End of Term, as reported by The Guardian’s parliamentary sketchwriter, John Crace:
“My name’s Ian and I’m a Brexit addict,” said the SNP leader Ian Blackford.
“Hi Ian,” everyone replied.
“It’s all shit and I feel completely powerless over Brexit,” Blackford said.
“Thank you for sharing. My name’s Stephen Bartley … ” said the Brexit secretary.
And a Merry Christmas to everyone. Donald and
“This rat-infested, weevil-ridden government, this coffin-ship of benighted fools is intolerably odious. It must be sunk, without trace.”
“We are the rulers of the Queen’s na-vee” (after G&S)
“When Raquel Rolnik, the UN’s special rapporteur on housing, called on the Government to rethink the ‘bedroom tax’, arguing that it eroded the right to adequate housing, the then housing minister Kris Hopkins labelled her report a ‘misleading Marxist diatribe’.”
The callousness and refusal to face facts of the present government is surely shown in no harsher light than in its mendacious and diffident responses to successive reports by United Nations rapporteurs on the effects of its social policies, that amount to an egregious breach of the basic ‘human rights’ of British citizens to decent treatment and a roof over their heads.
Every international advisory report is projected by ministers as a spiritual attack on British values; every inconvenient expert opinion politicized as the work of ignorant, external enemies – untutored foreigners – bent on undermining ‘our way of life’. But, of course, they also choose to rubbish expert reports from our own institutions as well, when it suits them; flat-out denying what is staring the rest of us in the face. Expediency being the name of the game.
When Professor Philip Alston ended his two-week fact-finding mission in November by accusing the government of inflicting ‘great misery’ on its people with ‘punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous’ policies, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd “used her first appearance following her return to frontline politics last week to attack a UN inquiry into poverty in the UK for its ‘extraordinarily political nature’.”
These excerpts are taken from an article on the Open Democracy website today, 12 December, by civil rights lawyer Michael Keller; who points out that, despite our treaty commitments, the UN’s view of what constitutes a proper compact between the State and its citizens is legally unenforceable in the face of an intractable and intransigent administration determined to redistribute wealth to the richest section of society at the cost of its poorest.
As we prepare incompetently to quit the European Union, in breach of our longstanding commitments to our allies and trading partners, and cast off into the big wide world on our own again, the BogPo is reminded of the appalling conditions and brutal regime imposed on sailors of the early 19th century by a lofty and overbearing naval officer class; where even a 12-year-old junior ensign held almost unlimited power over the ordinary able seaman.
Not even the disabled escape. “In 2016 when the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Disabled Persons found that the government was guilty of ‘grave and systematic violations’ of disabled people’s rights, the government responded by refuting the committee’s findings and its ‘offensive’ view of disability’.”
What, a view that says disabled people deserve fair treatment? Offensive? This rat-infested, weevil-ridden government, this coffin-ship of benighted fools is intolerably odious. It must be sunk, quickly and without trace.
The problem, according to Keller, is that while other rights are relatively easy to pin down, a generalized ‘socioeconomic’ right to a decent life is nebulous and without legal definition. “While the Government continues to pay lip service to its treaty commitments, any criticism based on socioeconomic rights will be branded ‘too’ ideological or political.”
It all comes down to the conflict between “human rights’ commitment to individual freedom … (and) neoliberalism’s commitment to the market, property rights and suspicion of the State.”
There is nothing that will shame these comfortable and complacent bilge-rats of the neoliberal wing of the Conservative tendency into adopting an even remotely compassionate policy towards the sick, the old, the disabled, the workless, the mentally fragile, the homeless, the refugee and the poor. Every crutch is to be kicked away; every social service bled white; every ‘assessment’ rigged, every minor infraction of the Byzantine rulebook harshly sanctioned, nothing let to go unprivatized, in favour of the more convenient Protestant work ethic.
These layabouts and scroungers must work, work, work and work yet more for the good of the stockjobbers, the bond traders, the hedge fund managers, the investment bankers, the IFAs, the bent global accountancy firms propping up organized crime, the estate agents and the commodities brokers – the whole money-breathing cartel.
Wheelchairs? Mental health facilities? Meals-on-wheels? Decent, properly run care homes? Schools with roofs, that foster learning? Functioning hospitals and reliable, affordable public transport? Affordable homes and loans?
‘Arbeit macht frei’, as the Germans put it – over the gates of Auschwitz.
Work for your freedom. Or die in the process.
We don’t actually care.
Calling for widespread revenge on a Palestinian who shot dead two Israeli soldiers, the son of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing-down potential corruption charges, has been temporarily banned from Facebook after a series of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian posts the social network said broke its rules on hate speech.
This deeply unpleasant, gormless little racist fucker, the overprivileged, overentitled son of the mafia sockpuppet, has been kicked off Facebook – for just 24 hours!
“A Facebook spokesperson said: ‘Yair Netanyahu posted several posts which included hate speech – this clearly violates our community standards. Due to that, this content was removed from our platform, as we would do for anyone posting similar content about any protected characteristic. Following this, Yair Netanyahu decided to share a screen shot of a removed post and called people to share it – which is the same as writing the hate speech all over again’.” (Guardian)
Meanwhile 1.5 million Palestinians, whose past generations from AD 70 until 1947 were the majority Semitic population of Israel and whose rights are supposedly protected under the founding constitution, continue to barely exist in the blockaded Gaza ghetto, dying from a shortage of medical supplies and economic opportunity.
Not to mention from the frequent punitive Heydrich-inspired incursions by the overwhelmingly superior Israel military, arrogantly heedless of the charges of war crimes their abuses provoke from an enfeebled UN, that greet their paltry acts of resistance. The United States is complicit in so much hideous brutality.
Personally speaking, I am just sick of this. It began in the year before I was born and still there is no resolution to it. But it’s none of my business, I’m not Jewish. Fuck that.
Seven THOUSAND have been shot and wounded by Israeli border forces in the name of ‘security’, using live ammunition against unarmed teenagers staging mostly peaceful or stone-throwing protests from behind the barbed-wire fences separating them from settler territory – open farmland. 200 have been murdered. 70 per cent of Under-25s in Gaza are unemployed. The suicide rate is devastating. Yet far from all are supporters of the more belligerent wing of the democratically elected governing party, Hamas.
Palestinians just think they deserve the same chance at life as you do., and not to be blown to bits periodically by a bunch of cowardly racist bullies in Tel Aviv with connections to the Russian mafia, who have learned their brutal politics of repression from Putin in Chechnya and, before him, the Nazis in Poland.
This situation will continue as long as dumbfucks in America go on imagining that it is the Palestinians who are the terrorists and the Israeli occupiers the tragic heroes. And that Trump’s admiration for the genocidal president, Andrew Jackson is somehow laudable. I’m afraid just being white doesn’t cut it.
The UN for decades has passed resolution after insouciantly ignored resolution attempting to regularize the situation. But when the crook, Netanyahu can moan about Australia recognizing Israeli West, and not Palestinian East, Jerusalem as the de facto capita of Israel – something all Christians should be shouting about – as the fatuous and ignorant oaf Trump has done, to please his slimy little plastic son-in-law Kushner and the millennarian Evangelical dumbfucks, a tickle on the wrist from Zuckerberg’s underwhelming ethics department is calculated to do absolutely nothing to halt the ongoing crime against humanity that is the Gaza ghetto.
Sorry, and all that.
Brexit, the Movie…
“Sandra Bullock plays a lone mother with two young children, battling an unseen force which compels you to kill yourself if you see it.” (Guardian Culture review)
I’m most impressed.
For some unaccountable reason, four people in the past 24 hours have been visiting a long-running Page I began Posting about six years ago, cataloguing my jazz CD collection in as much technical detail as I can manage. (I haven’t Posted anything to Pages in a month of Sundays, so how people are attracted to them I don’t understand.)
Even I have trouble finding it, buried away in the mountain of solipsistic verbiage that is The Boglington Post‘s 7-year archive.
But I do try to keep the listings up to date. I have about 400 jazz CDs now, my limited shelf space has run out and they’ve started to occupy boxes on the floor, always a bad sign. As nothing, compared to an astrophysicist I vaguely know, whose entire downstairs floorspace is covered with stacked boxes 3-ft high of his jazz CDs. Then, he’s not living on the State pension.
I seldom even play them, other than the most recent, that might get the odd repeat run-through. The idea was to transfer them to my li’l laptop for portability and convenience, which I was doing steadily until I lost my cool one day and beat it to death with my great clunking fist. They can be annoying, laptops. But the new one has no CD-tray; they’ve gone out of vogue. So I had to start again, but by a more circuitous route, and I’m not bothering – it’s technical.
And in recent months I’ve pretty much stopped ordering CDs, my Kenny Wheeler phase having drawn to a satiated conclusion. I tend nowadays more to browse for my jazz listening pleasure on YouTube, where great variety if no sound quality is to be found.
Until last night when, having discovered the extraordinary pianist Joey Alexander, and listened raptly to him all evening, I flipped and ordered two of his CDs from up the Amazon. Do you know him?
He’s the 15-year-old kid from Bali who turned professional at the age of 10. And, to be honest, I think he was the better player then.
You see, most ‘awesome’ child prodigies on YouTube are the victims of pushy parents or have just superficial talents that can be spun into a short, compelling narrative and promoted to their five minutes of fame as lucrative clickbait. Joey is definitely not one of those ‘X-Factor contestant’, one-shot wonders. No Sir.
Aside from his self-taught mastery of pianistic technique, which is widely acknowledged, his jazz ‘chops’ are such that grown musicians are visibly in awe of him. His improvisational skills, ability to build compelling solos, knowledge of form and structure, maturity of touch and feeling, his exciting chord logic and every other area of his playing – even his unbelievably deep knowledge of the jazz genre – are positively surreal, in a swotty-looking little kid with a lopsided grin and Harry Potter specs.
By 12 he had already been nominated for two Grammy awards, performed by invitation at the White House for the Obamas, given concerts at the Lincoln Centre and at the top festivals around the world. His ridiculously young age – usefully he has unusually large hands for a child – has never seemingly been a barrier to his career. And it is in every sense, a proper musical career.
He has played with many of the stars of the jazz world, who are won over in the first few seconds by his infectious charm, confidence and seemingly instinctive professionalism, whether on stage or in the recording studio, and give their all for him; humbly accepting his musical leadership. They know what they’ve got. People have likened him to Mozart; although his compositions are really nothing compared with the genius of Leipzig, who composed his first symphony at the age of six – the age when Joey first sat down at a piano.
Perhaps the only fly in the ointment will be that, as he grows up – he is 15 now – he will grow into another jazz musician: brilliant, exceptional, even ground-breaking; but nevertheless no longer having the status and curiosity value of a prodigy. The world is often not kind to ex-child prodigies. He will need good and careful management to guide where he goes next.
Who could resist chucking another £25 at his recording company, anyway? Even though I’ve been struggling to replace my old keyboard, that I had given away after it developed a fault (who knew it could easily have been repaired? So the guy told me, who took it away. Happily once fixed, it’s going to charity.) And I don’t really even play. Piano is my third or fourth instrument, after voice, guitar and maybe harmonica – and I’m not too hot at guitar.
Nor am I mentally in a good place. Having negotiated a £30 discount off the keyboard, for instance, I promptly forgot I was already registered with the retailer. I re-registered, which took me over to the wrong version of Checkout, where I paid full price… Having earlier bought a cheap keyboard I wasn’t happy with, I’m also now faced with a near-100-mile round trip to deliver it to the nearest depot to be returned to the dealer; and a booked delivery on a day I’m not going to be in.
Wot am oi loike?
Everything confuses me nowadays. It probably helps to be 10, rather than pushing 70. So much more certainty!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plTPRr7B4ns “Over the Rainbow” – Joey, age 10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1liUart72g “Over the Rainbow” – Later, maybe age 12?
Head in the sand
A newly discovered, but already endangered creature with a burrowing habit, resembling a slow worm, has been officially named after Donald Trump.
What the poor thing has done to deserve the name Dermophis donaldtrumpi, The BogPo shudders to think. One can only hope it may survive the coming extinction to evolve into something better.
“The name was chosen by the boss of EnviroBuild, a sustainable building materials company, who paid $25,000 at an auction (in aid of the Rainforest Trust) for the right. The small legless creature was found in Panama and EnviroBuild’s Aidan Bell said its ability to bury its head in the ground matched Donald Trump’s approach to global warming. (Guardian Green Light)
Given that the Abominable No-man just called for a court to investigate the long-running Saturday Night Live TV satire show on grounds he believes it to be a Democrat party-funded plot against him, I doubt he will see the amusing side, or even – as most of us might, however ghastly – be flattered to be immortalised in this way.
Paranoiacs are never satisfied.
GW: ‘I’ve got my love to keep me warm’
India: 120 k/h “Cyclone Phethai, which made landfall on Monday afternoon, caused havoc for the people along the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh. The cyclone, which was accompanied by strong and gusty winds, has resulted in heavy showers across the state and claimed two lives.” 11,600 people were evacuated as their houses are yet to be repaired after Cyclone Titli in October. There is another cyclonic circulation over the Bay of Bengal moving northwestward that may pose another threat for southern India.
“One occurrence that seemingly amused people was a strange phenomenon, which locals are calling ‘fish rain’, that happened after the cyclone. A video that has been going viral on social media shows several fishes either dead or thrashing about in the puddles formed after the rains.” (The News Minute/Al Jazeera)
Phethai is the 7th named storm of the 2018 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, the most active since 1992. (The Watchers)
Tropical Cyclone Kenanga is 800 miles SW of Diego Garcia in the southern Indian Ocean, as yet with no predicted landfall; and close by is an ‘Invest’, 92S, ie a low-pressure disturbance that could intensify.
Australia: “A cyclone that was predicted to wreak havoc across Queensland has been downgraded to a tropical low, after unleashing 17cm (6.6in) of rain in two hours across the north of the state. “Halifax (near Ingham) received 681mm of rain in the 24 hours” – records were broken. Winds reached 170 K/h. One person was drowned. Authorities warn that Cyclone Owen could still re-form offshore on Monday. Severe weather and flood warnings are in place.” (BBC/Flooslist)
USA: A heavy snowstorm swept through US south-eastern states, killing at least three people and leaving hundreds of thousands without power. A state of emergency was declared in North Carolina, with some areas reporting as much as 0.5m (18.5ins) of snow over the weekend. One man died after a tree fell on his car. A search is under way for a driver whose vehicle was found in a river. Thousands of flights were also cancelled across the region. (BBC)
A warning of potentially deadly surf has gone out along the entire California coastline and up as far as Washington State, pushed by a succession of powerful storms out in the Pacific. Harbors have been closed. National Weather Service warned breaking wave heights could reach 40 feet, affecting beach parking lots and walkways. It could also lead to beach erosion and damage to coastal structures, the NWS warned. (The Weather Channel)
UK: Storm Deirdre brought rain, ice and several inches of snow to the north and parts of Scotland at the weekend, with gale-force winds affecting most of the west coast. Homes were without power in Wales and fallen trees blocked icy roads.
Not much COP
Poland: As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise alarmingly across the globe, the extended UN COP24 climate conference in the Katowice coal-mining district packed its tents on Sunday, as 10 thousand weary delegates flew home following the signing of a toothless, watered-down commitment by global governments to provide more ‘transparency’ on carbon emissions, in line with the already out-of-date, 3-years-old, ‘1.5 degrees’ Paris accord.
Yellowstone: the Blessed Mary Greeley records that the Steamboat geyser, largest in the park, has erupted for the 31st time this year. In a normal year you might see two or three eruptions.