The Pumpkin – Issue 25. As we discover President Trump encouraged Saudi Arabia to go to the brink of war with Qatar for refusing Jared Kushner a $500 million bailout over a failed property investment, we learn too that the Russian lawyer who dished the dirt on Hillary Clinton is not quite what she seemed…

As we discover President Trump encouraged Saudi Arabia to go to the brink of war with Qatar for refusing Jared Kushner a $500 million bailout over a failed property investment, we learn too that the Russian lawyer who dished the dirt on Hillary Clinton is not quite what she seemed…

 

“As long as senior republicans in both houses of Congress can keep up the pretence that each successive story that emerges is somehow not connected to any other and that ‘collusion’ with a foreign power to rig an election is not technically a crime, the likelihood of impeachment remains remote.”

Perhaps she was on a shopping trip?

Mr Trump has firmly and publicly stated, both as candidate and as president, on many occasions that he has no business connections with Russia.

Yet here is Mr Emin Agalerov, 37, pop-singer son of a Moscow property developer with whom Trump had a business connection, interviewed in the Washington Post in April 2016:

 “I consider him a friend. We exchange correspondence. We see each other a few times a year.”

This declaration sits alongside the admission by Trump’s middle son, Eric, in 2014 that, according to golf writer James Dodson, “We have all the funding we need out of Russia” to pay for the president’s $100 million golf resort developments.

It seems the Trump boys are keen to sabotage their father’s presidency, if not to see him in jail.

The latest furore among so many to choose from concerns a meeting oldest (but not wisest) son Donald Trump Jr had in June of last year with a Russian lawyer in New York. You’ve probably heard the substance of the story, but there is an interesting timeline attached, that makes it too complicated a story for the British mainstream media to fully explore.

Allow the Pumpkin!

First, know there is a pattern to stories of Trump campaign contacts with Russians. This meeting among many others involving members of the Trump campaign and his family was never registered anywhere, even when matters of security clearance were legally pressing, and has been consistently denied up to the point where it could no longer be concealed.

Following the initial revelations, defence lawyers have been engaged, hasty retrospective legally-required declarations have been made months after the event, and a series of fast-changing statements and explanations have followed, many of them patently contradictory and absurd. Such as, that Trump Jr ‘did not know’ in advance who the Russian lawyer was or what she wanted to talk about.

In which case, why accept the invitation to go to the meeting without either wanting to know more, or – alarm bells ringing – contacting the FBI? In any case, it was made quite clear in emails released by Trump what the meeting was for, that he now admits.

Natalia Veselnitskaya, it’s said, was not a Russian government official. Except that she has represented government ministers in court and is married to one. An unofficial channel, then. Why on earth would she have bothered – and been granted a visa – to fly to New York, just to chat with a junior member of the Trump family for ‘twenty minutes’?

Perhaps she was on a shopping trip?

Well, because of the Magnitsky Law. She wanted a deal whereby, if Trump Sr were elected, he would revoke the Obama administration’s embarrassing law preventing US citizens from adopting Russian babies: part of the regime of sanctions, directly related to the death in prison of human rights lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky – a noted opponent of Putin and an anti-corruption campaigner, who plainly had knowledge of Putin’s extensive network of shady business dealings and had to be silenced.

I’ll repeat the question, then. Why on earth would she have bothered – or been granted a visa – to fly to New York, just to talk to a junior member of the Trump family, if she was not acting on behalf of the Russian government? Well, some reports suggest she was in New York anyway to observe or take part in, an inchoate legal battle involving three Russian oligarchs all accusing one another of owing huge sums of money as a result of a drunken bet in a London club.

Oh, well. It was only a 20-minutes meeting, she was ‘vague and rambling’ (a top government lawyer? Come on, Donny, you can do better than that! Maybe it was jetlag?) and didn’t say anything useful so we made our excuses and left.

We, being Donny Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who were all at the meeting together. What were those others doing there, if Donald didn’t know what the meeting was going to be about. Bodyguards?

And then someone, I know not who, some Congressional committee chair, demanded to see the RSVP in the form of emails sent to Trump by the sleaziest-looking, cheapest and least likely go-between it would be possible to conceive of, one Rob Goldstone: a grimy, overweight British former tabloid newspaper hack turned ‘music promoter and friend’ of Agalerov, a low-grade pop star in Russia whose video Goldstone helped to put together.

It makes Watergate look positively dignified.

This Goldstone, it seems, was selected by the Agalerovs as the US end of the connection, owing to his involvement with Trump’s tacky Miss Universe party in Moscow in 2013, after which Trump tweeted excitedly that he had ‘met all the oligarchs’ (he is really only 11 years old). And in his naive enthusiasm, that could come back to bite the prosecution if this ever gets to court, Goldstone boasted excitedly if a tad unwisely in his emails about Veselnitskaya bringing useful dirt on Hillary Clinton, ‘highly classified’, ‘Russian government’ information, and in HIS naive enthusiasm Donny Jr emailed back that he ‘loved it’.

So the correspondence is there for all the world to see, that Trump campaigners had no scruples whatever about treating with an inimical foreign power to obtain electoral advantage, although up to that point it is unlikely they were aware, as the Obama administration was aware, that the Russians were already poking about in the internet files of the Democratic party; and the only legal evidence that the Russian government was involved is that enthusiastic claim by a fourth-rate British pop music promoter. So sad.

Sadly too, the worst the trio can jointly be accused of is conspiracy to commit computer fraud – encouraging hacking. Rigging elections is not illegal – for Republicans it’s a sacred duty. But Kushner’s personal situation is more serious. He has an official government position. He could be looking at five years in jail for failing to disclose the meeting – one of any number of Russian and other foreig meetings he failed to disclose – on his application for top-level security clearance.

Curious timeline

A few hours after the meeting took place, at which nothing at all interesting was imparted to Team Trump, Donald Trump Sr got into one of his childish tweeting spats with Hillary Clinton. “Where are the 33 thousand emails you deleted?” he asked, triumphantly. The interesting thing being that up to that moment, Mr Trump had almost certainly not known either that Mrs Clinton had deleted any emails, or that there were 33 thousand of them.

The next thing I suppose was significant was that, eleven days later, Trump fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and appointed Paul Manafort in his place.

Manafort, according to the New York Times, had been under scrutiny by the FBI since 2014 over his highly questionable dealings with the deposed Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovitch, a profoundly corrupt Putin crony who fled the republic at the height of what had started as one of those peaceful ‘velvet revolutions’ over his backtracking on a deal with the EU and is now holed up in Moscow.

Mr Manafort was said to have featured more than once on the long list of names of directors of obscure offshore shell companies set up through the secretive law firm, Mossack-Fonseca: the leaked, so-called Panama Papers. Tentative connections were being drawn between the $17.9 million in ‘consultancy’ fees he is said to have received from ‘a Ukrainian political party’ and the $37 billion Mr Yanukovitch is said to have looted from state coffers before he fled in a convoy of cars organised for him by the Russians, which had to be parked somewhere. There seems to have been a bit more to Mr Manafort’s services than just PR ‘election advice’, and any number of federal statutes might be invoked.

Following the appointment of Manafort, Mr Trump noticeably reversed his campaigning rhetoric on the subject of Russian military interference in Eastern Ukraine; replacing without notice passages in a speech he had been given to spout by the Republican campaign organizers supporting US arms sales to the government in Kiev. They were now off the agenda.

Then, two weeks after the meeting an elderly party ‘fixer’, Peter Smith, started trying to recruit some figures on the so-called ‘alt-right’, computer experts – one of whom is said to be a Russian speaker – to mount a search for the missing Clinton emails. The aim was to trace the hackers connected with Russian military intelligence, including the infamous ‘Guccifer 2’, who were believed to have stolen them.

Interviewed for the Wall Street Journal shortly before his death – from natural causes – Smith overnamed his connections with the Trump campaign’s attempts to find the supposedly incriminating emails. Among them were General Mike Flynn, to whom he was to report on progress; former Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and campaign chairman Sam Clovis, the Journal reported.

Later naming his Transition Team, Trump would make Flynn his National Security Advisor, despite numerous red-flag warnings that Flynn was under investigation for possible breaches of the Foreign Powers Act and susceptible to Russian blackmail; Bannon his Chief Strategy Advisor, Conway his frankly disastrous Communications Director and Clovis Secretary for Agriculture, in which position Fat Sam – formerly a right-wing radio ‘shock-jock’ – lobbies enthusiastically for the agrichemical poisons industry.

Manafort was fired in August after only two months when his Ukrainian connections became public knowledge and has since, as they say, been ‘helping with enquiries’ at FBI headquarters.

But will he go?

As the Russiagate revelations have burst, one by one, in almost nightly exposés in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal – all the best Fake News media – picked up and amplified by TV news channels like ABC, CNN and NBC, virtually every senior member of the Trump administration and his nepotistic family appointees, as well as Donald Jr, has ‘lawyered up’, in the telling phrase. Why, are they expecting something of a legal nature to eventuate? Something they can’t admit to?

There is clearly more to come out. These and many other matters are under investigation by the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller 111. As long as senior Republicans in both houses of Congress can keep up the pretence that each successive story that emerges is somehow not connected to any other and that ‘collusion’ with a foreign power to rig an election is not technically a crime, or that somehow Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were the real conspirators, the likelihood of impeachment remains remote, despite the damage this is doing to their re-election prospects. They still imagine it is containable.

Their complacency is to ignore the depth and complexity of the Russian attack. While not ignoring that the Russians have been attempting to undermine Western democratic institutions in the same way for decades, what’s new here is that they appear to have found willing partners, suppliers and co-conspirators in the USA. What effect did that have on the election result? (It’s too late to declare it null and void, so given the President’s powers of pardon and his ability to fire the Special Prosecutor should he wish to take that risk, nothing more can be done.)

It’s not only a question of Hillary’s emails – who hacked them, and what did they do with the information – which we know, they passed it on to WikiLeaks to dump on the open market. The emails were a by-product of attempts to obtain information advantageous to the Trump campaign through hacking attacks by Soviet military intelligence, the GRU’s special cyber unit. But there were also phishing attacks on the voting registration technology and voter rolls, designed to find weak links to disrupt the election itself; and to have strategies in place for the 2018 mid-terms.

Indeed, obtaining the most detailed personal records available of all 205 million voters registered in the USA seems to have been, and continues to be, a central policy ambition – the Holy Grail – of the Republican party, which has become notorious for its attempts to gerrymander constituencies by manipulating or suppressing voter rolls: striking off Democrat supporters, mainly black and Latino voters, disqualifying them by such basic tactics as not counting people having similar names ‘in case’ they are duplicates.

Such confidential data would also be commercially valuable, immensely so, and play a key part in any possible action against the Muslim minority, self-identified through registration forms which demand to know the religious affiliations of voters. A database of all the Mulsims in America could quickly be compiled, were 44 States’ governors not holding out against demands from the White House to release the supposedly confidential lists.

So far, admittedly, it has not been shown that Trump Sr was connected directly with the antics of his campaign managers and members of his own family. He has denied knowing about the Veselnitskaya meeting, although he was in the building at the time; while Donald Jr is sticking to his story that nothing came of it so he didn’t tell anyone about it. Why not? “Hey, Dad, I just met with a hot Russian lawyer in the office down the hall from yours in Trump Tower, I gave her a nine, you’d have liked her!”?

Why wouldn’t he have said something like that, a person obviously of such low-grade intellect?

The bigger picture

It should perhaps therefore be mentioned that the ‘Russia thing’ is far from the only game in town. Trump is also facing dozens of private law suits, some relating to the notorious Trump University scandal, some to his property businesses and others to his forcing Twitter to take down litigants’ accounts because of their tweeting criticisms of him.

The FBI, the CIA, the Special Prosecutor and at least two Senate committees, plus two specialist financial Grand Juries in the states of East Virginia and New York are involved in investigating his past and current business dealings, under suspicion of active co-operation with international money-laundering operations, possible sanctions-busting and connections to organized crime.

Then there are:

  • possible breaches of the Foreign Emoluments Act in that he continues to receive profits from his ownership of overseas hotels and golf resort businesses, from which he has refused to divest himself or where his family remains in charge;
  • his reported abuses of charity tax exemptions through the use of Trump Foundation money for his own purposes;
  • attempts to get hold of his tax records, which uniquely among senior political appointments he is hanging on to for grim death;
  • and the matter of whether or not he attempted to pervert the course of justice.

This last in connection with accusations that he tried to pressure the heads of the intelligence agencies – culminating in the firing of FBI director James Comey, since when terrified security agency directors Dan Coats and Admiral Mike Rogers have refused even under oath to answer questions about whether or not he also leaned on them – to drop their investigations into the aforementioned matters, but also:

  • General Flynn’s belatedly declared foreign agenting activities on behalf of Russia and Turkey;
  • Jared Kushner’s financial dealings with Russian and Chinese banks (and Qatar, see below);
  • Kushner’s and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ undeclared meetings with Russian spymaster, Ambassador Kysliak

…and so on it goes.

There is so clearly something Trump has been directing his staff and family to say nothing about, or to perjure themselves; something he is willing to commit lesser offences to avoid coming out; something really serious that concerns him alone.

At the end of the day, is he prepared to throw all of these oddballs under the bus to protect his secrets, someone – even the son-in-law on whom he dotes almost as much as on his daughter, Ivanka?

As court reporters used to say, the case continues.

 

“…as your premiums continue to rise inexorably in all sectors from domestic… to pet insurance, you’ll know why”

Maybe it’s time to call in their loans?

The US Department of Justice and the Federal Housing Agency are doing very nicely thank you out of levying staggering fines on foreign banks for various misdemeanours committed on or before 2007/8 when the global banking crisis hit.

But it’s not the banks that ultimately pay for their mistakes. You and I are considerably out of pocket as a result, and liable to go on being so, while the unravelling Tory government continues to protest with increasing lack of sincerity that continuing austerity is all the fault of Labour’s ‘mismanagement’ of the economy – that Labour hasn’t been responsible for since before May 2010. It’s a stock meme, but the voting public falls for it every time.

Questions do, however, remain to be asked about Gordon Brown and Mervyn King’s strategy of bailing out the banks without placing too many restrictions on their future conduct, other than obliging them to sit on a bit more of our money and not gamble it away too riskily. And, indeed, those restrictions, based on the so-called ‘stress tests’, came not from Threadneedle Street but from the EU, to loud objections from the striped shirts and braces community.

The Pumpkin is wondering, for instance, if the Government and the Bank of England knew how much liability for the crash was going to be borne by Royal Bank of Scotland, RBS, when the British taxpayer was being forced to stump up £45 billion to buy its 71% stake in the failing bank, money it has never recovered?

The DoJ has just fined RBS $5.5 billion (£4.25bn) for its role in bundling-up a pile of sub-prime residential mortgages (RMBS), dishonestly peddled mainly to aspirant low-income African-Americans in the US’s rustbelt cities, many of whom have since been repossessed by billionaire property speculators like the Kushners, and selling them on to the absurdly-named Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae building societies, giant entities of social engineering that came unglued as a result.

RBS remains a loss-maker, having failed to declare a profit in any of the past ten years. But the good news is, it expects to have to pay a further eyewatering penalty. According to The Guardian:

The Edinburgh-based bank is facing another punishment from the US Department of Justice for the same activities, which could cost a further £9bn, and admitted it had not yet engaged in talks about a settlement in this matter.

Since its bailout in 2008, RBS has incurred fines and legal costs of £15bn ($19.9bn). (13 July)

Let’s remember, it’s not their money, it’s yours and mine. And thanks to the American Empire overlords, we’re spending it twice over. Admittedly, some of the debt has already been laid off to insurance companies, so as your premiums continue to rise inexorably in all sectors from domestic to motor to pet insurance, you’ll know why.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank, of whom more elsewhere, and Credit Suisse have also been hit with over $12 billion in settlements, and the US DoJ is still pursuing Barclays – who have so far avoided speaking to them.

(As we know, four top Barclays executives are languishing on bail pending trial in the UK, accused of bribing Qatar with £300 million to guarantee the bank $billions, ramping the share price so as to avoid having to go cap-in-hand to ask for a Bank of England bailout that would have involved close scrutiny of their books. You can’t win!)

Anyway, it’s one way to bring down the USA’s $65 trillion domestic debt burden, I suppose, by soaking foreign taxpayers. You and me, in other words.

Deutsche Bank and RBS are also listed among the 20 banks Trump son-in-law and all-purpose security risk Jared Kushner is said to owe $1 billion to.

Maybe it’s time to call in their loans?

Maybe before he joins his dad in jail?

 

 

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R-rated item

“Not long after Trump promised to transfer power from Washington to the American people, a wave of spending in pursuit of influence was unleashed. In the first quarter of 2017, tobacco companies and trade associations spent $4.7m lobbying federal officials. Altria, the company behind Marlboro, hired 17 lobbying firms. Reynolds, makers of the Camel brand, hired 13, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/13/tobacco-industry-trump-administration-ties

Welcome to the future

See how Trump was seen coming ten miles off by the desperate shits of the corporate cesspit? See how goddam WEAK they knew he was, how pig-ignorant, how biddable – how corrupt?

Far from ‘draining the swamp’ his administration is packed to the rafters with creeps from Wall Street, scum-rejects from the oil and coal industries, from tobacco and agrichem, from the NRA and with every corrupt and phoney, hypocritical alt-Christian creationist and knowledge-hating misogynist pork-barrel politician who has ever stuck their slavering tongue up his fat, hairy presidential back-passage to massage his presidential haemorrhoids.

Thanks to Trump’s incoherent campaign rhetoric, in which he would promise absolutely anything his antediluvian brain made from congealed greed could think up to jerk-off the dumbfucks, the white trash and the AR-15 toting soccer-moms, to make them love him, he promised to just tear up every human value, every environmental and consumer protection, every civilizational advance he could convince them was stealing their jobs in order to drag them back to the golden age of Betty Crocker Cake Mix and nigger-lynching.

Giving a clear signal to every well-greased corporate shill, PR money-breather, insane polluter, chemical child-killer and Enlightenment denialist to crawl out from under their Roger Stones and capture the White House, leaving their slime trails and spatterings of bloody diarrhoeia, their maggots all over the corpse of US democracy, glumly defended by Skelly-tanned Conway and her roly-poly puppybitch spokesmouth, ‘Look at me, I’m so Christian’ Fuckabee Sanders.

Welcome to the future. What there might be left of it.

(Actually I keep thinking maybe I could take up smoking again, it’s been 37 years. Whaddaya think?)

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The Son-in-Law also Sets

The Independent learns that Trump’s about-face on Qatar following his Middle East trip last month may have a more personal dimension than just a desire to support Saudi Arabia and the UAE in their impossible demands on the unpopular Emirate.

As we reported a while ago, Trump began with a meeting with Qatar’s new young Emir, hailing him as an ally and welcoming the prospect of selling him more beautiful military equipment’; to which end, Mad Dog was sent to negotiate $11 billion-worth of stuff.

He hadn’t been back on the golf course more than two weeks, however, when the Orange Glow was excoriating the oil-glutted mini-state as a ‘major funder of terrorism’ and demanding they shut down the Al Jazeera fake news network and stop talking to Iran.

Under the urging of the US, the GCC (Arab nations) have imposed a blockade on Qatar and are trying to strangle the country with massive sanctions and military threats. The situation remains tense and could very well result in war. The King of Saudi Arabia recently withdrew his favour from his 57-year-old nephew, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, naming instead his dissolute warmongering son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as his successor.

It now appears that Mr Trump’s thinking is being unsubtly conditioned by his own crown prince, the Zionist Jared Kushner, reportedly a ‘friend’ of Prince Salman, in the eyes of many international bodies a war criminal as he presides over the genocidal Saudi policy in the Yemen.

And Kushner seems to have found sufficient influence through his ‘friends’ in Saudi Arabia to take revenge on his other ‘friend’, the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamed al Thani.

Hamed is reported to have withdrawn an offer to lend Kushner $500 million to prop up his failing investment in 666, Fifth Avenue – the building the Chinese also almost lent him money on, including a $400 million ‘sweetener’, before withdrawing their offer – when Kushner was unable to raise the rest of the dough.

Mr Trump, and his scumsucker, butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth plastic-boy Kushner, the little hypocrite were – it seems, read the story in (for instance) The Independent – happy to let Arab states go to war in an already volatile region, risking a major regional conflict and possibly hundreds of thousands more lives, just out of sheer vindictiveness.

The Pumpkin has only recently learned that Kushner Sr ended up in jail, not because of some pardonable commercial fraud. Oh no. Jared’s beloved dad was being prosecuted for fraud, and his brother-in-law had been subpoena’d to give evidence. Kushner Sr paid a prostitute to compromise him, and then sent the video to his own sister. He’s doing five years for perverting the course of justice, just what Trump Sr will eventually go down for.

Except he won’t, the creepy Mike Pence will pardon him. He’s such a fucking white Christian too.

Don’t just lock this entire family of overentitled criminal fuckers and mental retards up, America. Hang them.

 

Oh God. Oh God. There’s more…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYaMqY5MK50

Okay, so Natalya Vesilnitskaya…

Not what she says she is. Not what Donald Jr thought she was. Not what The Pumpkin joked she is.

Under investigation also now is surely Republican representative Dana Rohrbacher, who seems to have arranged for the not unattractively dimpled Kremlin attorney to get into the USA without the appropriate clearance to represent a Russian company in a $280 million money-laundering case….

THE Congressman Rohrbacher about whom it was ‘joked’ at a meeting of Republican senators in 2016 that he was in the pay of the Kremlin… along with Mr Trump. Wikipedia reports:

In terms of his positions, Rohrbacher voted to repeal Obamacare, denies global warming, is a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, and favors the legalization of marijuana. In foreign policy, he supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, called on Trump to punish Turkish President Erdoğan on embassy violence, sided with Russia in the Russia–Georgia war, supported the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and supports cooperating with Russia in Syria.

In other words, a fucked-up, Russia-backed stoner.

It appears that the Department of Justice (Attorney General, Trump appointee and known liar about his Russian meetings Jefferson ‘Jeff’ Beauregard Sessions 111) let the defendants off in May with a paltry $6 million fine.

Foreign Policy magazine reported:

“Democratic congressmen on the House Judiciary Committee want to know why Attorney General Jeff Sessions abruptly settled a money laundering case in May involving the same Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the presidential election to offer “dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

“The civil forfeiture case was filed in 2013 by Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York — who was fired by Trump in March. The case alleged that 11 companies were involved in a tax fraud in Russia and then laundered a portion of the $230 million they got into Manhattan real estate.”

She’s obviously pretty good at her job, whatever it is. And as of 21 July two US naturalized Russians – a former military intelligence officer now in trouble over his immigration status and a known money-launderer who created 2,000 shell companies for oligarchs, worth $1.4 billion, have been identified as also present at that 9 June meeting, bringing the total to eight.

Just to discuss adoption! Or, indeed, nothing!

Honestly, guys, it’s impossible to keep up with this. Every day brings new dots to be joined in a complex web of money laundering, political influence peddling and deep corruption in the Trump White House, all of it ultimately deriving from the crassly incompetent, self-enriching activities of one criminal family.

When will this nightmare end?

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The Boglington Post – A matter of belief; Return of the Teenager! You have to be Caracas – Police brutality, Quote of the Week, Human Extinction and more.

“A report by the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PACAC) said MPs were deeply concerned about the allegations of foreign interference in last year’s Brexit vote.” – Guardian Today, 12 April

A matter of belief

My colleague over at The Pumpkin has been struggling for two weeks to point out to anyone who would listen, basically nobody, that approximately two-thirds of the way through the Congressional Intelligence Committee hearing on 20 March, a brief and apparently unnoticed exchange took place between the Ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff and FBI Director, James Comey.

As I can’t summon the energy to sit through five hours of video coverage again, I’ll paraphrase:

Do you believe the Russians could have interfered with other elections (than the US election), such as in Europe or with Brexit? asked Schiff. Yes Sir, I do, replied Comey.

The exchange has not been reported anywhere in the British media.

Now, anyone could say what they ‘believe’. Christians and Muslims have detailed theories about all sorts of things that aren’t objectively true, but which form the basis of a belief system that extends to the entire cultural context of their lives and even to honor killings, acid attacks on women, terrorism and internecine warfare.

The Director of the FBI, by contrast, has to be someone whose logic is a bit more remorseless and factual than merely extending to a fervent belief, for instance that the biological offspring of the Creator of the universe, born of a virgin on Christmas Day, was executed, rose from the dead and walked on water.

(A recent poll in fact showed that only 17% of a sample of 2,000 British adults believe in the literal truth of the resurrection. The number rises to 50% in the case of professed Christians.)

When the Director of the FBI says he ‘believes’ something, he is exploiting a euphemism. Packed into that one word is a world of secret knowledge, of informers and researchers, of cyber-security experts, of tappings and snoopings and hackings and interrogations, evaluations and briefings, cross-referrals and triangulations, reports and filings leading to the establishment of legally enforceable hard facts concerning criminal or subversive activities that may not, at this stage of the investigation, be spoken of in open committee hearings.

Mr Comey had earlier confirmed by a complex series of signs, nods and winks and masterfully polite evasions that his organization is indeed embarked upon a number of separate investigations relating to ‘any’ communications between the Trump campaign staff and Russian ‘diplomats’ or ‘oligarchs’ – disruptive players seeking, the media surmises, to undermine the democratic process – if not also to ensure the election of some ‘useful idiot’ or compromised politician who will, directly or indirectly, further their hegemonic ambitions.

The Three Brexiteers: Davis, ‘The Doctor’ and Doris (r)

Who better fit the latter category than our three Brexiteers: Davis, ‘The Doctor’ and Doris, and their gormless Empire Loyalist, neo-Thatcherite henchmen (plus the odd useful female)?

What set of circumstances could better improve the opportunities for Mr Putin and his cronies to shore-up their borders with the European Union and regain influence over the border states, formerly part of the Soviet empire, even occupying territory to keep them from falling into the clutches of the evil NATO, to disrupt Europe’s security, than a good, well-rigged election?

Indeed, my colleague at The Pumpkin has also been speculating in every corner of the media, wherever a person of no standing can obtain a readership; and in emails to politicians, on this very question, a point about how and why the registrations database had been caused to crash 48 hours before registrations closed:

“…there were clues that a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) using botnets – a network of computers infected with malicious software – was used to overwhelm the site… the committee’s report said. While the incident had no material effect on the outcome of the referendum, the committee said it was crucial that lessons were learned for future votes that must extend beyond purely technical issues.” (Ibid.)

What the report of the report does not however go on to say, is that a DDOS attack (and the sudden, unexplained emergence of what the Committee suggests was 500 thousand new voters, reported at the time to have been two million) was not the only possible use of botnets: for, as we know – there have been other reports that suggest this – the US election campaign was also marked by a surreptitious campaign of disinformation, using detailed analysis of individual voting intentions (‘data-harvesting’ from personal social media uploads and conversations) to target specific messages to potential opposition voters.

Were that to have occurred in Britain – and there are wealthy eccentric, Europhobic  ‘disruptors’ such as Mr Arron Banks and Mr Jim Dowson who have come forward to say that is certainly what they intended to do; also reports that a British company, Cambridge Analytica, allegedly owned by the ultra-rightwing US hedge-fund manager, the multi-billionaire Robert Mercer and his ultra-ultra-rightwing daughter Rebekah, hefty backers both of Republican candidates ($22 million) and the Breitbart News website, was engaged in just such ‘data-harvesting’ activities – then it could very well not be said that: “the incident had no material effect on the outcome of the referendum”.

That’s just wishful thinking.

Belief.

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Life after Brexit

A Commenter on a Guardian news story about pension rights for British expats writes that he was standing on London Bridge with a female friend, an entirely English person, who happened to be talking on the phone in French to a colleague in France.

And a man came by and shouted ‘Fuck off back to Paris, you French cunt.’

It seems difficult and risky to move elsewhere in these trepidatious times, but I really don’t want to live any longer in this fucking awful dystopian ‘dictatorship of the cretins’, which these dogshit-ignorant arsewipes are so proud of that they cannot accommodate living on the same planet as, or even maybe being, someone with an actual education, culture or good manners; who might (but does not) come from 30 miles away across the Channel.

Do you?

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Life after life

…it is evident that the maximum methane global warming potential temperature trend of 50 intersects the 2 degree centigrade temperature anomaly line in mid 2027 at which time humanity will completely  lose our ability to combat the earth atmospheric temperature rise. This diagram also indicates that methane will be an extremely active global warming agent for the first 15 years during the early stages of the extinction process. At the 80 o F (26.66 oC) Permian extinction event temperature line (Wignall, 2009), which has a 12.177 oC temperature anomaly above the 1980 mean of 14.49 oC,  the lifetime of the minimum methane global warming  potential veil is now some 75 years long and the temperature so high that total extinction of all life on earth will have occurred by this time.

2012 paper by Prof. Malcolm Light: Global Extinction within One Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heatwave and Surface Firestorm (Arctic-news. blogspot.co.uk/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html. Passage refers to a graph.)

The good news for millennarians hoping soon to meet their invisible friend Jedoof is, the process is moving faster and faster. The 2012 paper is way out of date.

“…a polynomial trend based on NOAA July 1983 to January 2017 global monthly mean methane data points at twice as much methane by 2034. Stronger methane releases from the seafloor could make such a doubling occur much earlier.” (Ibid.)

Mr Trump is very happy this evening. After three months of total fucking chaos and incompetence the more extreme elements of his military are now in firm control of the White House. The Pentagon has won out over the CIA and is insanely going back to dropping huge bombs on peasants hiding in caves in Afghanistan. We’re back to Vietnam: the theatre of war Trump avoided serving in. The US army is damned if it is going to forgive a past regime that let itself be beaten by asymmetricals wearing flip-flops. Now it’s payback time.

Having spent years criticising US military adventurism abroad and won an election on a non-interventionist platform Mr Trump is now entirely in favour of anything that prettily explodes, US troops being sent by the thousand into Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen – a carrier fleet to North Korea, threats against Russia, China – a quadruple increase in civilian ‘collateral’ deaths from US airstrikes in just two months.

Let’s remember, the violence in those regions did not erupt spontaneously: it is the legacy of past Western interventions, and don’t let any conservatives tell you otherwise.

The compulsive lying old mobster thug, Trump has thus already laid the murders of many ‘beautiful’ children onto his financial crimes and given military hawks such as Mad Dog Mattis and HR McMaster their severely shaven, curiously shaped heads.

His knowledge of foreign affairs is clearly zero, his diplomatic service has been so hollowed out that he has no expert advice on traditional theatres of US power projection, no capacity to conduct diplomacy, and is simply making policy on an increasingly sick and senile hoof. He has done a 180-deg. handbrake turn on literally every campaign promise he made: maybe he just doesn’t remember what he said, and doesn’t care: the scam is going off nicely so far.

For God’s sake, impeach him. Arrest him, before the crazy orange fucker kills us all. What is the FBI doing? Why is it taking them so long, when everything is out there in open space for all to see?

Get on with it, Comey. Man up, lovely eyes. You already have enough ammunition to put him in prison for the rest of his worthless life.

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More anon

Readers, Spammers, Likers, Followers and People No Longer Reading This, muh Bogl, will know that from time to time I wonder about why it is that some totally obviously spam messages get through the WordPress filter while thousands of other messages, some of which might actually be genuine, don’t; and ask why people are bothering to do this,  praising my stuff to the skies in an unknown language in which the words are real but the syntax isn’t.

Just to update you, I’m no longer getting messages from ‘Pussy’, my number one fan is now someone (or a program) calling themselves ‘Gay Porn’.

Does WordPress seriously imagine I am going to Approve any of this botty crap for onward transmission to actual humans? It must have a purpose, a function, a reason – but no-one tells me what. Who bothers to send this stuff, and why? It is not as if they are even after my bank details.

It would be great if you could actually talk to WordPress about it, but they also seem like an alien lifeform. I should write to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, maybe, and ask if he couldn’t go back to the drawing-board and invent us a new worldwide web, free from all this spying and passwords and Russian shit.

Postscriptum: RIP – The teenager returns!

Yes, the lad has returned, and in only five hours accomplished what I had not been able to face, or even to contemplate doing in its technological complexity, conducting the last rites for muh li’l Asus laptop thing, that fell to pieces after almost six years of constant hammering, cunningly transferring soft stuff and setting up magical things.

How do they do it, with no special training? I don’t even have to stick pieces of cardboard over the trackpad anymore, to stop the words flying about!

Consequently you are reading the first words sent   from muh NEW laptop thing, courtesy of Messrs Hewlett and Packard.

Congratulations.

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“Beating and killing and jailing and torturing people is not going to put food back in the mouths of the security forces either, their moms, wives and kids.”

You have to be Caracas to work here

Demonstration in Venezuela. (Reuter)

A question I’ve long wanted an answer to is why so many youngish working-class men are always so willing to put on riot gear and beat the crap out of a bunch of unarmed demonstrators?

It happens everywhere. A demonstrator was killed in Venezuela last week, hundreds of mostly students injured, gassed, arrested and disappeared into police cells for some enhanced conversation.

The protests in Caracas against the presidency of Nicolas Maduro have a perfectly sensible rationale: oil-rich Venezuela is virtually a failed state. With the slump in oil prices, corruption and economic mismanagement, people are going hungry, normal household goods like toilet paper have disappeared; the shops are empty. Inheriting the downside of Chavez-ism, Maduro has no answer but a brutal police crackdown and blame the USA.

So these guys who put on riot gear and flak jackets and masks and helmets and throw pepper spray and teargas, rubber bullets and buckshot, shoot off water-cannon, they have families: mothers and fathers, wives and kids, who are all suffering under an incompetent regime. Their own mothers and wives are queuing for hours every day for a little overpriced bread and bottled water. There’s 1,000 per cent inflation: the bread costs three times as much by the evening as it would have in the morning, and three times as much the next day.

Yet day after day the riot squad is happy to be ordered out on the streets to brutalise other people just like themselves, their fellow citizens who only want better politicians to take over and put things back in order again, feed the people – not the leftwing elite holed up in the palace, in the assembly. These demonstrators are not funded by the CIA anymore, this is not a rightist putsch to get the landowners and the business community back in power; it’s a plea for social justice.

Beating and killing and jailing and torturing people is not going to put food back in the mouths of the security force, their moms, wives and kids. But the world over, it’s always the way. A brutal dictator – take your pick – can always rely on an army of thugs and goons to do their dirty work even at a cost to their own standard of living. Why?

Okay, the cops are getting paid by the government. They took an oath to support the State. But history shows that time and again, these revolutions eventually succeed in toppling the regime; usually to replace it with something worse, but change does eventually come; the shops do fill up again.

So loyalty to a lousy failing President clinging to office is only staving off defeat. The day when there won’t be anyone in government to pay the goon squads will come, and they will have to transfer their loyalty to someone else.  Even now, their wages are depreciating faster than they can buy stuff – even food to feed their own kids.

What is the point? What do they gain?

You’d think the police, the armed forces, the informers and the torturers would side with the people who want to bring about change, to restore the economy, put food back on the table, deliver a better life; not with an increasingly desperate and authoritarian President who has no answers to the problems affecting them and their families, and whose personal career ambitions are causing such great harm to the ordinary people.

But they don’t.

In country after country, decade after decade we see heavily armed police, paramilitaries, the army all too happy to go out and shoot and gas and beat and imprison and torture the very people who might do them some good.

It’s frankly inexplicable, other than in terms of the worst aspects of human nature:

They enjoy it.

“We’re kickin’ down your doors”. Welcome to Trumpworld. (A/G Jeff Sessions abandons ‘constitutional policing’. Justice Department says ‘anything goes’.)

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“The dreadful reputation British soccer hooligans gained thirty years ago has never been allowed to go away”

Match-fixing

And in Madrid, eight Leicester City football fans were beaten and hauled off to police cells last night in advance of tonight’s Premier League championship match against Atletico.

Winesses report that about 300 fans were drinking mostly peacefully in a square where they had been told they could congregate, when riot police arrived and charged at them, hurling chairs and bottles and hitting the fans with rubber truncheons. BBC journalist Phil Mackie was on hand to witness the unprovoked attack:

“As I was talking to them there was a charge. Police officers just charged a group of Leicester fans who were, as far as I could tell, just walking past and chatting to each other. Three of them were pushed to the floor and hit with batons and bundled into the back of vans and taken away.” – BBC News

The eight arrested have been charged with ‘causing a mess’. Perhaps there was an element of retaliation there for Monty Python’s Inquisition sketch? Spanish police also claim six of their officers were ‘attacked’.

This sort of thing happens almost every time British football fans go abroad, however well-behaved and amenable they are. The dreadful reputation British soccer hooligans gained thirty years ago has never been allowed to go away and is invariably used as an excuse for police provocation, brutality and overreaction: the ritual duffing-up of the fans and the pressing of spurious charges has become part of the sport.

Of course, the roughhousing and  intimidation has only one purpose: to improve the chances of the home side by causing consternation, press criticism and discrediting the behaviour of the visiting team and its supporters, who can never win.

Cheating, in other words.

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Quote of the Week

Mr Charles Chestnut, a Rochdale, Yorks. man who burned down his new ‘dream home’ in Wales after a dispute with the Halifax Building Society over non-payment of his mortgage, has been gaoled for five years.

“When asked by judge, Geraint Walters if he had any submissions to make, Chestnut, who represented himself, said: “I would like to go free please.” – Guardian Today

This surely ranks alongside the Spike Milligan epitaph: “I told you I was ill”, as one of the best victim statements on life that I have ever seen. And another I’ve just heard from theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, guesting on Sam Harris: “I get paid to hallucinate”.

Did the Russians fuck with the referendum? And we’ll leave the comments page to ‘Mr Osborne’.

Her Majesty the Queen today signed the bill giving Theresa May the go-ahead to send a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, formally invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, requesting permission for Britain to leave the European Union.

The Dumbfucks have won. And I’ve taken down my Remain poster. I may slit my wrists later.

Postscriptum: 20 March

Whooosh… over to Capitol Hill, where the excellent Democrat Representative Adam Schiff, chairing a Congressional hearing, put one very interesting question to FBI Director James Comey, who had just repeated for the umpteenth time that there was no evidence that President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower, even with the help of the British – something demented Orange Satan is STILL continuing to insist is true, even though his only source was Fox News, who got it from Steve Bannon.

Asked if he believed that Russian intelligence could have been in any way likely to have interfered with Brexit and European elections, Comey replied, in so many words, ‘Yes’, he did.

Let’s hope this tiny incidental detail gets magnified out of all proportion in tomorrow’s press, as no-one appears to have noticed it yet: the FBI believes Russia interfered in our referendum.

Time for a re-run.

 

“The turkeys didn’t bother to wait for Christmas, they voted for Easter.”

Tuesday morning dawns

Urgh. Was that last double vodka before bed a good idea? On top of the wine?

I seem to remember, too, posting a fairly blunt and offensive comment just before I toddled off, on the worthy and wholly undeserving of scorn Guardian Today website, having immediately read that 300-odd gutless, supine and hypocritical, £75k a year Members of the House of Commons, most of whom would at one time have supported the Remain camp, had voted down two perfectly sensible and civilized amendments the House of Lords had inserted into the bill allowing the dried-up old stork, Theresa May, to trigger Article 50 on the basis of having no plan at all for getting out of the EU.

Davis, ‘Doctor’ and Boris (centre)

One amendment tried to offer some residency protection for two million EU nationals living perfectly legally in the UK, many of them with British families; hopefully thereby also to protect our own citizens working or retired abroad. Who could possibly object to that, or argue with any sanity that it ‘ties Mrs May’s hands behind her back’ (it’s a thought. Ed.) when it comes to her comedy trio of hapless negotiators, the Wilson, Kepple and Betty of Chevening House,  trying to screw some sort of hastily cobbled-together ‘deal’ out of the 27 before we float away and sink with all hands?

What it tried to do, a last despairing gesture, was to offer some kind of hope that we still live in a decent and humane society, an open democracy where our elected representatives can still stand up for the right.

Sadly not.

Nor, it seems, do we any longer live in a Parliamentary democracy. It has been the unelected Mrs May’s devout wish that Parliament should not stand in her way when it comes to Brexit, a theoretical process she once decried, but now over which she has grasped total control, embodying as she does, like fucking Boudicca on her chariot, ‘the Will o’ the People’.

So the second amendment proposed by the Lords, who have also now folded their arms for fear that Dacre of the Mail will set his patriotic bloodhounds on them, was that Parliament should have a vote on any final deal.

And she has got her wish. The turkeys did not bother to wait for Christmas, they voted for Easter.

Pathetic, pusillanimous, scared little self-protecting baboons, lacking all resolve in the face of threats of deselection by the Dumbfucks in their constituencies, they voted to save their own fat or scrawny arses, selling their principles for a peck of power – little realising, or maybe they did, that they’ve just committed the British constitution and the sovereignty of Parliament to a dictatorship.

Like her friend Mr Trump also unelected by the majority vote, Mrs May, who clearly massively overestimates herself, seems intent on ruling sola through an unelected, faceless cabinet of assorted advisors and cronies, in a bubble of dubious provenance and with no published strategy other than to take charge. Seriously, does she appear to have any political friends and allies outside her own inner circle of PR wonkettes?

Are we to expect an alt-right, Christian fundamentalist platform to emerge? Will the Daily Mail rename itself Breitbart News? Is there some massive corruption of the billionaires and the free, unfettered movement of stolen capital behind the coup? Has Britain too been taken without a shot being fired, by the Putin global power machine?

These are dark days. We are all good little boiled frogs now.

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Oceans apart

A mystery Tweet has apparently been posted on McDonalds’ official bulletin board – and then hurriedly taken down – describing Mr Trump as a ‘Disgusting excuse of a President’.

Unimpressed, Mr Trump is known to be a fan of the fast-food restaurant chain for undiscriminating fat people with baseball hats and no teeth. His favourite burger is said to be ‘Fish Delight’.

So do we now have another clue as to his sexual preferences? ‘Fish Delight and pipi-shake to go. And make it fast, Pussy.’

To spoil the show, however, it appears that even this is an example of the President’s alternative fake news machine (brain): there is no such mouthwatering recipe on the McDonalds’ menu as Fish Delight. It’s actually called, in Franglais, ‘Filet-o’-fish’.

No excuse. None. So bad.

 

Okay, I’m sorry, but.

By: Ernst von-und-zu Bogl, professor emeritus of Crony Capitalism and Influence-Peddling Studies at the University of Wagga-Wagga, Australia. ©2017. @tryprovingit.con

Hailed by some in the business as ‘fake news’, not without justification, it’s been reported just now that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is to be the new editor of the London Evening Standard; believed to be a newspaper, as well as the personal social diary of owner, Yevgeny Lebedev.

It is almost impossible, in my view, to counter the 99.999% probability that since this time last year we have somehow wriggled through a wormhole in space/time, to find ourselves in another universe – of which, I am told, there are many.

This universe bears a strong relationship to, and may very well therefore be the same, as the one in which Oxford mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as the author Lewis Carroll, woke up in 1871, shortly before creating his best-selling children’s story, Alice Through the Looking Glass.

According to a BBC report apparently based on a press release and a few hastily telephoned quotes,

“Mr Osborne had ambitions to be a journalist as a young man. He failed to get a place on The Times’ trainee scheme after graduating from Oxford University in 1992 and was briefly a freelance reporter on the Daily Telegraph’s diary column.” (for which read, intern with wealthy parents and an allowance enabling him to barely survive living in a dumpster).

“If at first you don’t succeed…” is of course the Osborne family motto.

‘Mr Osborne’, who resigned his post as Chancellor last June after he and his close friend, ‘Mr Cameron’ failed to get a majority for the Remain side in the EU referendum, fully intends to carry on as the £75k a year-plus-expenses backbench Conservative MP for Tatton, in well-heeled Cheshire; although his liberal leanings were, apparently, one of the reasons why his appointment makes so much sense, according to Aleksandr Lebedev’s socialite son Evgeny, who manages the title for papa.

Another is presumably his experience at devising austerity policies.

There is no word as yet of ‘Mr Osborne’s salary, but it is unlikely to be less than the mid-six-figures. ‘Mr Osborne’ has also in the last fortnight taken up a £650k a year ‘advisory’ post, hardworking one day a week for top global fund management porker, BlackRock.

And then there’s the family business, the top-people’s wallpaper company Osborne & Little (£200 a roll). Oh, and he has also become visiting  ‘Kissinger Fellow at the McCain Institute for International Leadership’ in the USA. Yes, that’s the wanted war-criminal and geriatric Nazi, ‘Dr’ Henry Kissinger and chipmunk-faced ex-POW Senator John McCain, who President Trump doesn’t much like.

Blimey, he’s going to need his Bob the Builder hard-hat to cover all that ground.

His new employer – the father, not the son – is an interesting character, isn’t he. An ‘oligarch’, although Forbes magazine has pushed him out of the billion dollar bracket, the former KGB economics specialist Alexander Lebedev owns, or owned, a Russian investment bank that is in turn a part-owner of Sberbank (see previous Pumpkin).

He is reportedly no friend of Mr Putin’s. According to The Telegraph, he risks assassination or imprisonment if he should return to Russia.

Curious, because he has often defended Putin in print. In April 2016, writing in his own paper (Lebedev promised publicly on acquiring his British newspaper empire, including the now-defunct Independent, that he would never interfere in editorial policy), the philanthropic proprietor used his pages to distance himself from allegations that Putin was skimming sales of State assets and laundering vast sums, instead using the piece to settle some old scores with fellow oligarchs he claimed were colluding with Western banks to launder their ill-gotten gains; writing:

“…the executives who stole from me did so with the help of blue-chip banks and law firms in London, Switzerland and New York. Highly paid, professional British, American and Swiss bankers and lawyers — not just “dodgy Russians” — assisted in suspicious, and in many cases, absurdly bogus transactions.”

A quite extraordinary thing to claim in a column in a local newspaper! (Except that London is where much of the money ends up being invested in insanely overpriced properties.)

We, that is the Editorial board of The BogPo, of which I myself am the sole oligarch, hope and trust fervently that the new Editor of the Evening Standard will maintain as rigid an editorial framework as his predecessor (now the editor of the increasingly bland and supine, formula-driven Today show on Radio 4), Ms Sarah Sands.

And by the by, I’m sure readers will wish to lift a magnum of Bollinger and join me in wishing Sir Philip Green many hearty congratulations on his 65th birthday!

– Herr Professor Doktor Ernst von-und-zu Bogl, is owner and editor-in-chief-at-large of The Boglington Post.

(Sent from aboard the BHS Arcadia, Boglèry-sur-Mer, France-sud)

 

 

 

Gesture politics with a vengeance

“Together we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.” – President Donald J Trump, marking Holocaust Memorial Day without mentioning any Jews.

Sunday am

It’s so frustrating when supposedly professional journalists steer the course of debate up the most unhelpful alleyway by setting an agenda for a breaking story and then sticking with it come what may, missing the main point with the deadly efficiency of an armless blind man reading Braille.

Yes, of course it’s morally wrong and against the UN Charter to refuse to take in refugees. It may even be racial discrimination (see: Australia). Theresa May should know, she’s refused to take in enough of them herself. Children Theresa May has refused to take in are freezing to death in parts of  #Europe or have disappeared into slavery. She doesn’t mind as long as the editor of the Daily Mail is happy. She is a woman, Zoe Williams of The Guardian points out, with no moral compass. That goes in spades for her “attractive opposite” (an opposite with whom she says she agrees on almost every point of policy so long as it results in a trade agreement), President Trump.

It’s administratively inept. To strand people at airports and put them in detention centres or send them back to their point of embarkation when they’ve got papers and visas and work permits and residence permits and travel tickets, they’ve already passed security checks and are just trying to get to what they thought was home, because of their original nationality,  through an arbitrary administrative decision they wouldn’t have been aware of before paying the non-refundable fare and setting out, is completely wrong, of course it is. It’s just cruel. You can’t do these things without giving people notice.

Mr Trump however says that Bannon told him, if he had given them notice, there would have been a rush of ‘bad dudes’ trying to get in to beat the ban. So wouldn’t it have been simpler not to ban people at all? That way, the border force could have carried on as they were, keeping ‘bad dudes’ out, instead of encouraging ‘bad dudes’ already in the country to retaliate in bad-dude ways? And what are the ‘bad dudes’ going to do when the ban expires after 90 days? What comic books has Mr Trump been reading? It’s all bullshit.

And as I started to report below the next pull-quote, it’s probably unconstitutional and discriminatory on religious grounds to ban Muslims but let in Christians (God, not more!) and other ‘minority faiths’. Already a court in New York has ruled against it, although reports suggest the border force is taking no notice, another milepost on the road to totalitarianism.

None of that is the point!

The point is, it’s a FUCKING STUPID POLICY!

It’s not going to do a damn thing to stop another terrorist attack. In fact, it’s going to encourage several more. Maybe that’s the idea?

IS has already announced, loudly and clearly, its strategy of encouraging lone-wolf attacks in their followers’ own countries without importing arms and personnel, without detectable local organization and independently of central command. Travel bans will not affect them. But they may well react to them, giving the Trump/Bannon axis of evil the excuse they need to declare, in effect, martial law, massively extending the powers of the President.

Of course, as he has told the world, Trump knows “more about ISIS than many generals”. That’s probably because, as he previously asserted in a Washingon Post interview, he was “probably better trained militarily” at the New York Military Academy than many of the 82 thousand mainly conscripted grunts who gave their lives in Vietnam so the pussy-grabbing draft-avoider with a bone in his foot and a brain made of congealed greed could live to become Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

I don’t know how Americans can live with themselves, so sick is this grotesque individual.

So the point is, most terror attacks are perpetrated by home-grown terrorists, not by Iraqi refugee families with British citizenship visiting Disneyland. And all the al-Quaeda and IS-inspired atacks in the past fifteen years do not add up to an existential threat to the United States of America or one square mile of it. All the panic and confusion Trump is creating for the airlines is not designed to stop terrorism, it’s to tell the Dumbfucks who voted for him they weren’t wrong; he could do it, regardless of whether or not it makes sense, because he’s fucking Donald Trump and you’re living in his reality, not the one you thought you were ten days ago.

It’s gesture politics with a vengeance; and on a truly impressive scale.

Postscriptum

At least three top national security officials — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, who is awaiting confirmation to lead the State Department — have told associates they were not aware of details of the directive until around the time Trump signed it.

Despite his public defense of the policy, the president has privately acknowledged flaws in the rollout, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. – The Guardian, livestream coverage 31/01/2017

Aside from the intriguing concept of a person with knowledge of Donald Trump’s thinking – people have been searching for years – it seems quite clear from this extract from an AP story that Trump may have been the only person who knew what was in the executive order he signed, banning Muslims from a list of countries and specifically Muslim Syrian refugees from entering the US.

A more alarming reading of the report might suggest that the President, who likes to watch TV, had not read it himself before blithely signing off a flawed policy. More terrifying still, he was apparently on the phone to the Director of Homeland Security discussing implementation of the policy when a White House staffer interrupted to inform the expert that “I’m sorry, the President just signed the order”.

 

 

 

Why do people vote for cretins?

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen claims opposition MPs are too accustomed to the UK not having control over its immigration policy, which is why they’re criticising Mr Trump.

This is to ignore the obvous retort, that Labour has been in opposition since 2010 and it is Mr Bridgen’s cunty friends in the Tory Party who have been in ‘power’, albeit with a few Lib-Dems thrown in, for the past six years. And, occasionally, before that.

So if we don’t have control over immigration policy, whose fucking fault is that, Andy?

The pro-Brexit MP castigates Labour for lecturing another country over trying to control immigration, as if that is what any intelligent politician would genuinely believe Mr Trump’spolicy is really about. It’s a snide observation, pathetic political point-scoring and insensitive at a time of crisis. Mr Boris, however, the very Foreign Secretary, agrees. He quite approves of the way Mr Trump has imposed a one-man democracy on the USA.

But controlling immigration is not what Mr Trump is doing! He is guaranteeing the security of the American people from ‘bad dudes’.

As any fule kno, the United States is already one of the toughest countries to get into in the world, having an immigration police force of notoriously knuckle-dragging insensibility toward visiting humans. But the rough-tough, self-sufficient, pioneering Americans, armed to the teeth, all 320 million of them, are petrified of the little mouse that is global jihad.

Not one American has been killed in the USA in the last 20 years by a ‘terrorist’ from any of the countries Mr Trump has included in the ban, but many Americans simply will not be convinced their entire way of life is not under threat from Muslims; that new hostile Indian tribe galloping around the encircled wagons. Even leading Republican Senator Paul Ryan, who once declared that he would never vote for Trump, now agrees; stopping maybe one percent of the people entering the USA will prevent terrorism.

Bullshit. Is he a cretin too? Or has he just reached that pitch of desperation where he feels he has to support the office of President come what may, regardless of the fact that the demented fuckwit they elected doesn’t give two dry shits for Congress, the constitution or the law?

It’s an absolute untruth too, to say that Britain does not have control over its immigration policy.  I suggest you travel to France for a week via St Pancras station and Lille: even as a native Briton you will have your nationality and right to return questioned when you buy your ticket online, you have to give Eurostar a passport number in advance, your passport is inspected six times and your baggage X-rayed or searched possibly three times en route.

Mr Bridgen runs a market gardening business in Leicestershire with his brother. Who does he employ as pickers among his 230 staff? Why, of course, exclusively British graduates…

But Mr Trump has argued forcefully that a terrible mistake was made by the Obama administration in not intervening in Syria and thus ‘creating’ the ISIS monster, that he tells everyone is an existential threat to the United States of America.  So he wouldn’t be happy with Mr Bridgen even though Mr Bridgen (a former Royal Marine) later voted to bomb ISIS in Syria, because, according to his Wikipedia entry:

“Bridgen also forced a Government U-Turn over plans for military intervention in Syria after he organised a letter to the Prime Minister signed by 81 fellow Conservative MPs, demanding Parliament be given a vote on whether the UK should send military assistance to Syria.” – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Bridgen

And that fateful vote, as we all know, persuaded Mr Obama not to punish Mr Assad for crossing the  ‘red line’ on chemical weapons, which enabled Mr Putin to intervene to remove Mr Assad’s chemical weapons in exchange for a pledge to support him against Islamist militias and Mr al-Baghdadi, which escalated into direct Russian intervention in the war, thousands possibly of civilian casualties, a fragile ceasefire and the loss of much American face.

Mr Bridgen has in fact supported a number of worthwhile policies, and was a critic of Mr Cameron, the worst prime minister we have had since Eden. So he is not entirely a Tory cunt. But he is an ardent Brexit ‘Leave’ campaigner, despite some curious goings-on in which he appears to have been falsely accused of rape by a rumoured former mistress of Nigel Farage, an allegation brought to the notice of police by a mystery caller. The affair destroyed his marriage, and he sold his house for £2 million. Again, I am indebted to Wikipedia for this narrative. It would seem enough to make anyone abandon UKIP.

Mr Bridgen has also campaigned for MPs to be paid lots more, claiming they are suffering dire hardship as a result of the paltry £75,000 a year they receive, plus expenses. He has declared extra-Parliamentary income earned off the bowed backs of his Portuguese sprout pickers or whoever of £7,700 A MONTH. As I am also jolly clever, although not an MP, public-school educated and have never earned £7,700 a month, or even half that, as my primary income, even from gardening, might I be forgiven for suggesting Mr Bridgen is not quite in touch with the reality of life in modern Britain, apart that is from being beastly to immigrants?

 

Grounds for dismissal?

I’ve worked for a fair few insecure, overpaid, overcompensating bullies in my time, who imagined that because they’re paying you a lousy rate for 37.5 hours a week they own you body and soul – especially when they know you’re better at the job, better educated and smarter than they are.

All you’re worse at is counting money into the small hours, imagining there is more to life.

These idiots love to keep you under their thumb: spying on you, reading your emails, refusing to let you set your own work agenda or suggest sensibly that you could sometimes work from home when there’s absolutely no reason for you to schlepp into an urban nightmare every day, thus seeing your kids only once a year…. you know the sort.

Cunts. (Can’t Understand New Technology, Shitheads)

I once worked for a guy who’d been a car salesman in a previous life, who demanded that I accept a company car purely on the grounds that the crappy Ford I was driving had a bigger engine than his BMW…

You see what we’re up against?

And now Mr Trump, the supreme role model for corporate bully-boys everywhere, has fired the acting Attorney General of the United States for upholding four district court judgements overruling parts of his immigration order, and insisted his orders be carried out, overturning the rule of law and making it subsidiary to executive power.

Back down to earth, Mr Ken Hare, the groundsman at Southend United FC – currently 7th in League Division One having won only seven of their last 21 games – has reportedly been sacked after 27 years in the job, because the pitch was frozen and a game had to be called off, leaving them with only one point. The weather in the south-east of England and, indeed, the rest of Europe to the right of us, had been unusually cold for a while.

It had even been on the news.

The cunts who own or manage the club, known not without justice as The Blues, reportedly argued that Ken should have warned them how cold it was going to get, giving more time to rearrange the match. As if he was somehow personally responsible for the weather. As if they might have imagined it doesn’t occasionally freeze hard overnight in winter, even in maritime Southend, and invested in a pitch-heating system.

It is of course difficult to gauge the external temperature for yourself while you might, say, be swilling champagne in the Jacuzzi with a bevy of lovelies, or visiting your money in Bermuda and paying no attention to the weather forecast on the TV. Of course, there is no imputation that football Directors might not exactly be the outdoor, Bear Grylls type, or that they could have been rendered by comfortable circumstances insensible to the natural environment; or that they completely lack their own judgement and commonsense, the curiosity to look out of the window

In a statement the club protested, defensively: “People generally lose their positions as a result of not doing their job.” (BBC report)

What, the groundsman’s contract said he had to be able magically to forecast the weather?

No, cunties. People if they make a mistake in their work after 27 years of faithful service generally receive advice, support, training. Then if they keep on making the same mistake you have a tribunal, and if you don’t receive satisfactory assurances you can send them a final warning. Only then do you fire them.

If you have any decency, you give them ample opportunity to get away from your abrasive regime and find a better job before you deprive them of their livelihood. It’s your job as a Director to know and follow the rules of the Employment Act. Have you been doing your job as a Director? Did you follow, or even know, the rules?

Doing one’s job does not immediately become not doing one’s job with a single failure to meet retroactive expectations of the miraculous.

But it seems the hire ’em, fire ’em culture that afflicts the tormented egomaniacs in football coaching at the top, where a run of one consecutive loss can spell curtains (for a week or two, until another vacancy turns up), is spreading now throughout the game.

Team failure is never the owners’ fault, the directors’, the players’. No, it’s always the manager’s. Until, apparently now, it’s the groundsman’s.

The difference being, I doubt that The Blues were paying Ken £4 million a year.

The Pumpkin – Issue 2

Google Images

   The Trumpkin

Twitter Wars

The suppression of inconvenient information, the bullying and hijacking of public media by the Trumpenführer and his henchmen are gathering pace.

Key federal agencies – who knew they were still open for business?, since there’s been no announcement so far as The Pumpkin has heard about the appointments of new directors to replace those whose terms automatically ended last Friday – have received orders apparently emanating directly from the White House preventing their staff from publishing information. According to BuzzFeed, the orders include the banning of “news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content.”

Also banned, are over 2,000 scientists working for federal agencies from publishing or delivering research papers at international conferences; a potentially career-damaging restriction I should imagine could be tested in court.

And there’s some suggestion too that these orders may also be being applied to the Defense Department, preventing public discussion of the administration’s military-backed global oil-grab strategy.

This is somewhat disturbing.

As two of the statutory functions of these agencies are to publish information about their activities and to educate the public, we appear to be entering a long, dark tunnel of fake news, alternative facts, rewrites of history, threats against information sources, promotion of ignorance and reliance entirely on subjective personal beliefs, opinions and feelings to create government policy in critical areas of scientific investigation.

To turn off the tap of facts.

The impression given is there appears to be no government, only the absurdly large pieces of paper Trump is signing by the cartload, with similar relish to the nocturnal tweets he’s been spraying around like a sexting teenager; ‘executive orders’ which the TV coverage shows him not reading before signing them. Has he even read them? No democratic debate so far, even in the profoundly and cynically undemocratic, gerrymandered Congress. that tried to abolish its own ethics committee: only the dictatorship of a disassociative, megalomaniacal personality in second infancy.

“L’état, c’est moi”, as the other Sun King, Louis X1V used to say.

Agencies affected include, naturally, the Environment Protection Agency and the US Department of Agriculture, both of which have research departments working on climate change, which the intellectually lazy and unlettered Trump has insisted is merely a “Chinese hoax”, “bullshit”, and has promised to “scale back”, along with NASA’s earth monitoring unit; so we may never know. The wayward President’s current stance on the subject has however been moderated, reportedly on the mildly alarmed advice even of his new Secretary of State appointee, Rex Tillerson, recent CEO of Exxon-Mobil, and the man tipped to take over the EPA, Oklahoma governor Scott Pruitt (previously quoted as saying he would abolish the agency altogether).

Neither is exactly a fan of anthropogenic climate-change modelling, but both at least now agree, things appear to be hotting up, for whatever reason. Not that either of them wants to do anything about it, but both practically realise that denial is not an option, unless you are bonkers. Or the boss.

Trump’s haunted-looking Press Secretary Sean Spicer, purveyor of the “alternative fact”, is reported on CBS as saying of the President’s response to the weird weather: “He’s trying to make sure we use our resources appropriately, that we maximize things to make sure that we don’t do so at the detriment of economic growth and job creation.” Which sounds like a highly scientific, yet curiously inarticulate and unprepared response to a question about 2016 having been globally the warmest year ever recorded.

Yes, let’s “maximise things”.

There is as yet we believe – belief is fact, ask the evangelical VP Mike Pence – no announcement of any FEMA aid for areas of Georgia and Mississippi flattened at the weekend by a succession of 50 powerful tornados, despite urgent pleas from governors and officials, the destruction of over 2,000 homes and more than twenty deaths, with others including a two year-old child still missing. The devastation has been compared to a nuclear bomb going off, which he knows all about. Does Trump take anything seriously, other than his stupid, self-aggrandising 2,000 mile-long Mexican wall, that he “knows how to build”?

(I see that Lego is to start manufacturing in China…)

One national park service, Badlands in South Dakota, is now at the centre of a Twitterstorm, after its Twitter account was “taken down”, following the hasty publication of widely available data on atmospheric and oceanic CO2 concentrations. The information and more is being rapidly retweeted by subversives, after the agency put out an unconvincing statement claiming the original tweets had been the work of a disgruntled former employee. According to Rachel Maddow of MSNBC TV, staffers in federal agencies anticipating closure have been reported desperately downloading scientific data to private media, lest they be lost in a Trump-inspired bonfire of the sanities.

In an amusing (and probably fake) footnote provided in The Guardian report:

“The Department of Defense tweeted on Monday: “Social media postings sometimes provide an important window into a person’s #mentalhealth”, which some pundits considered a reference to Trump’s occasional early morning Twitter rants.”

You betcha.

_91500718_5eef05b4-b6a1-43f4-b63b-f5afc1fb19d7

The Pumpkin

Meanwhile over in Washington DC, six journalists are facing possible prison terms of up to 10 years for the felonious crime of riot, after being ‘kettled’ by police along with 200  activists and bystanders while covering the unrest that broke out at the Trump inauguration. Prosecutors have presented no specific evidence against the individuals, who have been charged under a catch-all indictment alleging association, criminal damage and assaults on police.

And meanwhile, the President (says he has) ordered a thorough investigation into claims that Hillary Clinton’ 2.8 million votes popular majority was dishonestly engineered by a conspiracy involving five million “illegal immigrants” who were not entitled to vote.

Claims that only he, the President, is making.

Crazy, or what?

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/badlands-national-park-twitter-goes-rogue-starts-tweeting-facts-about-the-environment

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jan/24/journalists-charged-felonies-trump-inauguration-unrest?

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/25/donald-trump-voter-fraud-investigation-illegal-voting

Photos: Google Images

 

Just what the hell is going on? #1

Question: Why does The Guardian website not permit comments on any news stories about Trump or immigration and so swiftly terminates the heavily redacted discussion threads on its Comment is Free section?

Answer: Maybe it’s because the paper lost £69 million last year and is running shit-scared of any controversy that might attract the notice of Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne (to lean on an old joke from Private Eye). Maybe a wise decision, as a US court has just given permission for Melania Trump to sue the Daily Mail for repeating a claim that her immigration status might not …. you understand.

A further, less obviously answered question might be why this esteemed organ and last repository in the British media of relatively free, intelligent speech chronically under-reports issues such as the clampdown on distribution of news and research in the US scientific community? The orders were issued three days ago, so where are Messrs Toynbee, Milne, Harris, Jenkins, Freedland, Hyde, Chakraborty… the rest of the North London phone directory …. and their urgent warnings on censorship?

My feeling (as a former news aditor) is that we’re getting a kind of reductionist view of the new administration, where each new outrage – today it’s a trade war with Mexico – is treated entirely on its own merits and in isolation from the cumulative effect of all these gagging orders and banning orders and paranoid tweets emanating from the Oval Office, each preposterous policy initiative blurted out in rambling, nonsensical speeches and infantile soundbites on the campaign trail to excite the Dumbfucks now becoming a terrifying reality nobody imagined in their wildest dreams would come true. Half the worst of what he is doing is getting lost in the fog of comment.

And why is everyone still trying to pretend that now he is President, Donald Trump has miraculously been cured of his delusional, paranoid dementia, his sheer infantile vindictiveness? Thank God for Ed Miliband, who said on Newsnight last night: This is not normal.

Bloody right, Ed. It isn’t.

 

Just what the hell is going on? #2

And, as expected, last night from the Pirates’ Den came the “Executive orders” to repel boarders.

Muslims (from designated “terrorist countries”, but not from the teeming human warehouses of suburban Paris, Brussels, Dortmund; from the grimy Edwardian terraces of Luton, Bradford and Sheffield, where the actual ‘terrorists’ are breeding? I can see how this is going to work…) to be prevented from entering the US, even to visit Disneyland with their kids. Actual Syrian refugees to be turned back, rather than comprehensively vetted and then welcomed. The Wall – for which he still insists he will “make Mexico pay”.

You’d have to imagine a grown man that can make up these pathetically naive prescriptions for national security is not normal.

But I have a different theory.

Much of the time you can’t see Trump’s eyes. They are hooded by folds of puffy, orange flesh, and deliberately narrowed to make himself look a real mean hombre.

Yesterday though, we caught sight of him glancing up at his henchmen, after he’d added his decisively unreadable squiggle with a big black pen to more of the huge “executive orders”, that are probably just bills and shopping lists and Biblical texts and anything else his desperate Transition team can cobble together for the boss to sign on camera, since he never reads them anyway.

And I noticed that his left eye is conspicuously asymmetrical, aiming off to the left, larger than the right, and slightly protruding. Compare this with earlier images of Trump in this 30s, when his gaze was parallel.

It could of course merely be a mild strabismus, an age-related weakening of the muscle, or a possible sign of raised blood pressure. But it could be a symptom of something more serious.

Does the President maybe have a brain tumor?

(alt-fact alert: the following medical information about a serious condition that may or may not be affecting the President may or may not be factual.)

Might it explain the obsessive irrational behavior and counterfactual statements that often contradict themselves in the next breath; the ponderous re-assertions of empty phrases he imagines to be portentous; the paranoia, the illusory nightmare world of persecution he seems to inhabit?

Interviewed on the BBC today, Trump repeated over and again, how the world is “in a mess”. It’s a slogan he’s been pumping out for months, with himself as the solution and the savior. He seems to relish it, rather than despair along with the rest of us.

We all like to agree, it’s a mess, but actually it isn’t, quite. Over a billion people have been lifted out of poverty by globalization, death rates are down, birth rates are down, murders are down, violent crime is down, endemic diseases are under better control, employment is up, wages are up, food production is keeping up, everyone in the developing world has a mobile phone, a Facebook account and a solar-powered TV,  the global economy is recovering strongly now after the 2008 crash, we’re discovering new planets….

Of course there are pockets, exceptions, flashpoints. Thirty million Americans, for instance, living below the poverty line. But that line is rising! By and large, there are fewer wars going on, insurgencies are being driven back, IS is in retreat, Northern Ireland, Colombia more or less at peace, an agreement on Cyprus, some progress on Syria….

While today’s most heartwarming story is that of the Chinese worker who set off in the all-pervading smog to cycle back to his home city only to be stopped by police for riding on a motorway after 30 days’ travelling… 500 km in the wrong direction. Did they fine him? Did they waterboard him? Did they shoot him with his hands up?

No, they had a whip-round at the next toll booth and bought him a rail ticket.

No world is “in a mess” when that can happen.

Where the world might be in a mess is on the environmental front – and that’s where Trump: his policies, his obstinate false beliefs, his unconstitutional cross-shareholdings with energy-related companies and his billionaire, climate-ignoring Transition team with its connections to Big Oil, is himself the cause, the symptom and the continuation of the mess he believes the world is in. (Or does he? Buy my book! Ed.)

The world will soon be in a bigger mess, however, if he continues baiting China over Taiwan, trade barriers and their claim to the Paracels and Spratly islands in the South China Sea.

We recall that in July last year, fifty top security officials published a letter warning that Trump represented a significant danger to the world and was not a fit person to become President. “He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the US Constitution, US laws, and US institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary” they said, refusing to vote for him. And, of course, Mr Trump has succeeded in ticking every one of those boxes in his first week.

But are we all missing something?

An interview for MSNBC with Dr Harold Bornstein, Trump’s personal physician (if it can be believed that the grimy, shambolic old man with an earring, straggly gray hair down to his shoulders, whose rambling attempts at a confession recorded in a scruffy old office were frequently interrupted by his anxious, nagging wife, was really the personal physician of the billionaire Obamacare refusenik and not a Saturday Night Live prankster) suggested heavily that the “Doctor’s note” claiming Trump was “The healthiest individual ever to have run for President” might not have been written by an actual GP with a medical degree.

The choice of boastful, unscientific language rather gives the game away. It sounded bizarrely familiar. Dr Bornstein’s testimony included the claim that he had been contacted to write the letter at very short notice, given “five minutes” while a chauffeur sat outside in a limo with the engine running. Just long enough, one supposes, to slot in the difficult names of some minor medicaments the President-elect was taking – statins, and so forth – and to append a shaky signature.

And Dr Bornstein’s eventual conclusion, voiced to camera? “Well, what can you expect, he’s a seventy year-old man.”

One with a serious underlying physiological condition affecting his cognitive processes, possibly?

‘m not a expert.

Just sayin’.

Chairman of the Water Board

“Waterboarding absolutely works.” – The Wit and Wisdom of Donald J Trump.

How does he know?

Extensive studies have been carried out into the effectiveness of sublethal “enhanced questioning” techniques by the CIA, the army, etc.

And after reviewing thousands of pages of evidence from actual cases, the experts concluded that torture is, by and large, ineffectual. It doesn’t work. Being nice to prisoners works better. Give them a pack of cigarettes. Get them on your side. This “fact” – the conclusion of experts, who have genuinely waterboarded people, that waterboarding doesn’t work – is well known. Has been for years.

So how does Donald Trump know that “Waterboarding absolutely works.”?

He doesn’t.

He just imagines it does.

Because he says it does. Someone ‘told him’.

And then he says it doesn’t harm anyone anyway, even the military get waterboarded during training. Sure he did.

He has no personal experience of either torturing, or being tortured. At least, one assumes not, although I expect he might have shoved a few of his fellow pupils’ heads down the toilet at the New York Military Academy. That’s the kind of guy they’re now scared to say he was. A bully.

One assumes – but then, why would one assume it? – that he does not personally waterboard his business victims and associates for information. The only tortures he inflicts are financial and mental: he fires people he thinks are losers. He doesn’t pay his contractors. He threatens to sue ordinary people over personal slights. He crushes his pretty young wife in public, and she’s trying so hard.

Having the morals and manners of a large, orange garden slug – you know, one of those impressive slugs you think is a pile of dogshit until it moves – does not make anyone a security expert. Except that the President is an expert on everything, as we know – torture included.

Promoted sideways at the New York Military Academy after complaints from fellow students, Trump is quoted as saying the school provided him: “More training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.” (That remark reveals almost every damn thing you could ever want to know about Donald J Trump, who managed to avoid actual service in Vietnam while 58 thousand untrained conscripted grunts were dying for him to become Commander-in-Chief. I don’t know how you can be an American and live with this.)

“I did very well under the military system,” Trump said in an interview. “I became one of the top guys at the whole school.” – The Washington Post (No, he didn’t! Ed.)

And therefore – cogito ergo est – waterboarding works.

Waterboarding is good!

Waterboarding is fine, believe me. I know.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decades-later-disagreement-over-young-trumps-military-academy-post/2016/01/09/…

 

Does it matter?

Does it matter that taxpayer-funded sources of scientific information on climate, environmental and geological issues are being deliberately suppressed by the Trump administration?

There are many other sources from which we can monitor the climate, the environment, whatever they don’t want us to know. But shutting down the homeland services could present a serious public danger.

Amusingly, I’m just watching a 1990s made-for-TV docudrama, ‘Supervolcano’. Catch it if you haven’t, it’s on YouTube and it’s quite jolly.

So you’ll be aware then that in the movie, all of the information that streams out into the media about the (at present supposedly negligible, though overdue) possibility of a major eruption at Yellowstone, all of the normal public safety information and educational services, all of the information needed for crisis management, comes from…

The Yellowstone National Park service – part of the National Parks Service, that monitors volcanic activity in the park.

So now, if “29 million” Americans are threatened with flashover death from 500 deg. C. pyroclastic flows moving at 800 kph, inhaling a widening plume of windblown pumice ash (“like liquid concrete in your lungs”, no survivors within 100-mile radius), “nuclear winter” conditions prevailing around the globe for years, followed by starvation, riot and cannibalism, the collapse of civilization, ha ha….

Serves you right.

You’ll be the last to hear about it, suckers.

Now, Supervolcano was mostly fiction. What about the Arctic plume?

The Arctic plume isn’t fiction. Forty-four million Americans have been suffering a lethal ice-storm as we write. Destabilization of the jetstream owing to Arctic ocean warming has brought terrible conditions to the midwest – again.

Where are those Americans in real danger going to get their safety information from? From the Governor’s office. And where does he get his information from, now the NPA too is in comms lockdown?

God, presumably.

Where’s the fucking money?

“Data from 98 of the 151 local authorities in England with statutory responsibility for social care show that they met only 218 (42%) of 515 targets to improve social care in their area and missed the other 297 (58%).” – The Observer, 11 December

By: Health correspondent Julian Sick ©2016 @holby.gen

The question that occurred to me while just now walking Hunzi in the dogshit-strewn exurban space that passes for our local park was this:

Where’s the money?

Slipsliding along a muddy part of the footpath by the river that sometimes floods leaving puddles people have tried getting around, trampling the grass, spreading the misery, I briefly thought it might be nice if the Council were someday to complete the paving and rustic-bridging of the whole length of the path.

Immediately the answer came: that’s absurd! They haven’t got any money for that sort of thing!

They can afford to pay PriceWaterhouse Cooper’s consultants hundreds of thousands of pounds for a generic report (only the names are changed) telling them how to save money, naturally.

They can close care homes and spend £1.5 million on a fully equipped day-centre for the elderly, only to pull it down again to make room for a Tesco development.

They can take pleasure in granting permission for a Pizza Express restaurant in a listed building, just across the way from Domino’s Pizza, in a town that already consists almost entirely of fast-food joints, pop-up hairdressers and charity shops; but whose only ethnic Welsh bookshop has closed.

But frivolities like cleaner streets and a couple of hundred yards of cinder track to keep people’s feet dry, no, sorry.

They’re not unique in these regards. I’m reading daily of care-home closures and abandoned support services, that have been brought about as a result of former Chancellor, George Osborne’s well-intentioned institution of the Living Wage, which he brought in without thought to what might happen to private care-giving businesses on fixed-price contracts to provide services to local authorities, who can no longer afford to pay their care workers at all.

I’m reading about the accelerating collapse of ‘care in the community’ as more and more elderly people are thrown onto the good offices of NHS hospitals already groaning at the seams with diabetics and cirrhotics, sclerotics and other lifestyle victims.

Amazingly, my mother’s local authority has voted her the unlimited funding required to put in place a palliative care package, so that she can go back to her virtually uninhabitable, top-floor city flat, where the landlords are just waiting for her to die before sending in the decorators. At present she is ‘blocking’ a hospital bed, alongside many identical chalk-faced, semi-conscious, moaning old ladies being wheeled in and out all night, and they’ve lost her dentures; but there’s nothing more the NHS can do for her, other than provide round-the-clock nursing care they need to free up beds for people they can cure, so she has to get out.

Age 91, she will get all the physical supports she needs: a special bed, a portable loo, a walking frame – anything; plus four one-hour visits a day, each with a team of two carers, who will cook and clean for her, shop for her and collect prescriptions, bed-wash and toilet her, provide pain relief, switch things on and off. (Although bizarrely they can’t provide any care at night, and will have to leave her alone and vulnerable in the building, armed only with a bedpan.) This, for a feisty woman who until this Autumn was still gamely independent. All her bedroom furniture will have to be moved out, only they don’t do that, I have to arrange it somehow myself in a strange city, on a busy street, living as I do 250 miles away.

Is it so wicked of me then to more than half-wish she might just not wake up tomorrow?

She might spare herself, the care teams, the local authority – and poor old me, six hours away on the train, hauling my protesting prostate across town through the dangerously overcrowded underground network to visit every week – the immense cost and difficulty of providing all this, a slow-motion existence of physical pain moderated by cigarettes and alcohol, just so she can have ‘one last Christmas’ at home – a dismal apartment from where, after 51 years, she was begging me only a few weeks ago to get her out – with me, her closest surviving relative and really poor company, when she could just go into a properly equipped nursing home, or better still a hospice, to enjoy a chat and maybe access to, or a view of, a garden, grass, trees, sky for her remaining weeks or possibly months?

And there’d still be turkey and a paper hat.

But she’s already ordered the food. Masses of it, more than I could eat in a month. Lobster! More than she can afford on her pension credit.

Naturally, M&S’ salespeople don’t ask telephone customers: ‘hang on a mo while we just run through some questions to determine if you’re a bit doolalli and haven’t really thought this through?’*

Who is going to cook it all? I suppose I shall have to cook it. Who is going to eat it all? I shall have to pretend to eat it, before throwing most of it in the bin. And then she will die anyway, as you do, and there will be the whole process of disposing of everything: the bureaucracy, the paperwork – telling her bank manager he was a fool to lend her the money she will never pay back – dealing with 50 years’ worth of junk, unburdening the fridge of its jars of furry things and arranging any obsequies. We don’t have money for a funeral, so she’s said she wants to leave her body to science. What the cancer leaves of it first. They won’t necessarily want her, however. Then what do we do?

And who will there be in the flat, to take delivery of the food? My mum can no longer walk as far as the door. Care workers will have to take delivery.

It’s that moment you’ve been dreading for the past ten years, and now wish you’d done more, anything, to plan for it before it arrived. She seems rational, although she’s not, she’s quite cognitively impaired and not making a lot of sense. Only I can tell!

But at least there appears to be a support service, liaison between the specialist nursing staff and the local authority social services, professionalism, outcomes – genuinely caring people – money.

I read about the tens of thousands of elderly patients elsewhere in the country left to rot in their own piss and shit, to go undernourished (some care services simply dump a fortnight’s worth of ready-meals in the fridge and then leave, where there used long ago to be daily ‘meals-on-wheels’), drug-addled and abused in so-called care, granted one ten-minute ‘hi-and-bye’ a day from a foreigner on sub-minimum wage, because their local authorities aren’t among the wealthiest in the country like the one where my mum has lived most of her adult life.

Why are other local authorities so strapped that they cannot provide this level of care everywhere? Have they spent it all on consultants? Where is the money?

It seems there is a huge mountain of money in our country.

The UK is about the fifth or the sixth largest economy in the world. British-based businesses are sitting on a pile of uninvested cash worth nearly a trillion (thousand billion) pounds. How much more is stashed in places like Panama we simply have no idea. UK house prices, rents and commercial offices are soaring out of reach of ordinary working people, which means even richer people are buying property, forcing up the value. Just the national private housing stock two years ago was estimated at over £5 trillion; commercial property added another £2.3 trillion.

The total value of financial assets in the UK, basically what’s in the bank vaults, is reportedly over £8 trillion. And another – wait for it – £4 quadrillion is traded annually (largely untaxed) through the City of London. Would half-a-penny in the pound really have been so burdensome that Goldman Sachs would have moved its office and junior money-baboons to Frankfurt?

‘Black Friday’ last week saw our so-called ‘Just About Managing’ lower-middle-class spend £2.9 billion on seasonal Chinese junk their kids can use to send each other pictures of their pubescent sexual organs. Employment – jobs – is at its fullest and highest since 1971. Wages are rising at 2.3% a year. Unemployment continues to fall. Consumer debt is said to be £1.5 trillion, equivalent to the entire annual GDP. VAT – purchase tax – continues to produce £105 billion a year for the Treasury. The DWP is spending half-a-billion pounds a year on French and US contractors profiting mightily from gouging the disabled.

The Government has over £100 billion in ‘infrastructure projects’ on the drawing board, including more ships for the navy, a polluting and destructive new runway at Heathrow, a pointless train-set that will gobble up half a million acres of land, homes and villages just to suck money from Birmingham to London 20 minutes faster than the perfectly adequate service there is already.

Replacing our four ageing Trident submarines with the already outmoded Successor-class submarines we could just buy from the Americans but instead have to build ourselves to retain a few thousand jobs in Scotland to keep them from leaving the UK will cost at least another £68 billion. There’s the cost of leaving the EU, probably another £59 billion (not to mention the unlimited bribes being offered to foreign investors to stay in Britain after Brexit, and the cost of replacing EU subsidies to farmers, regional development and the R&D sector).

All this shit is apparently funded out of cheap government debt; higher than ever. Even all those wasteful billions of project-pounds are barely a pimple compared with the trillions of pounds Britain is worth: yet 90% of the local authorities in the country can’t afford to provide decent basic care services to the elderly; while (apart from inworkers) the population is fast ageing. And the Government says, oh, sorry, there isn’t enough to go round, you’ll just have to cut back some more, or raise more taxes locally from the very people you need to help.

What they mean is, as with energy policy, they haven’t been planning for this, they plan only as far as the next election.

This is irresponsible governance, for which the Prime Minister should take responsibility – but she won’t.  She’s just splashed out a thousand quid on a pair of leather trousers. Having recently sold some more furniture, after 68 years as an Equity union member my mother left precisely £633.

So I’m going to ask you again, crapulous Treasury cunts, political tossers, Mr Carney and the private finance baboons:

Where’s the fucking money?

*And, as it turns out, it was a fantasy: she hadn’t actually placed the order after all.

Sad news

Monday, 5 December

My mother died in the hospital this morning, eight days short of her 93rd birthday.

 

A leap in the dark

We’ve been told 97% of the universe is ‘dark matter’, powered by ‘dark energy’. I have written before, speculating therefore about ‘dark time’, though as no-one reads this, my bogl, no-one has yet attempted to discover it.

Perhaps it’s time we thought about ‘dark money’, and what it is threatening to do to our world; our grandchildren.

Trump, egged-on by his pet British arselicker, Farage, a noisome, self-promoting political nonentity of whom he would never have heard before the publicity-starved succubus arrived in Mississippi to gatecrash his convention, between the latest of his 31 appearances on the BBC Question Time panel, has leaned heavily on Brexit as an example of how people are fed up with big government.

Yet he has shown no intention of honouring his campaign pledge to burst the Washington insider bubble in his stumbling appointments to his cabinet of some very scary insiders indeed, dismal hokey cretins from the southern swamps, white supremacists, bloodthirsty ‘Mad Dog’ militarists with fundamentalist Christian views, financed from the shadows by lobby groups acting for Fortune 500 companies opposed to all environmental, public health and human rights legislation, willing to risk extinction to promote the US arms and highly polluting energy industries.

In his approach to China, little Donald McRonald has already shown that he is a dangerously loose cannon, utterly ignorant of international affairs; a spoilt brat who has been told he can’t have a big red fire-engine for Christmas. But because he affects the charmless personality of a mercurial shapeshifter, it may be that he is deliberately provoking confrontation to please the Dumbfucks and the Pennsylvania coalminers, we can’t be sure. He’s not even been sworn-in yet.

In fact, it appears that while he has been pre-insulting the Chinese leadership and enjoying cosy chats with Taiwanese president Tsai, one of the few women whose pussy he has not yet grabbed, crossing one of the fattest and most vividly red diplomatic lines on the planet, he has been lobbying Taiwan privately behind the scenes to build more Trump hotels, confirming that a Trump presidency is designed entirely and absolutely to make Trump great again, and fuck you middle-America, you losers.

His unfortunate VP, the Christian fundamentalist (how similar Christian fundamentalists are to Islamic fundamentalists!) Mike Pence, has been struggling with the media, without a lot of conviction, to justify Trump’s infelicitous and, frankly, infantile outbursts on Twitter, a medium purpose-built for unreconstructed teenage baboons to put their cretinous views out into the twatosphere in the middle of the night in 124 characters or less; avoiding the need for extensive, thoughtful analysis.

I voted to remain in the EU – I’m 67, part of the age group blamed for voting to leave, although I know no-one here of my age who did vote to leave – not for boring economic reasons but because I prefer to remain part of what remains of human civilization.

Yeah, so what was that Brexit thing about, I hear you ask?

Imagine, reasoning Americans, you were part of a 43-years-old organization uniting you with all the autonomous states in somewhere we’ll call Canada, that gave you the right to trade freely, travel, live and work in Canada, full citizenship rights; but which involved paying a proportionate subscription according to your annual GDP to cover the costs of administering common consumer protections, cross-border policing, worker safety and product standardisation, umbrella trade deals with the rest of the world; and provided finance to support agriculture and development of your underperforming economic areas.

Following an election, some rightwing politicians on the make, people who don’t like business regulation, pressure your Congress into calling for an early referendum, claiming (falsely) that Canada is in effect ruling America through unelected and unaccountable institutions; and that millions of Canadians are pouring across the border to live and work in the USA because it’s so much better and they get free social benefits at taxpayers’ expense (actually, you need their labour to grow your economy – your population is ageing and underqualified).

So a bunch of disaffected miners in Pennsylvania, brainwashed by years of propaganda in a populist press dominated by corporate interests opposed to Canadian antitrust laws, voters facing the inevitable death of their hideously polluting, underinvested rustbelt industries, tip the balance of the vote in favour of abrogating the treaty, having no knowledge whatever of the technicalities and the consequences of getting out; regardless of whether or not Canada is responsible for their economic decline; heedless of the fact that Canada is actually providing funding for redevelopment in the stricken areas while resisting the onward march of the big tax-dodging corporations who have globalised their jobs.

They just want to ‘send a message’, that they want bigger TV screens and more sale-bargain sofas in their lives, and they don’t like politicians, although they cannot say what they would replace them with. So they throw their iPhones out of the pram.

That’s the actual situation we’re in with the EU. Any attempt to oppose this historically irresponsible and permanently binding vote, that threatens to destabilise the entire postwar political consensus, is howled down by the bully boys dominating a supine and craven media, that in turn whips up its phoney patriotism to ever greater excesses. Even our Supreme Court judges, who are merely being asked to consider a High Court ruling that the executive needs final Parliamentary approval to reverse the treaty, are being subjected in advance to a vicious smear campaign in the Brexit press; branded as ‘traitors’, their families receiving death threats on social media.

It smells horribly of fascism sponsored by powerful interests, the crony capitalism of the Bilderberg Group and the chummy billionaires who foregather in Davos every year to carve-up what remains of the world between themselves, and to hell with the rest of us. How easy it is to play the immigration card, to get everyone believing that ‘foreigners’ and obscure international institutions, the ‘worldwide conspiracy’ is responsible for all your economic woes!

As in America with Trump, opponents of Brexit are bullied and stigmatised; targeted for elimination. A pro-Remain MP, 42-year-old mother of two young children, Jo Cox, was shot and hacked to death by a crazed white supremacist in the street outside her office, only two weeks before the referendum last June; fifty thousand ugly, slobbering morons tweeted their joyous approval; Farage has accused her widower, who started a campaign for tolerance, of running a terrorist-sympathising organisation. The Government and the security services have since stood by and done nothing.

We live in increasingly dark times. Please understand that behind the rise of  the Brexit baboons are some very nasty, very wealthy – very greedy people indeed; and they will stop at nothing to continue raping our world until human civilization and all life on the planet (other than their own) is ended; which may not be very long now (Arctic temperatures are up to 33 deg C above normal for November).

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/30/donald-trump-george-monbiot-misinformation

Plagiarism corner

In a Christmas commercial for a credit card company, a couple of ordinary middle-aged women are fantasising about what they will do with the money, when one announces that she plans to buy another saxophone.

As readers of this, muh bogl, and of scabrous Comments I have made on The Guardian news pages, may recall, I have long been pointing out the silliness of Big Data-type advertising pop-ups on this, muh li’l laptop, offering me more saxophones, after I bought one online in September.

I wrote, how many saxophones can one person use, who doesn’t yet play the saxophone? It seems that in this post-truth era, it’s not a relevant question.

 

All’s well that ends well

If you’re still not certain about the place of 2016 as one of the weirdest years in history, consider the following story:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38205945

Shoppers in Carrickfergfus, Northern Ireland, panicked on Saturday morning as a stray goat rampaged through their shopping precinct, jumping onto cars and terrorising shop staff, principally by looking strangely at them. A pensioner, whose name was given as Billy, was butted in the rear and sought refuge in a shop, where the manager is quoted as follows:

“The manager described how the goat began eating flower baskets outside the shop on Victoria Road and then frightened staff and customers as they tried to get into the building.

“It was into the baskets eating all the plants and running round the car park, I thought: ‘you’ve got to be kidding me!'”

Oh, yeah? he said that? Really?

It just shows the Irish can still make hideous puns in the face of terrible adversity.

In the end, anticlimax: the capricious beast’s owner turned up, took it by the horns and led it peacefully away.

As you do, when you own a goat.

Which I have.

Black Friday: Is Big Data the new Democracy? (Obituary, Fidel Castro)

Obituary

So, Farewell then, Fidel Castro.

Reaching 90 was a great achievement, given the many attempts on your life by the CIA. Probably due to your magnificent national health service, large cigars and bracing climate, you survived.

It’s a shame some of your ex-friends and political opponents didn’t make it past their 40s.

“…the key marketing ingredient of all consumer products being the deliberately designed-in margin of dissatisfaction”

The blackest of Fridays

By: Consumer Correspondent, Delia Bogof ©2016 @poundland.com

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/nov/24/black-friday-shopping-lies-consumerist-hell#comment-88128695

I recommend this cut-and-paste link, assuming it works, to a lengthy but fascinating Marxist analysis by Stuart Jeffries of the consumer-capitalist conspiracy known as Black Friday.

Perhaps it should be renamed ‘Red Friday’, in honour of the ink-bespattered statements that will flutter onto your doormat in December, just before Christmas, to remind you of the sheer lunacy that overtook you on 25 November, when you found your righteous soul being sucked away down a retail storm-drain in the artificially generated mass-panic of Shopageddon.

My motto is, of course: ‘Don’t buy stuff, don’t burn stuff.’ And that could mean something as simple as just staying in bed tomorrow, pulling up the covers and relishing the thought that no sale bargain is going to give you so much gratification as that smug feeling you’re going to get from knowing you resisted the siren call of the merchants of stuff.

Except that yesterday, Blue Thursday, negotiating the exit lane from the supermarket past piled-high tins of festive biscuits at Only £4, £60 plastic trees (with LED lights) and £12 litre-bottles of soothing industrial vodka, I succumbed to a sudden urge to spend £30 on a fetching, sky-blue, retro-styled, portable Akai vinyl-record player in a nifty little suitcase, with added something-or-other, Bluetooth? Greensward? Greybeard?

Why, for Pity’s sake?

I actually have a proper, old-fashioned DJ-style turntable hooked up to an old amp and a pair of speakers, for playing the few scratchy LPs I’ve mostly hung on to since schooldays, half a century ago, when in moods of eccentricity. But there was nowhere else to put it except on the floor behind the piano under the avocado tree where it’s difficult to get at, and the amp has developed an annoying mains hum, and the complicated system of weights and measures that balance the tone-arm for optimum performance is fiddly and maladjusted….

Did it meet my need to maximise my media usage in, for instance, the sitting-room? The kitchen? Upstairs? Travelling in the camper I haven’t actually bought – yet?

So often have I given in to the impulse to acquire an apparently desirable item after walking past and eyeing it hungrily forty or fifty times, and then regretted it, that I feel sure Buyer’s Itch must be a recognised medical syndrome.

I’ve already bought my Xmas presents, far in advance. Back in September, I spent some money on some things – a saxophone, a weekend jazz workshop, a tablet thing – some other stuff I can’t remember, and decided to allocate the expenditure across both my October birthday and Christmas. I come from a precariously small family: there’s only my mum, who may not make it to Christmas this year; and my two kids, both twenty-something, busy making lives and dispersed throughout the land.

Ensuring I still get the essential quantity of presents every year is really down to me alone now*.

So this record-player is something else: a nostalgic wind-up reminder of my youth, possibly; a little ‘Dansette’ in a box, like the one I had in my study at school, where I found Miles Davis and Archie Shepp and Roland Rahsaan Kirk, the Stones, Leadbelly and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers  to fuel my teenage boarder’s spotty rage.

Anyway, what’s £30 nowadays? The blue wooden suitcase is fine, the thing does actually work; but crappy, so crappy the plasticky turntable, the tone-arm, the flimsy cartridge, the knobs and levers, the hinges and the catch…. all made from gossamer-thin stuff, light as air and twice as bendy.

What did you expect, other than mild disillusionment – the key marketing ingredient of all consumer products being the deliberately designed-in margin of dissatisfaction that eventually swells to a desire to trash the thing and buy a better one, that will take your itching consumer discontent to yet another level of suicidal, self-loathing despair.

While somewhere out on the sparkling sea, the smiling, carefree Mr Akai is entertaining a bevy of lovelies with expensive champagne and cheerful banter: far from the madding crowd, the lowering skies, the scrambling contumely, the drizzling loneliness that follows free with every purchase.

Fuck capitalism. Just absolutely fuck it.

*To emphasise this point, my ex-sisters-in-law, known as The Aunts, each gave me a book for Christmas. I am trying in my OCD/Asperger’s fashion to find a kind way to point out to them (suggestions on a postcard, please) that a) I have bothered to read only one book in the last five years (on global food politics) owing to z) failing eyesight and y) ditto comprehension; and b) if I were disposed ever to read another book in my life, it would be neither x) brooding broadcaster Jeremy Paxman’s autobiography, nor w) Monty Don (the gardening writer) writing about his loveable dogs.

I have however detected a pattern here: Paxman, Don and I are all self-proclaimed boarding-school survivors who have written extensively about our depression. Now you know why.

Postscriptum

We hear a lot about the ‘Just About Managing’ class, families who work but barely make ends meet.

Good news then that they Just About Managed to spend £2.9 billion on acquiring Black Friday bargains, online and in the High Street; mainly on credit cards. The bulk of the stuff they bought was imported – Chinese-made, US techno-garbage.

Trump this, Trump that

As a fascinating footnote to history, we discover that Donald Trump’s paternal grandfather, one Friedrich Trump of Kallsberg, Bavaria, having avoided military service by the simple expedient of travelling to the US, was later expelled from Germany by official proclamation as a draft-dodger and illegal emigrant (not immigrant, emigrant – you needed permission to leave), and returned to New York in 1905 with his pregnant bride – Elizabeth Christ.

In just that one sentence lies a world of semi-fictional narrative possibility. It gets better.

Friedrich subsequently joined in the Klondyke gold rush and opened a restaurant-cum-brothel, sending back to New York the gold nuggets in which he was paid for the ladies’ services. The Christ-child, Trump’s father Fred, thus benefited from his mother’s and aunts’ property investments, founding the fortune on which little Donald relied to repair his early-years business failures.

His obsequious pleas to the Kaiser to be allowed to return to Germany having fallen on deaf ears, Friedrich thus escaped having to do military service a second time and so was not killed in the First World War. Lucky man. Smart, you might say.

Now, there’s a lot of fake news about, I’m told. The attribution for the foregoing, reported in The Guardian, is to historian Roland Paul. Let us hope he is not simply making it up as a Facebook meme for our times.

But in the ongoing debate over nature versus nurture, the story of the Trump dynasty does seem to score quite a lot of points for gene theory.

Bag it, don’t bin it

Following his release in the late 1940s, a German PoW chose to stay and make his home in England.

Christian Brann went on to found the business that still bears his name, Brann Direct. A creative copywriter, he pioneered the use and science of direct – or ‘junk’ – mail in this country. You may revile him or admire him, the choice is yours (Yes envelope, or No!).

But you should not misunderstand him.

Many years later, my creative agency had a motto: ‘It isn’t junk until it goes in the bin’. (Gentle Reader, I wrote that!) The point being, that while direct, personalised advertising is intrusive – it doesn’t work otherwise – it can and should also be entertaining and informative.

Whether the recipient acts on the information or not is less material than that they read it, then put it behind the clock for future reference. Either way, we can learn from their responses.

Drawing on his pre-war experience, Brann realised that if a company could know as much as possible about its potential customers and their preferences, it would actually save waste and enable them to enter into a kind of mutual partnership that would make future transactions as efficient as possible. Producers and suppliers would be advertising only to a self-identified group of interested users instead of splurging expensive ad copy into the void. Thereafter, the pool of willing buyers would just need occasional topping-up.

Earlier efforts by advertisers to recruit purchasers to ‘club’ schemes had been successful, up to a point; but required the kind of commitment that not everyone busily rebuilding the postwar world would be able to keep up. A less formal relationship was needed, that would use up no more time than it took to tick a box and pop the self-folding envelope back in the post on the way to work, preferably with a small cheque inside.

Consequently, although most recipients are unaware of it, the piece of mail you get in the post may only be one version. In a process of assiduous testing, other versions will have been targeted to different consumer profiles – including previous customers – to see which works best, for which groups.

The right product, at the right price, at the right time, to the right buyer….

Profiling is the key to successful direct mail – that, and lucky timing. By continually testing and refining the message in all its elements – headline, copy length and style, design, different price-points, the ‘free’ offer, even the colours used – and by applying the latest consume profiling techniques, the theory was that you would end up doing less advertising, use up fewer trees, in order to achieve your sales target; at the same time, receiving feedback from responders, and even learning from non-responders, data that would enable you to refine your product or service, saving on waste at the production end as well.

It’s the sheer volume, rather than the concept, that I think is most annoying to people; also, there’s a lot of badly designed, badly written, badly targeted crap. (Less than 1.5 percent of mail pieces sent ever receive a response.) Having said that, the most successful mailing campaign I ever created, I deliberately designed to be as awful and offputting as possible, as I disapproved of the product (a cheap and nasty brand of cigarette…): it achieved an unheard-of 16% response.

So if junkmail didn’t work financially, they wouldn’t go on sending it. In theory.

I keep reading nowadays that the use of algorithms by large tech comms corps to gather and sort unimaginable quantities of data on millions of consumers by tracking their internet usage is a sinister development, enabling for instance Facebook to target ‘news’ stories of the kind its bots determine is of most interest, using evermore garish ‘hook’ lines, and to link-in pop-up advertising with similarly interesting themes, at an individual level.

In other words, Facebook is less a social media site than a giant advertising conspiracy to capture your very soul and turn it against your bank balance!

As I don’t have a Facebook account and rarely if ever respond to messages from companies I have not bought from before – as a grownup, I can make up my own mind about what I need to buy and how to find it – it doesn’t concern me much. I employ an ad blocker, I’m sorry if that deprives media outlets of revenue but as I tell them, I wouldn’t be spending money with their clients anyway. And as a compulsive looker-up of stuff for this, muh bogl, my Search history must resemble a bookworm on LSD. Predicting my interests from it has thus far been an abject failure!

In fact, the core principle of direct marketing seems not to have changed in any major respect since Christian Brann’s day, other than in the sheer size and sophistication of the Big Data systems involved in data capture and cross-reference, and the more accurate targeting of products and services at individual consumers rather than broader user-groups.

New industries are coming into being on the back of it, to manufacture and distribute products with maximum efficiency. New manufacturing techniques are converging on a world in which products may one day simply be spun like candyfloss in a printer, from raw materials to order, minimising wastage. The age of bulk manufacturing and mass marketing is nearly over. Soon, numberplate recognition will enable roadside billboards to advertise to individual motorists, products and services in which they have shown, or predictably ought to show, an interest; don’t be surprised when your self-driving electric car or your kettle starts selling you stuff!

Thus, it could be argued, Big Data may not be the evil surveillance machine that wraps us all in cotton-wool and informs the security services that we are thinking about destabilising an election, or are about to have an accident in the home; but it just might be the new democracy, forcing industry to respond more rapidly and willingly to the individual demands of the ‘electorate’ – the people who vote with their credit cards – and politicians to be more acutely aware of our social needs and preferences than under the old ‘party’ system, that is no longer fit for purpose.