Okay, so there’s a bit more than there was, with clouds…! A cold night in… It stinks… Mr Porky-pies… It stinks worse… In Local News… GW: But clouds got in my way

It’s against the law in New York City to own a duck.

 

SHAMELESS.

A cold night in

“I thought about writing something dismissive with reference to the glorious late October sunshine…”

So, I was tempted to do my usual thing, trolling idiots on YouTube comment threads.

Usually it’s climate-change deniers. Kids in stinky bedrooms and dumpster-divers in hostels and piss-stained sofa dwellers in grimy basements; contrarians who think they’re really smart putting one over on the libtards, regurgitating the ludicrous myths put about for decades by the PR people for the ‘nergy bidness.

What was it Trump said about Republicans being too dumb to vote?

it’s just natural warming, up ‘n’ down, happens all the time. It’s the sun cycle, we’re in a Grand Solar Minimum, a Kondratieff wave…. It’s really an ice age. It stopped warming in 1999. The planets are all on one side of the sun. It’s volcanoes, earthquakes, eclipses, chemtrails, geoengineering, Planet Nibiru – stuff falling in the sea making the sea-level rise. Biblical prophesy. Plants will eat all the CO2, it’s good for them, we’ll have more food. We’ll capture and bury the rest of the CO2 using clean coal. It’s not poisonous, anyway. We can pump sshiny stuff in the air, reflect the sunlight (away from the food crops? Don’t think so. Ed). Nothing to see, just a Chinese hoax; scientists chasing bigger grants; governments levying ‘green taxes’ to make us non-taxpayers poorer, take away our guns.

But sometimes it’s climate-change accepters writing piteously about terrible extreme weather events occurring where I live, when I know they’re not.

Mostly those stories come via the editor of the Daily Express.

And yesterday I read that the UK is being plunged into an Arctic freezer-box, and I thought about writing something dismissive with reference to the glorious late October sunshine we’ve been having, warm and welcoming under blue skies.

Then just now I took Hunzi out for his late-night walk to the bridge and back.

Reader, I am wearing a T-shirt under a lightweight sweater under a heavy fleece under a Gore-tex lined and padded overcoat, plus a sheepskin cap with earflaps, acquired from a supplier somewhere in the trackless snowy wastes of Canada (‘Made in Turkey’) where they know a bit about cold weather.

And I can barely walk, I am so cold my teeth are chattering and the air is condensing in a cloud around me. Cold, seeping up from the very ground, through the thin rubber soles of my tennis shoes, is turning my legs to unfeeling pipes of non-compliance. I urge Hunzi to get on with his piss-sniffing and hurry on home, where it’s really no warmer

Sadly I cannot afford both to heat my home and drink wine, so it’s almost as cold inside as it is out. Having to leave a window for Cats doesn’t help. I go to bed with everything on but my pants and shoes – yes, even wearing the hat – wrapped in an extra fleece blanket.

Yet I am sure if you go into the town centre, it will still be teeming with raucous party girls in skimpy boob-tubes and microskirts, and cool young dudes brazening it out in sleeveless Freddy Mercury vests and shorts, showing off their tattoos and their rippling abs, all trying to get laid before they make it illegal.

Maybe a tattoo or two would keep me warm through the coming ice age?

It stinks

Okay, here’s one. Andrew Wheeler, the profoundly corrupt Scott Pruitt’s supposedly less corrupt replacement at the US Environmental Protection Agency, has passed an edict.

The “Normal Odor Rule” removes the existing requirement for factory farms, of which there are many, many thousands, to report incidences of environmental contamination to the EPA, or even to inform local residents that their air or water has become contaminated.

Such incidences, he advises, are merely “normal odors” that should not be subject to harmful regulation.

Just lettin’ ya know. (Source TYT/Ring of Fire channel)

Meanwhile as he pretends to be sending thousands upon thousands of troops to the Mexican border with orders to shoot any refugees who throw stones (an illegal measure: the US Army is banned by law from engaging in civilian policing operations on US territory) the Pentagon’s assessment of the threat from Trump’s terrifying caravan of invaders: brown people and middle eastern terrorists, drug dealers and criminals, many of them under five years old, has been leaked to Newsweek magazine.

Basically, the Army’s position is, there is no threat. Less than 20 percent are expected to ever reach the US border; they are at least 800 miles, or six weeks’ walk, away; there are no middle eastern terrorists. (Plus, of course, there are already 20 thousand ICE and Border Patrol agents doing their job; while without drug smugtglers, the economy would probably collapse.) Also, media reports suggest, there is no smallpox (a Fox News conspiracy theory – smallpox was eradicated worldwide in the 1980s) or leprosy among the desperate migrants.

It is all a big, fat, shameless Trump lie, at your – the taxpayer’s – expense.

And going on past form, once the elections are over next week he will tell an interviewer from the Fake News media, an Enemy of the People: sure, I made it up, but we won, didn’t we?

Just like he did when the entitled, Ivy League fratboy and multiply accused incontinent sex-pest, the temperamentally unstable and (according to a letter signed by 1,400 law professors) legally unfit, redfaced, beer-drinkin’ Justice Kavanaugh was finally loaded onto the Supreme Court, and Trump admitted that the lies he’d told about Dr Blasey Ford, the vicious character assassination he engaged in, the suppression of the FBI investigation had all helped to get his boy over the line, so what? Another win for Donny. Do we ever get fed up of winning?

And the dumbfucks will take that and go on believing this degenerate, self-serving, criminal liar, this purulent, overly made-up, pig-ignorant proto-fascist from whom the unbearable stench of amoral expediency is just “normal odor”, was sent by God to clean-up America. (Source: MSNBC)

Those who are suffering most, however, are Trump staffers fleeing the building. TV station CNN has imposed a ban on hiring anyone connected with the Trump administration on the grounds that they can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

 

Mr Porky-pies

Trump’s lie counter since he took office is approaching 6.5 thousand, according to the special fact-checking unit at the Washington Post. He told 1,100 lies or made other false or mistaken assertions during October alone, an average of over 30 a day. (CNN)

The biggest one after the ‘caravan invasion’ he’s been called out on, he’s told his dumbfucks many times at rallies how proud he is of his own, very wonderful idea that he signed into law just this summer, providing for veterans to be able to seek healthcare from a different company if their condition isn’t dealt with by their own insurer within 30 days.

That law was actually signed by President Obama in 2014. (MSNBC)

 

It stinks worse

The UK Home Office is not fit for purpose and should be broken up into separate, accountable areas of responsibility.

We have crises in policing and immigration that Home Office officials have proved time and again, they are neither competent nor fit to manage; preferring instead to rely on the insouciant lies of press officers and misinformation provided to ministers by civil servants. And in five months’ time they will have to administer a new Customs and Excise regime that is nowhere near ready as the Government is still unable to define what it will be after we exit the EU next March.

Remember when David Cameron announced magnanimously that we were going to take in 3,000 unaccompanied “vulnerable” child refugees from Syria? It didn’t seem very many, considering the 10 thousand Jewish kids we extracted from Nazi Europe in1938. But it was something.

And remember how, after the Daily Mail had finished lying that the first “children” were really adults, the number was cut by that fucking ghastly hag, the vicar’s daughter at the Home Office, to 480, just to garner votes from the gum-gnashing Dacre fanbase, most of whom are already mercifully dead, and the “Tommy Robinson” crowd?

So, take a guess how many we’ve resettled in the last two years? Go on, guess.

Four hundred? Three hundred? A hundred and ten?

Twenty.

Two-zero.

But it’s estimated that 7 thousand children have gone missing from unofficial camps in France and elsewhere, many trafficked into slavery or prostitution, while Home Secretary Sajid Javed (the name bespeaks some immigrant status of his own. Go home, Mr Javed) stands by and twiddles his bloodstained thumbs, whistling at the sky and counting his happy racist voters.

This country under the Conservatives has become a stinking moral pariah; a tacky seaside pier with rotten supports, that is about to come crashing down on the next tide.

And the idiots go on voting for it.

(Source: Guardian, 03 Nov. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/03/uk-admits-only-20-unaccompanied-child-refugees-in-two-years)

 

And in local news…

“Aldi, the award-winning discount food retailer, is preparing a proposal to redevelop the currently vacant land in Boglington-on-Sea with a new, high-quality food store.” (Reads the press release printed verbatim in the local rag, followed by a series of clearly invented ‘reader’ Comments all marvelling at the wondrous tidings and praising Aldi to the skies.)

“An Aldi food store would provide a new store in a convenient and accessible location, bringing high-quality produce at discounted prices to the whole community. A store at this location would help to keep spending local and allow residents to do their food shopping without travelling out of the area.”

So, good news. Once you pass the Morrison’s superstore in the retail park on the edge of town, keep going a quarter of a mile down the road and there’s this really local Aldi (artist’s impression) on a vacant lot, and 200 yards further on there’s a large Tesco and a Marks & Spencer food hall (where they pulled down the elderly people’s daycare centre built only eight years earlier), and then a few hundred yards further into town where there are two Spar stores, one of them with 24-hour opening, and on the hill on your left a Co-Op and another Spar and on the opposite hill a large if unappealing CQ Foodstore and between the hills, next door to one another in what would have made a nice central town square but is just a fucking huge car park, there’s an Iceland and a Lidl.

So now thank heavens we can heave a sigh of relief. We can ignore all those news reports about failing retailers in the age of Ocado, we no longer need to fly to Tasmania to do our food shopping, or have stuff delivered from Krasnoyarsk… for now, for the first time in our lives we are allowed not to leave the area to do our food shopping, allowed not to travel 20 miles to the next nearest Tesco, Co-Op, etcetera!

Bless you, Aldi, for this, your environmentally sustainable beneficence.

And I’m just dying for yet more huge supply lorries to belt past my house day and night at speeds considerably in excess of the 30 mph limit, ripping up the road surface, which has to be re-laid every three years.

Our only hope is, this is the third or the fourth time I’ve seen this same story from Aldi about the same old brownfield site in the last 14 years.

What’s the German for ‘wankers’?

Citizen journalism

On our walk, Hunzi and I have an unfortunate encounter with the local gossip-merchant, who stoppeth one of two to brief me at inordinate length on the latest doings, usually of people I have never heard of and have no interest in.

One such is his neighbour, who got off a charge of raping his 12-year-old granddaughter, or some such, thanks to some adroitly brutal cross-examination of the child by an evil barrister. I think that must have been some years ago as he has told me about it in gory detail several times before.

I’m pleased to hear, too, that our local MP has also been given an extraordinarily light sentence for downloading child pornography but has to wear an electronic tag for five years. That one didn’t make it into the mainstream media, and I find no reference to it on Google either, or on the party website, so we’ll give it a pass.

A former neighbor of mine who twice threatened me with a shotgun over my contractor spraying his Japanese knotweed, but subsequently broke his neck when an old motorcycle he had tried to repair exploded, throwing him into the air, has happily recovered. A man I don’t know who drove a three-wheeler, however, has died.

I learn that for the past four years I could have been claiming a free TV licence, although I am not yet 75, which is the usual age for the concession to operate, provided I was in receipt of Pension Credit; and that the Jobcentre is paying people directly to work for local employers three days a week for nothing.

A retired policeman he knows, a very nice man, had a wife who moved out lock, stock and barrel while he was out at work, leaving him only a can of peas on the stairs. The burger van unofficially parked in the football field car park, owned by foreigners, was broken into two days ago.

Finally, I am treated to a list of his relatives and acquaintances who seem to be benefiting from State largesse on an improbable scale, while living in rent-free social housing. One such has a £700 a week disability allowance but has been seen out shopping with heavy bags.

I don’t know whether to let my envy simmer, or pop along for some benefits advice to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, to which he helpfully gives me directions, although he cannot remember what it is called.

And finally…

I have just eaten a £4 box of KitKat ‘Senses’ chocolates at two sittings and am feeling sick.

 

GW: But clouds got in my way

Italy: “The death toll from fierce storms battering Italy has risen to 9 (now 11) as wild autumn weather swept across many parts of Europe. Roads were blocked and thousands of people were left without power in southern and central Europe, as rain and violent (110 mph) winds sparked flooding and tore up trees. Heavy snow fell in mountainous areas of France and Italy, trapping scores of drivers in their cars and tourists in hotels. Venice was inundated by near-record flooding and tourists were barred from St Mark’s Square on Monday as local authorities said the high water peaked at 156cm. The water level has only topped 150cm five times before in recorded history.” (from: Guardian). Rome was hit with a massive hailstorm, streets turned to rivers of ice, etc. Meanwhile it was hot enough in the north to spark a huge wildfire near Belluno.

Day after day here, the sky is like a foam bath and seems unnaturally blue. How low does physics say they can hang?

France: “More than 1,000 drivers were trapped in their cars for the night in the mountains of the Massif Central region as snowstorms engulfed the roads. Another 400 had to spend the night in train carriages at the main station in the eastern city of Lyon after heavy snow blocked the tracks. About 195,000 homes were without power across mainland France, most of them in eastern and central regions. Another 21,000 homes lost power on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, which was placed on red alert on Monday for powerful winds, shutting its airports and ports.” (from: Guardian)

Obviously, the idiots hadn’t read my previous Post where I warned them about all this. But a meter of snow in the Alps again this year (remember the 13,000 tourists trappen in Chamonix last year?) doesn’t mean there’s an ice age coming: between the cold regions is a heatwave. Severe-weather.eu sums it up: “a very intense cold core resulting in extremely cold weather across eastern Iberia, S France and western Mediterranean. Ahead of the low and frontal system, extremely warm airmass is being advected across the Balkan peninsula into eastern Europe. With temperatures 10-12 °C warmer than average, an extremely warm afternoon for late October is expected in the lowlands and also mid-levels.”

“The weather pattern is now in place for a severe torrential rainfall event across the central Mediterranean. Areas around the Tyrrhenian sea and the area between Sicily and Tunisia will receive extreme amounts of rainfall. Additionally, severe thunderstorms are expected, with the potential for large hail, severe straight line winds and tornadoes.” (Severe-weather.eu, Friday 02 Nov)

I’ve not seen any reports of how the boat-people are faring amid all this chaos in the Med? Not very well, would be my guess.

Philippines: At least 15 people have been killed and dozens more are missing after Typhoon Yutu hit the Philippine on Tuesday, say authorities. The deaths were mostly due to landslides caused by heavy rains in the mountainous region of Cordillera in the northern part of the country, said the national disaster risk reduction management council. (Guardian) Downgraded to a TD, Yutu is headed for the Chinese mainland.

Paraguay: Over 10,000 people have been displaced in the capital, Asunción, by flooding from the Paraguay River. Further rain and flooding is expected, with more flooding and evacuations likely. (Floodlist)

Sudan: “Torrential rain and ensuing floods that started on Wednesday evening (31 Oct) are still continuing and hindering life in a number of places in Red Sea state. 1 man drowned in the eastern part of Port Sudan. 5 others sustained injuries when they attempted to cross streets in the city and were swept away by floods. In Arbaat, north of Port Sudan, the water and electricity supply halted. Hundreds of livestock and poultry drowned. Residents expressed fears that the flooding and the cadavers would lead to a health disaster.” (from Floodlist)

Hot-air balloon race at sunset… (Photo ©01 Nov, 2018)

Jordan: Civil Defence authorities said that at least 21 people died as a result of flooding in Zarqa Ma’in. The victims were in a bus that was swept away by flood water, according to local media. Flooding also destroyed a bridge on the Dead Sea Cliffs. Around 35 people were rescued and several are thought to be still missing. Qatar, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia have all been hit with torrential rain and flash-floods in the last few days. (Floodlist)

Russia: At least 6 people have died and 1 missing in flooding that has affected parts of Krasnodar Krai region of southwestern Russia (on the Black Sea coast) over the last few days. Around 30 villages and towns, as well as the cities of Tuapse and Sochi have been affected by the high waters caused by heavy rains that hit the area from 24 October. Electricity and running water supplies have been interrupted, as have local train services. Some roads have been damaged and a bridge along the Tuapse-Maikop highway destroyed. Warnings have been issued for further severe weather, including thunderstorms, hail and winds over the next few days. (Floodlist)

Australia: With hot desert air pushing into the south, Adelaide could top out at 36C today (01 Nov) while parts of Sydney could exceed 38C on Friday. Inland areas of South Australia, NSW and Queensland could be even hotter, exceeding 40C. Experts have now issued fire warnings across the country as gusty conditions combine with temperatures which are tipped to be 10C above average. Early in the week, severe storms could drench Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart, Tasmania. (from News.com.au)

Scotland: is expecting severe gales from the outer bands as Post-Tropical Storm, formerly Hurricane Oscar, passes north of Cape Wrath on its way to clobber the Faroe Islands this weekend. (Severe-weather.eu)

Visuals: Climate & Extreme Weather News #142, #143: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FIi4m0Pr3M&t=1066s

 

The Terminal Beach….

Yellowstone: Steamboat #25… a record, again – and the biggest eruption so far this year lasting two hours, of the largest geyser in the park, that normally manages only one or two wet farts in an entire year. Accompanied by earthquakes, multiple smaller geyser eruptions, continuing ground vibration, ‘drumbeats’, ground uplift and mysteriously missing or fudged USGS data. Also, somebody went through her garbage cans… .(M. Greeley)

Armaggedon: The Trump administration is trying to push through an additional $90 million in funding for NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, the two-year-old special division tasked with saving the world from a major asteroid impact. Conspiracy theorists are asking, what’s the rush? This old cynic thinks it looks more like concealed funding for Trump’s loony-tunes Space Wars program. So far, the Japanese have had most success in actually landing on an asteroid and doing stuff that works. But fear not, the Hollywood plan to nuke anything over 140 meters is not the object: just a nudge will do, apparently. There are thought to be 25 thousand asteroids that size that could eventually impact the Earth. (Politico)

Clouds: another day of bright sunshine and those bright, blobby clouds are back shoaling again (see below, and two days ago, above). They’re a daily occurrence, together with this unnaturally blue sky, like it’s been painted on, unless it’s completely overcast and rainy. You know, I should not be surprised to meet one coming along the cycle path at head-height through our park. Indeed, I shouldn’t be at all surprised if it spoke to me… they seem to have characters all their own, and so low-hanging. I wondered if there is a physical limit to how low these type of clouds can get? Some seem no higher than maybe 400 feet up. What do they want from us?

It’s the first of November and our famous local starling clouds are back! Maybe not in such great numbers as I have seen them before, but an encouraging display of synchronised aerial draughtsmanship as thousands came home to roost under the pier yesterday at sunset. Several have discovered my bird table, too, dammit. Poor sparrows!

UK: A comparison exercise by the Meteorological Office shows that on a range of indicators the average temperature in the UK has risen by 0.89 degrees C since the 1970s. Shorter frost periods, warmer winters, hotter hot days, longer heatwaves, more ‘tropical nights’ when the temperature doesn’t fall anywhere below 20C and heavier rainfall totals, they say, are all consistent with predictions of global warming. Well done, chaps.

Your Gran reported recently that the river management authority here just installed a new gauge, that’s six feet higher than the previous one. I was just out there yesterday by the monitoring station and watched a group of young guys in waterproofs and safety gear staging a rescue exercise in the water. They had a brand-new shiny red van marked “Flood & River Rescue Service” towing a smart new Zodiac inflatable with a big outboard.

This is a river whose level is supposedly managed from a hydropower barrage upstream. Do they know something we don’t? Should I sell?

“I shouldn’t be surprised if one spoke to me….” (Photo ©01 Nov, 2018)

The Mothership returns… (Photo ©01 Nov, 2018)

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 68: Who do they think they are kidding?… Bunfight in the dorm, chaps… Finding one’s way… GW: ah, but you may as well try and catch the wind

Quote of the week

“Everything is going according to plan. I don’t know whose plan it is, and I think that it’s a really stupid plan, but everything is going according to it anyway.” —  Dmitry Orlov

 

PS We value your privacy. We haven’t the slightest idea who you are but we will just as soon as we’ve plastered cookies all over your hard drive and stolen your Contacts file. #Iaccept.

 

 

“These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Next question?”

 

“…they are symptomatic of the contemptuous gangsterism that is threatening the already tenuous security of the world.”

Who do they think they are kidding?

The extraordinary hypocrisies of Mr Trump and his Arab buddy, bin-Salman, are squeezing the world into a parallel universe through a wormhole in reality.

On the one hand, Mr Salman has branded as “a heinous crime”, the absolutely grim torture and murder of a mild-mannered opponent, actions for which he knows perfectly well he was directly responsible. He is, in his own words, a heinous criminal. But one so powerful, none dare say so other than himself; he cannot be held to account by lesser mortals; and thus, he must be innocent of any wrongdoing.

On the other, Mr Trump has whipped his supporters for months into a frenzy of frothing hatred against a cast of heinous baddies inhabiting a parallel universe he has created from absurd lies; direct abuse that has inevitably resulted in a co-ordinated attempt on the lives of his victims. And now he is blaming the media, the “enemies of the people”, for twisting his innocent words in such a way that it has “divided the nation”, which he piously hopes will now come together as one under Trump.

It is simply astonishing. Who do they think they are kidding? Neither man is willing or able to take responsibility for their barbaric words and actions; but instead finds a way to gloat over them instead. Both are straight out of the Mafia playbook: “Fascist Dictating for Dummies”.

These infantile denials are an insult to the intelligence, of course. They will appeal only to the thickest and most brutish elements whom they hope to recruit. But they are symptomatic of the contemptuous gangsterism that is threatening the already tenuous security of the world.

Clearly to the Prince, his goons Skyping their filthy deed, the cries of the victim as he is chopped into living pieces, back to the palace, his divinity is such that he cannot possibly be responsible for the crime for which he is responsible. The heinous crime was carried out by those lower down the chain of command. Once responsibility reaches him, it is no longer a heinous crime he can brand as such, but some kind of administrative detail.

Clearly to the US president, like his mobster heroes a degenerate creature of ratlike cunning and fathomless stupidity, of whom the best that can be said is that he is not thought to have actually killed anybody, he bears no responsibility either for the act of brownshirt terrorism his stunted rhetoric has unleashed. It is not even terrorism, because that would require adherence to the Islamic faith rather than to the prescriptions of Mein Kampf, but a “terrorizing act” which he thoroughly condemns.

“Will nobody rid me of this turbulent priest?”

In 1170, the English king Henry 11 cried out in frustration over the political opposition of his former friend. His bodyguards took him at his word. They rode from London to Canterbury cathedral and hacked Archbishop Thomas à Becket to death on the steps of the high altar. When he realized what his words had done, Henry set off to crawl to Canterbury on his knees.

That’s what you have to do, you see, when you take responsibility for a heinous crime.

It is, after all, the legitimate party of Democratic opposition that is the criminal entity, the ‘angry mob’ that seeks to destabilize the peace and unity of the nation over which Trump benignly presides; and their evil sponsor, the Jew Soros, who is paying a ‘caravan’ of Honduran refugees fleeing an intolerable State created for them by successive US regimes (no-one has yet thought to mention the increasingly frequent floods), a dollar apiece to smuggle a hundred Isis fighters into the USA; many under the age of five.

Over in the Philippines, meanwhile, Mr Trump’s hero, the squalid thug Duterte, has recently been speaking of his regrets over certain actions in his life, while continuing the policy of encouraging his barbarous goon squads to go out and murder common drug addicts, over three thousand of whom have now died. Mr Duterte confesses to having personally murdered some people, we aren’t told who. But he regrets that, obviously. These Catholics.

The only honest actor in all this has been Mr Putin. He has openly refused to condemn anything that has gone on, which is good, because he has his own litany of grubby expediencies to account to himself and his God for.

Do these men of modest intellect and great cunning seriously imagine we are taken in by their self-serving nonsense? Of course not. The crocodile tears they weep over the misguided actions of their alter-egos, that are invariably the fault of others, critics, subordinates, the media – us – are not intended to engage our sympathy or to make us feel somehow better about the crimes they are busily committing against humanity.

They are instead meant to reinforce the image of untouchability which their power conveys upon them. To intimidate and silence us.

Being as they are so far above the law; a place, incidentally, where we stupidly put them, there is no crime they cannot commit, no excuse they will not get away with, tongues firmly in cheeks, to retain their iron grip on the money.

And so we move toward new and more terrible crimes even the blood of Christ is not going to be able to wash away.

 

“That’s all right, your highness, it’s just a bit of blood. My husband Philip can mop it up later.”

Bunfight in the dorm, chaps…

There’s an end of term feeling about the British contingent in Brussels and Strasbourg. They’ll have to be out on the street, clutching their binbags, by 29 March next year, to avoid running into parliamentary elections – you know, democracy. They still have that in Europe, I’m told.

Several thousand in all, including the civil servants. Where will they go? What will they do? How will they live? Will they have to sleep under the railway arches, all now owned for £1.4 bn by rapacious US hedge fund, Blackstone Corp.? What will be the effect on waiting times in Casualty? Will they steal our jobs? Empty the food banks? How will we accommodate all those “remigrants”?

Answers on Question Time, please.

Having campaigned for years to destroy the parliament, a large cohort of UKIP MEPs attended a meeting yesterday about their terms of severance and were delighted to learn that any who had been members of the Parliament since 1999 (yes, Brexit cretins, we were heavily represented in the EU! It was not an “unaccountable” body of foreigners straightening our bananas, as you were led to believe, it was a contingent of unaccountable Brits) would be eligible for six-figure compensation packages.

As well as long-service, their packages will also be dependent on their actual turning-up-and-voting record.

“The Ukip voting average is brought down by the party’s former leaders Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Farage has attended 40% of roll-call votes, the worst voting record of all British MEPs at the European parliament.” (Guardian)

Yes, even Nuttall managed to attend 52% of the debates. And that’s an accurate figure, not one of his.

Now, my philosophy, for what it’s worth, is that if you are going to respect someone and look to them for leadership, it might as well be someone who truly deserves your loyalty, not some shitty loudmouth con merchant dressed like Jeremy Thorpe. That just lowers you in everyone’s estimation, eventually your own.

Because, of course, those payments amounting to several million Euro will be coming out of the money you didn’t realize we were going to have to continue paying, to meet our obligations to the EU during the transition period.

Your money – and the NHS’s. What were you thinking?

Farage, however, may be obliged to return all or some of that £150 thousand reward for his slimy treachery, his bolshy, loutish behaviour in the chamber, and shameless profiteering on expenses. Compensation is contingent on MEPs being unable to find alternative work, and Farage is said to have trousered around three-quarters of a million pounds since 2015 just from speaking engagements, TV appearances and his shit phone-in on LBC.

And you thought he was a great bloke, “one of us”, you poor boobies.

Just wake up, you’re still being conned.

 

Finding one’s way

I know they’ve had a few problems with wildfires in the Napa Valley, but I really must comment on how pisspoor American wine is.

It’s like they make it for babies.

I’d vowed to swear off the red stuff for a night or two, prior to my long, partially-sighted drive back to a place I’ve visited every year for the past three years, for musical purposes, and still I can’t work out how to get there.

Yes, yes, Google maps, etc. I’ve been shown fifty times how to set that up on my cellphone, and fifty times I’ve failed.

Eight o’clock approaches and I’m anxious to get my lamb cutlets under way, but the old demon, my inner alcoholic emerges. Surely, just one more night won’t hurt?

And off we traipse obediently to the garage store, where the only Cabernet to be had that doesn’t look like it might be novichok is something called The Original Dark Horse, being possibly a veterinary sample; and, gritting my teeth, I swipe £9.25 off my card, knowing I can get this stuff for less than half that price at the supermarket a mile away, and head home, a “bold wine with a big personality”, made personally by Beth Liston, in hand.

Does this stuff have sugar in it? I can’t read the ingredients, maybe grape juice?

I’ve not packed yet.

x

GW: ‘ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind’ – Donovan

“7 of the 10 strongest landfalls in recorded history have occurred since 2006” – Wunderground

Marianas: Reports are coming in of massive damage done to the northern Mariana islands, a US dependency, that took a direct hit from 180 mph supertyphoon Yutu yesterday, the equal-most powerful Pacific hurricane of the current crowded season. We know of only one death so far, but “little has been heard” from outlying islands. No doubt somebody will eventually explain to the moron-in-chief that these are US citizens, but at the moment the mayor of Tinian is warning that with the port out of action it may take many months to restore electricity. The day before the typhoon, the temperature at Guam International Airport hit 93°F – the hottest October temperature ever measured on Guam. (Dr Jeff Masters, Wunderground)

Hawaii: East Island, a remote spit of gravel and sand that sat atop a coral reef, has vanished under the sea after coming into contact with Hurricane Walaka, an intense storm that surged past Hawaii earlier this month. Scientists have confirmed the disappearance of the 11-acre island after comparing satellite images. (Guardian, 24 Oct). The loss removes an important breeding ground of the Monk seal. Never mind, 11 acres is about the size of the new bit of land added off the shore when Mt Kilueia erupted throughout May, June and July.

Australia: A “gigafire” south of Broome, NW Australia, has consumed an area of 2.2 million acres, among the largest wildfires ever recorded anywhere. There are no reports of casualties – such a sparsely populated region, they have only 100 firefighters available. Spring in Australia has abnormally high temperatures already and the long-range forecast gives 80% chance of a much hotter than average summer – given that last summer was the hottest recorded. Sea temperature off the east coast (Gt Barrier Reef, e.g.) is up to 5C above normal. (Robert Fanney webcast/Dr Jeff Masters)

Mexico: the better-publicized “Hurricane Willa slammed into a sparsely populated section of Mexico’s Pacific coast near Isla Del Bosque, Sinaloa, around 9 pm EDT Tuesday as a Category 3 hurricane with 120-mph sustained winds. Thousands of people were evacuated. The remoteness of the location meant that the worst damage was relatively confined. There were no immediate reports of deaths or missing, authorities were still trying to reach several small communities near the coast. There was no word from officials on conditions at the Islas Marias, which were struck directly while Willa was at Category 3 strength.” (edited from Wunderground)

Trinidad and Tobago: suffered their worst ever flooding event after a tropical wave passed over on the 24th bringing torrential rain.

Europe: Outrageous weather is forecast for many places early this week, with a mixture of torrential rain in the Balkans, massive snowfalls in the central alps, snow in Spain and Portugal, cyclone-force winds gusting 150 k/h over Sardinia, severe thunderstorms over Italy’s east coast, a huge Saharan dustcloud pushing northwards, all accompanied by “unseasonal warmth”in the Mediterranean and across north Africa. (Severe-weather.eu)

The Terminal Beach…

Yellowstone: Steamboat #24 confirmed (25 Oct); ground uplift and shaking continuing; more superheated water comin’ up.

And, says the Blessed Mary, the USGS spectogram service – internet-available charts showing rising magma, gas releases and ground motion – has been shut down without explanation, following a substantial increase in sulfur and CO2 releases.

UK tree con

Announced in Mr Hammond’s budget, 29 Oct., “more than 10m trees will be planted across England with the injection of £60m of new funding over five years, as part of what the government billed as its ‘drive to preserve the country’s greenery’. The bulk of the money, £50m, will pay landowners for planting trees that lock up carbon, which observers said raised questions over how accessible those woodlands would be to the public. That fund, the Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme, should pay for 10m trees.

So the Tories’ landowning friends get a £55 million cash bonus! It costs approximately 50p each to buy whips in bulk. Most won’t survive, the prospect of more stands of fast-growing, money-making spruce is worrying on all sorts of environmental grounds, and the optimism of the Woodland Trust in imagining these little trees in their first few years are going to be sequestering a sufficient volume of CO2 to make the slightest difference to “climate change” makes you wonder who is conning whom?

Cloud story

It’s a bright sunny day in late October. Off on the horizon is a band of heavy looking cumulus. The sky otherwise is blue, with just some worn-looking shreds of cloud and vapor trails – it’s a busy day for aviation. Out of the cold NE wind, it’s quite warm.

I observe a cloud formation outside my window. With the frame as a reference, I notice the cloud does not change its location in the sky for about an hour. Yet, it is being steadily eroded by the wind. By the time we get back from our walk the cloud has been worn away almost to nothing but is still identifiable from its unchanged outline, and it’s still in exactly the same place in the sky.

On our walk I notice a small ‘blobby’-type cloud appearing low in the north, out of a blue sky. It grows and becomes more dense. We walk on about 30 yards and I look up again, to see the cloud has completely vanished; evaporated. On the way back, on exactly the same stretch of roadway I see that another small cloud has appeared in the same part of the sky. By the time we have walked on about 30 yards it too has disappeared. About five minutes later the same thing again: cloud appears, cloud disappears.

God is up to his old tricks again.

High-level winds rip a cloud to shreds but the cloud doesn’t move in the sky. Can you explain that?

The BogPo – Right is might… Dead Man’s Shoes… Everything’s comin’ up Rosas… Has the age of the bendy-men arrived?…GW: Joinin’ the dots, drawin’ the lines and goin’ round in circles… Make hay while the sun… er…

“Does no-one understand, an offence has been committed?”

Right is might

Hi. Now, if I or anyone else – you, possibly – were to tweet, not that I can, I don’t have a twitter account, but if I did – or were to write, or say stuff publicly about the Prime Minister or anyone else, like this:

“Pro-Brexit MPs told weekend newspapers that Mrs May’s Brexit plans meant she was about to enter the “killing zone”, and advised her to “bring her own noose” to a showdown with Tory backbenchers later this week.

“One told the Sunday Times: “The moment is coming when the knife gets heated, stuck in her front and twisted. She’ll be dead soon.”

…the police would be informed, an inquiry would be launched and the culprit – you or me or the Syrians next door – hauled into a small, airless room without our belt, shoelaces and tie, and grilled for five or six hours about our sexual orientation and which lodge we belong to, while anti-terrorist police raided our agreeable Knightsbridge second home and swiped our digital media devices looking for birthday cards from the Islamic State; before hopefully being dragged into the dock, accused of a terrorist offence or, at best, incitement to violence.

Does no-one understand, an offence has been committed?

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law”. (Wikipedia)

ADVOCACY. HATRED. INCITEMENT. VIOLENCE….

But because it was a Tory MP or maybe even a renegade traitor cabinet minister who uttered those threats, nothing is being done. And so low-sunken into unimaginative failure is the Prime Minister’s reputation, even the media isn’t calling for anything to be done about it. Nor, seemingly, is she. Yet, bizarrely, she is still polling well ahead of Jeremy Corbyn as the nation’s choice for PM.

How terrible must he be?

The hard-right, cliff-edge Brexit tendency, terrified of a popular reaction to the difficulty of negotiating an exit, in the wake of a protest by three quarters of a million people on Saturday, many of them over 50, has gone insane.

One can only surmise it is because they fear a threat to their long-held personal ambitions for power and money, which, let’s face it, was all this boring, fucking stupid referendum was ever about. It had nothing whatever to do with Europe, but was a simple equation: stagnant wages – immigration = sovereignty.

We’ve learned that the police have “identified” a drunken, middle-aged, pompous drone who hurled vile, racial abuse and invective for several minutes at an elderly black woman on a Ryanair flight from Barcelona, when her arthritis prevented her from standing up quickly enough for this obviously important individual to assume his natural window seat.

The incident was captured on camera and the filthy oaf will very probably face prosecution. Let’s hope so. We hope too that the other passengers, bar one, who were too gutless, racist or wasted to intervene will also be prosecuted. Surely the victim’s age and disability should have been enough to make anyone understand that an assault was taking place, that they were legally obliged to prevent?

The police could be bothered to do that. But it’s perfectly permissible for a Tory “Brexiteer” to make death threats, disappointed by whichever backstop on the Northern Ireland border issue he’s pissed off about, to utter death threats against the Prime Minister, as if they’d just cycled past security at the gates to Downing Street and were proposing to throw a bomb.

I don’t think so.

This Tory piece of filth, worth less than the dirt under your fingernails (as the majority are), self-interested, self-important and overprivileged by virtue of an easy birth, should be immediately identified to the DPP, hauled up before the bench and handed an exemplary five-year sentence, pour décourager des autres.

But it’s not going to happen, is it.

When it comes to busting toffs, the police haven’t got the money.

x

Dead man’s shoes

A profoundly disturbing story has appeared in The Guardian and elsewhere today, 22 Oct, that one of the 15-man team sent from Riyadh to murder the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul was a “body double” who, after they’d dismembered their drugged but still-living victim, put on the dead man’s clothes and spectacles, donned a false beard and went walkabout.

As if the earlier details were not gruesome enough, we have this Aztec ritual for an aftermath!

This lookey-likey character, named as Mustafa al-Madani, was apparently nonchalantly wandering around all the famous tourist sites of Istanbul, making sure he was seen, after being caught on CCTV leaving the consulate where Khashoggi had just been tortured and murdered, in an attempt by the Saudis to convince the Turks that the dead man was not dead after all, but liveth.

The clown gave himself away, as clowns always do. He’d been filmed earlier entering the consulate with the rest of the assassins wearing a pair of trainers he was still clearly wearing when he left. We assume the dead man’s shoes wouldn’t fit.

Another “dead giveaway”, as it were, is that the real Khashoggi might not have forgotten that he had left his fiancee waiting across the street, outside the front of the building, while al-Madani scarpered out of the back and off to Taksim Square.

It’s also indicative that as President Erdogan milks the crime for all it’s worth, new CIA Director, Gina Haspel is reportedly on her way to Istanbul, presumably to bone-up on her favorite topic, the latest techniques for enhanced conversations.

Details like these have been piling up all week like Peleon on Mount Ossa, making the official Saudi statement admitting to Khashoggi’s “accidental” death in a punch-up while resisting questioning seem evermore desperate: panic-stricken and preposterous. If he died, then where’s the body? Even the British courts are starting to understand that the police shouldn’t get away with killing detainees; not every time.

That hasn’t stopped anyone in office who might have to take a decision to impose punitive “Magnitsky” sanctions on the Saudis from claiming that their storyline seems “credible”, or that we must “wait to see what the official investigation (by the Saudis themselves!) has to say.”

They’re all driven mad by the oil money, the defense contracts, the lavish hospitality and are willing just to run with the most believable proposition short of the truth and hope it all blows over soon and the media gets bored, before carrying on as normal.

Bull fucking shit, quite frankly.

 

Everything’s comin’ up Rosas

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m 70 years old next year and I watch Dr Who.

There, feel better for that.

Actually, there’s not a lot else on early Sunday evenings that offers a bit of harmless, mind-expanding, time-and-space adventure action with merchandizable fashionwear

It seems that after the first promisingly scary episode, this inaugural Jodie Whittaker season is going to be a tad didactic, focussing kids’ attentions on contemporary issues rather than murderous Daleks and Cybermen. What next, a tattoo parlor run by an evil alien, whose tattoos come alive at night? (Just guessin’.) A demented orange blob seizes control of the White House?

Last night we were treated to some fairly basic homilies on racism, as Jodie and her rainbow ragbag of regionally-accented assistants break down in the Tardis and find themselves up an alleyway in 1965 segregationist dystopia, Montgomery, Alabama; as it happens, on the day before the famous Rosa Parks incident, in which a tired, prim department-store seamstress refuses to give up her seat on a bus for a white man, mandatory under the Jim Crow laws, and is hauled off into history by the police. (She died in 2005, aged 92, heaped with honors).

Her protest sparked a year-long boycott of the city’s bus service and helped (along with MLK, who makes a cameo appearance here) to found the NAACP, that eventually gained the Civil Rights Act.

Given the sheer, high-minded unpleasantness of white Americans of the time, whoever they thought they were, smalltown nobodies, the show was added perhaps unnecessary extra spice by the presence of a menacing, time-travelling English neo-Nazi, a paroled convict from the 79th century sent back using some decidedly dodgy old technology to change the course of history; Jodie quickly figuring out that he didn’t have the power to actually harm anyone, but also having to engineer things so that Rosa found herself on the right bus at the right time.

I must confess, too, that I was quite profoundly moved by the whole thing, despite the clunky minor idiocies of the plot, almost entirely thanks to the wonderfully dignified performance of Vinette Robinson as Rosa.  Where I part company with the BBC is over their blurb for the program:

  • “She lived to be 92 and saw America change beyond recognition.”

I’m not sure I’m that optimistic, frankly.

A Trump victory in 2020, or even an increase in the Republican vote and Congressional representation this November could see the Confederate southland resurgently racist, segregation tactics and violence against colored people licensed once again. Hatred of the emancipated black man has never gone away. Black and ethnic minority citizens are seeing their votes suppressed by white supremacist administrations and complicit, intimidating police forces at the rate of thousands a day. It’s not great.

Trump has refused to condemn the neo-Nazis, although he is not one of them. He is not anything: a career criminal, a conman, a grifter, a superannuated playboy, a made-for-TV B-list celebrity; nothing more.

A shameless opportunist, he dimly perceives that white nativists are a significant source of support for his inadvertent, capricious, autocratic and thoroughly amateurish presidency. If he thought any differently, he might be in danger of making America great. But they’ve never been that.

Hopefully, Jodie and her defective old Tardis (“Oh, you’ve redecorated!”) will soon find their way to 2020 and return the alien-spawn Trump to whichever parallel universe of rancid ordure he came from.

 

Has the age of the bendy-men arrived?

The controversial technique of preserving the body known as ‘plastination’, developed in the 1970s by a weird German artist/scientist, Gunter von Hagens, involves replacing the contents of your cells with plastics. (I think it’s correct to say “plastics”, rather than plastic, which is more of an adjective; see also “ceramics”.)

Wikipedia explains that after conventional pickling and submersion in acetone (nail-polish remover!):

“In the third step, the specimen is then placed in a bath of liquid polymer, such as silicone rubber, polyester, or epoxy resin. By creating a vacuum, the acetone is made to boil at a low temperature. As the acetone vaporizes and leaves the cells, it draws the liquid polymer in behind it, leaving a cell filled with liquid plastic.”

Which is then hardened by exposure to ultraviolet light. Von Hagens caused a public sensation when he first began to display, not just bodies, but the entire fascinating vascular and nervous networks of his subjects, animal and human, stripped of flesh and bone, in a contemporary arts setting rather than a biology lecture theatre. Many people still find it gruesome and exploitative, but we’re getting used to that in the living too; especially in America.

It seems now, however, that he needn’t have bothered going to all that trouble: latest research shows we’re pretty much made of plastics already. All those microfibres shed from our polyester sweaters and the nanoparticles of biodegrading Tesco bags in the sea are rapidly rising up through the food chain to become part of ourselves; as in the expression, “You are what you eat”.

A new kind of shiny, inorganic lifeform… Jared Kushner

Anyone studying, for instance, Jared Kushner, or Victoria Beckham, or the Khardashians; or who has ever viewed lcd TV shows like “The Only Way is Essex”, or “Love Island” (“With a thong in my heart!” Ed. Sorry, carry on…) will already have suspected, a new race of quasi-humans is emerging, made at least superficially – which in the cases mentioned is mostly –  from plastic polymers.

So far, these microparticles have only been traced through the poo of the subjects, and only in the Far East. There’s no reason to believe, however, that it’s not also in the vital organs, possibly even the brain; and that it’s not happening to the rest of us, that we are being gradually transformed into a new race of shiny, inorganic beings.

I am constantly being badgered by the NHS to send them a scoop of my poo, to see if I have colonic cancer or not. I actually have a pathological aversion to touching human waste matter, especially my own, and have so far refused to co-operate; however, if researchers were looking for evidence of my lazy habit of microwaving meals in plastic trays covered with clingfilm, which I feel sure can’t be doing me any good, then maybe I might make an exception.

The plastination of living humans may not be far off. It’s very exciting, as it would enable us, for instance, to survive virtually unprotected in deep space, or underwater. But we’ll have to be quick, if runaway global warming isn’t going to turn us all into a rainbow puddle of molten goo.

x

GW: Joinin’ the dots, drawin’ the lines and goin’ round in circles Where I part company

Why does no-one mention climate-related disasters in the same breath as they report on political events around the world?

It’s a mystery.

We’ve had numerous reports over the past week from the UN and others, profoundly concerned about starvation and disease affecting millions in the Yemen, as a result of the filthy war that’s been going on there now for three and a half years; largely thanks to this bin-Salman bloke who appears to enjoy torturing people.

But there hasn’t been a single mention on the news of the widespread, deadly floods that followed the arrival last week of ex-Tropical Storm Luban, dumping huge volumes of rain and massively adding to the misery of the Yemenis.

At the same time, while we’re all rapidly acclimatizing to the gruesome details of the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, while focussing on the convoluted politics of the region, we seem completely oblivious to the worsening climatic conditions across the Middle East, intense heatwaves alternating with powerful cyclonic weather systems pushing eastwards out of the Mediterranean or northwards out of the Arabian Sea into the Gulf, causing widespread flooding and wind damage, disrupting normal life.

In addition to Yemen and neighboring Oman, Climate and Extreme Weather News #142 this week has video footage and local TV weather reports of flooding from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrein and – moving across North Africa – Tunisia; last week you could add Algeria too, and Morocco; up across the Gibraltar strait into southern and eastern Spain; although by the time remnant ex-Tropical Storm Leslie hit the south of France with 13 dead and one small town briefly 7 meters underwater, the media had no option but to report it, in comparative isolation from similar violence elsewhere.

Presumably no reports come out of dysfunctional Libya, but they’re part of the same southern Mediterranean climatic system. That whole North African coast has also seen record temperature anomalies persist into the autumn; while earlier in the year, Ouargla in Algeria set a new global record temperature for any April day, anywhere, ever, of 51.1C, 124.3F. Also just about mentioned in dispatches, were the unusually heavy snowfalls in the Sahara and the Atlas mountains last winter.

At other times, Saudi Arabia and Iran have featured in the mix of countries once considered unlikely to suffer from floods; I mean, they’re supposed to be deserts! (You can watch a bewildered young camel up to her humps in floodwater as gesticulating locals try to figure out a way of rescuing her, their cries of alarm not helping!  – CEWN #142, first sequence.) While both countries (and Iraq) have been afflicted with brutal heatwaves, northern Iran having set new summer temperature records in previous years, topping 53C, 129F in Ahvaz in June, 2017.

Those conditions are a) not survivable for long, and b) spreading.

Your Old Granny cannot for one moment believe these increasingly frequent, damaging and costly weather events have no effect whatever on the economies, food security and everyday life of the region; yet not one single journalist has been prepared to build those concerns into their equations when it comes to reporting on politics and conflict in the (mainly) Islamic world, stories that are obviously much more exciting than boring old floods and heatwaves.

Or maybe they just don’t understand the connections.

Central America, too, remains a serious concern; and possibly increasing rainfall and floods are one more reason for the exodus of thousands of refugees to the north.

Look, see one flood, you’ve seen them all. They’re pretty bad (Doha underwater? Ya kiddin’ me!) Here’s the CEWN playlist for this week’s report, I’ll expand on it later or if you hate cars that much, you can visit the link beloiw:

Yemen & Oman: Floods The UAE (1 dead): Flash floods Qatar: Flash floods (year’s worth of rain in 6 hrs) Bahrain: Flash floods Tunisia (5 dead): Floods Spain: Castellon & Campillos floods Sicily: Floods Trinidad: Floods The USA: Texas floods (330mm rain in 48 hrs) Colombia: Dos Quebradas flash flood (12 dead) Venezuela: Carayaca flash flood….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2Bk7MMRueo&t=178s

(Yes, a remarkable stat among remarkable stats…. Doha (the capital of Qatar) usually gets 1.1 mm of rain in the whole of October. On Saturday 20th, it received 84 mm in 6 hours. Rivalling France’s Aude river, that rose 8 meters in 6 hours in a torrential storm last week, the Llano river in Texas rose 10 meters in 24 hours. 4 dead.)

Mexico: Hurricane Willa intensified with alarming rapidity from a 35 mph storm to a 155 mph beast in a little over 48 hours, and is now a full Cat 5 hurricane, heading for Mexico’s west coast. It’s expected to de-intensify to a Cat 3 or 4 before making landfall on Thursday, close to the city of Mazatlan (pop. 600 thousand.)

Meanwhile another Pacific storm is strengthening SE of Guam: Yutu is expected to make Cat 5 hurricane strength, possibly upper 5 (gusts 190 mph)  as it moves eastwards over 30 degree warm waters (Wunderground) Eyewall now bearing down on Guam, a low-lying complex of islands and a major US airbase., with 120 mph sustained winds. Some tracks have it heading then for the Japanese islands, Taiwan or the north Philippines.

“Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente weakened but was still expected to produce heavy rainfall and flooding over parts of southern and south-western Mexico.” (Guardian) Officials in Oaxaca state said seven adults and five children had lost their lives in drownings or mudslides. (CBS)

 

A hate supreme

Despite having previously agreed the case could proceed, the US Supreme Court, now packed with conservatives including two Trump appointees, has issued an injunction halting progress in a class action being brought against the EPA by 21 “young Americans” alleging it failed to protect them from harms wrought by pollution from burning fossil fuels.

The stay injunction was issued at the request of the Justice Department after the case had cleared the lower courts over the last three years – it was originally filed against the Obama administration. An ultimately fatal delay now seems probable. It’s pretty clear that no climate-change-related suits will ever come to trial while the Republicans hold the balance of power both in the Congress and in the courts.

This may not be fascism, but judicial interference with the normal course of justice in the interest of big business is surely what fascism looks like. (TYT: Ring of Fire, 24 Oct.)

Make hay while the sun… er…

The IPCC report on climate change appears to have backfired, handing a lifeline to the fossil fuel industry and its corrupt and scientifically illiterate political support base.

While it has been described as alarming rather than alarmist (a good sign?), many people have nevertheless seized on its headline premise that we have 12 years in which to act before the warming becomes irreversible, taking it to mean we can happily go on burning coal, oil and gas for another 12 years at the present rate of increase before governments need to act on it.

I mean, why bother reading the rest of the report?

Many independent climate scientists are dismayed at the suggestion, either that warming is reversible – it isn’t, not in the 100-year timeline – or that it will get more reversible if we go on burning stuff for another 12 years. In all probability by that time, tipping points will have been exceeded, exponential effects will have been triggered that will literally kill the planet in a couple of hundred years (we won’t be here to witness it).

Thus perish all technologically advanced civilizations, think the experts – which is why we never seem to meet any others.

Setting that limit was obviously intended to give governments some indulgence in their decision-making, but (coming from naive scientists) failed to comprehend the concept of that freedom to do nothing that all democratically elected governments relish. For most, 12 years is three election cycles away! Why should the current administrations spoil their cosy shareholder relations with industry, when they can pass the problem on to the next lot in power?

It seems to have been a potentially disastrous own goal by the Commission.

That’s unfortunate, because in many respects governments have already been rowing back on their Paris commitments to phase out fossil-fuel power generation, support the growth of non-polluting renewable energy and halt the inexorable rise of the internal combustion engine, with this pretty meaningless “1.5 degrees” target in view – that we have already far exceeded on other measures.

The socio-economic and geopolitical effects even of the 1 degree the IPCC will admit to since 1850 are already looking pretty bad.

And since it came out, the efforts of the climate-change denial industry, that we thought had finally been beaten into submission by the hammer of truth, have been doubling-down on the YouTube channels.

It’s as if they’ve been given a new lease of life, especially by Mr Trump’s utterly fatuous, rambling nonsense about “maybe this, maybe that, I’ve seen reports on both sides….” (no he hasn’t, he doesn’t read “reports”. Ed.) when interviewed on ABC’s 60 Minutes show last week, which his scientifically illiterate hillbillies and gun-totin’, pussy-grabbing, bible-bashing dumbfucks will treat as gospel, coming as it does from God’s annointed one.

There’s been a flurry of posts from the usual nitwits, bolloxing on about the Grand Solar Minimum – yes, that’s right, when the sun is outputting its least amount of energy for a hundred years the climate on earth gets hotter, duh! – and volcanoes and earthquakes and eclipses and “global dimming” and the coming ice age and all the planets lining up on one ‘side’ of the sun, and cycles of natural variability (as if the scientists don’t already know about those!) and the plants eating all the CO2 so how can it be warming the planet? and it’s all just a hoax by NASA to put up taxes, to get bigger research grants, and on and on with the myths and fantasies and cretinous pseudo-scientific theories and blatant lies and contrafactual narratives cooked up in the past four decades by PR whizzes employed expressly for the purpose by the fossil-fuel barons.

Those beliefs, if genuinely held, suggest we haven’t come far since the sixteenth century. The tragedy is, they’re all so predictable. Perhaps the primary cause of global warming is Biblical prophesy? To read all that horseshit, you would think so.

Not one of the deniers has ever obtained so much as a temperature reading in their life, from anywhere except up their own anus.

And yet… people seem so desperately to want to believe that as the world we know ends, it wasn’t their fault!

And yet… the Trump administration, buried inside a 500-page “state of everything” report, has already admitted to the belief that the earth will be 7 degrees Celsius hotter by 2100. That’s a world-ending rise, by the way, as the increase would then be unstoppable; even assuming it doesn’t get to 4 degrees before then – in itself prospectively an extinction event for the human race. It’s not the mean, but the extremes that kill.

And their conclusion?

Nothing to be done. Too late folks, we blew it. How were we to know? Keep buyin’, keep burnin’, make that hay while the sun… er…. Bye!

And hope the technical boys will come up with something.

You know, science….

x

The Terminal Beach

Last week, a packet of sausages confiscated at a Japanese airport from a traveller arriving from China was found to contain the African Swine Fever virus. “…despite co-ordinated efforts it has spread widely, initially through eastern Europe and Russia, and more recently into western Europe, where wild boar in Belgium were found to have the disease. The virus has now jumped to China, home to half the world’s domestic pigs, and appears to be proliferating rapidly.” (Guardian)

A worldwide outbreak in the 1950s was contained, but the disease re-emerged in 2007 in Georgia. It can’t at present be caught by humans but in some outbreaks has had 100% mortality in pigs, who are similar to us physiologically (presumably why Jews and Muslims won’t eat them, only cannibal Christians.) Mutation is, apparently, only a matter of time. 41 cases have now been notified.

 

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 67: No cigar… If, maybe, then (20 October LATEST)… Warren Peace… Trump’s Khashoggi Register… GW: A perfect day for a snooze.

“The US Government’s $523 billion in interest payments to service its debt in 2018 – the highest ever – was more than the entire economic output of Belgium this year.” – Huffington Post.

“The deficit jumped 17 percent (or by $113 billion) to $779 billion at the end of Trump’s first fiscal year, according to final figures released Monday by the Treasury Department.” (TYT) So much for Trump’s economic competence, then. (It’s mainly down to his tax cuts and so will be a lot worse when they’ve had a full year to bed in.)

 

“How dare you say my friend Bin is guilty before we’ve even agreed he’s innocent? Here we go again!”

Lock her up!

“This is a con on such a scale, he even has his own currency!”

No cigar

A major investigation by ProPublica into the workings of the Trump business empire has revealed that he and his family might have been lying their heads off for years about the great deals they do.

In the process, they’ve built a reputation through canny use of the media and assiduous marketing of the brand, that has persuaded a lot of ambitious, unsuspecting spivs in many shithole countries into wanting some of that Trump magic stardust, that’s been paid for by other people, to rub off on them.

They’d better count their fingers.

It’s not really that shocking or surprising that Trump lies constantly about the value of his investments, and who his business partners are, but here it all is in black and white, with a damning “No Comment” forthcoming from the White House.

And we have the gigantic New York Times revelations about his father’s business practises, his creative accounting and huge non-repayable loans to the boy Donald to back all this up: the Trump family has been mired in sleaze, these dogged investigators allege, for three generations.

More than self-made, it’s said, he’s a self-invented man: a conman, in other words. It’s all been done on borrowed money and illegal transfers, And his children are part of a well-trained act, each with their own role to play. Less a family, than a gang.

Trump lies that he merely licenses his name to projects around the globe, and that developers – many of whom turn out adventitiously to be the most enormous crooks and politicians, some of whom even end up in gaol – revere his manufactured reputation so much as a triumph of gangster capitalism, they are happy to pay millions of dollars just to put the word Trump on the outside of their buildings; while daughter Ivanka dabbles in a bit of high-tone interior design, ensuring that mysterious Trump je ne sais quoi (mostly at the expense of endangered species) is stamped through every project.

In fact, says ProPublica, as has already been revealed here and there, not least in Adam Davidson’s sterling work for the NYT, they are involved with those developments up to their fat necks, using borrowed money to sweeten deals and then walking off with the pot. As Davidson writes in a new piece for The New Yorker today, “It is becoming increasingly clear that, in the language of business schools, the Trump Organization’s core competency is in profiting from misrepresentation and deceit and, potentially, fraud.”

An ambitious hotel and condominium project in Panama, for instance, the 1,000-apartment “Trump Ocean Club”.

“Trump licensed his name for an initial fee of $1 million. But that was just the beginning of the revenue streams, a lengthy and varied assortment that granted him a piece of everything from sales of apartment units (5%, win or lose – the cheaper they sold, the higher his cut) to a cut of minibar sales, and was notable for the myriad ways in which both success and failure triggered payments to him.

“Consider the final accounting: In the wake of the project’s bankruptcy, a 50 percent default rate and his company’s expulsion from managing the hotel, Donald Trump walked away with between $30 million and $55 million.” (ProPublica)

They’re not always so successful, as may be evidenced by Ivanka Trump’s inveterate lying about her sometimes non-existent sales numbers to try to persuade buyers to sign up for apartments even before they were built. (We knew already that she and Jared barely escaped prosecution for this practise in New York in 2016, when the case against them was suddenly dropped. It may shortly be reopened, if it is shown that the prosecutor, Cyrus Vance*, took money to close it down. An investigation is underway.)

His dubious relationship with investment bank, Bear Stearns (one of the rotten financial institutions at the heart of the banking crisis, it collapsed in 2008 and was picked up for next to nothing by JP Morgan-Chase), seems too to have been based on optimistic overvaluations of his assets, aimed at conning investors into buying virtually worthless development bonds issued against Trump’s non-existent wealth.

This is a con on such a scale, he even has his own currency.

Many of the apartment sales in Trump Ocean Club seem merely to have been a vehicle for laundering money:

“For example, some buyers bought blocks of units. Purchases were typically made anonymously through shell corporations registered in Panama. That allowed some buyers to change the ownership of the unit in secret, simply by changing the ownership of the company. They often used so-called bearer shares, allowing a stake in a company to be transferred simply by (anyone) passing a piece of paper.”

But the units hadn’t been bult! This was typical of the activity exposed by the leak of the so-called Panama Papers from the legal offices of Mossack-Fonseca. Some figures connected with the sales had dodgy connections of their own:

“One high-selling broker, Alexandre Ventura Nogueira, was linked to money laundering by Global Witness and a joint Reuters-NBC investigation. Nogueira confirmed in that article that some of his partners and investors on the Trump Panama project had connections to the Russian mafia. … Among the buyers Nogueira landed was a Colombian businessman who was subsequently convicted in the United States of conspiring to launder drug money.”

All, of course, denied: all there was on paper was Trump’s hands-off licensing deal, and his massive, totally manufactured, reputation as a Great Businessman.

Sure you would be wary – but if you thought you were beating him, a bigly successful guy like Trump, with all those women and a gold airplane, you’d invest.

The art of making money, Trump-style, appears to be: find a mark – preferably impressionable small fry with bigger fish in the background – borrow as much as possible – it turned out, he didn’t have a penny of his own money invested in the Panama complex – set up the biggest, most prestigious development deal you can sell to unwitting punters and crims needing to launder a few million dollars – make whatever you can out of them legitimately – go bankrupt – cut a deal with the lenders, payback half – sue everyone, and walk away with the rest.

A pattern ProPublica describes as “Pump and Trump”.

But all this is currently under investigation by the Mueller team – and Trump knows it. To the Pumpkin, what is emerging is that he’s discovered the equivalent of those spectacular TV or Las Vegas magic acts; say, Penn and Teller, or David Copperfield. Taking simple magic tricks, by scaling them up a thousand percent – instead of a rabbit, you produce a live tiger out of the hat – same trick, biggest scale money can buy – even an elephant, the more spectacular the better, you can walk away with $millions rather than mere $thousands.

You have to admire him, really. Especially as you kind of suspect Ivanka is the brains behind the whole scam!

Eventually, a group of genuine Ocean Club buyers sued Trump and the development partners for misrepresentation: the case was settled out of court, and since then no-one involved has been willing to talk about it. Presumably the famous Non-Disclosure Agreements with which Trump saws all his victims’ legs off have come into play.

To obtain entry to the three-ring financial circus that is the First Family of the United States of America, that shining city on a hill, if you have an hour or two to spend, go to ProPublica:

features.propublica.org/trump-inc-podcast/trump-family-business-panama-city-khafif/

And to The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/news/swamp-chronicles/is-fraud-part-of-the-trump-organizations-business-model?mbid=nl_Daily 101818&CNDID=49581041&utm_source=Silverpop&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily 101818&utm_content=&spMailingID=14457406&spUserID=MTkwODY5NzgyMTM0S0&spJobID=1501430193&spReportId=MTUwMTQzMDE5MwS2

And to the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-tax-schemes-fred-trump.html

To hear Trump described by so many people as ‘a crook’ is one thing. Politicians? They’re all crooks! So what? We all know the stories: the multiple bankruptcies, the dodgy investors, the payoffs to mistresses, how he stiffs his workforce and his suppliers, posing as a Mafia boss; the huge unpaid debts to gullible foreign banks; the unpublished tax returns.

And we can blithely refer to the made-for-TV star “business mogul” as a “confidence trickster”, a buffoon who has put one over on a section of the American public. We liberal elites can share the painful joke. Ha ha! Stupid Trumptards!

To see how the trick is done, however, is quite another thing. Because it appears that he IS a professional A-movie-standard grifter, not just a smalltime bunco artist. And has been, all his rotten life.

With that sudden realization, scales will fall from your eyes.

Trump is the real deal.

And the dumbfucks love him for it.

*Not the late, former Secretary of State under the Carter administration.

Khashoggi murder

If, maybe, then

This morning, it was reported in the news that Trump has moved somewhat on the Khashoggi murder, that so far he has refused to believe in.

In a statement, he says he now thinks it is likely something happened.

Jamal Khashoggi

Everyone else concluded days ago, there is more than ample evidence, including: Khashoggi is lured to the scene and has reservations but nevertheless goes; two private Saudi jets arrive, carrying 15 operatives to Istanbul, military men among whom at least five have been identified as members of Crown Prince bin-Salman’s personal entourage; video of them arriving at the consulate. The local staff at the consulate have been sent home early; a security recording apparently made by a bug inside the consulate has Khashoggi screaming as his fingers are “sliced off” (a detail perhaps only available on a video), the consul pleading with the killers to “please do it outside” – he’s gone missing, incidentally – the team doctor suggesting the killers listen to music while hacking up the victim’s body. A team of cleaners is then seen arriving with mops and buckets; evidence of cleaning fluids, fresh paint on the walls, DNA and other traces are found at the scene, and much, much more.

But the story has been pieced together, only by leaks from the staff and police. There is no “official version”, and it is thought there might never be, as clouds of doubt and false trails are even now being concocted by those parties who have most to lose from a breakdown of the cozy relations betwen Saudi and western politicians, against a backdrop of Turkish ambitions in the region.

The president has complained until now that his friend the Crown Prince has been traduced, just like his friend Justice Kavanaugh, the world unfairly finding him guilty until proven innocent. Much as he feels about himself.

If they are indeed guilty, says the president, who has so far said only that both the King and bin-Salman have denied it and so it could have been “rogue operators”, so that’s fine by him, there will be “severe consequences” short of econiomic sanctions. So, what?

Then astonishingly last night at one of his Nuremberg rallies for his dumbfuck supporters, he praised Greg Gianforte, the Congress member from Montana, for violently attacking a reporter last year.

“Trump described in glowing terms the physical assault that occurred on 24 May 2017 when Ben Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, was asking Gianforte a question about health care policy …. The US president incited cheers and chants from a crowd of about 8,000 supporters when he said: “Greg is smart. And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand. Never.”

As the cheers rang out across an aircraft hangar in Missoula, Trump went on to say: “Any guy that can do a body slam … he’s my guy.” After praising Gianforte, Trump acted out the motion of throwing a person violently to the ground.” (Guardian, 19 Oct.)

The incredible double-standards this degenerate oaf manages to maintain show clearly, he has no standards at all.

Get rid of him.

 

20 October LATEST:

“YouTubers will be being recruited already by the White House to suggest that perhaps the Turks haven’t yet finished recording it….”

An admission has finally arrived from Riyadh, two and a half weeks after the event, that Khashoggi is indeed dead. They’ve just discovered, instead of him leaving normally, as they honestly thought he must have done (although he has not been seen and his fiancee was waiting outside), he died by accident in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after taking on 15 burly security men who had gone to seize him on a misunderstanding, militarily trained bodyguards of Prince bin-Salman, in “a fist-fight”. This podgy, mild-mannered, 59-year-old man wearing glasses.

Suspects have been rounded up, senior officials sacked: especially the one President Trump suggested might be responsible, as he’d been photographed in a meeting with the Prince just days before the accident, and just happened to be among the party of tourists visiting the consulate.

I doubt we shall be hearing much from him.

This ludicrous explanation worthy of the direst banana republic has been greeted by Mr Trump, desperate both to protect a lucrative personal source of income and to give no hint of possible job losses in the defense sector before an election, as “credible”.

It has perhaps not occurred to him to ask, then, where is the body? Or any of the other 101 questions the Prince’s bullshit explanation raises. No, instead he has sent his “condolences”, his usual “sorry your dog died” message, to Khashoggi’s family.

Now, normally when an inconvenient person is made to disappear, the lies are cooked up in secret, in advance, behind the office door. In this case, however, the story is being developed retrospectively out in the full glare of the media spotlight. It’s precisely the tale Trump and Pompeo have been publicly prompting bin-Salman to put out, if he knows what’s good for him.

It’s standard Mafia reasoning: Khashoggi must have killed himself in a fit of remorse, before sawing his own body into handy, suitcase-sized chunks and disposing of it in a nearby forest, where men with spades were seen going on a nature ramble shortly before he died.

It’s an indication of how Mr Trump has conducted his entire shitty career, on the basis of lies so preposterous and frequently repeated that enough people will believe them. The arrogance of both these profoundly damaged, autocratic individuals is breathtaking: “you will believe whatever garbage dribbles out of our mouths because we are the rulers and you’re not.”

The good thing is, nobody does believe this one. But what’s to be done? The fallback now, of course, is that “we must wait for the outcome of the official enquiries”.

You will hear this a lot in the coming days, and it is perhaps one of the mysteries that this “audio tape”, or even rumored video of the murder does not appear to have been played to anyone outside the highest levels of the Turkish government, and possibly the police investigators. Pompeo has denied hearing it, but then he would. Why the delay in posting proof of what the Turks’ve been saying so far? There’s no shame in admitting they bugged the consul, everyone does it.

YouTubers will be being recruited already by the White House to suggest that perhaps the Turks haven’t yet finished recording it.

With the midterm elections so close, Mr Trump will be hoping at the weekly White House Evangelical pray-in tomorrow, that it’s all blown over by the time Congress, in whatever new form it may have taken, reassembles later in November.

Sickening.

x

“Nothing Trump ever says or does is ever said or done without some nasty little game plan in mind…”

Warren Peace

The Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is the next most plausible Democratic presidential candidate qualified to become the First Woman. A Harvard Law professor, she has a reputation for steely questioning of political and administrative miscreants in committee, for being on top of her brief, for her obvious passion for justice, her forensic mental clarityand her absolute probity; her strength of character.

Everything Trump can’t manage to be and do.

There is of course always a possibility, based o n precedent, that such a butter-wouldn’t-melt person might be a total humbug, only time can tell.

At some time in the distant past, she ticked the box on an application form claiming to be of native Indian descent, as her mom had told her they were. According to Snopes’ fact-checking website, it was just the once. They quote the president of Harvard Law School as saying they don’t hand out well-remunerated professorships on the basis of candidates’ ethnic backgrounds. But political opponents – notably the President – have accused her of dishonestly benefiting from lying about her ethnicity.

Well, she could hardly claim to be black. She has also spoken on behalf of First Nation causes on the basis of her kinship. Neither is a crime.

Warren, seen in 3-D?

Trump, who speaks only for his own cause, spent several years blatantly lying that he had evidence that President Obama was born in Kenya, and therefore disqualified from holding office, evidence he never somehow managed to produce, before turning his poisonous attentions a while ago to accuse Sen. Warren of lying about her origins, derisorily christening her “Pocahontas”.

Clearly Trump has issues with his own origin story: a draft-dodging, undocumented German grandfather who fled to Canada and opened a whorehouse; a property developing, rack-renting, tax-dodging racist father deeply embedded within the New York mafia; an estranged, emotionally dead mother and a retrospectively documented immigrant trophy wife who can barely wait to divorce him.

One time, Trump offered to pay a million dollars to the charity of her choice if Warren could prove her claim to Indian ancestry.

Much to the annoyance of the Cherokee nation, Senator Warren has now taken a DNA test proving that her background is indeed, at several generations removed, nevertheless partly Native American (tribe not specified). So not entirely a lie, then. And who hasn’t tickled up their CV once in a while, to sound more interesting? Trump won’t have, he doesn’t have a CV. Not until Mueller is finished writing it.

Asked by a courageous reporter if he would now pay up, Trump, who may well be one of the most dishonest incubuses to walk the earth while claiming unverifiable human origin, vehemently denied that he had ever in his life promised such a thing.

A thing that he is elsewhere seen on tape, at a rally in front of several thousand of his pet dumbfucks, loudly crowing about.

Needless to say, no apology has been forthcoming.

Instead, in true Trump style, graceless and shitty as ever, the great liar, phony and cheat has doubled-down on the good Senator, getting his insults in early, repeating his view that she is a liar, a phony and a cheat, saying he will only pay up if he can redo the test himself. (He doesn’t believe in DNA, any more than he understands why the planet is melting.)

And given that Stormy Daniels has just failed in her bid to get a court to allow her to sue the President for widely publicized defamation, whereupon he described her in a tweet as “a horseface”, it appears he can now say whatever he damn well likes about anyone he doesn’t like. Another step down the road to lawless autocratic rule by illiterate tweet.

“You will not beat him with honesty, decency or facts.”

Don’t be fooled. Nothing Trump ever says or does is ever said or done without some devious little gameplan in mind, that he hopes will produce results somewhere down the line. He may be an ignorant, bloviating oaf, but he’s a shrewd and calculating ignorant, bloviating oaf, well practised at dirty infighting.

Unfortunately, by commissioning that test, Warren has played into his hands.

Senator Warren is a woman, and Trump is a bullying misogynist who is going to try his best to make her cry, the way he destroyed Hillary Clinton with that “Crooked Hillary” tag, enlisting his dumbfucks in two-minute “Lock her up!” hate sessions based on no more than poor mad Alex Jones’ conspiracy theories, that she’s a pedophile-enabler who murdered the US Ambassador to Benghazi and sold America’s vital uranium assets to the Russians.

Trump doesn’t play by anyone’s rules whom you would comfortably know. You will not beat him with honesty, decency or facts. Thuggery is his trade. Whatever he may have learned at Wharton college, which wouldn’t have been much, he learned a lot more from his dad’s mafia lawyer, Roy Cohn.

He knows Warren is probably the Democrats’ best hope of beating him in 2020, so he’s going to try to defeat her now, two years before she has a chance to defeat him. He knows, she’s far too polite and straightlaced to retaliate in the same coin, going in hard with a knee to the nuts, although God knows, she’d have enough ammunition. Let’s face it, the Orange Pussygrabber’s the one under investigation for treason, obstruction of justice and financial shenanigans – she’s not.

And he knows that what she has going for her, that he doesn’t, is people’s respect: she’s direct, honest, well-briefed and cleverer than he is. But if she runs in the primaries, goes head-to-head in the debates, she knows already, from today, exactly how it’s going to play:

“Pocahontas!”. Nyah-boo! Your mom lied… You’re a phony!

He will never let up on that sneering racial insult until she capitulates.

Or until someone throws him in jail.

And frankly, with the courts now packed with lifetime Trump appointees who owe the boss a favor in return, all the way up to the highest court in the land, corrupted beyond saving, your Pumpkin just doesn’t see that happening.

It’s the classic Mafia playbook takeover of your country: “Fascist Dictating for Dummies…”.

I have frequently commented with the question: what collective insanity possessed the authors of your Holy Constitution to give a free pass to a criminal President with a majority in both houses to abuse such powers as to be able so easily to rig the governmental, fiscal and juridical systems; even subverting US foreign policy, in cahoots with an inimical foreign power, in his own electoral and financial interests, supported by a disaffected, gun-toting minority of religious maniacs, with absolutely no comebacks?

As soon as this criminal, lying motherfucker is gone from office, which he will be one day, assuming we’re all still alive to wave him good riddance or to follow his gun-carriage with crocodile tears down to Arlington, you might possibly give some very serious thought to that question.

“Yep, he was the president who put the ‘fun’ in ‘funeral’… hashtag sadface!”

x

“Two-faced liars with a shameful human rights record that makes Japan’s insistence on the cultural importance of exterminating whales sound convincing….”

Trump’s Khashoggi Register

Trump’s attempts to get Prince Mohammad bin-Salman off the hook over the murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul of regime critic, Jamal Khashoggi get more and more desperate, and more bizarre by the minute.

His sympathetic message is that, like his poor friend Judge Kavanaugh, like himself, poor Bin is being judged guilty by everyone in the world before he can be allowed to prove his innocence.

Of course, there’s an economic imperative behind Trump’s apparently uncritical, blind acceptance of assurances, both from King Salman, who has Alzheimer’s, and Crown Prince bin-Salman, who hasn’t, that there is no Khashoggi blood on their hands, or it may have been a rogue hit squad from somewhere else, China probably – or it was all an unfortunate accident that ended with them chopping him in manageable pieces

Trump’s pathetic dissimulation is designed to protect Saudi investments he profits from, and his famous $110 billion arms deal, “Possibly the biggest in history!” (not true. He’s such a con man. Actual contracts total $380 million, much dating from Obama’s time. The rest is all “letters of intent” – Snopes/Washington Post) Oh, and all those jobs at Boeing and Raytheon.

Has anyone ever thought to ask the people who work in the armaments factories that make the aircraft and the guided bombs that kill children in Yemen and around the world – the people these sanctimonious humbugs in government pretend they’re protecting –  if they care what the awful things they make are doing? People with families and children themselves?

These are skilled engineers, programmers, systems analysts, designers, finishers, metallurgists, explosives experts, project managers. They could be making things all over the developing world that would benefit humanity, maybe tackle the real problems facing the world – not this grotesque shit. Have they so easily convinced themselves their efforts 9 to 5 are making America a safer place?

We are constantly told by politicians, oh, we mustn’t be beastly to the Saudis, or whoever, they’ll take their contracts elsewhere. Think of all those jobs we will lose! Think of the votes!

You are all, quite frankly, self-interested, cowardly liars.

Where? Where else will they go? Because if there was anywhere better, they would already have gone there. They come to us because we make the best stuff at the best prices, but we still imagine we have to offer them huge bribes they can stuff up their jalabas in return for their oily patronage.

And if they could sell their oil elsewhere, they would. They’ve got money, let them manufacture their own weapons of death. Oil dependancy, job dependancy, money dependancy…. Those are our WEAKNESSES!

Why are we so weak?

If we had the will to do it, we could bankrupt them in the morning. They know that, they’re not going to do anything.

(This piece has been edited for length. Ed.)

 

“I don’t want to talk about any of the facts.” – Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, on his return from Riyadh, in a statement confirming his boss’s belief in Saudi protestations of innocence in the torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

“I guess after shaking hands with you, Mr Secretary, I’d better count my fingers!”

GW: A perfect day for a snooze

Wake me up if anything happens…. it’s all gone pretty quiet. There’s ex-Tropical Storm Lara, pushing in across the US southwest with another dollop or two of rain over the desert, the sun’s been shining all day here, and that’s about it from around the weather news sites.

Oh, September was globally the 4th warmest ever, according to the NOAA. So we’re still good for 2018 being in the top 5 hottest years, despite it being a La Niña year – the other four being 2014,15,16 and 17 (not in that order). 2019 should be hotter, as an El Niño is 70 percent likely, based on current temperatures in the Pacific.

Forecasters are expecting anything up to 50 cm of rain in Spain and North Africa tonight as a massive weather thingy is moving through the Straits of Gibraltar. Last week southeastern Spain and the Balearic islands experienced very heavy rainfall, with 13 fatalities – this looks way worse.

And stand by for a blistering cold spell in Scandinavia and northern Europe after the weekend.

Now, buzz off. Zzzz.

 

If at first you don’t succeed

To explain evolution to an idiot, this link might provide them with learning material, and some amusement:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06p4cnx

Tomorrow’s BogPo, early: Get us out of here… “Oh, Gerrard Winstanley…” Spring Fare… And the rot goes on… GW: It’s getting wetter all the time.

Quote of Last Week:

“If the MPS are delaying an investigation into a likely crime because of political interference then ‘scandal’ does not begin to cover it.”

– Jolyon Maugham QC, on learning that, five months since the likely perpetrators were indicted by the Electoral Commission, Scotland Yard has decided not to pursue an investigation into the evidence of fraudulent acts committed by EU Leave campaigners, blaming “political sensitivities”.

 

“All right Phil, where have you been hiding the Camembert?” (Apologies to Stefan Rousseau/AFP/Getty)

 

“If we ‘Remoaners’ have a sense of injustice, it’s because we have been deprived of an essential freedom…”

Get us out of here

One of the country’s top linguists, 27-year-old language teacher Alex Rawlings, fluent in 15 languages, has featured in the press after tweeting out to his personal universe the news that he is emigrating to Spain to get away from the horrors of a post-Brexit Britain.

“This whole country is on the brink of the worst disaster since the second world war, and everyone is just sipping coffee, going about their daily business as if nothing is happening”, he told The Observer. “I don’t want to live an environment where I have to apologise for believing in European unity.” The story explains:

“Rawlings, who is half Greek and retains a Greek passport, will move to Barcelona on 1 November to pursue “creative passion projects”.

At that point I began to cry.

For it seems that anyone with any slender claim to another country’s passport has become a first-class passenger, able to get off and tour the ancient ruins, while those of us who, like me, are so English we miss out on the opportunity to escape, are trapped in steerage on HM Prison Ship Britannia, moored somewhere off the coast of the civilized world in a rotting hulk filled with opportunistic and disputatious madmen – and that’s just the officer class, fighting one another for the last lifejacket.

For us, there is no way out. If we ‘Remoaners’ have a sense of injustice, it’s because we have been deprived of an essential freedom through the intemperate actions of a dimly illuminated mob, persuaded in its sullen and mutinous ignorance to torch the building around us; their retrograde sense of British entitlement heightened by the propaganda of a nasty, neo-Thatcherite cabal seeking to profit from chaos. Formerly secret, their motivations are now openly worn on their flushed and greedy faces.

Power! The power to be sharks in a goldfish bowl.

Among them, the failed applicant for the Tory leadership and useless ex-Environment minister, the formerly obscure housewife Andrea Leadsom, a small-minded woman of the shires for whom the word ‘conservative’ should be written in all-caps, stands out. An extreme Brexophile, she has called for the abolition of all regulation safeguarding the rights, health and safety of the British workforce and consumers; all financial regulation and food subsidies too.

Brexit plotters: sharks in a goldfish bowl (Guardian)

Was that lunacy really what the fish porters of Sunderland were voting for? The sheer, unbridled hurricane-force of naked capitalism, bearing down on them and their children and – if the Environment permits the extension of the race for enough years, which is by no means on the cards – their grandchildren: economic chattels, debt-peons trapped in the maelstrom of the markets, waking poorer every day, subject to the will of giant corporations in a retail culture of delivery “yesterday”?

I ‘ve racked my brains to think of a way out of the horrible future that these rabid, post-truth  politicians with their all-digesting ambition propose for us. Sadly, though my late grandparentage includes one (renounced) Greek-born citizen and one dual British-American of Irish ancestry, neither offers me sufficient relevant DNA to apply for alternative nationality. (And who now would want to become an American?)

In any case, it would be hypocritical: I don’t believe in nations, and I’m mildly revolted by nationalists, as it seems to me they are essentially co-dependants in a corrupted system of bordered parentalism, tribalists unable to think or act for themselves without the protection and permission of a self-defining state and a national creation myth.

I tried seven years ago to get myself out of a Britain I could see one day splintering into factions separating both from Europe and its own senses; but my Committee of Discarnate Entities had other ideas; and it seems they had good intent, because if my house sale – the only one offered – had gone through in 2012, I should now be living on a worth-less pension in the burnt-out ruins of a Portuguese village consumed by wildfire, broiled in 48-degree summer heat and battered by powerful storms; half-blind, half-mad and pissing into a bag.

It might sadly have been preferable to continuing to exist on an impoverished island sinking rapidly in the West, governed by closed-minded native isolationists paradoxically pinning their hopes on faraway countries’ inclinations to owe us a living.

Nor do I speak Portuguese.

 

Contemporary Pillowtalks

“…until I realized that, not 1968, but 1648 is exactly where British politics has returned to in the Year of Our Lord, 2018.”

“Oh, Gerrard Winstanley…”

I’ve not yet succeeded in “getting” Jeremy Corbyn.

He’s always struck me as being a bit of a cantankerous old sod. An obstinate, puritanical stick-in-the-mud, who spent the greater part of his long political career in near-obscurity on the back benches, delighting in his perversity, forever rebelling against his own party whips and demonstrating right-on international solidarity, flirting with some really quite inadvisable representatives of liberation movements not averse to using violence for political ends.

Making me Head Boy for just my last term, my old junior school headmaster, Jeff Cornes, admitted that he was only offering me the position out of respect for my academic record – I had been “top” of the top form for a year by then. “But”, he cautioned, “You should be aware that you have no leadership qualities whatsoever.”

Reader, it’s true. But like Corbyn, I’ve never been a follower either. “I just go where I’m pointed!” I will explain to anyone looking to me for a lead; and then step aside and snipe cruelly from the sidelines as they blunder on.

Since his unexpected election as party leader faute-de-mieux, and Prime-Minister-in-Waiting, a “stalking horse” elected by accident, Corbyn (who is the same age as me, older by five months) seems to me to have displayed a similar lack of interest in actually leading anything; preferring to bask in the extraordinary personality cult that has grown up around him.

When it comes to policy, his party seems hopelessly divided around his lack of direction, especially on Europe, where he is at odds with most of the rest, imagining the EU as a corporatist superstate rather than, as I see it, a bulwark against US hegemony.

The faction of Jeremy fanatics known as Momentum has displayed a Stalinist enthusiasm for purging the party of its less radical elements, careless of the polling figures that still put Labour several points behind what is, by universal acknowledgment, the worst, the feeblest, the most incompetent, most corporate-leaning, the most damaging and most fractious Tory government since at least the Second World War.

Until this morning, when the word “Leveller” popped into my head, and I started reading up on this and other disruptive anarcho-syndicalist factions that emerged from the Roundhead tendency during the interim period between the two acts of the English Civil War; and realized that, not 1968, but 1648 is exactly where British politics has returned to in the Year of Our Lord, 2018.

Take, for instance, the Diggers. No, not a reference to our Australian cousins, such as Rupert Murdoch – known to Private Eye readers as “The Dirty Digger”; although the Digger movement embraced precisely the ragbag of suppressed nativist sentiments exploited by his papers.

If you are looking for a C17th origin for the obnoxiously stubborn and self-destructive Leave campaign, the unbending “Brexiteer” mentality, where would you find a better analogy than in the section of Wikipedia reserved for this communitarian working-class faction, dedicated to the common ownership of national resources?

“An undercurrent of political thought which has run through English society for many generations and resurfaced from time to time (for example, in the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381) was present in some of the political factions of the 17th century, including those who formed the Diggers. It involved the common belief that England had become subjugated by the “Norman Yoke”. This legend offered an explanation that at one time a Golden Era had existed in England before the Norman Conquest in 1066. From the Conquest on, the Diggers argued, the “common people of England” had been robbed of their birthrights and exploited by a foreign ruling-class.”

“Ding, dong…”. (©Leslie Philips, ‘Carry On, Teacher!’)

Led by a man called Gerrard Winstanley, the Diggers were a more rural offshoot still of the Levellers, an informal movement led by Col John Lilburne, who were arguing for extending the franchise to all but a few male voters (no women, of course.) Their signature protest at a time of rising food prices was to react against enclosures by planting crops on newly privatized land where there had formerly been common rights; hence the sobriquet. (I thought immediately of the allotment-tending Corbyn when I read: “The Council of State received a letter in April 1649 reporting that several individuals had begun to plant vegetables in common land…”!)

A combination of thuggish intimidation by private landowners, bent judges – themselves extensive landowners – and endless lawsuits finally did for the Diggers. There was a revival in America in the 1960s, with the liberal, egalitarian, non-property-owning society proposed by the San Francisco Diggers; a quasi-political hippie faction who perhaps had more in common with the C17th “Ranters”, a small, sexually liberationist, proto-anarchist movement; again, an offshoot of the liberalizing, pro-democracy Levellers, whose ambition was to restore (as they saw it) a popular sovereignty and a sturdy independence that had been misappropriated by a ruling elite.

These currents of thought seem to me to have resurfaced in a modern populist movement that has coalesced, somewhat incoherently, around ideas of common ownership, self-validation (identity politics), anti-elitism and the idea of England as a prosperous, independent nation free from foreign influence: the Jacob Rees-Mogg thesis leavened with Socialism. (Opposites attract; similarities divide…)

Perhaps it also explains the curious dichotomy we seem to be wrestling with, between excessive permissiveness on the one hand, and excessive prudishness on the other. While the internet grants unlimited access to pornographic imagery, and removals of oppressive laws have offered apparent licence to express our desires freely, nevertheless the popular press goes on tittering, and we have at the same time adopted a Puritanical tendency to punish sexual individualism harshly, to make examples of those (mostly men) who transgress a somewhat fluid code of “appropriate” moral behavior.

There are parallels with an era in which Britain – principally England – was so bitterly divided between those who cropped their hair short and those who grew it long, the dispossessed and the elites, that 600 thousand citizens were slaughtered during eight years of brutal internecine conflict; not over land or treasure, but over abstract ideas of nationhood and sovereignty.

And here we are again.

  • Editor’s note: I have removed an item here for space, that others have Commented on below, in case you were wondering what has happened.

Spring fare

The odds against a No-deal Brexit lengthened considerably today, when Buckingham Palace announced that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is expecting a baby “in the Spring”.

Already the poor little sod is being hailed as a new dawn for a triumphant new post-Brexit Britain. Oh, Brave New World! (Assuming they don’t induce her on 29th March….)

Well done, Harry. Hundreds of pages of hysterical press coverage should take the British public’s mind off having to queue at heavily guarded military outposts to receive our weekly food ration and essential medical treatment.

“If he puts a silly caption about a three-legged race on this, I’ll send him to the Bloody Tower…”

x

“In failing to challenge their toxic arguments … BBC News renders itself totally unfit for purpose.”

And the rot goes on

“I think the climate may be changing but it could change back again. It might not be a hoax…. I’ve seen a lot of reports, some bad, some good. I don’t know that it’s man-made. I don’t want to spend trillions and trillions of dollars and lose millions and millions of jobs.”

Thus Trump, expatiating in his usual inventive fashion on the most troubling issue of our age (roughly as heard on BBC R4 Today this morning, extracted from yet another discontinuous and self-pitying ABC 60 Minutes interview.)

Interviewer: “…but what about the scientists who say it’s worse than ever?”

Trump: “You’d have to show me the scientists….”

And you ELECTED this childlike imbecile to be your president?

He is surely unique in believing that whatever he knows least about, is what he knows more about than anyone. As usual, Shakespeare got it first:

“Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. (Hamlet, Act 2, Sc. 2)

Seriously, there will be people who believe this nonsensical drivel because he IS the president and so he should be the most informed politician on the planet, when I will give you £100 if you can prove he’s read a single word of the IPCC report or seen any evidence to contradict it. (Then I’ll deny I ever offered you the bet, hahaha! Losers!)

Is it responsible journalism to put those lies on the air without anyone sensible being invited to challenge them?

Has no paid individual within the media wondered logically what Trump imagines he would be spending trillions of dollars ON, if not on creating millions of jobs in the alternative energy and environmental clean-up businesses? I don’t suppose they have, I’ve seen nothing to suggest that they have, so why anyone else would in the current climate, I don’t know. They just seem to absorb his guff like sponges. Maybe just me?

And while we’re at it, the CEO of Cuadrilla was on Today this morning to defend the resumption of fracking in Lancashire, and told a tremendous fib, that natural gas produces less CO2 than coal, and nobody challenged him either. The Union of Concerned Scientists writes that, while on some measures gas emits 50 to 60 per cent less CO2 when burned than coal (depending on the relative efficiency of the systems):

“The drilling and extraction of natural gas from wells and its transportation in pipelines results in the leakage of methane, primary component of natural gas that is 34 times stronger than CO2 at trapping heat over a 100-year period and 86 times stronger over 20 years. … Whether natural gas has lower life cycle greenhouse gas emissions than coal and oil depends on the assumed leakage rate, the global warming potential of methane over different time frames, the energy conversion efficiency, and other factors. …

“Some areas where drilling occurs have experienced increases in concentrations of hazardous air pollutants. Exposure to elevated levels … can lead to adverse health outcomes, including respiratory symptoms, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.” (Edited from web page entry)

Nor was he challenged to defend the safety of the process for groundwater, both in terms of toxicity and overextraction of aquifers, while in the Colorado and Kansas fracking zones the number of measurable M3 or greater earthquakes increased with fracking from two to 850 a year. He would not be drawn on what magnitude of quake he thought his operations should be safely limited to causing! (Currently drilling has to stop if an Eq. of more than M0.5 is registered.The government is considering removing limits altogether.)

Green MP, Caroline Lucas, was however allowed to mention that the establishment of large-scale fracking zones in the restricted area that is the UK will make it impossible to meet our current emissions reduction targets, supposedly set by law.

Yet the ostrich argument persists: we know it’s dangerous to go on burning gas, admitted the Cuadrilla man, more or less; contributing to an extinction-level crisis within a decade (he didn’t exactly say that!). But what else are British housewives supposed to cook on?

(Smoking is killing you, but since you have terminal lung cancer you might as well carry on buying our brand of cigarettes….)

And that’s the principle too behind the US Government’s opportunistic admission last month that yes, the planet is warming catastrophically but it’s too late/costly to do anything about it now (after decades of lying that there was no problem) so we just have to go on burning oil and coal and gorging on red meat so dinosaur industries can create badly paid jobs that no-one will live to retire from, and hope someone comes up with a technological fix before we go extinct.

(Incidentally, I recommend Stacey Dooley’s intense report on the devastating environmental impacts of the fashion industry as a necessary corrective to shopping addiction. Available on BBC iPlayer and at all good branches of Primark.)

These people have been driven insane by the profit motive, prepared to bet their children’s lives on some fantastical and far-off, unaffordable “unicorn” technology being discovered in time to save them.

In failing to challenge their toxic aguments and in continuing to present the most anodyne editorial view of this rapidly advancing crisis, BBC News renders itself totally unfit for purpose.

 

Way to go?

I used to have a mild interest in collecting stories of the strangest or most absurd ways in which people die, like the chap in Australia who was killed on the golf course when a high-flying bird of prey dropped a mullet on his head; a mullet being both a kind of fish, and an unfashionable hairstyle.

Few I think can compete with the tragic death of former police officer Elizabeth Isherwood, 60, a care worker, who died after locking herself in a cupboard at her timeshare in North Wales, which she had sold on and was preparing to leave the next day.

Her death was the result of a bizarre series of events.

Apparently, she got up in the night to go to the bathroom, with nothing on, and blundered into the airing cupboard by mistake. The door closed behind her, locking her in, and the handle broke off in her hand.

Unable to call for help in the deserted building, she quick-wittedly wrenched off a piece of pipe and used it to hack a hole through the wall, big enough to wriggle through.

However, she seems to have failed to understand in her confusion that what she thought was the last layer she could not get through was just a picture in a frame, hanging on the other side of the wall.

The pipe she had broken was live, so all the time she was being sprayed with cold water which, acting as a rapid coolant on a body that had overheated with the exertion, caused her temperature to fall rapidly, and hypothermia set in, causing her to lose consciousness.

The poor woman wasn’t found until a week later, as nobody had noticed she was missing.

Verdict: misadventure. (Guardian report, 17 Oct.)

“Help! I don’t normally do this…”

GW: It’s getting wetter all the time

France: At least 13 people have died during heavy storms ahead of remnant hurricane Leslie, that cut off many roads and caused rivers to burst their banks in parts of south-western France, officials have said. The Aude department was particularly badly hit; the Aude river seeing its highest level in 100 years. 7 inches of rain fell on Carcassonne overnight; 2 metres (6ft) of floodwater was recorded in the streets of Conques; at Trèbes, floodwater was as high as seven metres (23ft), local authorities say. (from The Guardian/BBC News, 15 Oct.)

Caribbean: Is another Gulf hurricane brewing? “Invest 94L was on its way to developing a well-formed surface circulation near the northeast coast of Honduras, and the system had a moderately large area of heavy thunderstorms to the southeast of the developing center. These thunderstorms were growing in organization and areal coverage. Its forward speed of 10 – 15 mph should bring the center inland over Belize by Tuesday afternoon, … bringing 2 – 4” of rain with isolated amounts of up to 8″ to Belize and northern portions of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. These rains will be capable of causing dangerous flash flooding and mudslides. The next name is Oscar.” (Wunderground)

Shades of Puerto Rico: Farron Cousins, of the “Ring of Fire” videocast is reporting, more than a week after Hurricane Michael devastated the region, the 3rd most powerful hurricane ever recorded on mainland USA, that many survivors in the Florida panhandle have still received no help from FEMA, gutted by budget cuts ordered by the Trump administration. The death toll stands at 18, with over 30 unaccounted for at Mexico Beach.

Mexico: Off the Pacific coast, “…the 20th named storm of its ultra-busy 2018 hurricane season (saw) the development of Tropical Storm Tara on Monday morning. Tara was centered about 95 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico at 11 am EDT Monday, with top winds of 45 mph, and was bringing heavy rain to the nearby coast.” Again, up to 8″ is possible. Dr Jeff Masters writes:

“The 2018 hurricane season in the East Pacific (east of the date line) has now had 20 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 9 intense hurricanes. An average season has 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes, so we are well past those benchmarks with several more weeks of hurricane season remaining.”

Uganda: At least 41 people are confirmed dead after a massive landslide and flooding in the district of Bududa, Eastern Region on 11 Oct. Heavy rain caused the River Tsuume to burst its banks, which in turn caused a landslide in Bukalasi. Some of the affected areas are still not accessible and it is possible the death toll could increase. Local media said that 100s more are feared dead.” (from Floodlist)

Portugal: ex-hurricane Leslie finally made landfall as a post-tropical storm, three weeks after appearing in mid-Atlantic. 170 km/h gusts and heavy rain brought down trees and power lines, injuring 37. (CEWN #141)

Europe: the jetstream is maybe going to produce a pattern-flip next week, with an area of intense cold forming over northeastern Europe, where it’s been unusually warm; and a heatwave over northwestern Europe up into the British Isles. More torrential rainstorms with “major flooding” and threat of waterspouts are forecast for southern Spain and Morocco/Tunisia, starting Thursday 18 Oct.

Australia: Red warnings were issued as severe thunderstorms broke over the Brisbane, Queensland region. Two concurrent supercells joined forces, with damaging cyclonic winds, torrential rain and heavy hail. (CEWN #141)

Sumatra: 27 die in flash floods and landslides around Pasaman on the Indonesian island, 11-12 Oct. In the north of the island, 11 children were killed when their school was swept away by floodwaters. (CEWN #141)

Evolution latest

To date, humans have been responsible for the extinction of over 300 mammal species, according to new research at Aarhus University in Denmark, that in combined total took 2.5 billion years to evolve.

It would be 5.7 million years before 300 new species evolve to take their place.

And Yellowstone… yes, the largest geyser in the park, the normally almost inert Steamboat, went off on Sunday for the 23rd time this year. Rocks ejected over hundreds of feet, “the size of bowling balls”. Ground temperature still rising, more shallow earthquakes, many not being reported, continuing erratic ground uplift….

The Blessed Mary Greeley reports, the breaks in the data transmissions from the monitoring equipment also got so bad at the weekend, the USGS (United States Geological Survey) is claiming they were knocked out by lightning. No conspiracy theorist believes that, as it hasn’t happened before, the monitors are scattered over the whole park – and besides, they have capacitors ‘n’ stuff to soak up the lightning, so.

Actually when you consider they recently tried very hard to put earthquake forecaster Dutchsinse (Michael Janitch, of St Louis) off the air, and he reports ‘quakes from other monitoring services which they don’t, there may be something in the theory that they just don’t want anyone to know when it happens.

Endpiece

Staring at the sun

I know people would think me mad if I tried to discuss my current obsession, that there’s something wrong with the sky. Luckily, I have no-one to talk to all week, so it doesn’t matter.

Now, below is a photograph of some clouds, that I pulled the car over and took just this afternoon. Have you ever seen clouds looking like this? The dark ones, I mean? They look like a bucket of eels, or a pod of leaping dolphins, or something more sinister maybe. I have never before seen clouds do this:

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 66: Calumny makes the world go around… Khashing in his chips… Midterm Elections: Roll up, rolls down… Have your cake and stuff it… GW: Wandering around in circles

 

“Not global warming, not mother nature, it is the prophesy that near the end disasters will increase before the return of Christ and there is more to come and will intensify.”

–  ‘Sinner-Saved-From-Grace’, posting on Weather Underground in response to a lengthy and scholarly disquisition from Dr Jeff Masters on the physics behind the formation of powerful hurricanes.

See, how simple it all is when you put the apple back on the tree?

As we know, the greatest threat to the USA is its pandemic of frogbox-crazy Bible ‘truthers’. The ones who believe Trump has been sent by God to restore Christian morality in America! The ones who own the Republican Congress.

“So then I put my hand up her skirt…”

 

“…one wonders what Trump would do if Iran offered to pay his $340 million debt to Deutsche Bank?”

Calumny makes the world go around

The US ambassadress to the United Nations, “Dark Lady” Nikki Haley announced her resignation on 09 Oct., the sixty-somethingth senior Trump administration official to quit or be fired in less than two years.

No clear reason has been given, although Trump has lied that she told him several months ago, which is presumably why he doesn’t have a replacement lined up. Some betting is on Ivanka Trump to succeed her – he told reporters, she’d be “dynamite” in the job.

Less destructive than plutonium, I suppose.

The unexpected announcement triggered a storm of media speculation, with the strong theme running through it that she may be preparing a bid for the White House in 2020. Mrs Haley has denied it, saying she fully supports the increasingly confused and disputacious President for a second term. Frankly, the likelihood of the Republicans adopting a candidate to run against Trump in the primaries is preposterous. They’re so mired in his shit, not even the blood of Christ could wash the stink off.

Others have suggested she’s got too many foreign policy differences with the White House, or she’s being investigated over taking freebie flights and grossly understating their value on her emoluments confessionals; or she’s increasingly feeling irrelevant to US policymaking, in which she had more of a say when the largely hands-off Rex Tillerson was Secretary of State. Or she’s pissed off because Pompeo got the State Department and she felt she was better qualified. No-one knows. Maybe she even wrote that NYT op-ed blasting Trump as a vicious and incompetent infant?

Whatever, reports are that she’s courting the extreme Christian Right, exciting them with tales that she threatened China with an invasion of North Korea, and other juicy morsels for the End Times.

The preposterous triumvirate of the bloviating fraudster, Trump; his overbearing Secretary of State, the well-named Mike Pompeo and “Mr Pastry meets Dangermouse”, John Bolton, he of the volcanic Irish temperament and frosty upper lip, is pulling out of more and more international treaty agreements and institutions they perceive as cheekily imposing limits on unbridled American global hegemony. That’s also said to be pissing Nikki off.

“During meetings at the United Nations last week, Trump, Pompeo and Bolton railed against Iran and berated various other member states and U.N. bodies for not bending to American interests.” (writes Open Democracy) “…at a White House briefing, national security adviser Bolton announced that the administration was reviewing all agreements that could subject the United States to future rulings by the (UN International Court of Justice in The Hague).” While today’s (11 Oct) Washington Post raises concerns linking yesterday’s death-defying plunge on the markets with Bolton’s increasingly hawkish rhetoric against… China.

Because if the Chinese economy goes belly-up, as Trump seems to want, that’s it for the rest, making 2008 look like you went a dollar over your overdraft and the manager called you in.

So it’s fine for other countries, including America’s fast retrenching “allies”, to have to put up with bullying, teenage insults, sanctions, barked orders, huge fines penalizing only taxpayers, gross injustices and the high & mighty jurisdiction of commercially motivated, publicity-seeking, common-or-garden US District Court judges over our own institutions and legislatures, to be told who we can trade with and on what terms; but the American Empire will not accept what these three like to smear as “politically motivated interference” with its often underhand and dirty machinations in return.

“Give him a week, Trump will forget what a great guy Brett Kavanaugh was….”

The constant harping, especially by this degenerate and cavalier President, on the idea that critics of his dangerous caprices are invariably sponsored in the background by the Deep State and other malevolent forces of what are in fact perfectly legitimate opposition parties and media commentators in a polyvalent democracy, is a precise encapsulation of the Trumpian doctrine of autocracy.

Everything that upsets Childe Donald and flouts his wishes or threatens his interests is the fault of his many political and media critics,  wearisomely portrayed time and again out of the “Fascist Dictating For Dummies…” playbook as the forces of evil plotting violent overthrow of the nation state – which is to say, him.

He is perhaps not cunning or ruthless or, indeed, young enough; not sufficiently well informed or focussed on the goal, since he has no clue about the workings of government and displays the intelligence and attention-span of a fruit fly with ADHD, to ever actually become the dictator he obviously so longs to be.

Give him a week, Trump will forget what a great guy Brett Kavanaugh was. The first balanced and rational decision the Supreme Court comes out with, Trump will decide that his inside man is weak and a traitor, tweeting out the old terms of abuse in the sleepless hours.

But can one say the same of the evil armchair warmonger, the Bolton Baddie, for instance? Or the “college vampire”, the ambitious, nativist psychopath, Stephen Miller, a dead-eyed Trump policy “advisor” and speechwriter still young enough to destroy the world?

This is a form of transactional global dictatorship that makes it easier to understand, for instance, the motivation behind Putin’s assault on democratic institutions.

It may become necessary for Western nations too, to adopt a similar program of nonviolent resistance to an increasingly authoritarian United States; as Trump’s foreign policy is mostly about demanding Danegeld – a protection racket; a shakedown. If you don’t want to be hit with sanctions and trade tariffs, or threatened with annihilation, you better remember poor bankrupt Jared Kushner, the son-in-law, could do with another $500 million.

A head of steam is already building around relations with Iran, which were on a reasonable footing until Trump announced he was unilaterally abrogating a vital nuclear non-proliferation treaty it had taken the West twenty years to negotiate, because, he said, it was a “terrible deal”; although it is doubtful if he has read it. It hasn’t yet been published in comic strip form.

There is no mystery why he did that: a simple soul, Trump has been easily bamboozled by the hardline prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, who has been agitating for some time for regime change in Tehran; ever since, in fact, the scruffy little oik in the waiter’s jacket, President Ahmadinejad, aiming to cement his power internally, called for Israel to be pushed into the sea.

Of course he wasn’t serious; it’s not a policy objective. He knew perfectly well, Israel has an even bigger brother armed with more than 70 thousand nuclear warheads. It was standard Islamist rhetoric to please the Ayatollahs.

“Remember when you couldn’t even manage to defeat a few peasants in flip-flop sandals?”

But Israel has always adopted a robustly paranoid view of its neighbours, and has been anxious to finagle the USA with Levantine cunning into crushing Iran before Iran could obtain its own nuclear arsenal and do a lot of damage commercially to the burgeoning Israeli offshore gas industry with its own vast reserves.

One wonders idly, what Trump would do if Iran offered to pay his $340 million debt to Deutsche Bank?

No-one seriously thinks reimposing economic sanctions leading to the collapse of the Iranian economy will result in anything other than even more hardline clerics taking over, now with the support of the people. But that’s all to the good, providing as it would, greater stimulus to the Americans to start another war in which many civilians can be killed without too much comeback from the libtards.

It wouldn’t be the first time. People forget, if they ever knew about, the sneaky invasion of Iran in 1980 by one Saddam Hussein, egged-on by the Americans, and the two million casualties that resulted before the Ayatollahs pushed him back out in a savage war of attrition. They forget, if they ever knew about, the hundreds of schoolchildren used as human minesweepers, ordered to march fearlessly through the fields to their deaths, singing patriotic songs, clearing the way for the troops to advance.

You’re going to fight that, in 50 degree heat, with your overweight, drug-addled GIs? Remember when you couldn’t even manage to defeat a few peasants in flip-flop sandals? Oh, why was that? Is it because you can’t defeat an ideology with bombs?

With hard-assed, gung-ho armchair warriors like the lunatic Bolton inside the White House, the real military sidelined, and with total ferment in Washington politics, anything could happen in the next half-hour.

And probably will.

x

Khashing in his chips

Here’s one for you conspiracy theorists to get your milk teeth into.

Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post contributor who the Turks have got on tape being tortured and murdered and cut up with a chainsaw by a hit-squad consisting of a doctor and 14 military intel goons inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, likely on the orders of the autocratic Saudi heir with terrifying eyes, Prince Mohammad bin-Salam, was the younger cousin (some say nephew) of the late Adnan Khashoggi, a billionaire arms dealer and spectacular bon viveur, who died “peacefully” in London last year, aged 81, of complications from Parkinson’s disease.

It’s not strictly accurate to describe Jamal as “a journalist”. While in exile in the US, on a residential visa, he wrote guest articles in the WaPo mildly critical of bin-Salman, whose much touted liberal reforms have been less than a layer of skin deep compared with his crackdown on businessmen, journalists, social activists and political opponents.

He was also a diplomat and businessman, with extensive contacts among the vast horde of House of Saud princelings who jockey for power in the brutal desert kingdom, where civil rights and the system of jurisprudence have barely improved since the time of Abraham.

It’s more likely he was killed for something more serious; a plot, possibly, some act of corruption, a bad business deal or a tribal feud. He was known, for instance, to have at some time or other been a supporter if not a member of the hated Muslim Brotherhood, in fact a relatively religiously liberal Islamic movement but one that Arab dictators don’t want meddling in their politics.

The family seems ill-fated: Adnan’s sister was the mother of Dodi Al-Fayed, the son of the Egyptian businessman and former owner of Harrod’s store for the very rich, in London. Dodi was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1996, along with his soon-to-be-ex-lover, Diana, “Princess of Wales, Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland...”. You certainly got your money’s worth with our Di.

Almost as many interesting theories surround that tragic event as emerged after the Kennedy assassination.

In his prime, Adnan was worth around $40 billion, supposedly, and scraped a living as an agent facilitating the sale of American arms – particularly Lockheed-Martin aircraft – to Saudi Arabia, earning fat commissions. He acted as the go-between for Oliver North in the notorious Iran-Contra affair, when lovely old Ronald Reagan secretly promised to sell arms to Iran if they kept the seige by radical students of the US Embassy in Tehran going long enough to discredit his Democrat opponent, incumbent President Jimmy Carter.

Perhaps his most famous deal was the one known as al-Yamamah, where he was allegedly paid $65 million by the Thatcher government, using her son Mark as the go-between (he has strenuously denied it), not to hand the $20 billion warplanes contract to the French Dassault company, but to favor British Aerospace. The subsequent bribery investigation by the UK Serious Fraud unit was quashed by Tony Blair, who had a thing about not upsetting murderous Arab dictators.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia are indeed the reason Donald Trump admits he is refusing to say bad things about the pragmatic bin-Salam, who was suddenly promoted over his cousin to become heir to the throne of the demented King Salmaan just a fortnight after Trump visited Riyadh in 2017, at the urging no doubt of “Friend of Israel” Jared Kushner, and continues to prosecute a genocidal war in Yemen with the help of US weapons and special forces.

Trump lies that US sales orders to SA are worth $110 billion, and so cannot be sacrificed for just one man, but that isn’t exactly true. Wikipedia has: ‘On June 5, it was reported that the arms deal consists of ‘a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts.’ On June 13, 2017, the United States Senate narrowly rejected an effort to block part of the deal and approved the sale of $500 million worth of American weapons.”

So it was half-a-percent true!

Trump’s business connections with Saudi Arabia go way back to the 1990s, when his Taj Mahal casino was going bust and he owed $900 million.

The astonishing story of how the Trumps, father and daughter, bankrupted the casino for a second time in 2009 after Trump’s friend, whom he would later appoint to a cabinet post, Carl Icahn had blown $100 million trying to rescue the business is told on http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-trump-bankrupted-the-taj-mahal-2017-5.

Trump had conned the judge at the first bankruptcy hearing into awarding him the business over Icahn, on a rescue plan that included licensing his valuable name to the casino, and then loaded the company with massive debts in the form of lucrative payments to himself and Ivanka for selling their own-branded products via “third-parties”.

Icahn would subsequently leave the Trump administration in 2018 after an illegal insider trade netted him $23 million. But he had the last laugh: “The Trump Taj Mahal eventually ended up in Icahn’s hands after the 2015 bankruptcy process, and the Trumps lost their 10% stake.”

(This is the Great Businessman the dumbfucks believe in so fervently, they’ve made a film hailing him as the new Messiah who’s going to restore morality to America. You could not make this up!)

In 1987, Adnan Khashoggi too was in a bit of financial bother – believe it or not – and had to sell his superyacht, the Nebila – at 87 meters, the biggest one in the world at that time – to the Sultan of Brunei, then the richest man in the world and a close friend of UK heir to the throne, Prince Charles, who was, of course, notoriously, married to…. Princess Diana. Adnan got nothing for it, the Sultan merely covered his debts.

The Sultan then flipped the yacht to…. one Donald J Trump, for $29 million, and Trump later sold it on to a Saudi business contact, Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, for $19 million.

A better deal was to follow. Rechristening the Nebila the Trump Princess, the Golden Wonder (despite his enormous debts) commissioned an even bigger yacht, at 125 meters to be named Trump Princess 11. Then, once work had started, he cancelled the order, forcing the builder into administration, and bought the yard cheaply. Which two months later he sold at a profit.

Never do business with Donald Trump, is my advice.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/history-of-donald-trumps-yachts-2016-11?r=US&IR=T

So when Trump told an impromptu press gathering in the Oval Office yesterday that he didn’t know about Khashoggi, he wasn’t being exactly honest. Why, he was practically a shipmate of the seafaring family. Ship ahoy!

An obituary in the New York Times (I’ve linked the Sydney Morning Herald‘s version) paints Adnan Khashoggi as just the kind of guy Trump would love to have been, if he had ever made any real money: brash, vulgar, insecure (a good Muslim, born in Mecca, he organized a continuous stream of prostitutes for himself and his guests) and astonishingly expensive. http://www.smh.com.au/national/adnan-khashoggi-saudi-arms-dealer-sold-superyacht-to-trump-20170607-gwm6pm.html

And if you think James Bond is fantasy, Adnan even employed as a bodyguard, a Korean martial arts master called Mr Kill.

So, reeling from all that – and there’s more, so much more – you might by now be thinking, perhaps Jamal Khashoggi wasn’t murdered just for writing a couple of brusque op-eds.

It seems unlikely.

 

Postscriptum: Oh God, I just stupidly wondered if the Blair business led anywhere else in this story, and Googled “Khashoggi; Murdoch”…. Don’t, whatever you do, go there, or two large men in sunglasses with a fondness for cocaine and George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President of the United States, will turn up on your doorstep, I warn you!

 

Midterm elections

Roll up, rolls down

By my calculation, from US cable TV reports, Republican states have successfully “voter suppressed” – disenfranchised – well over a million black and Latino voters, basically on obscure technicalities, with three weeks to go until the midterm elections. They haven’t necessarily told them, so thousands will turn up at the polls only to discover they’re not eligible to vote, or that the votes they cast won’t count.

Individual cases show the extent of Republican gerrymandering.

  • In Georgia, AP reports, sitting Republican candidate, State Secretary Brian Kemp has refused to relinquish control of the voter registration office, as required by law, that is holding up 53 thousand applications for new registrations, over 70% of them from black applicants. They’re now time-expired. 107 thousand more have been arbitrarily removed from the roll for failing to vote in a previous election.
  • In North Dakota, there are two wards that have Native American majorities. Because of the way elections work in the US, those wards can help to swing the state for the Democrat candidate. So the Republican State department is insisting Native Americans have to re-register, proving their ethnic status. That requires submitting a street address and zipcode, that most of them don’t have because they’re living in trailers on a reservation.
  • While in Waller County, Texas, the field director for the Democrats, Jacob Aaronowitz, was arrested and his phone confiscated after police quizzed him on his party affiliation when he turned up at the courthouse to deliver a letter requesting that judges uphold the voting rights of black students at a local university, following a long history of intimidation by the Republican administration.
  • And in Dodge City, Kansas – a town with 60% Latino population – State Secretary Kris Kobach (he of the notorious and now disbanded Trump commission on voter fraud, that couldn’t find any) has moved the only voting station that Latino citizens were previously directed to use to a location a mile outside town, and not on a bus route.

The reason being, it’s thought probable that ethnic minority, immigrant, poorer and younger voters tend to vote Democrat.

Often, it seems like Orson Welles’ Southern racialism suspense fim, ‘A Touch of Evil’, has come to life. Especially when Attorney-General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions 111 has been caught warning circuit court judges not to dare rule in suits against Daddy Trump, or parties affiliated to him, if they value their careers. It’s expected Trump will fire him after the elections. The sad little creep.

In the meantime, asked about a fresh round of Russian internet activity, that has resulted in a detailed 28-page NSA indictment of a Russian woman who is apparently in charge of the operation in St Petersburg, Trump shrugged and replied that it didn’t bother him: “It’s nothing to do with my campaign” – and suggested the Russians might be interfering on behalf of Hillary Clinton – whom he defeated in the election he won two years ago, and who is not even running for office, any more than he is.

Is the persistent refusal to engage with an enemy power in defense of the State not treason?

Lock him up!

Georgia on my mind

Further mindboggling evidence of election-rigging in Georgia has emerged from a number of articles about the curious behavior of State officials led by the Secretary of State, Brian Kemp.

Before the 2016 election, State police raided a number of properties in Brooks County, where a high proportion of black people live, and charged 11 with the crime of carrying absentee ballots to the mailbox, on behalf of disabled relatives. Together, they faced a possible 1,100 years in jail. By a strange coincidence, they were all active campaigners for the Democrats. None of the cases resulted in a conviction, after the Attorney General admitted, there was no such crime.

As if blatant intimidation of whole Democrat districts by the State police were not enough, Kemp appears to have been the one holdout State Secretary in the whole of the US, who refused to accept multiple warnings from the FBI and independent cyber security agencies in 2016, that his State’s voting machines were wide open to Russian interference and security needed beefing-up. 100 per cent of Georgia’s voter data was accessible on-line, including Social Security numbers, and was being hacked at that moment.

Kemp hit back with the now-familiar line that it was all a Democrat scare story; there were no Russians.

Following the election, investigators established that a known GRU agent, recalled Washington diplomat Dmitri Kovalev had visited a small number of states in 2016 to gain information about their voting machines, Georgia among them. Huge anomalies were found: in one county, two and a half times the number of votes were cast than there were registered voters. When the FBI requested access to investigate the database, they found it had been wiped clean.

Georgia declared for Trump by a 5-point majority that was totally unexpected in the light of polling. Kemp is running again in the midterms. He is being taken to court (again) for suppressing tens of thousands of legitimate voters, but it looks like there won’t be a verdict before the elections. (Reporting: Rachel Maddow, MSNBC)

The Republicans are blatantly stealing the election, while Trump makes valiant attempts to delegitimize any opposition to his increasingly bizarre and autocratic rule, describing ordinary Democrats – practically half the electorate – as dangerous Socialists, an “angry mob” planning to overthrow the government and take away people’s guns. (It’s called an election, Donald!)

Let’s hope those “3 to 5 million illegals” of his, that Kobach couldn’t find,  turn out again and vote.

 

Have your cake and stuff it

Living in a small provincial town, I can’t say I’d ever taken note of the existence of a chain of rather scrumptious-looking cake shops-cum-cafes called, winsomely, Patisserie Valerie, before now. We certainly haven’t got one here, which seems a shame as the overpriced, pre-sliced, dried-out cakes and muffins you get in coffee shops are pretty dreary and unimaginative. Carrot cake, anyone? Salted caramel flavor?

Sadly for Britain’s cake fiends, the chain of 206 cafes – some with different names – appears to have gone bust after a period in which its finance director was allegedly fudging the figures to keep investors happy, following their listing on the AIM market for small companies, so that no-one noticed, for instance, that they owed the tax people a million quid.

The bullet-point timeline on the BBC website tells an all-too familiar story:

  • The first Patisserie Valerie café was opened on Frith Street in London’s Soho district in 1926.
  • In 1987 the Scalzo family bought the Old Compton Street store and ran the business.
  • In 2006, Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners bought a majority stake when it had eight stores.
  • And in 2018, it’s in receivership.

(This article has been truncated following the announcement of the arrest of Finance Director Chris Marsh following the discovery of a £20 million “hole” in the accounts. It was to have gone on to observe that all too often, business owners fall into the trap – perhaps they have no other option, or are steered by accountants – of selling-out to investment trusts that have little interest in, or knowledge of how to run, their businesses, and no loyalty to the remaining stakeholders, but are only interested in extracting value. In this case I may be being unfair.)

 

The biter bit

Owing to a slump in ratings for his grotesque and repetitive, rambling and abusive speeches, and the reactions of his followers justifying the term ‘base’, Fox News has announced a decision not to air all of Trump’s weekly Nuremberg rallies in full; and some not at all.

Trump is reportedly so furious, he has called for an inquiry.

x

GW: Wandering around in circles

Call me stupid, but I’m totally baffled by the completely different pictures being created by different weather services.

Take Hurricane Leslie. This weird beast has been wandering around in the mid-Atlantic for three weeks, set fair for a record fourth week, and no-one seemed to know where it was headed. A few days ago it looked to be tracking northeastward away from the Canary Islands towards the Azores, thence to Portugal and onward possibly to the British Isles.

A huge cyclonic storm then appeared off the coast of Ireland, with a central pressure of just 952 mb, that was expected by an official website called Severe-weather.eu to drop 30 mb in an act of ‘bombogenesis’ that would bring 35-foot waves and 110 mph winds with much rain to the Emerald Isle and on into northern Britain by Friday night.

Was this Leslie, or was it not? Because as a post-Tropical Storm in the region of the British Isles, it had been christened Callum.  At one time, Severe-weather.eu was calling it both Callum and Leslie.

However, the Wunderground website, part of the US Weather Channel company, has a map showing that Leslie was on 10 October still in the region of the Canary Islands, still as a Cat 1 hurricane, weakening gradually to a Tropical Storm and turning south by Friday, back into the lonely Atlantic, and not expected to make landfall anywhere.

Both the Irish Met Office and BBC Weather service seem to have a more leisurely view of the ‘weather bomb’ that is frighteningly visible on satellite imagery off the coast of Ireland, portraying it as just a normal Atlantic front, with a forecast of ‘stormy weather’, rain and wind gusts of 65 mph in the north. (This has altered slightly with the issue of an Amber flood and wind warning for Wales, Friday.)

Meanwhile there’s a heatwave in the Arctic, torrential rainfall persisting in the eastern Mediterranean, a new Tropical Storm coming out of the Cape Verde islands, the strongest hurricane, Michael, ever recorded in the Florida panhandle, bookmatched Tropical Cyclones in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean (one headed to Oman, the other to the Ganges delta) and Hurricane Garcia in the east Pacific, expected to head inland over Baja California in the wake of last week’s Hurricane Rosa.

Oh, and: “Heatwaves and bushfires are predicted in southern Australia thanks to a 70% chance of El Niño weather conditions, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned. Although cyclones may ease up in the north by the end of the year, the outlook for drought-hit areas is not good, according to the bureau. New South Wales is declared 100 per cent droughted.” – Guardian

But don’t worry, chaps, it’s all quite normal.

Carry on burning.

Weather Report

India and Bangladesh: being ignored by Western media in the excitement over Hurricane Michael, are two intense storms – one in the Arabian Sea, Typhoon Luban – the other, Tropical Cylone Titli, just south of the Ganges Delta, an especially sensitive low-lying area with a very large population lacking any resilience to tidal surges. Both are packing sustained winds over 85 mph. There’s no word as yet on the key developments to watch for, the storm surges. (Wunderground)

“Rain from the storm started to reach the eastern coasts of India on Wednesday, and will become increasingly heavy ahead of landfall on Thursday. Conditions in general will worsen through Thursday as the potent tropical cyclone unleashes torrential rainfall and increasing winds on far northeast Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The strongest winds will likely be confined to the coasts of northeastern Andhra Pradesh and southern Odisha. Ahead of landfall, Titli is expected to strengthen to a very severe tropical cyclone, bringing sustained winds of at least 120 km/h (75 mph). This is equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane.” (1, actually. Ed.)

Already however Times of India reports 300,000 residents of Odisha state are being evacuated as windspeeds have increased to 125 km/h with gusts over 165 km/h. Given the population living in poor quality housing along the shoreline, this could be a much more serious event even than Michael.

Update: CEWN #140 has 8 dead from Titli, remarkable, given its severity. Luban’s track has veered leftwards and the bulk of the storm is expected over Yemen, Friday. Upper date: Titli total: 52.

Sri Lanka: Rain stopped play for a day in the cricket Test Match against the England tourists, frightfully inconvenient. What the BBC didn’t report: “At least 9 people have died and around 5,000 displaced after a period of heavy rain and storms which have caused flooding, landslides and wind damage. Around 1,700 homes and buildings have been severely damaged, with around 35 totally destroyed.” (Floodlist)

Oman: Luban’s track is still a little uncertain, it may affect Yemen, but more likely Oman, with 5 to 8 inches of rain: “By Friday evening, Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates are expected to be affected by heavy rain, and high winds, with sea waves reaching maximum heights of 6 to 8 metres.”

Italy: Major flash-flooding reported from Sardinia as weather system bearing intense rainfall moves westwards through the Med. (Floodlist) The Local reports, the island had an entire year’s worth of rainfall in 4 hours. 1 dead.

UK: Heavy rain from Storm Callum has caused floods across much of the southwest of England and south Wales, and is now moving up into Cumbria. The west of Ireland took a battering as the storm moved more slowly than expected up the coast.

 

Weather talk

I was just on an old Post and came across a reference to Japan, and Typhoon Talim, a Cat 4 that struck with devastating effect a little over a year ago. Many people had to be evacuated. Looking back over this year and the powerful typhoons that have battered Japan, with millions displaced, it occurred to me to write to Mr Abe to suggest that the entire population might be permanently rehoused in evacuation centres, above the tideline, to save the bother of having to move them in and out of their homes.

Seriously, these natural disasters keep happening in Japan. It must be having an effect on the economy, but no-one ever mentions it. Just as no-one ever wonders if several years of drought interrupted by typhoons and floods aren’t in any way responsible for Mr Kim’s overtures to his southern Korean neighbour. We hear little these days of the activities of al-Shabaab Islamic militias in Northern Nigeria. Could that be because vast tracts have been underwater for months, making movement difficult?

An alley between the Gulf coastal states – Texas, Louisiana, Alabama – through the midwest up to the Great Lakes, eastward to the Atlantic coast and up into Maine has been successively battered by severe storms all year, at the rate of about two a month; extreme hail and tornadoes punctuated by extreme heat fluctuating across the continent. Record winter snowfall gave way after months to record flooding, some “1-in-1000-years” floods occurring for the second time in two years. Are we to assume this and hurricanes like Maria and Michael have had no effect at all on the US economy?

For a nation whose number one topic of conversation famously used to be the weather, here in Britain we’ve become remarkably reticent about it lately. No-one looks up anymore, only down at their cellphones; where we are told nothing that might frighten us.

The IPCCress File

For the independent scientists’ reaction to the big report on climate change, go to: Arctic-news.blogspot.com. It won’t come as any surprise to BogPo readers that it includes a cogent 12-point demolition of the IPCC’s heavily downplayed conclusions. Most seriously, they accuse the committee of ignoring NASA’s data: “Records show that, in February 2016, it was on average 1.67ºC warmer than in 1900, while the higher latitudes North had anomalies up to 10.8ºC.”

 

Yellowstone News: Water and ground temperatures still rising, trees dying, earthquakes going unrecorded by USGS, the Steamboat geyser went off last Monday for the 22nd time this year (normally 1 or 2 in a whole year) equalling the previous record full year ever. Although the good news is the eruptions are getting less frequent, now every 6 days.

My chair… Widodo no Joko… GW: Rainin’ in muh heart… The Trump Prophesy.

Quote of the Week

If by passing one law we could have prevented the Holocaust, don’t you think we might have done it? Instead of having to pass laws now against those who deny it ever happened? So, why is it that we don’t have a law against climate-change deniers before the entire race is consigned to oblivion, instead of waiting to punish the wind?

– “Granny Weatherwax” (see far below for latest extreme weather updates)

 

Editor’s note: Can I just quickly explain to new readers that while we aim for a Thursday date for the BogPo and a weekend issue of the occasional Pumpkin, focussing more on US politics, we often publish early but, this being a dynamic medium in an ever-changing newsscape, the Posts go on being developed and re-edited for several days, often with images added, before and after their normal publication date. Mistakes may be corrected weeks hence… Some patience is required to deal with this stuff!

Muchas gracias, amigos. Carry on! (Keep calm…)

 

My chair

So, I have a condition that makes sitting painful, and for comfort and because the designer chair I work from has a bowed, concave base that is meant to enfold you but in practise just compresses your buttocks, I have arranged the following arrangement; namely, a sort of sandwich affair consisting of:

  • The chair base, being unashamedly faux-leather on bent ply, thinly padded with foam rubber;
  • A cushion with polyester fiber filling, to fill the hollow in the bent ply;
  • A kitchen chopping-board made from 5mm solid polyethylene, on top.

So my modern German chair, cleverly made from just two interlocking sections, shells of bent ply, more comfortable to look at than to sit in, is now both firm and yielding, and the board also makes a flatter surface whose position can be instantly adjusted to allow me to hang the painful posterior part over the back, relieving the pressure of my substantial bodyweight.  (No, it’s not hemorrhoids, or however you spell it.)

Now.

I’m one of those people who is incredibly observant, but hasn’t generally a clue what they’re looking at. I’ve been reading a book about Trump, screwing over Small Government in America; unheralded rural departments in which dedicated, real-life individuals have hit on brilliant solutions to problems, always in Eureka! moments, which might be very American but it doesn’t seem statistically likely they all did.

You know how people are, someone comes to interview them, wanting a story.

Eureka! moments, anyway, are prompted by making instant connections between observations and materials to produce something new and inventive. You see how round that straight, fallen tree trunk looks, and bingo! (sorry, Eureka!), you’ve discovered the roller.

Then someone shows you how they made a saw out of sharp pieces of flint arranged in a row, like teeth, and Shazam!, it can cut the end off your roller, and Presto!, you’ve got the wheel. A stick between two wheels becomes an axle, a platform across two axles becomes a Ford Mondeo, and so on.

So I’m looking at this makeshift arrangement of hard and yielding surfaces I’m about to sit down on, I’ve just come back from the bathroom, made a pot of coffee, thought about doing last night’s washing-up, and I put my hand down to adjust the position of the kitchen chopping board, and…

It’s hot!

It’s been about twelve minutes since I last sat on it, yet it has lost none of my body heat; indeed, it is warmer than me. The cushion beneath, too, is still warm. The room heating is not on. The cat is not curled up on it. The ad hoc solution has absorbed more kinetic energy than my body temperature has imparted to it, and is giving it up only slowly in the form of waste heat.

And I think, my God! Have I stumbled across some secret principle of materials physics that will allow me to make my fortune, even if I can’t sit down comfortably? Have I stumbled across a developable invention they could use in space, in hospital, on public transport, for people suffering with cold bottoms, something marketable like that?

And the answer comes back from my inner Tourette: I don’t bleedin’ know, do I, mate? I know fuck-all about anything. About taking ideas to market, I know even less.

Anyway, if you have to sit on a chair with a soft cushion and a breadboard to stop your catheter cutting into your prostate, it’s probably too late.

 

Widodo No Joko

I’ve just rather grudgingly and with considerable harrumph, fired off a token tenner to PayPal in response to the Indonesia tsunami appeal.

Given that the appeal by the joint charities emergency committee spoke of fifty quid feeding a family for a month (in my “family” of me, Hunzi the dog and Katz the cat it lasts about two days, such is the price of our “cheap” food), I guess my generous donation isn’t going to go far.

I’ve seen the photos, the coverage, from which it was rather obvious to me, an old bloke in a chair untroubled by geophysical forces, from the beginning that this was going to be more than just yer average M7.5 (probably nearer 8) quake, of which we’ve had more than our usual share globally this year, thanks to the Grand Solar Minimum, or something – I haven’t quite grasped the science yet.

But it’s not the lateness of the appeal coming on top of the slowness of the relief effort that has grumped my ire.

Indonesia is a wealthy nation, that can easily afford to fix this disaster without my help. The ever-helpful Wikifolk write:

“The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin, copper and gold. Agriculture mainly produces rice, palm oil (Boo! Ed.), tea, coffee, cacao, medicinal plants, spices and rubber. Indonesia’s major trading partners are China, the United States, Japan, Singapore and India. … Indonesia’s economy is the world’s 16th largest by nominal GDP and the 7th largest by GDP at PPP” (Purchasing Power Parity – see British food prices for pensioners, above).

Maybe their trading partners include the EU? My other pair of shoes claim they were made in Indonesia. And of course, after Brexit, the sky’s the limit. But they seem pretty well set up, and could certainly do better at rescuing their own people, were it not for certain historical anomalies.

Occupied mainly by the Dutch and then the Japanese, Indonesia has an unfortunate post-colonial, postwar history of pervasive corruption, sectarian conflict, brutal suppression of secessionist movements, religious intolerance and environmental mismanagement (including the shoe industry) on a horrific scale.

If they were not so busy building six-star Trump-branded leisure centers with two golf courses, that only the military and business elites can benefit from, and maintaining a large army whose sole function appears to be engaging in the genocide of their own minorities, they might possibly afford to employ their own disaster relief agency, given the frequency and scale of the disasters that inevitably result from their location along the geologically unstable so-called “Ring of Fire” – a legacy of the origin story of the Pacific ocean, scooped out in a cosmic collision.

Admittedly it can’t be easy, governing a republic consisting of so many thousands of islands and many mini-nation states.

But it’s so easy for the so-called emerging nations to blame their current mismanagement on past colonial tropes. “Oh, the fact that I’ve stuffed so much cash creamed from logging concessions into my Swiss bank account and had to spend so much on beautiful weapons to defend me against my own people (and those brutes next door!) is all the fault of the (tick which rapacious European nation) who ravished us until I liberated y’all thirty-five years ago and therefore deserve to be made disgustingly rich forever”, is not really good enough.

That this shemozzle is largely the furtive creation of the American Empire and its corporate clients doesn’t help improve or excuse their image, in my estimation.

My £10 is not really going to feed and clothe and rehouse anyone. I know that, but I know that sending it will boost my dharma a notch. It’s propping up a regime which, admittedly better than the horrors of the Suharto years, “Mr Ten Percent” as he was known, is nevertheless still privately benefiting from illegal logging, the burning of forest for palm oil plantations (remember two years ago, the pall of choking smog that hung for weeks over millions of square miles of the SW Pacific?), the extinction of our cousins, the engaging Orang-utan, and the illegal wildlife trade.

So here’s ten quid from a British pensioner, Mr Joko. I hope it helps.

And thanks for the shoes.

Postscriptum: 08 Oct, Widodo has ordered all non-Indonesian NGOs to pull their people out, saying he can take care of it. Hundreds of bodies are said to remain buried in the mud and rubble.x

x

Michael upgraded to a Cat 4, 150 miles off the Florida coast, 10 Oct. (NOAA)

GW: Rainin’ in muh heart

USA: With 175 mph central winds, Category 4 Hurricane Michael intensified unusually rapidly over 30-degree waters and, moving rapidly, crossed the coast between Pensacola and Apalachicola today, Wednesday 11 Oct, as the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Florida panhandle/Big Bend area, carrying up to 12-in rain and pushing a 4-metre storm surge ashore. It was the third strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the USA. 20 million people are in its path. Evacuation warnings issued to 370 thousand, many are ignoring them. (basically Wunderground/BBC News)

And don’t look now, but as Michael heads northeastward still as a Cat 2 over Georgia and the Carolinas, bringing down trees and causing extensive flooding, after weakening to a TS it will become a “powerful post-tropical storm” again out over the Atlantic, on a trajectory that, with the Coreolis effect, could bring it to northern Europe in about a week.

Update: Thursday’s dawn reveals the seaside town of Mexico Beach, pop. 1,200, at the epicenre of the storm, gone. Razed to the ground, and not even rubble left, all washed away. That’s what a 155 mph Cat 4 can do to your community. News is awaited of the 200 souls who declined to evacuate. 11 are known to have died, including 4 in Virginia, but the death toll is expected to rise substantially, according to FEMA, as rescuers reach outlying communities. (New York Times)

It never rains in Arizona, so watch as idiots in Phoenix try to drive in three feet of water and have to be rescued. Tropical Storm, formerly Hurricane Rosa carved her way across Baja California northeastwards, to be replaced shortly by on-off Hurricane Garcia, on the same NW track.

In a neat reversal, a sloppy jetstream has brought freezing conditions to the northwestern US, while it’s unseasonally warm in the east. In Canada, Calgary shivered in a heavy snowstorm said to be “unprecedented” for early October. Nearly half a meter fell, four times the average for the whole of October. Concerns later turned to possible flooding as it all melted again.

Pacific: Cat 5 Typhoon Kong-Rey weakened over cooler waters before slamming into S Korea, killing 2. The remnant storm was heading for Japan. Cat 5 Typhoon Walaka was done to death by wind shear a few hundred miles from Hawaii, without making landfall. (Wunderground)

Mexico: Vila de Alvarez in Colime province experienced torrential rain and flash-flooding. In the rest of central America at least 12 people have died in floods and landslides brought on as Topical Storm Michael gears up for its assault on the US mainland, while on the western side, former Hurricane Garcia has been making its presence known.

Europe: Southern Italy and Sicily saw some very bad weather with flash flooding last week, thanks to another Medicane that formed over the Tyrrhenian Sea, moving eastwards. The continent is experiencing something of a late heatwave. The BBC has actually reported a flooding event: a devastating flash flood killed 5 people (10 missing) on the island of Majorca, Spain, Tuesday – among them a British couple drowned in a taxi. 7 inches of rain fell in 2 hours, according to one report, cutting off the town of Sant Llorenc des Cardassar in the east. (Mirror).

Jam today… a multi-car pileup on Majorca after 7 in rain falls in 2 hours. (Mirror)

For the UK: “Very deep cyclone Callum is expected to travel just west of Ireland and Scotland and result in extremely severe winds, locally in excess of 110 mph. Major waves are expected along the coasts.” (Severe-weather.eu) This thing (Should we call it an Atlanticane?) is packing potentially 5 or more inches of rain and 35-foot waves. In the meantime, we have a mini-heatwave, with temps in the low 20s C, 70-ish F or even higher in the south.

Note: while BBC weather is downplaying the event as a bit of stormy weather, Severe-weather.com has: “Several vorticity maxima will be embedded in the broad circulation where one intense core develops an explosive cyclone SW of British Isles. Its central pressure will likely deepen for more than 30 mbar in less than 24 hours, which means we are likely looking at a so-called ‘bombogenesis’ – a cyclone that rapidly deepens in very short period of time.”

Australia: overall, it was the driest September on record, and the second driest of any month in the last 116 years. Some rain has brought a little relief to New South Wales, in its 7th year of severe drought. Record rainfall fell on Sydney.

An Australian government minister has commented that they’re not going to give up their commitment to coal-fired power stations just because of “some report from somewhere”, by which the ignorant digger dismisses the IPCC conspectus he hasn’t read, that has otherwise gained worldwide attention for the final urgency of its warnings about CO2 emissions.

If by passing one law we could have prevented the Holocaust, don’t you think we might have done it? Instead of having to pass laws against those who deny it ever happened? So, why is it that we don’t have a law against climate-change deniers before the entire race is consigned to oblivion, instead of waiting to punish the wind?

Iran: 9 dead in northern floods. Much infrastructure, housing damage. 1,400 rescued.

Up in the Arctic, while cold air spills out over Canada and the northwestern US, a plume of warm air has replaced it, entering the region through the Bering Strait as far as the pole. Temperature anomalies over 1980-2010 average are as high as 20C in places, including central Greenland. The heatwave is affecting the whole of Scandinavia and northwestern Russia too, while an arctic plume has settled over Siberia.

In some ways delaying the formation of the winter icepack is good, because it means not so much heat is getting trapped under the ice, possibly destabilizing methane hydrates on the seabed.

The latest edition of Arctic News reports, current CO2 and methane emissions are totally inconsistent with 1.5 to 2 degrees and in line with projections of runaway 10C warming by 2030.

(All the uncrediteds above: Climate and Extreme Weather News #139, 01-08 October)

 

The Trump Prophesy

Honest to whatever, I’m not making this up.

The Guardian reports, US cinemas are screening a movie about a fireman with PTSD, to whom God appeared, prophesying the new Messiah – Donald Trump. “Between graphic nightmares featuring demonic monsters and hellish flames, Taylor received a message from God in April 2011, while he was surfing television channels.”

Apparently, according to the makers, the senile pussy-grabbing, money-grubbing (and laundering), wife-and-business-cheating, six-times bankrupt, tax-evading, serial-lying, bullying, blackmailing, delusionary sociopathic narcissist and former teenage model agency owner with incestuous longings for his own daughter, Trump has been sent by God to restore America’s moral values!

“He may not be perfect, nobody is”, opined one female member of the entirely conservative Christian audience. Trump’s appeal to women voters is one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Maybe it’s his little button-mushroom that makes them feel maternal.

According to the man, Taylor, various miracles will come to pass: Trump will serve a second term. A Red Tide will sweep away the Democrats. Abortion will be outlawed. “Barack Obama will be charged with treason and Trump will authorise the arrest of thousands of corrupt officials, many of whom are part of a massive satanic paedophile ring. Trump will also force the release of cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s that are currently being withheld by the pharmaceutical industry.”

About 1,200 cinemas across the US were screening The Trump Prophecy on Tuesday and Thursday this week, largely to empty seats.

We all know, there’s a huge swathe of middle America that has gone batshit crazy, living in a parallel universe. If the world ends tomorrow, it’ll be because of them. But that’s what they want, to meet their invisible friend in the sky.

So why don’t the massive lunatics just do a Jim Jones and swallow poison? Why do our children and grandchildren have to die too, just to satisfy their selfish and delusionary cravings?

God help the rest of us.