The Pumpkin – Issue 101: Can you hear the whistle blow?… They’ve all got it infamy… GW: Oh, the weather outside is frightening

QotW….

“… people would rather see their children die than forego the preservation and defense of their culture or religion. In places where climate chaos is already underway, we are seeing a solidification of tribalism and battle lines drawn between communities who have formerly lived together in relative harmony. These pressures are bound to increase.” – Catherine Ingram blogpost: http://www.catherineingram.com/facingextinction/

 

Michael Gove giving a thumbs-up during the British Conservative party leadership campaign

“I’m just going to see if I can get my whole thumb up my nose.”

Michael Gove appears as himself in the new production of The Phantom.

 

Can you hear the whistle blow?

It seems the entire strategy for defending Trump against impeachment charges is to discredit, or maybe murder, the whistleblower.

It seems rather odd, given that every detail of the 9-page allegation, endorsed by both the Inspector General of Intelligence and – more uncomfortably – the Acting Director of National Intelligence, that White House staffers had expressed genuine concern over the President’s mobster-like extortion phone calls to foreign leaders to obtain their connivance in fixing his re-election, in a word treason, and that they sought to bury the evidence in a Top Secret, offline Intelligence server, has been confirmed to be accurate.

And given that the White House itself, under the direction of President Trump, then put out a summary transcript of his call to the newly installed Ukrainian president that confirmed he did indeed seek foreign assistance in direct contravention of the emoluments clause of the Constitution and US Federal election law; his answer to which being, that he never said what he said he’d said, the Democrats were “savages”, the whistleblower was a “traitor”, and that what he had just admitted doing was all a plot to discredit him.

The one possibly exonerating factor being the apparent removal, if such had existed, of any direct link in the conversation between his illegal order to delay sending a Congress-approved $390 million in military aid to the Ukraine, to the benefit of his friend Putin, and his request to President Zelenskiy to do him “a favor, though” in digging for “dirt” on Democratic hopeful, Joe Biden.

(White House apologists are denying he used the word “though”, which would strongly link the threat to the demand. It is there in the transcript, though.)

Mr Putin then to some extent wiped his nose with Donald Trump, letting it be known that he would be displeased if the transcripts of his own phone calls with Trump were to escape the black hole of the intel server.

And, since the President is on public record as opining that there was nothing wrong with soliciting foreign aid and that he would welcome more, from whatever source, despite its illegality, it would seem a bit odd to try to pretend that anyone finding evidence of such a request was lying about it. It might suggest Trump himself was lying about it when he admitted it!

Update: And today (1 Oct.) it’s being reported, Trump also leaned on the Prime Ministers of Australia, Italy and Great Britain in phone calls (subsequently buried) and in sending emissaries Pompeo, Barr and Giuliani to misuse their state resources to find evidence supporting his belief that the Mueller investigation was a “hoax”; and attempting to shift the emphasis from proven Russian interference with the 2016 election to “Ukrainian interference”, a charge so ridiculous as to defy contradiction.

In the meantime, he has also demanded that House Intelligence committee chair, Adam Schiff should be arrested and charged with treason. His crime? Putting on a silly voice briefly mocking Trump while questioning Maguire, the Acting Director of Intelligence.

Trump claims that proves all the charges against him are false and that Schiff has “lied to the American people”, because Trump did not say those things – which he has already admitted he did say.

I know, double-take time.

Why does the Republican party continue to defend this sort of insolent behavior, this clear and indisputable evidence of the insanity of the man in the White House – and of his own treason?

We should understand that this troubling series of events is only one small part of a vast nexus of possibly illegal, covert or damaging actions this president has undertaken since coming to office less than three years ago, a concerted abuse of his powers, which in turn have to be set against the background of extensive criminality alleged against him and his family over the years.

Mr Trump is not an innocent party, or the victim of a “witch hunt”. He is still named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the case of fraudulent misuse of election expenses against his former lieutenant, Michael Cohen; and in 2017, was found guilty by a New York court of operating the fraudulent scheme known as “Trump University”, a “pay-to-play” scam involving a very expensive, totally underwhelming “course” in Real Estate management, basically a 4-page leaflet, for which he was ordered to pay $25 million in costs and compensation to the victims.

Court records also show at least two prior convictions for tax offences in the 1980s. Although Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel, stopped short of indicting him, handing that responsibility over to the Congress – whose pursuit of the case has since been stymied by Trump’s threats to witnesses, ordering them to defy legal subpoenas, alleging they are covered by some non-existent Executive privilege – he produced a mass of evidence showing Trump had attempted illegally to obstruct justice many times during the inquiry into his acceptance of Russian (and probably Saudi) help in the 2016 election.

Or, as Senator Graham brazenly said on Fox yesterday: “nothing there”.

We are still awaiting, too, the outcome of some 16 separate cases before the Southern District of New York’s District Attorney, alleging bank fraud and money laundering; while serious questions remain over the possibility that Trump suborned US foreign policy to collude with Saudi Barbaria in pressuring Qatar to refinance Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s loss-making company; and may thereby have inadvertently assisted through the release of classified documents in the death of Jamal Kashoggi.

Some 3,500 civil suits are pending around the USA, involving the president either as litigator in chief or as defendant. This is not normal presidential behavior, and Trump’s continued, frenzied efforts to transfer blame for his own crimes and misdemeanors onto his opponents don’t make it so.

The inexplicable Lindsey Graham, cherub-faced Republican Senator for South Carolina and chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, who volubly prosecuted the impeachment of Bill Clinton on moral grounds, arguing that he was cleaning out the cesspit that was the Democratic White House, and who is on record as saying previously that Trump was wholly unsuitable to be president, is leading the defense.

He seems to blow hot and cold over the actions of this, the most wayward of US presidents, whose record on morality makes Clinton look like St Francis. Some actions and statements he seems to criticize; others, even worse, he stoutly defends. It’s hard to know where he stands on any issue, but in this case he was overheard on a plane, loudly discussing strategy down the phone with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The whistleblower, he says, is not credible, because the information on which he blew the whistle was “hearsay”, having come at secondhand from anonymous sources. (It now appears that Secretary of State, Pompeo was invited in on the Zelezniy call.)

Verifiably, palpably true, almost certainly illegal, definitely damaging to national security and the interests of the United States, a clear misdemeanor abuse of powers – but “hearsay” and hence, non-evidential. As if the crime and the accusation are two entirely separate matters.

Mr Trump has already attacked those who expressed their concerns to the whistleblower, apparently a member of the intelligence community, as “spies” and “traitors”; adding with a tone of menace that “we used to have different ways, better ways” of dealing with such people. A remark he shrugged off as an example of his curious sense of humor.

It’s not the first time he has suggested executing his political opponents: we recall his thinly veiled red-meat exhortation to the “2nd Amendment people”, i.e. rabid gun fanciers, to assassinate Hillary Clinton. We recall, too, his warning that his supporters were a well-armed militia, he had the police and military in his pocket and they would take necessary action if he did not get his way.

ABC News has amassed a file of 36 instances in which Mr Trump’s aggressive or menacing statements and his apparent support for rightwing extremist elements have been followed shortly afterwards by acts of violence against minorities.

Coincidentally I’m sure, here in the UK Prime Minister Johnson is also being accused of threatening to unleash mob violence unless he gets what he wants over the Brexit deal. Were that to happen, it’s being rumored that he would consider locking the country down under the Emergency Powers Act. He’s dismissed the suggestion as fanciful.

He created a furore last week when he appeared to minimize the significance of the murder of a Labour politician in 2016; and had to defend himself against a barrage of criticism over his use of bellicose language, which he initially did by doubling-down on it, calling his critics “traitors” and labelling Opposition moves to force him to make a deal as “surrender” to the EU.

He has also uttered words of defiance against the Supreme Court, that judged his shutdown of Parliament illegal, claiming the 11 senior law lords were legally “wrong”; and encouraged a new campaign of vitriol against the judges in the hard Brexit-supporting rightwing media.

Johnson, who recently deserted his wife of 24 years while she was undergoing radical treatment for ovarian cancer*, and has taken up with a vivacious party worker twenty-some years younger, who he has (in my rather elderly view, scandalously) moved into the upstairs apartments at 10, Downing Street, further demeaning his office, is also increasingly embroiled in his own scandal involving payments from public funds and favors (and “regular visits”) to a blonde former model, implying possible abuses of office and conflict of interest when Mayor of London. (He has since said she was “too boring” to have an affair with! You can tell, he’s a real toff.)

I wasn’t aware that Trump had published a playbook, “Popular Fascism for Dummies”. Perhaps they’ve both been reading Mein Kampf together. Advised by malevolent, shadowy rogues, both men having previously been metropolitan liberals have committed themselves similarly to the path of popular anarchy in the (hopefully mistaken) belief that the best and the quickest road to absolute power is through the brutish “will of the people”, regardless of who gets hurt.

They need to be stopped.

*I’m slightly surprised not to have seen any of the Guardian‘s usually strident feminist columnists mentioning that ovarian cancer is known to be caused, among other things, by the sexually transmissible Human Papilloma virus, which is carried by men.

Addendum

As it happens, the whole sordid Ukraine affair may have been entirely unnecessary. Mr Biden’s poll numbers are fast slipping behind those of the didactic Senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard lawschool perfesser, Elizabeth Warren.

Bullish and shifty: Boris Johnson on The Andrew Marr Show.

“With this thumb, Mr Marr, and a well-filled nostril, I can remove £350 million worth of snot a week. And if not, I will declare bogey law.”

 

They’ve all got it infamy

“Look at me, Ma, I’m flying!”

Added to the catalog of Trump’s psychological problems, paranoia is a word increasingly heard on liberal media as his ongoing tweetstorm in response to the announcement of Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry reaches new levels of, frankly, foaming insanity.

He is demanding to meet the whistleblower in person, who is reportedly in hiding under federal protection as Trump’s hardier dumbfucks have been posting death threats and have offered a $50 thousand reward for a name and address. It is his “right” as a freeborn American to meet his accuser! Yes, in court, possibly.

Whistleblowers in government are in theory protected by the law, and this one went through all the appropriate official channels. Trump wants him dead.

Trump has quoted a Fox news contributor who suggested that impeachment of the President would result in a “civil war-like fracture” in the nation “that will never be healed”, Trump adding that he would NEVER be removed from office.

This is not the first time he has covertly incited his followers to violence, and already far-right groups are calling for an armed insurrection.

The whistleblower’s report has been fully corroborated, in part by the “memo” that came from the White House under Trump’s own orders, in which he is clearly seen to have illegally demanded dirt on the Bidens as a quid pro quo for arms exports to Ukraine.

Trump is now lying that the whistleblower and his treasonous staffers have made it all up, what he said, and they are part of a Democrat-controlled Deep State conspiracy to overthrow him. He continues to double-down on his belief that Joe Biden and his son acted corruptly, without a shred of evidence. Indeed, the prosecutor at the center of the Ukraine case has said they broke no laws.

(Will Trump have anything to say about Republican Representative, Chris Collins, “the first member of the House to back Donald Trump for president”, who has just resigned his seat ahead of a court hearing into corruption charges to which he is pleading guilty? “Collins was indicted in August 2018, accused of using inside information about a biotechnology company to help his son make illicit stock trades”. – CBS News)

Trump has made other, thinly veiled threats to have the whistleblower and their informants murdered, a threat he has now extended to Democratic Congressmen Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler and Elijah Cummings, the committee chairmen investigating him, who he has described as “savages” and “traitors”.

And he has sent out a very small platoon of his closest remaining advisors to lie repeatedly to the media about what is there in black and white for all to read – not that his Republican party apologists have read it, on their own admission – on his own transcript, so clearly that even Fox News interviewers are unable to spin this and are now being included in his wider conspiracy theory.

The ending of the film, The Third Man, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, seems peculiarly prophetic, as the cynical American black-marketeer Harry Lime (Orson Welles) gets his just desserts after a desperate attempt to escape justice through the reeking sewers of ruined, postwar Vienna.

As he dodges this way and that, his every exit blocked, the sociopathic racketeer previously so self-admiringly full of his own importance increasingly resembles a cornered rat.

Or perhaps we recall smalltime gangster James Cagney in Little Caesar, trapped by the Feds atop the water tower, with no way out but down: “Look at me, Ma, I’m flying!”

 

How are the mighty mighty

It’s time we stood up against these triumphal “progresses” by US Presidents and their absurdly huge entourages.

Why should these overmighty satraps, elected for a brief space, be allowed to swan about the world, demanding obeisance wherever they go?

Seriously, who the fuck do they think they are? Could a US president not occasionally express a little humility, or show some sympathetic good manners towards their hosts, instead of riding roughshod over every other political leader on the planet?

Details have emerged, concerning a two-day visit to Ireland for a meeting with PM, Leo Varadkar, of Trump – the most egregiously boastful, pompous and expensive of all American presidents.

Ireland is a relatively small country, that has had economic problems in the past but is now, we trust, over the hump.

Why, therefore, were they forced to detail over three thousand, two hundred police working overtime to guard the presidential panoply at a cost of €7.5 million? What did they imagine was going to happen to him, that we don’t all devoutly wish for?

Why couldn’t he have stayed at an official residence in Dublin, say the US embassy, instead of patronising his own business over 100 miles away… er, right, no need to answer that.

Because why did Trump’s tacky golf resort at Doonbeg (Room: €220 a night), where he stayed, send the Irish government a bill for €113,000 just for feeding his own security entourage for two nights? Money, the profit margin of which ends up in Trump’s pocket?

This is disgusting.

Even when travelling about the USA, mostly to his own leisure resorts, Trump incurs huge costs, that are passed on to the taxpayer or to the local authorities, whose pleas for reimbursement are not being met.

It’s alleged that the cumulative total cost of Trump’s golf habit alone is approaching $150 million. And we note that a goodly proportion of that comes back to him in the form of profits from serving Cockroach Surprise in the restaurant, renting rooms and other essential facilities, such as golf carts.

If American presidents wish to swan around the world, swanking and showing off how hubristically powerful they are, let the bloated parasites pay their own goddam bills.

Fore!

Dominic Cummings.

Homelessness is on the increase under the Conservatives. After pawning his gilet, Ramblin’ Dom Cummings goes to visit his friend Bannon to see if his sofa is free.

 

GW: Oh, the weather outside is frightening

British Isles: “In a remarkable burst of rapid intensification,” Wunderground reports, “Hurricane Lorenzo vaulted to Category 5 status late Saturday, becoming the Atlantic’s second Cat 5 storm of the year, the strongest hurricane ever observed so far east in the Atlantic, and one of the northernmost Cat 5s on record. As of 11 pm EDT Saturday (28 Sept.), Lorenzo was packing top sustained winds of 160 mph. Lorenzo’s sudden strengthening took even veteran hurricane forecasters by surprise.”

As to where this enormous brute of a storm is headed, buckle up, chaps….

Probability of sustained winds of tropical-storm strength (39 mph) along the track of Lorenzo as predicted at 0Z Sunday, September 29, 2019

And Thursday, 3 October just happens to be your Old Granny’s 70th birthday! What a treat.

Seriously, no weather forecaster expects Lorenzo to arrive at hurricane strength but it will add to days of gusty winds and, in places, heavy rain that has left surface flooding covering many parts of the country and rivers like the Wye at flood stage. The first snow of winter is forecast for the Scottish highlands later this week.

Postscriptum: Promised “two weeks of rain will fall in one hour” today, with 78 amber flood warnings, I throw a coat on over my T-shirt and take Hunzi for a precautionary stroll past the sewage works. After 20 minutes of blazing October sunshine it is 20.5C and I am perspiring heavily. The mercury hits 22.2C by 13.00 before dropping 5C in 2 hrs. as a little rain arrives. Happy days.

Europe: Letters from researchers in Geophysical Research assert that so-called “cold” days in European winters, the coldest days are on average 3C warmer than 70 years ago.

USA: North of the looping jetstream, another of those wayward Arctic plumes has descended across Canada, the Rockies and the northern states of the USA. At the time of writing snow depths in northern Montana were up to 2 feet, but another 2 feet is expected as the weekend wears on, spreading to lower elevations, with 60 mph whiteout gales – a historically life-threatening storm for September, according to Accuweather. Roads are freezing faster than they can be gritted, and there are reports of power outages and downed trees.

Meanwhile: The unseasonal heatwave affecting southeastern states is moving northward, and will bring temperatures in the mid-90sF, mid-30sC to New York – a <20F anomaly – this week.

India: “Unusually late monsoon rainfall has caused severe flooding in northern India, where over 120 people have died in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Meanwhile officials have confirmed that the death toll of last week’s flood disaster in Pune, Maharashtra, now stands at 21, with a further 5 people still missing.” (Floodlist) The Guardian reported, 27 Sept., that the monsoon season has overrun by a month, causing crops to rot in the ground and food prices to rise.

Japan: Yet another typhoon “may approach western Japan from Wednesday to Thursday, the Meteorological Agency said Sunday. Typhoon Mitag, the season’s 18th, is expected to gather strength Monday and move close to Okinawa Prefecture, the agency said, warning of possible strong winds and rough seas.” (Japan Today)

Turkey: “Heavy rains hit the northeast of the country on 28 September, causing flooding and landslides. Buildings were damaged and several roads closed after landslides and streams overflowed. 13 people trapped in buildings by floodwater were rescued.” (Floodlist)

Tunnel approaching…

Overpopulation: The leader of a popular Japanese minority party whose central policy is to close down NHK, the national broadcaster, has called for genocide to reduce the world’s population of “idiots who breed like dogs”.  Mr Takashi Tachibana suggests that discrimination and bullying are forms of divine providence. “Isn’t it good for things to be natural? The natural order God created. People killing each other is part of God’s system, too,” he says. (Japan Times) At the last election, Mr Tachibana got close to a million votes.

Divine intervention: The default for politicians preparing to do pretty much nothing to help people avoid approaching natural disasters is to offer their “thoughts and prayers”. A new US study conducted in the wake of Hurricane Florence found that while Christian participants were willing to part with money to receive thoughts and prayers from others, atheists were more willing to pay to avoid them. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, cited in The Guardian, 16 Sept.)

Moving ahead: Michael Mobbs, a former environmental lawyer who converted his Sydney, Australia terraced house into the country’s first self-sufficient, off-grid city eco-home, is selling up and moving to a remote coastal community. He fears the city is not best placed to survive the complete climate-change-induced socio-economic breakdown he foresees within the next 3 to 5 years. (Guardian Australia)

The Madness of King Donald…. Depression news, #1,#2,#3… Schools for scandal… GW: under my umbrella, ella… “Tunnel approaching”… The sheer irrelevance of political journalism – a short essay.

 

“Come November you’ll all be eating my snot. Its fingerpickin’ good!” (with apologies to Getty Images for nicking their stuff. I don’t get paid for this.)

Details of Operation Yellowhammer, the full horror story of the UK Government’s own predictions, released under duress from the Johnson Dark House (except that they were leaked in The Times two weeks ago) predict that within 24 hours of a No-Deal Brexit, there’ll be a 1.5-day-long backlog for goods to clear customs at Calais; and within another 24 hours we’ll be waiting so long that all the goods will have perished, supermarket shelves will be emptying, prices rocketing, and people reliant on insulin will have died.

Things can only get better.

 

The Madness of King Donald….

“A lot of people want the job. It’s a great job. It’s great because it’s a lot of fun to work for Donald Trump.”

Er…. yes. That was – Donald Trump speaking, in what’s become known as a “chopper talk” press gaggle on the WH lawn, posing in front of his airforce helicopter (that doesn’t work in the rain), explaining that he will have no trouble finding a replacement for John Bolton, the mad neocon armchair warmonger he hired last year as his third National Security advisor, and fired the other night as they appeared to agree on absolutely nothing and besides, he always hated that yellowing signature soup-strainer Bolton sports on his horsey upper lip, as it got him so much publicity.

Defending his attempt to rollback the phazing-out of energy-intensive tungsten lightbulbs, something we did in Europe about 20 years ago, Trump told a gathering it was because eco-friendlier low-energy bulbs “Always make me look orange”. This, in a speech to the Congressional Institute?

The guy has absolutely no self-awareness. The world is just an invention of his own diseased brain. A world through which he walks alone, troubled only by the shadows of the rest of us.

And then – this is the President who told another gathering this week that his wife Melania has a son – in wrapping up a rambling, delusionary and disorienting impromptu speech, he called Vice President Mike Pence: “Mike Pounds”, and then looked momentarily confused.

For God’s sake, Republican party, what the hell is wrong with you? You’re headed for oblivion with this demented old fraud in charge.

(Based on actual news clips satirized on The Late Show, 13 Sept.)

Thompson said: ‘I mean, I did get fired, but apart from that it was all smooth running.’

Double mammy: Al Johnson, as the PM might look in the age of color.

Depression news

Despite warnings from medical professionals and a number of deaths associated with the trials, Donald Trump has told his Health Department to order a vast quantity of a new, expensive, ketamine-based drug to be supplied to the Veterans Administration, for treating cases of PTSD in the military; where doctors have already advised, antidepressants can do more harm than good.

Are we to assume then that Trump “knows more about medicine than many doctors”, as he once met a doctor, or perhaps is it a case of another anonymous million-dollar donation quietly appearing in his re-election campaign war chest?

And make no mistake. Muh good friend, The Pumpkin is betting his jazz collection on Trump getting re-elected next year, if he has not been carted off with his arms folded in the meantime.

Just as, after ten years of vicious “austerity” warfare against the poorer two-thirds of the country, and as we head into a recession, the mendacious and incompetent Conservative government led by a bumbling and entitled unelected oaf, a careerist dilettante, a serial shagger and amateur racist who proposes to destroy the economy by dragging us in chaos out of the EU with nothing settled, and who has been branded a liar and a chancer by no less than former PM, David Cameron; the party selling places in the lifeboats for the rich while the rest of us drown in a sea of bubbling-hot shit, has a 12 per cent lead in the public opinion polls.

On both sides of the Atlantic, populist lunacy reigns.

 

“More than 60% of US adults hold at least one “new age” belief, such as placing faith in astrology or the power of psychics, and 42% think spiritual energy can be located in physical objects such as crystals” – Guardian report. The International Labor Organization estimates about 85,000 children work in Madagascar’s unregulated crystal mines, for the benefit of cretins like Gwyneth Paltrow and her tribe of emaciated airheads.

Depression News #2

It’s an ill-wind… “Shares in oil companies have jumped this morning, following the jump in crude prices.” (Guardian, jumping twice). Oil companies and armaments manufacturers are giving off the only signs that we’re not heading into a global recession, accompanied by a mooted US-led retaliatory strike on Iranian refineries, as all other market indices were showing red this morning.

If you were hoping to avoid a 5p rise in the unleaded price at the pumps today, you’re probably too late – althugh Trump is pumping ever harder. Aramco is now predicting it may take months to get back to full production after the drone strikes on the Abqaiq processing facility, which have interdicted half of Saudi Barbaria’s refinery output – 5% of the world’s oil supply.

Strikes for which the US has now managed to cobble together enough “intel” to suggest must have come from Iran or its proxies in Iraq, rather than from the Yemeni rebels who have claimed them.

Pundits now fear rising oil prices could be just the thing to kick off a global recession; while US banks – free once again to trade in dodgy debt-swaps with shareholder immunity risking only their depositors’ savings – could be even more just the thing to trigger another 2007-style lending crisis and a consequent depression, from which there might be no escape this time. The ECB and the Fed have already got the printing presses smoking hot and interest rates set below zero, but will it be enough?

Buckle up.

I keep saying that, don’t I? Yawn.

 

Depression News #3: “We can’t be sure…” etc.

“…if anything is masked by dimming, it’s the BBC”.

In an online story today, the good ole BBC carries a series of interviews with climate scientists including former UK chief scientist, David King.

All of them admit straight away, they’re scared. It’s all getting out of hand. Extreme weather events are coming thick and fast. They’re becoming more extreme, at an unpredicted rate.

But… we can’t be sure that any one event is linked to climate change!

Why does the BBC keep on parroting this sanitizing mantra? What actual relevance does making individual connections have, when joining the dots is scaring the pants off the people who know?

“Dr Friederike Otto from Oxford University is an expert in the attribution of extreme events to climate change. (So’s your Old Gran. It just comes natural, like…) She told us that in a pre-climate change world, a heatwave like this (France, June and July 2019, 46 and 43 deg. C) might strike once in 1,000 years. ‘In a post-warming world, the heatwave was a one-in-a-100 year phenomenon.’ (I know, that’s twice in one year! and they had Lucifer in 2017, and another one last year, 15 thousand heat deaths in 2003. But carry on, Dr Expert.) ‘In other words, natural variability is amplifying human-induced climate heating. (No, it’s the other way around!) With European heatwaves, we have realised that climate change is a total game-changer,’ she said.” Indeed. Good experting there, Dr Otto. I’m sure you know, it’s not a game.

But…  “it was impossible to be sure that the slow progress of Dorian was caused by climate change”. Oh, really? We know what the meteorological mechanisms are for the slowing forward progress, the more rapid intensification and increasing moisture-content of hurricanes. And it’s not just Dorian, it’s pretty well all of them now. Harvey? Florence? Michael? Idai? Kenneth? The Terrible Twins, Lekima and Krosa?

The Terrible Twins: Lekima and Krosa.

We know the climate is warming. And we know that all weather events are (and were always) the product of Earth’s climate.

Where’s the difficulty then in assuming that events that are more unusual and more extreme and more frequent than the norm are the obvious products of a changing climate – an overheating world?

Oh, but, says the top UN climate science guy, we don’t want to frighten the children!

Why the fuck do you think the children are striking and marching and demonstrating? It’s because they’re trying to frighten you! Why not listen to them?

And do stop telling us the world has warmed by “1 degree”! When you start from pre-industrial 1750 rather than 1880 you’re looking at 1.85 degrees already. Adjusting other variables as the scientists at Arctic News have been doing (admittedly controversially) brings us to nearer 3 degrees, but masked by the aerosol effect known as “global dimming” we can go on pretending if you like.

Your Old Gran has made the point many times before: if anything is masked by dimming, it’s the BBC.

 

“Two climate crisis protesters who removed Emmanuel Macron’s portrait from an official building were justified in doing so because of the severity of the environmental emergency, a judge has said. ​The ​judge in Lyon acquitted the pair of theft in a ruling hailed as historic by campaigners.” (Guardian)

And we want to leave the European Union?

Schools for scandal

“Each time a school becomes an academy the council must hand over the title deeds for the school if it has them (avg value £5m per school). As over 2,000 schools have been forced to become academies that is £10 billion (min) state assets (of which) Michael Gove has demanded the title deeds be handed to him.”

Legal fees involved in this incredible scam, uncovered five years ago by Michael Rosen, the “Childrens’ Laureate” at the time, amounted to another £50 million – all funded by the taxpayer.

Rosen’s attempts in 2014 to discover who now owned the title deeds make for even more shocking reading: a FOI request backed, in the face of unlawful prevarication, by a court order eventually revealed, there were no paper records or any form of traceable audit of the transfers of £10 billion in titles to formerly public buildings and land to the governors of the new schools, many of them Conservative party notables.

Gove, he adds, secretly set up a private company to process the deeds. But the money itself could not be traced. He later changed the law so that academies – unlike every other charity in the land – don’t have to publish accounts. Anyone “associated with the school” can now own the deeds, and even trade or sell them on; while the Government funds the payment of extortionate rents on the school properties to the new private “owners”.

The deeds have, in effect, been converted to a traded bond currency with no IFA oversight: “dark money”. While the “shareholders” of these new private school companies are indemnified at the public expense. THese are valuable public assets that have in effect been stolen by the state, and the money redistributed to private individuals.

Thus much of the money has ended up invested in offshore tax shelters and has been denied to the rest of our crumbling education system. As indeed, the schools were formerly in local authority ownership; while, as we know, local services – libraries, social care, housing, children’s services, “meals-on-wheels”, policing – pothole filling – have all been slashed to the marrow, thanks to the austerity measures imposed on us by this sickening bunch of rentier prostitutes, the Conservative party and its successive, failed governments.

Why this scandal is not better known, why the public has not burned down Parliament, I do not know. It is exactly the same system as was exploited by Vladimir Putin to vastly enrich his coterie of thuggish “oligarchs” in the new Russia, through the supra-legal disposals of holdings in formerly public companies; making himself probably the richest man in the world in the process. (He is believed to be worth twice as much as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.)

I learned about the scandal only today, from a link provided in a Comment on a Guardian piece reminding us how terrible Gove was as Education Secretary: principally, as evidenced by his cynical removal of classes covering civics, politics, contemporary history – and any mention of the EU – from the national curriculum, thus possibly explaining why there is so little resistance to Tory propaganda; so little interest in politics, or the EU, that the people can be easily bullied and manipulated into voting 180 degrees against their own interest.

It turns out, therefore, that in addition to being a duplicitous little shit, Gove is also very probably a criminal.

Would somebody please move for the arrest and trial of this mendacious little pox-doctor, on charges of conspiracy to defraud the public purse, and of misconduct while in office? Throw open the windows and let a little light and air in on his furtive activities? Whatever else by way of treacherous deception he might have engineered while nobody was looking?

And please Sir, can we have our education system back? No Tory government should be allowed within a mile of the school gates, they’re nothing but a bunch of economic perverts and ignorance pushers.

Thanks.

http://michaelrosenblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/gove-nicked-our-schools-and-handed-them.html

 

GW: under my umbrella, ella

Parts of eastern Spain received what in some places was their heaviest rainfall on record on Thursday, 12 Sept., with severe flash-flooding, as storms wreaked (wrought?) widespread destruction and killed at least 4 people. The regional emergency service said a 51-year-old woman and her 61-year-old brother had been found dead in an overturned car in Caudete. 2 other motorists drowned in Almeria and Granada. The town of Ontinyent in Valencia had recorded more than 400mm (16-in.) rainfall by Thursday afternoon. The Clariano river rose 9 meters (30ft) in 2 hours. Regional airports were closed. (Guardian)

Bahamas: Tropical storm warnings have been issued for the northwestern Bahamas, including Grand Bahama Island. Disturbance 95L became Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 on Thursday afternoon and follows Cat. 5 Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the northern Bahamas last week (1,300 still recorded as missing.) If this system were to become a tropical storm, it would be called Humberto. As of 2 a.m. EDT Friday (13 Sept.), the center of the system was about 210 miles southeast of Great Abaco Island with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph. and potential to bring 300mm (15-in.) of rain (Accuweather) Behind it, a second disturbance has formed a disorganized system moving westwards out of the Cape Verde islands towards the Lesser Antilles, and stands a good chance of developing, monitors report.

Monday update: Strengthening hurricane, Humberto brushed by the Bahamas and then took a huge swing northeastwards, away from the Americas and out into the Atlantic. Bermuda is on standby. Watch out Portugal, or us, next week.

Brazil: Coffee lovers should consider stocking up on beans. Accuweather reports on market jitters, as: “the key coffee-growing region of Minas Gerais in Brazil has not had significant rain in three months. Average temperatures have been a whopping 7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, and average precipitation has been 57% below normal since June 1.” No rain is in the forecast for the next three weeks.

USA: As powerful storms continue to batter the Midwest, September 2018 to August 2019 was again the wettest 12-month stretch on record for the contiguous United States as a whole. March and July were the only months that were slightly drier than average, but still maintained the year-on-year record. The top five wettest Jan-Aug periods have all occurred since 1979. (Wunderground, from where the NOAA graph below, showing rapid intensification, is also taken.)

Precipitation totals for 12-month spans from September to the following August, going back to 1895

The floppy jetstream is once again plunging southwards, as far as southern California – 100F degree temperatures around Sacramento are likely to be in the 60s by early this week, a new storm system is moving in and there’s a snow forecast for higher elevations. Tropical Storm Humberto has triggered storm warnings for Florida’s east coast. (Accuweather) Behind Humberto, “Imelda” (as yet only an unnamed depression) is forming off the Cape Verde islands.

Accuweather reports, Monday 16th: “Residents (in South Dakota) are facing record-breaking flooding as the Big Sioux River continues to rise. The National Weather Service said recently, that almost a foot of rain fell near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, over the course of two days. Multiple rivers and creeks surpassed previous water level records.”

Arctic: Prof. Beckwith’s latest podcast causes some puzzlement. While it’s clear from satellite scans that practically all the multi-year thick ice north of 60 deg. is gone, and there are still millions of square km of clear water around the outer edges of the ocean that weren’t there in Augusts past, it appears that the overall extent of sea ice that had been falling all summer in line with 2012’s record collapse had begun by mid-August to level off; although it’s thin and mushy. Despite record air temperatures, as the sun’s obliquity grows with the onset of winter, surface melting appeared to slow down early, although sub-surface melting continues for some weeks after, as the water beneath remains warm. No-one is quite sure why: aerosol masking from fires is one theory, fresh meltwater from Greenland another. So it looks like we won’t be getting the dreaded “blue water” event this year; but we’re still skating on thin ice.

UK – Wales: A Google search reveals the factoid that the average daily September temperature in the UK is 16.8C, with an average high of 18C. Happily then, in the shade of the enormous Photinia in my front garden, we hit 23.2 degrees at about 2 p.m. this fine, sunny – if still somewhat hazy – afternoon (13 Sept.); and 23.5 the next day. Truly, these are the Fortunate Isles!

World’s largest permafrost river, the Lena at Yakutsk dries to a record low, preventing winter supplies reaching outlying settlements. (Siberian Times)

Tunnel approaching….

“40% of the UK’s food is imported,” notes a parliamentary report. In the very near future, the Environmental Audit Committee says, “people would be at risk from sudden lurches in food prices if a no-deal Brexit resulted in trouble with imports, including higher costs, delays and shortages. Beyond the immediate effects of Brexit, the climate emergency and changing trade relationships may put the British diet in jeopardy.” The committee has called for urgent action to improve resilience, including water rationing, greater diversity in farming and a campaign against food waste.

Mary Creagh, the chair of the committee, said: “We are facing a food security crisis.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/17/uk-fresh-food-imports-areas-at-risk-climate-crisis-mps-warn

Meanwhile, the Department for Farming and Rural Affairs, DEFRA, has confirmed we are expecting the first case of African Swine Fever in Britain “within 12 months”. It’s already prevalent in eastern Europe. China has had to slaughter over a million pigs already and has dropped its tariffs against US pork producers to guarantee supply. China consumes half the world’s production, but the country expects to have to cull another 250 million pigs to try to contain the outbreak of what is being described as potentially the world’s worst ever animal disease pandemic. World prices are rising.

…a short essay

“Denialism comes riding on My Little Pony.”

The sheer irrelevance of political journalism

I keep abandoning halfway through, long, thoughtful, worried articles in the kind of liberal press I tend to read, giving tendentious political analysis – Brexit, the Farage party, Johnson, Cummings, shutting down Parliament, whither democracy and the political system?, civil discourse, globalism, Orban, Salvini, street violence, treason, hedge funds, Nazis, Twitter rants, Trump’s chaotic foreign policy, left, right – the rule of law.

Not one of them betrays the slightest awareness of the parallel climate crisis that is hurling itself upon us with ever-increasing velocity, violence – and expense. Not one appears to be aware that an extinction event is already far advanced, of mammalian species, that unfortunately now includes the human race; and that this is a political, as well as a scientific and geophysical conundrum: not, can we now prevent?, but how are we going to manage our own extinction?

Not one journalist seems to understand the connection: that, whatever political systems are in place five years from now, our “leaders” will have to grapple with issues humanity has not had to face in the last 13 thousand years, at least since the cosmic collision event that extincted the northern megafauna – and nearly us too; nor are the “leaders” seemingly capable of factoring those issues into their self-obsessed, narrow-minded, anachronistic ideologies.

It is as if politics and the environment are entirely separate issues proceeding on parallel tracks, with a high wall between.

The author and New York Times contributor, Jonathan Franzen – an expert amateur ornithologist, by the way, who travels the world in search of rare birds, has written a polemic in which he concludes, there is no way out of the situation we have gotten ourselves into.

And a silly little girl claiming to be a “climate scientist”, Kate Marvel writes a reply in the Scientific American, telling Franzen to “shut up”.

After several paragraphs describing the situation exactly as it is: fossil fuel overdependency, feedbacks kicking in, non-linear warming, ice vanishing, levels of CO2 in the amosphere unknown during the 2 million years humans have existed, environmental degradation, etcetera, etcetera, she writes – believe it or not: “I am a scientist, which means I believe in miracles.”

It is gobsmacking stuff. Denialism comes riding on My Little Pony.

That’s the childish, panic-stricken, self-censoring level to which – I won’t call it a debate – scientific discourse has sunk. Franzen’s view is soundly supported by numerous serious scientists, many of whom are being “shut up” by the vested interests for whom truth is an elastic polymer. None, so far as I know, is offering us a “miracle”.

Even where mainstream media journalists do crossover from their political navel-gazing into quasi-scientific environmentalism, not one seems fully apprised of the depth of the hot shit we are now swimming in, or prepared to peer into the abyss. Twelve years, according to the IPCC? Don’t be so fucking naive, we were given 12 years by the UN in 1989!

I could name you all, you sober and sensible political journalists with your furrowed concern for the future of democracy, but why bother? You know who you are. Just wake up and look around, you self-absorbed, incurious boobies.

The totalitarianism and exclusionary nativism you see rising all around us are the direct consequence of a universal but unspoken consciousness that we are fast approaching the end time. We face a fascist-style, dictatorial future, only because kleptocratic authoritarianism is the natural political response to looming dystopian chaos, the collapse of the civilized postwar consensus in which some – for a time – will win, and the rest of us will unfortunately be left to perish.

Populist totalitarianism and exclusionary nativism are – literally – the zeitgeist.

Is it the answer you want?

Then try asking the question. Earn your money.

And now I’ll shut up.

#grinder… The Irish border question: What is an Irish border?… The Madness of King Donald… Music, history… GW: The weather here has been as nice as it can be

Hi, welcome back, me.

#grinder

Yes, I had a good time, thanks. Glorious weather after the first day, and a memorable meal at a busy Michelin-starred restaurant on the divine banks of the Loire. Chef/patron emerges: “Smell zis Caledonian peppair!” He’d personally gone to New Caledonia in search of an especially fragrant pepper to put in his little battery-powered machine and brought it all the way to our table to let us poor departing Brits (and one London-based American) smell it. That’s what it takes to get one star.

For a whole day since returning, despite another gruelling all-day train journey with improbably explained delays, during which I managed to wet myself when the valve failed on my leg bag while I was falling in love with the stunning blonde passenger sitting opposite, in tiny denim shorts, and ended up instead chatting helplessly with a dyslexic theoretical physicist about string-theory, as you do on our local sprinter train, a guy with several PhDs, I have a cautious and totally misdirected sense of jaunty optimism.

Fuck it, I thought. I am the Chosen One.

We should all maybe tell ourselves that more often.

Photo: Reuters

President Donald Trump with the prime minister, Boris Johnson, and others in the background

“He who smelt it, dealt it!”

 

“It’s as certain as night follows day that in the event of a referendum the entire cabinet would agree in a heartbeat to restoring Irish unity, which would solve the problem at a stroke.”

As Johnson descends on louche old Biarritz for another pointless G7 meeting to be hijacked by Trump, his abusive tweets, his capricious nonsense and his insatiable neediness, we look at….

The Irish border question: What is an Irish border?

Technology exists to track your movements and mine. Do not imagine that someone, somewhere, with the right authorization, could not, if tipped off to certain worrying keywords, or simply because you bought some branded product, log-in to a system that is tracking your every movement, purchase and utterance; and, with access to 5G, will soon know to the nearest half-meter where you are standing or lying, robbing a bank or screwing your boss’s wife.

They are already doing it. You think your stuff is Off? It ain’t. Unless it’s dead (or you are) it’s still transmitting.

So, imagine you have a truck full of shivering sheep, baa’ing piteously on their way to meet the Inevitable. (Again.) Ahead of you is a separation between one customs tax regime and another. They levy different tariffs. Some official clearly needs to know that you have trucked your terrified sheep across this border, which has no physical barrier, but which divides a higher-priced region from a lower, thus attracting people who will profit by bending the rules.

He or she will need to register that you have transhipped 135 sheep from one jurisdiction to the other, in order for more officials to send the producer and the retailer their bill and claim the tax – plus VAT – for the Government. Assuming, that is, that your sheep have not been diverted into a quiet field somewhere.

Such a barrier would naturally encourage producers on one side to smuggle their sheep across to buyers at night, and buyers to move them on at low cost into a higher-priced retail and consumer market, pocketing the difference. Bad men with guns would exploit the higher price on one side, and be prepared to shoot when questioned; or when they think someone is telling on them; or, more pertinently, competing with them. I’m pretty sure they’re digging the auld Armalites out of their rural hideyholes as I write. There’s nothing the rural Irish like more than a good ambush.

The activities of these gangsters are masked beneath centuries of political, alcoholic and religious pieties, justifying their murderous ways. Their largely bogus “movements” have in the past set off bombs callously killing non-combatants, and even conducted two wars to retain their opportunities for profit. It’s called smuggling, and wherever it happens it’s a murderous business.

And then, imagine that the complicated geography of the region means that, in order to get from a low-tax regime to the higher one, goods have to pass through the higher tax regime from the lower, and then back into the lower and on to the higher.

Who the hell is going to keep track of that?

Packed on trucks, the goods leave the freedom of one set of customs taxes and standards, to pass through a different jurisdiction, the UK, with different customs taxes and standards, in order to enter once again the former jurisdiction, the Irish Republic; and then, possibly reprocessed (unless they are to divert hundreds of expensive miles northwards through the UK to Scotland) have to pass once more across this barrier, the border, to enter the UK once again. The process, of course, having attracted more tax liabilities.

I’m sorry, there are those who think this is a good idea, but I don’t. And I’ll happily kill you over it, when the gloves finally come off, because you deserve it. You’re a bunch of fucking ignorant, selfish, disinterested, determined klutzes who haven’t been paying attention, and in your infinite laziness you believe anything you’re told by bad people you think are on your side because they sell you pictures of very young women with big naked tits just like your mum’s.

And there we come on to people. People living or working on either side of this putative border will have different rights and degrees of citizenship. No barriers separate the people south of the border from the people east of the bigger island that separates them physically by water from the other jurisdiction to which they belong. But the borders between the continent and the smaller island to the west, and to the north of an arbitrary line drawn across the island in 1926, now create differential rights, rules, loyalties and responsibilities of citizens in the south from those in the north.

A major part of the decision by a very small majority of UK citizens to leave the EU related to their objection to the principle within the EU that people should have an automatic right to live and work in any member state. As soon as several poorer East European countries with quite alien cultures joined the union, voters saw a potential threat and panicked. In future, however, anyone will be able to get in over the new, invisible Irish border. The assinine slogan, “Take back control of our borders”, will be turned on its head. Fucking eejuts.

Their vote will substantially reduce the existing right of all EU citizens, however “acceptable”, to live and work in the UK, unless they meet stricter criteria, possibly than less qualified people from other countries the UK will be forced to make its own trade agreements with. But if there are no border controls between the south and the north of the island of Ireland, and the south is in the EU and the north isn’t, then the movements of people will need to be carefully monitored too.

I’m sorry this is all so boring. Blame the Leavers.

After all, I have just popped over to France for a week, and been biometrically analysed three times and presented my passport three times going out, and twice coming back, after enduring a lengthy spell in a restive queue, and the UK is still in the EU….

Lost control of our borders? How, exactly?

(If we have, I’m sure the lowering pairs of thuggish-looking Border Force goons hanging around every corridor and hall in their black uniforms with arms folded menacingly would soon reimpose it. Is Britain the only country that greets its visitors with Force? Every time I come home I feel sickened by this fucking country.)

Unless another delay is granted while British politicians pass their one greedy little brain cell around the table to try to find a ‘unicorn’ solution to what is a totally impractical geographical problem, by leaving the European Union without agreeing to open borders for customs tax and immigration purposes, in other words by retaining the existing regime but with even fewer controls and no say in what happens, the United Kingdom cannot remain united.

is this what these fuckwits wanted?

I do not imagine for one second that the fish porters of Sunderland and the demented Empire Loyalists of Tunbridge Wells thought about this problem for one second before seizing the opportunity to leave the European Union, an institution of which they were and remain entirely ignorant, other than suspecting it to be run by a cabal of garlic-munching foreigners bent on removing our hallowed right to behave as badly as we like..

It’s certain as night follows day that the entire cabinet would agree in a heartbeat to restoring Irish unity, which would solve the problem at a stroke.

Of excellent landscape value, and producing very good beef, nevertheless Northern Ireland is an ungovernable province. It hasn’t had its assembly government working for close on three years now, since the Catholic Sinn Fein party walked out on the pretext that the Protestant Ulster Unionist parties were blocking moves to institute an official dual-language policy (English-Irish, which practically nobody speaks) and other, frankly symbolic, issues, such as on which days of the week could the British Union flag be flown over Belfast city hall.

You might conclude, as most people do, that the Northern Irish are among the most stubbornly divided, batshit crazy people on earth.

Despite that, the British government has shown no inclination to revert to the old centralized rule from Westminster, while the terms of the Good Friday agreement that ended a vicious 30-year civil war never anticipated this rift known as Brexit and rather relied on not having to sort out the border issue all over again, removing, as it did, the border. Which is 300 miles long.

So, what could technology do?

Well, every sheep has its own “passport”. A sort of “baa-code”. All farm animals, every cow, pig, sheep or horse, have had to have individual numbered documentation tracking their progress from birth and vaccinations through to every movement off-farm and transhipment to slaughter, as part of the total traceability of foodstuffs imposed through the European Union since the late 1990s and the outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (BSE), that still has to kill many thousands of people who ate contaminated beefburgers at the time. (The gestation period is up to 50 years.)

One suspects Mr Johnson and several older members of the cabinet may well be coming down with it. (We are also waiting cynically for John Selwyn Gummer’s daughter, to whom as Agriculture Minister he force-fed burgers to prove they were fit for consumption, to succumb. Sorry, I just loathe Tories. I expect she does, too.)

So it is perfectly possible using GPS in combination with 5G, using implants, to track the movements of every member of the doomed livestock community, that we should not be eating for the planet’s sake, but which we could nevertheless tax to our hearts’ content, knowing exactly where they have been and when throughout their too-short lives.

Then, were I to walk out of my local supermarket with any inanimate object valued by the retailer at more than a couple of quid and bearing some kind of transponder, klaxons would sound and the large security man would pounce on me to demand restitution or, more probably, my imprisonment.

If it can be done cheaply in shop doorways, surely similar tracking of goods and people across invisible boundaries is possible? It would require vast computing power to track billions of movements of goods and people via GPS, and automatically debit their bank accounts, but it can be done. The cost would initially be terrifying, but by scrapping the silly £100 billion-and-counting HS2 vanity project and ignoring our £1.3 trillion national debt, it might be done.

There are surely enough investors out there with money burning holes in their pockets to make the lucrative practise of customs control a viable business proposition.

If we really have to.

 

So, Farewell then, David Koch, 79. Net worth $51 billion. In a special tribute, Granny Weatherwax writes: “Did you take it with you, you fucking greedy, hypocritical little piece of ecocidal shit? I hope you died screaming.”

 

The madness of King Donald

Departing this weekend’s G7 in Biarritz, Trump put in an impassioned plug for holding the next one at his Doral golf resort in Florida, insisting to world leaders: “I’m not interested in money”.

According to a new report by Citizens For Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, thanks to his refusal to divest from his business interests as required in the constitution, including his golf resorts, Trump has been involved in more than 2,300 financial conflicts of interest benefitting himself since taking office.

Trump has tweeted-out his approval of a comment by a conspiracy-theory-peddling radio show host that Jews in Israel regard him as their “King”, and believe that he is “The Second Coming” of the Christ. Pundits rushed to point out that, technically, real Jews are still awaiting The First Coming. He later informed the servile gaggle of journalists on the White House lawn that he is “The Chosen One”. No-one dared to question it.

On numerous recorded occasions, President Trump has, for whatever reason, told his dumbfuck supporters and even business delegates that “five or maybe even six years, even before I thought of running for President”, he was named Michigan’s “Man of the Year”.

There is no such award. Oh, and he first announced he was thinking of running for President in 1988.

Twice in the past week Trump has asked aides for input on “his” idea of dropping thermonuclear bombs on hurricanes as they form off the African coast, to prevent them reaching the USA. The NOAA has humbly responded that it might not be such a great idea for the rest of the planet, and wouldn’t work anyway. (The average hurricane generates energy equivalent to a 10 megaton bomb every 20 minutes.)

The White House rushed to clear up a statement he made at the G7, that Melania Trump had met with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un and agrees with him, what a great guy the world’s most murderous dictator is. She never has met him. New spokesmouth, Stephanie Grisham explained, the President really meant that the First Lady just “feels like” she has got to know him well.

A photo of Melania at the G7, looking like she couldn’t wait to get her lipgloss around Justin Trudeau’s manly dick, has gone viral.

And, though it’s been widely reported, it’s worthwhile recording – lest we forget – last week, Trump proposed buying Greenland from the Danish crown. Rebuffed by Denmark’s young female PM, he went off on one, calling her “nasty” and cancelling a proposed visit to Copenhagen. Two days later, after a phone call between them, he described her as “a wonderful woman.”

In much the same vein, he flip-flopped twice in the week on tougher background checks for gun buyers and once on cutting payroll taxes to boost the economy, while at the same time asking in a notorious tweet, who is the bigger enemy of America, President Xi of China or his own appointee, Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powel? (misspelling Powell’s name). Leading economists described his tweet as “crazy”.

As Anderson Cooper commented, it’s one thing for a President to make policy reverses – another, when he doesn’t himself seem to know or care what, if anything, his own words mean, or what he has said, from one day to the next.

The wit and wisdom of Donald J Windbag:

“I think I know more about the environment than most.” (Spoken at a press conference at the G7 in Biarritz.)

 

White supremacists in Arkansas have cut down a tree planted to commemorate the Elaine massacre in 1919 of up to 800 African Americans across the state.

 

Jazz alert

Music, history.

Since returning from a full-on week trapped in an agreeable French location with a bunch of musicians – amazing professionals as well as stumbling amateurs like me – I’ve tried to avoid falling into the trap of telling myself, enough is enough, and kept listening to jazz since arriving back earlier in the evening than I had feared; despite the delay at Shrewsbury caused by a passenger claiming to have had their luggage stolen with their ticket in it.

Thus I have discovered the lovely Robert Glasper, to whom I am listening a lot.

However, last night I devoted twenty or-so minutes to watching the outstanding young Afro-British cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year award, playing the Elgar concerto at the Proms.

I have to say, emotionally engaged though he always is, and technically superb, I found the whole thing a trifle perfunctory. Perhaps because there’s nothing much more anyone can do to flog new life into this old, post-First World War nostalgia-horse, but partly also because the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra all looked supremely bored. In particular, the violinist with a ginger beard seated immediately behind the soloist, who kept rolling his eyes and pulling disdainful faces, who should be moved or sacked.

Right now, however, I am writing with one brain while riveted on YouTube by the other to a filmed 1965 Belgium tour performance by the John Coltrane quartet, music of an octane so high I am writing this on the ceiling for safety. I had not come across the video before. It is, quite simply, whatever your level of understanding of music, whatever genre and Magus you believe to hold the One True Flame, spectacular and, indeed, magisterial.

The concert – only 37 minutes survives – is performed to a packed house. Wondering in passing what Sir Edward would make of it (I imagine his patrician old head exploding, the sound reverberating ominously around the Malvern hills – although, let’s remember, he lived on well into the Jazz age – perhaps not jazz quite like this), to the accompaniment of the unbearably suspended tension of a 396-bar (okay, I haven’t counted them. It’s several minutes long), positively heroic, symphonic solo by Tyner on what is surely Coltrane’s best-ever production of “My Favorite Things”, I was moved to post this Comment underneath:

“Belgium, 1965. The year the murderous kleptocrat (and reputed cannibal) dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko finally seized power in the African nation with the worst history of white colonial brutality of all, the Belgian Congo. The true “Heart of Darkness”. Not a single black person in the audience. And yet… they’re sucking this coruscating black anger up and owning it. Funny old world.”

John Coltrane (ts, ss), McCoy Tyner (p), Jimmy Garrison (b), Elvin Jones (dr).

 

Eat your little hearts out, Trump, Putin….

In 1970, supported by the Americans, the increasingly unhinged Mobutu held an election in the DRC to consolidate his rule. The only candidate, he won with a vote of 10,131,669 to 157. (Wikipedia)

 

GW: The weather here has been as nice as it can be

Okay, I am going to mention this. During the late June heatwave in which parts of France saw record 45 deg. temperatures, it was pointed out that the new record maximum, at 5 deg. C above the old, roughly, was in itself a record increase in the record.

Announcing the hottest ever August Bank Holiday Monday in Britain, the Met Office said today, temperatures had reached 33.2C (91.8F) at Heathrow by 14:16 BST, beating the previous record of 28.2C set two years ago. (BBC)

I think we can draw from that, that summer maximum temperatures in northern Europe are running roughly 5 deg. higher now than they were only a few years ago.

Buckle up.

(And today in Boglington-on-Sea it’s 15C. Brrr.)

China: “At least 9 people have died and 35 are missing after torrential rain caused flooding, mudslides and debris flows in Sichuan province on 20 August, 2019. More than 100,000 people have been evacuated , including thousands of tourists. Roads have been blocked and bridges damaged, making access to affected areas extremely difficult. Provincial disaster authorities were using helicopters to access areas and deliver relief supplies.” (Floodlist) And: “4 people were dead with 11 others reported missing after multiple mudslides hit Wenchuan County, SW China’s Sichuan Province” (citing People’s Daily).

Wunderground adds: “Severe flooding and landslides have killed more than 200 people within two months across China. More than 60 people are missing, and about 1.3 million people were displaced.”

Philippines: 2 people have died in landslides and floods in the Philippines, where Laoag City is under a state of “calamity”. and 1 in Taiwan after strong winds and torrential rain brought by Tropical Storm Bailu. 9 people were injured in further weather-related incidents in southern Taiwan, where over 750mm of rain fell in 48 hours. Thousands of households were left without power and transport was severely interrupted, including dozens of flights. (Floodlist)

Laos: Northern provinces have been affected by flooding after heavy rain. (Floodlist)

Nigeria: Flooding has been reported in numerous states since around 16 Aug., leaving houses and crops destroyed and causing fatalities. Flooding has also affected some central areas of the country, including near the capital, Abuja, and in Niger State where the city of Bida recorded 86mm of rain in 24 hours to 23 Aug. (Floodlist)

A large and potentially devastating series of fires is raging in Central and parts of Southern Africa. Among the regions at risk is the Congo Basin forest, the second-largest tropical rainforest after the Amazon, mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (NYT)

Spain: “The streets of Madrid have been turned into rivers as flash-flooding and hail inundate Spain’s capital. One of the worst affected neighbourhoods was Arganda del Rey where cars were washed away in the torrents of water while huge piles of hail built up along some streets. The Spanish subway department declared several metro stations and highways closed.” (Guardian, 27 Aug. – video http://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2019/aug/27/piles-of-hail-flash-floods-and-a-tornado-hits-spain-video ) In other news, a “spectacular” and “brutal” tornado grazed the Andalucian town of Campillos, near Malaga, leaving residents and tourists shaken but unharmed. Yellow weather warnings are still in place for “torrential” rain. (Various media)

A severe storm hit the Valencia region on 20 August, 2019, causing flash flooding in parts of the provinces of Castellón, Alicante and Valencia. (Summer rainfall records tumbled.) Some areas recorded more than 40mm of rain in less than 1 hour. El Toro in Castellón recorded 41.8mm of rain in 20 minutes.” (Floodlist) The severe weather events follow another strong plume of N African heat pushing up across Europe.

Guatemala: Heavy rain has caused flooding and landslides in several departments over the last few days.

Bolivia: As fires continue to rage in Brazil, nearly a million hectares (6,200 sq miles) of farmland and unique dry forest have been destroyed by weeks of blazes across the border in Bolivia, where the flames have now reached the country’s Amazon region. Ironically, while Bolsonaro expresses contempt for threatened tribal peoples and encourages big business to destroy the Amazon rainforest, Bolivia’s President Morales, himself from a tribal background, thought he was doing the indigenous peoples of the forest a good turn by licensing them to clear more farmland. (Guardian)

Your Gran remarks, bitterly: All such squalid, greedy, pig-ignorant eco-criminals should be dragged out of their fucking palaces and hanged in the public square.

USA: The last week of August is likely to bring yet more heavy rain, lightning, big hail and flooding to the already rain-sodden Great Plains. (The Weather Channel). Lightning struck a flag-pin on a golf course in N Carolina leaving an interesting pattern of scorch marks around what locals are promoting as “God’s hole-in-one”. 6 people were injured by a lightning strike at a PGA tournament in Atlanta. Multiple homes were evacuated in Los Angeles on 25 Aug, after a wildfire started in Eagle Rock. 44 hikers were evacuated from a national park in Arizona because of lethally high temperatures. Rivers in Alaska are “too hot” for salmon to spawn, threatening the fishing industry. (Accuweather)

Floodlist reports (27 Aug.): Thunderstorms and heavy rain brought flash flooding to parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma from 24 August. Among the worst hit areas was Fort Smith, NW Arkansas, where police report that 1 person died when a vehicle was swept off a road by swift waters. Accuweather reported, the area received 8.5-in of rain in two days, 4 times the normal monthly total.

Barbados: “A tropical storm warning is in effect for Barbados in advance of Tropical Storm Dorian, a compact system that has the potential to strengthen quickly. Tropical storm watches have been hoisted for St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines. (The Weather Channel). Monday 26 Aug.: “Tropical Storm Dorian is headed toward the Windward Islands where it will bring heavy rain and strong winds later Monday into Tuesday, but has an uncertain future beyond that in the Caribbean Sea.” (The Weather Channel). An NHS forecast puts Puerto Rico in its sights as Dorian intensifies to a possible hurricane by the weekend.

UK: A new record temperature was set for the late August bank holiday weekend, with 33.3C recorded at Heathrow on 25th. It’s the second time in one day that the record has been broken after a temperature of 31.6C was recorded earlier – beating the 31.5C record set at Heathrow in 2001 (Independent). Monday is expected to go fractionally hotter still (BBC). The UK has experienced several new record highs this year. Most of eastern central and northern Europe is headed for 35C, 96F all this week, with the heat pushing up into Scandinavia by the weekend. (Severe-weather.eu)

Greece: “Hundreds of tourists were evacuated from hotels and beaches on the Greek island of Samos where a wildfire broke out Saturday, officials said. Nearly 70 firefighters and 13 engines were battling the fire in the east of the Aegean island. Around 1,000 people were evacuated to the nearby town of Pythagoreio from several hotels.” (Daily Sabah) “Over 50 fires have broken out nationwide over the last 24 hours, fanned by gale-force winds, the fire department said.”

Turkey: “Two people were injured in the Black Sea town of Terme, Turkey, on Monday, Aug. 26, when a city bridge collapsed after a period of heavy rain.” (Accuweather)

Poland: “At least four people died and more than 100 were injured in lightning strikes during a thunderstorm. The worst hit a group of hikers at the summit of Giewont, a popular peak in the Tatra range in the south of the country. A fifth person was killed in neighbouring Slovakia. At least one of the victims was said to be a child. The storm is said to have descended suddenly after a sunny morning.” (BBC)

Australia: “Firefighters were racing to tame an enormous blaze in southeastern Australia with officials warning it could merge with others to create a “mega-fire” if weather conditions worsen. Crews have been battling fires that flared in high winds and searing heat across the state of New South Wales last week with more than 200 homes so far destroyed and many others damaged.” (Telegraph, 27 Aug.) More than 40 fires have been burning across Tasmania, while more than 100 fires were burning in Queensland, 23 Aug, where 1 person has died. (9 News) Meanwhile the forecast is for cold fronts bringing heavy rain across much of the country. Fucking weird.

Australia has just experienced its third-hottest July (a late mid-winter month) on record, beaten only by records set in 2017 and 2018, as fire and water authorities in the eastern states prepare for a worse than average fire season. The year-to-date temperatures from January to July were the second warmest on record, according to a monthly statement from the Bureau of Meteorology. (Guardian) (Let’s recollect that midsummer in Australia is 21 December.)

Tunnel approaching….

Yellowstone: While your Uncle has been away, a M5.4 earthquake under the Cosco volcanic field in SW California set off a new swarm of quakes over in the Yellowstone caldera. The Blessed Mary Greeley records the epicenter as being not far from the China Lake military base and geothermal pumping operations.

As news reports of a M2.9 quake triggered by fracking operations near Blackpool, England, were coming in, the biggest yet, renewing calls for a permanent suspension, there was a M4.5 beneath the Kansas fracking zone, showing that quakes caused by hydraulically fracturing substrata have a cumulative effect and tend to get larger over time. (Dutchsinse)

NASA reports, a 340-meters-wide asteroid called Apophis, after the Egyptian god of Chaos, will whizz by Earth at an altitude of just 19 thousand miles in 2029. (Express, currently obsessed with clickbaiting readers fearful of apocalyptic asteroid strikes, most of which happened millions of years ago – old news.) That’s within the margin of error for orbital calculations and brings this potential planet-killer inside the orbits of our weather satellites. But don’t worry, etc., plenty more out there.

The Pumpkin – Issue 95: Good luck with 2020… E Pluribus, Donald…Shits, hicks, hacks and charlatans… The Lucky Jew… GW: Slipslidin’ away.

Hi, The Pumpkin here. I’m trying to cram stuff in this week because I’m taking a short vacation away from muh li’l laptop next week and you’ll miss me when I’m gone. Sorry.

PS I’m going by train, as long as the virtue signals are working….

“But Greta, you didn’t tell us there’d be no more cauliflower!”

Quote of the Week

“We all know how Trump struggles to do the bare minimum of being a president but it’s still genuinely shocking just how much he struggles to do the bare minimum of being a fucking person.” – John Oliver, on Trump’s fumbled El Paso appearance.

 

Good luck with 2020

(This article first appeared in Tuesday’s Boglington Post but has been moved here because it’s better, okay?)

Further news reaches us of Trump’s continuing mental disintegration.

Japan Times reports, a number of countries have issued travel warnings to their citizens after the USA experienced 25 mass shootings in 2 months; including last week’s murders of 22 people at a Walmart supermarket in El Paso.

A perfectly responsible, normal reaction. Some governments feel a duty to safeguard their own citizens.

“Well, I can’t imagine that,” Trump said when told of the warnings. “But if they did that, we’d just reciprocate. We are a very reciprocal nation, with me as the head. When somebody does something negative to us in terms of a country, we do it to them.”

For someone so thin-skinned, he sure resembles a rhinoceros at times. Especially when he’s proposing to wreck his own tourism industry.

So reasonable warnings from civilized countries like Japan to their own citizens when in America to be careful and avoid the sort of Wild West arcades where the little mini-Trumps go to blast away at live foreigners and schoolkids, result in a “reciprocal” threat from the madman-in-chief to warn Americans they’re in similar danger abroad, or not to travel anywhere, shitholes, whatever.

That’s to countries that generally don’t have racist neo-Nazis, teenage paranoiacs and other psychopathic Trump true-believers running around with legally owned AR-15 assault rifles shooting people indiscriminately. (We have news today of a Trump supporter, a disorderly military veteran fracturing the skull of a random 13-year-old child he thought was “disrespectin’ duh national anfum”, by piledriving him headfirst into the ground at a fair.)

I imagine most normal Americans can’t wait to get out, warnings or no.

Who reacts like this, like some brutal mob boss, to any perceived slight? Who else imagines themselves to be personally insulted when someone passes a reasonable comment involving their country, or kneels when the anthem is played, when the appropriate response would be to try to reassure travellers that they’re perfectly safe with him in charge, and attend to the cause of the protest without fake patriotic melodrama?

Donald the fucking Sun King, that’s who. King Donald the Mad.

It’s not that long ago that Trump was tweeting abuse at London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, for allowing one shooting and two stabbings over a single weekend, in a city of 7 million stressed people. As if he could do anything to stop them, apart from by not being a Muslim. Oh, and by not criticizing President-elect Trump over his efforts to ban Muslims. When was that? Three years ago!

And we’re not even his country. No yet, anyway. (I hear he’s considering an offer.)

Good luck with 2020, America.

You’re going to need it.

(I see that rotten stinker with the ludicrous ‘Mr Pastry’ mustache who likes to start wars and changes regimes more often than his fetid old underpants, John Bolton is in London today for talks with the preposterous PM, the craven weasel Boris Johnson.

Iran, here we come.)

Oh, and guess whose name has popped up in the Jeffrey Epstein saga, as another “friend of the late financier”? Why, trot forward on a pure white Arabian steed, Mr Trump’s young protege, Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman of Saudi Barbaria, no less. Epstein’s Rolodex must have been on fire! (New York Times: The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People, 12 Aug.)

It might perhaps offer some kind of explanation as to why the Trump family is so assiduously putting about the fake news, that Hillary Clinton had Epstein killed in prison to protect Bill.

On the other hand….

 

E Pluribus, Donald

A rapper calling himself A$AP Rocky has been found guilty of affray and given a two-year suspended sentence by a Swedish court, following an attack on two young immigrant fans who were following the rappers’ party in a possibly annoying way.

The court found that Rocky had not acted in self-defense, as his defense lawyer tried to claim, but had joined in with two of his roadies in a serious but not gravely injurious attack.

This story would have been water under the bridge and certainly not had profile, had it not been for a bizarre tweet from the supposed President of the United States, demanding that Sweden drop the charge.

What Donald Trump thought he was doing, what right he had to interfere in the normal judicial process of another sovereign country over such a trivial affair, only God and the psychiatric community will ever know.

What we do know is that Trump has no regard whatever for the rule of law, in his own country or anyone else’s where he has no right of interference, other than for the arrogance of office.

This utterly bonkers individual actually threatened action against Sweden for persecuting a US citizen.

He tweeted: “Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM. We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem”

By which we assume he means the vanishingly small number of crimes committed by Muslim immigrants and refugees, on which he notoriously fixated in 2017, claiming by some miracle of foresight that there had been a riot, two days before a minor affray conveniently broke out in one of Stockholm’s migrant majority banlieus.

What he meant by “we do so much for Sweden”, is anyone’s guess. The USA does nothing for Sweden, so far as I know. Sweden is a grown-up, independent nation, a stable constitutional monarchy, and has been for hundreds of years. Longer, certainly, than the USA, where around the end of the C19th hundreds of thousands of ethnic Swedes made their homes.

Perhaps that’s what he meant. The USA had taken in 1.2 million ethnic Swedes by 1910, driven out by years of poor harvests and failed agrarian reforms. That’s what “we did for Sweden”. “We” depopulated the place!

A$AP Rocky is not a well-known personage in the UK, we suspect, but we must assume that someone sympathetic to his cause got to the White House. Could that possibly have been Trump’s friend Kanye West, a rap artist equally as damaged by having been larded with a great deal more money than his modest talents might justify, as Trump himself is?

Oh, right, sorry, I’m being slow today. “Don’t call me a racist, see what I do for you colored people!”. Get the black vote out somehow.

There’s always something transactional in everything this Grade One menace does.

 

Shits, hicks, hacks and charlatans

We just had to pirate this priceless Trump anecdote from a strange piece in The Guardian, 13 Aug., on celebrities and their moments with the Gilded Oaf:

“Charlie Sheen recalls running into Trump in a restaurant, just before he was to get married. Because he couldn’t make it to the ceremony, Trump removed his expensive platinum and diamond cufflinks and handed them to Sheen as a gift. ‘Six months later I was having some jewellery appraised and remembered the cufflinks,’ Sheen recalled in 2016. ‘When the jeweller took a look, she recoiled and said: ‘In their finest moment, they were cheap pewter and bad zirconia.’ They had ‘Trump’ stamped on them. I think that says a lot about the man.'”

It perhaps says quite a lot about Sheen, too, that he couldn’t tell the difference.

I feel sure that if everything everyone now knows about this appalling caricature in the White House were to have come out loud and clear in 2015, he would never have been adopted as the pet monster of McConnell’s monstrous Republican party. Would he?

It reinforces the point about how difficult it is to get everyone at the same time to understand what’s going on, so poorly are most people equipped to pay attention, glued as we are to our cellphones (I’ve just signed on for a new one… it’s got a big screen and a twin-lens many gigapixels camera thing! And you can watch Netflix movies in realtime and store hundreds of thousands of tunes!) (Oh, do get on with it. Ed.)

There’s always enough inattention and confusion to ensure the baddies get away with it.

He doesn’t even like killing people. (Just watch video of him desperately trying to ignore a Yazidi woman in the Oval Office, telling him how her entire family was butchered and she was raped and enslaved by ISIS… “And so where is your family now?”)

Surely, there must be an almost unbearable level of embarrassment even among that power-crazed, money-grubbing bunch of shits, hicks, hacks and charlatans, that they elected a half-daft fairground freak in a tinsel tutu?

Is it even fair to mock him for his cheap tackiness, his utter fakery – from his cufflinks to his hair, to his tan to his boasts about the size of his, most of the time, negative bank balance, his vast intellect, his astonishing golfing prowess, and his prodigious… “wherever”?

His weird way of acting all the time as if he himself were a newly arrived immigrant, striving for a place in the sun, a street-rat clawing his way out of the Bowery, doing and saying whatever it takes to survive, even at his age.

That peculiarly American, insatiable hunger for acceptance in a cold world.

Did he learn that from Grandpa Drumpf?

Mockery hasn’t done any good, he’s still there, squatting like a big orange toad on the face of American democracy – for what that was worth – hacking about in the rough.

Each successive week brings more and more evidence of calculating insanity. He so clearly qualifies for the 25th Amendment. Yet nobody dares lift a finger!

Why are you all so pathetic?

 

The Lucky Jew

A theatrical colleague has half-Polish nationality. She and her boyfriend went over to Warsaw on a brief vacation trip and to visit family. On her return, we were up at the Director’s house watching a film and she gave me as a little holiday coming-home present, a Lucky Jew.

This rather startling memento is a small, carved wood and painted figure, about 3 inches high, of a bearded gentleman garbed in black, with a large nose and an expression of humble servility, clutching a bag presumably of money and a golden plate.

The tribute was in honor, she explained, of my recent triumph in the role of Shylock, the multi-layered, much put-upon Jewish banking character from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”.

Happily, I found the idea funny. I find most ideas funny.

It came with the explanation that the Lucky Jew is “a thing” in Poland. What kind of thing I’m not sure, a souvenir thing for tourists unaware of the difficult history, presumably. Searching it, I find no hidden corkscrew.

I might have found my Lucky Jew embarrassingly antisemitic, were it not for something that happened the very next day, for which I forgive its creator everything.

That was a Tuesday night. Wednesday was a day on which the latest issue of Private Eye magazine arrives in my local supermarket. It comes out fortnightly, and rather than flashing my contactless card at the tobacco counter lady for a silly small amount, £2, I add on a £2 National Lottery entry for luck.

And, guess what, Reader, it came up!

Okay, so it was only three numbers, for a prize of £30.

But I haven’t won anything on the Lottery since winning £2.50 about ten years ago. Admittedly, I rarely enter. As the brilliant Saatchi and Saatchi ad campaign used to say, “It could be you!”, about the most insidiously persuasive tagline I’ve ever read – and I used to write them for a living.

Winning anything on what’s now known with chintzy faux-affection as Lotto is practically impossible to do, since the cheating bastards increased the number of draw numbers, adding on an extra ten, lying that it gave us more chances to win, and doubled the stake. You have to guess six numbers from 60 for two quid. The odds against picking a full suite of six correct random selections out of a possible 60  are astronomical, let alone with the seventh Bonus ball you need to go full £millions.

They really don’t want you to win anything, so they can go on throwing money at netball players and obscure provincial orchestras, and the lesser prizes are pathetic, given the difficulty of winning one of them.

Lucky for Lotto, however, so many people enter so many lines that by the law of averages, one eventually scoops the jackpot. The resulting publicity is the only thing that keeps people betting. A fifty-grand prize won’t do (5 correct numbers!), although it would me – apart from me, everyone foolishly dreams of becoming an instant multi-millionaire. Little do they know.

So anyway, I went back to the store yesterday to pick up my winnings, and do you know what?

That’s right! More luck!

I did my shopping, and when I paid for it, it apparently triggered the requisite very large number of points accumulated over many shopping weeks, and the checkout guy handed me a £5 voucher with my receipt!

I’m not sure how long this run of luck is supposed to hold out, from my Lucky Jew.

Today I had a call from the cellphone store, my sparkling new Huawei cellphone we ordered yesterday had gone out on the courier run this morning but for some reason connected with the end of civilization as we know it, the courier had delivered it straight back to the warehouse instead of to the store, and we can’t get another delivery before Friday, and that’s the day I leave for London and I’m not going without a degree-level course in how to find the on-switch.

I’m a bit on edge today, to be honest.

Because there are two kinds of luck, aren’t there.

 

Cauliflower Fears

“The weak foreign trade performance and declining construction investment proved sufficient to bring the German economy to its knees …” A German economist responds hysterically to the news that Germany’s GDP shrank by a massive 0.1% last quarter.

Your old Granny comments: “We need to shrink GDP in all nations and by a lot more than tenths of a percentage point. Blind worship of growth figures is killing us.”

As if to rub in the point, after the Great Iceberg Lettuce Famine of 2017 and the Avocado Crisis of 2018, in August, 2019 Britain is facing an acute shortage and rising prices of – cauliflower. (Children across the nation cheer! And go on climate strike.)

The disaster is climate-related: “Heavy rainfall in June destroyed crops in Lincolnshire, and alternative European supplies wilted in last month’s heatwave. The shortages were described as “very concerning” by a spokesman for the Brassica Growers Association.

Expect to see more of this, we should.

Anyway, I’m sorry for Lincolnshire. The pickers all come from Romania, what are they going to do?

The BBC draws a veil over their plight.

Meanwhile, fearful of accusations of hypocrisy if she flies, Greta Thunberg has set sail on an oceangoing yacht, bound for a conference in the USA.

The media is reporting that it’s a zero-carbon voyage. Your Old Gran wonders if it’s a carbon-fiber yacht?

They mostly are nowadays.

 

Straight priorities

A 72-year-old Australian man is in a critical condition following an incident in which he intervened to save his dog from an attack by a large Goanna lizard.

It was at first thought the dog had died, but later reported that it had survived the attack.

The man’s wife commented that that was the best news she had heard all day. (Guardian)

 

“In 2010 the famous Eyjafjallajökull eruption closed down all airports in Europe. But its CO2 emissions were only about 150,000 tonnes a day, compared with human activity which is responsible for almost 100m tonnes a day.” – Andri Snaer Magnason, Icelandic author and glaciologist.

(Your Old Granny adds: Your weekend shopping trip from Heathrow to New York will cost the rest of us as much atmospheric forcing per head as the average Ghanaian emits in a year. Thanks for that.)

 

GW: Slipslidin’ away

Pakistan: “Monsoon rain and floods in Sindh province have left 26 dead. At least 16 people died in Karachi district, which was one of the worst hit areas. Heavy rain and flooding damaged buildings and inundated streets. Deaths were caused electrocution from downed power cables, drowning, lightning strikes and collapsed buildings. Karachi recorded 129.40mm of rain in 24 hours to 11 Aug.” (Floodlist)

India: “Heavy rain has caused flooding and landslides in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India. 6 people died on 12 August after landslides in 3 villages in Chamoli district. Major roads were blocked. (Some places received) up to 130mm of rain in 24 hours. The heavy rain is increasing river levels.”(Floodlist) Over 180 people have died in monsoon flooding and landslides in southern and western parts of the subcontinent over the last few days.

Japan: Typhoon Krosa (the third in 3 weeks to hit Japan) weakened to a tropical storm but still managed to dump more than 820 mm (32 inches) of rain on Shikoku, as of 15 Aug. Out of that total, 124.5 mm (nearly 5 inches) and 60.5 mm (2.38 inches) poured down in 3 and 1 hours, respectively. An elderly man died and over 40 people have been injured. (Accuweather)

Vietnam: In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Wipha, flooding that began around 8 Aug. has caused 10 deaths and displaced almost 2000 people. Kien Giang and Lam Dong are the worst hit provinces, where some rivers have reached record levels. (Floodlist)

Greece: “Fires have been raging through a “unique, untouched pine forest” on the Greek island of Evia as authorities fight to keep the flames under control. Hundreds of people were evacuated from nearby villages as the fire broke out in the early hours of (13 Aug.) Other wildfires broke out on the island of Thassos, as well as in the central region of Viotia and the Peloponnese. There was also a fire reported in Peania, a suburb of Athens. (BBC)

Switzerland: 2 people are missing, thought to have been swept away in their car, after flash flooding in the canton of Valais. The area saw violent storms on 11 Aug. Heavy rain from the storm caused the Losentze river to overflow, triggering flooding and mudslides in the commune of Chamoson. (Floodlist)

USA: At least 5 dogs have died after swimming in lakes affected by toxic algal blooms caused by heatwaves in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina. Torrential downpours are forecast for areas from northern Florida to southeastern Georgia and perhaps the Carolina coast later this week, at risk for multiple showers and thunderstorms on a daily basis.

A hailstone with a maximum diameter of 4.83 inches fell in Bethune, Colorado, on 13 Aug. The record was confirmed on Wednesday evening by the Colorado Climate Center. The previous state record in Colorado was 4.5 inches. (Accuweather)

Excessive heat warnings are out for 110 degree (43C) temperatures in central California, around Sacramento (The Weather Channel) CNN reported (22 Aug.): “Almost 50 large wildfires are burning in a dozen US states from Texas to Alaska. The McKinley Fire, which has now spread to more than 4,300 acres in Alaska, has destroyed at least 80 structures so far, the Alaska Division of Forestry reported Wednesday morning.”

Australia: unreal scenes as the Melbourne area of Victoria state is deep in snow. Videos have been tweeted of wombats shivering and kangaroos frolicking in the cold. Extraordinarily, the rare cold winter – storms, snow – accompanied bizarrely by many unseasonal wildfires in the parched interior – is given not one line of coverage in the Australian mainstream media today.

Wednesday, and News.com.au is reporting that the weather pattern in the southeast especially but really, all over the big island, is totally chaotic, with 38 degree days alternating with near freezing temperatures, rain and wind and then back again. Except they’re not using the word ‘chaotic’. And as winter turns to spring, the wildfire map is showing hundreds of outbreaks all along the coast from Sydney to Brisbane. They’re not mentioning those either.

Oz, you’re about as fucked as America is. And you’ve got the pols to go with it.

Postscriptum: 24 Aug., looking down on the Pole, a cyclone is clearly visible forming amid the chaos of the jetstream winds, bringing more heat and wave action to the Arctic today. (Climate Reanalyzer, courtesy of Arctic News)

 

 

800 Not Out!… The event horizon of a brown hole… Who was Mulgrew Miller?… An American psychopath… Cue spooky music… GW: Blow winds, and crack your cheeks!… Would you like ice in that?

Guardian: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters
On 26 February, 2012, the BogPo hit the ground running.

800 Not Out!

The Boglington Post, incorporating The Pumpkin, publishes its 800th Post today, 7 years and 5 months after its modest beginnings in February, 2012.

Founded by the late Sir Thanatossios Boglopoulos in competition with the absurdly named Arianna Stassinopoulos-Huffington’s Huffington Post, at a time when her writers were complaining of not being paid, early Posts were often short; even derisory. Pithy comments, bad jokes. Most consisted of just a single article; some humoresque, others autobiographical – often both.

But as the years went by, under the wise guidance of our new Publisher, Herr Professor Doktor Ernst von-und-zu Bogl, of Boglheim am Rhein, and the adroit editorship of his late father’s half-brother, the former children’s page editor, Uncle Bogler, The BogPo (as it was soon to be affectionately known) became broader – and bolder – in its concept, invoking a mission to provide quality writing, wild inaccuracies and profoundly cynical satire to the cognoscenti.

We have not been sparing in our use of adjectives.

Multiple articles, colored words and the inclusion of regular features – for instance, an obsessive interest in collecting evidence of climate change and the enticing prospect of human extinction began, in 2016, to manifest as the Granny Weatherwax diaries (GW standing also for Global Warming) – made it more like a regular news blog, only with cuss words.

The Thursday deadline soon became redundant as sheer boredom began to dictate a frenetic increase in output, while technical incompetence led to many editions like this one being published accidentally before time. We took a decision early on, not to hide our light under the bushel of a paywall, like the lousy bastards at the Washington Post, who could easily afford to go free. In any case, we couldn’t understand a word of the Patreon business model concept thing, and had no idea how else to force readers to send money.

Consequently, about twice a week you get 4,000 words for nothing. We hope you appreciate that, you stingy sods. (See me after. Ed.)

Following complaints from our persistent critic, Young Bogler, that no-one reads anymore, borrowed images were introduced, with what the Editor imagines are witty captions. Some amusing examples are revisited again in this edition. Thus, actual readers were no longer required. Just as well, as the average of daily Views, though climbing steadily, has yet to achieve critical mass (a high point of 47 was reached on one memorable day in October, 2016.) American spellings, too, were introduced, in case any Americans were watching; particularly, the NSA. (Hi, guyz!)

In passing, we should like to apologize to anyone who feels we may have stolen, overborrowed, overquoted or outright plagiarized their work for our researches. In fact, it seems it’s often a mutual process. Articles that appear in the BogPo/Pumpkin have a strange way of preceding, often by several days, well paid-for op-ed content generated by the soi-disant professionals in the mainstream press.

Visionary? Or merely doing our job! And, of course, as a non-profit claiming fair usage, we always give credit where credit is due. Sorry, Jacob – owing.

“I don’t give a fuck about the law, I want my fuckin’ money!”

Our sister site

In November 2016, The Pumpkin, now on its 92nd edition, became a separate entity focussing laserlike on the US political scene, following the accidental election of a senile, money-grubbing, malignant narcissist to the White House; a man who, while describing himself as a very smart and stable genius, has found it necessary to threaten to sue his old school if they release his grades to the media.

The possibilities for expressing weekly, in a newsy format, our fear and loathing of this spoilt, superannuated playboy – the Demander-in-Chief, as it were – the thin-skinned, sexually incontinent, mendacious, made-for-TV business mogul and his gang of lying, maladroit pirates, were too entertaining and concerning to ignore.

Readers have wondered why we are so interested in the US political scene from all the way over here in Boglington-on-Sea, a humdrum coastal resort in west Britain, where life goes on and the climate remains embarrassingly normal for a world on fire.

There are two reasons. One, your Uncle Bogler’s late granny was a US citizen, from Delaware; her family having migrated from Ireland in the late C19th. So we feel some attachment to the place – although we have never visited. My brother went over, and described the surviving family as, basically, trailer-trash.

And two, just you wait until Wilbur Ross’ little goblins have finished negotiating that post-Brexit trade deal with the incompetent buffoon and trainee serial killer, “Foreign Secretary” Dominic Raab. American spellings will be compulsory, we assure you. It’ll be daylight Raabery! (Sorry.)

As we know you all must be, dear Spammers, Followers, Likers and those no longer reading this, muh li’l bogl, we’re excited to be looking forward to the next 800 free issues.

Thank you for your loyal support.

Team Bogl (Your Uncle B.)

“You could drive a bus through these legs…!”

Newly appointed Secretary of State, Sajid Javid – the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver – tries on his new, reinforced Home Office trousers before continuing with Theresa May’s popular policy of creating a “Hostile Environment” for migrants (2017), accidentally interning and/or repatriating many people with a right to remain. Formerly a senior executive with Deutsche Bank, the bank fined over $16 billion for money-laundering and interest-rate rigging, the bank that lent $2 billion to Donald Trump despite his zero credit rating and history of defaults, “The Saj”was responsible for promoting the same “collateralized debt obligations”, the financial instruments that caused the 2007 banking crash. In July he was promoted by incoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be Chancellor of the Exchequer.

 

The event horizon of a brown hole

“Democracy, here in the UK and in the US and Europe, has in recent years been subverted by vast amounts of dark money and by individuals and organisations intent on disregarding electoral law to the benefit of extreme rightwing ideas.”– Shadow minister, Chris Matheson MP.

Launching a new fundraising group mainly of Trump supporters (including Moron Jr) in New York calling itself World4Brexit, to “welcome Britain back to the international community, free of the EU”, Britain’s leading Euronoiac, Nigel Farage made it clear, the money was not to support Brexit candidates at the next General Election, which would of course be a breach of electoral law, but purely for research, to “dig deep, find out who is really running the show.”

Who is really running the show is, ultimately, the shadowy group of players around Vladimir Putin. Who else? What the “show” is, is you being a total arsehole, Nigel.

I’m sorry, but cogent political analysis and civil discourse break down at the event horizon of a brown hole.

“Pssst, wanna see my Mussolini?” (2017)

Jazz alert

Who was Mulgrew Miller?

Ciao, cool cats.

I’m forced to comment on a weird phenomenon.

Last night, 30 July, I was browsing on YouTube, looking for some lite jazz I could fall asleep to, and spotted the name of a familiar musician, the late virtuoso Danish bass player, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pederson – who co-nomenclaturally played a lot with the Oscar Peterson trio – no relation.

Sadly, NHØP, who was also a highly cultured man,  died in 2005 at the young age of 58, from heart disease, leaving a treasure trove of mouthwatering brilliance.

Truly one of the great bassists in jazz or indeed any music tradition, he was listed here among those little pictures down the side as playing on an album in a duet with a pianist called Mulgrew Miller, of whom, I swear, I had never heard.

Having listened to, and collected, jazz recordings for what – 15 years, including as a teenager and later intensively for the past ten years as an old bloke and wannabe performer, I honestly had never heard of Mulgrew Miller.

Not only that, but I swear Miller’s name does not come up once as listed either as a lead or side-man on any of the more than 400 jazz CDs I have collected over the past 10 years, dating back to the early 1940s and running on to the present day. The name sounds almost like a joke, a jazz musician out of a novel, or a disguise to fool the taxman.

And yet, having cropped up once, I’m now browsing through dozens of recordings by or featuring Mulgrew Miller, with growing admiration.

Is there some spiritual meaning to it?

I mean, it’s not a name you would easily forget. Also, he’s a bit of a genius, described in his Wikipedia entry as a sort of cross between Oscar Peterson and McCoy Tyner, although he’s very much his own man when it comes to style – virtuosic, powerful, delicate – but with a sense of humour and often a nod to the past.

It’s as if, from time to time in life, a wormhole opens up and however old you get, interesting things you knew nothing about before come wiggling through to take you completely by surprise.

(Mind you, it’s not long since I started to catch up to the wonderful Kenny Barron. I had at least heard of him.)

Miller was another of those tragically early casualties of the jazz world, dying of a stroke in 2015 at the ridiculous age of 57. Of course, you suspect a drug habit, but I doubt it. He had been Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University in New Jersey for several years. I suspect many more undersung jazz heroes are hiding away on the campuses of smalltown academic America. At least it pays.

These geniuses just pop in and out of parallel universes to enlighten and entertain us for a while before flitting back. Busy schedule. Many gigs.

(Incidentally, the reliable Japanese bassist Kyoshi Kitagara, who pops up on many of these recordings with Miller and Barron, is someone else I also discovered for the first time yesterday. Never come across him before either. How does this happen?)

Mulgrew Miller: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aX39pJ9C3s&list=RDA1Nx_Bnpb5s&index=5

Kenny Barron: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGYvuu8Fwog

My Jazz CDs (catalog): themindbogls.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php?s=my+jazz+CDs&post_status=all&post_type=page&action=-1&m=0&paged=1&action2=-1

 

An American psychopath

The New York Times tonight has a story to chill the blood. It’s about The Collector, Jeffrey Epstein. Ignore the bit about wealthy financier, he was a jerk, a pimp funded entirely by his influential pedophile clients:

“The wealthy financier, who has been charged with sex trafficking, told scientists and other acquaintances of his plans to seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating scores of women at his sprawling New Mexico ranch.” (NYT briefing)

“Mr. Epstein” (the NYT uses the honorific even when horrifying scumbags are identified as certifiable lunatics), “who used his wealth to cultivate relationships with a wide range of business, political and scientific luminaries (no, idiots, it was the other way around! They used their wealth to cultivate him! Ed.), also claimed to be bankrolling efforts to identify ‘a mysterious particle that might trigger the feeling that someone is watching you.'”

Oh, yes, Jeffrey. We know the feeling.

 

Telepathy corner

Cue spooky music

Two spam messages have illiterally just arrived on top of a list of 13, that the WordPress Spammeister, Arkayla, thinks I might want to approve. Why would I? Absolute gibberish, they’ve all been sent through poxy servers from untidy bedrooms in Kyrgzystan and will only contaminate my cloud, whatever.

These two both purport to be commenting on an ancient Post from 2012, that I thought I had recently deleted, punningly titled: “Oh, what a Tanglewood we weave”. It was all about buying a guitar made by a company called Tanglewood; which I’d done by mistake.

Not half an hour ago on my walk with Hunzi, I encountered Andy, whom I hadn’t seen or spoken to for the best part of a year. Andy runs a little guitar shop in the covered market. I’d placed a guitar with Andy to sell, about two years ago. He keeps selling it, only for no good reason, the buyers always return it.

We couldn’t really understand why. It’s a perfectly nice little instrument. Anyway, I asked him if he’d sold it, and probably out of guilt or sympathy he said he’d buy it off me, so I priced it very modestly at £50, he just happened to have £50 on him, and we parted ways rejoicing.

Oh, did I mention? It was the Tanglewood.

 

GW: Blow winds, and crack your cheeks!

Now, that’s better. There was almost no weather in yesterday’s edition, apart from perhaps a mention of two possible hurricanes in the Pacific, but now…

“Hurricane Erick is currently hurtling across the East Pacific Ocean towards Hawaii measuring winds of 132mph. At the last NOOA update, the powerful hurricane was located approximately 750 miles (1210 KM) east southeast of Hilo, Hawaii and around 965 miles (1550 KM) east southeast of Honolulu Hawaii. With wind speeds of 132mph, Erick is a category 4 hurricane, which according to the Saffir Simpson Wind Scale can be catastrophic (Express). Wunderground reports: “Erick’s top sustained winds jumped from 70 mph at 5 pm EDT Monday to 130 mph by 5 pm Tuesday, a spectacular leap that’s almost double the 35-mph-in-24-hours needed to qualify as rapid intensification.”

The report goes on to mention: “Tropical Storm Flossie is currently located 745 miles south of the southern tip of Baja California. It is currently moving at 20 miles per hour. On its current path, Flossie will enter Central Pacific waters on Friday or Saturday” and also threatens Hawaii. (Express) Wunderground reports, Flossie intensified to Cat 1 on Tuesday (30 July), but might not survive the wind shear in Erick’s wake.

Europe: Another wave of heat is on the cards, between intense rainstorms. “Forecasters say three more heatwaves could be on their way to the UK. Leon Brown, head of operations at The Weather Channel explained: ‘After the past week’s extreme heat, three more heatwaves are forecast in Britain this summer as air from Africa arrives.'” (Express) In the meantime, central and northern Europe and parts of Britain are being pounded by heavy thunderstorms.

Russia: A gentle nudge from your Gran has spurred the Floodlist team into reporting mainly as follows: “2,699 people in 8 districts of the Irkutsk region (Siberia) have been affected by (a) new wave of floods that started after heavy rains in the area. TASS says the water level in the Iya river in the region reached 11.25 metres on 31 July, well above the 7 metre danger mark. Flooding is also affecting the Amur region, where a state of emergency was declared on 25 July. Over 2,300 people have been evacuated. One of the worst hit areas is the city of Belogorsk and the surrounding district after flooding from the Tom River, a tributary of the Zeya.”

Meanwhile authorities have declared a state of emergency over wildfires in Siberia and the Far East. Almost 3 million hectares of land are estimated to have been affected, according to Russia’s Federal Forestry Agency. (Floodlist)

India: “7 people have died in Maharashtra in flood- and rain-related incidents, including drowning and collapsed buildings, since 27 July. As many as 166 people have now died in the state since the start of this year’s monsoon. A total of 55 villages are affected, with over 1,500 people evacuated.

“Meanwhile the death toll continues to rise in the NE states of Bihar and Assam. As of 30 July, DMD reported 127 fatalities in Bihar and 89 in Assam. As of 30 July there were over 650,000 people displaced in the two states. Elsewhere in the country, 26 people have died in Kerala and 13 in Rajasthan.” (Floodlist)

Boglington-on-Sea: Where normal is the new unusual…. I’m just putting a sweater on now, for the first time in weeks. It’s been struggling to reach 17C all day under gray skies, just like old times. The bonkers Express website is offering us a Grand Solar Minimum ice age for the next 30 years. That’ll see me out, then.

Residents of Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, were told to leave their homes and make arrangements to stay with friends or family “for a number of days” after severe weather in recent days left the Toddbrook reservoir above the town badly damaged and dangerously full. (Guardian)

Flooding in Yorkshire after 3 inches of rain – a month’s worth – fell in 4 hours, 5-in over 24 hours, washing out roads and bridges. A landslip on 30 July blocked train tracks between Carlisle and Skipton, disrupting rail travel. (Floodlist)

Atlantic: Two systems are rivals to intensify later in the week, with the name Chantal next on the list. One is a disturbance dumping heavy rain in the area of Puerto Rico that could become a Tropical Storm threat to Florida if it doesn’t get stopped either by wind shear or the mountains of Hispaniola. The other is a disturbance that’s just come out of West Africa along the usual hurricane trail, heading for the Leeward Islands. (Accuweather)

Tunnel approaching….

Arctic: The record-setting heat wave has moved north over Greenland, triggering temperatures as much as 25 to 30 deg. F. (16.6 C) warmer than normal. Tuesday’s (30 July) temperature may have surpassed 75 F. in some regions. The heatwave is expected to peak on Thursday with the biggest single-day melt ever recorded in Greenland. On 1 August alone, more than 12 billion tons of water will find its way down to the ocean, irreversibly raising sea levels. (Guardian, citing Rolling Stone)

President Trump has offered President Putin help to bring Siberia’s four months of wildfires under control. Raking the Taiga, possibly?

Yellowstone: 7 times in June, 5 times in July…. Biggest in the park, the Steamboat geyser went off again yesterday, 30 July, well ahead of its record year in 2018. Harmonic tremors continuing. (Greeley, citing USGS) Much excitement however is occurring at California’s rival Long Valley supervolcano (the magma chambers of the two may be connected), where USGS appears to be conducting extra aerial surveys, there have been earthquake swarms and there’s been 32 inches of ground uplift.

Moonshine: A “Black Supermoon” will not be visible over the USA tonight, 1 August. It will not be visible again over the UK at the end of the month. I have no idea, look it up. It’s bound to be cloudy.

 

Would you like ice in that?

Between 17 September, 1989 and 17 September, 2012, the extent of sea ice in the Arctic almost exactly halved: from 6.9m sq km to 3.4m sq km.

17 September is generally reckoned to be the perigee of annual ice extent, after the summer melt. 2012’s was the lowest extent recorded since satellite measurement began in the late 1970s.

On 28 July this year, extent was at 6.5m sq km., leaving 52 days of melting to go. An extrapolation of the extent at the current rate of melting would leave no sea ice left by 17 September, 2019. (Arctic News, 30 July)

The Pumpkin – Issue 92: I was down there also… Treason!… We smell a rat… The grass is bluer… GW: And I’m aflame with such a burning desire.

Lie of the day

“I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder”

– Trump lied magnanimously at a Rose Garden event, where genuine first responders on 9/11 were present to witness him signing a bill protecting their longterm medical care against his assaults on Obama’s Affordable Care Act. He went on to tell the heroic men and women who were really there at Ground Zero, that he had been down often, helping with moving rubble – a complete fantasy.

The Pumpkin looks forward to the fact-checkers’ version, especially as Trump has several times been forced to row back on lies that he “lost many friends”. There is no evidence whatever that he lost anybody he knew on 9/11; or that he was ever there – especially as he previously claimed to have been in New Jersey, where he personally “witnessed thousands of Muslims” dancing and cheering; something that also never happened.

We’ve since learned that he continues to tell the story of how he was luckily pulled off a helicopter flight before it crashed in 1989, killing two crew and three of his employees. A former PA says that’s just bullshit, he hadn’t been due to fly. He just has to insert himself, Zelig-like, into every drama.

I thought he might be crazy, but no: he’s just a pathetic, attention-seeking little creep.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping clink glasses at a conference in Tajikistan.

“And once we’ve necked a few of these babes, we can throw the turnips at the Americans!”

 

“This is the new reality of Trumpworld, in which truth is forced to kneel by an open grave, before being shot through the head.”

Treason!

Astonishingly, since Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s six-hour appearance in front of the House Judiciary Committee being lightly slapped around on his famous report, 488 pages that few Murkans could be bothered to read – the Disney version comes out next month – Trump and his scummy acolytes have been loudly and triumphantly proclaiming that he said in all respects, exactly the opposite of what anyone watching would have clearly heard him say.

Asked directly by chairman Jerrold Nadler if his report “totally exonerated” Trump, as the president has been going around saying for five months since the report was published, Mueller clearly and unambiguously replied: “No. “Was there obstruction of justice? “Yes”.

Yet Trump is still furiously tweeting that Mueller’s testimony totally exonerated him.

Because he knows, not enough people would have been watching. Again, it’s all about the ratings, the percentages – the distractor factor. Without sufficient consensus – critical mass – between people who heard Mueller not exonerating the president, and the majority who weren’t watching, Trump is gambling, he can create enough doubt for those who did hear it, to be persuaded that they heard exactly the opposite of what they heard.

Never mistake this man for a complete clown.

Asked if he thought Russian activities had played a part in Trump’s election, Mueller replied “Yes”, and added that he had no doubt the Russians were continuing to interfere “as we sit here” in the 2020 campaign.

Yet Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s former press spokeswoman, now looking like zombie-shit (he added, ungallantly) since her ouster, her lyin’ eyes reduced to puffy slits, has tweeted that Mueller said exactly the opposite, totally vindicating the president and presumably the Russians. While Trump himself has doubled down on his “witch hunt” slogan, openly accusing Mueller of “treason”.

Treason! A legally constituted criminal investigation, sanctioned by no fewer than six circuit court judges, whose initial causes and purposes have twice been thoroughly investigated and found to be free of any possible taint of conspiracy against the president or any suggestion of “fakery” by Mrs Clinton, President Obama and the Democrat party.

(Oh, but Peter Strzok made a joke… Presidential harrassment! Witch hunt! Failing FBI! Dem conspiracy! Treason!)

Treason – a capital offence. While we might perhaps note, the Justice Department has just this week revived capital punishment for federal crimes, after decades in suspension. Intimidation? Surely not.

Treason – because Mueller twice disobeyed Trump’s illegal order to defy the Congress and not show up to testify.

Just more lies, piled on lies. Treason.

A report, of which Mueller himself commented at last month’s private hearing that if his findings had applied to anyone in America other than the president, they would have been indicted for obstructing justice. (He is still of the opinion that if Trump loses the 2020 election and leaves office next year, he can be indicted. After a second term, however, he is not so certain as there is a statute of limitations that may have run out by then.)

A report, which he had to defend twice in letters, accusing Attorney General Barr of putting out a false summary for public consumption prior to releasing the redacted version to Congress, claiming it had exonerated the president when it had not.

(Okay, Mueller has to take the blame for not saying as much without a confusing double-negative and a lot of pussyfooting, hand-wringing and punch-pulling over whether or not you could indict a sitting president and, even if you could, did he have the authority to do it? No, he didn’t.)

Findings, of which no fewer than ONE THOUSAND current and former prosecuting attorneys have signed an opinion stating that indictable crimes were undoubtedly committed, on the basis of the evidence.

A report, from which Trump’s enablers in the senate are desperately trying to persuade the American public that it’s “time to move on”, because there’s nothing in it.

This is the new reality of Trumpworld, in which truth is forced to kneel by an open grave, before being shot through the head.

And what is the excuse for the liar, Trump to contradict every word Mr Mueller said at that hearing? Well, as reported by a fawning, cringing media, even by the Washington Post and the New York Times – who should know better than to give the orange fabulist a pass –  it was because Mr Mueller’s “performance” lacked conviction, making him sound “old”, “unreliable” or even “incompetent”. It was “disappointing” that he had not added significantly to his thoroughly comprehensive report.

Disappointing, too, I imagine, that he did not break into a chorus of Happy Days Are Here Again and go tap-dancing around the room in a pink tutu, sprinkling fairy dust from a wand.

In other words, this 74-year-old man, a notoriously self-effacing, media-shy Purple Heart combat veteran and former most highly regarded Director of the FBI for twelve years, supported by a handpicked team of highly experienced, specialised prosecutors and the resources of the number one federal crime-fighting agency in the country; who had only the day before been instructed not to say certain things by Trump’s pet Deppity Dawg Attorney General, Barr – who has himself been ruled to be criminally in contempt of Congress – and was struggling to balance his allegiances to the Department of Justice (to which he was answerable); to the sacred office of the president, that he swore an oath to uphold; and to the American people, was not sufficiently “entertaining” for a TV audience.

Yet in all the key respects – I did not watch all six hours, just the highlights – his testimony totally supported the conclusions of the written report, that is there for anyone to read if they even give a damn, which clearly no-one now does.

Murka has moved on, to discussion of whether children in concentration camps should be allowed to sleep, eat, wash and use a toilet, or whether they are happier in conditions under which it would be illegal to keep a herd of pigs. Whether or not the president is a lying, criminal sonofabitch, well, is the Pope a Catholic? Who cares!

Murka has moved on, to discussion of whether people of colour should go back to whichever shitholes their ancestors came from, and stop becoming legitimately elected representatives of their communities, telling white folks how to run their country.

Murka is too busy fascinating over another story of a pedophile ring – this time, one that seems to have had an actual existence. Oh, and that may once have involved Trump! (He hasn’t said he wasn’t, only that he is “no longer a fan” of Jeffrey Epstein.) And Murka is worried Trump’s twin satraps, Pompeo and Bolton, may be dragging them into an oil war again, against a manufactured enemy.

There was no contradiction or backtracking on the Grandpa Mueller show. No “confusion”, although a lot of whiffling and card-sorting. Even in its redacted form, blacking out references to intelligence reports and grand jury testimony, the Mueller team had found that:

Yes, there was collusion with the Russian attempt to influence the election –  indeed, Trump has since stated publicly on camera that he would do it again! He would see no reason to inform the FBI if the Russians offered him “dirt” on his next opponent, “why would I?”

One hundred and forty instances were cited, of communication between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign team. But “collusion” is not the word Mueller uses, because “collusion” is nowhere to be found in the criminal law. “Collusion” is not the name of the crime. “Conspiracy” is. Thus, and thus alone, there was no “collusion”.

And there was not sufficient connection found between campaign members and Trump himself on the issue of Russian interference, that would stand-up a criminal charge of conspiracy; although nobody objected to the Russians interfering, indeed they positively welcomed it. This is a legal technicality, not proof of innocence. Although, as Mueller said at the hearing, having understandably some difficulty getting the words out, Trump “generally, yes” had lied to him in written answers to questions, and other Trump officials had lied under questioning, while documents and recordings had been destroyed, so that all the evidence could not be properly evaluated.

(It may be noted, that the full story of the Russian campaign of interference was not covered by the report, or in Mueller’s testimony because, as he said, it is still under investigation. Nevertheless, there was no doubt it happened; which is why Trump has now let the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, go and has nominated a dumbfuck Texan in his place, a man with no intel experience, who agrees that Mueller, Clinton and President Obama should be investigated for treason. Yes, Dear Reader, you are watching a re-run of the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany, only without the pretty uniforms.)

And yes, there was obstruction of justice. Eleven counts, detailing meticulously how Trump attempted to shut down the investigation by ordering his staffers to bully and intimidate and threaten those involved, right up even to the level of the then-Attorney General, Mr Sessions – by attempting at every stage to undermine the credibility of investigators and prosecutors; ordering his people to manufacture, destroy or withold evidence; and firing anyone he had the power to fire, who was connected with the investigation.

Were those the actions of an innocent man, d’you think, or of a career criminal “trained” in aggressive-defensive tactics by the notorious mafia attorney, his father’s old consigliere, Roy Cohn?

And he is still obstructing justice, continually seeking to discredit and undermine (and even to personally sue) the Congressional committees and their chairmen battling to investigate the Trump campaign and his nefarious financial affairs; branding the ongoing inquiries as more evidence of a “witch-hunt”; presidential “harassment”, such as no president before has ever had to put up with (I wonder why not?) nor should ever again; commanding his present and former staff under made-up rules not to comply with legal subpoenas requiring their testimony and the release of documents.

Yet, by some special dark magic and the tragic shortcomings of a constitution whose authors never imagined a hellish succubus like Trump would be able to con its way into the White House, this terrible, incompetent old grifter, made-for-TV businessman and superannuated, barely literate playboy whose ignorance of geopolitics and history lead him to believe that democracy is just a loser’s word for totalitarian dictatorship, this “kakistocrat” remains perhaps more firmly in office, with higher approval ratings, than before.

As Trump daily demonstrates, the rule of law in America has ended; the rule of “lie” is firmly established. The only version of reality permitted is the one he and his officials choose to invent and endorse to cement their powerbase. The man is a gangster, pure and simple; bidding for leadership of a cabal of international gangster-capitalists clamped like an octopus over the face of humanity.

 

We smell a rat

Trump has been doubling down, as he always does when criticized for wild statements he makes, on his remarks about Elijah Cummings, chair of the Oversight Commitee, that is looking into his murky tax affairs. The congressman represents a ward in Baltimore that Trump has asserted is a disgusting, rat-infested, crime-ridden shithole.

The assiduous reporters at the Washington Post have pointed out, over 900 rental properties in that area of Baltimore are owned by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s company, that has been cited for over 200 code violations in respect of city housing ordinances.

They refer to an investigation by the New York Times and Pro Publica published in 2012, when tenants of Kushner properties reported mouse infestations, mold problems and maggots. A private investigator who looked into Kushner’s property management company, Westminster Management, described the managers as ‘slumlords.’

 

The grass is bluer

Former Republican congressman, now host of the MSNBC “Morning Joe” program, and man-who-has-seen-the-light, Joe Scarborough has taken to calling the leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, not without a trace of contempt, “Moscow Mitch”.

It marks a change of name for the profoundly venal and obstructionist Senator from Kentucky, McConnell, who has hitherto been known – and has branded himself for promotional purposes, because he thinks it’s funny – as “Cocaine Mitch”.

The nickname derives from some past allegations of skulduggery involving his wife’s Chinese family, apparently. The pair of them – Elaine Chao is a Trump appointee, Secretary for Transportation – are also deeply mired in a corruption-to-influence-peddling scandal; not that you’d remember that, what with the other shit flying around, an’ all.

Whatever he’s on, McConnell is refusing to stop calling “a hoax” (zero points for originality), the reports of his own Intelligence Committee gleaned from the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA and the FBI, that there’s continuing Russian online interference in the 2020 election; and is adamant that he won’t even allow a debate on cyber-security measures the Democrats in the lower House have passed to the Senate for ratification.

The question everyone is obviously asking is, whyever not? Why would he not defend his country against a hostile adversary? It can’t be merely because he has made a career out of stymieing every legitimate attempt by the Democrats to introduce legislation in the Senate, or to get their judicial nominees ratified, since Obama first became president?

It’s being suggested he may not want to upset Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch mate of Putin’s known as Russia’s “Aluminum King” (allegedly murdering his way to the throne), who is offering to open a scenic smelting plant amid the rolling hills of Mitch’s bluegrass constituency.

McConnell’s Senate lifted Deripaska’s sanctions last December, despite testimony in the Manafort trials that the Russian used financial kompromat to push Manafort into a relationship with a Russian agent, Kalimnick, and the pair of them went fishing for voter data to send back to the GRU.

But the media is leaning more toward the theory that it’s because McConnell has read the polls and sees that Trump can’t win without foreign help. The kind of help he has publicly said he would welcome.

I love the deep scent of corruption among the julep trees, whatever, don’t you? Especially when it comes laced with a dangerous hint of treason:

“Collusion”, by Parfums de Trump. For a greater you!

 

GW: And I’m aflame with such a burning desire

Europe: Firefighters are battling wildfires on multiple fronts in southern Italy, including one blaze in Puglia that left at least one person dead. 3 Canadair aircraft were dumping water on a wildfire raging in Tortoli, Sardinia, that forced the evacuation of a beach and some homes. (NYT) The weather outlook in the wake of last week’s powerful heatwave across the northern Mediterranean, southern France, northern Italy and the Adriatic, pushing northwards through the Balkans, is for more severe ‘supercell’ storms, with destructive high winds, potential for tornadoes, torrential (“excessive”) rain, spectacular lightning and large hail. (Severe-weather.eu)

And we have our very own Tropical Storm… an area of exceptionally low cyclonic pressure off the Bay of Biscay is likely to bring damaging winds and torrential rain to northwestern France and southwest England, Tuesday 30 July. (Severe-weather.eu) The heat plume that brought new record temperatures to Britain (38.7C) and France last week, shattering the ones set in June, has resulted in a reading of 34C in Finland.

USA: An Idaho wildfire that burned 113,000 acres and forced the partial evacuation of the nation’s leading nuclear energy research lab, INL, has been partly contained, officials said (25 July). The fast-moving Sheep Fire was sparked by a lightning strike near Idaho Falls. Dry conditions and rising temperatures are creating a perfect environment for summer wildfires. The Vader Fire, Canyon Fire and Shady Fire are burning farther west in National Forest land. (CNN) New York was under a 95 degree Heat Index advisory, 30 July (Accuweather).

Arctic: Hundreds of fires are continuing to burn out of control in northern Canada, Greenland and Siberia, where nobody much is available to fight them. Some have extended over 300 thousand Ha. Along with the rest of the hemisphere, “The Arctic region recorded its hottest June ever (10C anomaly). Since the start of that month, more than 100 wildfires have burned in the Arctic circle. In Russia, 11 of 49 regions are experiencing wildfires. (Alberta has had over 400). The WMO has called the fires “unprecedented” (The Guardian, 26 July). Soot is falling on ice fields, darkening them and speeding melting. Smoke is detected all around the globe and air quality in northerly cities is becoming a health hazard.

On 25 July, CO2 across Siberia where many fires are burning was measured at 1,205 parts per million, and poisonous carbon monoxide at over 80 thousand parts per billion. (Arctic News) Over the whole ocean, sea ice has plummeted to its lowest ever measured volume. There is now no ancient sea ice left off the north coast of Greenland, where it has been raining for days.

Russia: Even the usually optimistic Siberian Times, that likes to attract tourism, is alarmed: “A series of natural disasters are hitting Siberia, with the latest a dire threat from severe flooding to Baikal – the oldest and deepest lake in the world, containing 20% of the planet’s unfrozen freshwater. The alert concerns flooding in Baikalsk – where evacuation has begun – and concerns that toxic mudflows can dump poisonous sludge from a former pulp and paper mill into the lake’s pristine waters. Pools of liquid sludge containing lignin pose a huge threat to life in Baikal with warnings of an ‘ecological catastrophe’. ‘We can only pray now,” said one campaigner pointing to a risk of a dam burst on the Solzana River where a bride (bridge, surely? ed.) had been swept away already.”

“Almost 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres, an area greater than the size of the state of Massachusetts) are now burning in Siberia and the Russian Far East.” Smoke has covered an area larger than the size of the EU.

India: 1,050 people were rescued by Naval units from a train stuck for 15 hours in floods outside  Mumbai, 26 July. Flights were cancelled at the airport. The death toll from this year’s monsoon flooding in India is over 600. (BBC) Other parts of the country such as Tamil Nadu are trapped in drought.

Brazil: 3 people are confirmed dead and others missing in floods and landslides that have hit Pernambuco province. The government of Recife municipality said 102mm of rain fell in 6 hours early on 24 July. It’s the second “excessive” rainfall event in Pernambuco in 6 weeks: 7 people died there in June.

No denying it: a Swiss meta-analysis sampled from 700 data points of 20th-century research on cyclical warming and cooling has blown out of the water the energy-industry sponsored suggestion that current warming is merely normal cyclicality and things will cool down again in due course. Not only is the current state of warming twice as high as anything found over 2,000 years of past data (please, media, choose words more carefully – it wasn’t warmer 2,000 years ago, that’s just the chosen baseline!), but the so-called Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period supposed to prove warming is cyclical were far shallower, more intermittent, probably volcanic in origin and did not happen all at the same time across the whole globe.

CO2, they say, always was and is still the main driver of atmospheric forcing. 95% is man-made. Come on denier guys, give up, you know you’ve lost.

Tunnel approaching….

The Blessed Mary Greeley reports: 477 small earthquakes were recorded in 24 hours at Ridgecrest in Southern California yesterday (26 July) – scene of the big M7.1 quake three weeks ago. The city is located on a known faultline southwest of the Coso volcanic field, an area of hundreds of ancient volcanic cones thought to overlie a larger magma field than Yellowstone. The swarm is being read as an indication of pressure building and another big one is anticipated – even the “unzipping” of the famed San Andreas nearby.

Or not, as the case may be.

The following message posted on Mary’s site by “Rand Jooe” – I have previously alluded to the other Posts suggesting we all get to know Jesus – sums up the mood of nervous jitters:

“My sweet sweet Mary…. When I get ‘stressed’, I go get a x-LG jar of crunchy Jiff peanut butter, spoon & watch a little YouTube…. Chill. Now, we could infuse a bunch of x-crunchy peanut butter into the fault line, MAYBE, it might too CHILLOUT.
my2centsworth. 😜👍”

See what we might be losing?

The Pumpkin – Issue 91: Warming warning:… The wages of sin… Completely unacceptable… Arrivederla, Dottore Camilleri… GW: Rockin’ around the world… On shaky ground.

Warming warning:

Latest data from NASA shows, 2019 so far has bust the 1.5 deg. C. target set by the Paris accord (now at 1.85 C) and could be headed for the upper 2 deg. C. limit or even more by next year. See below….

 

“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” – Trump in The New Yorker magazine, 2002.

“I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him .. I was not a fan.” – Trump last week. NBC has found video of him partying enthusiastically with Epstein and many women at Mar a Lago in 1992.

The wages of sin

“A $7.8 million 70-acre private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands (his primary residence owned by his Delaware-based LLC, L.S.J.), (a) Paris apartment on Avenue Foch (one of the most expensive addresses in the world), (a) $15.5 million Palm Beach estate, (a) $77 million New York City townhouse (a gift from Victoria’s Secret founder Leslie Wexner), and (a) $10 million castle/ranch in New Mexico.

“At the bottom of (the list) is another island in the Virgin Islands, Great St. James. He purchased it in 2016 for $18 million and was actively (and without permit) developing an even larger compound on its 165 acres—that is, until his arrest this past Saturday.”

“As far as vehicles, (the) entries list two Gulfstream jets (though his lawyers say he sold one of them in June), two helicopters, nine Mercedes-Benzes, nine Chevy Suburbans, three Cadillac Escalades, three Harley-Davidsons, one $375k Bentley Mulsanne, a jet-ski, and other assorted items. He has wined and dined American presidents, princes, elite academics, socialites, corporate CEOs and other VIPs.

“His alleged victims were little girls, often economically destitute or runaways or orphans—from sixth graders to high-school sophomores. Because his alleged crimes span multiple decades, his victims likely number in the hundreds—or more.” – The Daily Beast

Yes folks, that’s the extraordinary, obscene wealth a man who seemingly emerged from nowhere, with no university degree or social background, no inheritance; whose career as a predatory pedophile seems to have begun when he was given a job as a totally unqualified teacher who “charmed” parents at an exclusive private school in Manhattan*, has been able to amass before he is, hopefully, put away for the rest of his life.

How the hell?

The son of a New York Parks Department groundsman, Jeffrey Epstein reminds me – obviously on a Mount Rushmore scale – of Stephen Ward, the London society osteopath who, in the early 1960s, pimped a couple of young ladies of his acquaintance – Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies – around his wealthy and influential clients at weekend bunga-bunga parties organised at Cliveden, the stately Thameside home of Lord Astor.

Of course, Astor and his wealthy connections in government, business and the security services were never charged with procuring prostitutes or any offence. Letting their hair down is what those entitled people do. Ward, for whom many people had considerable sympathy, killed himself before his trial, fearing security charges. The story had come out when it was revealed that, in addition to the Defence Secretary, John Profumo, another of Keeler’s regulars was a Naval defense attaché at the Russian embassy.

Pillows talk.

But there was never any suggestion of activity on the scale and at the bottomless depth of Epstein’s, whose society clients for his “young love for sale” victims appear on all accounts to have included Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton; both of whom have been frantically scrabbling this past week to disassociate themselves from the talented (but unqualified) pianist and mathematician who seems to have exerted such a spellbinding effect on the wealthy and powerful.

Reportedly included among his circle of “friends” also is the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, somewhat nebulously employed by the UK as a “business ambassador”, said to have accepted private flights aboard one of Epstein’s Gulfstream jets and hospitality at his many homes; and former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak.

It’s possible, I suppose, that some of the wealthy and powerful individuals who came into his orbit were cultivated merely as window-dressing, or to use their connections to enlarge his circle of clients.

What, one asks of the ladies’ underwear proprietor, can “Victoria’s Secret” really be, to earn Epstein a gift of a $77 million New York town house from its CEO, Wexner? How much of Epstein’s unexplained wealth, his pad in Palm Beach, his troubling-sounding private island compound on St James in the “Virgin Islands” (he owns two islands), was bought on his salary after only four years as a modest financial advisor, apparently with only one major client, at Bear Stearns – one of the early casualties of the 2008 banking crash. And how much more might have been “gifts”, teased somehow from his very private circle of extremely wealthy clients?

“Epstein is without doubt the wealthiest individual on any sex offender registry in the United States (and he is at Level 3—at greatest risk of abusing more children). … He has wined and dined American presidents, princes, elite academics, socialites, corporate CEOs and other VIPs. His alleged victims were little girls, often economically destitute or runaways or orphans—from sixth graders to high-school sophomores. Because his alleged crimes span multiple decades, his victims likely number in the hundreds—or more.” – The Daily Beast

Level 3 – at greatest risk of abusing more children, Epstein was sent to an open “weekend” prison for 13 months in 2008 as a result of a dubious plea bargain brokered by Alex Acosta, Trump’s most recent Secretary of Labor, at the time prosecuting for the Attorney General of Florida. The deal did not involve the co-operation of any of his victims. Acosta has now resigned, giving a televised press conference at which Trump postured, gazing Sphinxlike into the distance as though none of it affected him, looming immediately behind his right shoulder – like working a ventriloquist’s dummy.

Shortly afterwards, Trump vented his racist anger on the four women members of Congress.

Indeed, no-one seems much inclined to believe it was absolutely the best deal Acosta could get. When police battered down Epstein’s door at the New York townhouse last week and searched the premises, hundreds “if not thousands” of images of children and young teenagers were found; indicating that there had been no cessation of activities since his release.

And yet, Epstein’s lawyers, including his longtime “associate” and now Trump lawyer, Dershowitz, a repulsive, rheumy-eyed old roué who has owned up to receiving “massages” from Epstein’s young ladies – although he kept his underpants on and didn’t see anyone he thought was underage – are still arguing for bail, as if – instead of scuttling to their expensive island boltholes while “lawyering up” – his wealthy and influential and mostly disgusting, ugly old clients are going to rally round a second time.

A dozen new witnesses have come forward thanks to reporting in the Miami Herald, and although the cases predate his 2008 conviction, some going back to the 1990s, it seems clear that the girls he trafficked would have been pressured into silence. The FBI alleges that even since his arrest, large sums of money have been illegally wired to witnesses. Bizarrely – but perhaps indicatively – Epstein also runs an obscure charity foundation that gives money to schools and enterprises involving young people.

The latest charges could nevertheless be enough to see him put away for life – and not this time in a comfortable room to which he has a key.

What will happen to his team of “enablers” – a group of women (including Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of disgraced media mogul Robert, who recruited “sex slaves” as young as 14 to perform sex acts with Epstein and his clients), no-one seems to know; they were offered immunity during the 2008 trial. But in the meantime, many influential and even wealthier men than Epstein are said to be “shaking in their shoes” as to what might come out in court.

IF AG Barr allows it to get to court.

*There seems to be a difference of opinion over his appointment at the Dalton school, so posh you wouldn’t expect anyone to openly come forward with evidence about inappropriate behavior between a teacher and pupils all the way back in 1974.

Some commentators are claiming Epstein was hired by the father of Trump’s latest Attorney General, Bill Barr, who was then the headmaster of Dalton. Obviously they’re hinting at some kind of enablement story, perhaps between two pedophiles, although there is no evidence that Epstein or Barr predated on the pupils. Epstein seemed less certain when questioned in court, arguing that the “17 or 18” year-old girls in his class were too “old”, before pleading the 5th Amendment.

However, investigators at the Daily Beast say Barr left the school under his own cloud several months before Epstein started teaching there. AG Barr initially recused himself from the latest investigation on a faintly flimsy pretext*, but seems to have been persuaded to unrecuse himself the next day – possibly by the same man who notoriously fired the previous AG over an unpopular recusal he felt wasn’t protecting him from potential prosecution.

*In fact Barr has a connection with Acosta, in that they both worked for attorneys Kirkland Ellis back in the day, although at different times. And Kirkland Ellis, according to TYT, was the firm that defended Epstein in the 2008 trial.

The Pumpkin feels sure there is nothing coincidental in the following medical explanation found on Google:

“EpsteinBarr virus (EBV), also known as human herpes virus 4, is a member of the herpes virus family. It is one of the most common human viruses.”

Follow the story at this and other Daily Beast pages on the same theme: https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-jeffrey-epsteins-creepy-parties-with-prince-andrew. And: https://www.thedailybeast.com/jeffrey-epstein-dodged-questions-about-sex-with-his-dalton-prep-school-students?ref=scroll

(Only, turn off your ad blocker, they’re imagining you’re going to buy something.)

Oh, btw, we should say, Epstein has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Postscriptum: and now we’re being told, police at his NY pad have found a cache of diamonds, wads of notes, a false passport (long expired) – and a Saudi Barbarian address. His “bugout bag”.

 

“Oh, shut up! You never stop complaining. If anybody should leave this country, it should be you. And if you’re looking for a new home, I suggest you go to Hell.” – Stephen Colbert, The Late Show.

 

Completely unacceptable?

Outgoing Prime Minister, Theresa May has condemned as “completely unacceptable”, a provocative tweet by President Trump, telling black and Latino Democratic congresswomen to “go back where they came from” and run their own “crime-ridden, shithole” countries before coming to America and telling Americans what to do.

Three of the four women named were actually born in America. The fourth, Ilhan Omar, is a naturalized Somali refugee who arrived at the age of 8. All of them, unlike Trump, are democratically elected; but Trump – grandson of undocumented immigrants, son of an immigrant, twice married to immigrants, serial employer of many undocumented immigrants – has never managed to grasp the basic concept that, in a democracy, you have an opposition party whose job is to oppose.

It’s clearly a crude attempt to whip up more anti-immigrant feeling among his deluded dumbfuck base, who are always more than happy to be persuaded by wealthy men that it’s not wealthy men, but poor immigrants who are screwing them over, and “replacing” them. By doing this, he draws flak from the haters on the left, proving that four more years of Trump is all that stands between his support base and their imminent demise as a nation.

It should also serve, or so he imagines, to drive a wedge for his electoral advantage between the bickering conservative and progressive wings of the Democratic party, although the opposite seems to have happened, with Pelosi turning on a dime to condemn his blatant racism

Trump also needs some good diversionary smoke and mirrors right now, following his abusive tirades against May and her ambassador to Washington, new accusations from the Mueller report and the Epstein case.

Which brings us back to May, and the complete unacceptability of divisive and racist immigration policies.

Who, I wonder, sent advertising trucks out to drive around immigrant areas, telling them to Go Home? Who instigated the Home Office’s racially aggravated policy of Hostile Environment, that has resulted in innumerable cases of injustice against people with longstanding rights of settlement, including hundreds of elderly West Indian inworkers from the 1950s improperly detained or deported?

Other EU citizens still have a legal right of free movement but are finding they have no voting rights and are battling a dysfunctional Home Office system supposedly enabling them to register automatically for permanent settlement. Families with one British partner and British-born children are being broken up on the basis that the main earner no longer meets raised income qualifications – salary levels that most UK natives do not attain in their lifetime.

So many visitor visas are being denied, specifically to those from African and Asian countries, that UNESCO is no longer able to host international conferences in Britain as their delegates – qualified academics – are turned away. Now we hear that “whistleblowers” inside the Home Office are reporting how officials are falsifying information to get round an EU rule guaranteeing the right of trafficked and modern slavery victims to apply for asylum. “Legal experts have said the practice is ‘unthinkable’ and “a disgraceful and illegal manipulation of the system”, according to a Guardian report.

How many costly, sloppy data breaches have there been, and compensation awards running into the £hundreds of millions, as a result of – yes, “completely unacceptable” – Theresa May’s disastrous six-year spell as our most racially intolerant and xenophobic Home Secretary, possibly ever?

Pot. Kettle. Black?

PS – an Opinion article in today’s Guardian argues that the one good thing May did do, was to quadruple the number of Conservative women MPs, and be most supportive of them in their parliamentary careers.

Whoopee. Amber Rudd. Liz Truss. Theresa Villiers…..

‘Nuff said.

 

Bargain travel!

According to German NGO, Atmosfair, a person flying return from London to New York is responsible for 986 Kg of emitted CO2, more than the entire annual output of another person living in Paraguay.

So you don’t have to, your Uncle Bogler has looked up the average annual income of a citizen in Asuncion, and finds that at $380 USD it broadly matches the cost of flying to New York with Norwegian Air UK.

Book now!

 

Arrivederla, Dottore Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri, the Sicilian crime writer behind the popular Inspector Montalbano television series, of which your Uncle Bogler is a fan, although the BBC never seems to manage to buy a full series and soon reverts to repeating earlier episodes, has died aged 93.

The Pumpkin (“la Zucca”) comments, acidly: “So he was younger than most of the cast, then.”

 

Premature ejaculation

Scientists in the US have noted a substantial increase in pre-term births among Latina mothers in the months immediately following Trump’s 2016 election. Researchers at the Bloomberg School attribute a 3.5% increase based on official figures to stress caused by Trump’s threats against migrants. (Medical Press)

 

GW: Rockin’ around the world

USA: A “dangerous” 100-degrees-plus heatwave is forecast across the entire midwest and east coast, with “heat index” (heat plus humidity) temperatures in Washington DC, New York and Chicago possibly rising to 112F (44C) over the weekend. In the meantime, flooding is spreading northwards from the Gulf coast as the remains of Hurricane Barry dump masses of rain on southern states. (The Weather Channel)

Cat 1 Hurricane Barry came ashore in Louisiana Saturday, 13 July, but west of New Orleans, and as a weakening Tropical Storm, sparing the city the catastrophic flooding forecasters were concerned about. Nevertheless, parts of the city and other communities along the coast all the way through Texas are dealing with widespread flooding from up to 12 inches of rain this curiously elongated storm, with its two cyclonic centers, has already dumped, with up to another foot or more possible as Barry stalls over the coast. 100 thousand homes are without power. (Wunderground, and various)

Up to a few days ago, however, deep snowpack was still blocking roads in Sonora County, California…. Meanwhile, in Canada “Flooding was reported in parts of southern Saskatchewan, Canada, including Regina after 34 mm of rain fell in a short period of time on 16 July. Several vehicles were trapped in flood water after streets in Regina were inundated.” (Floodlist) There’s also been flash-flooding in Toronto.

Nepal: 64 people have been confirmed dead and 30 more remain missing in widespread flooding. Rescue efforts have been hampered by continued bad weather, which has blocked key highways and destroyed phone lines. 17 July: “Dozens” of people are reported dead or missing after torrential rain caused flash flooding and landslides near the Kashmir border in Pakistan. Houses, roads and bridges were washed away.

Heavy monsoon rains have also caused devastation in north-east India. In Assam state, officials said at least 14 people were killed and more than a million people had been affected by rising flood waters. (Guardian) In an update, 15 July, authorities are saying dozens of people have drowned and more than 4 million are affected by flooding as rivers rise to record levels in four northeastern states. Some places recorded 15-in. of rain over 24 hours. (Floodlist)

Floodlist further reports, 19 July, more heavy rain is forecast over a wide area of northern India this weekend, as the death toll over the region exceeds 250.

Bangladesh: At least a dozen people, mostly farmers in rural areas, have reportedly been killed by lightning since Saturday, according to Associated Press. A Water Development Board official said about 40,000 people had been affected, with many of their homes submerged. Refugee camps on the Burmese border have been especially hard-hit. (Guardian) While over the border, the Irrawaddy river has burst its banks. “Flooding has displaced thousands of people in northern and western Myanmar after a period of heavy rain caused rivers to overflow.” (Floodlist)

Japan: an anticyclone stuck over the Sea of Okhotsk has meant parts of Japan have had almost no sun for the last three weeks – just 3 hours, the cloudiest June/July period ever measured. Prices of some agricultural produce have skyrocketed owing to crop failures. (Express)

Philippines: Tropical Storm Danas formed as an area of low pressure over the western Philippine Sea 15 to 16 July,  moving north of Luzon Island, as it strengthened. The storm brought heavy rain to some areas of Luzon, where flood warnings have been issued.

Indonesia, however, is suffering longer periods of drought. Reliefweb reports; its impacts have already been felt in many areas. A number of regional governments have reported scarcity of clean water, declining supply of irrigation water and potential crop failure. 1000 people in East Java have contracted Hepatitis A from foul drinking water.

Europe: Dozens of people were rescued from vehicles or evacuated after flooding in Western Greece on 14 July. A storm bringing heavy rain swept through Achaia and Aetolia-Acarnania overnight, causing severe damage. The flooding follows storms last week when 7 people were killed and over 100 injured in the north of the country. The Halkidiki Region remains in a state of emergency, with many households and businesses still without power and water. (Floodlist)

A new heatwave is building from North Africa across southwest and central Europe, with a 10C temperature anomaly moving gradually northeastwards next week. France is likely to see temperatures back in the high 30s, low 40s C (100+F). (Severe-weather.eu) Revision of data from the June heatwave finds that a new all-time record of 46.0 deg. C. (114.8 F.) was set in Verargues in the Herault department on 28 June. (Phys.org)

 

Tunnel approaching….

Helter swelter: An emergency announcement arrives from the Arctic News team: “NASA data through June 2019 confirms … that it could be 1.85°C (or 3.33°F) hotter in 2019 than in 1750. When looking at how much hotter June 2019 was compared to the annual global mean 1980-2015, it was 2.08°C (or 3.74°F) hotter. … The 2°C guardrail could be crossed soon, i.e. in 2020 when looking at the long-term trend (based on 1880-June 2019 data), or in 2019 if the current El Niño strengthens (based on 2011-June 2019 data).

“Furthermore, while the long-term trend points at a 3°C (or 5.4°F) rise by 2026, a 3°C rise could eventuate as early as in 2020 in case of a persistently strengthening El Niño. (Arctic-news.blogspot.com) If the trends of the first half of this month continue, it will beat the previous record from July 2017 by about 0.025C to qualify as the hottest month ever recorded. (Guardian)

Another lovely sunny day, 26C, here in Boglington-on-Sea.

On shaky ground: Renegade earthquake forecaster, Dutchsinse (Michael Janich, of St Louis) is reporting, there are two major heat plumes erupting under the sea, off the coasts of Oregon and California. The reports are confined to his Twitter feed so your Old Gran, who doesn’t get Twitter, can’t get into any greater detail. Suffice to say, his followers are all on their knees, gibbering and praying for everyone. (What is the matter with Americans?)

With some content blocked on YouTube, Janich’s website is coming under increasing attack, he believes from the official US Geological Survey, that continues to plead equipment malfunctions, mask worrying data, downgrade magnitudes and insist that earthquakes cannot be predicted. They have even called for his arrest!

Janich has an 80% record of successful forecasts both of magnitude and location, based on the apparently illegal belief that the force of one quake transfers around plate boundaries to cause others on known faultlines and at identifiable weak spots in the earth’s crust. USGS says that’s nonsense, while appearing to be taking it seriously. There’s also another busy round of big volcanoes popping off around the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, in case you weren’t worried.

If Janich’s paranoia seems incredible (I’ve witnessed display screens on his YouTube videos suddenly being blacked-out), your Gran is just reading Graham Hancock’s latest book, “America Before”. Hancock – a “pseudo-scientist”, actually a journalist who has built a career out of trying and failing to find proof of a previous lost civilization – nevertheless has a point when he describes the vicious, career-destroying attacks US archaeologists launched for many years against any researcher daring to suggest humans could have lived in the Americas before 11 thousand BC.

That was until incontrovertible scientific evidence emerged of human settlement up to 120 thousand years earlier, pretty much like everywhere else in the world….

Postscriptum: Janich is reporting now (14 July) on a 5 thousand-acre wildfire that has broken out in Washington State, next to the Hanford nuclear facility and the LYGO gravity-wave detector. USGS reported a number of earthquakes there yesterday, that could have emitted flammable methane.
It occurs to us that the authorities might be upset with Janich more because he explores the terrain around the epicentres of volcanoes and more often than not, Google Earth allows him to zoom in on the astonishing extent of mining, quarrying, thermal bores, drilling and fracking going on, literally thousands of wells – and around former nuclear test sites – that he believes are operating dangerously in geological fracture zones, exacerbating microquakes and enabling larger seismic movements..
And on the subject of nuclear threats, a Cold War-era Soviet submarine that has been sitting on the sea bed since it sank off the coast of Norway 30 years ago, with two nuclear missiles and two nuclear reactors onboard, has begun leaking mysterious “clouds” from its ducts, containing radioactive caesium registering 800 thousand times the normal background. (The Weather Channel) Experts assure us, it’s “not a risk” to people or wildlife.
Yellowstone: Steamboat Geyser #28. That’s as in 7 months…. last year’s all-time record was 32 the whole year. (Ben Ferraiuolo website) Disturbing activity – spasmodic tremors associated with magma injection – in Hawaii. Magma believed entering Long Valley ancient caldera in California – bigger than Yellowstone. (Various sources) Athens, Greece rocked by M5.4, 19 July.