“My favourite “Covidiot’” pictures, which I search out daily for light relief, are the Stasi-style pap shots of shoppers coming out of The Range. Among all the death and dystopian headlines, I grimly enjoy these people, sheepishly trundling trolleys to their Volvos filled with ceramic garden Buddhas, 15 litres of Daffodil White paint and signs that say, ‘It’s Prosecco O’ Clock’.”
– Grace Dent, The Guardian, proving that middle-class acquisitiveness in Britain is indomitable.
“Total authority without responsibility. Isn’t that the definition of dictatorship?”
It’s not looking at all good
In the past few hours, the insane president has been tweeting out to his 50 million Followers to, in capital letters, “LIBERATE” three states, Michigan, Minnesota and West Virginia, where there are Democrat governors who are trying to control the spread of the virus with lockdowns.
Is Trump mounting a coup against his own country under cover of Covid-19?
Are his daily shenanigans in the White House pulpit, his astonishing, self-pitying assaults on the media that created him and daily sustains him, his endless lying and bogus self-justification, his narcissistic obsession with his audience ratings, his ignorant opposition to his own medical advisors, his relentless promoting of dangerous quack cures just a sham, a distraction from what’s really going on?
As confirmed cases in the US exceed 680 thousand, with 35 thousand dead since February, 28 thousand new cases registered yesterday alone, the federal government has reportedly swooped in to interdict desperately needed supplies of PPE, ventilators and vital drugs from reaching states’ governors, who have already paid for them from unscrupulous suppliers at up to fifty times their former prices.
Meanwhile, as virtually every government support that Trump has promised at his bizarre daily press conferences he has already delivered has failed to materialize in the real world, the daily numbers of tests rapidly going backward; having notoriously last week declared that he was not responsible for anything, Trump was vidoed yesterday getting in a spat with a journalist who questioned his constitutional right to override states’ governors on public health policy, insisting that as president his authority is ‘total’. ‘Total’.
So, total authority without responsibility.
Isn’t that the definition of dictatorship?
The illicit seizure by US federal agents of imported masks and other supplies has been going on on foreign airport runways, according to French, German and Brazilian sources, and is now happening in the US itself, where it was uncovered only because a raid on a consignment of 39 million masks from China failed when it was discovered that the masks didn’t exist: it was a scam.
There are reports, according to MSNBC news, quoting the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, of governors considering the use of police or National Guard units to ensure their supplies reach the hospitals they’re intended for. Protecting their legitimate interests and those of their citizens against their own federal government.
Isn’t that what the Second Amendment fanatics have always insisted their guns are for?
Their 300 million guns?
The irony being that so many of them actually support this criminal, this grotesque, manipulative hoax of a president.
The Executive branch attaching – perhaps stealing would be a better word, since no compensation is being paid – urgent medical supplies wherever they can be found might seem to be – I don’t know – a fairer means of ensuring nationwide distribution, directing supplies strategically to where they’re most needed, except that it’s not. Federal stockpiles are virtually empty. FEMA has none. There is no direction. Nothing is being sent anywhere.
So where the hell is the stuff going?
Assuming he’s not just selling it to the highest bidders out of the back door, Trump is establishing control of the supply, perhaps to force the governors to do his bidding, when it comes to ordering a national return to work that many governors and medical experts fear is premature and designed only to boost the markets – and hence, the president’s poll ratings. Even as the virus rampages unchecked through care homes for the elderly, through black neighborhoods and Veterans’ Administration hospitals, he will claim a great victory. Possibly the greatest.
He will have conquered Death.
It looks to The Pumpkin like this thievery is a policy being run by Jared Kushner’s shadowy parallel emergency management team. Only last week at a White House presser, Kushner in an apparent slip of the tongue referred to ‘our’ medical supplies. No-one knew what he meant by that. Speculation is rife: who is ‘us’? The White House itself? Billionaires? Trump’s and Kushner’s extended family and friends? Congressional Trump loyalists and the packed judiciary? Pro-Trump militias and the dumbfuck voters?
Well no, not them. They’re the ones who are being sacrificed in droves for the Orange Messiah in the Oval Office.
Or is it for resale to the highest bidder? Trump is already hijacking what he can get from the $4 trillion bailout fund voted through by Congress. He’s fired the head of the oversight committee and put his own man in the post, effectively giving himself control over where the money goes. He’s insisting that the hotels and leisure sector where he has substantial interests (and losses) should have first dibs at the compensation funds.
Much of the rest will be handed without an audit trail to corporations that are already sitting on a $13 trillion offshore cash mountain. Some people fondly remember when boosting the market through stock buybacks was illegal.
Increasingly there is talk of a suspension of civil rights; of the cancellation of November’s elections; of civil war. Some “very fine people” are already donning combat fatigues, waving AR-15s around city halls and demanding their right as freeborn Americans not to be locked-down by Jew Commie faggot politicians. That has to be worth fifty bucks apiece.
And now, for utterly selfish reasons, as the UN agency operates in many other, poorer countries where the virus has yet to get its full purchase, this malignant old bastard is defunding the World Health Organization, lying copiously about its actions early in the crisis to mask his own dismal inadequacies; when the USA’s normal contribution is already $200 million in arrears – and when he has previously defunded or disbanded his own government’s pandemic watchdogs as irrelevant expenses, and in 2018 withdrew the permanent US medical liaison on Beijing’s pandemic response team.
Back in 2014, Obama made an astonishingly prescient speech on the threat and being properly prepared (in the next five years). It isn’t as if no-one foresaw the likelihood of a global pandemic. Normal people did. But Trump has not made a habit of cultivating normal people, or taking sensible advice from a black man.
The world, as far as Trump concerned, is on its own. Only he matters in the grand scheme.
That’s the president of the United States – an incompetent, inarticulate, stumbling baboon afflicted with overweening vanity concerning his own non-apparent expertise in every area – yet a calculating madman with autocratic instincts who bears ultimate responsibility for killing thousands of his own people. What will happen if ever the 42 per cent wake up to what has been going on?
.This is really not looking at all good.
“Silicon Valley CEO, Eric Ries, who volunteered to help develop tools for procuring protective gear for front line healthcare workers, police and paramedics … found that the White House was doing virtually nothing to obtain the PPE:
“What they did not foresee was that the federal government might never come to the rescue. They did not realize this was a government failure by design—not a problem to be fixed but a policy choice by President Trump that either would not or could not be undone. ‘No one can believe it. That’s the No. 1 problem with the whole situation: the facts are known, but they are inconceivable,’ Ries told me. ‘So we are just in denial.'”- interview in the New York Times, cited on BuzzFlash.
I’ll repeat the question: Is Trump mounting a coup against his own country under cover of SARS-Covid-19?
And as the fatuous oaf prepares to use his non-existent presidential authority to force states to reopen schools and businesses in the face of WHO advice, and that of his own experts, and while he has removed any legal necessity for employers to report cases of Covid-19 among their workforce, perhaps his and other governments around the globe anxious to return to normal as world cases pass 2 million and the threat of another Great Depression looms, need to take note of something that is happening in Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture, according to the Japan Times.
“Hokkaido issued a new state of emergency declaration on Sunday, following one issued in late February, after seeing an increase in the pace of coronavirus infections.
“We are facing a crisis of a second wave in the spread of (the coronavirus) infections,” Gov. Naomichi Suzuki told reporters, asking residents to refrain from making nonessential outings.
“Hokkaido had declared its own state of emergency on Feb. 28 ahead of the government and lifted it on March 19, citing signs that the coronavirus spread was abating in the prefecture, a popular area for both Japanese and foreign tourists.
“Schools in Sapporo, which have gradually resumed classes since April 6, will be closed again from Tuesday to May 6.”
Writing on BuzzFlash, editor Mark Karlin observes, this is exactly what Trump is hoping will happen when he orders the lifting of movement restrictions on 1 May. He wants SARS-Covid-19 to “wash over” everybody, get rid of a few thousand Democrat voters. Get rid of the blacks and latinos; the 2 million prisoners; the migrant camps; the wasteful elderly.
While Britons starve quietly at home waiting for their first welfare checks to be distributed by the already dysfunctional and now overwhelmed Universal Credit experiment, spare a thought for our capitalist cousins across the water.
At one feeding station in San Antonio, Texas, on a day last week, an orderly queue formed of TEN THOUSAND Americans – in their cars, naturally. Some 21 MILLION new unemployment registrations were being processed.
And as a Stanford University study in Santa Clara County, Ca. has indicated from actual mass testing for antibodies that the number of people carrying the coronavirus is up to 85 times greater than the number of confirmed cases, potentially reducing the overall morbidity rate to about 0.12 per cent, shouldn’t we perhaps keep on asking the questions some of us have been asking for months: has this thing been around far longer than since it supposedly escaped from China in January? Is it now so universal that we can fairly safely assume it’s in the population in much the same way as the annual ‘flu bugs, that we don’t go to quite such heroic lengths to avoid, that most of us don’t get, and won’t be eradicated for a generation – if ever?
As if on cue, Sunday’s Observer carries an interview with David Nabarro, professor of global health at Imperial College, London. “Humanity will have to live with the threat of coronavirus ‘for the foreseeable future’ and adapt accordingly because there is no guarantee that a vaccine can be successfully developed.”
Killing us with kindness
As the thing drags on, we are increasingly exhorted to be kind to one another.
i’d love to be, but what do you do when you’re out in the park with the dog in the sunshine, and a runner in shorts and singlet comes panting past you without warning from behind, at a distance of maybe three feet, and you can still smell their plume of deodorant and sweat 30 yards further on, and you’re surrounded by it and trapped in it and you can’t hold your breath in any longer?
At 70, what kindness should you muster toward your possible executioner?
I tell myself, okay, this SE Asian-looking woman who’s just done it to me twice in half an hour might conceivably be one of our lauded Health Service heroes who’s just letting it all out after another 12-hour shift in the ICU watching people like me, scared eyes, coughing and gasping their final breaths, alone.
We are so far managing to lose 1 out of every 7.5 patients who make it as far as a hospital (compared with Germany’s 1 in 35). Hospital is not where I’d like to be. What will happen to my dog, my jazz collection?
In which case, she ought to know better than to let it all out where elderly people are walking. She’s probably ten or 20 times more likely than others to be infectious. Go run on the beach, lady.
I’m like that, you see.
Not very kind.
Nah, it’s looking really lovely: a GW report
It’s been another total stunner of a spring day out there today, Tuesday 14 April. How long is it since we had rain? A light shower overnight a few days ago, is all.
The ground, muddy after the long wet winter, is baking hard. We had a couple of cloudy days last week. Otherwise the sun has been beating down out of cloudless blue skies, barely disturbed by the very occasional jet trail heading out to the west. (You wonder who they are, where they’re being allowed to go?)
It’s been a little colder since Sunday, a cold breeze and a chilly overnight temperature of 1.5 deg. C. set to be beaten tonight, maybe even with a frost. Nevertheless, standing beneath the spectacular blossom of an ornamental cherry tre in the park, I hear a sund I haven’t heard for the past three years: the industrial hum of wild bees.
Now, I’m happy to accept that my £15 digital max-min thermometer might even be a whole degree out, it’s not a scientific instrument – although it seems a bit unlikely, they wouldn’t sell many if they were that inaccurate. Also, that my sheltered from the west wind by the next-door house, tiny, south-facing, overgrown front garden has its own micro-climate.
But the thermometer is fixed to the post of a bird table that has been completely swallowed up by vegetation, as the Photinia I planted 8 years ago has swelled to unheard-of dimensions since last year, and is thus sited in deep shade.
And I have to say that the temperature under the Photinia at some point over the Easter weekend seems to have maxed-out at an incredible 28.3 degrees C., 82.94 F.
At 26 deg. C, Good Friday is said by the experts at the Meteorological Office to have been the hottest day of the year so far. My home is about five miles by road from one of the places where they measure these things officially, and I say bollocks to that.
“The hottest April day since 1949 was recorded at St James’s Park in London on the 19th when 29.1 °C was reached: just below the highest ever recorded UK April temperature of 29.4 °C. ”
That report was from April 2018. The forecast is for warmer days to return shortly. We’ll see how it goes, shall we.
Mind you, we still have some way to go as far as spring temperature records are concerned. A weather station in the city of Nawabshah, Pakistan registered 50.2 degrees Celsius – 122.4 F., on 30 April, 2018.
Pakistan: heavy rain has caused buildings to collapse, landslides and flash floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where at least 5 people have died as a result. 11 people were killed in floods there on 16 March. Heavy rain has also affected parts of central and northern Afghanistan
Yemen: A flash flood rushed through the capital, San’aa, 13 Apr. after heavy rain that caused extensive damage. A house in the old city collapsed, killing 2. Regionally, many are suffering in flooded refugee camps. United Arab Emirates, at least 3 children are reported to have died and almost 100 injured after flooding affected 18 camps. Fears are growing of diseases spreading, including Covid-19.
Iran: Several people have reportedly died and hundreds have been affected after more flooding in the southeast. Wide areas of the country are still recovering from flooding in March. Update: UN agencies report,18 provinces are experiencing floods, with 7 recorded fatalities, 2,500 people rescued and over 300 displaced between 10 and 14 April. Further heavy rain is expected.
Papua New Guinea: At least 10 people have died after more heavy rain triggered floods and landslides in Chimbu Province early on 10 Apr. Homes, churches, food gardens, livestock and fish farms have been destroyed during weeks of rain. 25 thousand people have been affected by floods in East Java, Indonesia, since 09 April.
Ecuador: A river broke its banks in Quito, the capital, after heavy rain on 12 Apr. causing damaging floods in the south of the city.
Colombia: Torrential rain caused flash flooding in Santander de Quilichao on 16 Apr. Images on Social Media showed flood water raging through streets. Local authorities said homes were damaged and power supply cut in some areas.
(All reports from Floodlist, 15/17 Apr.)
Ukraine: heavy rain has put out several wildfires that emerged around 4 Apr. in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, the 30-km area around the former nuclear reactor, where authorities have prohibited people from living. The fires were started by locals burning the dry grassland. Flames came within 2km of a radioactive waste storage facility. Radiation levels in the nearby capital, Kyiv were said to be ‘normal’. (Various reports)
USA: One story that emerged from the trail of devastation left by tornadoes over Easter, the Philips family had just moved into their new home in Missouri, which they’d decided to buy because it had a concrete ‘safe room’. When firefighter Andrew Philips, his wife and two children emerged from the shelter after the storm, they found it was the only part of the house left standing. Everything else was gone, down to floor level. Around 30 people are thought to have died across three states.
And today, 15 Apr., heavy snow in Chicago caused a 60-vehicle pileup on the Kennedy expressway. (Accuweather)
Arctic: sea surface temperature for March was approaching 1.8 deg. F above the 1951-1980 average. Sub-surface ice that normally absorbs spring warmth is almost gone. A huge hot-spot is sitting over the shallow East Siberian shelf. 10 ‘tipping points’ tending to runaway warming have been crossed. The jetstreams are once more looking chaotic. (Arctic News, 14 April)
Space: About the size of an averagely spacious house, Asteroid 2020 GH2 will pass by Earth inside the Moon’s orbit on 15 Apr. at a range of about 223,000 miles (359,000 km). Huge Comet Atlas, twice the size of Jupiter and expected to be the spectacle of the century, has been pulled apart by the Sun’s gravity and is likely to disappoint; not so, perhaps, Comet Swan (C/2020 F8), a small comet discovered on 11 April, and due to transect the orbit of Mercury in late May. (Express)
March: Copernicus reports, global temperatures were “much above average” in March 2020. The month was 0.68°C warmer than the average March from 1981-2010 but (with no El Niño last year) only the fourth warmest on record, after 2016, 2017 and 2019. But it was patchy, with Europe showing 2°C warmer than average for 1981-2010, but only the sixth warmest March on record.