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)

 

 

Advertisements

Americans in Britain, you have nothing to fear but Trump himself… Kicking the immigration ball out of the park… Daylight Raabery: kenneling the Brexit Bulldog… GW: bemoaning again the shortage of paper towels… The Living End: God damn Microsoft and their lousy enterprise.

Essential reading

“Nationalism, tribalism, dislocation, fear of social change and the hatred of outsiders are on the rise again as people, locked in their partisan silos and filter bubbles, are losing a sense of shared reality and the ability to communicate across social and sectarian lines.” – Michiko Kakutani, writing in The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/14/the-death-of-truth-how-we-gave-up-on-facts-and-ended-up-with-trump

“The President should be above the law, Sir.”
“What law is that, Brett?”
Trump welcomes his pre-pick to the Supreme Court gravy train.

 

“By all means, wear your tartan trews and carry a man-bag”

You have nothing to fear but Trump himself

Americans living in Britain also have to worry about Trump’s visit to Britain, according to the U.S. embassy there. The U.S. State Department has warned Americans in Britain to “keep a low profile” and “be aware of your surroundings” this week due to demonstrations being planned against the president. – Washington Post

American officialdom at its most paranoid. “Be aware of your surroundings”, what, are innocent tourists from Omaha once more going to wake up in foggy Limehouse Reach with sore heads and a metallic taste, trussed and rolled, asking of the concerned copper bending over them: “Officer, where am I?”

Look up to the sky, guys. Does a humorous protest involving a large orange effigy of your infantile President wearing a nappy flying as a blimp above London look like evidence of a wicked conspiracy to threaten the lives of your citizens on the streets – many of whom will undoubtedly be keen to share in the general revulsion here at the demented baby-snatcher’s furtive visit to your special relations?

Or is it an example of that unfathomable British irony you just don’t get? (I particularly liked the protestor bearing a placard: “We shall over-comb”)

The general mood in Britain at the moment will more likely see Americans embraced on the streets, if they dare to emerge from their air-conditioned hotels and bank offices, along with everyone else from wherever in the world they hail, as fellow victims of the global conspiracy to screw the common people.

By all means, wear your tartan trews and carry a man-bag, if it so pleases you. We have never been so united in our inclusivity as we are the morning after our multi-ethnic young footballers somehow carved a triumph out of a predictably dreary defeat in Moscow.

If you don’t want to read this bit, look away now:

Alfred, Lord… tennis on!

Your Uncle B was otherwise glued to the second of two totally incredible, historic quarter-final men’s tennis matches in one gloriously hot and sweaty afternoon at Wimbledon – on TV, but nevertheless – and saw almost nothing of the football.

Singles tennis is like one wall-to-wall penalty shootout lasting four hours, a duel to the death with a passion and intensity and an athleticism rarely seen on the dank soccer pitches of the North.

After his fascination with the early rounds, Bogler decided he never wanted to watch another football match in his life: just a lot of expensive haircuts strolling around, kicking the ball back and forth to the goalkeeper, hacking at one another’s shins, tugging pathetically at one another’s shirts, harrassing their opponents pestilentially like annoying sand-flies, wrestling strikers to the ground, falling over and rolling about in feigned agony, hamming it up like Sir Henry Irving playing Romeo, making sickening appeals of childhood innocence and loss, wheedling to the referee with much eye-rolling, gesticulation and gibbering supplications to Heaven, none of it with any apparent intention of ever scoring goals, being the whole purpose of the game; but occasionally taking wild swings and hoofing the ball over the stand – having, in England’s case, seemingly no knowledge of how to do it, other than through the determined application of professional techniques for the obtaining of setpiece free kicks….

Did Gareth Southgate never tell Raheem Sterling it is absolutely within the rules of the game to take the odd power-shot from the edge of the box, or pass to an unmarked shirt alongside him, rather than run around in circles waiting for the fullbacks to arrive and dispossess him of the ball?

Ugh. Boring, boring. VAR? Humbug! And I won’t even start on the awful mateyness of the commentators, or the curious fact that neither the BBC nor ITV, who were sharing the coverage alternately, would ever deign to mention that a match was being televised on the other’s channels. Fucking childish, if you ask me.)

Get over yourselves, teenage State Department baboons barricaded in your hideous new (“Such a bad deal”) embassy.

You have nothing to fear but Trump himself.

 

“…the lesson would have been salutary to those who still imagine that a white face and calf-length shorts are a mark of national greatness.”

Kicking the immigration ball out of the park

The WaPo also comments boldly today on the multi-ethnic nature of European teams and the fringe debate going on between French intellectuals as to whether we should allow ourselves to remark openly that 85 per cent of the French squad comes from African minority backgrounds, or simply accept that we are all citizens of La République now, regardless of hue and culinary differences.

(We should all gang up against Croatia for the final, however, recalling their wartime support for the Nazis and the exclusive whiteness of their players, also for bringing their domestic politics so blatantly into the European Championship in 2016.)

It’s a pity in a way that England didn’t get through to a final against France, a team we might have beaten, as half the England squad also consists of ethnic minority players native to Britain. I fear we run the risk of being labelled racist for even observing it, but the combined effect would have been salutary to those who still imagine that a white face and calf-length shorts are a mark of national greatness.

I’ve been noticing something different, which is that the further east and north you go in European football, the fewer black and brown faces you see in their squads.

This chimes with the BogPo’s frequently Posted opinion that there is a religious-right, white-nativist movement lurking behind the disruptive and – as we are finding out too late – illegally financed campaigns to bring down the EU, the US constitution and other democratic institutions, largely emanating from the East, where a new Soviet bloc is emerging*, where klepitalism is the new collectivism.

A more rational explanation for the anomaly is, of course, the post-colonial movement of former native subjects to the ‘mother countries’, that has been going on since the 1950s. Nor Croatia, nor Poland, nor Iceland, nor Sweden, nor Russia have ever made colonies of African nations and consequently have no obligations to their past imperial connections.

In fact you can tie the two together. It is a curious phenomenon noticed by researchers following the EU referendum, that the fewer immigrants there are living in any part of the country, the greater is the local hostility to immigration.

Wikipedia recorded not long ago that the entire Muslim population of profoundly Islamophobic, virulently racist Hungary, busily erecting fences to keep out the brown tide of Syrian refugees against all norms of civilized compassion, not to mention UN and EU rules, was less than 5,500; most of them ethnic Hungarians.

Incidentally, what happened to Hungary as a once-great footballing nation? Ferenc Puskas, and that lot?

Maybe they could use a few limber young Africans to pep-up the squad?

*To illustrate this alarming assertion, a convoluted situation is emerging in the Czech Republic, one half of the divided former Soviet satellite state of Czechoslovakia, where a far-right, libertarian, anti-immigration government led by a wealthy oligarch Prime Minister under investigation for corruption has had to go into coalition with a regional bloc of hardline, old-style Communist politicians linked to Moscow in order to stay in power.

Watch that space, if you can!

Postscriptum

Lest anyone be under any illusion that Britain is still a free and welcoming country by comparison with, say, Hungary or, now, Italy, this article in The Guardian, 01 August, will finally disabuse you of any notion that we are immune to the tide of modern fascism sweeping Europe and America. Regretfully, I cannot say it disabuses many other people targeted by the repellent Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ policies:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/aug/01/hostile-environment-immigrants-crept-into-schools-hospitals-homes-border-guards

x

“By appointing him to purportedly “negotiate” Britain’s inevitable no-deal exit from the EU, Mrs May has guaranteed her own departure.”

Daylight Raabery: kenneling the Brexit Bulldog

In the wake of the resignation of the hapless David Davis, Britain’s so-called “Brexit Bulldog”; who is, one imagines, relieved to have found a way out of the firing line, new Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab gave a fairly shoddy account of himself on the BBC’s Today show this morning.

The poor chap has been dumped in the unenviable position of having to promote St Theresa’s waffly agenda for Brexit, supposedly agreed unanimously by her fractious cabinet at a meeting last week, when he obviously doesn’t believe a single idea in it can or should be allowed to work.

Despite his reputation as an up-and-coming Tory high-flier with half a brain, his answers to some fairly light grilling by Mishal Husein consisted almost entirely of dredging up the good old Vote.Leave slogans.

The May compromise deal will absolutely allow us to “regain control” of our laws, our sovereignty, our borders, our courts, our senses, our women and our knife criminals;  guarantee jobs, allow us to trade freely with the rest of the world (i.e. the USA) with no customs tariffs or hard borders, and to rebuild the empire while curbing unwanted immigration – except, obviously, for where our shitty trade deals with the rest of the world (i.e. the USA) might oblige us to take in more of their citizens….

It’s heartbreaking, how stupid these Brexit moral imbeciles think we 48 per cent – nearly 17 million – Remainers are. It’s all lies, they know it, flying-unicorns land, but they won by a tiny margin, so we have nothing to say about it. And the pity is, the triumphalist Leave tendency in the minor shires and the abandoned wasteland of the north is still painfully unaware of what really underlies their misplaced vote.

That’s because Raab is at heart more of a Brexiteer than any of the ambitious plotters in – or now out of – the cabinet.

Revealed by Open Democracy yesterday, is the probably well-known fact that Mr Raab is deeply involved with and influenced by the ideology of the Institute for Economic Affairs, a messianic neo-Thatcherite libertarian think-tank masquerading as an educational charity, which has quietly insinuated itself into the heart of the Tory party over the past few years, calling itself the Free Enterprise Group.

The IEA is linked with a number of conservative Christian lobbying and funding institutions in the US, on whose web pages butter would not melt, but which are clearly engaged in the experiment to cleanse the Union of its heretical multicultural socialist-democratic elements and unsavory permissivist tendencies.

Just taking one as a for-instance, the Templeton Foundation funds university projects in such esoteric areas as research on the biological basis of Atheism.

Reading between the disarming lines on their tasteful website one senses the only reason for funding research to discover a scientific basis for disbelief in the improbable (it’s called rationalism) would be to reassure believers they can use anti-science to counter those unbelievers who are opposed to their set of improbable dogmas.

In other words, to convert the heathen.

Open Democracy finds that the IEA is reluctant to reveal the sources of its funding, however the Templeton Foundation is said to have donated more than half a million dollars to the IEA through the American Friends of the IEA, which was originally set up with tobacco money to fight the campaign against smoking.

Are we draining the Swamp? You bet! Right into your living room.

The IEA invites speakers like Raab, who are on published record as arguing that the British worker is a lazy fellow, and that for his own good, among other things, the abolition of workers’ rights, environmental and consumer protections, the total privatization of the NHS, pensions and State welfare fallbacks, combined with tax cuts for corporations, are necessary components of the New World Order.

Do you see the parallels between Raab’s intentions and those of, say, Steve Bannon, whose poisonous libertarian ideology based on the snivellings of Ayn Rand still infects the befuddled old brain of the US President?

Do you see how this plot against consensus liberal democracy, “The Thing”, is unfolding?

With just those few hints of an agenda that obviously demands the dismantling of the EU as our protector of civil liberties and the “caring State” in favour of an ultra-capitalist free-for-all, one sees immediately the nature of the enemy, the true aim behind Brexit being to deregulate the economy in favour of the wealthy and the exploiter class.

One of a clutch of new Tory MPs elected in 2010 who are believed to form the core membership of this so-called Free Enterprise Group, Raab is now the fox in the chicken-coop.

By appointing him to purportedly “negotiate” Britain’s inevitable no-deal exit from the EU, Mrs May has guaranteed her own departure.

And an eternity of spin and misery in corporate servitude for the rest.

 

GW: bemoaning again the shortage of paper towels

Afghanistan: at least 10 people are known to have died and many others are missing after a landslide brought on by rapid ice melt on the 11th and 12th caused a dam to burst in the northeastern province of Panjshir, sweeping away a village, Floodlist reports. Rescue teams have been sent to the area.

Puerto Rico: “The remnants of Hurricane Beryl brought heavy rain and wind to (the US protectorate) from 09 July, causing flooding, and (to the) Dominican Republic from 10 July, where almost 8,000 people (were) evacuated. The National Hurricane Center said Beryl had weakened to a tropical storm on 7 July, as it approached islands in the eastern Caribbean.”

Mexico: severe flash floods have again affected several states and cities, including Monterrey, causing widespread damage.

India: “Authorities have rescued hundreds of people stranded in the state of Maharashtra after heavy rainfall and flooding. 1,500 passengers were evacuated from a stranded train about 40 km north of Mumbai. 3 locations recorded more than 200 mm of rain in 24 hrs on 10 July.”

Japan: death toll in the Hiroshima floods now 179. “A heatwave in southern Japan has killed at least eight people, dealing another blow to a country still recovering from the worst flooding in decades. Six people died on Saturday, and two people on Sunday, Kyodo News reported, as thousands sought medical treatment for heatstroke and heat exhaustion.” – CNN

Russia: prolonged heavy rainfall caused the river Chita in Eastern Russia to burst its banks, flooding the city of Chita, 8 July.

USA: A newborn baby was killed and several people injured when a sudden storm struck Watford City oil town in N Dakota on 11 July. A 127 mph EF-2 tornado ripped through a trailer park. Phoenix Az. experienced 70 mph winds, torrential rain AND a blackout dust storm on the 10th, almost 100k residents were left without power.

UK: The longest, driest heatwave in 40 years continues, with many areas defying forecasts of storms, and temperatures are set to rise again at the weekend. Salad crops have failed and supermarkets are relying on imports.

Meanwhile, the country has racked up its first thousand hours in a year when no electricity needed to be generated by coal. “Renewables provided record amounts of electricity, with more than 7.4% coming from solar over the past four weeks. In 2012 (coal) supplied 40% of electricity – this year so far it has provided less than 6%.” – edited from BBC News, 13 July

Northern Hemisphere: “The first six months of the year have made it the hottest La Niña year to date on record,” said Clare Nullis of the World Meteorological Organization.

“Taiwan is the most recent place to report a new high with a temperature of 40.3C in Tianxiang on Monday. This followed a flurry of other anomalies. Last week, a weather station in Algeria reported a maximum 51.3C on 5 July, the highest temperature reliably recorded in Africa. In California, daytime records were also set last week at Chino (48.9C), Burbank airport (45.6C) and Van Nuys airport (47.2C). In Canada, at least 54 deaths have been attributed to the prolonged heatwave and high humidity in Quebec. Montreal saw a new record high temperature of 36.6C on 2 July. In Europe, the WMO has warned of droughts, wildfires and harvest losses after the second hottest June on record. Over the past two weeks, records have been set in Tbilisi (40.5C), Shannon (32C), and Belfast (29.5C)” – edited from Guardian report, 13 July

Edited from Floodlist/ CEWN #128/ BBC News/ Guardian Green Light/ CNN

 

The living end

God damn Microsoft and their lousy enterprise.

For days, the BogPo has been persistently dogged by a message from the beanbags of Microsoft, politely requesting an urgent appointment to upgrade my system.

The messages became more insistent, until yesterday I was offered the opportunity to set a time, or else. I dialled through to 23.30, by when I expected there would be no more tennis on. (In the event, thanks to the marathon semi-final between two enormously tall men, Anderson (RSA, 6’8″) and Isner (USA, 6’10”), that ended 26-24 in the fifth set, there almost was.)

Microsoft immediately concluded that I must have meant 16.15 and pursued me every 20 minutes throughout the afternoon’s viewing with a button asking them either to get on with it, or please to wait just another hour as I was busy.

Eventually I took the dog out and left them to it.

When I returned, I found a series of pages on the screen, one after another offering me choices to setup this or that feature. I chose what I hoped would be the least invasive options of my personal space, that wouldn’t allow them to track my every fart and scratch, and toddled up to bed.

This morning, lifting the lid I find the computer is stuck in Sleep mode, where I definitely did not leave it. Pressing keys and wiggling the mouse fails to wake it. Turning it off and on again finally works, until a message comes up, asking me to restart again as it needs to diagnose and repair a C-drive error.

What have these incompetent lunatics at Microsoft done now? To my brand-new, barely affordable laptop, shiny-silver and thin as a biscuit, that I have had only a month?

And now I find that their slime-trail over my computer has terminated a number of my regular accounts: The Washington Post no longer recognizes me as a subscriber, The Guardian  and BBC iPlayer want me to sign in… I don’t know what my fucking passwords were three years ago, do I? Does anyone?

And then I notice that, for some unknown reason, the control bar of the WordPress WP program is no longer offering me the Underline option. The icon has just vanished.

Why do I have a feeling that nothing is ever going to be the same?

God damn them and their lousy enterprise.

Fucking Microsoft.

 

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 29: Is Anyone Awake?; Minnie the Moocher; Baked Alaska; Maids in America; Where’s Wendi Deng?

“The security implications are just awful”

“Washington is very busy with other things right now, unfortunately. The healthcare vote was an incredible blow to the Republican party. I suspect that many in office are licking their wounds today,” (a spokeswoman said). “The US state department is not fully staffed. I don’t think they are staffed up for this event.” – James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Is anyone awake?

Thus the Trump administration, in tatters, boldly responds to “this event” – another threatening and provocative intercontinental ballistic missile test by North Korea, the potentially nuclear-armed projectile splashing down harmlessly yet undiplomatically 1,000 miles away within the sovereign Japanese Economic Area, or sea as it’s known. And with a second test reported this morning, Pyongyang is crowing that it can now hit anywhere in the continental United States.

What goes up…

Yet Trump has lost the plot. He’s throwing tantrums over the unpatriotic Democrat opposition (the clue is in the word) conspiracy against him to thwart his great new American healthcare bill (it doesn’t exist – somebody tell him). He’s sending menacing Mafia-style tweets to Republican senatorial recusants accusing them of letting the nation down (L’État, c’est moi, as Louis X1V the ‘Sun King’ used to say). He prefers to target the LGBTs in his own military and is picking fights with everyone from his White House Chief of Staff, the weedy Reince Priebus, to surely his most loyal acolyte, the lying Georgia weasel, Attorney General Jeff Sessions; while appointing an unpleasant, foul-mouthed, preening little bitch from the mean streets of New York, Wall Street being the meanest, Anthony Scaramucci – ‘The Mooch’, yuck – to be his new ‘communications’ director.

Minnie the Moocher

So, already becoming the other big story of the week, which Trump won’t like as he prefers to be the centre of attention, the media- unsavvy Scaramouche is a former Goldman Sachs investment whatnot and millionaire hedge-trimmer, who has already caused a media shitstorm by threatening to fire the entire WH pressroom staff unless someone fesses up to who leaked the story that he’d been invited to dinner with Fox News w’anchor, Sean Hannity, and the President. A ‘leak’ he describes as having major national security implications… and blamed Chief of Staff Priebus.

And then he has given some rather odd interviews, explaining that while politicians stab each other in the back he’s more of a ‘front-stabber’; expressed his loathing of the media, forced the resignation of a random innocent press office spokesman and gone off on a potty-mouthed rant, accusing Priebus (who tried to block his appointment) of being a ‘fucking paranoiac’* and Steve Bannon, not without some insight, of ‘sucking his own cock’ – in a message to a New Yorker magazine reporter. He followed up with an insouciant tweet apologising that it’s just his way of communicating, and then promptly deleted it.

With his extreme views about ‘leakers’ – he’s publicly said he’d like to have them all ‘fuckin’ killed’, the adorable little fantasist, ignoring that most of the Whiteyleaks come from the Oval Office itself – and his troublingly effusive declarations of ‘genuine love’ for the President, people are already questioning his sanity, especially as his job doesn’t even start until 15 August and he has no power to fire anybody. But the rightwing media and Trump, of course, is loving it. The Mooch is his kinda guy.

The story took a brilliant turn this morning when, according to The New York Post, Scaramucci’s blonde WASP wife Deirdre announced over breakfast that she’s filing for divorce, explaining that she doesn’t want to have to drag the kids to Washington, she loathes Donald Trump, and despairs of her husband’s revolting Presidential bumsucking: “She is tired of his naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end.”

All this is just a pleasant diversion, as we haven’t heard much about the FBI investigation into Trump family enterprises and his manoeuvering to fire the Special Counsel, Bob Mueller, for at least three days.

So the President is absolutely not paying attention to national security.

Meanwhile, most of the posts at the State Department and key ambassadorships in the SE Asia region remain unfilled; Secretary of State ‘Tex’ Rex Tillexxon has gone on vacation and is reportedly considering his untenable position. He’s been sidelined on foreign affairs by Trump’s plastic-toy and all-purpose foreign affairs Nanki-poo, Kushner, now on his second team of defense lawyers; and thwarted in his expectation that Russia sanctions would be lifted, allowing the zillion-dollar Exxon-Rosneft deal to go ahead to drill the fuck out of the Arctic, thereby inflating the $245 million share package he left the company with.

Jefferson Beleaguered Sessions 111, the subject of so many frankly disgraceful undermining public tweets from little Presidential thumbs in recent days (not that we give a shit what happens to him, it’s the principle of the thing) has taken the hint, too, and is away on an important fact-finding visit to discuss jurisprudence in El Salvador.

Republican majority leaders in Congress so badly need to get a grip on this insecure, vindictive, whining little mafia-baby they put in the White House. But they’re not home either.

With Kim Jong-un rampant and the Chinese quietly taking over the vacated spaces of the world, the Russians angry because their boy Trump hasn’t come through for them on sanctions, floods and wildfires everywhere, trade deals in abeyance, revolt brewing in the House, the State department emasculated, the military confused, the FBI closing in – the security implications are just awful.

Not so very post-scriptum…

And tonight, after being escorted from the White House by Security, Mini the Mooch is hightailing it back to New York, fired by General Kelly after only ten days in a job he wouldn’t officially have started for another two weeks. The senile President had to do as he was told by heavily-bemedalled daddy or be sent to bed with no milk and cookies.

Lucky man, it may save his marriage. And he won’t have to sell his business for $85 million to the Chinese, which was going to be another problem as it looked like a dirty backroom deal to gain influence with the regime in Washington. Bad.

x

“Under the demented policies of the Golden Orb, the USA is going all-out to extract and burn every last drop of its own energy as quickly as possible…”

Baked Alaska

In a desperate, last-minute attempt to give the screaming baby a sugar-dummy to suck on before the babysitters head off to abuse one another at summer camp, the chinless Sen. McConnell’s terrible compromise ‘skinny repeal’ bill, just to pare back any parts of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act he can, failed at 2 a.m. yesterday to pass.

Like its two failed predecessors, the bill was cooked-up in secret by a kitchen cabinet of late-middle-aged rich conservative white men to carve 72-oz entrecote steaks off Obamacare and give the best cuts away to the top 2% (who already own 80% of the wealth of America).

And now everyone is in the toilet.

Which is great when your equally insecure, vindictive, whining little mafia-baby enemy over the water is playing with nuclear toys that could obliterate parts of…

Oh, wait a minute.

Didn’t Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke just warn, bad things could happen to Alaska?

Wasn’t it as a result of Alaskan Sen. Lisa Murkowski honorably voting No to the initial proposal to debate the ‘skinny’ bill, saying she wasn’t going to be intimidated, and then honorably voting again with two colleagues, Sens. McCain and Collins, along with the Democrats against the actual bill too, on grounds that no-one had had time to read it and it hadn’t even been debated, causing it to fall…?

Or, it’s possible Trump is hoping for a first-strike on Hawaii, where the circuit court did so much to twice thwart his silly and inconsequential immigration bill; the only piece of primary legislation he has – in a watered-down form – been able to get through Congress in six months of shambolic maladministration.

Still mindful of Pearl Harbor, the Hawaiian State Legislature is reportedly making civil defense preparations.

Why are the Republicans so obsessed with committing electoral suicide? Is it existential guilt? No-one seems to know.

“It’s a deliberate policy of genocide for the rest of the human race…”

As The Pumpkin has observed before, the GOP congressmen and women are between a rock and a hard place. The rock being the Koch Brothers, zillionaire kings of dirty energy, who have offered ‘at least’ $400 million funding to the party for next year’s mid-term elections; the hard place being where Republican candidates may find themselves when the voters finally realize that repealing Obamacare without a replacement will leave 32 million hardworking American families nowhere to go when they get sick; which, as consumer protections, animal welfare and food quality regulations are pared back, and dangerous agrichemicals greenlighted, they are sure to.

The Pumpkin’s belief is that the Kochs, two avuncular philanthropic octogenarians in whose mouths butter would turn to snake venom, are less interested in the repeal bill than they are in the budget, debate on which has been held up for months while McConnell blustered and flustered over Trump’s furious demands to get Obamacare repeal done; something he promised his dumbfucks he would do on Day One. But then, he lied. So bad.

The budget is, if anything, more crazy and disgusting than the repeal bill, cutting 4.3 trillion dollars from all kinds of progressive social supports and schools programs and handing the lot to millionaires, corporations and the bloated arms industry in the form of huge tax cuts – an ultra-con economic model so fundamentally wrong that its experimental application has all-but bankrupted the state of Kansas; its failed Governor Sam Brownback, a man whose brain would struggle to get noticed in a peapod, has just been nominated by the mad President as America’s global ‘ambassador for religion’. So we have a prayer….

The energy bidness – fossil-fuel – already benefits from hidden subsidies in the US of $37.5 billion annually, giving the lie to all their executive whingeing about unfair subsidies for renewables, which are far smaller – about $10 bn. That oil, coal and gas subsidy increased by some $6 bn under the Obama administration, by the way.

And, let’s not forget, as former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond once said, US energy companies don’t really regard themselves as patriotic American employers. They operate all around the globe. The total subsidy to energy corporations around the globe is rather more, a little under $1 trillion.

http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies (2013 figures)

But it’s not enough! Under the demented policies of the Golden Orb, the USA is going all-out to extract and burn every last drop of its own energy as quickly as possible, providing $trillions more profit for shareholders currently scrambling to build themselves climate-controlled underground bunker complexes, the latest billionaire must-haves, until it runs out; whereupon Trump will order his refinanced military to go out and ‘take the oil’ – the gas, or the minerals, from places like Afghanistan, until nothing survives.

It’s a policy of deliberate genocide for the rest of the human race. We have essentially been written off the books and, in their madness, it’s an extinction the money-breathers fantasize they can survive.

It shouldn’t be long now.

x

* Within an hour of The Pumpkin Posting this, it’s been reported that Priebus has seen the writing on the wall and quit. A career politician, he never did fit with the squabbling and chaotic amateur arselickers of Trump’s inspirational cabinet, the Wall Street Kids. Having been hired as a biddable missing link with conventional politics on the Hill, he was bound to end up as the fall guy for Trump’s humiliating failure to get any of his crazed legislative program through before the recess.

Gen. Kelly, the Homeland Security director, has been drafted in as Chief of Staff. Good luck with that. He’s not a politician either, so Trump clearly hasn’t learned the lesson, that if you want to do politics, get things done, you need to be one of Them.

It’s beginning to look more and more like the end of the Weimar republic every day.

x

 

“And she was bleeding from the … wherever, you know?”

Maids in America

After regaling the Boy Scouts of America with stories about wild parties involving drugs and women on yachts, for no apparent purpose other than to illustrate his robust views on law and order Trump – who has an obsession with women bleeding – threw out a peculiarly disturbing image during another of his 2020 campaign rallies last week. From a report in the Guardian entitled “Scaramucci, one week in: civil war in the White House and an even wilder Trump”, by White House correspondent David Smith, Trump is quoted in a passage as follows:

In Youngstown, Ohio, he painted a lurid picture of “predators and criminal aliens” who “take a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15, and others and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die. And these are the animals that we’ve been protecting for so long.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/29/scaramucci-white-house-reince-priebus-donald-trump

What could he possibly have meant by that little vignette, we wonder: who or what is he referring to? It’s not as if he gave chapter and verse for the reference. Was it something he saw on Fox News or, his new fascination, the teenage version of Politico, Circa – even Fox is beginning to let slip the odd criticism of the nightmare for America that is the Trump maladministration, while its ratings have been plummeting.

Trump has some curious psychological ‘tics’, one of which is bringing up bad things that happened without being prompted, presenting them as examples of his opponent’s behaviour, but for which he then transfers credit to himself. ‘Crooked Hillary may have done ‘x’, but I tell you, if I did that it would have been the best ‘x’ ever…’

We can only pray then that this unscripted reference to the torture and murder of underage girls is not something he knew about from past experiences in the New York underworld, where he reputedly got a kick out of mixing socially in the 1970s and 80s.

The Pumpkin was recently led via a link in a Comment to a web article created by an anonymous former New York model, or so the author claims, who has spent years researching Trump’s connection with the sleazy milieu of underage ‘Size-zer0’ models, many trafficked illegally into the United States by dubious modelling agencies linked with underworld gangs.

The resulting long article can be found on the Daily Kos website, bylined SwedishJewfish. It describes – and one needs to be careful here, although the report is sourced to other media investigations – how in the 1970s a Trump associate, John Casablancas, founded a new kind of modelling agency that was all about flash: money, celebrities, sex and cocaine – creating the public image of the ‘supermodel’ – and how before setting up his own modelling agency, Trump pushed his daughter, Ivanka, into a modelling career, aged only 14, through Casablancas’ agency, exploiting his influence in the business, despite Casablancas’ reputation as a serial abuser of underage girls. Casablancas later fled to Brazil, where he worked for a while as a property salesman for the Trump Organization.

I’ll just quote this short extract:

I was not alone in my impressions – others who commented on the Mother Jones piece (see below) and the subsequent coverage made similar observations. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes commented that Trump Models seemed to be borderline human trafficking, initially making the comment on Twitter and later on dedicating a segment of his prime time show to exploring the topic. Seth Meyers, for his part, did a segment on the MJ piece as well, comparing it to an episode of Law & Order SVU. While his commentary was cloaked in his usual sardonic humor, Seth’s disgust was evident as he wondered aloud if the prospect of Trump harboring sex slaves in his proverbial basement would be enough to make voters sour on his candidacy. At the time this story broke, I assumed it was going to blow up. I assumed that follow up reporting would be done, and it would become the major story of the 2016 election. I thought it might even open up a long overdue dialogue about sex trafficking, and how our broken immigration and criminal justice systems enables its existence. 

But that never happened.

No, but what did happen during the 2016 election was the spreading via social media of completely absurd, off-the-wall memes promoting ‘fake news’ slurs against the Clinton campaign (see previous Pumpkins).

One of which gained notoriety, when a gunman walked into a pizza restaurant in Washington popular with Congressional staffers, Comet PingPong, and fired shots into the ceiling, after reading online that Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, were running a ‘paedophile ring’ from the basement

A space that turned out also to be ‘proverbial’… there being no basement.

Is this perhaps a ‘proverbial basement’ where girls were actually tortured and murdered, in Donald Trump’s fading recollection? Is it a case of ‘What did you know, and when?’ Is there, in short, a basis in experience for his psychotic fascination with women and blood?

Or has he just been watching too much torture porn during the sleepless hours?

We may never know. The website Pizzagate.wiki goes into simply enormous and seemingly authoritative detail about connections between Clinton Democrats and their funders and various ‘known’ paedophiles and child-traffickers like Sir Clement Freud, Jimmy Savile and the owner of the Comet PingPong restaurant, James Alefantis, yet is mysteriously completely silent on the subject of Mr Casablancas and Trump Model Management.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/donald-trump-model-management-illegal-immigration

From which, purely coincidentally:

“…a Trump agency representative who served as a chaperone had a bedroom to herself on the ground floor of the building. A narrow flight of stairs led down to the basement, where the models lived in two small bedrooms that were crammed with bunk beds…”

xFrom which,

Where’s Wendi Deng?

Missing from the photo op below is the ex- Mrs Murdoch, queen of the political pajama parties. (Only joking.)

Of course, with the failure of the replacement healthcare act and even the ‘skinny repeal’ bill, whereby lifting the requirement for all Americans over 25 to carry basic insurance and for employers of more than 50 staff to make contributions would have taken so much money out of the system that premiums would have to go up sharply for the rest, the vindictive obsessionist Trump has decreed with his proudest and most marmorial Mount Rushmore face on that Obamacare ‘must now be allowed to implode by itself’.

The bad news is, although he genuinely seems to have convinced himself with his own windy rhetoric that it was, it wasn’t failing until he came along. The good news however, certain Red Republican states will now feel empowered to blow the extra money Obamacare gave them for an increase in Medicare provision for the sick on sneaky, lying TV propaganda to get themselves re-elected. Obamacare – which took seven years to put in place in the face of howling Republican opposition and does admittedly need some tweaking – will wither on the vine, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So nasty, these Republicans. So ugly. Twisted.

Sen. Jack Fart ‘n’ hold  is on the right of your picture, in the blue onesie.

If proof of upright, responsible, Republican governance were needed, here is Senator Jack Farenthold, R. Texas, pro-repeal, pro-gun, pro-Big Orl, enjoying a well-earned moment of leisure before publicly challenging Senator Susan Collins, ‘skinny repeal’ recusante, to a duel – citing a historic precedent in which a former senator was tragically shot dead.

Mother Jones website, from where The Pumpkin purloins this picture, reports: “Farenthold … was once sued by a staffer for sexual harassment (the claim was settled outside of court)”.

Balanced folk must ask themselves from time to time, who on earth votes for these sleazy, fatuous, ignorant bumpkins like Farenthold, imagining they would be fit to hold office in a drive-thru burger-bar, and why do they? Their lives are never made better as a consequence.

And the answer comes back: sleazy, fatuous, ignorant Americans, who no longer believe anything will make a difference to their lives and don’t care. They’re the core base. There’s millions of ’em, and they love grotesque pork-barrel candidates like Fart ‘n’ hold; like Donald Trump, as seen on TV.

See, what a refreshing change he is from those corrupt stuffed-shirt bastards on the Hill!

Make America great again, boys. Yee-ha!

x

And finally…

If ever a metaphor presented itself from the heavens to perfectly illustrate the American nightmare, it’s the story of the Ohio woman who called 911 from her garden to plead for help.

A snake collector, she’d just rehomed a six-foot boa constrictor. Now it was wrapped around her face, squeezing hard, and wouldn’t let go of biting her nose.

Unlike the Republican party, the fire service had the right idea.

They cut its head off.

The BogPo: Mrs May is the very embodiment of British ghastliness.

Thursday again… except it’s already Friday! (I’m busy.)

I’d like to start in the laziest possible fashion by linking you somehow (you’re smart, you’ll figure it out) to a Guardian Today article : “Theresa May’s Brexit Britain can no longer be considered a serious country”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/05/theresa-may-brexit-britain-uk-europe-liberal

Following which, ‘UltraLightBeam’ Commented:

Agreed. Just when you thought that there’s no further depths of stupidity for the UK to sink to, that we’ve finally reached peak stupid, a whole new vista of stupid yawns open.

The UK inexplicably voted to inflict serious harm on ourselves, and to inflict collateral damage on our closest allies. Now we’re simply amazed that the EU doesn’t just want to roll over and let us do what we want. But…but…we’re Britain! Don’t they know that? Why are they so vindictive? Why are they picking on us?

We choose Theresa May, the most awkward, stilted, charmless politician in recorded history to negotiate on our behalf. She predictably humiliates herself, and the UK, and then we blame the European press for pointing it out. Our own press foams at the mouth, spitting venom every day, but we expect the European press to be impartial. Why?

We disregard all logic and economic expertise, and make a stupid political decision to Brexit. Now we’re astounded that the EU are also prioritising political imperatives over economic ones, by making it difficult for us. Why do we expect completely different standards from the EU than we apply to ourselves?

There seems to be very little awareness in the UK, and definitely not from the government, that we’re the ones doing all this. The EU are just reacting, logically and predictably, to protect their own interests against our senseless, mindless, stupid actions. They’re not doing anything to us. We’re not victims here.

What’s happening now is what was always predicted, by everyone who knows anything about these things: the ridiculous fantasies of the Brexit campaign are coming into contact with reality, like a cruise liner grinding into an iceberg. And the magic beans salesmen who brought us here are busy blaming the EU for the mess they created.

I really could put it no better myself. Because I have done, many times – and was putting it, long before the referendum. Sadly, I have precisely 34 Followers – none of whom appears to be reading this, muh bogl, anymore. Most of them were only trying to sell me stuff.

And today, the BogPo had 17… spam messages from bots. An astonishing one-day record. And two Viewings. Yet we plough on regardless…

Led by a corporatist press that profitably descends into paroxysms of chauvinism at every turn, Britain has had a shameful record for many decades of whingeing and whining about our treaty obligations in Europe, always demanding special treatment and complaining of being bossed about, yet happy to benefit from our cut-price membership whenever decisions we help to make go our way.

As Helena Kennedy QC has pointed out, just one instance of the total, crass stupidity of the Leavers, no-one considered that the 27 remaining members are bound by the decisions of the European Court; so if we want to have new treaties enabling us to trade in Europe we will still be subject to European Court rulings – yet one of the principal arguments in favour of Leaving was that we would be free of the tyranny of the European Court!

And all the time this smug sense of superiority, even among the least cultured of us, shaven-headed, tattooed barbarians shagging in the gutters of package holiday resorts stinking of chips and good British vomit, that characterises the insular warrior nation reduced to a mere spear-carrier on the global stage.

There is just no self-awareness of how ghastly we are; and fittingly Mrs May is the very embodiment of British ghastliness, a woman for our time.

 

“…we are in the midst of a massive land grab for power by billionaires via our data. Data which is being silently amassed, harvested and stored. Whoever owns this data owns the future.”

– Carole Cadwalladr, writing in The Observer, 07 May (apparently, the only British journalist researching the story that you have been reading about for weeks in The Pumpkin – possibly the most important story you will ever read.*) Read it! Weep!

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy

*So there’s a BBC Panorama programme on it tomorrow night.

 

 

 

It’s all just a crazy dream

Hey ho, Thursday again, time for the weekly BogPost and I can’t think of a single thing to say I haven’t written about ten times before.

Cameron has made a big speech advocating more bombing foreigners. Why? So, he agrees with the military experts that it’s unnecessary and won’t make a blind bit of difference on the ground, but we have to show ‘solidarity’ with everyone else and ‘keep Britain’s streets safe’, while also protecting ‘our brave forces’ from going into action on the ground, letting some unidentified other foreigners do it for us instead. That’s brave, Dave.

I’m quite glad I didn’t go to Eton, I never met an Old Etonian who wasn’t either a brooding alcoholic; a bumbling aristocratic halfwit, or a sneering bully-boy (or a combination, etc.) (You don’t get many round where I live.)

Gideon ‘George’ Osborne performed an insouciant volte sneering face on Wednesday by reversing his fiscal policy on taxing the poor into the mud. I have a theory about him, that he always leaks bad news until we hate him, then performs a daring pliée at the last minute to win the love and forgiveness of the multitude. Attar of roses fills his pants this weekend.

Let’s not forget, however, the appearance earlier in the month of his mate, Cameron, on the Andrew Marr Show, in which he issued a sneeringly robust defence of the policy of removing tax credits from three million hardworking single-parent families, despite the mounting evidence that suggested the mitigating rise in the minimum wage wouldn’t prevent teaching assistants on £7,000 a year donating £1,300 of it to shore up Britain’s rotting public finances and Gideon’s other mates in the City’s bonuses.

Another grand example there of Dave’s notoriously poor judgement.

(Postscriptum 2 December, and a sneer so vile it beggars description. Calling on his troops to vote for his pointless bombing campaign (I have christened it ‘chimpanzee warfare’ (as opposed to ‘guerrilla’) – you get together in a small party, jump up and down gibbering and waving your arms, and throw sticks at the enemy from as far away as you can), Cameron urged them not to go along with Mr Corbyn and the ‘terrorist sympathisers’. This veneered, jumped-up bag-carrier from a TV PR department is the most unspeakable apology for a Prime Minister or indeed, a human being of any kind, this country has ever had.)

So I won’t write about that, obviously, or the visibly disorientated Mr Corbyn, the Spike Milligan lookalike Labour ‘leader’ who has indeed written to all his MPs to say he doesn’t personally approve of bombing Syria but they can go ahead and vote against the party Whip if they like, as it’s the sort of thing he used to do. That’s the kind of flakey example I always set, which is why I never became a leader of anything.

Just some personal observations, then. (More might follow, but I’m doing Panto for the next few days and it’s enough just to eat, drink and sleep. I’ve learned though that the reason actors fluff their lines is because they’re so worried they’re going to forget the next line, they can’t remember the one they’re speaking. Plays hell with the concentration.)

 

Staying up

I’d been trying to upload a file to a publisher in Ireland, against a deadline, but they would only let me do it via their website – or by surface mail. Judgement Day was due, and I didn’t think it’d make it in time.

Anyway, I hadn’t finished writing it yet. You know me and deadlines.

And the website wouldn’t let me in without a password. The usual result, it knew my name and IP address, obviously, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to email me to remind me to send the file in the first place. Nothing much confidential in it, either, but you know web designers too, they just loves paswurdz.

Anyway, of course I couldn’t remember the bloody thing, I last contacted these guys more than a year ago. So I had to ask for a reminder, twice, and nothing was appearing in my inbox. Frantic emails to ‘info@’ yesterday produced no reply either. By eleven last night, with the deadline approaching like the 9.45 from Billericay, I emailed the editorial department in distress.

And amazingly, at 11.47 pm, that’s at night, the Editorial Manager, Mary-Jane, emails me back to say she’s sorted me out a temporary password and is sorry I’d had a problem.

Now, even allowing for the time difference in Cork, where it’s always last year, who works in an office until practically midnight, and why? Anyway, I’m jolly glad they do.

Great country, Ireland. Good people, great craic.

Better get writing….

Postscriptum

So the temporary password didn’t work and the Support hotline refused to let me Submit a request for Support with logging-in, because I wasn’t logged-in, so in despair I decided to try and re-register, knowing it probably wouldn’t let me do that because someone with the same name was mysteriously already registered, you know how it goes.

So I pushed the Button marked Register, and before I could log-in again the IT leprechauns welcomed me back and opened the page for me to upload the file, without a password….

Things can sometimes go like that in Ireland, I think.

 

A burning issue

I’d briefly thought about retiring to Greece, land of my forebears.

Spectacular scenery, laid-back lifestyle, sun and sea… Only don’t go there to die.

An article on the BBC Magazine website reports that Greece has, like, totally run out of burial plots. You now get three years maximum parked in the stony ground, before the burial-plot warden has your remains towed away.

People are having to dig-up their grannies and parents and sadly dead children with their heartbreaking little tributes and pay to have the bones stored in a small cardboard box on a shelf somewhere.

Thanks to austerity imposed by hard-faced Teutonic bankers, no-one can afford the rents.

So the alternative is the authorities just chuck your loved-one’s bones at random into a public pit, all jumbled-up together. And – I hope you’ve already breakfasted – not everyone is fully decomposed after three years.

What is the attitude of the Greek Orthodox church to all this desecration?

Well, the obvious solution is to cremate the dead bodies, keep Mum in a handy Grecian urn on the mantelshelf. But there isn’t a single functioning crematorium in the entire country. It’s not allowed, according to Church law.

While live Syrian refugees arrive in swarms and depart for points North, there is another flourishing trade in black-market migration of Greek corpses to neighbouring Bulgaria, where the crematorium business is on fire, as it were.

According to Metropolitan Anthony, a title that makes him sound like a rough-sleeper on the London Underground, the head of the church, cremation is definitely not on the cards.

Being cremated, see, makes it too difficult for Jesus to resurrect your body on the Day of Judgement.

What body, for God’s sake? It’s in a fucking rubbish dump, in bits.

How did we ever let these medieval lunatics in their daringly retro outfits rule our lives in the first place?

 

Lost in the jungle

I’ve been invited by online social petitionists Change.org to sign a pledge not to buy anything from Amazon during the month of December, to punish them for their many crimes.

Oh, God. Sigh.

Future historians will conclude that while the 20th Century was the century of evil dwarf dictators with dehumanising scumbag ideologies running countries, the 21st was the century of evil dwarf dictators with dehumanising scumbag ideologies running large US tech corporations. Why bother with messy old countries, when you can create your own evil empire and enjoy total control?

Employing 50,000 robotised former humans, Amazon’s Seattle HQ is by all accounts a hell on earth. And its founder, Mr Bezos, is the evil genius whose bullying scumbag management philosophy permeates every aspect of the organisation and its people’s lives. Work for Big Jeff, and it doesn’t matter that you get only minimum wage, because you won’t have your own life to spend it in.

Executives are expected to be still at their desks after midnight – they get emails to check. Internal systems are set up for employees to spy on one another and report their colleagues’ disloyal or negative behavior. A lengthy report in the New York Times (http://nyti.ms/1HNMWQq) quotes one executive as saying he usually finds his colleagues weeping silently at their desks. Other managers: higher-functioning sociopaths teenage neo-Nazis and Old Etonian types, say they just loves working there.

Not only does Mr Bezos want to rule the corporate world – he’s already the world’s 5th richest person. He wants to take over every aspect of your life and mine, when it comes to our daily relationship with products and services. He wants to put every other retailer on the planet, along with the publishing industry,  out of business. He plans to target and bomb us with goodies from lethal delivery drones.

And, just to make sure he’s got it all covered, in case there are competitors on Mars, he’s just successfully test-fired his own re-usable delivery spacecraft.

And I spend about £2 grand a year with this maniac’s business, mostly buying jazz records. It’s so bloody easy, so convenient. Check out some tracks on YouTube, flip to the Amazon website, find the album, click on my speed-ordering button, it’s here next working day, and I’m wondering how I got overdrawn again?  How cool is that?

I live in a perfectly nice little town, but it’s quite remote and can’t support every kind of retail outlet selling every product I crave. Also, buying by mail-order means stuff comes through the mailbox, like at old-fashioned Christmas.

I does loves gettin’ prezzies, doesn’t you?

I’ve argued before, that criticism of Amazon’s low-or-no-tax business model ignores that their £5.3 billion UK turnover, on which they pay about £4 7s 6d tax annually, is not what it seems.

Amazon incorporates tens of thousands of third-party sellers and acts as a portal to thousands more retail businesses all over the world. I might order a jazz record in the UK that comes via a distributor in New York, whose warehousing operation is in Taiwan. Part of the price goes to paying royalties to the artists and the recording company. Each node in the matrix is a cost-centre. Turnover is not the same as profit.

Also, until it is able to knock our hats off with its postal-drones, frantically looking for ‘Ty Bach’ in a street of identical Welsh house-names all sharing the same postcode, Amazon keeps the postman service and the brown-cardboard-envelope manufacturing industry going.

So no, I’m not going to sign the pledge, because I can’t guarantee I won’t use Amazon at some point to get a card or a gift off to some relative or another in the diaspora, it may not be possible to do it any other way.

But I promise to try. Just to teach them a lesson.

Postscriptum

Ah. Okay, minor epic fail (1 Dec., Betty Carter album). Sorry, won’t happen again.

 

Now what?

Dressing after my shower, I am half-listening to a science programme on the radio. Listeners have been invited to send in questions to an expert panel.

One listener asks: We are told there is a vast volume of empty space between the atoms of even a solid object, relative to the size of the atom. Atoms themselves are made up of fundamental particles: a nucleus; protons, electrons. In turn those seem to be made up of smaller particles, muons and gluons and quarks and bosons; science stuff, with further vast volumes of empty space between them, relative to their size.

The question being, if you squeezed out all that empty space, given that the smallest building blocks of the atoms we yet know about have no mass, squeezed it right down, can we say there would be a residue of anything left?

And the answer was, obviously, no, not really. The smallest particles that make up the atom don’t behave like solid objects. We don’t even know where they actually are in space and time.

In which case, my friends, nothing exists. Everything is made from nothing. The Universe is a hologram. Or just a crazy dream.

I’ve been trying to tell you.

It’s just jazz.

 

 

Tales of the Riverbank

Short movie script

(The camera cuts between long shot of man in phone box beside river and closeup of man speaking on old-fashioned telephone.)

MAN BY RIVER (EXCITEDLY): “Professor, the Japanese Knotweed… It’s… It’s… Aaaaargh!”

MAN ON PHONE: “Hello, Carruthers, is that you?” Silence. FX Flackety, flick, flack. “Hello? HELLO?”

Long pause.

MAN BY RIVER: “Herro?”