Home » Criminal Trumpery » The Pumpkin – Issue 55: The War on Drugs targets children – with drugs… Midterms: And the beat goes on… Open letter to: the BBC Board – Trump news coverage a shameful disgrace… Sensationalism gone mad… GW: turning up me collar, gazing at the sky… To irony and beyond

The Pumpkin – Issue 55: The War on Drugs targets children – with drugs… Midterms: And the beat goes on… Open letter to: the BBC Board – Trump news coverage a shameful disgrace… Sensationalism gone mad… GW: turning up me collar, gazing at the sky… To irony and beyond

“To Infinity and beyond!”
‘Dorothy’ Trump muses wistfully that “there’s no place like space” as he plans to build a golf course complex on the moon (Image: mashable.com)

 

 The War on Drugs targets children – with drugs

“A series of heartbreaking investigative stories published Wednesday by Reveal and The Texas Tribune highlights the disturbing conditions many undocumented children have been allegedly forced to endure in privately run shelters set up to house them as they await proceedings to determine whether they can stay in the country.

“One of the more gruesome details includes allegations that children at the Shiloh Treatment Center near Houston, Texas were routinely dosed with unneeded antipsychotics to keep them quiet and compliant.”TYT report, 22 January.

You might muse on the thought that the overbearing and unconscionable immigration officials, sick and twisted demons let loose by the Trump regime, are the ones who require anti-psychotics.

Worse, children are being transported all over the country in secret, in the middle of the night. Local authorities are not being informed of their arrivals. Officials have lied to airlines refusing to carry separated children about the identities of parties of children smuggled aboard, to the consternation of crew members (MSNBC report). No records are being kept linking children as young as eight months with their parents being held in detention, so that most will never find their families again.

Fears are growing that children may end up with human traffickers or fostered by abusers.

This Presidency is a Pandora’s Box of horrors and must be ended by any means.

The most effective being a bullet through the head.

Picturing history

“Hello little girl, would you like a job in my administration? Only the best people.”

Inevitably, Sandra Sanchez, the crying toddler photographed on the border while her mother is searched by an ICE agent, has gone in two days from being an icon of US brutality towards refugees and a star of Time magazine’s July cover image, to being merely a tired and fractious little girl whose mother was being patted down by a kindly Mexican border official before they were put into protective custody “together”.

There is no getting away from the fact that hundreds of similarly young children have been snatched from their families, distributed throughout the country and will probably never be reunited with their parents. Almost every iconic photo-journalistic image in modern history from the Civil War ‘dead’, to planting the Stars and Stripes at Iwo Jima and the Red Flag over the Reichstag, to the burning child in Vietnam has been debunked or downplayed as a fake, yet nothing can detract from the narrative truths and the symbolic power they represent.

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“…the RNC (Republican National Committee) has given a contract for the mid-term elections to a top GOP operative involved in the theft of 87 million Facebook profiles”

And the beat goes on

In case anyone might be silly enough to imagine the first duty of the Republican party isn’t to get itself elected by hook, but most certainly by crook, and that the dirty tricks department has shut down in the face of media exposure since November 2016, Politics News reports: “The AP (Associated Press agency) has released a bombshell report about Trump and Cambridge Analytica’s 2020 election meddling plans.

“The Trump 2020 campaign just got caught hiring former Cambridge Analytica employees to work on the re-election campaign for the President.”

(See also Private Eye #1742 with news of former Leave campaign staffers walking into well paid ‘revolving door’ jobs with organizations run by former Leave.EU and other Brexit conspirators. Here in Britain too, “The Thing” goes on….)

“Today’s AP report also confirms that the RNC has given a contract for the mid-term elections to a top GOP operative involved in the theft of 87 million Facebook profiles in conjunction with the Trump 2020 campaign. Former Cambridge Analytica data scientist Matt Oczowski created a company called Data Propria and hired some of the bankrupt Cambridge Analytica’s former employees, then sold his company to the penny stock company CloudCommerce (CLWD).

“Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale also sold his marketing company to CloudCommerce and now the two men are working together on CloudCommerce’s new data analytics division.

“Parscale denies that the Trump 2020 campaign’s current goal with Data Propria is to re-elect the President, but says instead to impact the 2018 mid-term elections.

“AP reports: ‘I am laser-focused on the 2018 midterms and holding the House and increasing our seats in the Senate,’ [Brad Parscale] said. ‘Once we do those things, I’ll start working on re-electing President Trump.’” – Politics News.

Oh, just switch off your phones.

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Open letter to: the BBC Board

Trump news coverage ‘a shameful disgrace’

“It is clear to most that the President’s aim is to use the issue of children in cages and ‘soft-sided structures’ , a controversial policy he himself has created and is deliberately exacerbating, to force the Democrats into voting with hardline Republicans to pay for a border wall”

Dear Board member

I wish to draw your attention to an interview at six minutes to eight this morning on the Today program between presenter, Justin Webb and a Mr Frank Gatney, who is not so far as I know an actual employee of the US government but was said to have a previous connection with the Trump campaign.

Mr Gatney’s role was to defend Mr Trump’s morally indefensible policy and well-attested lies as regards the forcible removal into secret detention (and worse – ‘tender-age shelters’? What the fuck?) of the children of Latin American refugees, SOME LESS THAN ONE YEAR OLD, many of whom cannot now be traced or linked with any parent, who – it is your editorial policy – must be referred to as ‘migrants’, and who may never see their children again.

Instead, your bulletin writers repeatedly used the phrase ‘illegal immigrants’, when the fact is that these babies and toddlers are not ‘illegal immigrants’ in any sense other than that defined by the President himself, on no other authority: THEY ARE POLITICAL PRISONERS; HOSTAGES. In most cases it is reliably reported by US media that the parents have arrived at the southern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona borders legally claiming asylum under the 1948 UN Convention on Refugees, and have not attempted illegal entry.

This action in itself, of claiming asylum, if at the border and not at US embassies in their own countries, has been unilaterally declared by the President to be ‘illegal’; a status in law which, he has lied, was created and is being maintained by the opposition Democrat party, a position which is quite clearly preposterous and held by a two-thirds majority of Americans to be so. If it can be traced anywhere, it is to the Republican Bush administration.

The President has described these people, many of them women and children fleeing from gang warfare, rape, torture, extortion and murder in their own countries, a state of affairs nurtured over decades by clandestine US security operations in support of extreme rightwing politicians, corporate entities and the so-called ‘war on drugs’, as ‘animals’, claiming that they are all potential violent gang members (he is obsessed with a Los Angeles gang called MS-13, most of whose members are US-born.).

Thus, year-old animals are held in concrete pens in San Diego with only aluminum thermal sheeting for blankets, while the psychopath cries orange crocodile tears, oh, the poor babies, it’s all the fault of those heartless Democrats.

In fact, no-one knows where the very youngest children have been taken, the administration refuses to say. The assumption is, they’re being put up for adoption. Many of the girls, too, have been spirited away to secret detention, Chibok-style, where one imagines them being married off to Trump-supporting ‘incels’ – unattractive young men who cannot get girlfriends. (So far it’s only an unworthy thought. Ed.)

He could stop this immediately. But he is playing a game.

Mr Gatney repeated the President’s entirely unsubstantiated assertion that the children are not even the migrants’ own. He seems to have got that idea from Ann Coulter, a demented and skeletal Fox news harridan, who claims that the children are all ‘crisis actors’ employed in a conspiracy to embarrass the White House.

Were your editors awake, they would know that this is a party line supported only by a handful of White House insiders, among them known racialists and white Christian biblical fundamentalists such as A-G Sessions, dead-eyed college vampire Stephen Miller, press spokesmouth Lyin’ Sarah Sanders and Secretary of Homeland Security, Neilsen; who, last night, tried to dine at a Mexican restaurant of all places, until she was howled out by protestors. Just how stupid and insensitive do you have to be, to get a job with Trump?

It is clear to most, and he has admitted it, that the President’s aim is to use the sight of children in cages and ‘soft-sided structures’ – a controversial policy he himself has created and is deliberately exacerbating and the sound of their crying, to force the Democrats into voting with hardline Republicans to pay for a border wall; as he is so desperate to deliver a rash, off-the-cuff election promise he made in 2016 to his support base in advance of the midterm elections.

Yet Mr Webb made no attempt whatever to challenge Mr Gatney on any of the points he made, putting your editorial line on this story considerably at variance with other media, such as this morning’s Guardian, which offered a fair and balanced view but nevertheless put the growing protests even within the Republican party at the heart of the story.

With one honorable exception, John Sweeney’s 2016 Panorama report on Trump’s mafia connections, the BBC’s entire attitude to the Trump administration from the outset has been one of supine, uncritical subservience. The continuing normalization of this dysfunctional, abusive and highly anomalous presidency by the BBC is a national embarrassment.

Mr Trump as has frequently been noted is entirely unfit for office, in the opinion of many respectable commentators in the USA and that of millions of decent and sensible Americans. His actions are irrational and reprehensible, his economic policies self-serving and untutored, his foreign policy on the face of it based on financial extortion and bullying; his one-sided and antediluvian authoritarian views on many issues, abusive ad hominem Twitter attacks and his clear contempt for the constitution, judges, women and minorities are repugnant to most Americans; nevertheless he continues to enrich himself and his family through egregious breaches of the Emoluments acts and tax reforms beneficial to himself and his donors.

You have consistently failed to produce a critical analysis of this Trump regime within a coherent overview, but – as with the climate change story – treat every new pronouncement (and very few of the gaffes) in isolation. In consequence, I see and hear frequent references to Trump’s policies and statements that indicate only a very limited public understanding in the UK of the appalling nightmare he is inflicting on his country.

It takes little effort to inform oneself and the nation of these matters, but it appears from the flaccid and respectful reports of your Washington correspondent, Mr John ‘Sopoor’ that everything is perfectly normal, if perhaps a little unconventional, when it is so clearly not normal, and conventional only by the standards of a banana republic.

Do you imagine it is NORMAL that in the USA in 2018, children as young as FOUR are having to represent themselves in immigration tribunal hearings because no responsible adult or legal counsel is available? Is it NORMAL for the Attorney-General of the United States, where the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the freedom of the State from religious intolerance, to claim that God has sanctioned this evil policy? Is it NORMAL for the President of the United States to call for due legal process to be carried out without recourse to the courts?

Why are you not reporting this on the Today program, instead of putting up lying shills for the White House to defend a crime against humanity without tearing their testimony to shreds?

Mr Trump has withdrawn this morning from yet another international body, the UN Council on Human Rights, that he perceives as challenging and weakening global US hegemony. Your unbalanced response to this story was to carry without comment or question, the tendentious statement by UN Ambassador Hayley, complaining among other things of the Council’s unfair treatment of…. Israel, a gross violator of human rights.

(It seems particularly rich that Ms Hayley should describe the Council as a ‘cesspit of political bias’, with many members themselves being human rights violators, when Mr Trump so frequently expresses admiration for brutal dictators: Duterte, al-Sisi, Erdogan, Xi and Kim Jong-un, and claims half-jokingly that he wishes he could be more like them.)

I, Sirs, do not wish to accept the status of humble subject in a resurgent, exceptionalist American global empire, under the dominion of a senescent, sociopathic moral imbecile with self-serving, thuggish, anti-democratic instincts, even if the BBC does. From the start of this presidency, your editorial stance has been consistently behind the curve; partial, supine and cowardly: a shameful national disgrace.

And while I have your attention, is it possible someone could explain to me why it is that of all the categories of programming listed on your ‘Contact the BBC’ web page for viewers and listeners to offer criticism or suggestions, ‘News’ is the one button that refuses to work?

Thank you.

Postscriptum:

MSNBC News is currently (20 June) reporting the refusal of some state governors to allow the deployment of their national guard units or the use of state resources to support Trump’s filthy and corrupt immigration policy on the border.

Follow the story with Lawrence O’Donnell on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4w8mzUKczI

Post-postscriptum:

Two mornings later, the BBC finally has reporters in south Texas and has interviewed the scathing Trump critic and contributor to The Atlantic, the laconic David Frum.

Most of the coverage went out before 7 a.m., but it’s a start – although the asylum applicants are still “illegal” according to Trump, and BBC journalists haven’t really worked out that Trump’s Executive Order (it wasn’t, it was a memorandum) apparently backtracking on his original edict to A-G Sessions won’t make a difference to the 2,500 kids already in custody in secret camps all over the USA, where they can’t be traced, and who may never be reunited with their parents.

Two good news items, several US airlines are refusing to carry separated children, and a couple who hoped to raise $1500 to put up a bail bond for a Nicaraguan family found themselves with $15 MILLION after three days of pledges from over 350 thousand Americans.

Trump has so miscalculated, but as a fully qualified sociopath how was he to know that gaoling 10-month-old children might blow up in his puffy old criminal face?

Meanwhile, Army lawyers are having to be drafted in to prosecute cases in the secret border courts – another illegal act on the part of the regime as US forces personnel are not allowed to take part in policing internal affairs.

Steve Cortes, a CNN political commentator who serves on the Trump 2020 election advisory council, wrote in an email: ‘I think the president was deeply distressed by the images of children missing their parents. I also think we all need to realise that neither President Trump nor our law enforcement caused that very unfortunate circumstance; rather, these victim children were totally mistreated by their parents or guardians who chose freely to commit the serious crime of illegal trespass into our country with children in tow’.” – Guardian

Is there a possibility this toady sonofabitch with his lying blubbery lips clamped firmly around the orange anus smelling faintly of cheeseburger, sucking on it hard whilst massaging the little furry scrotum with loving tenderness, could be taken out, tarred and feathered and thrown into a pit of fire, as required by his Godalmighty, fucking Republican bible?

Please God, is there? Just askin’.

“On Friday (Trump) railed against ‘phony stories of sadness and grief’ and paraded the families of people killed by undocumented immigrants, drawing a pointed comparison by saying: ‘They’re not separated for a day or two days. These are permanently separated, because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens’.”

What the lying old bastard didn’t say was that of the nine families he paraded for his own re-election, eight were grieving for relatives who had died in ROAD ACCIDENTS.

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Sensationalism gone mad.

“One cannot permit unique opportunities to slip by for the sake of trifles.”

This somewhat trite and unexceptional maxim, a version of ‘stick to the knitting’, has got everyone’s knickers in a twist at the University of Exeter, as the words appear to be contaminated with the virus of …. National Socialism!

The connection might have escaped your notice reading those anodyne words, but after a silly scandal involving some students exchanging racist tweets, for which the university was in no way responsible, the poor old Dean and Chapter (interest alert: my son was a postgrad student there) are now having to defend themselves against accusations of being Nazi sympathisers; possibly even party members.

To be fair, the prat in the PR department who found the quote on the internet and stuck it in a student guidebook ought to have recognised the attribution to one Erwin Rommel, and paused for thought. He is quite famous.

But numerous notable (not ‘notorious’, BBC!) military leaders down the centuries have also been cod philosophers, it goes with the territory.

Business management trainees studying ‘Leadership skills’ have probably been stuffed silly with pithy quotations from far worse brutes than the shrewd and urbane Rommel, generally regarded as being among the great military strategists of history. If Hitler had only listened to him instead of wasting all the concrete and slave labor in Germany trying to build a stupid wall around France, he might well have changed the course of the D-Day landings.

The Nazis were pretty horrible, but by no means uniquely so. Our continuing obsession with them is not particularly helpful or healthy, leading as it does to trivial false comparisons and ludicrous witch-hunts against incautious latter-day politicians, comedians and academics.

They should be allowed to get on with their jobs without undereducated, self-appointed moral guardians pointing their sticky fingers at whatever they least understand, lazily resorting to bad historical comparisons to make – what? – their pointless points.

It’s sensationalism gone mad.

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GW: turning up me collar, gazing at the sky

USA: Another tropical storm that hasn’t quite made it as a hurricane is moving up from the Gulf of Mexico, the second in little over a week. Parts of far south Texas have had up to 15 inches of rain in 24 hours (to 20 June) and there are flash flood warnings out in many areas.

“(More than 60) sinkholes and washed out roads were reported Sunday (17 June) as flash flooding triggered by heavy rainfall swamped several towns from northern Minnesota and Wisconsin to Upper Michigan. ‘The majority of us can’t even get home. Roads are collapsed. Bridges are collapsed. Roads are covered in water.’ – local resident. The Radigan Flowage Dam west of Dairyland, Wisconsin burst, and the Tamarack and St. Croix rivers were flooding. 4-7 in. of rain fell in just 7 hours.”- edited from Wunderground.

And here’s the menu for just this last week’s issue #126 of Climate and Extreme Weather News, consisting of citizen videos from places affected by severe weather events.  I can’t face expanding on it, it speaks for itself: the entire northern hemisphere is flooding in a band around the globe, at roughly the 40th parallel (start of the subtropical zone). Some of these images are truly apocalyptic. Go to:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKjOjC0LxmA

Indonesia: Banyuwangi flood Turkey: Kahramanmaras flood Lebanon: Ras Baalbek flood Israel: Negev flood Ivory Coast: Abidjan flood Ghana: Accra flood Mexico: Guanajuato, Aguascalientes & Tamaulipas floods The USA: Texas & Midwest floods Myanmar: Monsoon floods India: Monsoon floods China: Guizhou floods Serbia: Uzice hailstorm & flash flood Italy: Messina flash flood Malta: Mriehel flood…

Jesus, the Negev desert?

Ivory Coast: “At least 18 people have died in flooding in the department of Abidjan. The Country’s National Civil Protection Office (ONPC) said that heavy rainfall that began during the evening of 18 June (about 6 in. falling in 24 hours) resulted in flooding that caused at least 18 deaths and severe material damage.” Many more days of rain are forecast. – Floodlist

Myanmar (Burma): Record breaking heavy rain has triggered flooding and landslides in parts of Mon State in the south of Myanmar. The towns of Mawlamyine and Mottama are the worst hit areas. Local media report that at least 1,000 people have been displaced by the flooding. Mudon, a town in Mon State about 22 km south of Mawlamyine, recorded 297 mm of rain in 24 hours between 16 and 17 June. – Edited from Floodlist.

Relief agencies are trying to shore up structures in camps housing Rohingya refugees across the border in Bangladesh, ahead of the main monsoon rains due next week. Many have been moved to higher ground. A number of people have already died in flooding and landslides.

Turkey: Several provinces in Turkey were hit by heavy rain and flash flooding over the weekend, 16 to 17 June. A child is still missing after being swept away by flooding in Selendi district in the province of Manisa on 16 June. Parts of Istanbul were also flooded, causing traffic chaos. – Edited from Floodlist.

Serbia: 13 June, massive hailstorm over Uzice. Streets turn to rivers of ice, etc.

Climate Reanalyzer points to quite high temperature anomalies persisting in northern latitudes: Canada/Alaska and Siberia – also over Antarctica.

Your Granny notes a corresponding uptick in seismic activity around the globe, earthquake locations frequently corresponding with extreme heat and floods. Seismologists and meteorologists tell me there’s no correlation, but then do they talk to each other?

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To irony and beyond

1. Thanks to the abnormally hot weather in Europe, there’s a shortage of carbon dioxide (CO2).

I’d better repeat that:

Thanks to the abnormally hot weather in Europe, there’s a shortage of carbon dioxide (CO2).

You can still learn stuff even at my age. I’ve been learning from a BBC website article that the fizzy bubbles the manufacturers put in your refreshing cold drink along with a pound or two of sugar and a raspberry are a by-product of the fertilizer industry.

Shall I repeat that unlikely assertion too? No, okay. Anyway, it appears to be true.

And the fertilizer industry shuts down for maintenance in the summer, so the fizzy drinks industry is complaining that rising demand for fizzy drinks has led to a critical shortage of the very same gas that is causing the abnormally hot weather in Europe.

It’s beyond irony.

Food miles

2. On our walk yesterday, a van is turning around in front of us. The driver leans out and asks for directions to a house about twenty yards away. The side of his van bears the legend: “Frozen food, freshly delivered to your door”.

Curious, I ask the driver where he has come from. With a rueful grin, he gives the name of a town 75 miles north of here.

Just around the corner, 12 minutes’ walk away is a large Morrison’s supermarket. It has three whole aisles of frozen food cabinets. Just in town are an Iceland – frozen-food specialists – a Lidl, a Tesco and a Marks & Spencer food hall, along with half a dozen convenience stores, all with freezers.

I’d describe it as insanity. Then I think about the £7.50 CD I just bought via the Amazon. I could have bought an MP3 download; it could have come by regular post and been shoved through the letter-flap; but no, it was instead couriered, signed-for, from the United States.

Mea maxima culpa.

On the wrong lines

3. Network Rail’s policy of cutting down 2 million trees to reduce the perennial problem of ‘leaves on the line’ has ignited controversy.

Also a certain amount of smugness, as, deprived of tree-shade, in the current 30 deg. hot spell the lines are buckling in the sunshine, forcing trains to slow to a crawl.

The same crawl with which they accommodate themselves to slippery wet leaves every year,  but without the climate-damaging dendrocide.

 

 

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