuspecting and enthusiastic uptakers, selling it on without moral question to just about anyone who can pay for it and employ it in whatever cause, commerce, sex, politics – even that of bringing down the Western democracies that produced Facebook in the first place.

This jostling for position among the richest men in America, though not the world, makes no difference, however, to the disturbing statistic that just those three top white men alone now command as much money between them as the entire populations of Canada and Mexico together; or, to put it another way, the poorest 160 MILLION Americans; many of whom despite being in employment are trapped in negative wealth and falling ever further behind, unable to maintain even the most basic standard of living.

Those are the people whom Trump despises as ‘losers’, whose already inadequate wages and healthcare and environmental protections he has plotted to take away and give to his wealthy backers; yet for whom he retains immense appeal as someone who seemingly flipped the finger at the political establishment. He has successfully played on their fears of ‘Others’ seeming to do better than themselves, despite or perhaps because of their imagined inferiority defined by skin colour as members of one or other sub-species of human; President Obama being the epitome of the principle Trump espouses, that n-words belong below-stairs, or out in the stable; while Muslims and Mexicans don’t belong at all.

Despite his bullish manner and florid tastes, Mr Trump certainly is not one of the richest men in America, or anything like. A six-times bankrupt, owing possibly as much as $2 billion dollars to foreign banks (US banks have downgraded his creditworthiness to zero after learning painful lessons) it is probable that he too is a net debtor,  but with assets of a few hundred million dollars only (only!). How much is liquid and how much tied up in volatile property leases we have no idea as he refuses to publish his tax returns.

(People who naturally find that suspicious should consider it may only be because they prove he doesn’t really have the ten billion dollars he boasts of.)

Mr Trump’s business model, his ‘recipe for success’ has, it seems, simply been to muddle his business income up inextricably with his personal affairs; he has gotten where he is today, wherever that is, on other people’s backs, by constantly lying, prevaricating, boasting, forging, fantasizing, fiddling, fudging and muddling – and when those fail, threatening and bullying.

He clearly knows very little about business: he just told a meeting of Japanese business leaders that Japan should stop exporting more cars to the USA than US manufacturers export to Japan, build its cars in the USA and create jobs for Americans.

They already do:

“According to the 2013 report of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), which represents Japan’s major automakers worldwide, 70% of all Japanese cars and trucks sold in the US in 2012 were made at US plants. In that year, these Japanese-owned “transplants” produced 3.3 million vehicles, over a third of total US auto production.” – asiamattersforamerica.org

In fact, Japan imports more American-made cars than native US auto manufacturers export. That’s possibly because they make better cars. The leading Japanese makers also have productive manufacturing plant in the UK and Europe.

You see what an insulting asshole your president is, how embarrassing, how utterly foolish and ignorant of the business world and how he will say absolutely anything, any lie he thinks will endear him to the dumbfucks back in Plainsville who will vote for him ’til the day they die – which shouldn’t be long now?

Despite speculation that he stands to make a lot of money from his tenure of the White House, considered at least in small part to have been his motivation in running for office (the others being his irrepressibly selfish ego, his neurotic craving for approbation and the useful power the President has of self-pardon) and despite his disdain for the emoluments rules, the constitution and the rule of law, it appears that his obnoxious business tactics and sinking global reputation have knocked about $600 million off the value of his and his daughter’s ‘Trump Brands’ businesses; while his Russian-funded golf courses continue to haemorrhage money.

Incoherence is not a good quality in a CEO.

Where he appears to have miscalculated is in failing to realize the intense scrutiny he would come under as the ‘leader of the free world’, and just how bad he looks in the full glare of the lights. The media over which he had some control as a TV performer and the Federal law agency he insulted are now fully in control of his life, he has ‘advisors’ who naturally like to advise, rules of good conduct, and he doesn’t like that a bit. He blames the media for his failing condition, but some of us have noticed that whenever he succeeds in reading out a coherent speech and sticking to Steve Miller’s script, the lying press and the fake news cable shows rush to treat his words with deference, imagining that he has at last become flesh.

It illustrates perhaps that screwing the banks and investing Russian mob money in failed casinos and grandiose speculative property developments while maintaining mid-20th-century business methods and a certain lazy thuggishness in a very different 21st-century climate of stringent oversight of corporate governance coupled with demands for fiscal responsibility and personal and environmental sensitivity, attributes he does not and never will possess, are not the way to gain untold riches, however much you might scream and shout and blame everyone around you for your failings.

This sad old sack of shit is trapped in the past. Unfortunately, it’s a fantasy past based on his failing memory of how great America was, in days when it was exporting megadeath to little yellow people, turning battleships back into domestic appliances – chains for housewives – sticking fins on huge wallowy gas-guzzlers, lynching n-words and hoovering up the remains of the British empire.

Add Parker and Dizz to the list, add Miles and ‘Trane and Monk, and he might have a point….

x

The stuff of legend…

“Amancio Ortega, the founder and director of the Inditex Group which owns high street shop Zara, has been named the third richest man in the world by Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index with an estimated fortune of £29.8 billion ($46.6 billion).”

We all do it. At least, almost all of us.

We buy stuff.

And because we are easily seduced, because we like to feel we belong to some invisible community without necessarily bearing any of the duties and responsibilities of membership, we become suckers for certain brands of stuff with which in our loneliness we identify through the advertising they put out.

All right, use the word ‘ambassadors’ if you like.

Personally, your Uncle Bogler is past the age of excited adherence to brands. He may have stuck with the same banking group for fifty years, he may be too lazy to keep ‘switching’ suppliers of this or that, “it’s only money”, but it’s not out of loyalty, it’s out of cynicism: better the Devil you know – they’re all the same.

He was never much one for consumer goods. He does wear trousers, he does wear shirts, socks and pants and sweaters, and once in a blue moon he needs to go out and buy new ones as he tends not to bother changing out of his day clothes to do painting or gardening jobs; odd socks vanish, sweaters pill and shred, shirts shrink, until eventually he starts to feel he might be looking a bit, well, terrible, and he knows where in town stuff is to be got that might look okay and fit in the right places, stuff he can just about afford, so he grits his teeth and goes there to buy.

Which is not to say he bothers with labels, but in the process he knows he is inadvertently buying branded goods, and those affordable shirts and trousers and occasionally even shoes (he buys red or blue tennis loafers, they’re comfortable, they fit and only £10 a pair, how do they do it?) are all made abroad, in Dickensian sweatshops, by anonymous brown people working twelve hours a day, six days a week for bare subsistence wages, in perpetual danger of losing their living by going sick or having to give up time to care for their kids, their prematurely aged parents.

Modern-day coolies feed the lazy person’s desire for more stuff. (Jalta.nl)

He knows it, but what can you do? It happens here too, with rapacious corporates like Deliveroo, the nadir of the ‘gig economy’, the absolute pits in terms of employing “self-employed” (according to the stupid UK courts) kids to ride around on bikes, strapped to monstrous boxes, kids on minimum wage with no rights, no sick pay; kids who can be fined or fired for taking time off or missing something.

Who in God’s name needs a shitty business like Deliveroo? What the hell kind of sick society in the 21st century makes coolies of its brightest and best young people, just to deliver more cheap fucking stuff to lazy arses who think themselves too “time-poor” to cook, or to go out for dinner?

“Unto him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away”, so said Jesus of Nazareth. Nice guy.

And when an individual sets up some kind of entrepreneurial business that hits the spot in terms of timing, very important, and the look, when they get lucky – of course, there’s a hard slog to begin with, some know-how involved, a few years’ apprenticeship, but the timing and the look and the luck really are everything – then they hook into us, and we hook into them, and off takes the brand and up go the sales, and…

They get rich.

And richer.

And third richest.

Thanks to us, the ambassadors, the suckers, the seduced – the time-poor. Thanks, inadvertently, to me.

And we all turn a blind eye to how the magic is performed.

Now, you don’t get to be the third richest person in the world by paying people to make your money. At the bottom of your organization are the myriad anonymous brown schmucks who actually do the work for a dollar an hour, while you swan around in a suit it would take a brown schmuck a year to pay for, provided their kids don’t eat, making lapidary statements and casting a professional eye over everything, the stitching, the balance sheet, the estimates for this and that, the order book and the delivery schedules, the stock levels, the design artwork, the market cap.; firing the odd guy for luck, fingers-crossed hoping to God you’re making the right judgements because you just laid out a hundred million dollars on a new superyacht to ferry you and your ghastly hangers-on, your ex-model wife, her bling and your valet, your fucking team of Sushi chefs, from your ethnically cleansed Caribbean island home to Monte Carlo and back.

We make those people.

Do you understand? If you have a problem with billionaires in the world, and let’s not forget, you could win a million on the lottery every year for a thousand years and still not be a billionaire, understand. We make them.

“The company said it had set up, along with Mango and Next, a hardship fund of 210,000 euros ($246,000; £188,000) to help the most vulnerable workers in need. “There is an unjust suffering here and we’re very sorry that these workers have to endure this,” said Murat Akkun, Inditex’s manager of sustainability in Turkey. “But it’s not us but the local firm and its boss that has caused this suffering. He has escaped justice. Turkish courts need to find this man and make him pay all that is due.” – BBC News

In the wake of the bankruptcy 15 months ago of Bravo Tekstil, an Istanbul company contracted to make branded clothing at rock-bottom prices for the high street brands you love, because you don’t love yourself, the brown schmucks have been paid not a penny. In desperation, they have had the swing-tags on the clothes they continue to make for nothing reprinted with a message, asking for help because they can’t afford to send their kids to school.

So the world’s third richest man (that’s personal wealth, not stock wealth – money in the bank), the wealthiest retailer in the world (Forbes) has put aside one 250 thousandth part of his fortune to help them?

The fortune they made him?

The fortune we bestow upon him, because we like the name Zara? Because we like the logo? It looks just how we feel about ourselves. Amazing.

Well not exactly. His business has done that, set aside some tiny fraction of its annual turnover, along with two other businesses with brands you love so much they’re probably owned by billionaires too, to provide a tiny fraction of the wages the people who make the money for them are losing, as a derisory concession to the workers abandoned by a bankrupt contractor for whom they bear no responsibility whatever.

Mr Ortega himself remains out of the loop, we suppose. That’s capitalism in a globalized world.

We’ve not come far since the 19th century.

Is Mr Ortega a bad man? Probably not, he probably doesn’t even know about the Turkish situation as he retired five years ago. The son of a railway worker, brought up in a Spain torn by civil war, he came from humble beginnings himself, starting off in a shirt factory:

“One day [he and] his mother went to pick up some groceries,” according to Covadonga O’Shea, author of a biography of the Zara founder. “From below the counter, he heard someone tell his mother, ‘Señora… we can’t give you any more credit.'” Ortega still felt shame at the family’s inability to pay. “When Amancio was telling me this, he was terribly emotional. And he said to me: ‘I was deeply hurt and humiliated.'”

“He vowed never to let his family suffer poverty again…” (BBC report, Sept 2016)

So he just inflicted it on everybody else.

It’s the stuff of legend, really.

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GW: Raindrops are fallin’ on muh ‘ead…

(Note: Granny W is experiencing formatting problems with the WordPress words machine. Apologies, etc.)
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Colombia: “…at least 4 people were killed and 28 injured after a mudslide and flooding from the overflowing La Paila river inundated the town of Corinto, Cauca Department, on 07 November, 2017. Over 30 people have been injured and 18 are still missing, according to local government reports. Thirty-seven houses have been destroyed and 17 buildings severely damaged, including a local school. … Images from disaster agencies showed streets covered with mud and flood debris.”
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Panama: torrential rain brings flooding to the city of Colon. (Sort of Colonic irrigation… not funny.)
Kenya: “Periods of heavy rain have affected parts of Kenya since late October, causing flooding in central and northern parts of the country. The flooding has damaged or destroyed homes and displaced dozens of families. Local media report that at least 4 people have died.” – It’s impossible to overstate the importance of roads for food distribution in Africa. The Kenya floods have made many impassable.
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Malaysia: death toll from floods and mudslides put at 7 as remnant Typhoon Damrey dumps up to half a metre of rain over Penang in 24 hours. Parts of the island under 2-3 metres. A lot of buildings and infrastructure damage.

Indonesia: Five people killed in a landslide in South Sumatra yesterday. “Heavy rainfall since 03 November 2017 has caused flooding and landslides in several  provinces, according to the country’s Disaster Prevention Agency (BNPB). At least 9 deaths have been attributed to the heavy rain. Over 3,000 people have been affected by flooding.” Town of Banjarnegara hit by violent cyclonic storm on 8 Nov., people flee in panic as trees and power lines brought down. 1 dead, 3 injured.

Aljazeera reports on ever-rising sea levels forcing villagers in northern Java to permanently evacuate their homes and move inland.

India: late monsoon rains have killed 12 people in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu in the past week and a further 8 have died in floods in northern Sri Lanka, bringing the GW reports full-circle as we first reported on floods and landslides there back in April. 300 ml of rain fell on the city of Chennai in 24 hours.

Atlantic: Tropical Storm Rina is dying out, caught in a cold front and not expected to make landfall anywhere, other than Ireland and the UK as a normal Atlantic depression over the weekend. Rina was the 17th named Atlantic TS of the season: busy, but not a record. Hurricane Irma was by a long way the most powerful storm of the year to make landfall.

Greece: “Flash floods caused by heavy overnight rain (15 Nov.) have killed at least 14 people and caused destruction in central Greece. The industrial towns of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, west of the capital Athens, were the most affected.” Roads were flooded to a depth of a metre. “Many of the dead were elderly people whose bodies were found inside their homes, reports say. Fast-flowing torrents of red mud flooded roads.”

“…heavy rain and strong winds affected parts of north-western Greece from 11 November. The worst hit locations were Corfu and Igoumenitsa, where some areas recorded more than 100 mm of rain in a 24 hour period. The Fire Service reported that one man died in Corfu after his car was swept away by flood waters.”

Turkey: a terrifying storm erupts over the mountain town of Kumluca. Contained within it and visible only by the flashes of lightning is a huge tornado. Daylight brings scenes of devastation. This footage from CEWN #80 at 33.26 is not for children.

Violent storms in the Mediterranean have also struck the islands of Malta, and Sicily – where streets turned to the now-familiar ‘rivers of ice’ as a huge amount of hail fell – and into the Balkans. At least a hundred migrants are known to have drowned crossing from Libya, including 23 teenage Kenyan girls when their boat capsized, their bodies washed up on Italian beaches.

Harvey: the stats are all in and, yes, at roughly 1 trillion gallons and 5 ft deep in some areas the hurricane in August produced the bigliest rain ever recorded to fall on any part of the USA, probably in 2 thousand years. Insurers are putting the damage at between $90 and $200 billion. Far from it’s being a 1 in 2000 year flooding event, new forecast modelling for the Houston area suggests that by 2100 it’s going to be a 1 in 6 years event. Luckily we won’t be around by then.

One more heave? Bearing in mind devastating Cat 3 Hurricane Otto, which formed as late as 20 November last year, Dr Jeff Masters of Wunderground speculates:

“one possible area of tropical cyclone formation early next week: the waters of the east-central Atlantic … south of the Azores. A non-tropical area of low pressure is expected to form in this region, where waters of about 24°C (75°F) … may be warm enough to allow the storm (to) transition to a named subtropical storm. (‘Sean’ is the next name on the list.) We also need to watch the waters of the Western Caribbean off the coast of Nicaragua in the coming weeks, as well. Sea surface temperatures there are close to 30°C (86°F) – more than 1°C above average for this time of year, and plenty warm enough to support a hurricane.”

Global cooling: A weak La Niña has been detected, anticipating a colder-than-average winter over the northern USA. The northeastern states (New England) had their warmest October in 153 years of record-keeping. However… things change, and within a few days of record highs, record lows are being set everywhere, with International Falls, Minnesota plunging over Friday night to minus 14 deg. F (minus 25.5 C). “For sheer misery, it would be hard to top the conditions that accompanied the cold blast at Mount Washington, New Hampshire, where winds topped out at 105 mph on Friday with a temperature of –2°F and a wind chill of around -40°F.”x

Despite the myth of global warming, obviously, the website eenews reports that last summer a child was stung by a wasp in Utqiagvik, one of the northernmost communities in northern Alaska. No-one there had ever seen a wasp before. Dragonflies and otters have also been seen; bowhead whales vanishing from off the coast of California are plentiful further north; while freshwater fish unused to 60 F water temperature were reported to be falling asleep, and crawling with lice.
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Climate & Extreme Weather News #80/ Aljazeera/ Floodlist/ Wunderground/ eenews/ BBC News
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End Times News:

The US delegation to the climate change conference in Bonn contains no climate scientists. Instead they have sent executives from the coal industry to argue in favour of burning more coal. “Clean coal”, they call it – the filthiest, most polluting energy source yet discovered. The title of their presentation: “Coal is Great!” We feel sure the pun is intended, but will not fool the real climatologists.

Mr Trump recently revealed his astonishing ignorance when it became clear from an interview he was giving that he thought “clean coal” meant you wash it before burning it. Thus, the dumb asshole remains in charge of a government of climate-change deniers, lobbyists from the depths of the swamp and gluttonous proxies of the energy bidness, whose lies he is incapable of discriminating against.

The idea of “clean coal” relates to an as-yet unproven, horrifically expensive and theoretically virtually impossible technology for capturing carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations and sequestering them deep underground in the very shale deposits from which industry has extracted… more oil and gas, for burning.

With fuckwits like these leading the charge, it seems likely we shall indeed meet the doomsday scenario of gloomy prognosticators like Professor Guy McPherson, who argues that we have possibly eight more years – perhaps as few as three – before the human extinction event begins in earnest; and that so many feedback loops are now active, no remedial measures can save us.

Coinciding with the Bonn talks is the news that CO2 emissions from industry, which had flatlined over the previous three years, rose by 2 percent in 2016/17, thanks to resurgent demand for Chinese goods. China is fast switching to renewables but cannot go fast enough; general drought conditions are making their hydropower schemes uneconomical.

Protestors are also at pains to point out that since Fukushima and the rash political abandonment of Germany’s nuclear power program, the host nation and its filthy opencast “brown coal” industry has become one of the worst polluters in Europe, despite also being a leading uptaker of renewables.

Your Uncle Bogler is just old enough to remember the 5-day brown-coal sulphur smog that killed 12 thousand people in London in December 1953. Subsequent to which the UK became the first country in the world to ban the filthy stuff under the 1956 Clean Air Act.

This mess is never going to get cleaned up, any more than Britain will leave the EU with a beneficial trade and customs agreement. No-one is seemingly capable of acting intelligently – and independently, on the basis of the scientific evidence, from vested interests of all kinds.

We’re totally fucked.

 

Fake News News:

Reports that a ‘supervolcano’ in Antarctica, larger than Yellowstone, is erupting under the ice, thus causing climate change and ice-melt, are fake news.

There is only a theory that a supervolcano may exist, to account for a localized melting anomaly. That does not mean one is erupting, or about to erupt. The ground temperature above the magma chamber at Yellowstone is higher by a factor of 40 than the surrounding lands, hence the melting of the early snows around the lake.

Geologists entertain a theory that something similar ‘might’ be the case in Antarctica – although the report is published in the Daily Express alongside other scientific theories concerning the imminent approach of Planet X Nibiru, and “Russian ‘genius child’ says Egyptian Sphinx holds life changing key to Life beyond Earth”.

Despite the recent discovery of a chain of apparently extinct volcanoes in the north of the continent, there are considered to be only two active volcanoes in Antarctica, one stuck right out in the South Atlantic on an island off the northern peninsula, and the perpetually erupting Mount Erebos, one of only a few volcanoes in the world with a permanent lava lake.

Antarctica is a very big place, so the thought that one volcano can be responsible for displacing huge ice sheets the size of Cyprus and changing the climate ought perhaps to be discounted as yet another story promulgated by those who desperately want you to NOT believe that burning billions of tonnes of fossil fuel every year for 100 years, fuel they make a handsome profit from selling you, is going to affect the atmosphere adversely in any way.

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In Trumpworld, ignorance is power

“The Flat Earth International Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, attracted hundreds of attendees who believe the shape of the Earth is a disc instead of a sphere” – BBC News report

Whether they really believe it, or are merely happy to belong to a mildly loony cult, like Star Trek or Harry Potter fans, is open to conjecture. They have perhaps consumed too many of Dr Terry Pratchett’s entertaining and satirical – dare one say Swiftian –  ‘Discworld’ books.

Circular argument (gizmodo.com)

I am currently reading physicist Carlo Rovelli’s book, Nothing is What it Seems. Prof. Rovelli makes it clear that not only is the earth a sphere, something that was perfectly obvious to the ancient Greeks, the Indians and the Arab mathematicians until the Christians introduced the Dark Ages, an anti-intellectual era brutally inimical to scientific inquiry in which many Americans remain perfectly comfortable today, but it is in fact part of a ‘3-sphere’ universal construct.

Such a concept would be mind bogglingly earth shattering (to mix our metaphors) to the flat-earthers in Raleigh; who have perhaps not thought their ideas through. For, if the Earth is flat, then so must be the moon, the other planets in our system – and the Sun. All flat discs, spinning like coins in a fountain, or wherever. But when do we ever see them ‘edge-on’?

The scientific explanation of a sphere is that it is essentially two discs back to back, that are contiguous entirely around their circumference. Such a geometric shape would be impossible unless each disc were to be distorted into a curved hemisphere.

Any attempt to draw a straight line at the earth’s surface results either in the line appearing at a distance to rise into the sky – or if the line is drawn ON the surface, such as our imaginary equator, if drawn straight enough it eventually reappears and meets its point of origin. Either scenario is possible only if the earth is in fact a sphere. Sophists in the Flat Earth Society will try to argue that the line has merely followed the circumference of the disc; but then, they have probably never attempted to send a long-wave radio signal to a colleague in Australia without bouncing it off the ionosphere. In any case, the line would then no longer be a straight line, by definition, but would describe a circle.

Following in the footsteps of Aristotle and, 18 hundred years later, Dante Aleghieri, pupil of Brunetto, Einstein wrestled with the problem of how the universe could be both infinite in space, yet also have a boundary in time; until he realized that it was in fact two spheres contiguous at every point of their surface; creating the ‘3-sphere’. (He refused for many years until eventually convinced otherwise, to believe in his own equations, that clearly showed the universe was continuously expanding from a single point of origin.)

While there is a boundary, you can never reach it as the internal geometry of the 3-sphere will always bring you back to your starting point. It is a 4-dimensional Möbius strip. There is, paradoxically therefore, no centre. All starting points are the centre; while there is no ‘outside’ to ask about – the outside is also the inside.

Culminating in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the medieval mind, Rovelli argues, had instinctively understood this and attempted to represent the universe in stone through church architecture as a series of nine (3×3) self-enfolding, transparent spheres: the orders of angels. He quotes the C15th Italian poet:

“This other part of the universe surrounds the first in a circle, like the first surrounds the others … appearing to be enclosed by those that it encloses. … the two balls surround and are surrounded by each other “

Even liberal thinkers such as your Uncle Bogler have to consult their friend The Pumpkin at such a moment. The Pumpkin nods approval. Einstein has not been shown to be wrong about much.

Ultimately, Flat Earthers are just contrarians who will assent to any madcap theory that allows them to feel superior to others who have spent their lives painstakingly studying and thinking in organized ways about the world and how it works; intellectuals who have achieved thereby, some perceived degree of unfair social advantage.

Thanks to the transforming power of social media we live increasingly dangerously in a society in which untutored opinion “Trumps” knowledge. In Trumpworld, ignorance is power.

For, we can look to the example of earlier, priest-ridden societies, such as the Maya, for the lesson:

When the privileged experts’ mumbo-jumbo fails to deliver a reliable harvest, people go hungry, mayhem ensues and the social order is turned topsy-turvy.

The Pumpkin – Issue 36; The Paradise Papers: maintaining the finest traditions … The sickest individual ever to shitstain the White House? … What a bunch of dismal, anally retentive suck-ups …GW, promoting mobility scooters for all …

The Paradise Papers: maintaining the finest traditions

If HM Queen has a spare £10m invested in an offshore Cayman Islands fund through a secretive private money management company for posh people, Appleby, based in Bermuda, so what? She deserves to be allowed to minimise her tax liability at the expense of her poorer subjects. She can afford it. The Paradise Papers, 13.6 million documents leaked to a global consortium of 95 media companies as a sequel to last year’s Panama Papers, reveal too that she is invested – probably without her detailed knowledge – in a retailing company that’s been accused of exploiting the poor:

“BrightHouse has … been accused of overcharging customers, and using hard sell tactics on people with mental health problems and learning disabilities. Last month, it was ordered to pay £14.8m in compensation to 249,000 customers. – Guardian, 6 Nov.

Well, what’s a monarch for, other than maintaining the finest traditions of the monarchy?

Thanks to these huge leaks, it’s been calculated that the total amount of money invested in these opaque offshore financial vehicles is around $10 trillion.

If the billionaire* Wilbur Ross, a man with a debauched old ‘wise monkey’ face that makes him look like the portrait in his attic, an ‘advisor’ to the Trump family and the former vice-chair of a Russian money-laundering bank in Cyprus whose chairman once lent Donald Trump $700 million, half of which he’s never paid back, is alleged to be a secret shareholder in a Russian shipping line, the rest of whose board is apparently made up of heavily sanctioned oligarchs, we cannot simply assume his post as US Commerce Secretary must be in question.

Indeed, he seems admirably qualified.

If Theresa May’s Deputy Prime Minister Damian ‘The Exorcist’ Green is alleged to have held pornography on his office computer dating from a police search seven years ago, which he denies, as one would, well, it’s not illegal (probably – depending on content), it’s in the finest traditions of Tory hypocrisy and sleaze. But there appears to be a concerted campaign coming from somewhere to ‘get’ Tory ministers unfriendly to the bungling Brexit negotiating triumvirate and to stir up a hornettes’ nest of ancient drunken knee-grabbing allegations to lure our attention away from the growing controversy surrounding Britain’s most astonishing national decline since the early 1960s….

And if, as The Guardian claims,

“Two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funded substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business associate of Jared Kushner, leaked documents reveal. The investments were made through a Russian technology magnate, Yuri Milner, who also holds a stake in a company co-owned by Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser….”

The story goes on to explain why, perhaps, the major US technology and media companies have been so coy about admitting to the sources and extent of the Russia-originated political content that may have helped to swing the election to Donald Trump last year:

“The files show that in 2011, VTB funded a $191m investment in Twitter. About the same time, Gazprom Investholding financed an opaque offshore company, which in turn funded a vehicle that held $1bn-worth of Facebook shares.”

VTB is, of course, one of the larger banks controlled by the Russian State, in the person of Vladimir Putin.

And Gazprom is the giant Russian state gas company, out of which numerous Putin cronies have made $billion fortunes, which presumably has an interest in exploiting, controlling or otherwise competitively shutting down the huge natural gas reserves of Iran and now, Israel – where a company called Noble Energy, from Houston, in which Trump is said to be a shareholder and of which his erstwhile ‘foreign affairs advisor’ (of whom he has not really heard) George Papadopoulos is or was a director, is battling in a Jerusalem court to be allowed to exploit a major field off the coast of Palestinian-held ghetto, Gaza, routing the gas either to Egypt or more likely Ukraine through a new pipeline under the sea, via Cyprus and Turkey – avoiding Syria, where the huge gas field may be thought to extend; and, once an end has been brought to the civil war, in favour of Assad’s Russian allies….

Still, surely closer ties between two old Cold War enemies are preferable to a nuclear… er.

If Western civilization appears to be crumbling before our eyes, it’s no use blaming the Russians.

It is.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/05/revealed-queen-private-estate-invested-offshore-paradise-papers

*OMG, Wilbur the Monkey Man is screaming! Forbes Magazine just downgraded his net wealth to only $900 million, based on what he declared when he was appointed! Now he’s trying to say, no, really he is a billionaire because, look, here’s the $2 billion he didn’t tell them about… How shaming is that, not a billionaire after all. tsk. What will The Don say?

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“That’s the subculture he is cynically and ruthlessly mining, to the detriment of an entire nation. Guns and God. Slaughter and superstition.The medieval mindset.”

The sickest individual ever to shitstain the White House?

Hi.

You may have heard that a lone gunman shot dead 26 people in and around a Baptist church in the tiny Texas town of Sutherland Springs (pop. 400) before dying himself, either by suicide or having been shot by armed local citizens who pursued him?

There were children among the dead, one as young as 18 months.

So what did President Trump have to say, on his triumphal procession to Japan, where PM Shinzo Abe has been licking his furry old golden balls the past few days? Did he rail against guns, terrorists, Muslims, Fate?

Well, sadly the perpetrator had immediately turned out to be a white, ex-airforce flyer named as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, a good old Irish name for a guy who looks impressively like a Trump dumbfuck. So there was nothing to see here, folks. No muslims, no blacks, no Mexicans or mayors to blame. Move along.

“President Donald Trump, on a tour of Asia, said (without benefit of actual evidence) the gunman was “a very deranged individual” and denied that guns were to blame for the shooting. “We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, but this isn’t a guns situation,” he said.” – not without instantly correcting himself to mention that they have mental health in other countries too.

Ruger: special “mental health” issue.
(armslist.co)

No, well, it took only one gun, a Ruger assault rifle, repeatedly reloaded and firing 500 rounds to blow away 26 small-townsfolk praying in a Baptist church; the fount, backbone and epitome of stiflingly conservative mid-American culture. Dressed in his best Clint Eastwood black outfit, and wearing a bullet-proof vest, Kelley had left the other guns in the car.

So not a “guns situation” then.

Except of course that a man known to be mentally disturbed – he’d been court-martialled in 2014, served a year in choki and was chucked out of the USAF with a dishonourable discharge for a violent attack on his wife and child, whose skull he fractured* – seemingly had no trouble in Texas obtaining any number of advanced weapons.

A semi-automatic rifle is not a hunting weapon or generally used to control vermin. It is designed purely to kill people**.

Oh, and by the way, hard luck on the injured, the survivors, the families? Not even ‘warm condolences’ on the death of your dog – sorry, your daughter, your mom?

No, apparently Trump had nothing to say on that score until later, when he promised he would ‘never, ever leave’ the people of Sutherland Springs, God help them.

Meanwhile, his friends over at Fox News were kicking around the special merits of being massacred in church, where God would immediately take care of you; while Sen. Paul Ryan – yes, you do have mental health problems, America, you elected this cut-price gurning fuckwit too – is of the belief that prayer will lessen the chances of there being another mass shooting within the next fortnight.

That’s the subculture Trump is cynically and ruthlessly mining, to the detriment of an entire nation. Guns and God. Slaughter and superstition. The American medieval mindset.

This autistic orange oaf must be mentally the sickest individual ever to stain the chair of the office of President.

Get him out!

*It’s been observed that the majority of shooters involved in these ‘expanded suicide’ attacks have a history of domestic violence.

**A fascinating investigation in the New York Times into a whole slew of academic research papers on gun deaths shows conclusively that the NRA’s persistent assertion that ‘it’s people that kill people, guns don’t kill people’ is sheer sophistry: all around the world, it is axiomatic that the countries with the highest rates of gun OWNERSHIP per head of population experience the highest rates of mass shootings, gun crime and accidental shootings.

Take just the comparison with Britain, where gun licences are issued only on the strictest conditions, illegal possession is greeted with life-changing sentences and absolutely no semi-automatic assault weapons or handguns other than for supervized sport are permitted; and certainly no carry permits. Britain’s rate of gun deaths is zero point 7 per million; the USA’s, where there are few controls, lax oversight and over 300 million guns in private ownership, is 33 per million. Police deaths in shooting incidents in Britain average fewer than two per year. In the USA, it’s 50.

So no, guns don’t kill people: owning guns – and the power people believe it confers on them to play God – does.

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/world/americas/mass-shootings

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A wiser man

“When we look at the lessons from a century ago, we see how ambiguous the results were, and how there were both negative and positive consequences of those events,” he said last month. “We have to ask the question: Was it really not possible to develop not through revolution but through evolution, without destroying statehood and mercilessly ruining the fate of millions, but through gradual, step-by-step progress?”

  • Vladimir Putin, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. (Washington Post).

D Trump, please note.

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What a bunch of dismal, anally retentive suck-ups

A woman pictured raising her middle finger toward US President Donald Trump’s motorcade has reportedly been fired from her job over the photograph. The image went viral after it was taken on 28 October in Virginia, close to a Trump golf resort.

Juli Briskman, who was identified as the cyclist in the image, alleges she was fired by employers Akima LLC after she posted it to her online profiles.

You see, if she’d been working for me, I’d have promoted her. That deranged old windbag of fermenting junkfood you elected should take the finger every time he ventures out, from all patriotic Americans, the crooked sack of shit.

Oh, but… Google Akima LLC and you’ll be impressed how fucking self-important these nobodies are:

“Enabling superior mission outcomes. Akima, LLC’s Business Groups and their operating companies represent an uncommonly broad array of specialized talents…”

What a load of corporate horseshit. What does it even mean? Did you really pay your agency for writing that? What a bunch of jumped-up, self-regarding nobodies. And as Juli, who is a thoroughly decent single mom of two and an active marathon runner, points out, senior management of Akima appear to be entirely free to post disparaging remarks online about Black Lives Matter.

You’re better off out, sweetheart, whatever they did to your CV. Everybody, go crowdfund her.

(PS: Apparently they have, raising over $12 thousand in a day.)

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(photo: unknown, from CEWN)

GW: your old gal promoting mobility scooters for all

FUCK YOU, TRUMP AND YOUR SQUALID CREW OF PAID LIARS.

Canada: Ottawa experienced ‘extreme’ flooding on 01 Nov, washing out streets and bridges and causing power cuts, after 100 mm rain fell in a day – a record. At over 1200 mm (4 ft) of rain so far this year, Ottawa has had a record year for rainfall.

Peru: 5 dead as severe storms bring flooding to the San Martin region. Several mountain villages suffer mud- and rock-slide miseries. New rainfall records are set.

Colombia: city of Magdalena underwater. Powerful storm brings flooding to the capital, Bogota. Large amount of hail brought with it creates two feet of iceflows in the streets, a precipitation which then freezes solid, despite the 60 deg. F-plus temperature, trapping vehicles.

India #1: city of Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu (southern India) again hit by flooding after only one day of rain and what looks like a big tidal surge inundating the foreshore.  14 dead. Residents are already comparing it to the historic floods of… 2015. At the same time, daytime temperatures are expected to hit a humid 30C (86F) this week.

India #2: “A public health emergency has been declared in Delhi as a choking blanket of smog descended on the world’s most polluted capital city. …the US embassy website said levels of the fine pollutants known as PM2.5 that are most harmful to health reached 703 micrograms per cubic metre – well over double the threshold of 300 that authorities class as hazardous.”

Vietnam: “Typhoon Damrey is reported to have killed 69 people in central and south-central localities, 20 more than reported on Monday. Most of those killed – 27 – were from Khánh Hòa Province. The storm has also reportedly left 30 people missing. The typhoon wrecked 1,484 houses, blew away the roofs of 119,222 houses and destroyed about 22,000ha of crops in the provinces” – mostly sugar cane, rice and rubber plantations. Reuters news puts the crop damage higher, at 40k ha. A tidal surge caused coastal damage. Many transport barges also sank. This, on top of the 70 killed in last month’s floods.

Thailand: also affected by TS Damrey, large areas of Thailand – over 17 provinces – have experienced a resurgence of October’s flooding, with at least 10 dead and tens of thousands displaced. Tropical Depression 29W is now forming out in the Gulf of Thailand.

Malaysia: powerful storm causes flash flooding in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Provincially, 7 dead. “A weather station near Kepala Batas in Penang recorded 946 mm of rain between 03 and 06 November, with 458 mm of that total falling in 24 hours to 06 November.” Some areas of Penang Island were under 3 or 4 metres of water. The storm, described as the worst in Penang’s history, was part of a weather system brought by Typhoon Damrey. TD29W is expected over the peninsula by Wednesday.

Indonesia, Sumatra: city of Medan underwater. Up to 2 metres in parts.

Australia: sudden massive hailstorm batters Kurri Kurri, Sydney, NSW, with cyclonic wind bringing down trees and power lines, ripping off roofs, taking weather forecasters totally by surprise.

USA: Profoundly corrupt Koch Brothers’ shill and Trump appointee, EPA director Scott Pruitt, the Butcher of Arkansas, has ordered that no more actual scientists shall serve on the Environment agency’s scientific advisory panel. The current members are to be replaced by ‘experts’ from the environmental industries: coal, oil, gas, energy distribution, power generation, to avoid scientific ‘bias’. He’s also issued a ban on EPA staff receiving briefings on environmental issues from external scientific research organizations, marking the start of an all-out US-led offensive on Humanity and the natural world. Speaking purely in a private capacity, The Pumpkin would like to see sales of piano-wire doubled in the Washington area.

Numerous tornado warnings are out for states like Oklahoma and Indiana. Haha. You voted for him, fuck you. As the hurricane season isn’t officially over until the end of the month, Tropical Depression 19L is forming cyclonically out in mid-Atlantic and has become the 17th named storm of the season (Rina). Not expected to make landfall anywhere until maybe possibly Ireland (again!).

Europe: meanwhile, arctic conditions have descended somewhat prematurely over Scandinavia, Russia and northern Europe. Indeed, globally the searing temperatures experienced all around the globe during the last summer and right on through October appear to have fizzled out almost everywhere with just a few little hotspots slowly dying down.

Italy: Reggio Calabria, in the far south, underwater after a severe storm dumps two feet of floodwater in just three hours.

World: “On Tuesday, Syria announced its intention to join the global Paris Agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This leaves the United States as the only nation in the world planning to opt out of the agreement.” 

“I never knew there were so many countries” – the Wit and Wisdom of Donald J Asshole.

Science: A new report from the US Congressionally mandated Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) based on information obtained from a comprehensive range of scientific and industry sources, including the public, says CO2 levels are rising at a faster rate than has ever been observed in the history of the planet. An internal Trump Administration report on the report has thrown up its hands and concluded that man-made climate change is the only possible explanation for 93 per cent of global warming – the lowest estimate available. The largely fossil-fuel-industry bought Trump Administration is said to be furious. The NCA report concludes:

“The likely range of the human contribution to the global mean temperature increase over the period 1951–2010 is 1.1° to 1.4°F (0.6° to 0.8°C), and the central estimate of the observed warming of 1.2°F (0.65°C) lies within this range (high confidence). This translates to a likely human contribution of 93%–123% of the observed 1951–2010 change.”

In other words, says Wunderground, Earth might well have cooled slightly during this period if it were not for human activity; this makes Earth’s recent years of record-high temperatures even more startling. The report adds:

“For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

In other words, FUCK YOU, TRUMP AND YOUR SQUALID CREW OF PAID LIARS.

 

Climate & Extreme Weather News #78, #79/ Floodlist/ Vietnam News/ CNN Indonesia/ Ring of Fire/ Ruptly/ RPP Noticias/ Times of India/ Guardian/ Weather Underground