Home » Ain't life great. » Last week’s post resumed – THE SCREAM… The United Kingdom Instability Party… GW: Kickin’ up a storm in me floral wellies and me snowboard… the latest scary Arctic news, Plus: Signs and portents, and… WARNING: Capitalists.

Last week’s post resumed – THE SCREAM… The United Kingdom Instability Party… GW: Kickin’ up a storm in me floral wellies and me snowboard… the latest scary Arctic news, Plus: Signs and portents, and… WARNING: Capitalists.

The Swedish founder of the Ikea furniture chain, Ingvar Kamprad, has died at the age of 91, the company has announced.

No jokes about flatpack coffins now, guys…

 

Men driven to extremes by #metoo take to carrying their own sheds about. (BBC)

THE SCREAM

Watch this.

Do not not watch it. It contains important information everyone needs to know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S6QvJOTAVQ

 

Introduction

As I unexpectedly went blind in one eye last week and required a retinal reattachment procedure, which involved miniaturizing Raquel Welch with an arc-welder and injecting her into my optical jelly wearing only an aqualung, my Post got delayed and now I’m struggling a bit as I appear to have half my head inside a goldfish bowl with an oil slick on the surface, my remaining ‘good’ eye being so longsighted already, I can’t really see to type.

So I hope you’ll forgive me recycling an old Post, but this article was relatively free of unforced typos and seemed so prescient it was worth a rerun. It’s about the chaos in a fragmenting political party of once-popular protest, that didn’t quite cut the mustard post-Brexit – UKIP. Not now, but eighteen months ago. It was first posted in August 2016.

No fool like a middle-aged fool.

Last week’s extraordinary sequence of events in which the recently elected leader of the UKIP rump party, the anally retentive, 50-something, ex-military chap, Henry Bolton, has been refusing to stand down in a row over a pretty vile racist tweet about Meghan Markle posted by his new girlfriend, “25-year-old topless model” Jo Marney, whom he publicly repudiated but was then spotted having a clandestine meet with, there being no fool like a middle-aged fool – he’s also married, and now says he intends to stand by the floozy – despite the resignations following a vote of No Confidence of almost the entire party committee, and the spectacularly unhelpful interventions of the self-promoting narcissist, Trump bumsucker and “person of interest” to the Mueller investigation, Farage, have brought us pretty much full circle to previous disastrous UKIP “leadership” trials.

This (with minor edits) is what we wrote:

The United Kingdom Instability Party

I suppose it is a bit fatuous to suggest that politicians could or should ever be brought to book for misrepresentation of anything other than their expenses and constituency accounts.

In a recent Appeal Court ruling it was, for instance, decided that, to avoid lengthy explanations, it was okay to slightly misrepresent the facts on which you have based an insurance claim, provided the claim itself is valid.

It’s called ‘collateral lying’.

‘Collateral lying’ is pretty much what all politicians have done throughout political history. It’s the inevitable consequence of having to provide ‘pie-in-the-sky’ today, with ‘jam tomorrow’ as dessert for the yearning masses.

Voters would simply not know what to do, if politicians were not in some sense lying to them about most matters of public policy. Candidates are expected to lie extensively about the shameful past record of their opponents, and to lie more about what they plan to do themselves when in office; how a newer, pinker, fluffier world will come into being.

While, of course, in Islam, the concept of Taqqiya allows the devout Muslim to deny his religion – or anything else – under torture.

I’m not sure, however, that I’ve ever come across a case before, where a new political party built on a mass movement driven by disaffection with the status quo has, in only three years:

  • terrified the government of the day to the point where a stupid, hasty and disastrous plebiscite has wrecked both the economy and the nation’s standing in the world;
  • put its candidates up for election on a platform of root-and-branch reform of the political landscape;
  • won a substantial number of local authority and European Parliament seats, and then:
  • its founder and incessantly yarping mouthpiece has owned up to several ‘collateral lies’ and resigned to spend more time making money, while the party organisation has…
  • immediately evaporated in a welter of procedural wrangling and top-level resignations, as it…
  • struggles to elect a new ‘leader’ from among what one senior officer describes broadly as a squabbling bunch of obscure ‘megalomaniacs’.

In other words, a party that has obtained votes and seats and spent public money and caused global chaos entirely under the false pretence that it was ever a serious political entity.

This seems to me to go rather beyond ‘collateral lying’ to outright misrepresentation.

Do we expect UKIP to apologise and call for a re-run of elections in those areas where it has gained local authority seats at the expense of the other parties?

Do we think they should pay the money back, that they got from the EU? (Not to mention Russia… Ed.)

Not really. That wouldn’t be politics.

x

GW: Kickin’ up a storm in me floral wellies and me snowboard

(some of these reports date from the previous week)

It’s a good look… how long before it appears in Vogue?

Russia: According to the State weather bureau, Moscow had its darkest December ever, recording just 6 MINUTES of sunshine over the entire month. “The cold in Yakutia, in the far east, dipped below -60C (-76F)”. (Schools are normally closed in Russia’s coldest province at -50C…) “Some residents recorded temperatures as low as -67C, -88F… in touching distance of -67.7C, the coldest-ever officially recorded for a permanently inhabited settlement anywhere in the world”. In Anzhero-Sudzhensk, the body of a 26-year-old industrial climber was found frozen to the outside of a building.

Kazakhstan: Black snow has fallen on the city of Temirtau. Residents are blaming industrial pollution from the local steelworks. “In 2016, nearly 600,000 tons of harmful substances were released into the air in Karaganda according to Kazakhstan’s statistics committee. In December 2017 alone, the national meteorological agency recorded levels of hydrogen sulphide in Temirtau exceeding the government-mandated limit by more than 11 times.”

Mauritius: Tropical Cyclone Berguitta is likely to be the most powerful to hit the Indian Ocean island in over 30 years, with wind gusts of 130 mph. That’s according to the Meteo France/BBC report: Wunderground’s NOAA tracking map has the storm veering away from the island out to sea. Either way, the smaller islands of Réunion and Maurice are fully in its path (PS and were badly damaged but suffered no casualties).

Mozambique: 11 die in floods. 78 thousand people displaced by a tropical depression, 2 thousand properties affected. 240mm (10-in) rain fell in 24 hours.

Burundi: “severe weather, including strong winds, heavy rain and flooding has left almost 2,000 displaced and destroyed or severely damaged hundreds of homes since 14 January. Over 12,000 people have been affected.”

South Africa: After three years of intense drought, the first major city in the (modern) world is set to go dry in April: ” “Day Zero is the day that the water resource system runs out of water,” said Mark New, Research Chair in Climate Risk at the University of Cape Town. What does this mean? “No water coming out the taps. Toilets cannot be flushed. Fire services cannot get water out of the fire hydrants. People will have to walk to water tankers to fill up drinking water bottles.” And there will be knock-on effects, such as schools considering whether they can operate with no water on campus.”

New Zealand: hottest January on record (100 years). In nearby Australia, parts of New South Wales are experiencing 48C, 116F. in Melbourne, Australian Open tennis final invokes ‘extreme heat’ protocol and closes the roof (28 Jan)… still 90F at 11pm, power cuts hit thousands of homes. Cooler conditions forecast, plunging to only 64F by Tuesday!

Philippines: “Heavy rain since 12 January has caused flooding and landslides in Eastern Visayas and Davao Region. Authorities say that at least 11 people have died and around 8,000 have been displaced.” 264 mm rain in 24 hours fell on Catarman – Jan 12 to 13.

Malaysia, Indonesia… more flash floods reported as storms hit Kuala Lumpur and Denipasa respectively.

USA: The death toll from the Montecito mudslides continues to rise. “At least 20 people (now 21/2) have died and 3 remain missing as a result of the mudslides and floods that devastated Southern California, according to a Santa Barbara County Press Release on Jan. 15. The mudslides occurred early on Tuesday, Jan. 9, destroying an estimated 115 homes and damaging hundreds of others.”  Shocking footage on CEWN, see below).  In the East, very cold weather is set to return after a short lull.

Colombia: “At least 13 people have died in a landslide near the town of Túquerres in Nariño Department, Colombia. The landslide occurred on 21 January, 2018 after a period of heavy rain. A huge section of a hillside along the Tumaco-Pasto highway fell onto the road, pushing a bus carrying at least 15 passengers into a ravine.”

  • In fact much of South America has been badly hit by floods and landslides in the past week. Video reports showing powerful storms, torrential rain, urban flash floods, buildings wrecked and streets turned to debris fields have come in from SE Brazil (São Paolo/Santa Carina), Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.

UK: 80 mph winds and heavy snow are forecast this midweek, with amber warnings out for most of Scotland. It’s already bloody windy here in the west, with gusts to 65 mph. The 6th storm of the winter season, it’s been named Ffion in Ireland – doesn’t seem to be named at all in the UK (eventually, Georgina), where it’s caused widespread power outages in the southeast – but the Germans have called it Friederike.

  • Sunday 21 Jan: snowing in London (a rare event), minus 13C in Scotland, plus 14C in the Southwest (10C here…) as warm front meets cold. Met Office says 20C temperature gradient dividing the British Isles in half is ‘quite unusual’.

Europe: “4 people have been killed by falling trees or debris as a fierce storm tears across northern Europe. Storm-related accidents killed 3 people in the Netherlands and 1 in north-west Germany. Gusts of up to 140km/h (90mph) caused transport chaos. … Police temporarily closed the centre of Almere, a Dutch city with about 200,000 residents.  … warning people to stay at home because of risk from the storm.”

Paris after the fall… (NBC)

France: Sunday 21 Jan – virtually the entire country is covered by yellow and amber flood warnings. These convert to numerous avalanche warnings in mountain resorts affected by recent heavy snowfall. Meteo France reports, the country overall has seen 4 to 5 times the normal rainfall for December to January. Many rivers, including the Seine at Paris, are giving concern.

Far north… Temperature anomalies in the Arctic region are truly disturbing. “The sea surface near Svalbard was as warm as 15.9°C or 60.8°F on January 12, 2018, compared to 2.4°C or 36.4°F on January 12 for the period 1981-2011. … On January 1, 2018, Arctic sea ice extent was at record low for the time of year … Temperatures as high as 18.5°C or 65.3°F were recorded on Jan. 14 and 15 in Metlakatla, Alaska. … surface temperatures as high as 7.4°C or 45.2°F were reached on Jan 16 in Yukon Territory, Canada.” Record high methane levels are also being detected.

World: Figures adjusted to account for annual anomalies caused by the El Niño/La Niña currents show 2017 was ‘significantly’ hotter than 2016 – on unadjusted NASA and NOAA figures, 2017 was either the second hottest between 2016 and 2015, or the third after both. According to the anonymous team of climate scientists posting as ‘Sam Carana’ (Arctic-news.blogspot.com): “Global warming has crossed 1.5°C / 2.7°F above preindustrial* and looks set to cross 2°C / 3.6°F soon. Due to accelerating warming in the Arctic, that could happen within one or two years’ time, i.e. much faster than the trendlines … may suggest.” After reviewing feedback loops now being triggered that will speed the process, they conclude: “Add up the impact of all warming elements and, as an earlier analysis shows, the rise in mean global temperatures from preindustrial could be more than 10°C in a matter of years.”

*Grannysplaining note: The IPCC figures showing warming has still not yet met the 1.5C ‘threshold’ are taken from 1981 onwards and don’t include the 0.59 deg of warming post-roughly 1750 when we started burning coal industrially. Warming since 1981 has been increasing exponentially but we don’t imagine there will be any immediate recognition from the powers-that-be, that we have gone over the irreversible 2 deg. mark.

Meteonovosti / Siberia Times/ BBC Weather/ BBC News/ Floodlist/ Accuweather/ Wunderground/ Meteoalarm/ Natural Resources Wales/ Arctic News, posted 22 Jan./ Climate & Extreme Weather News #90, Pt 1 (10-24 Jan). Below: Mary Greeley website, et al.

x

Signs and portents

The famous marriage-and-divorce city of Reno in Nevada has been experiencing an unusual swarm of small earthquakes, known as ‘temblors’. Since last Thursday night (18 Jan – today’s Sunday 21) they’ve had more than 260, in what is normally the least geologically active part of the state – although there are many, hopefully extinct volcanoes nearby. Nobody seems to know what it portends, if anything, although some have pointed to its concentration around a hydrothermal borehole. The BogPo notes after extensive research that a similar swarm of temblors up to M2.1 was previously reported in Reno in April, 2008.

Mt St Helen’s last erupted with cataclysmic force in 1980, killing 57 people.

A continuing series of M3+ earthquakes is occurring in Washington State, inside the craters of and close both to Mount St Helen’s and Mount Rainier, the State’s two largest active volcanoes. There’s no sign either of the Yellowstone swarm stopping, now the longest ever recorded. Instruments recorded a plume of rising magma last week, that almost broke the surface. A new USGS newsletter confirms, the total extent of the Yellowstone magma field is 248 MILES in diameter….

Volcanic activity in the so-called Ring of Fire in the Pacific has been off the scale in the last week, with hundreds of thousands of people evacuated from islands in the Indonesian archipelago and Vanuatu. Mount Kadovar in Papua-New Guinea blew for the first time in recorded history. 23 Jan, 1 person is killed and several skiers injured when the sudden eruption of 7-thousand-foot Mt Kusatsu-Shirane in central Honshu island, Japan, with no prior seismic activity, sets off an avalanche and a rain of sooty boulders. On the eastern side, large earthquakes included a 6.3 in Baja, Mexico/California, a 6.5 in Peru and a 7.1 in Honduras, just in the last week – a shallow (8km) M6.2 off Kamchatka and a whopping shallow (10km) M7.9 (to 8.1) that’s just struck this morning at Kodiak Island, Alaska, triggering a tsunami warning that thankfully produced just a 7-inch wave… leading all the YouTubers to worry about why so little?

Meanwhile, the weather blogger and Fortean, MrMBB333 continues to track the increasing number of strange, apparently non-lunar tidal retreats of the ocean for long periods at a time – including the now well-observed disappearances of the Mississippi river at its delta. There’s still no clue as to what is causing these events, although environmentalists are blaming overextraction and new flood defences for the problems of North America’s longest river.

 

Massive climate-change cretin dies

John Coleman, founder and CEO of The Weather Channel – the pioneering trans-continental US cable weather station – has died at his home in California at the age of 83.

Bizarrely, Coleman spent much of his later life vehemently contradicting the views of his own meteorologists, dismissing climate science as a ‘massive scam’ – possibly the greatest in history – and an affront to the interests of US business.

As such, he may be largely or even entirely responsible for Trump’s misinformed opinion on the matter, that has led to US withdrawal from the now largely symbolic Paris accord.

In a thoughtful and balanced obituary by Dr Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, we read:

“As recently as 2017, Coleman was referring to climate change as “baloney” on CNN and called it a “totally failed theory” on his blog.

“It’s tremendously unfortunate that Coleman later devoted the same energy to dismissing climate change science and the people who carry it out. Coleman’s brightest legacy by far will be his accomplishments in making national-scale weathercasting an important part of U.S. culture.”

http://www.wunderground.com/cat6/weather-channel-founder-john-coleman-dies

(GW writes: let’s recall that both the US Petroleum Institute and several global energy corporations including Shell and Exxon-Mobil have recognized, researched, documented and been fully aware since the early 1960s of the likely consequences of emitting vast quantities of greenhouse gases from burning fossil biofuels. Every UN-recognized country in the world is a signatory to the Paris accord, except now thanks to this massive asshole the US – some ‘conspiracy’!

So whatever Coleman’s motive was in claiming they were all merely hoping to get research grants – he was a TV weatherman, not a climatologist, and that bogus claim can be traced right back to the Koch-funded campaign of deception – let’s all join in saying, fuck him.

We hope it’s hot as hell where he’s gone. If you deal with the devil you must expect one day to have to go live with him.

 

WARNING: Capitalists.

Major owner of The Weather Channel is Blackrock investments spinoff, private equity firm Blackstone Group ($387 billion under management).

To read what they have to say about their market positioning, please position a sickbag beneath your chin as you read the annual report from nearly literate founder and CEO, Steve Schwarzman:

“…we moved aggressively into Europe early in the recovery, focusing on fundamental value or situations where dislocation created compelling opportunities. This enabled us to ride out the shorter term volatility brought on by some of the issues they’ve had, like the Greek debt crisis, Brexit, and the ongoing impact of populism on several elections.

“These types of dislocations provide opportunity for a firm like Blackstone.”

He left out “of total cunts”, before adding: “You can make enormous money doing the right things in our business.”

You certainly wouldn’t want a little thing like 10 degrees of warming by 2026 to get in the way of that, now would you? I mean, that’s a dislocation you can make a freakin’ shedload of wonga out of.

As far as Steve is concerned, the ‘right thing’ mainly involves buying up a raft of totally disassociated companies and selling off only the best bits, dumping the rest along with the workforces. It used to be known as ‘asset stripping’, which Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath once famously described as ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’.

It’s not like caring for people. Wikipedia reports:

“The purchase and subsequent profitable IPO of Southern Cross led to controversy in the UK. Part of the purchase involved splitting the business into a property company, NHP, and nursing home business, which Blackstone claimed would become “the leading company in the elderly care market”. In May 2011, Southern Cross, now independent, was almost bankrupt, jeopardising 31,000 elderly residents in 750 care homes. It denied blame, although Blackstone was widely accused in the media for selling on the company with an unsustainable business model…”

Capitalists. Dontcha gotta love ’em?

 

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