Welcome to the week’s only Brexit and Trump-free zone! : Remember God?… The Office of Petty Cash Deceits… GW: I could go on singeing…Dear Joanna Rowling…

Quote of the Week

“Seemingly every cabinet job these days is … a Pygmalion-like plot in which two unseen financiers have decided, for a bet, to pass off a rejected Family Fortunes contestant as a secretary of state.”

– Marina Hyde, writing in The Guardian (edited extrcat)

Welcome to the week’s only mostly Brexit and Trump-free zone!

Progress report:

7,162 households in the UK are still watching TV on black & white sets.

 

“I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this…”

 

“This is getting really, really – like, bloody intolerably – intrusive.”

Remember God?

Uncle Bogler writes:

Can it be coincidence?

I’ve just been browsing idly through a story on the BBC News website.

It’s a piece, not very relevant to me, about the lethal air quality in the Indian capital, New Delhi, 20 times worse than the WHO limit, and how everyone fears the Diwali festival fireworks are about to make it ten times worse again.

But you know religion, right? God made fireworks compulsory for all Mankind. Interfere with that at your peril.

And I think to myself: I live right on a thundering main road in the outskirts of Boglington, a busy seaside town. It’s the main arterial route for all the commercial and vacation traffic that needs to come into town, as well as the school-run.

There’s no bypass.

Twice a day the traffic is backed up for an hour in either direction, engines idling. The rest of the day, trucks and tankers and vans and cars and huge, three-tiered animal transports reeking of sheep-fear come hurtling through, on a blind bend, at speeds well in excess of the 30 mph limit, and nobody does a thing to stop them. Every other main road in the county is emblazoned with traffic-calming measures: bumps and chicanes and active, flashing warning signs. Not this one.

I’ve been here almost seven years now, shouting in the street like a mad old man at speeding drivers, and have in the past few years suffered from streaming eyes and constant runny or blocked nose and minor chest congestion, that I haven’t had since I left the city, 30 years ago. The stonework in my front garden is black, the windows gray, and a fine dust drifts past the double-glazing to coat my frontroom furniture, muh li’l laptop.

All very minor, but a clear indication that pollution levels here in Boglington are probably not good.

Not as bad as Delhi, I grant, but not great. And I’m always reading that nitrogen dioxide (N02, that you get from diesel fumes) is a contributory factor to childhood obesity, asthma, Type 2 diabetes, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and various cancers; not to mention Scrofula, DuPuytren’s Contracture, Capgras’ Delusion and Blue Skin Disorder.

So, I know! I think (to myself, it’s just me and Hunzi and Cats here) wouldn’t it be a great notion to get one of those air quality sniffers and, if the results are bad enough, fire off a report to the local authority, cc our MP, The Guardian, demanding action? Sue someone, even, maybe?

And so I duly open up my desktop link to Amazon – which, along with all the other websites I regularly visit, has for some unknown reason taken to demanding I log-in again manually – and when I manage to log-on, before I have even turned to the Shopping page, it has already flagged up four offers on…

…air quality monitors.

This is getting really, really – like, bloody intolerably – intrusive.

“Google is both that all-seeing, all-knowing parental entity in the sky AND the creepy blueprint for the creation of a replacement planet…”

In an email exchange with my ex-wife yesterday, I explained that I had mislaid my phone, hence the silence, and she suggested phoning me to hear where in the house the ringtone was coming from, and Google instantly offered me, basically, an auto-reply message that said, ‘Yes, please do that’.

Get outta my face!

The other week, I was having an email discussion with a guitar dealer, we’d just got to the difficult money part and Google was already offering me: “I’ve transferred the money to your account.” (I hadn’t. I didn’t. I backed out, dear Reader, balking at the large commitment when it became clear, no more affordable deferred payment plan was on offer.)

Now, that intervention by a third-party entity that has no business in my business is, to my mind, a gross breach of client confidentiality, and Google must be made to understand, they cannot poke around in people’s financial affairs with impunity.

It’s like having a guest living in your house, who can’t resist interfering at every turn. If I wanted an Alexa, or Siri, or a fucking domestic robot, I would buy one. I don’t want one, which is why I haven’t bought one. Have you noticed that, Amazon? That there are more things I don’t buy, than stuff I do? That looking is not touching?

There is no such thing as a helpful intervention. It’s all just bloody annoying. If I want something, I know where to find it; know how to ask. I’m not a child. People say, oh, but you can switch it off! Just go into Settings! Well, switching off auto-reply doesn’t prevent the algorithm from capturing and analysing your emails in the first place.

You remember God?

You know, the universal gizmo that counts the hairs on your head and the sparrows falling from the sky? That knows absolutely everything about you and everything else? Like your mom?

That thing that never leaves you alone, always nagging you, offering you hope then whipping it away again with a hollow laugh, the tyrant that as a species we’ve only just begun learning how to rid ourselves of?

It seems to me, Google is both that all-seeing, all-knowing parental entity in the sky AND the creepy comprehensive blueprint for the creation of a replacement planet: Earth 11, when we’re through trashing this one with our Free Will and our restless and insensate acquisitiveness; our Shareholder Value and our consumer technology.

In the meantime, they’re using all that information to turn us into data and sell us to their advertisers, on the basis of some perfectly innocent enquiry on a completely different internet platform that their shitty algorithms have been slily watching you blunder around on.

As the Wise Ones say, if it’s free then you’re the product.

So now I’ve gone off the whole idea of a pollution monitor. A box of tissues and an early death will have to do.

If you’re reading this, Google, Amazon, I have a message for you.

You already know what it is.

 

The Office of Petty Cash Deceits

It’s almost impossible to beat the following heads of the story, reported in The Guardian, of yet another horrible Home Office clusterfuck, that appears to have arisen out of a policy of vicious domestic racism combined with positively Christian charity for the undeserving poor:

“The government has been ordered to make back-payments to victims of trafficking that are likely to reach more than £1m, after a high court judge ruled that Home Office cuts to their support payments were unlawful. The ruling followed the department’s decision in March to reduce support payments to people it accepted were victims of trafficking from £65 per week to £37.75, a fall of 42%.

“The Home Office defended the change by saying it wanted to bring levels of support to victims of trafficking in line with support levels for destitute asylum seekers.” (Guardian)

What? So the most “destitute” people deserve the lowest level of support of all? That’s helpful, especially when they’re not permitted to earn money. And a “victim of trafficking”, a concept of brutal sexual slavery poorly understood by your average Home-Office box-wallah, they’re to be made destitute too, are they? On less than forty quid a week? An indifferent lunch? Oh, thank you, kind Masters.

“K. was a 30-year-old Albanian woman who fell into the hands of sex traffickers after she refused to get engaged to a man her family had selected for her. She was subjected to sexual exploitation and forced prostitution in Albania then passed to two Albanian men who brought her to London in January 2017, locked her in a room, drugged her and threatened to kill her if she didn’t do as she was told. She was kept in isolation and forced to have sex with seven to eight men every day.

“The support levels were cut soon after the government announced in October last year that it was going to ‘radically improve the support for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery’.”

This Orwellian doublespeak is becoming quite terrifying. Mrs May blithely announces the end of austerity, Mr Hammond budgets a bit extra here and there, potholes and so on, but analysis after the media smokescreen clears finds austerity hasn’t been ended at all: 40 per cent cuts in vital areas affecting poorer people: local authority grants, the care sector and police spending are still going ahead; along with the mindbogglingly inept Universal Credit scheme that is beggaring thousands.

How much are the wealthy getting in tax breaks and loopholes for offshoring their ill-gotten gains and hedging their global casino bets, at everyone else’s expense? Where’s their fucking austerity?

And MPs, what was their payrise last year, an extra £12,000 a year, pretty much what I live on – in return for their pusillinimous support for Article 50, when two-thirds of the halfwits appeared to have forgotten they privately voted Remain in the referendum?

How long can this omnishambles go on?

Ah, well, you see, speaking from on high, a spokesman for God, Mr Jesus bar-Joseph defended the practise, explaining that, “It’s always been Tory policy that ‘unto him that hath, shall be given; while from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away’.”

Thank the same God, if you must, for the British courts, backed up as they usually are by the European Court of Justice on these matters. Basically, they don’t put up with this indefensible shit from the EDL skinheads at the Home Office, and neither should we.

But that’s now. After next March, Big Bruvver from Brussels won’t be watching.

 

Forever young

“Emile Ratelband, a 69-year-old Dutch “positivity guru” who says he does not feel his age, has started a battle to make himself legally 20 years younger on the grounds that he is being discriminated against on a dating app.” (Guardian)

He’s the same age as me! I’m so encouraged by this, I’m considering applying to a court to be legally declared dead, so I don’t have to live in Jacob Irish-Mogg’s 1950s Britain, tugging my forelock to Iain Duncan Cunt. There’d be no requirement to  receive more bilingual mailshots from Plaid Cymru, or for my next passport to have to have a blue cover.

Though I guess Heer Ratelband might not be so happy when the court says, fine, but you’ll have to hand your pension back….

A vision of Hell: Paradise, Cal., (pop: 27,000), made famous by the Joni Mitchell song, was almost totally destroyed in The Camp Fire.

GW: I could go on singeing

USA: “Conditions are ripe for explosive wildfire development over large parts of California. The most immediate threat on Thursday morning was a fast-spreading fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills a few miles east of Chico. Dubbed the Camp Fire, the blaze grew from inception to cover more than 5000 acres in just three hours, according to CAL FIRE. Much of the city of Paradise has been evacuated, and some motorists attempting to leave were reportedly stuck in gridlock (and had to run for thei lives). … More than 10 million people are in the extremely-critical risk area.” (Bob Henson, Wunderground)

Speedy update 10 Nov: Paradise has been almost completely incinerated, 23 confirmed dead, over 100 missing, 6,300 properties destroyed and mass evacuations are going on around Malibu, site of the Woolsey Fire, 2 dead, in the south. Kim Khardashian had to be evacuated, along with Lady Gaga, Will Smith and many other celebs. Reports of looting. 16 fires now burning in the state. Thousands of properties are threatened. Air quality in the San Francisco Bay area was described as “extremely dangerous” for people with respiratory ailments. Trump has approved federal emergency funding. (BBC, et al)

“California temperatures were the hottest for any July-to-September period in 124 years of recordkeeping. Sacramento is having one of the ten driest starts to the wet season in its history, receiving a meager 0.04” on the only day of rain since October 1.” (Wunderground) Large areas of California are experiencing what is known as “negative rainfall”, i.e. more moisture is evaporating from the ground than is falling from the sky. No rain is forecast for the coming week.

President Ignorant Fat Cunt tweeted: “There was no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.” He also threatened to withhold funds, due to “gross mismanagement of the forests”. He does not have Clue One about it, but it plays to the dumbfucks.

Indonesia: At least 4 people have died in floods and landslides in two provinces of Indonesia over the last few days. 2 died during floods around Padang, West Sumatra. Heavy rain has also caused flooding and landslides in West Java. Flood water as deep as 1.8 metres was reported in some areas. 2 people have died and around 50 families affected. Roads have been blocked and bridges damaged, leaving some communities cut off. 231 mm of rain fell in 24 hours to 06 November in Pacitan Regency, East Java. (Edited from Floodlist report)

Middle East: “Unusually heavy rain has caused flash-flooding in Kuwait, Iraq and Iran. 14 dead. Bushehr in Iran recorded 67mm in 24 hours to 07 Nov. Mean total precipitation for November is 27.3mm. This is the second major flood event in the Middle East within the space of 2 weeks. During late October, 2018, heavy rain caused flooding in Syria, northern Iran and Jordan, where at least 21 people died.” (Floodlist). On 20 October, it was reported, Qatar experienced more than a normal year’s worth of rain in just 6 hours.

Brazil: 10 killed and 11 injured in a mudslide near Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, caused by heavy downpours. People were killed and injured when a large boulder rolled on top of six houses in the Boa Esperança neighbourhood. “It rained a lot over the past two days and a state of alert was declared. People were advised of the situation and were recommended to move to safer locations. Several families “refused to leave”. (Guardian)

Scandinavia: Parts of Norway experienced temperatures up to 19.3C, 66.74F, 8 Nov., as a plume of warm air pushed up across Germany into the Baltic. The average temperature in Norway for November is 5C.

Wales, UK: More than 1,000 properties were left without power during heavy rain and wind which brought flooding and travel disruption. Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire saw the worst of the weather with some homes in Milford Haven under 10ft (3m) of water. (BBC, 09 Nov.) Do we make a fuss?

Boglington-on-Sea: the weather feels pretty much like Norway here today. Promised a cyclonic storm was on its way, with 65 mph gales, high seas and heavy rain, we went out for our walk under a uniform gray sky. Soon, the cold breeze dropped and within minutes, even with the sun behind thick cloud I was gently perspiring in the November warmth. That was the upper half. Next thing, I wet myself; having forgotten to put on a nappy this morning while changing to a fresh bag. Catheters leak, making heavy rain and gales unnecessary to one’s discomfort. No, my clinic appointment hasn’t come through yet. Thanks for asking. Bit blowy out, 1.5-in. rain, nothing special.

Last Orders Please…

Yellowstone: Normally erupting once or twice a year, if at all, the big Steamboat geyser goes up for the 26th time this year on 09 Nov. Associated Arch Steam Vent turns to Arch Mud Vent – huge outburst, biggest since 1967, complete with “implosions” – sinkholes full of muddy water, sucking their own gas bubbles back down…

 

Magical Realism

It was reported yesterday that JK Rowling, the multi-millionaire author, is suing her former PA for £24 thousand she claims she abstracted in phony expenses, credit card overruns and cash transactions; including what seemed like strangely magical sums – £thousands said to have been spent on totally trivial, day-to-day items like make-up; and mailing out suspiciously expensive Harry Potter merchandise apparently worth hundreds of pounds per item, that doesn’t seem to have reached its intended destinations.

As nothing added up in the way one feels it should, raising questions about what exactly has gone wrong, it seemed natural to write to the well-remunerated but notoriously spiky auteuse with a mild Armistice-week rebuke on behalf of the downtrodden servant class:

 

Dear JK Rowling

I hope you don’t mind me writing to you, you must be frantically busy. This is not a plea for money; rather, the opposite.

I was born, as they say, on “the wrong side of the blanket” – my father had run away on the stage and met a beautiful young soubrette – into a wealthy banking family. I owe my education to my American grandmother, but I was miserable at my private schools and never went to university. In my career I pursued many opportunities, having short-lived successes in many fields, mainly writing and editing texts of all kinds.

In 1995 I suffered a business bankruptcy. We surrendered our home, took the children from their private schools and ended up, perhaps fortuitously, in a cottage on a remote hillside in rural mid-Wales.

We farmed sheep, grew veg., made our own electricity, pumped our own rat-infested well-water and entertained the children, there being no TV or internet, reading Dickens and, yes, one-by-one as they arrived in the local library, eagerly anticipated, all your Harry Potter books. (Our now 29-year-old daughter is still a mad fan.)

Finding work was difficult. I did gardening and cleaning jobs for £5 an hour; but the marriage didn’t survive. And then in 2005, I answered an ad in the local paper and the following week found myself occupying a set of sparsely furnished, unheated rooms at the back of a dilapidated, partly derelict Grade One-listed Georgian mansion hidden-away in a wooded valley, the live-in Estate Manager.

I was now “in service”. But at least there was a roof over my head (rather leaky!)

An East End boy made good, the wealthy new owner lived eight thousand miles away and travelled incessantly, descending on his “stately home” for perhaps two or three weeks’ of the year swanking about. The rest of the time, with one very underpaid part-time assistant, I was left entirely in charge.

Fully half of my munificent £14 thousand a year salary went on child maintenance and other family support. A few weeks into the job, as there was no-one else there, I was instructed to go to court and apply for the entertainments and alcohol sales licences, and open a hotel.

On-call 24 hours a day (the contract said 37.5 hours a week, but who else was there?), I took no holiday for five years. I’d became a hotelier, faute de mieux, rattling around a grim-looking, reputedly haunted house; operating with worn-out legacy equipment and tired, broken furnishings. One evening I heard a car doing a rapid U-turn on the driveway, and shortly afterwards the travel agent phoned to say her client was complaining that she’d been sent to an abandoned building. In vain, I protested that I’d just been awarded three red diamonds for hospitality by the AA!

My duties as “Peeves” now expanded somewhat. Here is an actual list:

  • Business manager
  • Hospitality manager
  • Wedding organizer
  • Marketing & PR manager
  • Housekeeper, purchasing supplies
  • Cook, of guests’ delicious organic breakfasts and occasional table d’hôte dinners
  • Waiter
  • Barman/”Designated Premises Supervisor”/potboy
  • Cleaner
  • Laundryman
  • ‘Plongeur’ – the dishwasher was broken. (Try washing-up for 150 after a 4-course wedding breakfast….)
  • Gardener/forester
  • Driver (for the owner, when present)
  • General maintenance man
  • Night security guard

The job description ran to eight A4 pages. I know, because my first job was to write it. I also had to deal with legal and local authority finance matters, environmental policy, market research, management planning, defining quality standards, sourcing and obtaining grants, appointing and managing architects and contractors, interior design specification; complying with the Licensing Act 2003 and many other relevant statutes, of which my employer had not the slightest idea.

Thanks to my knowledge of UK business and rural affairs, I saved or sourced £’000s for my employer, with little sign of recognition. An excited email to tell him I’d managed to get him a rarely available business development grant of up to £2.5 million was met with incomprehension: he didn’t want anyone going through his company books, so he turned it down. After three years I had a small payrise.

But he could read a balance sheet blindfolded. By repute, he ruthlessly micromanaged his core businesses, literally to the penny. Thus I was also expected to produce monthly accounts.

*

Despite giving my time endlessly for very little reward, I felt I was constantly under suspicion. The owner was not unfriendly; just excessively cautious. I confess, I have poor admin skills; I’m a doer, not a counter. But despite producing many costed reports and proposals, I was given no budgets to cover the many areas I now had responsibility for.

The owner’s maxim was always: “You make the money, then you can have the investment.” But hotels don’t work like that! The guests are buying-in to quality.

Of course, I wasn’t able to make money: there were only three habitable bedrooms to begin with. Obliged to use outside caterers, our profit margin was less than 4 per cent; heating bills alone were £1,000 a month – sixteen room-nights, as I saw it. Average bookings were fewer than six, although we could be busy during graduation week and at Christmas.

Then, when the C18th sewage system failed and we were overrun with rats, threatened with closure, I had to break it to the owner that he was in for a £60-thousand bill and weeks of upheaval… Something else I was never forgiven for, although somehow I kept the business running through it all.

To cover daily expenses, I’d been given a credit card with a spending limit of £1,000. Out here, few small contractors and service businesses take cards, and the debts of the previous owners were legendary: it was always “cash on the nail”, as it was with the casual staff, students I had to hire-in for weddings. But paying cash is illegal. I couldn’t put it through the books; while with such erratic custom, stock control was a nightmare, leading to considerable wastage.

Whatever I couldn’t cover from petty cash had to go on the card and somehow be explained. The owner had no real idea of the expenses the place ran to, his view was entirely rose-tinted. In everyone’s opinion it needed major refurbishment, but he would always plead poverty – refusing even to carry out the urgent safety measures recommended by experts year after year. (The fire station manager described it as “a death-trap”).

So, to (as I thought) relieve the pressure, I hired a part-time bookkeeper. The only applicant was a woman who affected to be a “hotel management consultant”. The moment she saw the house, her eyes widened. And that was when the whispering campaign started, that I was running off with the profits.

It soon transpired – I’m not an idiot – that a) this individual was basing her sly accusations on what she thought a “posh” country house hotel ought to be making, without any appreciation of the actual trading conditions; and b) she owed a business favour to a sleeping partner whose son had just graduated and was in need of my job.

Rapidly, the hooks went in to my absent employer. I found myself sidelined over matters about which, frankly, she hadn’t a clue. She was one of the most ignorant people I’d ever met. I realized then, the owner would always take the word of an outsider who charged him more for their advice than I cost on my lowly pay grade.

The card was taken away: it was cash or cheque.

At long last, I managed to persuade my employer that the building was genuinely uninsurable. No insurance = no licence. I warned that he could be legally liable to a huge fine or even prison if we kept trading. While he set about raising money to turn the place into the bookkeeper’s dream of a “5-star hotel”, I (the gardener!) was to appoint conservation architects and brief them to carry out the conversion works.

After two-and-a-half more years, living in what had become a building site: missing floorboards, constant hammering and drilling, frozen in winter, sometimes without water or electricity, my title downgraded to “Caretaker”, in 2012 I was paid off with just statutory redundancy. “We need”, the owner announced portentously, “a proper manager.” My successor required a staff of 12 and lasted, I believe, eight months in the job.

And that’s the story of how I found myself in private service, Joanna. Ten per cent of it. I spent years trying to find a similar position, with no success whatever; and eventually retired on the State pension.

Your relationship with Amanda is absolutely none of my business, I know, I have only the “facts” as presented in a BBC News report. But I hoped by writing to you at length about my own experience of being employed as a domestic servant, put in such an impossible position, that I might somehow make a difference; if there is one to be made. I can’t believe anyone actually enjoys being in litigation.

You know how, in Victorian romantic novels, the honest servant always gets the blame and ends up in the colonies, or the workhouse? Well, we don’t always thoroughly deserve it; although I will own up to borrowing a bottle of wine every now and then, when I had no money left to buy my own; subsisting at times on the leftovers from the meals I cooked, sometimes at 11 o’clock at night when the guests finally showed up.

One more short story:

In Gloucestershire we had a neighbour, the legendary TV producer Linda A., who’d sold her production company for many £millions and was living life in the Grand Manor next door to our mould-infested cottage. One day, her odd-job man left her brand-new, £40 thousand Mercedes unlocked with the key in the ignition (therefore uninsured) while he went to pay for petrol, and when he came back it was gone. Linda just shrugged, drank some more champagne and ordered another one.

So, I’m sorry for your loss, Ms Rowling. It seems relatively trivial, financially speaking; the broken trust is probably worth more to you, I concede.

I’m nevertheless firmly of the belief that if I have learned two lessons after almost 70 years on Planet Earth, they are: 1) never buy a listed Georgian mansion without a structural survey, and 2) never come between a wealthy person and their money. Oh, and 3) with forgiveness comes tranquility (it’s Armistice week).

I hope you can forgive my impertinence; no reply is necessary.

Sincerely, etc.

PS – More Cormoran Strike!

 

Trunk calls

Finally for real magic, there’s an artist from the north of England called Paul Barton.

Paul has a very strange project you’re gonna love. He plays classical piano to blind and retired elephants on a reserve in the Thai jungle.

I cannot think of a more worthwhile pursuit. It’s incredibly moving. Catch him on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYlfhKhPbe0 and more.

Advertisements

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

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.

Florence Special, plus: Fucking Boris, again… You read it here first #197… Ready when you are, Mr Trump… GW: Ooh, what a spin I’m in…

Quote of the Week

Today’s generation doesn’t have the luxury of being able to argue that it was never warned or did not understand the consequences of where lies will take you. … If disaster comes, you will find that all the myths you once cherished are of no use to you.

– Stanislaw Aronson, 93, veteran of the Warsaw uprising (Guardian)

 

“If he would betray his marriage and his four kids, who would he not betray?

Fucking Boris, Again

“Key allies of Boris Johnson rallied behind the former foreign secretary on Saturday night, insisting that news of his divorce and stories about his personal life would do nothing to damage his chances of succeeding Theresa May as Conservative leader after Brexit.”

– “Divorce News Won’t Mar Any Johnson Leadership Bid, Say Tories” – Guardian 08 Sept.

Dear Tories

It would be ironic, would it not, if a fat, middle-aged, serial shagger with the self-publicizing morals of an alley-cat, thrashing around in the midst of yet another hormonal crisis, were to succeed the lifelong married vicar’s daughter as the leader of the party.

Why, it would be just like old Tory times!

Ousting a paragon whose worst ever sin was to run laughing gaily through the farmer’s field of wheat; golden in the mercy of His means. (Worst, that is, before allowing herself to be filmed dancing with Africans, like an injured stork.)

Especially if he were a notoriously lazy and incompetent minister who treats the electorate and everyone else as fools – which in his case, they are. A careless, thoughtless racist who describes black people as ‘piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” and Muslim women as “letterboxes”. Today, deploying another Islamophobic meme, he deliberately likens the PM’s Brexit policy to a “suicide vest”. Trump will like that.

(Like Trump, he does it deliberately to fire up his dumbfuck base. And just as with Trump, nobody puts him in prison for it; although God help anyone else who says those hateful things.)

“Many who before regarded legislation on the subject as chimerical, will now fancy that it is only dangerous, or perhaps not more than difficult. And so in time it will come to be looked on as among the things possible, then among the things probable;—and so at last it will be ranged in the list of those few measures which the country requires as being absolutely needed. That is the way in which public opinion is made.” – Anthony Trollope, Phineas Finn. (From Wikipedia)

For “legislation on the subject”, read “Alexander “Boris” dePfeffel Johnson; arse at large”.

You are, are you not, you Tories, now all utterly without shame, humility or moral scruple. Your entire existence is reduced to a zero-sum game: do we get back in, or not? With or without a second referendum, a deal, no deal – and the hell with the consequences? The hell, too, with good governance: the poor are crying out for an end to your oppression, the fragile threads holding our society together are breaking apart, and you aren’t hearing or seeing them in your solipsism.

The calculus is that Johnson will come out of this, his latest marital fuck-up, smelling – if not of roses, then at least of Nina Ricci – or he will be doomed to Churchillian temporary oblivion, and round we go again.

What he needs is a good war.

What he’s going to get is another global economic crisis; this one potentially terminal. Is he up to it?

The point surely is not that Johnson’s wife is divorcing him, probably not before time. He has said, rather pathetically, that he is looking for somewhere to live. I imagine him ironing his yellowing underpants in a bedsit in Pimlico, smelling of unwashed socks, Jeremy Kyle on the telly. Visiting day with the kids!

It’s not even necessarily the point, that he has had yet another extramarital affair – Marina, the mother of his four children (apart from at least one by-blow we know of), knew perfectly well what she was getting into.

It’s just that, hashtag Metoo, the other attractive blonde bit of totty concerned is, or was at the time, an EMPLOYEE. And we just don’t go there any more, do we.

Suzanne Moore wrote in The Guardian last Friday:

“Apparently allies of Johnson know that his infidelity is written into his “price” and his supporters won’t mind. They certainly haven’t minded about his attitudes to women in the past. His writing about “hot totty” at Labour conference, his ludicrous remarks about breast size, his general ogling is part of his brand. He is Trumpian in his appetites and in his disregard for the morality of little people.”

That’s you and me, by the way. Going to vote for him? Think he’d make a good Prime Minister?

His dumbfuck supporters, who think they’re voting for a refreshing change rather than for a narcissistic middle-aged Lothario who can’t keep it in his pants, normally a signal to MI5 that a politician is not to be trusted around State secrets, won’t mind because they don’t ask. They don’t know. But they would care, surely?

“Mr Johnson’s long-suffering wife Marina Wheeler (QC) announced the divorce yesterday after tiring of the 54-year-old womaniser’s antics”, wrote the Daily Mail. “He is said to have been juggling Brexit with secret trysts with a blonde Tory party aide.”

No cover-up… The hurricane of publicity trumps the winds of history: Boris, the no-hoper.

Okay, take a deep breath. You’re a Johnson supporter. Good old Boris, such a refreshing change (forget the £27 million debacle of the garden bridge. Forget the betrayal of Nazanin Zagari-Ratcliffe (he has). And you voted Leave, didn’t you, because you trusted him and his promise to refund the crumbling NHS, where you can’t get an appointment with a GP inside three weeks although they work only 3.5 days a week and you’ve never seen the waiting room even half-full. We feel your pain.

It’s all going to be great, a rollercoaster ride to global prosperity with red, white and blue lollipops for all, after the pain wears off.

He has a plan, surely? He must have a plan – other than telling the other 27 countries of the EU to “go whistle”?

And while he was courageously battling Monsieur Barnier and the faceless sausage-munchers of Brussels on your behalf, you now know that all the time he was holed up in some posh hotel in London, grunting like a pig with his trousers round his ankles, his patriotic little winkle balls deep in some ambitious blonde intern*.

Probably in front of a mirror.

Not only that, but he is said to have hit on the employee, whatever the silly girl is, while he was in the middle of an affair with a different Tory party worker. Go, Boris! It sounds like they’re queuing three deep to get a shot of those Johnson genes. True, after Brexit we shall need all the home-grown semen we can get, but this guy’s spending like a good ‘un. And (incidentally) seems to have been abusing his position as the Foreign Secretary all the while.

Was this why he resigned? Nothing to do with Brexit, then? Opposition to the Chequers plan that he’d approved only days earlier? Nothing to do with his contempt for the oik, David Davis? Just to avoid bringing possible opprobrium on the sacred Office of State, if the Daily Mail had got wind of the affair while he might have been jiggling some ingenue on his lap, or going at it over the desk at the FO after lights out?

Given the global furore there has been over rich slobs like Harvey Weinstein and the Trumps, père et fils, abusing their positions of power to launch their damaged egos at anything that moves, probably even at the rats overrunning their offices, you would imagine Johnson might have noticed the climate of opinion re knocking-off the secretaries and just held back for a while, but no.

He’s incontinent. A massive security risk. A total fatberg. If he would betray his marriage and his four kids, who would he not betray? If he imagines he is immune to public opinion, why would he not also think himself immune to more serious charges, of bonking for Vladimir for example?

He doesn’t give a damn about the women he uses, about loyalty, about the party, anything. He’s driven only by his fears of waning masculinity, his broadening arse, his overprivileged ego; the ease with which he can manipulate the media, and the desperate ambition that is eating what used to be his considerable brain. The famous disarming charm is wearing thin.

But you’re going to vote for him, you dumbfucks.

Because he’s such a refreshing change.

 

*It seems I may have been a little precipitous here. The Daily Mail, who employ a team of 376 reliable celebrity gossip specialists and one writer, are today betting on:

“Revealed, the party-loving blonde linked to Johnson’s marriage breakdown”

“Carrie Symonds, the party’s former director of communications, was linked to the former Foreign Secretary after it was claimed that he had developed a ‘strong friendship’ with the blonde in the months leading up to his separation from wife Marina. Ms Symonds, 30, has been a high-profile figure in Westminster for nearly a decade, holding senior positions at Tory HQ and as an adviser to Cabinet Ministers. She regularly posts glamorous pictures of herself on social media, including one photograph of herself striking a pose while standing on the bonnet of a car in the grounds of Parliament.”

As advisors to Cabinet Ministers are wont to do.

And one can indeed see how one compulsive exhibitionist like Johnson would be attracted to another, over his boring old family, his sensible wife. Did the Tory party-lovin’ spin-doctor make his shaggy head “spin”? For details, see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/index.html

Phwoarh, what a Carrie-on! (photo: en.mogazn…/Google Images)

You read it here first #197

We have previously bogld on the question of why did Boris and Govey and the neoliberals’ neoliberal, li’l Steve Baker and old tortoise-head, Cunting Smith and the other filthy Brexit plotters simply melt away when St Theresa was dragged forward reluctantly by the 1922 Praetorian Guard to become the party leaderene in the wake of Cameron’s cowardly ratting on the job?

Those uber-bastards, fifty of whom were reported last night to be holding a coven together, openly planning a mutiny against the PM and her dead-in-the-water Chequers agreement to leave the EU without, er, leaving it….

We speculated satirically that after six years as Home Secretary overseeing MI5, the homeland security boys a’ snoopin’ and a’ snitchin’, she would certainly have known where all the bodies were buried. Surprise, surprise: “War Over Dirty Dossier“, headlines the Sunday Times today, 9 Sept. “Documents on his sex life drawn up by May’s aides…”

You read it here first, about two years ago!

x

Ready when you are, Mr Trump

Federal Emergency Management Administration

Response and Recovery

“The Response and Recovery program coordinates the core federal response capabilities used to save lives, and protect critical infrastructure in communities throughout the Nation (sic) that have been overwhelmed by the impact of a major disaster or an emergency. The program also takes the lead among federal agencies, state and local governments, and representatives of non-governmental organizations to support individuals and communities with the goal of reducing losses, improving recovery operations, and promoting resilience.”

In May, shortly before the start of the 2018 hurricane season, the Trump Administration privately transferred $9.8 million out of FEMA’s emergency response funds to help shore up the budget for ICE, the immigration control agency, to cover the extra costs of seizing and locking up the children of refugee asylum seekers in detention camps; some as young as 18 months.

The item was buried in an appropriations bill that just happened to have been scrutinized by Democrat senator, Jeff Merkley.

As 160 mph Cat 4 Hurricane Florence was bearing down on the Carolinas and their complement of panicking humans, rickety shoreline houses and nuclear power plants (at least 6 are in its path), Trump trumpeted that the nation had never been better prepared for an event which, forecast the master meteorologist, would be “tremendously big, and tremendously… wet”.

Meanwhile the death toll from last year’s Hurricane Maria, that devastated Puerto Rico, has been officially raised to a number oddly coincident with that of 9/11, 2,975 – in both cases the numbers killed in the initial event have been swollen in their aftermath by official neglect and ignorance.

Several news channels have reminded us today of Trump’s astonishing, self-congratulatory encomia about how his administration’s response to Puerto Rico a year ago had been probably the greatest ever to any disaster; an unsung triumph. We were treated once more to archival images of him, throwing kitchen paper rolls at the survivors.

All other accounts however refer to its complete inadequacy – any failings, says the President, were down to the extreme difficulty of getting to Puerto Rico, an island dependancy of the USA, across ‘a lot of water, ocean water’; the poverty of its prior infrastructure, its ‘bankruptcy’ – compounded by FEMA’s total incompetence in the matter of assigning large-scale reconstruction contracts to mainland-based companies they found on Linked-In, with as few as one employee.

(Among his other irrational morbid dreads, the President clearly is suffering from hydrophobia.)

Responding by tweet to Monday’s anniversary of 9/11, Trump launched yet another whining, self-justifying denial of ‘collusion’ with Russia and claimed there was an increasing amount of documentary evidence connecting Hillary Clinton to the Kremlin – although none has been produced. Of the events of 9 September, 2001, his admiration for the responders and his commiserations with he relatives, the President of the United States said nothing. He later attended a gathering of survivors and relatives, and was caught on camera giving a victory salute to himself.

TYT’s Cenk Uygur reminded us yesterday of what Trump had said on a radio phone-in on the evening of the 9/11 attack: boasting that, with the demolition of the World Trade Center’s twin towers, with nearly 3,000 office workers and responders burned or crushed to death beneath them, people still dying in the rubble, the area still on fire, his own building, Trump Tower, was now “the tallest in New York”.

This sociopathic monster needs to be confined to a secure facility and deprived permanently of his cellphones. Not the White House, a real one.

STOP PRESS: Federal authorities have said they will not be evacuating 1,000 prisoners from the Ridgeland Correctional Institute on the coast of South Carolina, as 160 mph super hurricane Florence bears down on them. Fears are also being expressed for pollution from vast agricultural waste storage facilities as many giant industrial pig and chicken farms,  sewage treatment works and ‘toxic coal-ash dumps’ also lie in the path of the storm. (Democracy Now!)

“North Carolina has roughly 2,100 industrial-scale pork farms containing more than 9 million hogs typically housed in long metal sheds with grated floors designed to allow the animals’ urine and feces to fall through and flow into nearby open-air pits containing millions of gallons of untreated sewage.” (The Guardian)

Okay, carry on…

Storm over Miami, Fla (Cater’s News Agency)

GW: Ooh, what a spin I’m in…

Fast-moving events this week make maintaining an account valid for Thursday somewhat problematic, but here goes.

Hurricane Florence, still heading for the eastern seaboard of the USA, is moving slowly towards (now past) Bermuda and possibly could become the highest Category 5 over warmer waters and one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit the east coast in decades.

The forecast is for an incredible event: Florence is expected to stall over the coast for up to THREE DAYS… potentially dropping more than 35 inches of rain. Fortunately the Outer Banks area of N Carolina is thinly populated, even so up to 10-in is possible inland to Virginia and up into New York as the rotation widens. (The target now appears to be the more populous city of Wilmington.)

“As well as Florence, likely to become a Superstorm by Thursday several hundred miles across, “The Atlantic and Pacific are ginning up at least four other systems that are already—or soon predicted to be—at hurricane strength. Each of these is likely to affect land, with an unusual cluster of simultaneous U.S.-affiliated targets.” (Wunderground)

Weather wars, no doubt.

STOP PRESS: Monday 10 Sept. Wunderground confirms, “With rapid intensification forecast, Florence is predicted by the National Hurricane Center to reach the North Carolina coast on Thursday as a weakening Cat 3, one of the strongest landfalls so far north in U.S. history. Massive rains could occur for days afterward.” A tidal surge is predicted over the shallow coastline of 10 to 12 feet. 1.5 million residents have been advised to flee, and the US Atlantic fleet has put to sea. Even Mr Trump has noticed, tweeting people to stay safe. Right…

Olivia is encountering problems and may not make it to Cat 1 before it passes over Maui and fizzles out as a Tropical Storm, even so a rare visitor to Hawaii offering up to 15-in rain over Maui island. New, Tropical Storm Paul isn’t expected to make landfall anywhere.

Helene has become a mid-size Cat 1 hurricane, 145 miles south of the Cape Verde islands. It seems to be taking a sharp northwards turn into the mid-Atlantic, from where it MIGHT make landfall next week in the British Isles, hopes the Daily Express.

“Gales and torrential downpours threaten to hammer swathes of the country early next week if Helene makes a direct hit on the UK. However the tropical storm could narrowly swerve the country and instead supercharge a sweltering blast of heat already poised to send thermometers rocketing towards 30C (86F). Helene’s path and impact will depend on whether she collides with the jet stream over the coming days and the atmospheric conditions over Britain after the weekend, experts say.” (Express)

“Compact Tropical Storm Isaac (only 45 miles wide) was on the verge of hurricane status at 5 pm EDT Sunday, with top sustained winds of 70 mph.” Heading for the Windward Islands and the Lesser Antilles, on the edge of the Caribbean, thinks Bob Henson; who is also watching a Tropical Disturbance forming south of the Gulf that could intensify over 30 deg. C. warm waters and bring yet more flooding to Texas and Louisiana.

Pacific Typhoon Mangkhut is “on track to pass through the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands early Monday EDT as a Category 3-strength typhoon”, on its way to Guam and the Anderson Airforce Base. Unnamed Tropical Depression 27 is just passing over Luzon, Philippines. A rough week ahead in peak hurricane season.

UPDATE, Wednesday 12th: “Millions are at risk from a strong typhoon set to smash into the northern Philippines this weekend which could bring floods, landslides and huge waves to the disaster-prone nation. Emergency workers have been deployed in the northern tip of the main Philippine island of Luzon, where Cat 4 Supertyphoon Mangkhut is expected to make landfall on Saturday, with gusts of 270km per hour. ‘We’re worried for the 10 million people living in the path of this destructive storm,’ said Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.” (http://www.channelnewsasia.com)

Next stop, Hong Kong….

USA: “Heavy rain, enhanced by the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon, caused severe flooding in parts of Kentucky and Missouri between 07 to 09 Sept. At least 2 people have died. Parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania also saw heavy rainfall. … Slow-moving storms over the weekend caused flooding in parts of Texas. Local media report that 2 people died when their vehicle was dragged away by flood water in Fort Worth. (Floodlist)

Checking on some residual September heatwave numbers, I see Phoenix, Az. is still running at around 106F, 41C every day this week, with temperatures not falling below the mid-80s F overnight. Palm Springs, Ca. posted a high of 111F, 43C just today. The fierce Delta fire in Shasta County, northern California was raging uncontrolled over 22 thousand acres Saturday, tripling in size overnight. (50 thousand acres by Monday night.) A 45-mile section of highway i-5 had to be closed. But overall temperatures seem to be cooling, with rainy New York hitting a maximum of 72F, 22C. In Mexico, three schoolboys were electrocuted when widespread flooding affected the city of Apodaca.

Japan: Some new footage has emerged of Typhoon Jebi and a most extraordinary event that we never saw on mainstream news, a huge pile of wrecked cars blown or washed atop one another from a coastal carpark, caught alight and blazing fiercely. (Climate Change & Extreme Weather News #135) The same source gives us video of recent heavy flooding in Guangdong Province, China (single-storey dwellings up to the the eaves, fish swimming around unwisely on the floor of a restaurant!)

Wednesday 12th: 160 mph supertyphoon Mangkhut is expected to clip the Philippines and make landfall on the Chinese coast around Hong Kong  on Sunday, possibly as a slightly weaker Cat 3.

North Korea: The geopolitics, nuclear ambitions and parades are rarely out of the news, but we seldom hear anything about how climate change is affecting the secretive state, that has recently suffered a long heatwave and severe drought. That came to an end briefly on 28 August when 76 people are thought to have drowned and another 75 are missing after heavy flooding and landslides hit the southern part of the country. 800 buildings were destroyed. “Thousands have lost their homes and are in urgent need of food and shelter” (Red Cross spokesman) (CEWN #135 citing AFP in Pyongyang)

Italy: Flash flooding affected the city of Verona and outskirts on 01 Sept after extreme rainfall. Similarly, Barcelona in Spain was hit by a violent thunderstorm that caused widespread flooding in the city. Another flash-flood raced through the streets of Cebolla, near Toledo, where the river overflowed, carrying away dozens of cars. “Local observers said that around 30 mm of rain fell in just 15 minutes and between 50 and 60 mm in one hour.” (Floodlist) On 06 Sept a major flood hit Erbaa, in northern Turkey, during a powerful ‘whiteout’ hailstorm that turned streets to rivers of ice, etc. (CEWN #135.) Satellite imagery (Meteo) shows a large weather system moving eastwards through the Mediterranean.

Adios, amigos!

Yellowstone News: Friday 7th, the Steamboat (biggest geyser in the park) erupted again, for the 17th time this year, with considerable force, hurling rocks and ‘dirty’ boiling liquid water into the air accompanied by a ‘deep, percussive booming sound’ (USGS field reports). The Blessed Mary Greeley reports, the eruption lasted for 48 minutes; almost twice as long as ever recorded before. The most times it has gone off in a single year before is 3, in the whole of 2003. Many years it doesn’t erupt at all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9ay1PBQlBM&t=22s

Plaguewatch: There’s been a single case of potentially fatal MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a ‘flu-like coronavirus carried by camels – in South Korea, brought back apparently from Kuwait by a 61-year-old business traveler. It’s the first known case for three years, following an outbreak in Korea that killed 38 people. Authorities have quarantined the flight crew and several passengers, but they’re still looking for another 50 passengers who may not know they’ve been exposed. (ChannelNews Asia/Straits Times)

In unconnected news, dozens of passengers arriving in the USA, Australia and New Zealand on flights from the Middle East have been reporting feeling ill. Several different airlines were involved and a number of passengers were taken to hospital as a precaution. The passengers are all thought to have been making their annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, where tens of thousands of worshippers mingle from all over the world – a perfect incubator – and may just be suffering from mild ‘flu, according to health specialists.

 

Donny and Kimmy: The on-again, off-again fatty bromance… A Nobel ambition… The trouble with headlines… The true purpose of diplomacy… GW: Yemen hurricane… Despair is setting in…

“Yes, I’m willing to talk to any thuggish criminal dictator.” (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is believed to be contemplating a Pyongyang visit.)

Donny and Kimmy: The on-again, off-again fatty bromance.

There seems little point in writing about those two bears, Donny and Kimmy’s on-again, off-again fatty bromance, until it’s either on or off. It could go right to the wire, and the suspense is killing us.

Trump’s bizarre love tweet to the North Korean dictator, suggesting they could run away together, exchanging tanning tips and diet recipes mixed in with dire threats of nuclear options – “love me or I’ll kill myself and you and the kids too” – was apparently personally dictated by the Orange Imbecile himself, to some amanuensis with basic spelling and grammar skills.

As it was Donny who called off their big date, it seems a bit rich that he’s blaming Kimmy for the breakup.

But that’s serial abusers for you.

(So, what’s it to be instead, eh, Pumpkin? (Ed. writes.) Could it be the breaking news of Donny Jr’s flirtation with Russian organized crime, as uncovered in Spanish investigators’ wiretaps of Aleksandr Torshin, a Putin ally and Central Bank contact who may have been the conduit from a known mafia boss for millions of laundered dollars sent via the National Rifle Association (of which he is a long-term member) to fund the Trump campaign on a promise of “closer relations” with sanctioned oligarchs?

Or could it be the relationship that’s been uncovered by the New York Times between Michael Cohen and Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, that reportedly led via an intermediary, Andrew Intrater, to a payment of over half a million dollars into the slush fund Cohen was operating via an obscure shell company in Delaware, out of which he appears to have been paying hush money to Trump’s various bits on the side?

(We recall, it was Vekselberg who among others attended Trump’s inauguration along with Kremlin lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had previously met with Donny Jr, Manafort and Kushner at Trump Tower to discuss, er, the problems of adopting Russian babies.)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5293361/FBI-concerned-Russians-inauguration.html

Or could it be what Rudy Giuliani has now admitted is a total fabrication of Trump’s, concerning an FBI informant inside his campaign camp, spying for Hillary and the black guy? Yet another red herring cooked up to try to throw the Mueller probe off-balance. And when is the puerile oaf finally going to let the shoe drop, that he got elected somehow and that’s that, and he should just get on with whatever insanity he has planned for everyone?

The FBI’s investigation – as opposed to the Mueller investigation – of the fake-news Russia Thing is getting increasingly murky and convoluted, with more leaky back-channels turning up between members of the Trump family campaign and Russian crime figures than Mount Kilueia has spawned magma-spewing fissures. But as The Pumpkin has been saying all along, it’s about the money, stupid.

To put it at its absolute simplest, this story is about a bunch of very clever, wealthy people with connections to the criminal underworld in Moscow getting their hooks into a bunch of complete dimwits in the hastily arranged, under-strength and under-funded campaign to elect a dreadful old made-for-TV fraud desperate for money to the useful position of President of the United States, from whom they could buy favors.

No collusion.

(More brackets… and let’s not lose sight of Trump Sr’s own previous brushes with the Moscow Mafia, such as his old relationship via his business partner Felix Sater with the feared crime boss, Semyon Mogilevitch, who lost a packet investing in his failed Atlantic City casino adventure and Trump SoHo – as reported by BBC Panorama’s John Sweeney.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hPtC2KjF4k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N5Kun2sJPA

But maybe we won’t write about those stories after all.

Because there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it.

It’s just a new form of entertainment for the masses.

x

A Nobel ambition

It seems perfectly clear to The Pumpkin, he tells me over coffee and toast, that Trump’s desperate attempts to push the Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un back onto the rails has less to do with achieving peace in our time, than with the meme his advisors have firmly planted between his furry old, golden ears; that realm where profound disturbance reigns.

If he pulls this deal off, they whisper, he’ll be a shoo-in for the Peace Prize.

It would indeed be ironic if this braggadocious and abusive armchair warrior with his five draft deferments, his threats of violence against opponents, his probably illegal drone strikes and his trillion-dollar military budget were even to be nominated to the committee.

Ironic too, if the award were to go more properly to Kim and his southern counterpart, Mr Moon; since it has been the two of them, with a little help from Korea’s neighbors, who have brokered the historic achievement for which the Orange Imbecile gives himself the credit. Not by making peace overtures, but by threatening to annihilate North Korea. Shades of ’53.

There is as yet no guarantee that Kim will abandon his nuclear weapons without an end to US threats, sanctions and blatant intimidation; an end to Bolton, Pompeo and Pence’s talk of a possible “Libya solution”, implying military-led regime change in the north and the humiliating downfall of the Kim dynasty.

The only person with whom Kim has even mentioned removing the nukes is Moon: it’s still an enormous bone of contention with Washington.

Why then is Trump so keen to propose himself for the Nobel award? Not a difficult question to answer: just general reasons, we suspect.

One is the prospect of someone, anyone in the world independently validating his presidency, which to date has been pretty much a total flop bar the tax giveaway to his donors, and an insult to democracy.

It would be one in the eye for his critics, who appear to include everyone on the planet not actually sitting mutely in the Republican seats in Congress, their lips sealed with Koch money.

It would be one in the eye too for the Mueller inquiry, which Trump has always seen not as a criminal investigation but as a Democrat plot to question and undermine his legitimacy.

And it would confirm the place in history he has convinced himself he undoubtedly deserves.

It would mean too that he could say in his private moments aside with the ghosts of his contemptuous daddy Fred, who always belittled him by comparison with his drunken but cleverer elder brother, and his cold-hearted momma: “look at me, I’m flying!”

But more to the point, it must be utterly galling to him that “44”, the Black Man in the White House, got his Nobel first, and for doing practically nothing, just giving a few brave speeches in English, with joined-up sentences.

The Korean deal is purely a vanity project, for the failure of which Trump has transparently already been preparing his dumbfucks and his critics in the media alike with disarming remarks about the possibility that nothing will come of the talks, but hey, you win some, you lose some….

It’s not like him to wear a cloak of modesty, but it could quite impress the committee that he’s not being too brash about the prospect of unavoidable success.

x

The trouble with headlines

Ketamine is a “banned substance” in Britain, a Class B drug, but it is sometimes medically prescribed for pain relief and for use in anesthesia, and of course for doping racehorses.

So we are to understand from a complaint upheld by the Press Complaints Commission (now known as IPSO), by the shockbitch columnist, Katie Hopkins against the Daily Mirror.

” She was concerned most readers would believe she had been detained for taking drugs, rather than alleged racism.”

Probably owing to the extinction of we subeditors as a species, the Mirror had carelessly compressed a story that The Hop had been taking ketamine for a shoulder injury into another story, that she had been chucked out of South Africa for spreading racial hatred. The implication of the headline, false as it happens, being that she was expelled for drug use.

So warped is the woman, so hopelessly befuddled, a known side-effect of taking ketamine, that she appears to imagine spreading racial hatred is okay, but taking a Class B drug in a country where it’s legal in medical form is not.

(Yes, that was intended as satire. In fact, her many fans would find drug use entirely unacceptable.)

About a month ago, I was forced to sign a petition calling on the Home Office to permit the medical use of cannabis, in order to help save the life of a child with a rare disorder amenable to treatment with the drug, which is available in medical form in many other countries.

That it is not licensed here is a scandal, sheer hypocrisy, as Britain is one of the largest exporters of medical cannabis to the world. But the politicians remain obdurate: no way will they risk seeing headlines in the Sun newspaper or the Daily Mail, screaming that they’ve gone soft in the absurd “war on drugs”, that will never be won and is killing people by the tens of thousands.

Ms Hopkins, who has a painful shoulder, poor thing (let’s hope it’s her tweeting arm), however should be careful: as, according to the Wikipedia article:

“In 1989, psychiatry professor John Olney reported ketamine caused irreversible changes, known as Olney’s lesions, in two small areas of the rat brain.”

Maybe she’d be safer with just a handful of aspirin?

 

The true purpose of diplomacy

From the weirdly computer-voiced Politics News, a YouTube commentary channel:

“US ambassador quits — and just exposed the Trump administration. On his way out, the former U.S. ambassador to Panama likened President Donald Trump to a “velociraptor” who destroys any obstacles in his path.

“This article was originally published at Salon.

“‘In private, he is exactly like he is on TV, except that he doesn’t curse in public,’ John D. Feeley told the New Yorker. ‘He’s like a velociraptor. He has to be boss, and if you don’t show him deference he kills you.’ Former Marine Corps helicopter pilot and career diplomat, Feeley announced his resignation from his diplomatic post earlier this year, saying he could no longer serve under the Trump administration.

“In an op-ed for the Washington Post, titled ‘Why I Could No Longer Serve This President,’ Feeley explained that Trump had ‘warped and betrayed’ what he considered as ‘the traditional core values of the United States.’ He wrote, ‘America is undoubtedly less welcome in the world today.'” – Politics News.

Aw, what a liddle snowflake!

At his first meeting with Trump following his nomination, Ambassador Feeley recalls, the President asked him, “So what’s in it for us? What can we get from Panama?”

I’ll bet you’re not in the least bit surprised, shocked or offended by that, are you? (I’m not even going to ask how the Panama Papers got leaked, or why. It’s none of my business.) Trump views the presidency purely as a license to beg for loose change in the world’s streets.

x

GW: Yemen hurricane

As if war, plague and famine are not enough, Yemen is about to experience – a hurricane.

Jeff Masters at Wunderground writes (22 May): “This forecast has TC 2A approaching landfall near the Oman-Yemen border (25 or 26 May) as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds and a central pressure of 960 mb…”

24 May, BBC reports:

“The island chain of Socotra, famed for unique plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet, is coping with the aftermath of a powerful cyclone. The archipelago was struck by Cyclone Mekunu on Wednesday night, leaving at least 19 people missing and forcing its native population to flee floodwaters. Socotra is part of Yemen.”

Floodlist reports authorities calling for international aid as low-lying coastal areas were flooded by a tidal surge. “Residents of Socotra are still recovering from damage caused by the recent Cyclone Sagara which struck the island on 17 to 18 May, 2018.”

Sea temperature in the Arabian Gulf is around 32C, 5.5C higher than the lowest temperature required for hurricanes to form. The main danger is from intense rainfall: “Salalah (population 340,000) is a major port city and tourist destination, and receives just five inches of rain per year on average. The region could easily see double that amount of rain from TC 2A, leading to significant flash flooding.”

STOP PRESS Friday pm 25 May: Mekunu has reportedly strengthened to a Cat 3 with a sustained windspeed of 115 mph and is heading at 10 mph straight for the city of Salalah. This is not – repeat not – normal weather for the region. Wunderground reports:

“Waves estimated by JTWC as high as 32 feet will be slamming into the coast atop a significant storm surge. Because Mekunu is making landfall at a nearly perpendicular angle, its winds will be slamming against a wall of mountains just a few miles inland from Salalah that extend up to 4900 feet in elevation. The upslope flow will greatly enhance local rainfall totals on the seaward slopes of these mountains, and the runoff will pour down normally dry valleys known as wadis onto the coastal plain into and near Salalah, with the risk of potentially devastating flash floods on top of any surge-related flooding along the coast. Residents in valleys and low-lying areas were advised to evacuate by Oman Civil Defense, according to the Khaleej Times.”

Wunderground also reports, “invest 90L”, the first possible hurricane of the Atlantic season is causing some interest in the Gulf of Mexico, currently as a disorganised tropical storm off the coast of Belize but moving north. The first name on the Atlantic list of storms for 2018 is Alberto.

Weather blogger, MrMBB333 later remarks that Alberto is organizing around an eye, that it runs the risk of stalling over the coast, like Harvey did last year, dumping huge rain – and that its forecast track thereafter is remarkably similar to that of hurricane Sandy, that trashed New York city a while back.

One we missed a couple of weeks ago: “An exceptionally rare subtropical storm appears to have formed off the central coast of Chile in the southeast Pacific Ocean, typically one of the world’s most tropical cyclone devoid ocean basins The cyclone formed late last weekend several hundred miles west of the South American coast.” – The Weather Channel.

Your old Granny W. just needs to show you the menu for Climate and Extreme Weather News #120, released last night, 22 May; and four days later, #121:

Afghanistan: Flash floods Cyclone Sagar Pakistan: Heatwave  India: Tripura flood; Uttarakhand wildfires & heatwaves Sri Lanka: Floods & landslides Indonesia: Sulawesi floods China: Chongqing landslide; Wanzhou flood & southern heatwave Russia: Siberian wildfires; Krasnodar flood; Dagestan flash flood & Yakutia Spring floods Spain: Lucena & Ciudad Rodrigo flash floods Portugal: Alcoutim flash flood Turkey: Ankara hailstorm/flash flood Egypt: Heatwave The USA & Canada: inc. Oklahoma storm Mexico: Huejutla, Apizaco & CDMX hailstorms/flash floods Guatemala: Floods Venezuela: Puerto La Cruz flash flood… and add #121: Cyclone Mekunu  Kazakhstan: Astana windstorm Indonesia: Pekalongan & Kaitetu floods Sri Lanka: Floods  Pakistan: Karachi heatwave  India: Heatwaves China: Sichuan floods & Hong Kong heatwave Australia: Perth storm Europe: Thunderstorms, hailstorms & flash floods Canada: Heat & Snow  USA: Ft Collins hailstorm….

This is getting mad.

Pakistan: 65 people have died as a result of heat-related conditions in the city of Karachi, where temperatures have loitered for days over 44C, 112F.

Kazakhstan: horrendous storm trashes Astana. 9 injured, buildings damaged in wind strong enough to propel a cast-iron park bench along the street.

China: major flooding in Sichuan province after heavy rains. 90,000 affected in Lichuan city, buildings collapse, crops lost. Meanwhile, Hong Kong swelters after days at 35C-plus (95F).

India: Floods in Tripura have killed at least 6 and displaced over 20 thousand. Uttarakhand in northern India is experiencing many wildfires started by farmers burning stubble, fears are growing for the air quality in places like Srinagar and New Delhi. In Rajasthan, Maharashtra and other parts of central India a 40C-plus heatwave may peak this week at up to 50C, 122F. Monday 21 May, the capital, New Delhi experienced 44C, 112F .

Sri Lanka: “Over 80,000 people have now been affected by floods, according to disaster management officials. More heavy rain has fallen since the flooding began on 20 May and 12 people have now lost their lives.” Over 20 thousand are “in need of assistance”.

Australia: huge storm batters Perth, WA. 100 km/h winds, power outages… and wildfires!

New Zealand: South Island, record snow – 40 cm dumped in a night.

Uganda: “heavy rainfall in eastern Uganda from around 22 May caused the River Manafura to break its banks. Local media report that around 150 homes have been flooded, forcing (2,000) people to evacuate to nearby schools or churches.” It’s been raining there for several weeks.

Russia: vast areas of Siberia are now burning and many parts resemble the aftermath of a nuclear war, with nothing living, everything blackened for miles. Torrential rain has flooded the city of Krasnodar.

Turkey: The capital, Ankara is battered by an extreme hailstorm, streets turned to rivers of ice, etc.

Meanwhile, Europe is hotting up, with near-heatwave conditions expected everywhere. There’s been flash-flooding in Spain and Portugal, while: ”

“Storms across northern Europe have caused surface flooding in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and France, including the capital Paris. The region has seen several violent storms over the last few days, in particular on 22 May, where Meteo France said that 13,964 lightning strikes were reported across the country. The storms also brought hail – some areas of Germany have recorded hail 50 cm deep – strong winds and localised heavy downpours which have flooded streets and damaged homes. No fatalities have been reported.” (Floodlist, 24 May)

France, 26 May, Violent hailstorms hit western France destroying swaths of vineyards and killing a girl out walking with her parents in a park in Mayenne. The sudden and powerful storms that struck the Bordeaux and Charentais winemaking regions on Saturday took residents by surprise.  Wine growers from famous names fear the loss of two years’ production after also being hit by frosts earlier in the year. (Buy now!)

UK: the Bank Holiday weekend is/was expected to produce temperatures getting up to 30C, 86F as a plume of warmer air arrives from Spain. (I say “expected”: glorious until yesterday, it’s turned cold and rainy under lowering skies in Boglington today, Friday. This happens every year.

27 May, BBC reported: “Storms have caused flash flooding across parts of Birmingham. The Environment Agency has issued multiple flood warnings and alerts are in place across the West Midlands. A Met Office amber weather warning is in place for the region.” 2.25 inches of rain – a month of May’s worth – fell in one hour.

Scrolling through impressive photos of some of the more than 15 thousand lightning bolts recorded in four hours during the night as heavy storms moved up from France and pounded the south of England. Stansted airport briefly out of action. Even hardened weather forecasters have been saying they’ve seen nothing like it. (A solitary fly has entered the studio. Welcome, stranger.)

Despite the late winter cold snap, bookies are offering odds on 2018 being the warmest year on record. Meanwhile:

The USA and Canada are warming too after a bitter winter – wildfire alerts are once again a feature as Canada expects record high temperatures to set in. A wildfire in the Prince Albert country park, Alberta, has already consumed 31 thousand Ha. and other fires in Saskatchewan have forced whole towns to evacuate. Meanwhile to the east, it’s snowing in Newfoundland. In Colorado, a huge hailstorm has battered Fort Collins (rivers of ice, etc.). Otherwise record heat is forecast for the midwest.

(Reports edited from CEWN #120, #121/ Floodlist/ the Guardian/ BBC News/ Guardian

 

Despair is setting in

Your old gran is not sure how long she can go on with this before topping herself. It is becoming depressingly more apparent with every week that passes that we are completely screwed. There is no magic bullet that can stop this process from playing out inexorably, we have left it far too late. We cannot change course now.

And no, it’s not the stupid “Grand Solar Minimum”, that doesn’t exist other than as another bullshit bogus scientific meme punted around the dumbfuck YouTube dwellers by the fossil-fuel ecocides to absolve themselves of blame for the ongoing mass extinction, while they continue to bask in a Trump-led rise in oil prices following his precipitate announcement on the Iran “deal”. Gasoline here is now 9 pence (14 cents) a liter at the pump more than two weeks ago, possibly a Good Thing as we might be encouraged to burn less. (Oh, no, sorry, the oil price just slumped again as OPEC has started furiously pumping, to keep demand up.)

What is killing us is not the sun, you dumbfucks and lizard brains. “Minimum” means just that: the lowest level of activity! It’s the runaway greenhouse effect. It’s CO2 at 412ppm and methane venting from the Arctic, caused by burning billions of tonnes annually of coal, oil and natural gas for 170 years, pumping heat-retaining gases remorselessly into the air and sea,

Got it yet?

(The BogPo will be publishing a special 44-page report next week, edited from all the Granny Weatherwax’s Global Warming columns from the past year. Read it and weep.)

 

Send us a sign. Make it a different one.

One small ray of hope; I have spotted a fly in the kitchen!

Yes, it may be a sign that all is not yet lost. Although there are no bees flying anywhere in the valley*, despite the masses of May blossom; the lilac, and the opening wildflowers. And no blowflies at all on the rotting marrowbone Hunzi has been guarding in the garden.

Indeed, Hunzi and I recorded only one flying invertebrate on a 45-minutes’ walk through the valley yesterday, an unidentifiable species of large, brown horsefly or possibly a beetle, I didn’t have my glasses with me, poised on one of the many fading blossoms at the end of a spectacular display by a solitary rowan tree.

Rowan blossom has a faint carrion smell that might not attract bees, but must surely call to flies from miles around. Yet there was just the one.

But look, there’s a fly in the kitchen! Alleluja! They’re not yet extinct!

Er… Oh. I think I may have just accidentally trapped it in the fridge….

*No, beg pardon, we found two honeybees gathering pollen on a hawthorn by the river last night. You may be too young to remember the deep humming of thousands of bees in the summer meadows.)

I lasted 18 seconds… You can’t eat a fucking Social Mobility Action Plan, Mrs May… Poisoning the diplomatic atmosphere…GW: Dead…

Pulling strings: Nigel Farage commands the fish to rise from the waters. (Sky News)

“Even a second series of The Night Manager would suck less air out of the schedules.”

 I lasted 18 seconds

Forty or so years ago there used to be a pretty anodyne and harmless but highly rated family quiz on Sunday evening primetime TV. You tended to put it on in the suburban background in lieu of anything else, other than getting remorselessly pissed on gin, there being only one and a half channels to watch and no Netflix in those good old days.

From left: £4.2 million; £3.5 million. (BBC/ David Venni) Uncle Bogler (top): £ zero million. Oh well, next time.

All-singing, all-dancing, genial master of the catchphrase: “Alright, muh luvs?” “Nice to see you, to see you nice”, etcetera – (I never promised you a prose garden, btw) – Bruce Forsyth would get contestants to stuff a duvet blindfolded in under half a minute by the big counting-down studio clock, whatever, make fools of themselves, ask them some easy questions and they’d get a chance to go away happy with a pile of crap from the pound shop, items they’d memorized going around on a conveyor belt (“Cuddly toy!”), with a main prize usually of a small, silently rusting British Leyland car to astound an audience living on five quid a week, as one was.

National treasure, Sir Brucey twirled off for the last time into the wings last year, aged 180. (“Didn’t he do well?”) So now the BBC has revived his old show with the help of the rest of the Strictly Come Dancing “comedy” presentation team: usually quite funny comedienne hoping to go straight, Sue Perkins and her besty, Mel Gdrcie (Are you sure about the spelling? Ed.), lavishing a fortune bled from your £145.50 a year TV license fee on brightly colored sets, bizarre costumes, props and raising the heights of the TV Centre doorways for special guest Richard Osman to pass through.

Unfortunately money is not, and never has been, an adequate substitute for creative originality. You need more sparkly tat.

So, anyway, if you don’t know who Richard Osman is, ask his mother. A gameshow host, promoted from Assistant Gameshow Host (“the scores, please, Richard, and cut the smartypants ad-libbing!”) he supplements his daytime TV income from a show appropriately called Pointless!, where I think the idea is contestants start with points and have to lose them, by making frequent appearances on other gameshow hosts’ gameshows.

It’s nowadays impossible that an entertainment can be created just for the TV audience (controversy has already arisen over whether the studio audience lives in a can or just shares a strange laugh that breaks out for no obvious reason now and again); Osman appeared to be one of an entire panel of “celebrity” experts invited at great expense to sit next to the stage and comment on the performance of a fat lady spinning plates. I mention Osman so frequently, only because I do at least know who he is. He’s unmistakably tall.

Even a second series of The Night Manager would suck less air out of the schedules.

Within ten seconds I was already feeling as if I’d had a flannel full of Novichok stuffed in my face. Switching off Sue and Mel’s Generation Game moments later was purely an autonomic reflex before paralysis set in. Fortunately they’re only making two in the “series”, although I have my suspicions.

Disapproving of the product, a cheap cigarette brand made from the floor sweepings at Imperial Tobacco after the night shift had gone home, under duress I once wrote an ad campaign that was so deliberately far downmarket, I’d hoped it would never get up again. The normal response to a similar campaign might with luck just be 1.5%. My hideously garish, illiterate, insulting mailshot pulled 16%. I was the hero of the hour.

No-one ever got anywhere overestimating the tastes of a bussed-in British TV audience, either. I thought those people had gone extinct in the 1980s, but… Brexit?

Look forward then to an extended run, maybe as the nights start lengthening in the Autumn and the realities of our economic situation set in, a return to the 1980s will seem attractive. In a week or so, even hardened Guardian critics will be polishing up phrases like “all good family fun” so as not to seem out of touch with the zeitgeist.

Oh. They already are.

Floral wallpaper, anybody?

 

“It’s the grey skin, the pallor. It’s the pallor you really notice.”

You can’t eat a fucking Social Mobility Action Plan, Mrs May.

Four out of five head teachers are reporting growing signs of malnutrition and sickness among their pupils.

A report compiled with the Child Poverty Action Group, presented at the annual conference of the National Education Union in Brighton reveals that many schools are having to devote increasing time and resources, not to improving test results, but to social action programs to try to relieve the consequences of nine years of knuckleheaded, attritional Government cuts to welfare, universal child benefit, tax credits – creating adverse knock-on social deficits, such as massive reductions in local government safeguarding services.

Among measures they are having to take are:

  • Creating food banks and handing out food parcels
  • Teachers supplementing meagre ‘bread and margarine’ lunches out of their own pockets
  • Providing free uniforms and laundry facilities to keep homeless children looking clean
  • Staying open during holidays with volunteer teachers providing meals
  • Offering free debt counselling
  • Providing emergency loans to families.

One head from Nottingham noted:

“Monday morning is the worst. There are a number of families that we target that we know are going to be coming into school hungry. By the time it’s 9.30am they are tired. It’s the grey skin, the pallor. It’s the pallor you really notice.”

Another from Portsmouth, said there had been a four-fold increase in the number of children with child protection issues. “Every one of these issues has had something to do with the poverty that they live in. It’s neglect. It’s because they and their families don’t have enough money to provide food, heating or even bedding.”

Head teachers acknowledged that many of the parents of these starving children are working poor, who would be marginally better off on benefits.

The Department of Education has responded with the following:

(We want) “to create a country where everyone can go as far as their talents can take them. That’s why we launched our social mobility action plan, which sets out measures to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged students and their peers…”

Mmm, yummy. Nutritious action plan for lunch again.

Dear God, voters of Britain, when will you look up from your stupid fucking phones, instruments of social control, and throw these diseased incompetents on the bonfire of history? No civilized country should be managed like this in the 21st century.

How anyone could tolerate the continuance of this demented, morally bankrupt Tory government whose sole economic policy is, and has been for some time, to deliberately starve children of the food their brains need to “close the educational attainment gap”, is quite beyond me.

The sixth largest economy in the world and we cannot house, clothe or feed our people. Yet our crazy housing market adds two thousand paper millionaires to the heap each year. It’s obscene.

As is the brutal illogicality of spending millions on remedial action (as they claim to be doing. The evidence suggests they are lying) to “reduce child poverty” at the same time as depriving parents of the income they need to reduce child poverty.

No?

(Edited from a BBC News report, 02 April: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-43611527)

 

So who could help feed Britain’s 120 thousand homeless children, and why should they?

“British wealth rose to a record £12.8 trillion in June 2016” (Cityam.com, who genuinely have a banking correspondent called Jasper Jolly…)

“A quarter of all new UK wealth goes to millionaires” (Oxfam report). “A total of 3.6 million households in Britain held wealth of more than £1m by June 2016, up 29% in two years” (BBC, quoting Office for National Statistics.)

“With the number of millionaires on the up, the wealth of the top 10 per cent of households was five times that of the bottom half combined by the end of 2016.” (thisismoney.co.uk)

“The £2 million given to him to help buy a home in the capital includes payments of £28,000 a month to cover mortgage interest. These total £740,000 since he took the top job in the summer of 2015. He will keep any profit he makes on the swish apartment if he decides to sell or rent it out. In addition to interest payments, the Pru handed Wells £514,000 to cover stamp duty on his new home – enough to buy a £5 million property. Because the payment is a taxable benefit, he was given £330,000 to settle his bill with Revenue & Customs. The company paid £200,000 for his possessions to be shipped across the Atlantic. He was also given £178,000 for temporary accommodation while he was waiting for the purchase to complete. That takes the total he has received for housing costs to £1.96 million. On top of that, he received £37,000 last year to cover flights back to the US. Wells’s package came to £8.7 million last year, taking his total pay and bonuses since he became chief executive in June 2015 to £23.6 million.” (thisismoney.co.uk on the staggering remuneration package of the Prudential UK CEO, Mike Wells.)

Of course, he may give it all away to Britain’s legions of grey children. Who knows, stranger things have happened.

 

Poisoning the diplomatic atmosphere….

As diplomatic relations slip through the rabbit-hole into an Alice in Wonderland world of threats and conspiracy theories, many of them thrown up by the wily Russian who succeeded as ambassador to the UN, a predecessor whose autopsy following his sudden death a year ago has been marked Classified, the odd case of the Salisbury Poisoner continues to raise many apparently unanswerable questions.

The Pumpkin has asked many of these right from the beginning. It has been said, for instance, that novichok A232 is a virtually instantaneously acting nerve agent, whose lethality decays over time. Yet the Skripals apparently spent several hours having lunch in town after they were supposedly contaminated at home, before they were found unconscious on a park bench.

And they have both apparently survived; unlike a Russian banker and his secretary who were also poisoned with a novichok agent in Moscow in 1995 and died almost immediately. A tribute to the skills of the NHS, I expect.

If A232 decays to the point of non-lethality, then why is it that people in suits are still scraping around Salisbury weeks later looking for traces of it to decontaminate? What do they expect to find?

Who uses their front door handle to close the door behind them?

What was Skripal doing with two guinea-pigs in the house? (Dimwitted Plod apparently sealed-up the house, leaving the Skripals’ two cats and the guinea-pigs inside to die of thirst and starvation. One of the cats was eventually taken, barely alive, to Porton Down for examination for traces of nerve agent but had to be put down by a vet. The other has gone missing. This is surely a matter for the RSPCA?) I’ll repeat the question. Cats, okay, so James Bond – but what was Skripal doing with two guinea-pigs in the house?

Did he manufacture the A232 himself, for some other purpose? It can be done in your garage, apparently, following some simple instructions available from certain sources. See:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/06/uk-us-case-file-russian-nerve-agent-shikhany-spy-poisoning

Many questions also remain, concerning the contaminated policeman, Detective Sergeant Bailey. It now appears a second, unnamed policeman was also treated in hospital. Why has he remained unnamed thus far, but not Bailey? Did Skripal have a security detail – or just a tail?

Where did they come into contact with the A232? If it was at the house, as was reported, then how did the police know to go there before the couple had been identified or a nerve agent had even been pinpointed as the cause of the Skripals’ distress? When in the timeline did that happen – as it’s not the most likely scenario?

If someone had searched the unconscious Skripal’s pockets and found an address, how were they not also contaminated?

If the nerve agent had been suspected before Sgt Bailey went to the house, why did he go there unprotected? Was Sgt Bailey indeed the “first responder” at the scene – a detective sergeant, called out to a report of two people who, witnesses say, looked like drunks or druggies on a park bench?

If he had been, then he surely would not have been the one to go straight to the house….  as he would have been too busy making reports at the scene. Did he already know who the Skripals were, and where they lived?

Was someone anticipating just this scenario?

Nothing adds up and I doubt it ever will. But if I were Yulia Skripal, I certainly would not want to go back to Moscow with Cousin Viktoria.

Just sayin’.

 

GW:

“The greatest declines were seen in west Antarctica. At eight of the ice sheet’s 65 biggest glaciers, the speed of retreat was more than five times the rate of deglaciation since the last ice age” – cpom.org.uk

With a current 4C 2m/surface temperature anomaly, Antarctica is now coming in for the scare story treatment as scientists find that most of the melting is going on unnoticed, UNDERNEATH the vast ice shelves and glaciers.

“The results could prompt an upward revision of sea-level rise projections.” – (UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling.)

Spring 2017

Dead

In April last year I’d already begun posting in amazement at the incredible outpouring of biomass I’d observed in our valley. The speed and volume of growth so early in the year were, in my view, unprecedented.

Climbers fighting for light, 2017.

Trees that would not normally crown before May were already densely and – for a change – healthily in leaf; wildflowers were blooming, the nearby playing fields covered in snowy mats of daisies; ground-cover and climbing plants fighting for light in the densely packed hedgerows and head-high clumps of already berrying brambles.

Just outside my studio, five years ago I planted perennial herbs. A border hedge of rosemary; oregano, that would be covered in bees, a clump of thyme. And a rather expensive, miniature ornamental Japanese acer.

They’re all dead.

As is most of a hebe I planted three years ago in the front garden; although a couple of other plantings seem healthy – a hydrangea labelled ‘hardy’ seems to be just that, coming into leaf. The early clematis Hendersonii is in flower…

But nothing much has come to life in the valley. I’m walking Hunzi along paths lined with dried-out, dead last-year’s vegetation, withered brambles, a few bearing stricken early leaf buds; here and there ivy, leaves turning brown at the tips, shrivelled berries; evergreens looking blasted and ever-brown; clumps of bleached grass; a few daisies, celandine and dandelions showing, but nothing like the riot of exuberance we had this time last year.

Spring 2018.

Evergreens turning brown.

Now, okay, admittedly it has been a colder winter, later than we’ve had for a while. But not nearly as cold or snowy here on the west coast as in the east. Cold and wet. And I haven’t seen any flying insects at all (no, a few midges came out yesterday with the sun and I was buzzed by a solitary foraging bee on our walk in the rain just now. It won’t find anything.) While the birds started nesting in February, I’m wondering what they’re getting to eat?

Then, I’m seeing too that these die-offs appear to be recent, and simultaneous, although the hardest frost was three weeks ago. It’s like Russia has sprayed everything overnight with weedkiller.

Is it something we’ve done?

USA: caught in a loop of the jetstream, Winter Storm Wilbur is dumping another foot of snow over the northern states, from the Rockies to the Great Lakes, as the song goes. It’s the fifth major winter storm event of the year, but it’s a double-whammy as a second front is also hitting the east coast, including New York. Too warm to settle for long, though.

“A powerful late-season atmospheric river is headed for central California late this week, with the potential to bring near-record rains for April … Intense rain rates on Friday night will pose a flood risk in the Sierra Nevada, where the runoff will be bolstered by rain-induced snowmelt. By Saturday, high winds and heavy rains will rake parts of western Oregon and Washington … ‘This is really an historic event …’ said Cliff Mass (University of Washington)”.

“Torrential rain, strong winds, lightning strikes and flash floods hit parts of Indiana and Illinois” on 3 April, Indianapolis recording its wettest ever April day. Local forecasts for Phoenix Az. are predicting the return of 100F, 39C temperatures next week – still early mid-April. Dangerous UV levels already being measured.

Canada: powerful winds knock down buildings in Ontario.

Meanwhile northern Europe and Russia have also seen extreme cold and heavy snow persisting well into spring. These huge pools of arctic air make the northern hemisphere look like Narnia, but elsewhere across Africa, the middle East, the SW US, Australia there are enough hotspots still to keep global temperatures marginally above the 1980-2011 average for March/April.

Bangladesh, Nepal: 7 killed in severe storms, massive hail smashes houses down.

Brazil: STILL raining intensively in many areas, flash floods, cities underwater in Goias province and elsewhere. In Mexico, an intense hailstorm reduces streets in Tlalpan to rivers of ice.

Argentina: “Over 50 people were evacuated and dozens of streets closed after flooding in Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz province. Local media reported that the city received 3 times the amount of rain it would normally see for the whole of April.”

Fiji: “At least 4 people (now 6) were killed and another was missing after Cyclone Josie caused severe flooding in the South Pacific island nation. Josie moved past the island of Vitu Levu from 31 March as a category 1 storm, bringing with it heavy rain and wind gusts up to 100 km/h.”

Vanuatu: flash floods destroy homes.

Indonesia: Devastating floods in Sumatra and Java.

Greece: “Several rivers in the Balkans have broken their banks over the last few days, causing flooding in parts of northern Greece, southeastern Bulgaria and northwestern Turkey.” Police are searching for a party of “about 15” migrants thought to be missing after trying to cross a swollen river.

UK: “Snow and heavy downpours closed roads and caused travel disruption throughout the holiday weekend of 31 March to 02 April … Emergency services were called to rescue at least 8 people trapped in flood waters. Up to 10cm (4ins) of snow blanketed areas of north England, north Wales and Scotland. At one point on 02 April there were 271 flood alerts in place…” Interestingly, GW noticed absolutely none of these events taking place locally from her eyrie in Wales. Sorry.

World: “Storms, floods and other extreme weather events are hitting cities much harder than scientists have predicted, said the head of a global network of cities tackling climate change.” According to Mark Watts, executive director of the C40 climate change alliance: “Almost every (C40 member) city is reporting extreme weather events that are off all the scale of previous experience, and ahead of all the modeling of climate change.”

Edited from reports: Boglington Post/ Floodlist/ Wunderground/ MrMBB333 website/ CEWN #107, #108/ Reuter

 

British values… American carnage… Meanwhile, back at the OK Corral… The War on the Poor… It looks like Issue 43 of The Pumpkin (Maybe the last for a while)

British Values

Shortly before this bus exploded, as the fire took hold detainees were forced to remain inside to be handcuffed by Capita goons, who ought now to be put on trial and receive long prison sentences along with their lying, conniving managers, and the Home fucking Secretary, crooked financier Tony’s daughter, Amber Rudd. Decent British people are sickened by this growing abuse of migrants.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/21/home-office-contractors-cuffed-detained-migrants-inside-coach-on-fire

 

American Carnage

“It’s amazing the amount of carnage that one individual can carry out in such a short period of time.”

Thus Florida’s Junior Senator Marco Rubio, marvelling at the power of the AR-15 semi-automatic military-grade assault weapon to tear apart a young human body at close range in the wake of the St Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in idyllic Parkland, Fla.

Little Marco, as the fatuous oaf Trump famously (and seemingly accurately) dubbed him, apparently has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association. It means he’s all for it, and they’re all for him, laundered Russian dark-money an’ all.

But he still wants to reserve judgement on the killings until all the facts are in as to how amazing it was.

Like, that the 19 year-old killer, Nikolas Cruz, was legally able under Federal law to purchase an assault weapon at 18 – but not a small handgun, or a beer. You have to be 21 for those.

Like, that the FBI had already recorded the miserable little dork posting on Twitter that he wanted to become ‘a professional school shooter’, but somehow couldn’t trace him even though they knew his name. (How does that level of competence play out when trying to trace the President’s money-laundering operation?)

Like, that the BBC is reporting, social media reveals Cruz to be a paid-up member of a white supremacist gang. (The gang leader has claimed him, the police say the evidence is inconclusive. This being America, others will no doubt link him with Hillary Clinton.)

Like, that he went for a post-spree McDonalds, and had been photographed wearing a Trump: MAGA hat. A true patriot.

So, nothing to see there folks, no Muslims, move on…

It was the eighth school shooting in the US in the last six weeks. Don’t hold your breath for Trump to actually do anything more than wish everyone concerned a happier Valentine’s Day next year and blame the victims for failing to report that Cruz  – fostered after his mother died in 2016 – was depressed and angry.

Trump’s promise to look in on the folks of wherever it was will no doubt coincide conveniently with yet another golfing weekend at Mar-a-Lago, just down the road.

Maybe chuck them some paper towels, mop up the mess.

 

Meanwhile, back at the OK Corral

Addressing a roomful of bloodstained Conservative murder accessories,

“The head of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) has broken his silence more than a week after the Florida school shooting with a vituperative attack on gun control advocates, accusing them of exploiting the tragedy to push their agenda. “They care more about control, and more of it. Their goal is to eliminate the second amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms… They hate the NRA, they hate the second amendment, they hate individual freedom.” – Guardian

If the insane, whining little bitch, gun industry shill Wayne La Pierre has any grandchildren, please God the next school shooting does away with them, the lousy, sick motherfucker. And that the cancer that kills him should be slow and painful.

Thank you.

(PS The Pumpkin has patiently explained before about the Supreme Court ‘Scalia’ ruling on the 2nd Amendment, that it does not prevent controls on the buying, keeping and carrying of guns. Prior rulings on the 2nd have also interpreted ‘militia’ as meaning just that, not some phantom freaking bunch of 21st-century neoNazi redneck zombie psychopaths self-identifying as survivalists in the face of nonexistent threats to their precious fucking liberty. Nor does the 2nd say anything about permitting people on terror watch lists, convicted felons and the mentally ill being encouraged to carry a concealed weapon, as has happened in certain states.)

Twice in the past week The Pumpkin has dreamed of terrible omens. He is ushered into a big room with hundreds of people and invited to take a seat. He looks around at the faces. They are all dead. In another dream he is in a car, in a place with thick walls. A nuclear bomb is exploded alongside them. He is with a group of people. They are dying from radiation sickness. His hair is falling out.

 

But wait half a mo!

“After a golden era of sales under Barack Obama, America’s gun manufacturers are in trouble. Sales have tumbled, leaving the companies with too much stock on their hands and falling revenues. The crunch claimed its biggest victim this week when Remington filed for bankruptcy.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/13/remington-bankruptcy-guns-trump-slump-sales

Yes, welcome to ‘The Trump Slump’ – a bizarre effect of Trump’s presidency being that gun sales have fallen off a cliff in the past year. Apparently, the dumbfucks don’t need no mo’ hardware when they think they’ve got a Prezudent in the White House who is not going to take away their 2nd Amendment ‘rights’.

Gun sales actually rocketed during the Obama years as drooling rednecks fantasized about the coming war with Washington.

Overall, gun ownership has been declining since the 1970s and there are now fewer gun owners than ever, according to New York Prof. Robert Spitzer, author of five books on guns (so he should know).

“The US has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world with 88 guns for every 100 people. But just 3% of the population owns an average of 17 guns each, with an estimated 7.7 million super-owners in possession of between eight and 140 guns apiece.”

And apparently it’s these crazies who buy most of the guns, and now America is Great once more, they’re just not interested. Either that, or they’ve noticed that prices of a whole range of day to day household necessities, like food, are already shooting up in the wake of the Trump “bust the budget” tax reforms.

Good news.

Great. And the High School massacre might have come just in time to save Remington and the others. For, every such incident produces a flurry of talk of gun control, and that sends the dumbfucks crazy to the gun store again, clutching their grimy dollars.

 

“What an utterly unspeakable atrocity this man is”

Proof if proof were needed that Donald Trump is in character a thing less than the dirt under the fingernails of humanity has come in his latest Sunday morning tweet.

Not only has the balding sex pest launched another of his pathetic teenage tweets blaming the FBI for the killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, he has again made it all about Donald J Trump and his persecution mania.

Because, he says, the FBI have been too busy trying to prove he colluded with Russia, which everyone knows is a Democrat hoax, to police the safety of the nation’s children.

What an utterly unspeakable atrocity this man is, to turn this horrible tragedy into political point-scoring and a desperate bleat for sympathy, not for the bereaved families, or for the wounded (facing horrific medical bills) but for his loathsome self.

No blame of course attaches to him for ratcheting up the level of rightwing violence in his benighted country. The killer at times sported a Make American Great Again baseball hat, of the kind that Trump’s dumbfuck fans like to wear in their moments of maximum inanity.

Of the kind the President of the United States sells (made in China?) and personally promotes in order to profit from his office.

No blame attaches to him for taking $50 million in Russian ‘dark’ money channeled via the National Rifle Association to support his election campaign, the latest allegation to come from Hillary Clinton, the failed Democrats and their puppets in the lying fake-news media.

He is just like some unpleasant residue you can’t shake off your shoe .

And still the Republican Congress wallows in shame, their corrupt, lying faces firmly jammed up his furry old rectum, smelling heavily of cheeseburger.

 

Trump crooked? Surely not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a54UVDf7ZaA

This Rachel Maddow story will prove to you as if it needed proving, that this President is a complete crook.

Basically, the NYT has hold of a report as to where the spare change from Trump’s inaugural went.

To his wife’s best friend.

$26 million.

 

“…thanks to the idiotic #metoo and other pro-women campaigns, no-one now dares to challenge the narrative agenda, to see this for what it is.”

A war not on poverty, but on the poor

Another inadvertent hostage to fortune in the campaign against NGOs has been offered by Brendan Cox, the widower of the Labour MP murdered for supporting Remain in the EU referendum by a former member of Britain First!, the deeply patriotic Mosque-burning organization supported in his infinite witlessness by President Donald J Trump.

Since the brutal slaying of his highly-regarded wife, hacked down and shot outside her office by a delusionary neoNazi, the not-unpleasant-looking Mr Cox, caring for their two young children, has been a favorite target of the unspeakable Trump knobgobbler, Nigel Farage and mercilessly trolled with threats of kidnap and murder by the toxic alt-right, claiming absurdly that his charities are “supporting Islamic terrorism”.

Now he’s been outed by the gruesome Mail on Sunday, purportedly a newspaper, as an office Lothario, and he’s had to resign from the charities he set up in his wife’s memory, although the allegations refer to his previous position with the megacharity Save the Children, where the media has been trying for the last fortnight to link them with the Oxfam abuse story.

Now they have all the proof they need that all charities are evil sinkholes of vice and a waste of public money. Well done, Brendan. What did you do, invite a pretty girl out for a drink? Pay an intern a compliment? You monster.

The business of a certain section of the British press is to demonize minorities, and this month it’s the turn of the charity sector, that has seemingly ignored too many of the complaints of its women staffers and volunteers that they’re being propositioned by randy men. No stone has been left unturned in what appears to be an orchestrated campaign from the right to undermine public trust in the sector, which has long been perceived on the international political stage to be inimical to the interests of corrupt oligarchs.

And thanks to the idiotic pop-up #metoo and other pro-women campaigns, no-one now dares to challenge the narrative agenda, to see this for what it is. Yet how quickly the Conservative right has moved to announce that it plans to defund the lefties of Oxfam over the bad behavior of one of its Belgian staffers and a handful of others in the field.

Was it meted in their 1948 Charter to have to declare their internal disciplinary proceedings to the Daily Express? ‘Transparency’ is not something that bothers most large corporations, why should Oxfam be bound by different standards invented on the spur of the moment by hypocritical tabloid editors and their Tory shills?

The giant Medecins Sans Frontières has since come clean. Of its 20 thousand staff and volunteers globally, it has received 24 complaints of sexual harassment in six years, resulting in the firing of 19 people. Perhaps the Conservatives would like to close them down too, withdraw their doctors and nurses from the hellish underground hospitals of Syria and just let the bomb victims and the amputated children bleed out?

Wake up, women. Your noble crusade against Hollywood scumbags has been rapidly misappropriated by disruptors to undermine social organizations of which the right disapproves, believing them to be anti-globalizing forces of the socialist left, opposed to profitable corporate corruption and exploitation. Have they not been moaning for years that Oxfam and others had become too political? Well, now they have their comeuppance, thanks to you. This could have been handled better, no?

Kneejerk patsies like Bishop Desmond Tutu, who has pompously withdrawn his support for Oxfam, could look at the devastation wrought on the global Catholic church by successive abuse scandals and see a pattern. What Oxfam is essentially being accused of is weak supervisory management, that has allowed a tiny number of abusive individuals out of thousands to get away with their behavior. No-one is making the point: you don’t have the same controls over volunteers as you do over employees. You don’t have an economic sanction with which to govern their behavior. Volunteering is about trust.

From that one instance, the rightwing politicians and media have seized on whatever other historic criticisms they can find to build a picture of malevolence, waste and incompetence to bring down a movement that has intended to do only good since their founding 70 years ago. Tutu should be on the side of the weak and use the power of Christian forgiveness to help realign the organization’s values if need be. Instead he has walked into the trap of helping the wealthy and powerful to destroy it. What will be the outcome of that for the weak, the hungry and dispossessed of the world, I wonder?

Then, Tutu always was a bit of a self-promoting idiot.

It’s all part of the “War on the poor” being enthusiastically prosecuted by the US Republicans and their disruptive billionaire pals in Russia and around the world. Defunding the NGOs will kill more poor people, without a doubt. Is that what #metoo and others want? There are real consequences to gender politics.

No-one is advocating sexual violence or harassment or the exercise of male dominance in the workplace. The Pumpkin ought however in the interest of balance to mention that he met both his wives through work, there being nowhere else for driven work-obsessives in the pre-Tinder age to meet potential partners – and that in both cases after a suitable period of observing his behavior at close range and finding him charmingly diffident it was the women who took the initiative (and did the proposing!).

In addition, the Pumpkin modestly but also proudly asserts that he was once voted Rear of the Year by the women in an otherwise all-female editorial office where he worked, and put up with the same lousy wage. While at college, he was made an “honorary lesbian” by the feminist couple who ran the canteen…

Despite a small number of instances at other times of no-doubt inappropriate conduct, boy-on-girl things for which he apologizes, although most of the time he has been rigorously abstemious to the point of cowardice, he explains that it was not an exercise in male dominance, it was just hoping we could have pleasurable sex.

He therefore feels no guilt at saying, women cannot at one and the same time insist that they are strong, yet demand compensation for their relative weakness.

Something more is going on here than meets the eye.

 

A detached view

Speaking of which, things have gone awr-eye. Just as he was seemingly recovering from the last one, the Pumpkin has had to have another operation to reattach the retina and is finding it hard to gaze at this screen for long, being once again totally blind in the shorter-sighted orb.

With tears streaming down his face, he announces what he hopes will be only a temporary suspension of bogling activities. (NB some minor editing may still occur from time to time.)

GW an update

Just to mention, Granny W says episode #94 of Climate and Extreme Weather News is online at YouTube, you can go watch it now. The enhanced seismic activity around the globe is continuing unabated, see the Dutchsinse website, with another M7.1 in Mexico and even a M4.4 in the Bristol Channel; while the Yellowstone swarm and magma intrusions are continuing into their record-breaking 9th month.

Christchurch and two other districts on New Zealand‘s South Island have declared a state of emergency as former cyclone Gita hit the country. Dozens of schools have been shut and roads closed on the South Island as the storm made landfall on Tuesday. Broome in farthest NW Australia has too been hit by yet another cyclone and the town is underwater again – BBC

Temperatures at the North Pole have again gone Celsius-positive, the Bering Straight is ice-free and another hurricane-force system is pushing warm water up into the Arctic.

Yellowstone: 200 more earthquakes have been recorded in the last 10 days.

Pack a bag. Stock up on canned tuna. Read a bible.

CEWN #95 also out 20 Feb. and #96 on 23rd.