“New technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse.”
– Amazon’s philosophy, regarding its sales of a facial recognition app to the Surveillance State.
As people old enough to remember life under Nazi occupation die off, younger generations feel no connection with the 1930s and ’40s, no sense of alarm.
Did Hitler win after all?
The most astonishing abuses of local government and state powers across what used to be the more civilized, welcoming and moderate countries in Europe are revealed today in a major report from Open Democracy.
What is your reaction, for instance, to the news that a 71-year-old woman in France was arrested, held in a cell for 24 hours, charged with people trafficking and CONVICTED after stopping her car and giving a lift to a weary mother and her child on the road from Nice to Antibes? Oh, because the passengers happened to be undocumented African migrants.
Or that, in Greece, the cradle of modern civilization, ha-ha, a retired German couple were sentenced to 16 YEARS in prison after they stopped their boat to rescue some refugees? Mercifully the sentence was reduced on appeal to just 3.5 YEARS.
Or that a British volunteer, Tom Ciotkowski, 30, is facing up to 5 YEARS in jail in France, merely for filming another volunteer at the Jungle camp in Calais being pushed to the ground and kicked by police, the criminal charges being “contempt” (of the police? You have to be kidding, monsieur!) and “showing solidarity” with illegal immigrants?
Hundreds of people ranging from Christian pastors and elderly academics to journalists, charity volunteers and even firemen are being harrassed and detained by immigration and law enforcement – I won’t call them officers, they’re just goons, hired thugs in it for the joy of exercising their own base brutality, the sexual thrill of wearing the uniform and the celebration of hate-filled ignorance – for helping the helpless. Laws are being passed, that are in direct opposition to years-old United Nations conventions.
In Hungary, under the autocrat Orban, it’s now a criminal offence even for lawyers to advise immigrants and refugees of their legal rights – of which, it seems, they no longer have any. In Greece and Italy, people have been arrested just for having phone contact with migrant support groups. A team of Spanish firefighters who went to Lesbos as volunteers to help with search and recovery operations were arrested, threatened with up to 10 years in gaol, heavily fined and themselves deported.
Simple acts of Christian charity and compassion are being criminalised as a wave of enthusiastic, racially-based proto-fascism sweeps across a continent deprived of aspiration by a ruling coterie of neoliberal meritocrats. This is not something confined to “far off countries of which we know little”. The editor of Marie Claire magazine in Belgium was charged with people smuggling after feeding and giving clothes to a Sudanese teenager hoping to get to the UK. She was subsequently acquitted, but the signal had been sent, in a small, recently invented country with a history of the worst colonial human rights abuses of all:
No more brown people.
And here, too, thanks to the sociopathic vicar’s daughter Theresa May, and her “hostile environment” policy, no kindness or act of caring will go unpunished. The Guardian reported (29 April, 2019):
“A man who brought his (7-month-old) baby niece to Britain in the back of his car from a French refugee camp after she suffered serious burns is facing deportation from the UK on Tuesday. Najat Ibrahim Ismail, 35, an Iraqi Kurd with a British wife and three young British children, was prosecuted for trafficking.”
His deportation flight was halted on the runway after a public outcry, even the judge who gave him that critical 12-month sentence (it’s the automatic deportation cutoff point) accepted he hadn’t been trafficking, but he is still under threat of being separated from his British family and sent back to God knows what; having been admitted in the first place only because he’d been tortured in his own country – a country which, incidentally, we invented, depriving his people of their own statehood.
This is what now passes for British justice, that we can’t even tolerate compassion towards babies while denying our guilt for creating this situation in the first place.
The BogPo has argued before, the UK Home Office is not fit for purpose. Clumsy, cynical, expensive, illegal and too often lethal mistakes are being made now on an almost daily basis in its Immigration department. Thousands of people – not only brown people, but legally settled white EU citizens – are having their lives turned upside down and their rights trashed by harsh and often incorrect decisions, seemingly made by overworked, harrassed and incompetent officials.
No-one will convince me this chaos is accidental. With the financial support of foreign disruptors, it is being promoted by political chancers like Johnson and Farage. The nightmare is, millions of voters support them – not because they are good leaders with policies that will make life better for millions, but because they are celebrities, entertainers one step removed from standup comedians “as-seen on TV!”.
As with Trump, the dumbfucks don’t care whatever else he does, fiddles his taxes, endlessly lies about everything, tears up treaties, abuses the powers of his office to obstruct justice and line his pockets, pardons racists and pedophiles and persecutes “foreigners”, they merely see him as “different” and hang on his every garbled word, because he had a third-rate TV show where he was encouraged to play the part of a successful billionaire, the embodiment of the American dream; and because he promised them an American “earth” he knew he couldn’t possibly deliver.
Well, without wishing to make a direct comparison, Adolf Hitler was “different” too. It takes a huge inversion of logic to vote for someone who so clearly doesn’t have your best interests at heart, merely because they’re not the people you voted for last time, whom you are easily persuaded (without a great deal of knowledge of the facts) haven’t served you very well. And they probably haven’t, but is a total phony like Nigel Farage going to do better?
A filthy cloak of barbarism is descending over Europe once again. As people old enough to remember life under Nazi occupation and the vast sacrifice it took to end it die off, younger generations feel no connection with the 1930s and ’40s, no sense of alarm.
They see no parallels between the street-scumbag rhetoric, say, of a Matteo Salvini, Pretty-boy Wilders or Jorg Heider; even of that self-pitying criminal midget calling himself “Tommy Robinson”, and the parade of squalid villains of the murderous decades of fascist regimes founded on licensed brutalities and a too-easily manufactured hatred of The Other.
If you support any of this, just answer me one question.
Why are you so willing to be taken advantage of, again?*
*Actually, there’s no need to answer that. The fascination of fascism is not the obvious lie that it will “end corruption” – it is the very essence of corruption – and make everyone great again, as if they were ever great in the past – but that it puts a malign power directly into the hands of those who are most willing to wield it against their fellow men.
It’s the religion of psychopathy.
And whither the UK?
What will Britain do if America decides to bomb or invade Iran, merely to fulfil a 20-year ambition on the part of the “retread neoconservative”, the insane Irish war hawk (who has never served in anything more impressive or risky than the National Guard) John Bolton, and possibly bolster Trump’s re-election prospects by being seen to take tough action against an imaginary threat, although polls show another foreign war is not yet supported by his dumbfucks?
Well, the Tories always do well out of wars, and pathetic Labour are invariably split over whether to support them or to risk the opprobrium of the Daily Mail.
Anyway, I fear we have the answer. From a Guardian/Observer piece by Simon Tisdall, 19 May:
“Memories of the Iraq fiasco may have influenced Major-General Chris Ghika, the British deputy commander of the coalition against Isis, when he was asked about the American claims last week. “There’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” he said. Since Ghika is based in Baghdad, he might be expected to know best.
“That did not stop the Pentagon issuing an extraordinary rebuttal, saying the general’s comments “run counter to the identified credible threats”. In another echo of Iraq, the British government caved in to US pressure and disowned Ghika the following day, saying that it fully agreed with Washington’s threat-level assessment.”
Lies, lies, and more fucking lies. We’re always taken to war by tiny people: failed politicians on the backs of lies. Even the Pentagon doesn’t agree with these phony security assessments, but who are they to know better than the trio of feral hacks who have seized power in Washington, and who only have the template of the successful 2003 invasion of Iraq to guide them into another murderous 15-year-long debacle on behalf of Raytheon, Boeing and the US arms industry?
Christ, what a bunch of evil fuckers the Trump crew are. Who in God’s name is letting them get away with this crazy shit?
Meanwhile, world oil prices are rising rapidly as a result of American belligerence towards Iran, Venezuela and Libya. OPEC countries are delighted, as US overproduction had depressed prices and was causing economic damage to producers like Saudi Barbaria, who need a higher price to balance their budget. Mr Trump will not be happy, as he has assured his dumbfucks of permanent cheap gasoline to fuel their SUVs. On the other hand, whose fault is it? He knows nothing whatever about the economics of trade, and will not be told.
“As one British minister said this week, ‘The risk of this proving unmanageable and blowing up in our faces is growing'” (The Guardian, 19 May).
The daily average CO₂ level recorded by NOAA at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, on May 15, 2019, was 415.64 ppm, with some hourly measurements over 417 ppm. It’s been climbing during the month and may well exceed 420 ppm by next spring. Super-greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide (N20) are giving even more cause for concern. Arctic sea ice was at a record mid-April low extent, with virtually no ‘old ice’ more than 2 years old left, indicating rapid thinning. (edited from Arctic News)
April 2019 globally was the second warmest on record (NOAA).
GW: Pick me up, put me down, spin me round and round
USA: In what The Weather Channel‘s Bob Henson reports is a “highly unusual for late May”, volatile situation, the chain of violent supercell storms that has plagued the southwestern states from Texas up into the Great Lakes almost weekly for the past three months and created the worst flooding since 1927 shows no sign of stopping. More than 40 powerful tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska yesterday, staff at a tornado warning center had to take refuge in the basement as one formed right over their office. And the forecast for tomorrow, Monday 20 May, is worse, with very strong winds a feature!
“A powerful squall line continued to wreak havoc as it moved into Missouri and Arkansas on Saturday afternoon and evening. High winds and heavy rains will be the main threat, but hail and tornadoes are possible. Severe weather should be more muted on Sunday, but bands of storms capable of severe wind and hail will rumble from the Mississippi Valley up to Michigan and across to western Pennsylvania and New York by evening.” Flood warnings too: up to another 6-in. of rain is forecast on already saturated ground.
New York state governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency in 8 counties and put the National Guard on standby as the water level of Lake Ontario edges within millimetres of an all-time high. (The Weather Channel)
Meanwhile, with a fortnight to go before the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, one may be forming east of the Bahamas. “As of Saturday, odds were close to 50-50 for development next week of each of a pair of tropical cyclones, one in the Atlantic and the other in the Eastern Pacific (off the coast of Mexico).”
Tuesday 21 May: The Atlantic tropical storm now has a name, Andrea, but it’s heading into cooler waters and with strong wind shear is expected to dissipate. It’s set a record however for the number of named storms to form before the official start to the season. All in the past 5 years…. (The Weather Channel).
Paraguay: 16 people are feared drowned after extensive flooding covered large areas of the country. Over 60 thousand families have been affected and the Paraguay River stands almost two meters above its critical level. 700 people have been evacuated in Argentina, where over 600 thousand Ha of crops have been lost to floods. (Floodlist)
Europe: States of emergency have been declared in Bosnia and Croatia after storm-force winds and torrential rain caused extensive damage and rivers to reach red alert levels. “Houses and crops have been damaged in affected areas, and power and water supply severely disrupted. Flooding and landslides have blocked several roads and some schools have been closed.” At least 1 person, a child, is feared drowned. The city of Banja Luca received 111mm of rain in a 48 hour period. Heavy rain in northern Italy over the last few days has caused rivers to break their banks and reactivated a landslide in the Veneto region. (Floodlist) More severe storms and high winds are forecast for southeastern and eastern Europe over the coming days. (Severe-weather.eu)
UK: Overnight rain has helped firefighters to to dampen down two wildfires that have destroyed thousands of acres of moorland in Scotland. A woman has been arrested in connection with a large fire on Ilkley Moor, in Yorkshire. Otherwise where your old Granny is, it’s all still unusually agreeable.
Antarctica: A major study of 20 years of satellite data has shown that the Antarctic glaciers are thinning five times as fast as was thought. In places, over 100 metres of ice thickness has been lost, with melting extending up to 300 miles inland. A report in Guardian Green Light quotes the research team: “A complete loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet would drive global sea levels up by about 5 metres, drowning coastal cities around the world. The current losses are doubling every decade and sea level rise is running at the extreme end of projections made just a few years ago.”