American carnage… The War on the Poor… It looks like Issue 43 of The Pumpkin (Maybe the last for a while)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

But wait half a mo!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good news.

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

 

“What an utterly unspeakable atrocity this man is”

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

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

Because, he says, the FBI have been too busy trying to prove he colluded with Russia to police the safety of the nation’s children.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A war not on poverty, but on the poor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kneejerk patsies like Bishop Desmond Tutu, who has pompously withdrawn his support for Oxfam, could look at the devastation wrought on the global Catholic church by successive abuse scandals and see a pattern. What Oxfam is essentially being accused of is weak supervisory management, that has allowed a tiny number of abusive individuals out of thousands to get away with their behavior.

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

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

It’s all part of the “War on the poor” being enthusiastically prosecuted by the US Republicans and their disruptive billionaire pals in Russia and around the world.

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

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

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

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

Something more is going on here than meets the eye.

 

A detached view

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

With tears streaming down his face, he announces what he hopes will be only a temporary suspension of bogling activities.

GW

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

Pack a bag. Buy sardines.

 

 

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A Very Stable Genius… Dogged by their lies… Floaters… GW: warning – no surfing on ice floes, ya hear? Plus: Do not travel to Egypt without memorizing your catechism; Yellowstone update.

A Very Stable Genius

Unexpectedly, we shall start with That Book.

(Postscriptum: which, as I read it, I have to say contains execrable, slapdash writing; pretentious malapropisms, and needed a better editor. Now carry on!)

There is nothing at all surprising that has been quoted in the media this week, editors all a-tremble, as preselections of the juicier bits from That Book. Nothing that The Pumpkin has not seen, heard or read from many other sources since Trump was adopted as the Republican party’s fall-guy in July whenever, 2016 – a century and a half ago.

So no, it’s not fake nooze. I think it’s mostly pretty much real. Trump is really a culpable person: a monster, a lazy and incompetent administrator, a self-deluded fool and a defensive liar, way off his pay-grade and clearly so temperamentally unfit to have his finger on the Big Red Button.

Yet one gets a weird sense that the author, Michael Wolff, quite admires him. And thereby hangs perhaps the greatest mystery of the Trump phenomenon: why are so many people in his immediate circle and among his support base of dumbfucks so undyingly loyal to this horrible, destructive man?

A genius at managing his own PR, Trump brings relief to paper-towel-stricken Puerto Ricans.

The sources I have relied on for US news the past 18 months have been commenters like: Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Joe Scarborough from MSNBC – and their regular panel guests, including David Korn of Mother Jones and David Frum from The Atlantic; Ari Melber of NBC’s The Beat; Wolf Blitzer, Don Lemon, Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper from CNN; Thom Hartmann, late of RT; Keith Olbermann, late of GQ (come back, Keith… please, you are needed now, he’s crazier than ever!); Cenk Uygur, Jon Iadorolo and Ana Kasparian of TYT; David Pakman, of his own channel; Farron Cousins of Ring of Fire; Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!; and the wonderful Mike Malloy, most definitely of Mike Malloy.

Plus, of course, comedians Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Samantha Bee; and public intellectuals like Robert Reich, Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges.

These in their own ways are all thoughtful, serious people, and I hail and recognize the journalism they do, which is often dependent on other reputable sources, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, and sometimes flies in the face of what appears to be growing internet censorship and ripoff defunding being practiced by the big platforms. To which I must add another source I rely on, the New Yorker magazine, together with PolitiFact, Buzzfeed and The Guardian.

All of these sources and more (but not, sadly, the supine, overpaid tossers at the BBC) have consistently reported the views of White House insiders, Congressmen and women, foreign leaders and diplomats that Trump is an overgrown, spoilt child, unfit for office; thin-skinned, vain, ignorant, malicious and vindictive; a dangerous, overreactive bully with minimal attention span, demanding simple cartoon explanations of not very complex briefings; a man of bizarre personal habits, a loose-mouthed, compulsive liar who defines national policy from minute-to-minute after watching “news” items on rightwing cable TV, who often incriminates himself with his own vicious Twitter spats and word-salad interviews accusing others of crimes and appalling misalignments in which he is the more probably guilty party.

Senator Corker’s description of the Oval Office as an ‘adult daycare center’ seems, by all accounts, spot-on: insiders frequently say Trump has to be nursed and fed on MacDonalds pap, guzzling diet Coke, kept entertained and happy 14 hours a day, which involves presenting him with only relentlessly approving and upbeat assessments of the many successes he has not in fact had today, pandering to his loony solipsistic view of a Trumpian Universe in which he is somehow transformed by the endless adulation of craven minions into Caesar Augustus; when he is, in real life, more like Caesar Nero: a demented, uncontrolled and uncontrollable demiurge; a thug with tyrannical tendencies (principally based on total ignorance of the constitutional powers and functions of the President) and an absolutely misplaced belief in his own omnicompetence.

On top of everything, and the much-investigated evidence of past criminality and misdeeds while in office, there is the mounting evidence of senile dementia: the rambling and repetitive narratives, the sudden losses of concentration, the forgetfulness of names and faces, the sudden outbursts of anger, the quirky off-topic comments, the obsessive rerunning of things that have upset him, the comical wanderings-off and changes of subject while in the middle of important business, often with important foreign leaders, whom he either looks up to or disparagingly insults. (No-one is more important than Trump himself.) The brain-damage becomes clear from watching the interviews, the half-insane public speeches (those, that is, not written for him by staffers who can string two coherent sentences together – I challenge you to read the verbatim transcript of his inaugural address to the CIA without assuming the worst), the press conferences – after which minions have to be sent out to cover for his many gaffes and lie about what in fact he said (or meant to say).

A stable genius, Trump demonstrates what he learned today in anger-management class.

His supporters, acolytes and sycophants have rushed to condemn That Book as a pack of outrageous lies, falsehoods and inventions. They have cast aspersions on the author, and on the star interviewee (out of 200, so the author claims), Steve Bannon. Trump himself has threatened to sue, as he always does, while rushing to deny, as he always does, that whoever has criticized him, such as his former chief policy advisor, ever really existed – and anyway “Sloppy Steve” is just an unimportant loser who has lost his mind, he “cried and begged for his job back” when he was fired.

That’s the essence of Trump: a vengeful liar who will say and do anything, however disgusting, to distract attention from his own monstrousness: that “malignant narcissism” which psychiatrists worry could, if unchecked, one day trigger a global conflagration.

Reportedly, Chief of Staff Kelly has ordered all staffers even close to the Oval Office to hand in their cellphones while on the premises, although he knows full well that the source of most of the leaks Trump complains of is the demented orange fuckwit himself, calling-up billionaire “friends” like Murdoch and indiscreetly moaning about everything; then expressing bewilderment at how the stuff gets out into the ‘fake nooze’ media and blaming his advisors!

Either it’s a leak, or it’s fake – you can’t have it both ways. But he tries.

The Pumpkin (for this is he) will hold further fire until Amazon delivers That Book to his door. He ordered a copy immediately on hearing Trump’s lawyer was trying to injunct it, but it seems the great online retailer has already got an out-of-stock problem; although Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff (not the Guardian contributor of the same name, nor the economist – nor is it the book of the same name that people are rushing to buy by mistake, about the fire-bombings of Hamburg and Dresden…) does seem to be available in (and fast selling out of) all good bookshops. Sad. (Also, there are a dozen probably better books on Trump’s first year on the stalls.)

Believe me, there’s almost certainly nothing in it we haven’t heard before, it’s all bad, but it will be good to have a copy on my bedside table to remind me where I went wrong.

(PS In case you still don’t believe he’s dangerous, while the book furore has been running, Trump has slipped-in the repeal of an Obama-era law forbidding anyone from micro-engineering new and deadly disease-causing agents, which with easily available gene-splicing technology you can now do in your garage. Among items specifically banned was, reportedly, an airborne version of the Ebola virus. He’s also closed down the HIV/Aids research council. Sick.)

 

“My name is, I imagine, now on a list down at the local nick…”

Dogged by their lies

Dear Readers, Spammers, Followers, Likers and Those No Longer, etc. will know, the BogPo’s Uncle Bogler has a burning, pathological hatred of injustice.

And not only on behalf of innocent victims everywhere.

I have written before about an incident which occurred unforgettably on 21 July, 2016. I was walking Hunzi through the exurban space that passes for our local park, a somewhat tame wilderness of cycle paths, railway lines, sports fields, river, heathland, marshland and dense plantations transected by muddy footpaths – also home to the town’s major sewage works – when I observed a group of people cavorting with their dog on the sacred turf of the Boglington Cricket Club’s first-team pitch, in defiance of signs requesting people politely not to do that.

A cretin in calf-length shorts and on-backwards baseball cap; a woman, a small child and a large brown dog.

Observing that the ineffectual gate to the ground was indeed locked, ironically I raised my cellphone and pointed it toward them – they were a good 150 yards away and a photograph would have been useless for identification purposes, so I did not take one. As we trudged on, with a sudden feeling of doom I heard a rough voice behind me shouting “Oi! Fuckin’ paedo!” I decided not to get involved.

The exurban space that passes for our local park. (See any children?)

On arriving home 40 minutes later, I was surprised to find two policemen on the doorstep, accusing me of going about ‘taking photographs of children’. What do you say? How did they know where I lived? Had I been followed? There had been a complaint, naturally therefore I must have been going about taking photographs of children, even though I hadn’t been. It’s not the sort of accusation you can deny, since where taking photographs of children is concerned – something the policeman who could articulate verbally (the smaller one was being paid by me just to stand there and glare accusingly) instinctively knew – denial is the clearest proof of guilt.

He reassured me, however, that it is not illegal to go about taking photographs of children. Were I a more robust individual and not a strange old man with a posh voice living alone with a spawny-eyed dog and a magic cat in a tiny cottage in the grimy backstreets of a Welsh seaside town, a social anomaly and so obviously someone on an offender-management program, I should at that point have told them, in that case, they could piss off. Instead, I pulled my cellphone out of my pocket and politely said, “see for yourself, I do not take photographs of children”.

At my age, policemen are supposed to be looking younger. Instead, they just seem to be getting smaller. I recognized my tiny accuser as having been quite helpful once over a matter of neighbors plastering Do Not Park! stickers illegally (and irremovably) on my windscreen.

“Hmmph”, he sniffed disbelievingly, flicking through the folder and finding there no photographs of any class of human – I take pictures generally of unusual cloud formations and wildflowers, my guitars (for insurance purposes), my lovely dog and my half-finished DIY projects. ‘Well, you might have another camera somewhere’. Ignoring that it would be a very perverted person indeed who would take a photo of a small child, fully dressed for the outdoors, together with its parents and family dog, at a distance of 150 yards, and somehow find it titillating. And insisting without legal justification (while standing on my property) on knowing who I was and where and when I was born, like I’m some common thief.

An interesting cloud formation. Not many children.

My name is, I imagine, now on a list down at the local nick of persons of interest, to be routinely hauled in for questioning the next time a child goes missing. That’s if I haven’t been dragged out into the front garden by my working-class neighbours, beaten to death and set on fire, as happened to a harmless immigrant in Bristol a while ago after a misunderstanding concerning broken windows, pleas for help ignored for months by the police, and a gang of lying, feral children.

I have still not recovered from the depression the incident brought about. It is so easy to turn someone’s life into a permanent horror-show with one stupid, malicious falsehood as, I believe, Dostoevsky may have commented.

“I plead daily in vain for the Committee of Discarnate Entities, who guide my doings, to get me out of here…”

And now, I have learned that other neighbours of mine, nice, middle-class retirees with shiny cars and campervans living in the link-detached, manicured suburban homes across the road, have been conspiring together to lie to the police that my lovely Hunzi has attacked and bitten someone, in order to protect their own, similarly black-and-white, demented border collie. “No, it’s that man across the road!” they told the police. The owner lies to them that he does not even own a dog; his neighbor backs him up; the police loyally believe them, locals both, despite all the evidence.

I see them both out dog-walking most days and they wave and smile and nod and say good morning, terrible weather we’re having. And then they lie and tell the police I own a dangerous dog that bites people and deny that they own a dog at all.

Hunzi: calm, gentle, obedient and loyal.

Collies are not considered to be vicious. Hunzi has never so much as growled at anyone in the seven years we have lived together. He has references. At least 20 people if asked would confirm tomorrow he is the loveliest, most gentle, loyal, calm, patient and obedient dog they have ever known. Several tell me they can’t wait for me to fall under a bus, so they can adopt him.

This is a monstrous injustice, that could lead to a terrible consequence for us because of poisonous, hateful, hypocritical, conniving locals and their lies.

An elderly, harmless, dumpy little man with a slightly scrambled brain who cycles about collecting bits of scrap machinery to “do up” and buttonholes passers-by to give us all the latest gossip about people of whom we haven’t the faintest idea who they are, Old Tommy tells me this is the fourth time the dog has attacked him, and he has had to go to the hospital. This time, there was a witness. He tells me, he knows it is not my dog that is responsible, my dog is a good dog, but that the two neighbours have now lied three times that it is Hunzi who goes about attacking people so he thought he ought to warn me about them.

Of course he doesn’t attack people, the dog is under my control at all times and never out of my sight. If I thought for one moment that he was dangerous, I would muzzle him and keep him on the leash. But he isn’t, so I don’t. That doesn’t stop half the people we encounter at a distance from nervously shouting and grabbing their dogs and putting them on the leash whenever they see us coming. It is incredibly annoying that they will not let their dogs socialize, as is the advice of the RSPCA to do for their mental wellbeing.

I have never known so many paranoid neurotics in any other place where I have lived or visited. They do not understand how by doing this, they are only training their dogs to be aggressive toward other dogs. People are not like this in parks in London, they know dogs are happiest running around together, and do not attack one another.

I never wanted to live here in the first place. I do not belong here, sandwiched between the decaying council estate and the trim suburban lawns across the road, among people with whom I have absolutely nothing in common. I belong in an agreeable West-country rectory built of honeyed brick, with three acres, a library, a wine cellar and chestnut trees along the driveway; or in a balconied, book-lined, inner-London apartment on a Georgian square, walls covered in prints, of the kind nearby where I used to live many, many years ago until to escape myself I began my futile anabasis westward to the sea.

I plead daily in vain for the Committee of Discarnate Entities, who guide my doings, to get me out of here. But they don’t. Not this time, our kid. Suck it up, they tell me.

I am here now only through the accident of a business misfortune many years ago, compounded by a subsequent chain of events: losing the house, the uneconomic farm, foot-and-mouth disease, lack of employment, middle-age, two divorces – the years living in accommodation tied to my job looking after a rotting country estate for absentee owners, a job that became redundant when they turned it into a hotel. I bought the little house for quite another purpose, was obliged in extremis to move here myself, have been quite unable to sell it again, and shall have been stuck here for six years next month, despairing of ever escaping.

Were it not for Hunzi and his care requirements I should probably more seriously contemplate exiting this world, being as I am totally surplus to anyone’s expectations but his; a drain both on the Exchequer and a diminishing supply of oxygen. I live for him and he, seemingly, for me. For that reason alone, I consider the injustice being done to him, and by extension to me, of an order of seriousness that could justify a threat of violence, which would be stupid I know, as it is not the sort of thing I do. I prefer to keep relations with the neighbors at a distance, but on an even keel.

But, by God, it would give me satisfaction to make those smug little bastards eat their lies.

 

“Migraines don’t always produce headaches…”

Floaters

As I squint at the big TV screen attached to my frustrating little laptop, on which these words are magically appearing in 20 pt, a grubby-looking twist of gristle is hovering, just out of focus, in the centre of the field of vision of my shortsighted right eye. I cannot blink or rub it away. Whenever my eye moves, the thing moves the other way, then returns to rest in the middle.

It is but one of a number of unwanted objects that have arrived to interrupt my normally clear vision.

Others over the past few days have included: a small, round, grey patch with a tail, on the end of which is a black speck, drifting from right to left; other black specks, some of which appear in sharp focus, like when the titles at the start of a 3D movie spring out in mid-air, appearing to be an arm’s length away, moving around like annoying small flies. I can follow them with my fingertip. There were the flashing lights in the periphery of my vision, thin streaks of light like small meteors flashing down the sky. And then when I am looking at any flat, white surface, with a bit of close focussing I can detect a faint, thin film moving gently downwards like a waterfall, made up of hundreds of tiny, circular dots with, among them, more of the little black flies.

Nothing two weeks on a sunny beach wouldn’t fix.

Have I been staring at this screen from too close-up, for too long? Next month will mark my sixth year of writing this daily drivel. Am I just exhausted, all sugared-out from Christmas wines and chocolates, and was my doctor’s warning nine months ago that I may be borderline Type-2 diabetic too unamusingly prescient? Or could the phenomena be connected with my terrible old teeth, that have been playing up over the holiday – with resultant persistent rhinitis and weeping eyes, and a borderline addiction to Panadol?

Observing this new waterfall effect while browsing in Waterstone’s bookstore on Wednesday, I finally broke and fled next door, which happens to be my opticians, where the very nice new lady optician seemed somewhat alarmed at my description, which I could not resist elaborating for her benefit, as I wanted to keep her laughing. She could not fit me in immediately, she explained, so I should go straight across the road to SpecSavers, where they are better equipped to diagnose the fault – but, she warned me, I should go as a matter of urgency, right now, and report back.

Dutifully, I accosted one of the senior-looking opticians in SpecSavers, and explained the situation. “I can’t examine you now either”, he said, “so you must go straight away to the Accident and Emergency department at the hospital, as your retina is detaching and you will go blind in your right eye.”

Or soothing words to that effect.

Well. What to do? I explored my reluctance, as a) I imagined the A&E department would be facing its busiest time of year, what with post-New Year’s traffic casualties and the swelling number of victims of the Australian ‘flu pandemic; judging by reports, the waiting time would be considerable; and that b) they wouldn’t have an opthalmologist on duty. How, I asked, would my retina be detaching, as I had suffered no blunt-force trauma to the head (I watch too many CSI shows…)? Kindly, he explained that it was sometimes an age-related thing that could be propelled by something as simple as a sneeze. I’ve not been looking too good lately, lined, pouchy and gray – and I’ve sneezed at least once this week, thanks to the sinusitis.

Anyway, it seemed the hospital would prioritize my case on his say-so and summon the duty opthalmologist from wherever they spend their evenings, whereupon I would be sent on to the eye clinic as an emergency, but would not be allowed to drive for four hours afterwards owing to the pupil-dilator they would need to apply to examine my eyes.

I calculated in that case I could be in town until two a.m. What to do about Hunzi, and the food shopping?

The eye clinic. Where, two years ago, I was sent after reporting symptoms involving large, fuzzy grey patches fringed with sparkly colors, and the locum doctor didn’t know how to operate the new computerized photo-the-backs-of-your-eyeballs tomography camera and the technician couldn’t be found and the nurse couldn’t anyway find the printout paper rolls so I had to come back a month later, by which time the symptoms had long gone and it had already been explained to me that migraines don’t always produce headaches – just fuzzy patches with glittery fringes.

And so, gentle reader, I decided to risk the blindness and drove home to feed and walk Hunzi, rather than spend five or ten hours amid the unpredictable drama of the local health service, anxiously perusing months-old copies of My Home! magazine. And here we are, two days later, and my old eyes feel so strained and tired, and this fucking blob keeps floating around – the fly-specks have gone for now, they come and go – but they’re both still just about working.

It’s funny how neither of them on their own produces much of an image, but with both eyes working together I could shoot a person off a hillside two miles away, and often think about who I’d most like it to be.

And so we soldier on.

Stupid? Typical male. But you know, after years of messing about with doctors investigating my enormous prostate, I stopped taking the pills, the hospital has seemingly forgotten about me, there’s anyway an 18-month waiting list in urology for six-monthly follow-up appointments – does it not occur to anyone that our civilization is genuinely broken? – and it’s not perfect, but it’s at least settled down and I’m getting the bad nights and embarrassing days less and less often and it seems my urinary tract is learning how to behave itself despite the many free tests and the impressive medicalization of my condition, MRI scans, peeing in a funnel and all.

With a group of friends last night, I raised the issue of floaters in the eyes and several people said, cheerily, oh yes, we have those too, all the time, annoying isn’t it.

I figure it’s nothing two weeks on a sunny beach wouldn’t fix.

Like, that’s going to happen.

Postscriptum: Eventually I broke and ran, and was operated on the next day. The eye still isn’t working normally, but at least I made £300 from work…. Gentle reader, never be so fucking silly.

 

GW: warning – no surfing on ice floes, ya hear?

Is anyone detecting a pattern?

The last week in October, there were still a dozen locations in the northern hemisphere where temperatures were exceeding 100F during the day. Within a week there were none. Temperatures fell steadily, until in the week before Christmas we started getting reports of record cold, where a few months earlier there had been record heat; and record snowfall, where previously there had been record flooding. And not just in the USA.

2017 was a year with no Autumn; straight from high summer to deepest winter.

It’s tempting to ask, what is going on?

USA: Storm Grayson – ‘The Cyclone Bomb’. Grayson’s central pressure dropped 59 mb in 24 hrs to just 950 mb off Cape Cod Thursday – a record.  “Heavy snow and high winds are beginning to pound the US East Coast along a front stretching from Maine in the north to North Carolina in the south, knocking out power, icing over roadways and closing hundreds of schools. The storm moved governors of multiple states – including New York and New Jersey – to declare states of emergency, a step already taken by governors of southern states.” Thousands of flights have been cancelled. The snow is falling on top of last weekend’s record snow.  Spring tides and a storm surge have brought coastal flooding to many areas, including Boston.

Frozen: a somewhat suspect image of an iguana by an unfrozen Florida pool… (Telegraph)

Temperatures all along the eastern seaboard haven’t risen above 20F (-6C) all week and a further plunge is forecast from Friday night. Niagara Falls is a spectacular ice-palace, Cape Cod Bay is a jumbled mass of ice floes while, down in Florida, deep-frozen iguanas have been photographed, supposedly falling from trees.

(Looking at prior news coverage, the BogPo notices that the eastern USA had winters not dissimilar to this in 2013, ’14, ’15 and ’16… It’s just that this one starts further south and features a rare winter hurricane that will no doubt spin over to the British Isles in the next week. Also, he has learned with fascination that green tree-dwelling iguanas occupy the same niche, being pestilential non-native immigrants to Florida, as green ring-necked parrots do in London.)

Canada: “The storm plowed directly into Canada’s Maritime Provinces, where the New Brunswick capital of St. John recorded a surface pressure of 951.1 mb—its lowest reading at any point in records going back to 1953.”

China: Possibly 10 dead after sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfalls froze water features, cut power to millions and disrupted travel. 16-in snow fell on Shangxi, Shenan and Hubei provinces. Another 12-in of snow is forecast in parts of the country over the weekend.

India: “New Delhi – Cold wave continues to sweep North and East India. Dense fog at several places in the region has affected normal life. In Uttar Pradesh, four people died of cold in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts. The mercury in Muzaffarnagar plunged to 3.4 degrees yesterday, while Sultanpur and Fursatganj recorded minimum temperatures of 2.8 degrees Celsius. … In Bihar, normal life has been paralysed due to intense cold. Gaya remained the coldest place in the state where 3.8 degree celcius. 24 people have died due to severe cold in the state this season.”

“Reports say seven people died in two separate incidents in Delhi and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state on Sunday after inhaling carbon monoxide from coal fires in their rooms to keep themselves warm. The dead included four children in a family in Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh. Kashmir: Srinagar city recorded a minimum temperature of minus 1.8C on Sunday.”

Malaysia: the “annual northeast monsoon brought further heavy rain (and flooding) over the last 2 days. Malaysia news agency Bernama reports that 2 people have died in the floods, one in Kuantan and another in Sungai Lembing, Pahang state.” More than 12 thousand people have been displaced.

Vietnam: Tropical Storm Balavan is arriving with more heavy rain, the third TS to cross the Philippines in a month, killing 2.

Madagascar: Up to 20-in of rain expected, as “Tropical Cyclone Ava was on track to produce what could be the planet’s first hurricane-strength landfall of 2018.” Friday: Ava hits Madagascar with 110 mph wind, killing 6, but is forecast to dissip[ate and wander back out into the Indian Ocean. Capital Antananarivo flooded, rivers on red alert.

New Zealand: “Winds were over 90 mph in some parts, with at least 274 lightning strikes and nearly 9 inches of rain in areas around Mount Taranaki. (Parts of Auckland flooded out.) The massive rain storm followed an unusually dry summer. 1 woman died after a tree fell on a car.” Campbelltown, Sydney, Australia, (06 Jan) the mercury hits 47.3C, 117F, 0.5C off the city’s hottest ever. Hundreds of ‘Flying Fox’ bats die from dehydration; koalas rescued.

Eleanor froths up a storm (ibtimes.co.uk)

British Isles: Heavy rain, strong winds and a tidal surge from Storm Eleanor brought flooding to the west of Ireland. Galway and Cork cities were partly underwater. In England, “winds of 100 mph (160km/h) were recorded at Great Dun Fell in Cumbria. At least four people were injured by fallen trees.” Masses of frothy sea-foam whipped-up by the huge storm were reported along the entire western seaboard of Europe, from Portugal to Northern Ireland. The Thames barrier was closed to protect London from the storm surge.

France: “Storm Eleanor brought down trees and left thousands of homes without power. Winds of up to 147km/h recorded in the Nord department.” A skier in Haute-Savoie was killed by a falling tree; 2 other deaths were reported, and 2 more earlier in Spain. 2 -ft of snow at the ski resort of Chamonix was greeted with delight by operators until it turned to rain and the avalanche warning indicator reached 5/5, curtailing sport. At one point over 200,000 homes in France were without power.

Known in Germany as Burglind, Eleanor led to a falling tree derailing a train near Luenen, while flooding was forecast for Cologne and other cities along the swollen Rhine.

Thousands of tourists have been left stranded after heavy snow in the Alps cut off towns and villages across Switzerland, France and Italy. 13,000 tourists are trapped in Zermatt. More than a metre (39in) of snow fell in parts on Monday alone. On Tuesday, a metre more is forecast. In the Simplon region of Valais, where Zermatt is located, two metres (6.6ft) of snow fell in a 24-hour period, the Swiss ATS news agency said.

Wunderground/ Independent/ Floodlist/ Newsweek, quoting ABC News, South China Morning Post/ India Newsroom Post/ BBC News.

(PS Where is Climate & Extreme Weather News #89? 7 days overdue… Frozen up? )

 

End of civilization as we knew it

WARNING: Do not travel to Egypt without memorizing your catechism (or redacting your bogl Posts…)

Image: Fanpop.com

Deity of the Jackal: an Egyptian god you can have fun choosing to believe in (and stay out of gaol).

“The Egyptian parliament has commenced processes to criminalize atheism in the predominantly Muslim north African country. A legislation proposed on the eve of 2017 Christmas was given consideration by the parliament on the eve of New Year’s Day, the USA Today website reported.

“Under existing Egyptian laws, it is illegal to insult or defame any religion. Blasphemy arrests carry a conviction of up to five years. The new development if approved means just refusing to believe in God could be punishable by law.” (Africa News, 04 Jan)

For a list of Egyptian gods in which you may safely choose to believe, visit wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Egyptian_gods_and_goddesses

Boom time

In Yellowstone news, the unusually intense earthquake swarms that began on 12 June last year are continuing, inside and outside the caldera, with pronounced tremors, outgassing, indications of rising melt and magma movement, water and ground heating, ‘dead fish’ events and strong ground uplift. USGS says “condition green, all normal”.

The Express reports: “UFO hunters have now added more fuel to the fire by claiming to have spotted alien spacecrafts hovering over the Yellowstone volcano, claiming they are monitoring it before its imminent massive eruption.” (The story then goes on to deny itself. We’ll see.)

 

 

The BogPo: Back in your box please, Norman. Now… This Revengers’ tragedy has gone far enough… Assholes is as assholes does… GW: skating on thin ice.

“Hmm. Can’t have the party leader telling me which way to vote…”

“I know, I’ll abstain…”

Back in your box please, Norman. Now.

Another distressing old ghoul from the 1980s-era Thatcher cabinet, a zombie dripping with soil and maggots, ‘Lord’ Norman Tebbit of BALPA has risen untimely from the snow-covered earth and raised his sightless skull to howl at the moon.

His former cabinet colleague, ‘Lord’ Heseltine (they’re all Lords, Time-lords presumably since they all ought by rights to be dead by now, along with their unholy mistress) went on record the other day as saying it might be preferable to have a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, than to endure the kind of nonsensical, damaging, divisive Brexit Mrs May might be proposing – if anyone, even she, knew what she is proposing.

While it is almost certainly preferable that Hezza is in opposition to the tight-knit cabal of power-hungry pantomime villains in the Tory party, the Bakers and the Patersons, the Redwoods and the Bones, the Duncan Cunts lobbying tirelessly (the Undead never sleep) for the hardest kind of Brexit, i.e. no deal with the remaining EU states, a new British Empire rising from the sea, free from the garlic-munching constraints of one of the most profitable open-border trade deals we have ever had, his remark kind of damns the future with faint praise.

It’s also a tad off-kilter, because Corbyn is just as much of a Brexiter as any cretinous empire-loyalist throwback and neo-Thatcherite, ultra-liberal plotter on the Tory benches. If he wasn’t, he’d be in Downing Street by now, the woolly-pated old clodpuddle who just can’t resist rebelling against the party leadership, even when he IS the party leadership.

And we wouldn’t be headed for a life of servitude under the restrictive domination of the World Trade Organization and its secret court of arbitration; recast as a cut-price offshore tax shelter under the control of US corporations, owned by billionaire fund managers, hanging our fiscal arse out for anyone who wants to come by and pay tuppence to fuck it; proudly waving our second-class blue passports as we queue at the Aliens’ counter of once welcoming vacation destinations (there being some corner of a foreign airfield that is forever England…)

Tebbit’s spectral threat, however, is chilling. He asks of Heseltine: “It must call into question whether his loyalty is to the UK or a foreign power.”

Wow, that’s vintage Trump. Our dead white politicians are clearly learning.

Which “foreign power” would that be, Norman, you loathsome, rotting corpse, you? You always were a bit of a Goebbels figure. Not possibly the “foreign power” that bankrolled this clusterfuck in the first place? If anyone’s loyalty is to the Kremlin, it must surely be yours.

Back in your box please, Norman.

Now.

x

This Revengers’ tragedy has gone far enough

Well-known throughout the English-speaking world, the American writer/broadcaster and “feuilletoniste” par excellence, Garrison Keillor has been fired by the obscure local radio station he put and has kept on the map for the past four decades, Minnesota Public Radio, for putting his hand on a female colleague’s back, as he admits, finding bare skin – and as both originally described it, to console her over some unhappiness she was sharing with him. He would, he avers, have done the same for anyone, female or male.

How to destroy a popular franchise with a few well-chosen weasel words. (Photo: futureperfectpublishing.com)

But she seemed a little leery about it at the time, so, as far as both of them were concerned, she settled for his apology, verbally and in writing, and Keillor thought no more of it until the woman’s lawyer weighed in a few days ago, on (literally) the back of a lot of other, seemingly trivial, vexatious and opportunistic complaints that have followed, among them admittedly more serious allegations, many affecting the broadcasting industry, since the “outing” by more than 20 women two months ago of predatory Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein.

Since when, it has turned into a blamefest that is playing into the increasingly unseemly political “debate” on both sides of the channel, proving so easy to get rid of opponents with a well-judged swipe of a lipstick.

“On Wednesday he (Keillor) wrote a column saying there was no reason for Senator Al Franken, who is accused of sexual misconduct and was photographed groping a sleeping broadcaster, to resign.” – BBC report.

And five minutes later, wham! He’s toast.

There’s nothing like guilt by association to improve a news item, is there. Even if it is libellously inaccurate. So now it’s not acceptable to offer any kind of a defense of someone you think has been pushed to the brink over allegations of minor misconduct you believe have been blown out of proportion, at a time when past flirty behavior is all of a sudden being treated as a serious category error of which all men are automatically guilty without due process? Great.

So here’s my defense of Mr Keillor, and Sen. Franken, for what it’s worth:

The additional reporting on this story perpetuates the allegation that Franken “groped a sleeping broadcaster”. But Franken himself was part of the broadcast! The woman wasn’t “a broadcaster”. “Broadcasters” aren’t generally found “sleeping” on the job! Nor did he actually “grope” her. The story is bullshit.

Before he ran for Congress, the senator was a TV comedian. Such is the American Dream.

The old photograph of him “groping” the woman depicted what was obvious horseplay, apparently on-set during a rehearsal for a skit in a TV show. The woman was not a “broadcaster”, she was another comedic actor taking part in the skit. A BBC journalist should know the difference.

Franken was fully aware of what he was doing, it seems, as he was mugging at the time into the lens of a camera which, if you have genuinely sinister intent, you certainly would not do. His hands do not appear to touch the actor, but hover suggestively over her breasts, which were covered for whatever dramatic purpose with a ridiculous, pointy, armored metal brassiere! She was not “sleeping”, she was pretending to sleep: ACTING a part. Franken was not “groping”, he was simulating “groping”, for comedic effect.

But she has since recalled that he later tried to kiss her…

Whatever else he may have been accused of, however tedious or infantile the joke, Franken was not “groping” the woman. He was pretending to. Comedy was clearly the intent. If he later tried to kiss her, well, silly him. Is it that serious? Actors kiss everyone, all the time. People kiss actors. Kissing is a social thing, it isn’t rape.

Politicians too: I seem to recall Tony Blair disgracefully snogging Col Muammar Gadaffi, a serial rapist and pedophile whose supply of Semtex to the IRA had killed hundreds of British citizens. I was on a course recently, we all hugged goodbye at the end and a woman I was not physically attracted to and had shown no sign of interest in, someone I barely knew, kissed me full on the lips. Should I call my lawyer?

We don’t know the precise circumstances; only that a woman many years later says she was so outraged, so humiliated, so… sexually assaulted by a fumbled kiss from a colleague? that the man has to end his political career on her say-so. Why? Well, because she’s a woman. Surely enough evidence for anyone: women can’t possibly be expected to cope with a little flirtatious attention. And if Franken was a bit flirty, a bit gropy, a bit louche, so what? Millions of men are, always were, it’s what makes the world go around. Ask Simone de Beauvoir. Ask Collette, Anaïs Nin… (Strangely, French women seem to get it… Americans derive their matriarchal power from not getting it.)

There was a time when flirtatiousness between men and women was an expression of human sexuality rather than a patriarchal power-fantasy. It cut two ways – women had their stratagems – and was not just tolerated: it was a game of two halves, as someone once said about soccer.

What is really disturbing is that it is no longer a defense to point it out. It’s okay for a woman to put on 3-inch denim hotpants, 6-inch heels and a boob tube, drink a pint of vodka and stagger out into the nighttime streets to get sex off any drunken guy they fancy. No, it really is. But why is it now a retroactive, career-destroying offence for a man to flirtatiously put his hand on a woman’s knee in a bar at a political convention? Is it a crime to want human contact? We’re programmed to. Is it a crime to point that out?

Because “inappropriate sexual conduct” such as wolf whistling or propositioning or casual touching in a non-threatening manner are not criminal offences: they were bad manners; now they’re a political policy.

We should perhaps remind ourselves from time to time that whoever resurrected this “evidence” of past misconduct that – among later accusations of similarly flirty masculinist behaviour –  drove Sen. Franken to resign would have been well aware that he is a Democratic senator, that the Republicans have only a slender majority in the Senate, they have difficult and frankly lousy bills to get passed and they know too that their irascible President has been accused of, and is self-confessed to, far worse predatory sexual behavior, from which some distraction is required.

Of course they are going to make the most of it; especially in the light of accusations against their equally appalling candidate in Alabama, the unspeakable Roy Moore. (Unfortunately, his sexual peccadilloes have occluded his vile racial and religious bigotry.)

Oh, and did I mention that when the ‘Golden Showergate’ dossier came out, Trump joked that he knew all about the form of blackmail known in Russia as “Kompromat” because he too owned hotels; hotels perhaps not dissimilar to the one in which his son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s dad compromised his own brother-in-law, filming him secretly with a prostitute and sending the tape to his wife, his own sister, to get him to drop his testimony in a fraud trial? And that the President is now accused of having sex with porn actresses after only one year married to Melania, women he’s bought off? And nothing is going to happen as a result, because it’s not illegal?

There are surely degrees of offense, some of which seemingly require that the supposed offender should be blackmailed into a course of action favorable to the blackmailer. There will however be voices raised in support of Charlie Kushner, disapproving of prostitution, or hotels, or something.

Did Keillor masturbate, like Weinstein, allegedly ejaculating into a plant pot in front of this woman? Did he emerge naked from the hotel shower and ask for a “massage”? Did he threaten to destroy her career if she didn’t have sex with him? Did he call her up like Bill O’Reilly of Fox News used to, and tell her he was playing with himself while they talked? Did he make gratuitous remarks about how she had great tits, push her up against a wall and kiss her, or try to “grab her by the pussy”? Did he exonerate himself by claiming she was too ugly to have bothered with, or impose a legal gagging order threatening her with financial ruin? (All allegations have been denied by the men concerned.)

No, according to Keillor he touched her on, as he thought, a “safe” place (as we men have been taught to regard various supposedly non-erogenous zones of a woman – given that it is impossible and psychologically inadvisable to go through life without sometime touching at least one other person) on the small of her back, in what he claims was, and she accepted at the time was, a sympathetic gesture of solidarity. But of course, he’s a middle-aged white man, so we can’t possibly believe his version of events.

And now she’s gone and terminated his career, one imagines through her lawyer demanding the not-for-profit station pays them both off handsomely over this singular incident, which – according to the report – did not involve any actual impropriety, other than a hand patting or rubbing or pressing on her back, which can often be misinterpreted as a perfectly innocent, decent human gesture. Nice person.

Nor is Keillor yet being painted as a serial rapist – give it time:

“The station said it did not know of any allegations involving any other staff.” – BBC report. (That’s after 42 years with the station.)

Nevertheless, in stark terror MPR said it would:

  • end its contracts with Mr Keillor and his companies
  • stop broadcasting his syndicated show The Writer’s Almanac
  • stop rebroadcasting highlights from A Prairie Home Companion
  • change that programme’s name
  • separate from an online catalogue and website associated with him.

Over this one incident that allegedly took place, its propriety in retrospective dispute, we know not how long ago.

From all that we do know, this grotesque, Stalinist un-personning of Keillor, this cowardly airbrushing of their star performer and his folksy shows that millions have listened to with pleasure for over 40 years, would seem so egregiously over-the-top and so unnecessary, so unfair on the listeners, so hedged about and justified with weasel words, that it surely now behoves every male on the planet, even the gay ones, especially the gray ones, to come forward dressed in chains and kneeling in contrition, to renounce their jobs and dismantle their families, who ever engaged in any physical contact whatsoever beyond air-kissing and cooing ‘Hugs, babe!’ from a safe distance with a female of the species.

I’m sorry, I may be entirely wrong, I’m not an advocate of harrassment, but we seem to be gripped by a collective insanity involving a vituperative historical revisionism, in this case of what formerly passed for normal interpersonal behavior until the rules were arbitrarily changed last November. I sense a feeling of triumphalism about the #metoo movement.

We might as well die out. We deserve it in so many ways.

 

Assholes is as assholes does

Trump… Weinstein… Kim Jong-un… Rodrigo Duterte… Boris Johnson.

Stuart Jeffries has an entertaining piece in the post-Boxing Day Guardian, about how 2017 was the Year of the Asshole, according to a book: The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt, by Robert Sutton (Penguin Books).

Generally, assholes (in the American spelling) are people who abuse their authority to diminish others, while themselves acting like complete dicks.

Whaddaya mean, my tie is in your tea? (photo: forfreepsychology.com)

Like the MD of an ad agency I briefly worked for, who would give you a hazing, snarling at you with his stale breath and fishy, pale-blue eyes magnified tenfold by pebble lenses, from a distance of two inches, seriously questioning your loyalty and why you needed to go home before eight p.m. after working a 14-hour day.

As the most profitable creative in the building, I once asked for a raise and he snapped back with: “So who would you like me to fire, so they can pay for you to have more?” And then pocketed the entire staff bonus pool for the year, lying to us that we had made a loss, to buy himself a yacht.

And the time he sent his most cowed and creepy fellow board director illegally round to my house, to check that I really did have a horrific sweating virus with a temperature of 108 and wasn’t just malingering.

Or the MD of another company I briefly worked for, who was so organizationally conflicted he needed three PAs just to even try to keep his appointments and his over-generous promises to clients on-track.

This asshole would order the most junior person in the office to phone a supplier to negotiate a discount after the supplier had already delivered and invoiced the job, standing behind them screaming: “Tell ‘im ‘e’s a fuckin’ cunt an’ if ‘e’ doesn’t give us 30 per cent I’ll fuckin’ destroy ‘im…” And once on the way to a meeting, realizing he’d double-booked his appointments, he asked me in a panic to take over with one of the clients, promising me a bonus if I screwed the guy for a £5 thousand budget for a project. I came out with £10 thousand, but of course I never saw the bonus.

A man seemingly without qualifications or any redeeming features, he eventually achieved the Holy Grail of assholery – 100 per cent staff turnover in one year.

And then there was the editor of a terrible freesheet newspaper I freelanced on out of desperation as a subeditor one day a week. This baboon had been a printer, or ‘stone-hand’ as the troglodytes called themselves, on The Sun and had no journalistic background. He would sit brooding in his glass fishtank, from where he could monitor all our screens, before erupting four times a day like a Pixar octopus to scream at some unfortunate, occasionally me (my limited typesetting expertise had been gained in book publishing): “Oi pays you fuckin’ Fleet Street rates (he didn’t) an’ Oi ‘as to do all the fuckin’ work meself!” before correcting some tiny discrepancy in the alignment of the text across the gutter of the pages and slithering back to his dark and watery domain.

I once observed him brutally firing a raw recruit, a young trainee who had foolishly given up his tenancy to travel 250 miles to a new town and a new job. On his first morning the “editor” had told this kid to go and interview a publican who had ejected a drunk from his bar the previous night, having called the police – and to take a photographer and come back with 20 usable shots. Of course there was nothing to see but a self-satisfied bloke and a building and not a lot to say, the story having already been widely reported, so he instantly and loudly fired the kid, who left in tears.

I decided at that point that the only way to treat this “bosshole” was with serene detachment, because he was really a comic character, the perfect caricature of a ruthlessly efficient Alpha male presiding tyrannically over the world’s most dysfunctional weekly: a disgusting piggery of a newsroom filled with broken equipment, burnt-out screens, unsorted piles of paper, old food cartons everywhere and pervaded by the sweaty smell of fear. The day I quit, he looked at me with horror and asked, piteously, “Why, was it something I said?”

Ironic, then, that a thread of quite witty and profound Comments inspired by Jeffries’s piece should be summarily terminated after only 134 entries by an asshole on the Guardian Comment staff posting imperiously:

“Comments here were opened in error and will be closing shortly. Thank you.”

Thus denying your Uncle Bogler the opportunity to get in early with a merry quip. “Opened in error”. Why, was it not considered a prize piece of assholery to censor Comments on a popular and amusing subject? Was there something political, did people suddenly start attacking immigrants or Brexit remoaners? What “error” caused a supposedly grownup, independent, liberally-minded national newspaper to flee from its responsibility to allow a reasonable opportunity for public comment? Fuck you!

I don’t respond to 20-something Guardian editor Kath Viner’s tragic daily pleas for money to keep going. I did once, about a year ago; sending her a grateful blogging pensioner’s tenner, before I read in Private Eye that the Scott Trust, the holy body that owns the Guardian, was sitting on a cashpile of around £600 million. What’s more, the sanctimonious pricks at The Guardian act like an institutional asshole toward their own journalists, operating with a minimal staff, imposing on them low-paid, zero-hours contracts that include provisions like a compulsory annual month off, which thereby excludes them from pension rights, and so on.

And what are the Grauniad hacks minimally paid to do? Why, to offer a reasoned daily post-feminist critique of über-capitalism and the gig economy!

This could just be the year I wean myself off an adult lifetime’s dependency on all such assholes.

Thank you.

x

GW: skating on thin ice

UK: “…findings from power research group MyGridGB show that renewable energy sources provided more power than coal for 90% of 2017, figures up to 12 December show. British wind farms produced more electricity than coal plants on more than 75% of days this year. … In April, the UK had its first 24-hour period without using any coal power since the Industrial Revolution.” Snow has closed roads and airports, ahead of Storm Dylan (30 Dec.)

Malta: a private jet belonging to Britain/Belize’s tax-dodger-general, Tory donor Lord Michael Ashcroft, was picked up and blown through an airport fence, crashing into an office building Thursday, by a powerful gust of wind. Struck back in August by a ‘Med-icane’, the island has again been hit by a powerful storm system, with 5-meter waves, thunderstorms, hail, torrential rain and a single-digit cold snap all in the forecast.

Australia: SE Queensland swelters through a Christmas heatwave, until powerful storm cells bring strong winds, heavy rain and hail, smashing up homes, breaking car windshields and causing power blackouts. “Cricket-ball sized” hail batters the small town of Athol, near Twoowoomba (just as England’s Cook was battering cricket-ball sized, er, cricket balls for his 244 in Melbourne). More storms are forecast for the New Year’s weekend.

Philippines: the death toll from Typhoon Tembim (TS Vinta) stands at 240, with 107 still unaccounted for. Whole villages were washed away or buried. The remnant typhoon, downgraded to a TD, is now battering Vietnam.

USA: Much of the eastern mid- and NE US is experiencing record cold and snowfall in a huge swath from the Arctic circle down to Florida. Erie, Pennsylvania is under five feet of snow, that fell in a day and a night. “3 to 4 more feet” is the forecast. 50th State, Hawaii has had near-record rainfall and flash floods; 6-in fell on Maui airport in 24 hours. Meanwhile, heatwave conditions persist in the far SW and California, where the Thomas fire is 80% controlled.

And as for Alaska… temperatures this December have been “20 to 30 degrees above average”. 2017 is likely to be the costliest year ever for the US in terms of weather disruption. 700 scientific staff posts are reportedly vacant after a wave of resignations at the US Environment Protection Agency.

Oceans: “…on December 21, sea surface temperatures were as high as 31.7°C or 89°F north of Australia. In line with rising temperatures caused by global warming, sea surface temperature anomalies are high across the oceans. … temperature anomalies over the Arctic Ocean could be as high as 30°C, 54°F.” (Shome confusion here… 30°C is 86°F, not 54°F, which is 12°C. Ed.)

BBC News/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #88, citing CBS News, RUPTLY, Maui Now, et al./ Wunderground/ Arctic News

 

Final word

There’s a cat outside our house…

West Yorkshire police report that they took a hundred thousand completely trivial “emergency” 999 calls in 2017, ranging from: “There’s a cat outside our house and it won’t move, what should we do?” to: “My mum’s at the hairdresser’s and they’ve tinted her hair the wrong colour”. (BBC report, 28 Dec.)

Well, really, if the police don’t have the manpower or the time to send someone to sort out these very real humanitarian crises, where is the country coming to, after eight years of Tory rule?

No wonder people are voting for Brexit.

Malta: Gateway to the Mediterranean (just don’t hire a car)… Computer News: Where in the world am I? … Your old Granny W. sploshes in galoshes … End of Everything, Update … Afterthought: And where do you come from?

“Her uncompromising blog and scathing pen spared no punches, hitting out mainly at exponents of the ruling Labour Party and their supporters, but also sometimes criticising officials of the centre-right Nationalist Party, including its newly-elected leader.”

Malta: Gateway to the Mediterranean (just don’t hire a car)

So writes Herman Grech, online editor of The Times of Malta, following a powerful car bomb explosion at the weekend in which former Times reporter and political blogger, Daphne Caruana Galizia was blown to bits outside her home, in a rental car.

Daphne Galizia: had promised to reveal the ownership of a company involved in a possibly corrupt power station contract.

Ms Galizia has been an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat since his name popped up in the 2015 release of The Panama Papers, suggesting that he and his wife had been corruptly salting away money paid to him by Azerbaijan in offshore companies.

To remind viewers and listeners, the Panama Papers were 11 million documents leaked from the offices of the law firm, Mossack Fonseca, detailing the setting up of tens of thousands of virtually untraceable shell companies to hide money in places like the British Virgin Islands, whom God recently punished with a hurricane.

“While offshore business entities are legal, reporters found that some (actually, rather a lot. Ed.) of the Mossack Fonseca shell corporations were used for illegal purposes, including fraud, tax evasion, and evading international sanctions.” (Wikipedia)

Weeping copious crocodile tears, Mr Muscat went on televisual record as saying:

“I condemn without reservations this barbaric attack on a person and on the freedom of expression in our country.”

And we must take him at his word. Although, it ought to be said, Mrs Galizia knew how to make enemies.

The one thing one doesn’t get from this BBC News story is any sense of who might have perpetrated the outrage in a supposedly peaceable part of the world where such things don’t normally happen; although Malta’s strategic ‘crossroads’ location 60 miles off the Libyan coast and former Arab history, together with its latter status for many years as a British dominion have for centuries made it a hotbed of espionage and intrigue.

Grech’s Times of Malta Online piece doesn’t appear to dare to venture even a hint of a suggestion, but instead sprays out a list of people Galizia might have pissed-off, including some she might not have, i.e. politicians opposed to the government of Dr Muscat. Only…

What is going on?

The US State department’s official website, while being unable to correctly spell ‘Assad’, the name of the President of Syria, nevertheless generously praises Azerbaijan for its co-operation on international terrorism and its opposition to: “terrorist organizations seeking to move people, money, and material through the Caucasus”.

That would presumably not include the Trump Organization’s friends, the Iranian National Guard Corps, whose money (according to The New Yorker magazine) moved through a failed Trump hotel development in the Azeri capital, Baku, part-financing an improbable project being managed by Trump daughter, Ivanka, in partnership with local oligarch and notoriously corrupt ‘family business’ boss, Zia Mammadov.

As “Trump said” (or someone did, he can’t string two words together):

“Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku represents the unwavering standard of excellence of The Trump Organization and our involvement in only the best global development projects,” Trump said when the venture was announced in 2014. “When we open in 2015, visitors and residents will experience a luxurious property unlike anything else in Baku—it will be among the finest in the world.” (Mother Jones)

Despite the ringing endorsement, the project (in a down-at-heel suburb of the capital) got dumped before Trump’s election. Nevertheless, many Western countries have flocked to oil-rich Azerbaijan and its hospitable (although not to journalists or political opponents) President Ilham Aliyev. The BBC reported:

“Deals with international energy producers have allowed the country to use its energy revenues to create a government-run fund involved in international projects … Despite its wealth and increased influence in the wider region, poverty and corruption continue to overshadow the country’s development.”

Maltese cars seem to have a distressing habit of exploding. In October last year, local Buggiba businessman John Camilleri was assassinated in a powerful explosion that only narrowly missed a passing school bus full of children. Again, in reporting the incident the Times of Malta curiously avoided any of the normal press speculation as to the reason behind the attack, or to describe Mr Camilleri as anything other than the proprietor of a bathroom-tile business; but merely concentrated on its own – and the government politicians’ – handwringing.

So much for “freedom of expression”.

In January 2016, a person “registered as a fisherman”, local boat-owner “Martin Cachia, 56, from Marsascala, who has a pending court case in connection with human trafficking, according to sources”, as anyone might, was blown up and died when his car crashed into a wall. While in September 2016, an unnamed man “not well-known to the police” was seriously injured in another car bombing in Mosta, losing both legs, and his passenger also injured; a third man was injured in his car as he was passing by.

How normal is it for a national newspaper not even to try to identify any of the three victims of an attempted murder, or to speculate on who might have been behind it, but merely to drop huge clues to local people as to the identity of the main target? What are journalists afraid of, we wonder?

Just what is going on in tiny island Malta?

Well, if you Google ‘organized crime in Malta’ you get only the results of an optimistic, anodyne official inquiry covering burglaries and suchlike, that makes no reference whatsoever to targeted assassinations. Self-censorship seems to reach up from the press into the higher echelons of government and law-enforcement. The European Union, of which Malta is a relatively new member, is silent on the subject.

But not everyone is afraid to speak out, provided they do so under conditions of anonymity. On 16 October, 2017 The Independent online (UK) among others reported on the Galizia murder:

“A politician said her death marked the “collapse of the rule of law” in Malta, the smallest (country) in the European Union. Tributes to Galizia poured in on Monday evening, as thousands of Maltese gathered in the streets for a candlelight vigil to the reporter.  Galizia is believed to have just published the last post on her widely read blog, Running Commentary, just before leaving her house (in) Mosta, a town outside the capital Valletta.”

“There are crooks everywhere you look now,” she had written, “the situation is desperate.”

In advance of his second visit to Azerbaijan in four months, to attend a conference where he was due to mingle with such luminaries as the peace-prizewinning war criminal, Henry Kissinger, Dr Muscat’s people were less than forthcoming in response to enquiries by The Times of Malta (who weren’t invited on the official junket): “Dr Muscat (is) committed to continue to do work to bring more investment and jobs to Malta.”

At what cost?

The traffic is, of course, not just one-way. Azerbaijan’s foreign affairs minister, Elmar Mammadyarov visited Malta for three days last week, conceivably to discuss an ongoing project involving Azeri state oil and gas company SOCAR, to build a power station on the island. Malta Today reported:

“Mammadyarov’s visit comes as Daphne Caruana Galizia has pledged to publish proof this week that a bank account of a company owned by politically exposed people in Azerbaijan was used to transfer large sums of money to offshore Panama companies owned by minister Konrad Mizzi, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, and a third company, Egrant.”

It is strongly rumoured among opposition politicians that Joseph Muscat and his wife may be the beneficial owners of Egrant. While, despite an impeccable record of Western education at Brown University and diplomatic service to his country, the Azeri’s Wikipedia entry reports:

“Under Elmar Mammadyarov the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan was hit by numerous scandals and corruption allegations. Stories and documents published in a number of Azeri news sites, blogs and social media claim that Mammadyarov is involved in illegal employment of staff for diplomatic service, irregularities, corruption and espionage along with his deputies and other high foreign service officials.”

Dimech: the ‘gangster’s moll’. But what was the politician really up to? (photo from website)

Was the killing of Galizia timed to entertain the visiting Azeri minister?

Business in Malta is clearly booming. But a casual browse on Mrs Galizia’s website reveals an intricate web of social, political and business relationships on the island that is almost impenetrable to an outsider. She covers numerous stories, many of them on the surface little more than tittle-tattle revealing a fetid atmosphere among the island’s half a million inhabitants.

One caught the attention of the BogPo, concerning the apparently close friendship between the much younger girlfriend of a convicted drug dealer, Rebecca Dimech (see photo) and the wife of the leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Dr Adrian Delia; whom Galizia hints at not so much having an affair with Ms Dimach, but more of being involved in her boyfriend’s cocaine enterprise:

“Miss Dimech … is an amateur glamour model from the wrong side of the tracks, whose long-term boyfriend, Andre Falzon … is a convicted drug-dealer well known to the police. He was released from prison last June. … Mrs Delia was at pains to dismiss any suspicions people might have had about “infidelity” by telling her interviewer “we laughed our heads off”. The widespread suspicions she needs to address about her and the Opposition leader’s relationship with Miss Dimech, though, have nothing to do with infidelity….” (Running Commentary)

Whatever may be going on with the Azerbaijan connection, it seems Mrs Galizia had a way of making powerful enemies in many areas of island life. Drugs, money-laundering, racketeering, people smuggling…. Perhaps we should not be too quick to point the finger of blame for her death at anyone special.

It’s clearly just a cultural thing.

 

x

Computer News

“Probing deeper, I discover a little map of ‘South Bank’, and with a start of recognition realize that it is a part of London I know fairly well…”

Where in the world am I?

Likers, Spammers, Followers and Those No Longer Reading this, muh bogl, will possibly have noted one of the sources for our regular Granny Weatherwax roundup of extreme weather events worldwide is a research group called Weather Underground, blogging as Wunderground, which is – we believe – owned or sponsored or funded by the CNN News organization in America.

Despite the defiant name, these weather guerillas seem to be perfectly reputable, highly qualified meteorologists running an efficient website combining official data sources and up to the minute satellite feeds with detailed reports, forecasts and expert commentary.

Heading their homepage every day is a weather report along the lines of the BBC’s clever “and now the news where you are” feature, a personalized facility for which some algorithm has been programmed to guess where in the world you are and tell you what the temperature, the windspeed and the precipitation are outside, roughly now.

So for weeks, I’ve been getting weather reports and forecasts for somewhere called Grangemouth, United Kingdom.

Now, until this began happening I had no idea where Grangemouth is, I had never heard of the place. Somewhat frustrated, as you can try keying in your actual location but the next day you wake up back in Grangemouth, I looked it up on the ever-reliable Google maps, and found it is an industrial coaling port all the way across the other side of the UK, on the North Sea coast. No wonder it’s always ten degrees colder there than it is here in the West, warmed as we are by the Gulf Stream (my next-door-neighbour has a well-advanced palm tree growing in their garden. Grangemouth is more famed for its tundra).

Why the boffins of Wunderground have decided I live there, or have the slightest interest in the prevailing conditions for the hardy Viking stock of Northumberland, I have no idea. But in recent days, it seems that I have sold up my home in Grangemouth and moved to somewhere called “South Bank”, where I notice it’s currently 51 deg. F. and sunny, with a high of 61 expected later.

There’s very little wind in South Bank, I notice, compared with here where we had a bit of whiplash from ex-Hurricane Ophelia yesterday as it chewed its way up the west coast of Ireland; although nothing like as bad as the “85 mph gusts” forecast.

Probing deeper, I discover a little map of South Bank, and with a start of recognition realize that it is a part of London I know fairly well, having been born and lived across the other side of the river for many years (there is no “North Bank”, by the way – it’s just known as Embankment, that eventually becomes other riparian districts like Pimlico and fashionable Chelsea Reach).

South Bank – or to give it its proper place names, Southwark, Vauxhall, Battersea –  is pretty famous, historically as the site of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and nowadays, for Sir Denys Lasdun’s ’60s Brutalist concert venue, the Royal Festival Hall; the Tate gallery and for the human statues and what-all else annoying buskers who infest the walkways.

But it’s still 256 miles from where I live now; while since my poor old mum passed away last year, I know no-one living anywhere near there, having almost literally burned my bridges as far as the capital is concerned. Looked at objectively, you can buy a three-bedroomed house in Grangemouth for £40 thousand; while the average price of a three-bedroomed house anywhere near “South Bank” (which is not actually a residential community) would be about £2.5 million. The “hiraeth” from which I suffer at the thwarted hope of someday returning to South Kensington, place of my boyhood, is mocked now by the vast economic divide in our society.

Meanwhile back in algorithm corner, I find on the Guardian website I am being offered the opportunity to buy yet more one-off items I have already just bought, or looked at on shopping websites and rejected.

What is the point, I ask myself and any passers-by who will stop to listen?

Here, for instance, is the opportunity to buy the bedroom chair in the color I rejected in favour of the bedroom chair I actually ordered, now in my bedroom. It might be several years before it wears out and I need another one. It’s quite a small room, with no room for two. And look, here next to it is the mattress I bookmarked before I baulked at the £700 price ticket, given that I have a mattress already.

I had thought seriously about changing it after reading Tim Dowling’s acerbically humorous Saturday column in the Guardian last week, about his adventures in acquiring a new mattress for their new home in grimiest Acton, West London (the running gag every week being how he and his wife don’t get along, although it seems they still share a bed, enabling them to fight amusingly over hopeless American-in-London, Tim’s inability to acquire a new mattress).

Mine started life as a pretty supportive, midrange orthopedic design, with 1800 sprung pockets, but over the six years I’ve had it, it has become soggy and pliant beneath my constantly revolving bulk. When Tim mentioned waking up every day with numb hands and a stiff neck, familiar symptoms, I knew it had come time for me to look for a new mattress, and Googling “mattresses” found many affordable examples advertised with free delivery.

I always reason that cheap is crappy and the more you spend, the happier you will be. But you can’t tell, can you, from a photo? Although £160 would probably not buy you a mattress that would stay the course for long, £700 could turn out an expensive mistake; like the new cooker I ordered last month….

ouwhouawhouaaa (eerie flashback music):

(The story so far: shortly after the gas man turned up yesterday on £100 an hour after the previous week’s false alarm and disconnected the old cooker, he summoned me from my shed where I had been hiding to tell me with a long face that the new cooker the shop had just delivered “doesn’t fit”.

Instead of the double-oven, gas-powered, under-counter model I had so carefully described to the man at the counter, the shop had sent over a single-oven electric cooker made to fit an eye-level unit. Back went the old cooker.

Later on, I get a call from the store to say oh dear, they have two cookers in the shop with my name on, and neither of them is the one I ordered, they can’t think how that happened, nevertheless the right one will most assuredly be with me in three weeks’ time… (It isn’t…)

I could offer a column about my life to The Guardian, maybe, only it’s just me and Hunzi, and occasionally Katz… the wife and I stopped fighting after the divorce eight years ago, and there wasn’t another in stock.)

So I switched my attention to other things.

Algorithms never forget, however. So now everytime I go to The Guardian website, which I have to do daily to find interesting items to report here on the BogPo, there’s the one mattress I hovered over, looking pleadingly at me. Should I buy it?

I have decided on principle, no, I shouldn’t. For £700 I can put up with numb fingers in the morning and a stiff neck, although the lack of support makes reading in bed a torture.

And it isn’t only images of tub chairs and orthopedic mattresses I’m being bombarded with, despite my helpful ad-blocker.

The expensive guitar I bought in London last month already has a carry-case, thank you, Gear4Music. It was included in the price. I only wanted to check with you to see what they cost, hard-cases the right size for my little Fibonacci, because the one it came with is embarrassingly cream-colored and I hate to be noticed when carrying a guitar, as I don’t play that well and people always ask, don’t they.

They see your guitar, and the first question that springs to mind is, do you play it?

But now I’m being offered a new guitar case in brown or black every day, and it’s not likely I shall really want to buy another as they can cost £120; while I seldom travel with my guitar far enough to bother.

Then as I have previously mentioned there is the BBC’s online viewing service, the iPlayer, that is forever offering me as personalized suggestions for programmes I might like to watch today, the programmes I watched yesterday. And, as I live in Wales, naturally, many programmes in Welsh: a language that might as well be Welsh to me.

The worst is, there’s no opportunity either to switch off the promotional images, or to explain carefully to the advertiser why you won’t be buying whatever it is they’re offering, day after day, principally because you don’t need another one, you can only play one saxophone for instance (okay, so I can’t play it at all, I soon found out it has more little keys than I have fingers, and none of them seems to do anything to alter the note) – or you just don’t want it.

Why can’t algorithms be programmed instead to offer you interesting and imaginative new things you haven’t already bought, or rejected? Like a cricket bat, or a submarine? I assume the advertisers are paying for those wasted spaces?

As a marketing tool, dialogue is so much more effective.

Wherever in the world you are.

Postscriptum:

Okay, own up. Who told Weather Underground where I live? More importantly, where to find The Boglington Post?

Because since I Posted this Post this morning the sarcastic bastards have switched my ‘weather where you are’ from central London, where I am not, to where I actually am, although I have never specified where that is, indeed I have not even mentioned the problem I was having with the anomalous locations to them directly. No wonder paranoia is going viral.

I plan to buy a camper instead, sell my little cottage and stay on the move in my own safe space.

I’m feeling violated.

Braga, Portugal, 15 October. (Photo: Daily Mail)

 

Your old Granny W. sploshes in galoshes

The Planet: “September 2017 was only the planet’s fourth warmest September since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and NASA this week. The warmer Septembers came during 2015, 2016, and 2014”

Global warming is a myth. Look, Republican states voting for denial! (NOAA)

Near-ground atmospheric temperature however was the warmest on record: “record warmth was observed across parts of central and southern Africa, southern Asia, across the western, northern, and southern Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean (off the southeastern coast of South America), the Norwegian Sea, Greenland Sea, and Barents Sea, and across parts of the Indian Ocean.

No land or ocean areas experienced record cold September temperatures.”

But in total, the average temperature of the world in 2017 to date is still 0.13 deg. C colder than last year. I suppose the key question is, if 2017 hasn’t been hotter than 2016, are we on the way to a cooling planet? Is global warming a myth?

Portugal/Spain: The most shockingly apocalyptic images emerge from more than 500 major fires that erupted all over northern Portugal around Braga and neighbouring Galicia province in Spain at the weekend, after months of drought, continuing high temperatures and strong winds. 49 dead so far, over 100 fires still burning. Suspected arsonists arrested.

China: Typhoon Khanun brings heavy rainfall, flooding and landslides to the island of Formosa (Taiwan! Ed.) before heading across to Hong Kong – Guangdong and Hainan provinces – 114 kph winds and up to 520 mm (0.52 metres) rainfall causing major disruption, and on down into North Vietnam, still recovering from last week’s lethal floods and landslides that killed 70. Reports suggest it’s already dissipating, but:

Japan: Tropical Storm Lan is several hundred miles out northeast of the Philippines on a possible track for Japan and rapidly developing towards a typhoon with sustained windspeeds already of 70 mph. “The beginnings of an eye were apparent on microwave satellite imagery.”

Philippines:  “Heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge from TS Paolo have caused flooding in areas around Zamboanga, Mindanao. 1 dead, 12,000 people (2,448 families) displaced. Strong winds caused storm surge along coastal areas. Heavy rain also increased river levels in the area, causing further flooding. The Pasonanca Dam is at “critical” level. As of 18 October it stood at 76.10 metres, where normal level is 74.2”. (Edited report)

Thailand: central Bangkok was underwater on the 14th after torrential rain (worst in 25 years).

India: 5 dead as major flooding arrives in Bangalore. Local govt. officials slated for being out of town playing a game of cricket while rain-sodden citizens endured disruption to the city’s already crumbling transportation system.

Australia: Up to 208mm of rain fell over parts of Queensland on 16 Oct, causing flooding. One person dead. Heavy rain is continuing across parts of the state. A search is underway for a fishing boat missing with 6 crew. Bundaberg, subject to severe flooding last week, is also affected.

USA: cooler, calmer weather is helping the nearly 11 thousand firefighters battling 14 wildfires in the Santa Rosa, California region. The death toll still stands at 40, but with 154 missing, nearly 6 thousand homes and vineyards in the Napa Valley destroyed and 75 thousand-plus people homeless or evacuated.

Still no sign of Trump, too busy insulting grieving Gold Star service families. For God’s sake, someone in office put a bullet through his diseased brain and end this nightmare.

(Just noticed from a US TV news crawler, it was 96.8 deg. F (36C) in Phoenix, Az. yesterday. In mid-October. (But not the record: 2003 saw a 98 deg. C. high at this time of year. September was only the fourth hottest on record, but 168 record highs have been reported as opposed to just 17 record lows anywhere in the northern hemisphere this year. Sea ice-loss forecasts for the Arctic proved wrong, again – “The Arctic reached its lowest extent for the year on September 13, which was the eighth lowest extent on record. The five lowest Arctic sea ice extents were measured in September 2012, 2007, 2016, 2011, and 2015.”) However, ‘extent’ is not a measure of volume and is dependent on other feedbacks than temperature.

Puerto Rico: further tropical depression brings new flooding to Caguas province; town underwater.

Mexico: powerful flash flood hits Santiago Tuxtla, Veracruz. Over 400 properties damaged, nearly 40 homes destroyed; shortage of drinking water.

Spain: “Grazalema in Cádiz recorded 111.4 mm of rain in 24 hours between 17 and 18 October. (Most of it fell in a torrential one-hour period.) Images on social media showed flood water raging through streets of Jerez de la Frontera in Cadiz… (Several people had to be rescued from their cars.) The heavy rain also caused a major rockfall in the Serrania de Ronda, in the western part of province of Málaga (more landslides blocking roads).”

Serbia – ‘possibly disruptive’ heat warnings in force.

Ireland: Following on the heels of ex-Hurricane Ophelia five days ago, Subtropical Depression-about-to-become Atlantic Storm “Brian” is heading straight for the Irish Republic with 80 mph winds, high seas and heavy rain likely to batter the whole of the British Isles over the weekend.

Climate and Extreme Weather News #74/ Euronews/ RUPTLY/ Al Jazeera/ Wunderground/ Floodlist/ NOAA

 

End of Everything Update

Germany: a long-term scientific survey has found there has been a 78% decline in flying insects in the past 30 years; almost regardless of climate change.

“Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”

USA: A number of smallish earthquakes – M1.5 to M2.3 were recorded in New York State and New Hampshire on 17 Oct by local and international agencies. Those earthquakes are still (10 pm 18 Oct) not showing on the US Geological Survey’s 24-hour updates and have presumably been CENSORED, as a) the eastern seaboard is not supposed to have earthquakes, and b) the earthquake activity was PREDICTED three days in advance by Michael Janich of St Louis, who vlogs regularly several times a day as ‘Dutchsinse’, and whose 80%-plus record of accurately predicting both the magnitude and location of earthquakes from global survey data has led to the USGS, which vehemently denies the possibility that earthquakes can be scientifically predicted, attempting to impose a blackout on his website, even at the expense of providing a full information service.

Just sayin’. (But if Yellowstone was about to blow, just consider if the USGS would tell anyone?)

Yellowstone: Swarms of M2.5+ earthquakes are continuing just outside the caldera at Soda Springs, Idaho and Lincoln Montana indicating magma still flooding horizontally into the chambers beneath the caldera. USGS under more criticism for failing to post significant quakes. Residents feel ‘constant vibrations’ coming from under the ground and are no longer bothering to report small earthquakes.

Nothing suggests that these are not serious indications of an impending eruption, since they seem to fit so precisely into the USGS’s own definition of what constitutes the right time to panic. They’re still reassuring the public that although we’re 40 thousand years overdue for another cyclical eruption, it can’t happen.

No need to remind you that a full-blown eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano will very likely bring the world’s economy crashing down and a ‘volcanic winter’ leading to drastic food shortages, with casualties in the millions.

The Greenhouse Effect: Did you ever run the 100 yards dash when you were at school? So you know how far 70 yards is, right? So, run 70 yards (if you still can). Now, turn 90 deg. left and run another 70 yards. Then again, turn 90 deg left and run another 70 yards – and finally, another 90 deg turn and another 70 yards.

So you’ve run a square with an outer perimeter of 280 yards without bumping into a building? Well done. The area inside the square is one acre.

Now, imagine 12 million of those acres.

That’s as much forest, farm and scrubland – trees, bushes and crops (a few thousand houses) – as has burned in wildfires in the USA this year.

You can add maybe two more millions for Canada – British Columbia had a record year for fires – then there’s Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, the Mediterranean islands (most of them), north Africa, Turkey, Croatia, Ukraine, Poland, Russia and the republics (Siberia had a record year for heat and wildfires) – even Greenland.

That’s just the northern hemisphere. Australia and South America have also had record wildfire years.

Now double it to count 2016’s total, and again for 2015, again for 2012 and worse for 2005.

All that burned vegetation has returned its stored CO2 to the atmosphere, millions and millions and millions of tonnes of it, and the latter years’ ‘biomass’ won’t be absorbing any more CO2 for at least a couple more years until it greens up again; only it’ll probably burn down again when it does.

See the problem?

 

Afterthought

And where do you come from?

American researchers are scratching their tousled or receding heads over the discovery that marriages created through online dating apps are both more stable and more likely to be of an interracial character. They just can’t think why.

For what it’s worth my suggestion is that it’s to do with the format of the encounter.

When you encounter a person of a different ‘race’ in the flesh, as it were (there is biologically speaking no such thing as ‘race’ as genetic differences lie on a continuous spectrum, but we’ll move on), cultural assumptions and associations are triggered automatically merely by their appearance, that immediately distance you from the other person and place self-imposed obligations on you to react in a conditioned way, whatever it may be.

Your reaction to meeting a person obviously of a different ethnic background is almost certainly either to become effusively over-polite, or to retreat into your shell: outwardly hostile or violent reactions to interracial encounters are very rare. You are unlikely to discover much about the Other from that first encounter; other, perhaps, than that they were ‘born here’….

But when you are in the safety and comfort of your own home or the wine bar browsing through photographs and self-descriptions and profiles and convoluted explanations and stories that are often warm and witty and perceptive and surprising and funny, you have time to adjust to the Other and are not required to be polite to an actual person merely for the sake of form, in case the cultural ‘difference’ should prove too much for both of you.

Online dating, then, is a passive-encounter format that encourages imaginative, wishful thinking, that can lead to experimentation, new freedoms and happy discoveries; or a rejection without the need for politeness and difficulty.

Difference can be negative – or positive.

Ask any 1.5 volt battery.

The Pumpkin – Issue 33: Guns – the tired old debate cranks up again… ‘A 64-year-old retired accountant’… Is he a terrorist?… ‘Let them eat towels’…. Granny W. : Your windswept old gal in a bus shelter

Now that’s all blown over I’m asking Greg Norman to build Puerto Rico the bigliest new beautiful golf course! (Photo montage: waragainstallpuertoricans.com)

 

“It scarcely helps that the President himself utters bloodcurdling threats of mass violence…”

Guns – the tired old debate cranks up again

As the President who mysteriously switched in a heartbeat last year from being pro-gun control to being pro-gun, and was then elected to office, mouthed the stiff platitudes copywritten for him by an aide, offering ‘warm condolences’ to the families of the victims as if their elderly Labradors had passed away in their sleep, and promised by omission to do absolutely nothing to upset the gun lobby, a performance repeated on a semi-monthly basis, the tired old debate about guns and Americans was cranking up yet again.

There have been only two days in the last twelve months when there has not been a ‘mass shooting’ incident (defined as four-plus dead) in the USA, yet the rustic dumbfucks and Republican shills for the arms industry go on defending their ‘right’ to buy and bear arms, and to blow people away if need be, defending themselves against other idiots with guns; while the urban liberals and Democrats go on pleading for ‘something’ to be done, even though they know it’s hopeless and that nothing now will make a difference, short of wholesale disarmament.

The face of America today: mild-mannered accountants on vacation.

It scarcely helps that the President himself utters bloodcurdling threats of mass violence against individuals and indeed, whole civilian populations; encourages his supporters in violent acts, refuses to condemn white nationalist outrages and refers to his vast military arsenal as ‘great big, beautiful weapons’. The man is obviously unhinged, we have all known it for many months, many alarmed psychiatrists agree, but there he still squats, like a smug orange toad on your democracy.

With 300 million guns in the hands of 150 million American owners, the horse has already bolted and no amount of heaving at the stable door is going to prevent the next act of self-declamatory public mass-murder, in a country where over 30 thousand people are killed each year, and God knows how many tens of thousands wounded, in shooting incidents; and where so many well-armed people feel unnoticed, disenfranchised and unrewarded by life in that competitive, acquisitive, dog-eat-dog society, where a gun feels and smells like power.

The Second Amendment does not in fact guarantee the absolute right of every American to buy, own and carry down the street, to school or a movie, a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle capable of mildly illegal modification with a mail-order device costing $99 to fire repeated rounds automatically, let alone a .32 calibre Saturday-night Special, an Abrams tank or a rocket grenade-launcher.

While the right to own a firearm at all was not in contest, in 2008 the District of Columbia lost its argument in the Supreme Court that it might in general prevent a certain Mr Heller owning a gun regardless of whether or not he belonged to a militia, which was ruled not to be an actual condition despite the clear wording of the Amendment. Nevertheless, special laws restricting gun ownership were held to be permissible, in the famous 5-4 majority ruling by Judge Anthony Scalia:

“The Court stated that the right to keep and bear arms is subject to regulation, such as concealed weapons prohibitions, limits on the rights of felons and the mentally ill, laws forbidding the carrying of weapons in certain locations, laws imposing conditions on commercial sales, and prohibitions on the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. It stated that this was not an exhaustive list of the regulatory measures that would be presumptively permissible under the Second Amendment.” (Library of Congress)

The apologists for and defendants of the National Rifle Association, which stubbornly represents the hugely profitable interests of the arms manufacturers and dealers and stuffs the mouths of corrupt politicians with blood-money, have never seemingly accepted that, unlike, for instance, owning a swimming-pool, gun ownership should be subject to any form of control; and unfortunately, the Scalia ruling was amended by a minority judgement to allow individual States to go on making their own rules, so that in some recent perverse court judgements neither the mentally ill, nor previously convicted criminals, can be deprived of the right to carry a gun openly in the street.

The laws in Nevada are notoriously lax, although in this case the man purchasing the guns was, says the dealer, subject to standard FBI checks. Thus, ’64-year-old retired accountant’ Stephen Paddock, a man with no prior convictions, who owned two private aeroplanes and a large collection of weapons no-one close to him seems to have known he even had, was able perfectly legally to carry ten suitcases full of rifles and ammunition to the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel, from where after a week in residence (it’s usually a week) he poured down fire indiscriminately onto a crowd of concertgoers, killing (thus far) 59 and wounding 530 others, before taking his own strangely quiet life.

Police are, say the media, at a loss to understand why he did it. There was absolutely no indication: no note, nothing on social media where he seems to have had no presence, no ‘manifesto’, no neighbourly or family suspicions.

He was white, middle-aged, a non-Muslim. He had plenty of money, a girlfriend, a home. He was a major shareholder in a Dallas condominium, from which he derived rental income. He gambled regularly for high stakes; it does appear that prior to his breakdown he had been gambling up to 20 thousand dollars a day, but was not especially known to have big losses. Was that recklessness with his money a sign of impending chaos, an empty gesture, a deliberate throwing away of everything he had gained, but not his self-regard?

Madness in his eyes: Alex Jones of InfoWars. (photo: Arstechnica.com)

Nor was he known to have particularly strong views on politics, race or religion (ISIS has of course claimed ownership of the incident, but no-one is believing them.) Nor was he suspected of any mental illness, although the alt-right agitprop websites and 4chan trolls are trying to claim without a shred of evidence that he was a fanatical liberal lefty anti-Trump protester and a member of Antifa, the anti-fascist pressure group. Alex Jones, a man with such madness burning in his eyes you instinctively want to sedate him, is using his InfoWars site (as approved by President Trump) to blame the Washington Deep State and their Islamic allies; while The Deplorables Army, a Trump dumbfucks’ website, has already established beyond doubt that Hillary Clinton was behind it.

The Pumpkin has no problem in believing, for want of any other explanation, that Stephen Paddock was, if you like, the ultimate expression of the American way of life: a moderately successful but perhaps secretly disappointed man who had reached retirement age and saw ahead only a future of Bingo games and bridge rubbers with elderly divorcees at his dreary suburban retirement park. A private and introverted individual by all accounts, he perhaps saw in the secret stashing-away of an arsenal of lethal weapons, the power and control he lacked over the enviable or detestable lives of others. The degree of detailed control over his lethal operations, including the placing of webcams in the hotel to check on the arrival of the police, is especially chilling.

Had he possibly had a fatal diagnosis, of Alzheimer’s or cancer, perhaps? And decided in his introverted fashion, Pharaoh-like, to take as many others with him as he could – especially young people, whose unfinished lives he must have resented? Was there possibly some mental defect buried in the family history? The Paddocks’ father had at one time robbed banks and was hunted down (briefly, as an escaped fugitive from gaol, America’s Most Wanted) and arrested by the FBI, and diagnosed as a ‘psychopath’ with ‘suicidal tendencies’ – so why wouldn’t one of his three sons have inherited the same condition?

Or maybe he just didn’t like country music, who knows. Perhaps we shall never know.

The words ‘a 64-year-old retired accountant’ probably say it all.

 

Postscriptum: A US report says the average charge to the victim for being admitted by ambulance to a hospital emergency care ward with a gunshot wound is $96 thousand, not including the longterm rehabilitation and therapy that most gunshot victims need.

It is, in short, probably better if you live in America that you should be killed outright than spend your life in pain and debt over something that wasn’t your fault. (And let’s not forget the insane attempts by Trump to take away health insurance cover from 32 million Americans, just because it’s being administered under an Obama program.)

 

Is he a terrorist?

The Guardian reports that the FBI defines terrorism thus:

 “…an intent to “intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

So, is Donald John Trump a terrorist?

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters in remarks aired on television and broadcast around the globe. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” – The Telegraph

“When a reporter asked the president about his threatening “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said “maybe it wasn’t tough enough.” Followed by “maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough” and “if anything, that statement may not be tough enough.”- New York Times

“The US has great strength and patience,” Trump said. But he added: “If it is forced to defend ourselves or our allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. … Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” – The Guardian

“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” – @realdonaldtrump tweet, 

Well, so’s the other guy:

“In an unprecedented statement on Friday, Mr Kim described Mr Trump as a ‘mentally deranged dotard’ whom he would tame with fire.

He said North Korea would consider the ‘highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history’ against the United States and that Mr Trump’s comments had confirmed his nuclear programme was ‘the correct path'”. – The Telegraph

If you or I did this stuff, we’d be pulled in for questioning. Who put these two self-obsessed, power-drunk playground bullies, with their tiny genitals and abusive fathers, in charge of the store?

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“Now we just shrug and ask, what do we expect?”

Let them eat towels

Trump reminds me of the famous stunt rider, Evel Knievel. He’s constantly trying to raise the bar on his own stupidity, steadily increasing the number of buses he needs to jump his motorcycle over before he breaks his fat orange neck in the full glare of publicity.

The Commander-in-Chief mops up the mess in Puerto Rico (Businessinsider.com)

Two weeks after the event, here was Trump finally making landfall in remote Puerto Rico on a carefully managed four-hour mercy tour of selected safe parts of the island in which he saw almost none of the devastation and met none of the hardest-hit victims in the hinterland, to explain why they still have no water or electricity, functioning transportation, roads, food and medical care, or even a roof over their heads, as the known number of dead climbs from 16 to 34.

The images of Trump, a big man, towering over a hangar-full of simpering media folk and handpicked, scrubbed-up local Republicans, chucking packs of paper towels at them as if they were monkeys in a zoo, grinning and constantly praising himself for his ‘A-plus’ efforts at spending Federal funds on what even his leading Army general on the ground is complaining is the utterly inadequate response to the double-hurricane disaster, comparing it airily with Hurricane Katrina, which was handled far worse and caused lots more brown people to die, were just repellent.

And at the press conference he continued to blame the lazy victims for not doing enough to help themselves, and to whine about the criticism of his administration, and the cost of the clear-up, and the unfairness of blaming him, and how great everyone said he was doing. Where were the local truck drivers? He demanded to know, why weren’t they distributing the masses of aid piling up on the dockside? Meanwhile, the Mayor of San Juan, who had been wading around in waist-high water for days overseeing rescue and recovery, was muzzled and sidelined and abused as a ‘poor leader’ for daring to criticize a man – a moronic sack of shit, depending on your viewpoint –  who has clearly confused himself with the United States of America – a rapidly disintegrating empire on the far edge of nowhere.

Six months ago it would have been shocking to see the President of the United States behaving like that. Now we just shrug and ask, what do we expect? The coverage prompted at least one contributor on MSNBC to voice what we’re all feeling: we’re sick and tired of hearing and watching this horror show, this malevolent oaf doing mindless, clumsy, brutally incompetent stuff like this every damn day.

Coming on top of his insincere speechwritten response to the Las Vegas massacre, the nauseating religiosity, the ‘warm condolences’, the brushing aside of concerns over the lack of legal gun controls that might have mitigated the horror of Paddock’s elaborately staged suicide, how can there any longer be any rational argument for Republicans allowing him to remain in office a minute longer?

Or is it just that he makes them look good?

“…the majority of people in Puerto Rico remain without clean water, the electricity grid is inoperable, cell towers are down, roads are impassable, food is rotting, and many of the elderly and the sick have been left without care. All of this is happening in America, rather than some place distant from this country. But instead of emphasizing that closeness, or a sense of mutual obligation, Trump has, so far, focussed on how different Puerto Rico is, and what its people owe him, which is, above all, their gratitude.” – Amy Davidson Sorkin, the New Yorker 27 September

This bizarre, solipsistic figure, for whom the only external reality is Donald J Trump, actually tweeted when he thought about it three days after the event, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which hit the island as a Category 4 superstorm and killed actual people, that Puerto Rico owes a lot of money and they should pay back Wall Street for keeping them going.

Like he should pay back all the foreign banks he has stiffed for $billions in his rotten career, maybe?

Ah said oops upside yo head…

This Coke-and junkfood-bloated non-dirigible, whose hapless advisers plead they cannot advise him because he simply does not listen, and becomes angry whenever he thinks anyone is telling him how to do the job, so they just hover in the background and try to keep him on an even keel and hope he doesn’t call for the nuclear football when no-one is around to put a bullet in his head, is not merely mishandling the crisis on Puerto Rico. Oh, no.

He’s not just being a bit slow and incompetent, or like W Bush, a bit thoughtless and useless. No.

Look, you saw how quickly he reacted, how positive he was when it was Houston on the receiving end of climate change, and Port Arthur – the hub of the US-owned global energy bidness. Hell no.

With Puerto Rico, an island populated by spics, probably rapists, and losers, Trump is actively trying to prevent three and a half million desperate American citizens from getting the additional help they need, instead bloviating pompously at the visiting Spanish Prime Minister, Mr Rajoy, about how the governor of Puerto Rico praised him for the great, wonderful efforts he has made on their behalf; how grateful the Puerto Rican people are to him, while the governor is in fact on his knees begging for more help as FEMA and the National Guard struggle on, strapped for resources and without a plan, to try to deliver food and water to the remotest parts of the stricken island.

It cannot have escaped his notice that Mr Rajoy shares a cultural heritage with the majority of Hispanic Americans on the devastated island, which he referred to as being ‘in the middle of a big, a very big ocean’, like Neville Chamberlain refusing to go to the aid of Czechoslovakia when the Nazis annexed the Sudetenland: ‘It is a far-off country, of which we know little’.

The American people are, we know, outstandingly insular: a recent poll showed that about half do not know that Puerto Rico is US territory and the people who live there hold American citizenship.

Mr Trump indeed knows little. In fact he knows fuck-all, and cares even less. A moral imbecile, he is not fit to be a toilet attendant, let alone president of anywhere real.

But until he gets his bestial tax reforms through, giving $5 trillions away to his wealthy pals and their corporations, beggaring the rest; and until he can destroy Obamacare, the only lifeline offered to millions trapped in a rapacious business culture of privatized medicine, and replace it with something much, much cheaper so he can pay for the tax ‘reforms’ and the obscene, pointless, bloated military budget, he is going to behave meanly, moodily and miserably, holding three and a half million Puerto Rican lives against the recalcitrance of a tiny handful of Republican senators who, successfully completing the Captcha test to prove they are actual humans, refuse to go along with the utter shit that drivels from his twisted, angry little mole-rat mouth.

And meanwhile, he diverts attention from these gangsterish behaviors by mounting an all-out assault, uttering insults and threats against a football player who refuses to stand for the national anthem until someone in authority stops America’s out-of-control, racist police from shooting unarmed black people for no good reason. That won’t be Trump, for whom police brutality is a given. And is trying to bully the poor millionaires who own the NFL clubs into sacking any player, any ‘sonofabitch’ who doesn’t ‘respect the anthem, respect America’ – by which of course he means, respect the 45th President Donald J Trump, a grotesque liar and moron wrapped in a flag.

Postscriptum:

And this morning, we hear of the welcome ‘resignation’ of the totally unqualified Health Secretary, Tom Price. Mr Price has attracted widespread criticism for spending half a million dollars chartering private planes to get himself and his wife about on holidays and shopping trips, and charging them to the taxpayer. It has been mooted that Orange Satan was not unhappy to see him go as he is so closely linked with the repeated failure of Trump’s frenzied attempts to kill off Obamacare and replace it with lots of dead poor people.

It’s rumored that a number of other White House appointments are in the doghouse over similar profiteering while in office. They include spokesmouth Skellytanne Conway and the profoundly corrupt Environment director, Scott Pruitt.

We can therefore look forward to the immediate resignation of President Trump, who since taking office in January has blown well north of a billion dollars of other people’s money on private golfing holidays and extra security for his family and buildings while on holiday, and on hiring squadrons of expensive but curiously inept private lawyers to defend himself against anticipated charges any day now (ha!) of racketeering, money-laundering, tax-dodging, sanctions-busting, breaches of the Foreign Emoluments clause, the Logan Acts; treason and obstruction of justice. Unfortunately there’s no law against being merely one of the most unpleasant people ever to occupy the White House, if not the planet.

Can’t we?

https://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson-sorkin/the-distance-between-donald-trump-and-puerto-rico?mbid=nl_Daily092717&CNDID=49581041&spMailingID=12020149&spUserID=MTkwODY5NzgyMTM0S0&spJobID=1242357721&spReportId=MTI0MjM1NzcyMQS2

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Granny W. : Your windswept old gal in a bus shelter

Atlantic: going back to 1851, says Weather Underground, September set a record for the most amount of accumulated cyclone energy in any month—175 (175 what? Ed.), beating out 155 from September 1926—according to Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University.

  • Number of named-storm days:  53.25 (old record 52.25, Sept. 2004)
  • Number of hurricane days:  40.25 (old record 34.50, Sept. 2006)
  • Number of major hurricane days:  18 (old record 17.25, Sept. 1961) (Wunderground, 04 October)

USA: Weather Underground today further carries research showing 41 out of 60 US cities have experienced their warmest years and many their hottest days on record during the past six years, with an average annual increase since 1985 of 1.2 deg. C. The average between 1895 and 1985 increased by just 0.9 deg. C. indicating rapid acceleration of warming. No US city has recorded its coldest-ever year during the past six years. San Francisco this year set a new record on 1 September of 41 deg. C. (106 deg. F.). The average temperature in Houston is 5 deg. C. warmer than in 1895.

“…we have 41 out of all 60 cities with a 6-year average that is at least 1°F above the prior 30-year average. Likewise, it would be expected for a few cities to have their warmest or coldest year in a six-year period—but it is startling to see 41 of 60 cities having their warmest year, and none of the 60 cities having their coldest year, from 2011 to 2016. Given the very warm year now under way, there appears to be no end in sight to the U.S. heat of the 2010s.” – Christopher C Burt, Climate Historian

Wildfires: The US Interagency Fire Center reports that 2017 to date isn’t the worst year on record, with just over 50 thousand fires reported as against 71 thousand in 2009; and 8.4 million acres burned as against 9 million in 2015. In California, almost 3 thousand acres of the Sequoia National Forest is burning with so-far zero containment. In Oregon, 191 thousand acres of the Siskiyou National Forest has been burned but is 98% contained.

Global warming: Warming soils are releasing more carbon into the atmosphere through more intense bacterial breeding cycles than previously thought, suggesting a potentially disastrous feedback mechanism. “Each year, mostly from fossil fuel burning, we are releasing about 10bn metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere. The world’s soils contain about 3,500bn tons of carbon. … Once this self-reinforcing feedback begins, there is no easy way to turn it off. There is no switch to flip.” – Report of long-term experimental study published this week in Science magazine by the US Marine Biological Laboratory and others.

And on it goes…

USA: Tropical Storm Nate currently organizing itself in the Gulf after causing 22 deaths in Central America. Forecast track could take it due north strengthening Cat 1 to Louisiana around New Orleans after picking up more energy and water over the 29 deg. C. Gulf.

“…heavy rains, landslides and floods blocking roads, destroying bridges and damaging houses. In Costa Rica, nearly 400,000 people are without running water and thousands are sleeping in shelters. At least eight people have died in the storm there, while another 11 were killed when it moved north and reached Nicaragua, where as much as 15ins (38cm) of rain had been predicted to fall by the US’s National Hurricane Center. Three people have been killed in Honduras, including two youths who drowned in a river, and several are reported missing.”

Mexico: “Flooding has affected 18,000 people in the state of Tamaulipas. Local media report that at least 2 people have died. Areas of the state recorded heavy rainfall between 26 and 29 September. The Corona river overflowed. Further intense rainfall was recorded in the state on 01 October, with 245 mm of rain falling in Altamira. Further warnings for severe storms.”

Australia: “Torrential rain and strong winds in the city of Bundaberg in Queensland have caused flash flooding and left over 4,000 homes without power. Bundaberg recorded 319mm of rain in 24 hours between 02 and 03 October, according to Bureau of Meteorology figures. Over 100mm of the rain fell in 2 hours between 13:00 and 15:00 on 02 October.”

A current record early Spring heatwave affecting New South Wales reveals numerous precedents in the past six years, with records continually tumbling. This winter saw the highest average daytime temperatures on record. It was also the driest in 15 years:

“Even if the Paris agreement to limit the global temperature rise to below 2°C is met, summer heatwaves in major Australian cities are likely to reach highs of 50°C by 2040, a study published on Wednesday warns.”

Canada: “With more than 100 wildfires still burning, 2017 is officially the worst fire season on record. Nearly 12,000 km2 of land burned this year, 3,000 km2 more than in 1958, the previous record holder. Approximately 65,000 people were evacuated from their homes, and firefighting efforts have cost the province $510 million.” (British Columbia)

Scotland: 70 mph winds caused problems for commuters and truckers on Monday in the first of the year’s Atlantic lows, snapping-off the flagpole of Edinburgh’s castle.

Wunderground/ Floodlist/ Blogsafe.com/ GoGreen.com/ BBC/ 13News Now

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Bound straight for Hell

If any further evidence is needed of the insanity of the drooling amoebas who buy guns in the USA for no purpose other than to imagine they actually have functioning penises, comes news that the $99 modifying device called a ‘bump stock’ designed to turn a legal semi-automatic weapon into an illegal one that can empty a magazine with a single pull of the trigger has sold out in the wake of the slaughter in Las Vegas.

Even the despicable NRA has called for a ban, but used ones are selling at twice the catalog price, never mind that the thing renders the gun practically useless if you want to hit anything smaller than the White House and it’s far more likely to jam because the gun wasn’t designed for rapid-fire. But hey, it worked good on them country fans.

I shall be writing to Mr Kim Jong-un to ask him please to obliterate the American midwest, where most of these molluscs lurk, now, by the simple expedient of nuking Yellowstone.

By Christ, you’re hard to love.

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The Pumpkin – Issue #31: The Trumpometer of Lies. The train now departed… V.

“See how this new ‘invisible string’ – a great American invention by the way, it’s terrific, I can tell you – cannot be broken, even by me, the most strongly President since Robert E Lee. I intend to use it to build a wall, and Venezuela will pay for it. Venezuela will pay. Venez… er…. mnblzzzz”

 

“They don’t care, he’s such a refreshing change from infantile, self-serving crooks in the White House.”

The Trumpometer of Lies

My Readers, Spammers, Likers, Followers and Those No Longer Reading This, muh bogl, have been collectively tweeting-out their anger that there hasn’t been a new issue of The Pumpkin for more than a week.

What, they ask, is happening in Trumpworld? Why are we not being told? What are you covering-up?

Well, the short answer is, he’s been on a working holiday. It didn’t really work, Charlottenberg got in the way, and that Nazi thing, many good people.

But the real answer is that we’re increasingly unable to separate fact from fiction in the parallel universe of the redecorated, yet curiously newly aged-looking White House, where Gen. Kelly; an unpaid security guard who’s sure he left his wallet on the bedside cabinet, and the man with shaky hands who serves the President his fizzy Cokes are the only ones left, out of more than 150 staff a week ago.

(BTW, if anyone has a contact for the decorator I’d like it, given that a) he clearly turns up when expected, b) he can redecorate whole rooms in a few days without getting paint on the rugs, and c) he doesn’t mind not getting paid. Just don’t give me the name of whoever suggested those ghastly clashing gold curtains.)

All the leakers have departed, which is why the failing fake nooze media – and let’s charitably remind ourselves it’s still only August – are frantically pedalling, like a Deliveroo boy on a fixed-wheel bicycle with no front brake, in the absence of any really new news they haven’t reported in some form already.

So, did you know that, like, one of the Russian spy guys with an unpronounceable name who met with Don Jr and the Kush was reported by the failing New York Times, the Washington Post and everyone else eating each others’ stories to have been involved in an unrelated hacking event last year? Neither did we! Wow, that must prove something. Anything.

Oh, and Senator Chuck Mukluk (D. North Alaska, can’t afford a vacation) says he thinks Trump’s gone crazy. We have an interview with him on NBC right after this. We’ll also be talking to a babyfaced Republican think-tank intern who says you shudn’t say things like that about our President. And what’s happened to the BLGTQ+ ban? Did that get lost at sea in the colliding warships scandal? Or was it just another misspelled word in a furious tweet?

When something does happen in the White House, it’s as if it happened last week too; and the week before, and will happen again maybe next week. The amnesia is contagious. Was it last week he was threatening nuclear war against Korea? Or was that Venezuela? Iran, or Afghanistan? When exactly was Steve Bannon fired, was that before or after he quit? And is Trump really going to suspend the US government, like his friend President Maduro, if he doesn’t get a wall for Christmas, or was it more a threat to have Senator McConnell assassinated by the FSB for failing to protect him against the Mueller investigation? And who was Sebastian Gorka?

We can’t remember. Our heads hurt.

Every little crap thing Trump does or says eventually merges into one huge crap thing. Serious financial crimes he’s said in thoroughly investigated and double-checked newspaper exposés to have probably committed are lost next day in the poison fog of more of Sarah Huckabee’s mega-Spicey denials – over something even worse she doesn’t want the fakenews press lying about today.

The unPresidential lies fly by, over a thousand to date have been investigated by the Washington Post‘s Trumpometer of Lies and found to be, indeed, alternative truths – it’s got so bad, I’ve started to suspect half of them might just be his weird sense of humour – and none of the sycophants in the crowd of cosmetically maladjusted, gurning American faces that US politicians hunger to be seen orating in front of, like cheering wallpaper, gives a monkey’s uncle whether he’s telling the truth or not.

They don’t care, he’s such a refreshing change from infantile, self-serving crooks in the White House. Drain the swamp!

The liberal media is having a hard time shifting that last 35 per cent.

Boarding house… Texas braces for Hurricane Harvey. (mstartribune.com)

But is the administration up to handling external disasters? We don’t have to wait for Yellowstone 4 to find out.

Take, for instance, the huge, category 3 or maybe even 4 hurricane, Harvey, that’s starting tonight to obliterate Texas. 125 mph winds and 35 inches of rain are expected in the next few days, which could well see flood-prone Houston wiped off the map. The only media to be worrying that Trump might not be up to handling it and could do for Houston what Bush did for New Orleans, i.e. fuck-all, is the good old Guardian:

“Trump tweeted a video clip of his meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) officials in early August, with the caption: “Remember, the USA is the most resilient nation on earth, because we plan ahead.”

“Brock Long, Trump’s choice to head Fema, was not confirmed by the Senate until 20 June, three weeks into the Atlantic hurricane season. Trump has not nominated a permanent head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), which plays a key role in weather forecasting.

“Trump’s proposed budget calls for a $667m cut to state and local Fema grant programmes that focus on disaster preparation.” – The Guardian, 25 August.

The federal government support scheme for homeowners in flood-risk areas where insurance costs are rocketing unaffordably, along with their health insurance, is $billions in debt and unlikely to be renewed next month. Mr Long has made his position clear: it’s their own fault for buying in a flood-risk area. (We love Republicans, don’t you? Such charitable Christian attitudes.)

At the same time, Mr Trump has just signed an order overturning an Obama order requiring planners and new-builders to take account of increased flood risk due to climate change.

You can see the problem, can’t you. Little Donny is colouring-in well, but doesn’t join dots easily.

It’s a pity he didn’t notice the motto of The Boy Scouts of America while he was regaling them with salacious stories of orgies aboard his friends’ private yachts:

Be Prepared.

 

Mr Trump’s weird logic

Unwilling to court the risk of the same criticism that dogged President W Bush after his feeble response to Hurricane Katrina, Mr Trump has said he will tour the disaster areas of Texas on Tuesday. The reason he is waiting until then is, he says, because he doesn’t want his visit with all the security detail and fuss taking up officials’ time when they’ve got more important work to do.

Chrysler’s new sub. These lunatics just will not give up their cars (what do they think is causing the problem in the first place?)

This admirable concern for the welfare of the beleaguered locals contrasts oddly with the $millions of dollars in lost trade shops and businesses in the area of Trump’s golf resorts, especially Mar-a-Lago in Florida, have to suffer when he travels down on vacation every weekend, the incredible cost to the taxpayer of the now near-bankrupt security service watching out for no fewer than 42 members of the Trump family’s safety all round the world, on promotional business trips and skiing holidays, and the $millions cost of the major disruption around Trump buildings in New York whenever the First Family goes home, that has led to demonstrations by angry ratepayers and motorists.

The image of Saint Donald isn’t working, somebody please tell him.

 

“The Pumpkin did just momentarily pause to consider whether the Golden Orb doesn’t sometimes inject a strange and warped sense of self-satirizing humour into his more ridiculous utterances?”

The train now departed…

Among the latest resignations from the intolerable conditions in the Trump White House is 31-year-old Mr Andy Hemming, the man known as the ‘news fluffer’, who was famously employed to research and present the infant-President-narcissist twice a day with a file of cuttings detailing only the most flattering stories about his many brilliant achievements in office.

According to Farron Cousins at Ring of Fire, a shouty online comment vlog:

“His official title was Director of Rapid Response for the White House Communications Team, and in addition to feeding the President positive news stories about himself, he was also supposed to communicate with members of the mainstream media, CNN, Washington Post, credible news sources like that, and tell them all the good things that the President had accomplished.”

The Trumpkin wakes: is anyone safe?

Mr Hemming has as yet offered no explanation for why he has given up the $90k a year job, but one suspects that eventually everyone has to bow to the inevitable. The 71-year-old Trump is said to often scream hysterical abuse at staffers who do things he doesn’t like, or who try to tell him what to do, or when he is just feeling unloved. If no-one in the office has upset him, he screams instead at things he sees on the TV. And he can’t help himself acknowledging that some Nazis are fine people.

He is certifiably out of his depth in the job, if not actually mentally deranged, but he still has enough terrified Republicans fearful of regime collapse to go on CNN and defend him that his mooted removal by the Vice-President citing the incapacity clause of the 25th Amendment always seems another arm’s length away.

Not that one would wish the ambitious, snow-capped hypocrite Pence on any nation. Impeachment and removal of the dangerously unpredictable ’45’ will only inflict the same tax-cutting policies on the poor, more drone strikes on innocent villagers, more hardworking immigrant families ripped apart, but with a leavening of nauseating ‘Jesus saves’ Christianity to justify the barbarities.

Also, he won’t be half the fun.

Windmills of the mind

Officials at the Department of Energy may also soon be departing en masse, following a bizarre error in which a report doctored on the orders of Trump and his cretinous Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, to show what a dismal failure renewable energy has been and how great th’ Murcan orl ‘n coal ‘n nucular bidness is was found post-publication to still contain the original conclusion that it has in fact been a rip-roaring success.

In edited form, Cousins reports:

“A draft version of the Department of Energy’s energy grid study was released, and it showed that everything that the Trump administration and Republicans had been saying about renewable energy was completely false. … The report showed that our energy grid today, with renewable energy growing at an exponential rate, is stronger than ever.

“Before the final draft came out … Perry and his Department … took it upon themselves to rewrite (it) and make the entire study about how horrible renewable energy is, and how it is killing coal, killing nuclear, and killing our electrical grid in the United States.

“There’s just one problem. They didn’t delete all of the information. … Perry didn’t think to read through the whole thing. And so those statements got left in, directly contradicting what they had taken out (or) rewritten.

“That’s the level of stupid that we are dealing with, with this Trump administration.”

In a highly amusing excursion on another online current affairs discussion forum, The Young Turks reflected on part of Trump’s now notorious unhinged and self-pitying farrago of lying nonsense at his 2020 re-election rally in Phoenix earlier this week, that prompted the New Yorker magazine to ask “Is Trump Losing It?”

At one point the world’s leading expert on everything was rambling on about energy policy, and began waxing lyrical on the subject of ‘clean coal’. Supposedly a reference to the as-yet untried, hugely expensive and completely impracticable system known as Carbon Capture and Sequestration, it soon became clear to the shuffling embarrassment of his hovering officials that Trump thought it meant you just had to wash the dust off the coal before burning it.

As the alternative media erupted in laughter at this foolishness, once again The Pumpkin did just momentarily pause to wonder if the Golden Orb doesn’t sometimes inject a strange and warped sense of self-satirizing humour into his more ridiculous utterances?

I mean, can anybody really be that stupid?

x

“He will no doubt be banging on Bannon’s door pleading for his old job back as a Breitbart security correspondent with decided views on the Judaeo-Islamic menace.”

V.

It’s not often The Pumpkin is scooped by national media, but the time difference between Washington and Boglington-on-Sea means the editor was fast asleep in bed when news came through that yet another senior Bannon appointee to Trump’s staff has fled the coop.

Although in a curious way he wasn’t. He seldom dreams, but in the early hours he dreamed he saw some boys had caught a large fish and were trying to dispatch it by hitting it on the head with an iron bar. He went to help but realized it was not a fish but a large ginger cat (!). Why are you killing the cat? he demanded to know, but there was no answer. So he took the injured cat in his arms and set off for home, where he fed it warm milk through a pipette. After it died, he went back to beat the crap out of the boys. Then he woke up, needing to pee again.

It must mean something.

Sebastian L v. Gorka was a bit of a charlatan, wasn’t he? A ‘Senior assistant advisor’ on global security, no-one in the close-knit US security establishment had taken him seriously for one moment. Nevertheless he was influential in persuading the ginger cat – I mean, the President – to order his failed Muslim ban, on grounds that stopping families flying in from Lebanon for a few months would protect the entire population of the US against Islamic terrorism.

Born in London to Hungarian nationalist refugee parents, ‘Dr’ Gorka secured a poor 2.2 degree from a Jesuit college, which he somehow later converted after five years of study to a PhD at an obscure university in Budapest, majoring on the threat of Islam, and in 1998 became an ‘advisor’ to the hardline Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. He married Kathy Cornell, an American steel heiress, and worked in various rightwing, anti-Islamist thinktanks. In 2012 he became a naturalized American citizen.

That caused some controversy, when after a TV appearance during which it was noticed that he was wearing a distinctive type of tunic and sported the pin-badge of a far-right Hungarian group, the Vitezi Rend, two Senators raised a question in the House about his immigration form, on which he had failed to declare his membership of a ‘neo-Nazi organization’. After the invasion of Hungary by Nazi troops in 1944, Vitezi Rend had allegedly been active in helping to round up 800,000 Jews to be exterminated.

Gorka denied being a member and said he was merely honouring the memory of his father, however the organization’s leadership in Hungary confirmed that he was still a member; while experts pointed to the lowercase ‘v.’ he retains in his name as another sign of his allegiance to the 20,000-strong party. Failure to declare membership of a banned organization is a federal offence, for which he could be stripped of his citizenship.

Describing him in their now-customarily lazy fashion as ‘White House security expert’ – in much the same way as last month they described White House ‘environmental expert’ Myron Ebell as a ‘climate-change skeptic’ (he’s actually a paid energy bidness lobbyist from the slimier levels of the Washington swamp, with no scientific credentials to justify the description ‘skeptic’) – the BBC, which had only recently featured a lengthy and totally uncritical interview with Gorka on a Newsnight special, gave no reason for his departure.

The Guardian, which is a bit more on the ball when it comes to the murky doings of key personnel in this dysfunctional administration, reminded readers that Gorka’s response to the fire-bombing of a mosque by white supremacists had been to suggest it was a false-flag attack; he also went on record as saying Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson had nothing to contribute on the subject of North Korea – the idea was nonsensical – and “you should listen to the President”.

His departure at the behest of General Kelly has been welcomed in several quarters. He will no doubt be banging on Bannon’s door pleading for his old job back as a Breitbart security correspondent with decided views on the Judaeo-Islamic menace.

Gorka’s 12-month tenure as a member of Trump’s transition team and on the admin staff however serves to illustrate the extent to which the Orange Buffoon was completely out of his depth on taking office, knowing nobody he could trust to occupy any position of power and responsibility, and how he was seemingly willing to appoint anyone Bannon recommended.

The Pumpkin respectfully offers odds of 10 to one on Bannon’s protegé, the oleaginous mock-sinister college vampire Stephen Miller, being next on the Kelly death list; the problem being, none of these bungling quasi-fascist amateurs has yet been replaced by anyone giving off any more signs of competence and mental stability.

Meanwhile the President, smarting over his drubbing by the press in the wake of his disastrous handling of the Charlottesville killing, is pressing ahead under cover of the fascinating horror unfolding in Texas with the nastiest and least well-received measures on his little hate list; although thankfully his triumvirate of retired generals seems to have kept him from pressing the button over North Korea. So far.

Prison camp. (Photo: cowboyszone.com)

Having been rebuffed last month by the heads of every branch of the military and coastguard, he has now sent out a memo officially ordering them to ban transgender recruits, against their advice; and he has used the Presidential pardon to exonerate the racist Maricopa County, Az. police chief Joseph Arpaio, 85, who was recently sentenced to six months in gaol for contempt of court after refusing to back down over a campaign illegally targeting anyone for police searches who ‘looked like an immigrant’.

Mr Arpaio was also responsible for many years for the ‘Tent City’ prison, an area of a federal corrections facility where specifically Latino prisoners, men and women convicted mostly of minor offences, were housed in leaky old Korean-war military tents, summer and winter, the men forced to wear pink underwear and socks and fed an exclusively vegetarian diet to prevent them escaping.

Arpaio, who likes to be described as ‘America’s toughest Sheriff’, claims to have saved millions of dollars by not having to build proper facilities for housing some of Arizona’s vast population of people serving time at the behest of judges who profit from the numbers of convicts they send to private gaols, where they are effectively used as slave labor. Convicted felons also face lifetime voting bans, which keeps mostly Democrats away from the polls. According to website Vocativ.com:

“… over the course of his six terms in office, Arpaio has cultivated the image of a guy who’s not only tough on crime but also creative when it comes to cutting expenses. But what Arpaio doesn’t note in his stream of press releases about Tent City is that inmate abuses and misuse of funds in the jail system he oversees have cost the county nearly $200 million over the last 15 years.”

It might also be cautiously suggested that being tough on crime hasn’t exactly reduced the prison population: over 500 thousand people have passed through Tent City since it started.

Hoping to go down with the dumbfucks as ‘America’s toughest President’, abusing the purpose and powers of the pardon to obstruct, rather than redress, the course of justice, the simple-minded Trump has made good on his threat to pardon this abusive old monster, no doubt the model down the years for numerous movie depictions of brutal racist county sheriffs, arguing that he is a great American who has served his country for over 50 years.

It’s also good practice for when he has to thwart justice, to pardon himself.

 

“One of the dizzying lessons of this presidency is that outrage can be dulled by outrage, that fury at one atrocious act is hard to sustain if fury at another soon replaces it.” – Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian, 26 Aug.

 

Koreans cool off, but the country is in the soup (from 2015).

Summer 2017 has seen the third successive year of extreme heat in the peninsula (photo: The Telegraph). Drought in the north after three years is calling into question the ability of Kim Jong-un’s army to fight a war as soldiers and peasants alike are reportedly malnourished and on the verge of starvation, owing to food shortages exacerbated by corruption and years of sanctions.

Special edition: Weird Stuff. Sea recedes mysteriously etcetera. Congratulations on the weather report, BBC. Paranoia corner: Apoceclypse Now!Thar She Blows! Obituary: So farewell Daedalus

Sea recedes mysteriously etcetera

The scene at Montevideo when the sea receded. Possibly.

On the 13th of August, according to several flaky looking websites such as SOTT.com (Signs of the Times) and JewWorldOrder, the sea rapidly and mysteriously retreated from around Montevideo in Uruguay, up to Porto del Este in neighbouring Brazil, when low tide was not expected.

Fearing a tsunami, people ran for high ground; however, none came, and the waters returned of their own accord some hours later. No large earthquakes were reported in the region at the time.

The phenomenon was matched, according to MrMBB333, one of those internet weather-watchers, unofficial meteorologists with access to satellite imagery, by correspondingly large waves on the other side of the Atlantic, in Africa. (He may be confusing it with a storm surge that flooded the seafront at Durban in March.)

At the same time, too, other sites were reporting 40-foot waves slamming into the west coast of South America, again apparently for no reason – although there were eight active cyclones in the Pacific region last week, and a couple of M6 subsea earthquakes. No other report of these occurrences can be found in the normal media, but there has been a suggestion that the world may be expanding, possibly owing to the lack of sunspot activity, or the gravitational effects of the close approach of the invisible planet X Nibiru.

The sea retreating story was also covered by Disclose.TV, an entertaining conspiracies and new world order website. So, given the provenance, and the degree of retweeting going on, and the fact that it didn’t make the mainstream media, you’d say it’s probably not a verifiable tale. Fake nooze.

Yet the BogPo has a curious feeling that there’s a truth to it; it has some explanation, and visual evidence. The conspiracy websites, as well as making stuff up completely, often report real-world events but with their own weird spin on them. They’re not all entirely ‘fakin’ unbelievable if you can just get at the core facts.

MBB333 goes on to discuss something called The South American Roll, a theory that the entire continent is moving as a result of almost all the live volcanoes and seismic activity in South America occurring, as they do, on the west coast, acting like an outboard motor.

There has indeed recently been a flurry of activity, volcanoes popping off and a swarm of mid-range earthquakes all down the coasts of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. Indeed, it’s been observable right around the Pacific so-called ‘Ring of Fire’. Could that possibly create pressures that would cause the whole continental plate to rock, briefly lifting the seabed off the west coast? It’s a big place, South America. Heavy. And if the plate (known as a ‘craton’) tilted, you might notice the rivers on the east coast running slower, or even backward? Or could strong lunar pull just have created a supertide?

The Roll does in fact have its own web page, it turns out. South American Roll Watch posts to an incredibly weird site called Earth Changes and the Pole Shift, where strange people contribute cryptic comments in unusual forms of English to a forum on tectonic plate movement and the position of magnetic North.

Bona fide geologists describe tectonics as happening slower than your fingernails are growing, which may account for the general excitement level on the site, which looks not to have been touched since 2010, and ‘the impending pole shift’ – the belief that a periodic flipping of the poles every so many tens of thousands of years is due to create global mayhem any minute now.

However, analysis of the information provided by a mysterious couple, or maybe a group, known as the Zetas suggests that the South American Roll theory predicts a much more violent event. In a curious mixture of scientific-sounding analysis and apocalyptic visions it appears the roll will be more south to north rather than west to east, the continent breaking across the middle creating huge tsunamis in the Caribbean, wiping out whole islands; and inundating the whole of what is now Argentina north of Patagonia. At least, that’s what I think their somewhat crudely drawn maps are telling us.

A similar unusual tidal retreat of about 60 extra metres was observed in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula in 2011:

“The sea began to ebb the arrival of Tuesday afternoon, after the rain left a beautiful rainbow in the sky. Many people took the opportunity to walk along the beach and observe the phenomenon, and collected some shells and snails.”

It sounds rather lovely; nicer than the Zeta’s description of the continent buckling and folding in half across the broken back of the Andes:

“In addition to what will happen to the land mass, we have mentioned exploding volcanoes very near at hand, and water rushing completely over such lowlands as the Yucatan and Panama. How have we failed to relay what is coming? If total destruction does not occur during the 7 of 10*, it will during the hour of the pole shift if not before that time.”

Indeed, to look at the predicted disasters due to result from gravitational effects on the movement of the continental plates, we are supposed to be about to witness as much geological change in a few hours as the earth has not experienced in the last 60 million years. Better buckle up and hang on.

It seems low tides are also getting lower at Acapulco, in Mexico.

Another reason being ‘floated’ for the unexpected tidal outsurge is there’s a massive storm out in the Atlantic that’s created a low-pressure bulge in the ocean surface, drawing water towards it from the coast. Only none has been reported. The sea can be a fickle mistress, and the BogPo’s advice is to admire it from a nearby clifftop or hotel balcony if you want to live a long and happy life.

Lots of heads and horns: the 7 of 10. Or something. (lightofthegentiles.com/Google)

Currently, there are five major weather systems that are threatening to become hurricanes. These ‘tropical waves’ are pulsing in a chain across the equator from West Africa where they have brought devastating rains, epecially in Sierra Leone where a thousand people may have died in the huge landslip that engulfed a village near Freetown at the weekend. Hurricane Gert is a weak Force 1 that developed out in the Atlantic but is heading northeast away from land. Tropical Storm Harvey is strengthening into a hurricane as it approaches the Leeward Islands. A special watch is being kept on the Freetown system as it barrels out to sea.

So the storm-sucking theory is not improbable, although Montevideo is quite far south of the tropics. One other suggestion being touted around is, of course, that a crack has opened up under the ocean. Mysterious cracks have indeed been reported in Peru, in Mexico, at Yellowstone….

Familysurvivalheadlines.com reported the bare-beaches story with an attribution of origin to another site, Weseekthetruth.com. There, other headline stories concern the pyramids discovered in Bosnia, and a government Paranormal Activity warning out for North Carolina.

The BogPo wonders if they’re seeking the truth quite hardenough.com?

We should possibly remind ourselves gently that the total solar eclipse due to track its way across the USA on Monday is creating inspired millennarian chaos all over the conspiracy community; while I see the Russians have realized, they only need to drop a small nuke on Yellowstone and it’s all over for the seven-horned Trump administration.

Watch that space!

 

*The 7 of 10. I’ve looked it up so you don’t have to. It’s either a geological probability, the number referring to the timing of the impending shift of the poles, a system devised by the Zetas, or it’s the 7 heads and 10 horns of the Beast in Revelations 13. Prophecy Ministers’ Focus on Jerusalem website explains it thus:

 “As previously mentioned, most students of prophecy are agreed that this beast represents the kingdom of Greece after it was divided into four parts following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. This agrees with the prophecy in Daniel 8 which also shows the four fold division of the Greek Empire in the form of 4 Horns on a goat, and specifically identifies Greece (vv. 21-22). In the case of chapter 7’s 4-Headed leopard, then, the Heads are kingdoms.”

Got that? Can we move on? Great.

Postscriptum:

A rare M4.9 earthquake was reported by several agencies in Bahia province, northern Brazil, on the 13th August. No USGS record of the quake has been published. Is the continent tilting? They need to know.

 

“More than 16 million people have now been affected by seasonal flooding across a swathe of South Asia, say aid officials. The floods in Nepal, Bangladesh and India are thought to have killed about 500 people and are expected to worsen. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says it is becoming one of the worst regional humanitarian crises in years. There are growing concerns about food shortages and disease.” – BBC News, 18 August.

Congratulations on the weather report, BBC.

The BBC finally catches up with the real weather news, reporting that 500 people have died and 16 million are affected by flooding in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The floods in the region have been going on for the best part of three months – see many previous Posts. Thailand and Myanmar (Burma), the south islands of Japan and New Zealand have all experienced severe flooding, as have the southern and southeastern United States, Mexico and Central America, West Africa and northern eastern Europe – with violent flash floods in many other parts of the world, from Switzerland and Russia to Nepal.

They’ll almost certainly discover next week to their amazement that large swathes of central and SE China have also been underwater for about the same length of time. Everywhere else is under a 100F-plus heatwave, droughted, on fire and/or experiencing violent storms, often of ice or snow. A wildfire can be seen from space – burning in Greenland. A 2,000-mile plume of smoke from Siberian wildfires is polluting the Arctic, where the temperature is 8C warmer than the 1981 to 2001 average.

But of course, climate change will have nothing to do with it. That would be taking sides in the debate between the entire world’s scientific community and Lord Lawson of Blaby, a senile old change-denying ghoul dug up from the Thatcher era, with no scientific credentials*, and the BBC can’t be seen to be doing that.

Preposterous bunch of half-arsed tossers.

NASA: has July 2017 tied with July 2016 as the hottest months on record. July 2017 was 2.25°C (4.05°F) warmer than the annual global mean 1980-2015 (seasonal cycle). Only in August 2016 was it warmer (2.29°C), but then again, August 2017 looks set to be warmer than that yet. Arctic sea ice extent tied with 2012 low but total volume less; expected gone by mid-September.

Arctic News: scientists calculate, a rise of 10°C (18°F) could occur by the year 2026, based on temperature anomalies from 1750 for February and on progressive growth of warming elements. “Crucial will be the decline of snow & sea ice and associated feedbacks.”

Crimea: violent storm, 3ft flash flooding in city of Sudak. Water turns blood-red from the tail-lights of parked cars as alarms are set off.

Side note: Watching endless cameraphone uploads of this kind of flooding from all over the world in the past few weeks, especially in provincial cities, the BogPo has been struck by the symbolism of hundreds upon hundreds of cars being – visibly – flushed away down streets become raging rivers, tossed aside by gales and dumped impotently atop one another, as if to underscore the nature of the problem. Yet it barely seems to stop people driving.

Hong Kong: authorities raise approaching Typhoon Hato to highest threat level 10. Makes landfall at Macau, 3 dead, 2 missing.

Ukraine: large wildfires burning along the Russian border near Rostov.

Bangladesh: ‘35%’ of the country is underwater.

Nepal: floods. 80% crop losses, stores ruined, food prices double.

Northern India: millions of acres of Assam still underwater. Death toll in Bihar rises to 202, 46 in Uttar Pradesh, 60 in West Bengal.

Congo (DRC): ‘at least’ 200 dead in landslide that buries fishing village following torrential rains.

Sierra Leone: death toll in Freetown landslip tops 400. ‘Hundreds’ still missing.

Thailand: Sai river bursts its banks. Chiang Rai underwater.

USA: Lolo Peak, Montana – fires burning for over a month flare up again after lightning strikes. 1,600 evacuated. Washington state: wildfires force evacuations. Multiple tornadoes in Midwest, storms in Minnesota, Texas cause widespread damage, power outages. Rivers flooding around Dallas, Texas.

Canada: wildfires in British Columbia and Northwest Territories break all official records, approaching 1m acres affected.

Portugal: Public ‘calamity’ declared as wildfires continue to rage in the central regions; 2,000 still ‘cut off’ in the town of Macão. No respite in hot, windy conditions.

Austria, Southern Germany: more severe storms disrupt festivals, cause local flooding.

Nicaragua: winds strengthening, 80% chance of developing tropical storm/hurricane – heavy rainfall for Belize, Yucatan.

Climate and Extreme Weather News #56/ France 24/ Al Jazeera/ Euronews/ Arctic News

*Out of curiosity, the BogPo Googled: ‘Who is funding Lord Lawson?’ (he refuses to say) and came up with an investigation into his ‘Global Warming Policy Foundation’ by the Left Foot Forward website from June 2010 that shows Lawson is highly sensitive about that question, indeed merely to ask it is, he says, ‘actionable’. Especially as there appear allegedly to be multiple third-party connections to Exxon Mobil and a number of East European energy companies.

leftfootforward.org/2010/06/lawson-still-wont-come-clean-about-sceptic-foundations-funding/

What a cancerous old corpse.

Why does the BBC still insist on exhuming Lawson, dripping with soil and maggots, to ‘balance’ any story in which climate change is mentioned as a probable subject for discussion? They must surely realize it has gone way beyond that? Opposing an objective ‘expert’ truth against a manifest ‘non-expert’ lie is not balance, it is insanity.

Postscriptum:

For an interesting long read on the political debate over Climate Change policy, go to:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/07/climate-change-denial-scepticism-cynicism-politics

On the other hand, as you probably know, the BogPo is not of the opinion that there is any further debate to be had.

The merest suggestion that there is anything to be decided – or, increasingly, anything to be done – is to play into the hands of the Energy sector, their corrupted proxies in government, the yellow-bellied scum in the well-funded academic ‘denier’ community and the vile PR campaigners sowing rumour-mongered doubt to stave off what they knew decades ago should have been inevitable policy changes and restrictions on their shareholder greed.

The scientific principles behind warming have been known for over 100 years, the evidence is there for all to see, the Energy giants knew all this decades ago, they have admitted that they’ve been lying, there is no ‘debate’. The planet is not in fact ‘cooling’. Sea ice is not ‘expanding’. The sun is not ‘getting hotter’. Volcanoes are not ‘responsible for all the CO2’. Plants and plankton cannot ‘absorb all the CO2’. Wildfires are contributing as much to global warming as governments have been saving through their inadequate greener energy policies.

Climatologists are not weather forecasters, climate is not ‘the weather’. It is impossible to accurately forecast local outcomes from climate models: that is not what is required of them. You cannot use that to berate the scientific community: ‘Oh, but you said… nah ni nah’. It’s just childish. All the trendlines are converging on imminent catastrophe, irreversible tipping-points have already been reached or exceeded.

In combination with man-made environmental degradation and climate-induced crop failures food insecurity is already being seen, prices are rising and those who, it is claimed by the ‘New Optimists’, are being ‘lifted out of extreme poverty’ by the tens of thousands every day will soon find themselves back in it. Drastic action needs to be taken: Paris is not enough.

Get your facts straight and fucking WAKE UP.

x

Paranoia corner: Apoceclypse Now!

Well folks, it’s the 21st of August, Total Apoceclypse, and the paranoid Trumpfucks are out in force on YouTube. Principal among weird theories abounding this morning:

  • NASA (an offshoot of the Illuminati founded under the Obama regime) is using the eclipse to smuggle climate-changing alien bacteria into the stratosphere.
  • The eclipse was predicted in an episode of The Simpsons.
  • They’re not telling us everythin’, we need to evacuate Wyoming now.
  • The 33rd degree eclipse splits the nation in half, causing civil war. (btw, Jesus was 33 when he died, so this is a very special occasion…)
  • “Native Americans are advising to stay indoors. It is a time for reflection. The energy levels will be very high. Do not go to the water and observe this eclipse.”
  • “The oldest most ancient truths called Nuwaubu reveals the truth of the cycles and luminaries of the sky.”

‘zac deshazo’ writes: “This is spot on about rahu causing eclipses…ive been banging my head against the wall trying to explain this to anyone who will listen…THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS VIDEO!” (narrator informs us the sun is moving, it’s not the earth!)

I’m sorry, people, American is not a race, so I don’t think I’m being especially racist when I have to say, you’re all fucking nuts. Is this what you get with Obamacare? How did the rest of us ever come to believe the crazy idea that America leads the world when you haven’t evolved since the Stone Age, when dinosaurs ruled the earth?

(Yes, there are whited-out letter ‘x’s between all the different stories on my Posts. It doesn’t mean anything, okay? It’s just to stop the stories colliding with fucking Planet X Nibiru. Jesus, get a grip.)

x

Thar She Blows!

Half of America seems to imagine that some magical cosmic effect of the total solar eclipse tomorrow will cause the Yellowstone supervolcano to erupt with terrifying, probably world-ending consequences.

Signs and portents of natural wonders. (Photo: National Geographic, I think. Sorry.)

It’s been pretty lively lately, more than 60 straight days with up to 62 small earthquakes in a day and the three domes in the huge caldera all rising alarmingly as magma (estimated at 7 cubic kilometres) floods the chamber beneath at a depth of barely a mile.

The authorities, of course, especially the evil US Geological Survey, aren’t telling us the truth. They’re deliberately suppressing half the earthquake reports, the web cameras keep getting shut off, the info on gas releases is being doctored, and they’re still letting the public in and the bison roam to avoid scaring people. Just look at the colour of the steam, it’s obvious!

So you can forgive a certain increase in the panic level at a story attributed to our own, much loved Daily Mail, the rattiest garbage sink in the country, that NASA scientists are proposing to ‘cool the magma down’ by FRACKING in the caldera.

It might take quite a lot of water to cool 7 cubic kilometres of 1,000-degree hot magma, one suspects, while the instant any quantity of water is introduced, superheated steam is produced and the whole fucking thing is gonna blow, with an estimated death toll of 25 million.

It will certainly take the nation’s mind off the woes of the White House, but no-one we suspect has any faith in the ability of their inept and profoundly ignorant administration to handle a fart in a bubblebath.

Has anyone noticed, the volume of plots and alchemical potions ascribed to NASA since Trump and his friend Bannon seized power has increased exponentially? NASA is the new Empire of Evil, apparently.

x

Obituary: So farewell Daedalus

News comes that whacky science writer, the physical chemist David Jones, better known to science buffs as Daedalus, has died at the age of 79.

Bronze-age flyer: Daedalus casting off. (Google/Shelf3D.com)

His Daedalus column appeared weekly as the endpiece in New Scientist for many years, before transferring to The Guardian. Married unsuccessfully for only one year of his life, a poignant factoid, he also featured in front of, and behind, the cameras in a number of TV shows dedicated to quirky scientific ideas.

He was astonishingly prescient with many of his more way-out inventions, including chemical lasers that could shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles (15 years later forming the basis of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars programme), and folding hexagonal carbon atoms into ‘football’-shaped molecules, an idea that three years later turned into the Nobel prizewinning (alas, not for him) ‘Buckyballs’, or Buckminsterfullerene.

He also seems to have accurately foreshadowed Brexit Britain, 29 years before the referendum. From The Guardian obituary:

“In 1987 he was the subject of a BBC QED programme, which realised one of his inventions: a bus on which each passenger was given a steering wheel, and which then proceeded in a “majority” direction.”

 

Footnote:

Readers may notice that I have ‘liked’ this piece myself. I have done so on behalf of ‘Unlimbited Tree Service’, who I was advised in an email from WordPress had Liked this piece, but whose Like has not appeared below as it should in theory have done.

Thank you.