“There was one high-profile politician Trump did meet, and that was Brexit party leader and ‘pug who just heard your car in the driveway’, Nigel Farage.”
– Stephen Colbert, The Late Show
The Editor Speaks
To avoid death by suicide or apoplexy, your Uncle Bogler has spent a week totally cut off from all sources of news of Mr Trump’s State visit to Britain, including the internet. Hence the lack of forward progress with this latest Post. It appears that nothing much happened, other than Trump amplifying Ambassador Johnson’s threats (and Nigel Farage’s plans) to carve up and sell off the NHS to US corporations after Brexit, which I believe many people voted for, as reported below.
One hour later…. Unfortunately, I have just skipped over as a matter of lazy habit to the cable news channels on YouTube, to discover among other horrors that Trump gave an interview to Fox News, in front of a background of 6000 gravestones of fallen US troops who died in the D-Day landings, in which the bloated coward used his State visit as the President of the United States to vilify the highly respected Purple Heart decorated Marine, Robert Mueller 111, as a “fool”, again insulted Democratic front-runner Joe Biden as “low IQ” and referred to “Nasty Nancy” Pelosi, then tweeted out that the actress Bette Midler was a “washed-up psycho”, before going on to meet the Irish Prime minister today – where he first demanded the meeting should be held prominently at his own, heavily loss-making and in need of expensive repair, Doonbeg Castle golf resort, before huffily agreeing to the VIP lounge at Shannon airport.
Why any international leaders who aren’t themselves filthy murdering scumrats should invite this diseased sonofabitch to visit them is beyond me. He leaves a radioactive orange slug trail wherever he heaves his rotting carcass.
Dammit, here we go again. I have to stop watching this stuff.
How bloody naive can you be?
A new poll is giving Nigel Farage and his Brexit party of inexperienced misfits, hacks, buffoons and chancers the lead among intending voters at the next General Election, which could come as soon as October.
That would make Farage Britain’s Prime Minister. Are you Leavers comfortable with that?
Well, don’t say you weren’t warned.
“Woody Johnson, who is a close friend of the US president, said every area of the UK economy would be up for discussion when the two sides brokered a trade deal.
“Asked if the NHS would be likely to form part of trade negotiations, Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I think the entire economy, in a trade deal, all things that are traded would be on the table.” Asked if that specifically meant healthcare, he said: ‘I would think so.'”
Mr Johnson is already on record as saying we will also have to accept American bullying to impose the US’s lower food and other product safety standards on British consumers.
But the poll thinks you’re going to vote for that at a General Election. Are you sure it’s what you want? Because it’s what Farage wants you to have.
A one-issue party in government, with no plan to end austerity and restore local services, fix our broken schools, end dependence on food banks? Not at all! Mr Farage has the following brilliant ideas for you and me:
1 Marketisation of the NHS to lead to a private insurance-based system, along US lines. Farage is on record as saying:
“‘I think we’re going to have to think about healthcare very, very differently. I think we are going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare.’
“’Frankly, I would feel more comfortable that my money would return value if I was able to do that through the market place of an insurance company.'”
Note that: “Return value” – not “make people better”, make money out of the health service. Make insurance companies richer. You can invest in shares with an insurance company, make a profit. You can’t make a profit out of doctors and nurses.
2 Unemployed people would be employed to “sweep the streets” (thereby putting employed street-sweepers out of work!) As if the social system is not already broken by nine years of Tory austerity. As if the streets wouldn’t be cleaner if local authorities hadn’t been robbed of £100s of millions.
3 The BBC should not be completely dismantled but slimmed down to concentrate on radio rather than television (i.e. not compete with Disney-owned Sky and Netflix?). The BBC originated television in this country and has consistently provided a world-leading service. But Farage and his pals in the city don’t make money out of it, so it’s got to go.
Are you sure this is what you want to vote for?
4 Employee rights and protections won under the EU, such as maternity leave, that are “a problem” for small firms, should be swept away.
Small businesses employ 53 percent of the workforce. Over 99 percent of employing organizations are small businesses and more than 95 percent of these businesses have fewer than 10 employees (YouGov). That’s a lot of people’s rights gone, maybe yours – and there’s no evidence workers’ rights harm business, the small business sector has grown hugely, even with the new “living wage”.
Of course, there are the new employment opportunities afforded by US corporations like Amazon, Uber, Deliveroo. They’d be delighted if they could make conditions even more horrible for British workers.
5 Ban universities from running degree courses in European languages, philosophy and politics. That’s how much Nigel hates the whole business of Europe, to a pathological degree, although he has been making a nice living out of the EU for over 20 years. I expect it was because of his German wife.
Now, the reason for showing you the quote from the US Ambassador is simply this:
Before his arrival for his State visit, Mr Trump told UK newspapers owned by the Murdochs – the only press he will talk to – that he thinks we should leave the EU in October “with or without a deal”. If you can’t get a good deal, the President said (this is the man who had a book ghost-written for him, The Art of the Deal, claiming he was the world’s greatest deal-maker), then you should walk away. Some deal!
He completely refuses to understand the complicated nature of the beneficial relationships we have negotiated over the years – the deal we had – within the EU. It doesn’t concern him, as long as he and his friends can count on profiting from chaos.
For instance, there’s an American company, an investment management company – a hedge fund, which means they bet their investors’ money they can make the market go up or down and either way they win – called Blackstone, that last year paid £1.5 billion to buy up Network Rail’s property beneath railway arches. I couldn’t figure that one out, were they going to charge tramps for sleeping there? – until last week, when it was reported that rents for small businesses operating out of premises under railway arches were going up by as much as 85%.
Blackstone CEO, Steve Schwartzman, is a friend of Trump’s and an informal White House consultant on business strategy, who is on record as saying his $300 billion company profits from the market uncertainties caused by… e.g., “Brexit”.
I put it to you, that sort of behaviour by rapacious US corporations is going to destroy more small British businesses than maternity leave rights.
I wonder, is Trump thinking of making Ambassador Johnson even richer by negotiating a trade deal with Britain on US terms, for instance handing the NHS over to rapacious US insurance companies? Five of the Top 20 biggest companies in the USA are health insurers, while tens of millions of ordinary Americans can’t afford the kind of health cover we take for granted. Not even for sick kids.
You see, socialised medicine is for everyone, not just for the rich.
Ambassador Johnson, a billionaire, is in the health products business. Except that his company is being sued by thousands of people over poor safety standards and high-pressure selling of deadly addictive painkillers that are killing 50 thousand Americans a year.
And after spending months pulling the rug from under Theresa May, who he sees as weak on Brexit, Mr Trump, who is best friends with another healthcare billionaire, Dick DeVos, and made his unqualified wife Betsy Education Secretary – she doesn’t believe in public education either, incidentally, and wants to teach Creationism in schools – but they do own ten yachts between them – says he would like to see Boris Johnson as Prime Minister (although it’s none of his business).
And having previously suggested we make him our Ambassador to Washington, he now thinks we should make Nigel Farage our chief Brexit negotiator in Europe. You and I know that is a huge joke, but Mr Trump knows so little about it that he probably thinks he is being serious, or is hoping that lazy and incompetent motormouth Farage will blow up the whole thing for him.
Why is that, why those two – because they will be good for Britain?
No, it’s because they will do his bidding. And there is a strong suspicion that Mr Trump is in turn doing Mr Putin’s bidding. Mr Putin also wants to breakup the European Union, weaken NATO and other things Mr Trump seems to be working towards.
Do you see where this is going?
They are tools of the US administration. And no-one has been able to find out who has been bankrolling the Leave.EU and now the Brexit campaigns. They won’t say, but investigators have followed the trail abroad. To ultra-rightwing Christian groups in the USA and in Russia, who are pouring millions of dollars into far-right parties in Europe, and into getting Trump re-elected.
You voted, perhaps without realising, in the European elections to make Britain effectively the 51st State of the United States of America, at a time when that country too is in political turmoil created by ultra rightwing groups, its leaders pushing for what they hope will be profitable wars with Iran, with China, with oil-rich Venezuela, that we risk being dragged into with no say in the matter.
You voted, perhaps without realising, to give American Big Business and the US military control of our country. And you’re planning to do it again, the polls say – only in the very much more serious context of a UK Parliamentary election.
Why, because Nigel, the millionaire former dealer with failed US fund manager Drexel, Burnham, Lambert* is a good bloke, “one of us”? Because you can trust him to do the right thing, take back control?
How bloody naive can you be?
*3 May 2015 – “Aged 18, I worked for an old English company that was a subsidiary of the famous US investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert…” wrote Farage, desperately distancing himself from a business that was wound up in 1990 amid serious allegations of fraud and insider dealing.
“Should we just accept, we are turning into data … making something less than human of us all?”
Yes, but have you thought about…?
So I kickstarted my li’l laptop this a.m., like I have to do because the instant it goes into Sleep mode you can’t wake it up again, the only way is the time-honoured “switch it off and on again” method. I’m no expert, but I think it might be the legacy of a sugary drink spilled a few weeks ago, as the key still seems a bit crunchy.
And the instant I clicked on my usual Firefox browser in the taskbar (see, how well I am mastering all this technical bullshit!) a window or whatever opened up with a plaintive request from Adblock-plus for a donation to the cause.
I did in fact not long ago send them twenty-five quid, I’m sure it was them, as I’m really grateful to them for sparing me the annoyance of receiving wibbly-wobbly “look at me!” messages from advertisers hoping to sell me the very thing I just bought last night, while mildly drunk.
But they seem to have forgotten who I am.
Having worked in the ad business for a few years and owned my own agency, I like to think I’m pretty well immune to the blandishments of advertisers. I can smugly sit here thinking, in the words of that catchphrase of some old Scots comedian whose name has completely gone, “aye, ye’ll be wastin’ yer time!”
But I do spend quite a bit of money up the Amazon – I’d love a competitor to start up, called Orinoco, only Bezos doesn’t allow it – as a result of following suggestions they’ve made for companion stuff, as it seems like it’s my choice to go along with the logic of it.
It probably isn’t, but as we’re talking music, mainly, it’s fine, it’s not a ruinously expensive weakness. It’s often helpful info about recordings I didn’t know about, that fit my collection. And I rarely buy a CD – yes, I still use CDs, unlike streamers “They” can’t tell when you’re playing one offline (except it might be they can!) without looking into it, listening to it – I’ll often go over onto YouTube and decide before clicking on One-stop.
(Incidentally, beware 5-star reviews with overenthusistic comments acclaiming the genius of the performer and the indubitable superiority of the work over everything else, ever. You may be disappointed to be hearing it from the performer’s agent).
Anyway, the point I wanted to make was a different one; one I have complained about frequently, being a gummy old groaner.
Just last evening I posted a Comment on a YouTube thread beneath some music, that had somehow got onto the problem of ad-blocking.
Someone had complained about too many annoying ads interrupting music videos, someone else had pointed out you can block them, someone else had said that was ‘demonetizing’ musicians – is that fair to say? Surely it’s Alphabet that makes the money, and the content providers, or ‘thieves’ as they used to be known, not the musicians?
And I belatedly interrupted this year-old debate by pointing out that I use Adblock-plus, and if you wanted the channel to benefit from advertising, blocking it would not make the slightest difference to their revenue, as the ad is still running underneath, but if you really wanted to, you could always turn it off for just that one page.
And the first people to contact me next day – Adblock-plus. Well, well. Coincidence, no doubt.
Except that I’ve been looking at shoes.
I don’t think I’ve looked online, but I might have. Or I might have mentioned it to myself somewhere, perhaps here on muh li’l bogl, or was I just musing aloud to myself? They follow you everywhere, even into the darkest recesses.
I own about six pairs, and over time the laces have frayed or snapped or extended loopily on all but one pair, not the most leisurely of them, that I’m having to trail through the mud, and I’ve been meaning to pop into a shop and buy a pair of deck shoes or something less formal, and maybe some laces.
Anyway, I was just browsing an ad in a printed magazine for older readers, such as myself, wondering if I can spare sixty-four quid for some quite smart deck shoes down to half-price.
As previously explained, I came down to muh li’l laptop and switched it off and on again and somehow found a way to get rid of the Adblock-plus window, that came without a little X in the corner (see how they don’t like it when you do it to them!).
Next, I had to excise layer upon layer of cheery messages from Firefox, demanding that I open an account (I thought I already had, otherwise they wouldn’t be sending me messages begging me to download their upgrade) – I was mildly drunk last night and had finally agreed to the upgrade – and worked out how, but not why, they had jumbled everything up on the desktop, and left all my thumbnails linking to frequently used websites in a different order.
So then, first things first, emails – Googlemail, stupidly – and sitting there on top, was an uninvited ad for…. comfortable deck shoes (Adblock-Plus doesn’t yet block text ads on Googlemail. That would be a plus).
Bad news for the advertiser, I immediately deleted it out of fear. I refuse to be treated like this.
By some wonderful serendipity, there’s an article in today’s Observer, or as our most venerable title dating from the C18th may one day soon be renamed, Sunday Guardian, the paper version reduced to tabloid size (benefiting from synergies, naturally), pointing users to a browser called DuckDuckGo, that claims not to have advertisers following you around everywhere, reading your thoughts.
It’s tempting, but I seem to be entirely enmeshed in Google this, and Google that, a sticky web of links and cross-platformings, and wondered, without benefit of a resident teenager, if it is actually possible to make oneself entirely a free agent ever again?
Google is like cancer, once it gets hold of you it springs up everywhere, cynically mutating your cells.
Can it be successfully cut out, or will it simply metastasize elsewhere in the body Bogler? Should we just accept, we are turning into data – just as ingesting all these plastics nanoparticles from the air, the water, the beer and the food is making something less than human of us all?
Answers on the usual digital postcard below, please.
You Barbie, Me Ken
We are certainly turning into plastics. Guardian Green Light reports research findings that the average human ingests 50 thousand plastics microparticles every year. No-one knows what the effect might be, although it has been suggested that these particles can transport harmful viruses.
I’m not sure also if we might excrete quite a lot of it, or whether it stays in the body, mutating our cells.
GW: washin’ out me smalls
It appears there’s been quite a bit of action on the old extreme weather front while I’ve been on a quiet reading holiday in my own living-room, listening to the rain teeming down outside. Floods even in Libya! I am as usual indebted to Floodlist – funded by the EU Copernicus project – for many of the following items; and would again issue a plea to the vanished blogger of Climate and Extreme Weather News – come back! We need you now:
Mexico: “At least 5 people have died and more are missing after raging floods swept a deluge of mud, logs and debris through the town of San Gabriel in Jalisco state on 02 June.” It appears there was no rain locally – illegal logging and burning has denuded hillsides far upstream on the Apango river. There were more floods in the region of San Luis Potosi two days earlier, with cars washed away and buildings damaged in the city of Matehuala.
Malaysia: Over 1000 people have been evacuated in the state of Sarawak following floods up to 5 meters deep in places. Almost 200mm rain fell on Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state, in 24 hours on 04 June.
Uganda: At least 5 people have died after a series of landslides in the Eastern Region. Around 50 people are missing. “The landslides occurred during the night of 04 to early 05 June, after a period of about 4 hours of heavy rain. … This is the third major flooding or landslide event to hit the country since late April this year. Just a few days ago 8 people died in flooding in the country’s capital, Kampala. A storm that brought hail, strong winds and heavy rain to parts of eastern Uganda on 23 April left at least 18 people dead and displaced around 900.”
Libya: “At least 2 people have died and many are displaced after major flooding in Ghat District in south-western Libya. Flooding struck on 03 June after a period of heavy rain. Local authorities said that as much as 70% of the city was under flood water, forcing over 500 families to leave damaged or flooded homes.” The UN has called for emergency relief, as “wide areas of the city have been without drinking water or electricity for 2 days.”
Romania: Rivers are at Orange alert following days of heavy rain and flooding. “The Ministry of Interior reports that 8 people were rescued (yesterday) from floods – including vehicles and a school – and over 260 people have been evacuated in 6 counties of the country. Around 200 homes have been flooded out in 23 counties since 23 May, with emergency services on constant alert. Severe thunderstorms were forecast for the weekend over eastern Germany, with high risk of tornadoes.
France: 3 lifeboatmen were drowned off the northwest coast after going to the aid of another boat which had got into difficulty as Storm Miguel struck the area. Winds of over 90mph had hit northern Spain earlier, swirling around the Bay of Biscay . “The storm is unusual, coming at the start of the summer tourist season”, says the BBC Weather service.
USA: With yet more heavy rain forecast this weekend over the SW states, moving up into the Great Lakes, The Weather Channel reports, “Propelled by a two-week siege of widespread severe weather and heavy rain in late May, the contiguous U.S. has once again broken its record for the wettest year-long span in data going back to 1895. According to the monthly U.S. climate summary released Thursday from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, last month was the second-wettest month in U.S. history, with the nationally averaged total of 4.41” just behind the 4.44” recorded in May 2015.”
The better news being that, for the first time ever (i.e. in 20 years of records… these Americans!), no region of the USA this past month has achieved a drought score much worse than zero. It’s been raining everywhere. Nevertheless, The Weather Channel reports, five major US cities at least are in imminent danger of “Year Zero”, when they will have to introduce water rationing.
While, reports the channel’s Dr Jeff Masters: “’Day Zero’ is expected to arrive for millions more in India by 2020, when groundwater supplies are predicted to run out for 100 million people in the northern half of the country.” Thanks largely to poor management, “Over 12% of India’s population -163 million people of 1.3 billion – live under ‘Day Zero’ conditions, with no access to clean water near their home, according to a 2018 WaterAid report.”
India: “is reeling from an intense heat wave with temperatures crossing 45C in many parts of the country”, the BBC reported on 02 June. “Churu, in the northern state of Rajasthan, is India’s hottest city – temperatures there soared to 50.8C on Sunday, the meteorological department said. It has put Rajasthan and the central state of Madhya Pradesh on alert for “severe heat wave conditions”. Records were being broken in Pakistan, however. “Jacobabad – at 51C (123.8F) – is being called the hottest place on Earth.”
Meanwhile in Australia, snow has arrived in subtropical Queensland. “Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology described it as a “rare” sight, noting the state had not experienced significant snowfall since 2015. Severe weather warnings have also been issued for a 1,000km (620m) stretch of coast which includes Sydney. People have been urged to stay indoors amid heavy rain and gale-force winds.” (BBC Weather)
Yellowstone: Steamboat geyser went off on 01 June for the 19th time this year, well on track for a second record year. More earthquake swarms, harmonic tremors, uplift of the resurgent dome (Old Faithful), gas releases (noticeable to visitors as an acrid smell and dying vegetation). (Mary Greeley)