Something more going in here, Pumpkin…? Ed.
Maybe mention Trump’s heroic lying? He’s just reportedly broken the 3,000 barrier after 466 days in office. 6.5 fact-checked and certified lies a day represents an increased rate of lying over last year, by one a day.
Or the “Mueller probe questions” question? Seems the 49 questions that were going to be put to the President in a face-to-face with the Special Counsel until they were leaked to the media in advance by the White House – questions Trump says prove conclusively that there was no collusion with Russia or he’d have been asked about that, and which show that Mueller is clearly exceeding his authority – were actually written by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, they didn’t come from the Mueller team at all.
That’s quite a big lie, then – a group effort by the Trump legal team to thwart the judicial process. So what?
For interesting dirt on Sekulow (see past Pumpkins), by the by, visit: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americCounsel as/donald-trump-lawyer-jay-sekulow-christian-charity-ngo-christian-advocates-serving-evangelism-case-a7812061.html
“I witnessed the Trump Administration argue that people—American citizens included—had no right to be heard in court…”
Kill Bilal – Ahmad too
Ah, good. The story that’s been waiting to go in here has just arrived in my email inbox.
We’ve all been clucking recently over the plight of the children of the “Empire Windrush” generation, those West Indians, mostly, who were recruited in the 1950s and 60s to replace the casualties of war in the British workforce, have lived and worked here ever since and whose children appear now to have no settled immigration status.
It has emerged in the media that many of them have been caught up in a nightmare trawl of “illegal immigrants”, despite having lived in the UK continuously for decades, propping up the tottering health service and the transportation networks – victims of a crude quota system for deportations imposed by the former Home Secretary, now Prime Minister Theresa May; a woman whose housewifely Home Counties blankness hides a cruel and wanton Tory savagery.
As someone who has occasionally fallen into the so-called “safety net” of the British welfare state, The Pumpkin has also had some frustrating experience of the Kafkaesque illogicalities and ludicrous impositions with which one has to struggle in a modern bureaucracy.
But we ain’t seen nothin’, as someone once said.
Based on CIA analysis of their “travel patterns and phone calls”, two accredited journalists who have been covering the wars in the Middle East for years are in court – not in person, obviously – as I write, having to plead with the US Government to remove them from a list of “terror suspects” who are to be killed on sight.
I’ll repeat that slowly:
Based on CIA analysis of their “travel patterns and phone calls”, two accredited journalists who have been covering the wars in the Middle East are in court as I write, having to plead with the US Government to remove them from a list of “terror suspects” who are to be killed on sight.
One is an American citizen, the other an internationally acclaimed reporter who works for Al Jazeera.
Both are on a secret CIA “kill list”, against which there is no appeal; indeed, it is even forbidden to challenge the orders.
And the government appears in no mood to listen.
Reporting from the courtroom in Washington DC, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, an attorney working for the Reprieve organization, writes:
“Ahmad Zaidin is a renowned reporter with Al-Jazeera, who won acclaim for his work with CNN and PBS and was the first person to interview Osama bin Laden in the 1990s. He was falsely assumed to be a terrorist based on a flawed analysis of his phone and travel patterns (referred to as “metadata”).
The other journalist plaintiff bringing the challenge, Bilal Kareem is “an American citizen asking his own government for the opportunity to hear his side of things before they kill him. He has reported on the conflict in Syria since it began. In 2016, he narrowly escaped being killed in drone strikes on five separate occasions, including two strikes on cars he was in and two strikes on the headquarters of his news agency.”
“Former CIA Director, Michael Hayden, famously said ‘We kill people based on metadata.'”
“Yesterday, I witnessed the Trump Administration argue that people—American citizens included—had no right to be heard in court, or even offer information to the agencies compiling the lists of people designated for death without trial. The decision to put a person on America’s Kill List, according to Trump, should be beyond the reach of the US’ judicial system.”
Two days ago, nine journalists were killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul, deliberately targeted while reporting on an earlier bombing at the same spot. The Taliban has claimed responsibility. From the enemy of the Taliban, the “leader of the free world”, there is only silence. One can only conclude that, in common with the Taliban, he recognizes the value of terror in silencing his enemies; the truth-tellers.
Mr Trump is the greatest, the most brazen liar in the history of the US presidency. He has an utter disregard for the truth, he poisons the air around him with his lies, he co-opts everyone he meets to become complicit with his web of deceit, and he lies that journalists are the ‘Enemies of the people’, peddlers of “fake news”. (That’s when he’s not feeding them stories about himself.)
News that we all hope and pray will one day very soon destroy him.
The British people should understand, those American spooks are the psychopathic, amoral, murdering bastards skulking in the shadows, unaccountable to anyone, the secret emissaries of a self-ordained global empire, who supposedly “share our values” as our “closest ally”. If they were not part of the security gang, hiding behind secrecy laws, many of them would be serving life sentences for their crimes against humanity.
Do you think you’re safe from them? When the President daily expresses his admiration for their filthy business?
This is the world they are making for us.
“Oh, but surely, if you are innocent you have nothing to fear?”
“It’s not the word “fake” in Trump’s all-disparaging worldview that grates, sometimes it’s the idea that any of this is “news”…
He’s not a bad dream that is going to go away
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the effects of PTSD – President Trump Shock Disorder, a profound kind of neurasthenia hardening into fatalism, resignation and hopelessness in face of a continual barrage of negative stories playing out across the water.
Stories that make not the blindest bit of difference to the new and darker emerging world order, presentiments of impending disaster swirling around this singularly repugnant and amoral individual and his criminal cabal of cronies and horseshit-shovellers.
The best you can say of him is that he hasn’t actually murdered anyone. So far as we know. That’s because, like his Great Negotiator, like his Billionaire Business Tycoon, his Mafia Don persona is all an act too. The danger lies in what his creepy-crawly lieutenants like Cohen and Stone are prepared to do for him.
Many times, The Pumpkin has felt like giving up the argument as the realization dawns that this is now, and for the foreseeable future. Resistance is futile, the monster thrives on it. Never in my remaining years is it likely that I shall again see even a modicum of patience and good intention restored to the management of world affairs. The drink isn’t helping, either.
The calamity that is this presidency has played out in the media day after day, week after week, for 15 months now, revelation and scandal and tangible evidence of Trump’s total unfitness for office piling atop one another like Peleon on Mount Ossa – yet he is STILL THERE.
Apparently there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to shift him, no way to stem the base order of reality his malign presence is creating around him, reaching out to touch the whole nation with the stench of sleaze, corruption, incompetence, a new brutalism and the celebration of heartless stupidity.
One gets, for instance, a sense of dèjá vu about the “news” that his former personal physician, the eccentric Dr. Bornstein, has admitted he did not write the mandatory pre-election statement lauding the rude health of Candidate Trump. But it’s not dèjá vu, in the sense that we have heard it all before: MSNBC reported in – I forget exactly when, lies and lies ago – that Bornstein had merely amended and signed a piece of paper he believes was written by Candidate Trump himself. We knew it was all another Big Lie, that’s now confirmed, but he still got elected.
There was a historic inevitability about the process by which that happened, a candidacy built on the kinds of huge lies that simple folks can really get behind; great lies that just kept coming. While the good Dr. Bornstein says he felt “raped” when Trump’s goons invaded his office and took away the president’s medical records without his consent, an action that Trump’s flabby prostate, Huckabee Sanders, has told the press is “normal” with every new presidency, another lie, you feel not only for him, but for every well-meaning person this deranged old sack of composting fishburger has ever shat on.
Another insult there, I notice. They do no good.
And in the “news” – it’s not the word “fake” in Trump’s all-disparaging worldview that grates, sometimes it’s the idea that any of this is “news” – today, his unlikely new legal appointee, Rudy Giuliani, another superannuated, adulterous monster, has apparently blurted out on Fox & Friends that yes, Trump did pay Stormy Daniels off – at least, he reimbursed Michael Cohen, although he claimed to have not known why. Another multiply-repeated lie is nailed.
And in the real world, a bleak analysis in the Washington Post today of the never-ending war in Afghanistan, where secret numbers of US troops are fighting, who were in kindergarten when it started, shows up Trump’s utter inadequacy in being able to deal with the world in any terms other than impatient and ultimately futile displays of hard power against enemies of America’s own creating:
“So long as the Taliban believes it is winning, it is unlikely to agree to peace talks, no matter how generous the offer. And let’s be clear — the Taliban very much thinks it is winning. … That’s an unfortunate conclusion in the best of times. Under President Trump, who has shown little interest in the hard diplomacy needed to stabilize the country, it sounds even worse.”
Now too, we are watching the train wreck of his dogmatic and ill-considered repudiation of the Iran deal approaching, there is apparently nothing anyone sensible can do to warn him of the grave consequences of such an action.
It is a ridiculous course he seems to have set himself on one day, out of sheer ignorance of international affairs and a perfervid ambition to scrub every last taint of the black man from the White House, as the dumbfucks in a stadium somewhere screamed their delight at each new wilder and more casual brutality he proposed to make government policy, to Make America Great Again.
It sounded like a policy – hadn’t W Bush included them in his “Axis of Evil speech? Weren’t the evil Iranians arming the Houthi rebels in Yemen and carving a path across Syria to connect with their militia in the Lebanon, threatening Israel? Never mind that the Hezbollah were fighting against ISIS while maintaining the uneasy peace in Beirut, never mind that Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia was committing daily war crimes with billions of dollars’ worth of American weaponry, while exporting Wahhabist terrorism to all corners of the globe. So long as they continue buying from us.
(It’s all about the money, who pays most.)
Never mind too, that a nuclear-armed Israel led by an aggressively racist party in the pockets of religious extremists and a corrupt coterie of billionaire Russian-connected mafiosi still has a doctrinaire belief that it can do anything, anywhere it likes, even bomb other countries and carry out extrajudicial killings, to maintain its muscular cultural security through post-Holocaust moral blackmail and censorship – a position wearing increasingly thin.
Never mind that Trump was proposing to tear up this “terrible deal” as he calls it – he won’t have actually read it, he doesn’t read – by which, after years of painstaking negotiations involving the US’s key allies, Iran had agreed not to pursue WMD in exchange for admission to the economic community of nations. Allies he has no hesitation in pissing-off at every turn, because – to put it bluntly – he has no fucking idea who they are, May, Merkel, Macron. They’re just more losers getting in his way.
Like his friend Netanyahu, Trump is a creature of total belief in his own mythology: in his case, however, it’s a bogus mythology. Trump the Reality TV Show Host, the caricature of a thrusting and successful, all-knowing businessman invented by the backroom writers at NBC.
That Trump doesn’t exist and never has, never will. But he’s too deluded, spoilt and vain to know it.
The Washington Post reports, Mr Netanyahu has cunningly shown him the little pictures, the colored maps and diagrams, the idiot-grade “see Jane run” captions he barely reads, explaining that Israel has found proof that Iran has a program to build weapons of mass destruction – “proof” that experts say is several years old, already discounted, and predates the agreement which, says the atomic weapons inspections commission, is holding just fine.
He won’t believe it. He’s seen a picture of Bibi’s impressive folders containing 100 thousand documents and shiny CDs proving that Rouhani is a lying sonofabitch, he respects Israel as a tough-guy that hits enemies with force, another country run by crooks, racists and religious charlatans, so it must be true.
Meanwhile, his two new armchair warriors, Bolton and Pompeo are whispering to him in stereo that Iran needs a healthy dose of regime change, a bit of that good old US “shock and awe”; the tiny faces that yammer at him incessantly from his TV screens and in his cheeseburger dreams are echoing their demands for more war.
And this really is it now, the “new normal”.
Hunker down. Get used to it.He’s not a bad dream that is going to go away when you wake up.
Trump is now, forever.
“Suffer the little children” was not a suggestion
“In 2014 … the headteacher of a large secondary school told Education Guardian her school had helped to pay for the funeral of a student … Three years on, she has helped to pay for two more … The latest government figures show 100,000 more children propelled into poverty in just 12 months. There are 4.1 million children – nearly a third of the entire child population – living in households on less than 60% of the average income.” theguardian.com/education/2018/may/01/teachers-buy-children-food-clothes-mattress-funerals-child-poverty
Pumpkin sister bogl, the BogPo recently encountered a report on child poverty highlighting the increasing concern of already cash-strapped schools and even individual teachers who are struggling to ensure their pupils stay alive and awake long enough to receive some sort of education.
The Guardian returned to this theme today, 1 May, in its Education supplement. When the government’s own figures damn them to Hell, it must surely be time for the Prime Minister to take stock of Mr Iain Duncan Cunt’s devastating social welfare policies, as awful in their own way as her vicious assault on illegal migrants that has caught so many perfectly entitled UK residents, black and white, in a fine-mesh net of bureaucracy, suspension of civil rights, detentions and deportations, as harassed and understaffed civil servants rushed to meet their secret expulsion quotas.
(The Pumpkin writes: They’re welcome to pay me to leave.)
It just occurs to The Pumpkin that one day, hopefully not too far in the future, America too will wake up to the insanity of a wealthy nation chopping itself off at the knees in the names of doctrinaire isolationism and government-sponsored inequality. Somehow, a powerful undercurrent of tribalism and hierarchy always seems to surface every other generation or two, to swamp the civilizing traditions of openness, fairness, tolerance and liberty we otherwise tell ourselves we like to strive for.
They’re never quite enough, when we could be baiting bears.
Coincidentally, the Washington Post today carries a lengthy piece on the economic xenophobia of the inter-war years and its effect on the poor, tired and huddled masses – especially foreigners, and especially Jews. The latter category has provided a good reason for the Holocaust Museum to create a new exhibition charting the progress of fascism in America, then and now. Ishaan Tharoor writes:
“Popular media was suffused with warnings and stories of a dangerous ‘fifth column’ of alien undesirables stealing into America. Lawmakers described unemployment as a problem ‘transferred from foreign lands,’ urging deportations of foreign-born workers taking American jobs. Even children were not exempt, as shown by a letter to the editor published by the Washington Post in 1939 criticizing a thwarted plan to shelter thousands of Jewish children from across the Atlantic. ‘There are many times 20,000 children in the country with no future! Help the American child,’ it read. ‘He (note the pronoun. Ed.) deserves our help more than the German child.'”
– “Remembering a past many Americans would prefer to forget” – s2.washingtonpost.com/camp-rw/?e=cGRpbmdyYW1zQGdtYWlsLmNvbQ%3D%3D&s=5ae7f457fe1ff64f250b4afc
We recall, do we not, the “Kindertransport” program, when Germany permitted an exodus of about ten thousand Jewish children to Britain prior to the Holocaust. No doubt the British people felt a surge of pride at our national decency, while the parents of those lucky youngsters, denied entry visas, were shovelling one another’s freshly gassed corpses into the ovens of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Tharoor continues: “As the war in Syria drags on and global humanitarian crises have mounted, the United States has lowered its refugee quotas and ground the admission of Syrian asylum seekers to a standstill. Anti-Semitism has again become a disturbingly regular feature of politics.”
Those of us in Britain who optimistically assumed we were being kinder than most to Syrian refugees should note that we’re donating another £250 million in overseas aid over the next two years to keep them out, having taken in fewer than four thousand in seven years out of the four million believed to have fled their war-ravaged country. And that antisemitism is once again a feature of British politics; although strangely, there appears to have been a popular swell of opinion in favor of the Caribbean migrants from the 1950s and 60s being randomly persecuted by the Home Office. Led, even more strangely, by the Daily Mail (oh dear, look, the pro-Remain Home Secretary, Amber Rudd is gone. How sad.)
I note too that we’ve taken in no Rohingya Muslims at all, ethnically cleansed from Burma, although a new purge under their filthy rotten military junta and its racist chihuahua, the “High Counsellor”, the fragrant Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi, is apparently targeting a Christian minority; so we shall have to see about it, shan’t we.
And as both good and bad things come in threes, a new book by the US-born Prof. Sarah Churchwell – she of the American Literature department at the University of East Anglia – examines the histories of two well-worn and much-misunderstood political slogans: “The American Dream”, and “America First!”
Churchwell reminds us percipiently that The American Dream originated as a rallying call against the inequalities and brutal pragmatism of rampant capital, not as an excuse for them – or as a reason for every simpering American housewife to yearn for a Frigidaire in the kitchen; and that Trump’s brain-dead America First! policy was once the cry of the Ku Klux Klan before the First World War, being taken up in the 1920s and 30s by the lynch-mob-happy followers of the heroic aviator and notorious fascist, Charles Lindbergh.
Lindbergh’s Service Cross of the German Eagle medal, awarded to him personally by Hitler in 1938, just as the Kindertransport trains were leaving for the Hook of Holland, has pride of place in the Holocaust Museum’s exhibition. The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in is already proposing Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, claiming his threat to evaporate North Korea in a peaceful nuclear strike was instrumental in bringing Kim Jong-un to the table.
Will that be the orange oaf’s reward for reviving the hideous nostrums of racism, anti-science, gun-totin’ biblical fundamentalism, xenophobia and class warfare in his own country?
Well, you know those Nazis. Some good people.
GW: Your old girl in a whirl
A huge, rotating storm system hit the eastern Mediterranean area on 25 April, stretching from Algeria in the west to Sudan in the south, up into northern Syria and over to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Torrential rain, damaging high winds, flash floods and big hail turning streets to rivers of ice were reported over almost the entire region. It’s not often we report on floods in:
Israel, where tragically 10 teenagers drowned after being washed away while hiking at Nahal Tzafit on an army introduction course near the Dead Sea. 9 others injured. 2 more teenagers died in flash flooding elsewhere.
(If you think there’s a difference between the people of the West and the East, the cries of “Allahu akbar!” of the stricken Muslims as the lightning flashes and the hailstones punch holes through their cars are echoed by the repeated cries of “Oh my Gahd!” as Americans watch tornadoes barreling toward their homes. See CEWN #113. Either way, He’s not helping much. I thought He promised to stop doing this stuff?)
USA: The BBC and others picked up on the big weather story originally reported on Wunderground: there have been NO TORNADOES in “Tornado Alley” this year! CNN recorded:
“Two of the US states most notable for tornadoes — Kansas and Oklahoma — have yet to see one so far this year. It is the longest into the year that Oklahoma has ever gone without a tornado since NOAA began keeping records. The previous year was April 26, 1962. If Kansas makes it to the end of April without a tornado, it will only be the fourth time this has occurred.”
The story of course ignores the point that there are and have been tornadoes this month in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and many other states, the reason being that the loopy jetstream bringing Arctic weather penetrated farther south and east than normal, making conditions for tornado formation difficult in the central midwest but drawing warmer air up from the Gulf to batter the southeastern states with heavy rain and flooding.
More severe thunderstorms bringing flooding and possible tornadoes are forecast for the central plains this week, all the way from southern Texas up as far as Minnesota.
Are we seeing more rain? From Dr Jeff Masters at Wunderground:
“The National Weather Service in Hawaii reported that preliminary data from a rain gauge on the north shore of Kauai at Waipa, one mile west of Hanalei, received 49.69” of rainfall over the 24-hour period ending at 12:45 pm April 15. If verified, this would break the all-time U.S. 24-hour rainfall record of 43.00” in Alvin, Texas set on July 25 – 26, 1979, during Tropical Storm Claudette.”
Let’s not forget too, the 64″ of rain that fell near Port Arthur in Texas last year over 72 hours during Hurricane Harvey.
Canada: “Snowmelt in the province of Alberta, Canada, has caused overland flooding and increased river levels over the last few days. Evacuations have been carried out in areas near Drumheller.”
South Africa: Remiss of GW, but we forgot to mention that the total ban on using water in Capetown, that was due to come into effect last week, has been staved-off until 2019 as there has been some relief from the drought and rationing has helped to preserve supplies. CEWN reports that there was “heavy rain” on the 26th that actually caused some flooding in the city.
Rwanda: death toll in floods and landslides in the mountain region reaches 18.
Algeria: “Torrential rain in the north has caused at least 6 deaths as well as severe flooding that has damaged houses and washed away roads.” 200 children had to be rescued from a flooded school in Tissemsilt.
Egypt: heavy rain. Cairo floods. Lady filming a car washed away in a wall of floodwater fails to notice what looks like the body of a drowned man floating past. Giza also flooded.
Syria: a terrifying flash flood follows heavy rain on the 26th over the capital, Damascus, washing away hundreds of vehicles. Similar scenes were witnessed in Jordan; while in Somalia almost half a million people have been displaced by floods in April.
Kuwait: however, experienced a huge dust storm, that brought nighttime in the day to the oil-rich state on the 26th.
China: intense rainfall triggers flash flooding and a landslide in Anhui Province, that wiped out the state’s main highway.
Argentina: “A fierce storm struck areas around Buenos Aires on 28 to 29 April 2018. Some areas recorded over 110 mm of rain and wind gusts of 130 km/h. At least 2 people have died and 1,200 evacuated.”
Some areas saw more than a month’s worth of rain fall in 24 hours. Rivers and streams overflowed, flooding parts of the city forcing hundreds from their homes.
Brazil: believe it or not, it’s STILL raining! The town of Maceio in the east was underwater on the 22nd.
Honduras: a powerful tropical storm batters Tegucigalpa, with more damage and flash-flooding on the 27th in neighbouring Panama.
Bangladesh: fears are growing for the safety and health of 600 thousand Burmese Rohingya Muslim refugees housed under canvas in the east of the country as the cyclone season begins. A powerful storm hit the capital, Dhaka on the 22nd.
Madagascar: French island of Réunion battered on the 24th by Tropical Cyclone Fakir, the latest ever recorded in the season. Capital St Pierre flooded. 2 dead reported in a mudslide.
The boffins at Weather Underground are clearly fans of this, muh bogl! After I complained yet again on GW last week that they had moved my little house, this time up to Sheffield, I’ve now been returned to Boglington-on-Sea in time for the arrival of the cold and rain. Thanks, guys!
A special message to cameraphone contributors to weather porn sites: look, we can’t clearly watch you dying and your cars getting washed away if you keep on videoing your extreme weather events in portrait format. Turn the damn phone on its side so we can get the full picture in landscape, the peak End of Everything experience!
CEWN #113, 114/ Floodlist/ Wunderground/ BBC News
In addition to all his other little foibles and peccadilloes, the notorious attention seeker, Latin scholar, blabbermouth and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson appears to be on the side of the demons on Pennsylvania Ave.
According to The Guardian‘s Green Light environmental monitoring service, he is following in the expensively shod footsteps of Mr Scott Pruitt, the profoundly corrupt avenging angel of the decimated US Environmental Protection Agency, which he reputedly runs along climate-change-denying policy lines dictated by the Orange Imbecile himself (see previous Posts), and is winding down climate research in his department:
“The number of full-time officials dedicated to climate change in the Foreign Office has dropped by almost 25% in the two years since Boris Johnson became foreign secretary, according to data released under freedom of information (FoI) rules.
“Johnson has also failed to mention climate change in any official speech since he took the office, in marked contrast to his two predecessors.”
Has he perchance joined the gravy train of Big Energy’s billion-dollar campaign to throw a spanner in the work of carbon reduction?
In another curious echo of the US policy position – which is to, basically, do nothing at all that will upset the Koch Brothers*, but essentially to let rip on fossil-fuel energy usage while rolling back all environmental and consumer protections,
“Climate change minister, Claire Perry said: “The UK is leading the world in tackling climate change while growing our national income, ensuring we are best placed to help other countries reduce harmful carbon emissions.” (Ibid.)
Sadly, thanks to the Beast from the East – a severe weather event in February brought on by polar air being displaced by panic-inducingly warm air and anomalous sea temperatures in the Arctic causing the fragmentation of the jetstreams – our national income grew by only 0.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.
So don’t expect too much from the Tories in the way of action on climate change, except more lies.
We’ll just cheer the rest of you on. Go, world.
*For a devastating indictment of how these two multi-multi-billionaire coalmining philanthropists, the Chuckle Brothers of West Virginia, have come to own the Republican Party, I urge you to watch the courageous Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Dem. Rhode Island) giving a talk to a presumably empty Congress, entitled “Time to Wake Up”, which is found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG0AOHy1kQg