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

“The security implications are just awful”

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

Is anyone awake?

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

What goes up…

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

Minnie the Moocher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not so very post-scriptum…

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

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

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

Baked Alaska

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

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

And now everyone is in the toilet.

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

Oh, wait a minute.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It shouldn’t be long now.

x

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

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

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

x

 

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

Maids in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll just quote this short extract:

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

But that never happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From which, purely coincidentally:

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

xFrom which,

Where’s Wendi Deng?

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

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

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

So nasty, these Republicans. So ugly. Twisted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make America great again, boys. Yee-ha!

x

And finally…

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

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

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

They cut its head off.

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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?

 

 

x

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?)

x

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?

The Pumpkin – Issue 22: The emollients clause. Plus: The forensic mind of Donald Trump. Computer News.

 

“Cheer up Ma, at least Trump’s cancelled” (AP)

Hello again

With apologies to its author, Philip Cohen, may I share with you this most excellent diatribe on the subject of The Pumpkin’s favourite object, stolen from the Comments section of The Washington Post, 7 June?

Thank you.

Drumpf’s a charlatan—an arrogant, autocratic, ignorant, incompetent, inarticulate, blustering, uncouth, unprincipled, hypocritical, malevolent, divisive, thin-skinned, grossly narcissistic sociopath; a draft dodging, much sued, numerously bankrupted, pathological liar, and political neophyte, with an adolescent brain displaying chronic “status twitterus” (a debilitating condition in which twittering fits follow one another without recovery of consciousness between them)—in sum, a classic, “Dunning-Kruger” / “Peter Principle” affectee—utterly unfit to be POTUS.

…had he not been born into great wealth it’s likely he would now be living under an overpass somewhere—yet the “poorly educated” have elected this “bouffanted buffoon” POTUS, making the U.S. the laughingstock of the world.Drumpf’s a man of principles few and flexible—he offers only incoherent bluster and delusionary or naively simple answers to complex problems—we will be lucky if this crétin does not cause some major tragedy to befall us. The only thing scarier than Drumpf is the ~63 million idiots that voted for this oaf, and about whom—some may soon enough come to realise—he cares not one iota.

Those who feel this is a bit excessive and are willing to forgive the President for skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars off his browbeaten and shallow-witted son Eric’s fundraisers for a children’s cancer charity, or for claiming that he was ‘better trained militarily than most’ of the 82 thousand US troops who died in Vietnam while he was securing successive exemptions for a probably non-existent and easily curable condition, thus avoiding the necessity to prove the claim, might pause to consider his latest wheeze.

It appears that one of a series of assaults on poverty in the budget he’s recently presented to Congress is to cut funding by 29 per cent for a federal program that provides an already limited amount of housing benefit to the homeless, enabling them to have an address from which to seek work; while at the same time preserving a special government subsidy to wealthy landlords.

Mr Trump has extensive rental property holdings, as you know, including a 4 per cent stake he inherited from his father Fred in a complex called Starrett City, from which he is said to earn $20 million a year. Having, as I say, inherited the holding, Mr Trump has at times claimed it was one of the best investments he ever made. He is an incorrigible scoundrel, a liar and a fantasist, but never mind, let’s press on.

Starrett City’s shareholders have reportedly received $490 million from the subsidy alone since 2013; $28 million in the last four months.

Mr Trump, who nobly announced on taking up the job that he would forego the normal salary of $450k a year, seems to be using the office of President to guarantee himself a side-income of a few million dollars a year; what is, essentially, a taxpayer-funded backhander to himself and his cronies, whilst ensuring the very poorest Americans whom he swore an oath to protect have nowhere to live, thus lessening their chances of finding one of the many jobs he is failing to deliver.

To ensure nothing goes wrong, Mr Trump has appointed the woman who organized his wedding to Melania, Lynne Patton, a former officer in Eric Trump’s charity foundation, a person with no public service experience, to head the New York office of the Department for Housing and Urban Development.

It would be a joke if it weren’t so sad.

(Reporting: Washington Post)

The Pumpkin is honestly at a loss when reaching for the usual supererogatory expressions of nausea today to find new words to accompany this horrible, horrible man on his journey to the innermost circle of Hell, given that I used to keep pigs and have great respect for their perceptive intelligence, forbearance and selfless humanity; their grasp of foreign policy.

I will simply let Mr Philip Cohen’s resonant encomium, that provides such a lazy introduction to this week’s issue 22 of The Pumpkin, stand as mute testimony to my imaginative failure, and go take Hunzi for his morning walk.

The weather too has taken a turn overnight. After five days of record-breaking heat and humid sunshine, reeking of tanning oil, we are enshrouded in a clammy, murky drizzle.

Oh, well. Probably Yellowstone will get us instead.

x

“…there is never an ‘endgame’ in the Middle East, only a transition to something worse.”

The forensic mind of Donald Trump

To use the phrase ‘American foreign policy’ with regard to the situation in the Middle East is to do oxymoronic violence to the English language. For even the forensic, nimble and well-stocked brain of the President seems not quite able to figure out, in his own words, just what the hell is going on; the problem being, he’s the one in charge.

But the Middle East is complicated, idn’t it?

In the space of barely a month, Mr Trump met with the Emir of Qatar and assured him of America’s undying friendship and desire to sell him billions of dollars’ worth of ‘beautiful military equipment’ (the man is sick in the head, but we’ll continue…).

On his return, he tweeted out that he, Trump, had in a single two-day visit to Riyadh – during which he performed a sword dance and Ivanka was handed a present of $100 million, seemingly without strings – ended the scourge of global terrorism for ever, persuading the Saudi allies to embark on a policy of blockading evil Qatar, the source of all global terrorism.

Then, ahem, having been reminded by Gen. Mattis that there are 11 thousand US and NATO troops stationed in friendly Qatar, the main base from where operations are being conducted against ISIS, Mr Trump tweeted out again to complain that he had been misled by the Saudis and Qatar was not a sponsor of terrorism after all, so the UAE should back off.

The correction came somewhat late in the day, as (supported by Russia and Iran) Turkey had already sent troops to Qatar in a ‘training’ capacity to wave a scimitar in the hostile face of Riyadh, and the fairly gratuitous shooting-down of a Syrian airforce plane by a US airforce plane had brought Russia and America eyeball to eyeball once more over the proposed fate of the Assad regime.

Having abandoned command of his forces to the generals on the ground, Trump was now seeing things spinning out of his grasp.

Meanwhile, in a palace coup the senile King Salman’s pleasure-loving son, the war criminal in charge of all those beautiful weapons currently slaughtering Yemeni children, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, has been nominated as the sock-puppet who will take over as the heir-apparent to the ‘oil-rich’ terror-sponsoring Gulf state in place of the King’s more sensible, peaceable but less US-friendly nephew, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, who has, in the words of The Sun newspaper, been ‘fired’….

From The Sun (22 June):

SAUDI Arabia’s future King is a millionaire businessman who is friends with Donald Trump and recently splashed out over £400 million on a yacht.

Mid-East policy all at sea: The Serena (Getty Images)

So we must assume that once King Salman, who is said to have Alzheimer’s, kicks the bucket, Saudi Arabia will follow a pro-American line; rather than as, at present, America follows a pro-Saudi line. And if he is not in jail by then Trump will personally – and presumably financially – benefit.

Who is this a victory for?

Now, The Pumpkin has a confession. Throughout my career I prided myself on my analytical pattern-recognizing abilities and the particular strength I felt I had in being able to join the dots in complex situations: pull together the threads, grasp the big picture (enough business cliches. Ed.).

Pundits are starting to refer to the ‘endgame’ in Syria as Assad finally bids foul to regain control of the country after six years of war, thanks to his Russian pals, with whatever consequences it may bring for his opponents – my bet is a massacre – but you and I know, don’t we, there is never an ‘endgame’ in the Middle East, only a transition to something worse.

So I would really love to give you insight and clarity on the situation as it stands currently, because lots of new and strange things seem to be happening, but I’m afraid it will have to wait for someone better to come along. I am utterly at a loss to explain what is going on, so irrational and contrafibulatory do all the many actors appear to have become.

The noisy men – Victor McGlaglan

It is possible I, or they, have gone mad trying to work out the connections. It’s like John Wayne and Victor McLaglan and Alan Ladd (on his box) slugging it out in a Howard Hawks mass barroom brawl that drags everyone in, smashing chairs and bottles over one another’s heads with scant regard for who is on who’s side. No sooner do I feel I have a handle on it, than my brain suffers a chronic meltdown and everything starts to slip alarmingly sideways.

However, I can offer one possible clue.

Just last week I gave up trying to find anything worth watching on TV, and reverted to my DVD collection. One of the first films I pulled out was ‘Syriana’, a thriller set in the Middle East, by and starring George Clooney as ‘Bob’, a redundant CIA operative turned freelance, who equally has a problem knowing what is going on when he is kidnapped and tortured by the jihadis he has just sold some state-of-the-art kit to (okay, that’s not quite it, but I’m too old to explain) and has to be rescued by Hezbollah; with Matt Damon as the good guy, the fresh-faced analyst from the State Department sent to groom the heir to an oil-rich Gulf kingdom, but who gradually realises he’s being corrupted by the Deep State*.

It must be about ten years old and, although I’ve watched it four times now, I’ve never really grasped the plot.

All I know is that a key point comes – and here is the amazing synchronicity – when the ageing King of the unnamed Gulf state changes his mind about his successor and ‘fires’ his strong and stable but independently reformist heir and friend of Matt Damon in favour of a weak and dissolute younger brother who doesn’t care about ‘his people’. He will prove a more useful asset to the rogue group of CIA conspirators plotting with a giant and totally amoral oil company to turn the oil-rich kingdom into a client state, and will stop at nothing – including sponsoring arms sales to useful but unpredictable jihadi militias.

Meanwhile, the agency has succeeded at home in deflecting an FBI investigation into bribery and corruption reaching up to the highest levels of the company and beyond – as far up as Christopher Plummer, an apparently immortal billionaire politician and former CIA head who, ‘Bob’ realizes, is running the operation from behind the scenes.

Is this starting to remind you of anything?

Spoiler alert

The CIA is essentially depicted as a state-within-a-state, out of control and operating entirely on its own agenda, fractious, fuelled by dirty money and capable of causing havoc across the region in support of global energy interests, corporations no longer bound to the United States and its official foreign policy.

The last scenes of the film show Clooney as agent Bob, tired of being used by all sides, racing across the desert to warn the outgoing prince that he’s in danger, only to be incidentally vaporized in a drone strike by remote CIA operatives in the USA.

Let’s hope that’s the one part of the movie he didn’t get right.

*Just last week in an echo of the scene where Matt Damon’s son dies, accidentally electrocuted in the oil-sheikh’s swimming-pool, there was a report of children electrocuted in a swimming-pool in Turkey. It’s not a very common occurrence. I expect these odd synchronicities go on all the time unnoticed. Either that, or I am making the world happen around me.

Indeed, I have long had a feeling that the world ended in 1962 with the Cuban missile crisis, we weren’t spared the nuclear holocaust after all, we all perished, and the sense that this is all an increasingly weird and dystopian, shared near-death experience and any minute now it will fade to black is nearer the mark.

x

“The exciting thing about working for maniacs … is, anything can happen in the next half-hour.”

Computer News

Did they have inside help?

We’re aware, are we not, of Mr Trump’s undying loyalty to those who are loyal to him – until he thinks they’re not?

It’s a cuddly trait that has, we can see, provided a lot of employment since the election for party and campaign donors from all over the USA. Why, it almost led to our very own Nigel Farage getting the plum post of ambassador to Washington!

Sadly the job was not in Mr Trump’s gift. Nor did Farage have any prior diplomatic service experience. In fact he’s about the least diplomatic person you could shake a cocktail at. But we wonder what our Nige did for his strangely glowing master to deserve that one?

Anyway, in our lead story today, we saw from a report in the Washington Post that Mr and Mrs Trump’s wedding party organizer has been put in charge of housing development in New York, where Mr Trump owns a lot of housing.

It reminds me of my previous employer, Shane, who after thirty years running businesses in Japan signed his memos ‘Founder’, a clear sign of incipient megalomania. He also has an advanced appreciation of loyalty, there’s probably a Japanese word for it, that runs to putting in the job whoever is standing nearest the water-cooler when the previous guy dies.

Hence, hired as the gardener, within weeks I was managing a terrible country hotel with one part-time assistant, an obese Goth with greasy hair and bipolar disorder. I had no hotel management experience whatever after a lifetime in journalism, advertising and publishing. After Matt ran off with the petty cash it was just me, the guy in the Wellington boots standing by the water-cooler (metaphorically – there wasn’t one), cooking meals and cleaning, organizing weddings, chasing intruders at 2 a.m. and renegotiating the business rates.

The exciting thing about working for maniacs with Entrepreneur Syndrome – the belief that whatever the business, they can walk on water – is, anything can happen in the next half-hour.

So, in the Trump cabinet, there are rancid climate-change deniers with no prior experience or science qualification running the Environmental Protection and Energy agencies; the ex-CEO of the world’s greediest and most shameful oil company as Secretary of State, in charge of global diplomacy; a major donor with no public schools administration experience hoping to foist Creationism on America’s children; a multibillionaire seeking tax breaks for his mining businesses put in charge of government revenue; a Russian agent originally (but no longer) in charge of National Security; a blustering little twerp who’s not very good at lying handling the press briefings, Trump’s private banker in charge of Commerce and his not very bright, 36-year-old property developer son-in-law tasked with everything else, from Middle East peace to government reform.

It’s a bit like the amateur dramatic company I work with. Most of the male roles have to be played by women on account of there aren’t enough men.

The Pumpkin has, however, been learning from the indefatigable Rachel Maddow at MSNBC, of a loyalty appointee of an altogether more interesting stripe.

John deStefano was, until he was appointed as Mr Trump’s Presidential Personnel Director, director of a small data analytics firm contracted by the Republican campaign, Data Trust Inc., a business for which it is hard to find a listing. It doesn’t seem to appear among the top six companies on Google with that name, in the first three pages.

It’s possible that he was just being rewarded as a loyal Republican, although he is named as having campaigned as a ‘Never Trumper’. So many were.

Like Charlie Parker, “DeStefano grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. His uncle helped him to get an internship with Oklahoma Representative J. C. Watts during his junior year. Following his graduation, he worked for the House Republican Conference as a liaison to outside conservative groups. In 2006, he ran the reelection campaign of Ohio Representative Deborah Pryce.”

So he does at least have more political experience than the President. By way of further explanation:

“Conservative HQ said DeStefano’s appointment was designed “to funnel Capitol Hill staffers loyal to the congressional Republican establishment into key jobs in the executive branch.” The organization also pointed out that DeStefano has zero experience in human resource functions, which are at the core of his new role.” – Wikipedia, and see above

In other words, draining the swamp off Capitol Hill and into the White House.

As a funnel, Johnny DeStefano was the guy Trump ordered to write the letter firing Sally Yates, the Acting Attorney General, who had been trying to warn the White House that Gen. Flynn was a Russian agent. The reason he gave was her resistance to implementing the Muslim ban, but as that was being blocked by the 9th circuit and about every other court in the land, the real reason seems obvious.

Mr DeStefano also, however, appears to have been entrusted on payment of $6.7 million with collating the entire US voter registration database, 198 million names, addresses, dates of birth, voting intentions, religious affiliations an’ all.

And he accidentally left it sitting for a while in a public Amazon cloud account on an unencrypted server and, hey, guess what?

As Ms Maddow reports, it appears that as far as early research can tell, the Russian ‘hack’, which the FBI now says affected 21 states, although it may have been all 50, appears to have targeted only those wards where the majority voted Democrat in previous elections.

And where there was a corresponding overlap with the use of polling station computers using registration software supplied by companies that reported being hacked earlier, there were reports of unusual breakdowns and delays in processing voters on the door, again in mainly Democrat wards.

It wasn’t an attack on the actual votes, as far as the FBI is prepared to go at this stage. The hackers didn’t impersonate voters or change the counts or anything too overt. It was an attack on the electoral process, designed to deter Democrats from voting. A marginal outcome could statistically have made enough difference to get a candidate, in this case Trump, over the line.

But it required detailed knowledge of voter distribution. And what the implications are for the 2018 midterms we can only imagine.

Did the Russians have insider knowledge of the systems and help with targeting their disruption campaign? We know how attached Republicans are to voter suppression and other fraudulent tactics.

According to the website Carbonated.TV:

“The now-secured files contained data typical to political campaigns, some of which is already public information, but also included analysis to help the GOP best target specific voting populations. Many of the records stored on the server came from data firms other than Deep Root Analytics, one of which was The Data Trust, the primary provider of the GOP’s voter details contracted by the party for a whopping $6.7 million in 2016.”

http://www.carbonated.tv/news/data-of-198-million-voters-exposed-in-massive-leak-by-gop-contractor

 

Making monkeys of themselves

President Erdogan in his wisdom has ordered all references to biological evolution to be removed from Turkey’s state school textbooks. The subject is, says his education director, ‘too controversial’ to be taught to 14-16 year-olds and may only be discussed in universities. (BBC News)

The only other country in the Middle East to have banned the teaching of evolution is Saudi Arabia, a country also not known for its progressive views.

The Koran says God made Adam out of a lump of clay, so that’s a scientific fact. It’s actually not so far from the truth, we do indeed share many elements found in the general make-up of the universe, including those found in clay. But it was just an allegorical story. The point Darwin made is we didn’t start out like this, in human form. We got here by trial and error, starting with a small colony of prokaryotic cells. We were not made from lumps of clay, but by an evolutionary leap called sexual reproduction. It takes two.

And of course, there is now an overwhelming body, not of opinion but of experimental, empirical observation to show that, while there are other evolutionary mechanisms in play, evolution by natural selection of the most useful genetic mutations is the main means by which new species come into being over time. Basically, if you fall over a cliff it helps to quickly sprout feathers.

One student quoted in the report says his teacher asked him if he believed he was descended from a monkey? This stupid debate was settled years ago.

When even teachers are too lazy and illiterate to understand a relatively simple proposition, that we co-evolved alongside the apes, a separate branch from monkeys, from a common ancestor; that there have been many species of humanoid but we are the only ones so far as we know who survived to be what we are today, i.e. credulous, incurious naked baboons capable of swallowing any amount of allegory from 2,000-year-old books, capable of denying the evidence of our own reason, capable of electing dangerous idiots to lead us, you wonder if it’s worth teaching children anything.

Because to refute the oft-observed fact that species are continually changing asa result of ‘the survival of the fittest’ (fit meaning… oh, I give up. Not that kind of fit, the kind that means ‘best adapted to the conditions’) is to suggest that we cannot ever properly learn. Learning is a crucial stage in evolution, since before new physiological characteristics are selected for in our ever-changing, ever-challenging environment the first changes must come in our cognitive processes and behavioral patterns.

Not much sign of that.

So Turkey, ostensibly a civilized, modern and progressive nation of 80 million, has started on its long march backwards to the mud. Yes, advanced organisms like States can revert to type, but in the process they become less fit for survival and are vulnerable to extinction.

So much for Mr Erdogan and his ‘leadership’. We could have told you, Turkey, but you wouldn’t have listened.

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 17. The Bartered Bribe. Plus long essay: 100 Days of Sod ’em

“…gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes?”

The Bartered Bribe

By: Our Chief North America Correspondent, John Sopoor. ©2017 @support_us.gov

You know, I keep going back to a Post of The Pumpkin on 21 April which began with Oliver Cromwell’s famous 1653 speech dissolving the Long Parliament, and finding more and more resonances with Trump’s White House.

Once again I am indebted to Rachel Maddow at MSNBC for exhaustively explaining (her explanations can be pretty exhausting, and then you don’t get the meat of the story because she’s gone to a commercial break and the rest hasn’t been uploaded, but we’ll persevere) the background to yet another potential shitstorm, this time involving the plastic toy, Special Advisor and general US Government, Jared Kushner.

I have often exclaimed in mock despair that there appears to be no end to the stories and allegations of dodgy dealings surrounding  Trump and his family, going back into the mists of time and before; and it seems into the future, with no reprehension; no clarity, no remorse. I guess some families are just like that. The Borgias spring to mind.

But the Pumpkin’s famed despair is beginning to lose its mockiness. I read on the hot-news ‘crawler’ unspooling beneath Ms Maddow as she outlined the latest Trump family financial plans that, for instance, Ivanka Trump’s lovely face is now to be found on billboards announcing the opening of the Trump Tower in Manila, capital of the Philippines.

Now, Mrs Kushner – Ms Trump – Ivanka has an official position in the US government. She was appointed three weeks ago as a special advisor, given a title: ‘First Daughter’ (her wicked stepmom remains a prisoner in the gilded Manhattan tower), her own office and a brief in the White House – and a top-level security clearance.

Under the Emoluments clause of the constitution it’s illegal for public officials to profit from foreign business transactions, but here she is, advertising Orange Daddy’s hotel business, that she and her brothers Donny Jr and the Little Nazi, Eric, are supposed to have been put in charge of precisely so he isn’t compromised by his ownership of said businesses while he abuses the Office of President of the United States.

Well, fuck that for a game of soldiers.

Not only that, but Trump has invited Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, to the White House – Duterte, a squalid little pockmarked thug who publicly called President Obama a ‘fucking son of a whore’, makes salty jokes about personally raping the women his soldiers have missed and has operated an open policy of paying police death squads and vigilantes to hunt down and murder anyone suspected of involvement in the drugs trade, the number of his victims now at 7,000 and rising; has compared himself favourably to Hitler, and who has boasted that he has personally murdered people, is considered by Trump a fit person to enjoy his chocolate-cake hospitality at the expense of the US government.

Could there be a connection? Is the US taxpayer, of whom The Pumpkin is one, paying for a private Trump Tower Manila-flavoured thank-you gift to Duterte? I don’t suppose in the midst of everything else we shall ever know.

Kushner is in fact all over the press today, it is necessary only to Google ‘Kushner, Guinea’ to get the story from several newspapers behind Maddow’s exposé of his business relationship with Beny Steinmetz, an Israeli businessman whose companies are in the New York South District Court dock right now, charged with paying massive illegal bribes to the government of Equatorial Guinea for iron ore mining rights, following an FBI wiretap operation involving the widow of the late President, Sekou Touré.

Israel-based Steinmetz is alleged to have invested almost $200 million in Kushner’s properties, including a Trump Tower project, since his firm was indicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That in itself would be prima facie evidence of corruption.

Yet nothing seems to touch the Trump family. The recent piece of brilliant investigative reporting by Adam Davidson in the New Yorker magazine linking Trump Organization via Ivanka to a deal over a Trump Tower in Azerbaijan that appears to have been part-financed with laundered money from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (a proscribed terror organization) in breach of international sanctions, through the profoundly corrupt Mammadov family, seems to have attracted barely more than a yawn, and a ‘well, he’s Trump, what do you expect?’ from the authorities. (The Trump lawyer who carried out the apparently innocent ‘due diligence’ search and greenlighted the illegal project in Baku has been given a key post in the administration.)

These kinds of deals are going to be increasingly difficult to uncover, as one of Trump’s earliest executive orders rescinded an Obama rule that companies involved in the energy and mining industries have to declare payments to foreign officials for extraction rights.

No prizes for speculating why he passed that particular Trump Turd, then.

Meanwhile details are emerging from the Wall Street Journal of some more of ‘Mr Kushner’s’ financial arrangements, including the news that he is indebted to more than 20 banks for a total of over $1 billion, part-guaranteed by Machiavellian billionaire speculator George Soros. Unfortunately he forgot to declare it when accepting his multitasking role as a White House advisor to his equally deeply indebted father-in-law, President Donald Trump.

There’s one world for them, and fuck the rest of us.

‘A mock-presidential cumface, like Frankie Howerd being sodomised by a camel.’

Sayings of the Week:

“Money is no longer a measure of value; for most people in the West it is merely a form of energy, like gas and electricity. The new currency of capitalism is data.” – Uncle Bogler

x

Long Essay

100 Days of Sod ’em

The problem, it seems to The Pumpkin, that the world’s media is having in presenting the mad, ugly, dysfunctional face of Trump to the public is that the appalling things he is doing – or trying to do – and the bizarre way he is going about doing them are so bewilderingly stratified as to be almost incapable of coherent rationalization in policy terms.

(A mock-presidential cum-face that, excuse me, rather resembles the late comedian Frankie Howerd being sodomised by a camel.)

Instead of grasping the bull by the horns and campaigning full-out to get the President removed from office urgently as a threat to national security, so clearly mentally unhinged is he, the media is salami-slicing Trump’s grotesque first 100 days, spinning out a catalogue of monstrosities as a disconnected series of odd events, and thus failing to present a holistic picture; presumably for considerations of space, as a comprehensive blow-by-blow critique is going to take a fair-sized tome.

Can The Pumpkin do better? Well, not a lot, but he’ll try.

For instance, we appear to have forgotten already that only a little over a week ago Trump had sent V-P Mike Pence, a weirdly smirking snow-capped tailor’s dummy, to South Korea, where he was threatening all-out nuclear war against tiny North Korea, until his boss realised that the nuclear-tipped ‘armada’ he thought someone had despatched to the southwestern Pacific to threaten President Kim was in fact 3,500 miles away in the Indian Ocean on exercises with the Australian navy.

Yes, within his first 100 days, the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful force on earth had managed to lose an aircraft carrier, two destroyers, a frigate and some supply ships.

Today, instead, he is lauding Kim Jong-un as ‘a smart cookie’ whom he would be ‘honoured to meet’ – this is the 33-year-old mass murderer and personality-cult leader in charge of the most repressive, over-militarized regime on earth. The Daily Mail reported, not without relish:

“North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un executed his uncle by having him stripped naked and eaten alive by starving dogs while he watched, a report claimed yesterday.”

Honoured? Fuck’s sake. Make America great again, kowtow to a teenage psychopath who starves dogs. It’s pretty demeaning, but you can understand the envy with which the fragile ego constrained by civilized values contemplates the possibilities of absolute power. MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ Scarborough, thrown to starving women….

It’s only a few other days since Trump made a snide comment about how Kim had been involved in ‘failed’ negotiations with President Bill Clinton, not realizing that it was so long ago it would have had to be his father, Kim Jong-il. (Indeed, according to Prof Chomsky, North Korea has several times tried to make peace with the US by giving up its nuclear ambitions and been rebuffed.)

However, it does seem the strategy has been working, inasmuch as President Xi has been so alarmed by Trump’s aggressive irrationality, his ignorance of affairs in the western Pacific and charmed by the chocolate cake dessert at Mar-a-Lago, that he appears to be co-operating in cramming a lid at least for now on his chubby Korean ally’s more provocative nuclear flag-waving.

Nor, it was demonstrated in another weird appearance before the press last week, could Trump recall who his oyster-eyed acolyte, the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan is. Instead, he kept confusing him with former Senator Ron Paul, founder and practically the sole member of the Libertarian Party.

He continues to obsess like a dog at a bone about the election result, in which he failed by 2.8 million votes to win a popular majority; and about the poor turnout at his inauguration, holding more and more rallies of the faithful to convince himself that he really won, that he is really loved by the people.

He isn’t loved by the CIA, however; as, at a memorial service in January for their Cold War dead, he delivered an atrocious speech in the poorest possible taste, praising himself, his election victory and his record turnout.

You see, he’s too old for this. He’s still not in the mental space labelled President of the United States, and may never be.

Since taking office, Trump has not ameliorated his habit of reacting petulantly to every perceived criticism; continuing to Tweet out bilious, misspelled vengeful messages in the early hours in response to anything he half-remembers seeing on TV news. It got him into serious trouble early in March when, at 06.30 on the 4th, this appeared:

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

The story is cloudy. Trump’s grasp of the history of McCarthyism is tenuous, to say the least. He later amended the analogy to ‘Watergate’, as he has a habit of self-incrimination by subconscious blurting, but it appears he was jumping to conclusions after seeing a story from Breitbart News among his morning briefs, that was subsequently traced to a so-called ‘alt-right’ website, InfoWars, run by the demented shock-jock Alex Jones; and thence to other obscure rightwing sources; and may ultimately have had its origins in a manufactured leak back in the White House.

The story broke just as the FBI investigation into connections between team Trump and Russian intelligence was getting interesting. When FBI director Comey dismissed the wiretap allegations as unproven and absurd, Trump proceeded via Fox News to an even wilder allegation against the British intelligence monitoring service, GCHQ, that provides the NSA with all the latest European and Russian scuttlebut, plus of course weekly copies of this, muh bogl.

Two weeks later, however, there appeared to be some tangential truth in Trump’s madness when it became clear that GCHQ was the source of the original allegations against Trump staffers, in particular one Carter Page, a ‘deniable’ self-deluding international fixer, as the British had intercepted conversations in 2015 with Russian agents who were already under routine monitoring and the FBI had obtained a FISA order to surveille Page.

The story thus dissolved into the normal smoke-and-mirrors of friendly clandestine spying operations between nations and took the heat off the President and what if any role he may have played in allowing or encouraging Russian military intelligence to hack his competitors’ servers to dig up dirt he could use against Clinton.

Trump thus felt totally vindicated, until on the 20th FBI Director James Comey confirmed to a Congressional hearing that Obama was innocent but he was still investigating the Russian connection. The hearings were abruptly halted by Republican chairman Devin Nunes when it became clear that the next key witness was going to be Sally Yates, the former Acting Attorney-General, who had been abruptly fired by Trump over ‘what she knew’ about National Security Advisor, General Mike T Flynn – who had himself been fired after lying about his Russian connections.

So bizarre and clearly panic-stricken was Chairman Nunes’ behaviour in attempting to suppress his own investigation – fed another anonymous ‘intelligence dossier’ via the back door of the White House ‘proving’ Obama’s treachery, he subsequently pretended to hand it in to the Presidemt and then claimed that the hearings were continuing in secret at his home without any of the committee members being invited – he was eventually forced to recuse himself and would do well to book himself into rehab.

But the hearings have not been resumed as the matter has since proceeded up to the Senate, where there’s again a small Republican majority. It seems unlikely to get any further; there is talk of Grand Juries already sitting, but the Justice Department is being packed with Trump appointees who will surely not dare to challenge him. There is as yet no sign of the kind of dogged Special Prosecutor who did for Nixon or Clinton.

This astonishing kerfuffle was so irregular that it seems almost to have been forgotten about, but it clearly illustrates the disturbing nature of the administration and the smokescreen of chaos with which it has deliberately surrounded itself.

The fact that Trump had instantly Tweeted out his total belief in a phoney claim made in a most dubious publication without bothering to check the facts with his security advisors and the FBI surely indicates either that he is temperamentally unfit to be the President, or that he rightly has no faith in his security advisors.

Nevertheless he is still there, and may be until January, 2021 at least. It is hard to see who or what will remove him, other than if he were to make a determined sexual assault on Nancy Pelosi on the floor of the House.

“…no sooner has the liberal establishment expressed amazement and concern over one bizarre interview or scandal brewing than there will come another, and another to confound everyone.”

Meanwhile, the ‘Golden Showergate’ dossier, a 35-page report compiled by former British MI6 Russia-desk officer Chris Steele from Russian intelligence sources indicating that Trump might have been the victim of a kompromat operation by Putin’s spies, and that he was a potential security threat, remained in the background, parts of it being confirmed occasionally by Congressional investigators, the FBI and the CIA, to no apparent overall effect.

The story of Teflon Donald’s first 100 days, about the historically unprecedented success of which he has already begun making promotional TV commercials, complete with paranoid attacks on the ‘fake news’ media, also reveals the unprecedentedly shambolic nature of his fumbling maladministration, his incredibly poor and uninformed capacity for rational thought or judgement; and ignores his past criminal associations, his doubtful financial record, his compulsive lying, his boasting, his ungrammatical confusions, his ignorance of detail, his ‘flip-flopping’ (We prefer the more grown-up ‘bewilderment’. Ed.) on so many key issues.

This week, for instance, we had more of his rambling, incoherent, self-contradictory assertions – the latest of which is that former President Andrew Jackson, a brutal slavemaster and genocide of Native Americans whom Trump greatly admires for his ‘big heart’, was so concerned about the issues surrounding the origins of the Civil War that he might have prevented it had it not been for Abraham Lincoln invading the South.

Never mind that he died sixteen years before the first shot was fired by the Confederacy at Fort Sumter.

Now, detailed examination of this rubbish – Trump also speculated that, had he been there at the time, he would personally have prevented the war, and complained that ‘nobody (but him) ever asks’ about the causes of the war – the purpose of possibly several hundred books on the subject he will never have heard of – which were much misunderstood, would lead one to the conclusion that the President a) has no knowledge whatever of American history, yet is perfectly prepared to pose for his Dumbfucks as an expert; and b) is so mentally unstable and narcissistic as to constitute a danger to the free world.

For it must be obvious to anyone with eyes to see, that he is also posing as a President.

But there is no time for such detailed examination, because no sooner has the liberal establishment expressed amazement and concern over one bizarre interview or scandal brewing than there will come another, and another to confound everyone.

The media is never going to convince his supporters that they made a stupid decision, even when it is clearly shown that his American Healthcare bill, that failed abysmally at its first hurdle and was withdrawn without a vote, sneaking back this week in a barely revised form, will not only disqualify millions of poorer Americans – including themselves – from holding adequate health insurance, but will penalize many with pre-existing conditions so severely that they will simply be left to die.

That is actually Republican Party policy, to get the sick and the State-dependant off the books as fast as possible; while at the same time gerrymandering constituencies by the simple expedient of disenfranchising black and Latino voters likely to be Democrats, and passing laws preventing Democratic party politicians from passing laws.

Numerous other of Trump’s huge and generalized campaign promises, seemingly made on the hoof, have turned out to be bullshit. But not all. And advantage is being taken of the abrasive tone of his campaign speeches by other sections of his party.

Among some of the extraordinary laws Republican States administrations have been trying to pass since the election is, for instance, the formal exoneration of motorists who kill demonstrators by running them over if they obstruct the highway. The Pumpkin hopes that was fake news. States that had liberalized personal marijuana possession are being forced to recriminalize it. Masked and well-armed State police have threatened they will be out early, kicking down doors. Oklahoma has been racing to execute more prisoners before they run out of drugs to do the job.

A kind of licensed brutality is in the air, but so little is comprehensively reported that it doesn’t look like a takeover by the authoritarian far-right, which it plainly is.

First Amendment freedom of the press to criticise the President is also becoming an issue.

The coverage by the mainstream media that reaches most Americans is disturbingly supine and respectful, as if they are dealing with a normal person, a normal administration that is perhaps just a little wayward in its early days, but which will straighten up and fly right eventually.

“I’ve got a little list”

Any actual criticism is shrugged off by the Trump propagandists as ‘fake news’; but like Nanki-poo, they’ve ‘got a little list’. The ‘enemies of the people’, as he continually calls them, aware of corporate financial pressures on their editorial staff and the ongoing loss of advertising to the internet, the rise of so-called ‘citizen media’ making the cost of investigative reporting prohibitive, the ‘failing media’ is conspiring to prevent Trump making America great again, and that’s what his supporters will believe until their dying day.

In fact, many Americans have met their dying days since Trump took office: not only the service personnel unnecessarily sacrificed to his vanity and military incompetence. The toll of record floods, raging wildfires, supercell storms and tornados, droughts, record temperatures and big-freeze ice storms is running into the hundreds, just this year. Sixteen more, including several children, died in floods and tornados only yesterday in Texas and the midwest – Trumpland. The climate is running rapidly out of control; and so is the oil-fuelled, coal-burning President, in hock to the denial industry.

And nobody cares, nobody apparently wants to see that their hero is just the extreme manifestation of the elitism of the rich and powerful, the very embodiment of ‘the swamp’ he promised them he would drain; that he has not the slightest interest in helping people he calls ‘the losers’ but, with his history of bankruptcies and lawsuits, his tax avoidance and huge unpaid debts to foreign banks, is out only to enrich himself and his already obscenely wealthy friends, driven mad by money; and, if the allegations prove true, his Russian paymaster.

The Pumpkin could enumerate literally dozens of horrible, awful things Trump has either initiated or agreed to.

What human being but a complete sadist or the crazed ‘supermom’ Sarah Palin, with her Tea Party morality and her sexually incontinent children would readily agree to sign an order licensing hunters to shoot hibernating she-bears with cubs?

It is incomprehensible that such a minute detail of administration should occupy any President in his first 100 days, yet there he was, his camel-fucked Presidential cum-face glowing like an amber traffic light next to his ridiculous squiggle on a document licensing many such horrors, a gurning crew of sycophantic macho hunting loby poltroons lined up proudly behind him for the photo-op.

This is surely one monstrous old poser, a cretin bereft of most human values, who is bound straight for Hell by express delivery.

“A cretin surely bound for Hell by express delivery”

The man is wittingly or otherwise an ecocide, a world criminal, having attempted to push through more than fifty such orders removing protections and precautions for the environment, for the climate, for wildlife in a frenzied onslaught on our fragile ecology, with no comprehension, no compassion, no vision – no belief in anything other than the power of money; as if we can eat money, drink it, breathe it – survive it.

He has been obsessive in his vindictive, childish determination to remove every trace of his more popular predecessor, Obama; to trash his reputation and to exceed his excesses with barbaric enthusiasm.

Federal agency budgets have been cut savagely*, NASA has been told to drop its satellite weather monitoring program; the National Monuments lands are under threat of development, permits being granted for aggressive pipeline projects and unrestricted drilling in formerly protected wilderness areas, the Arctic, all in the name of creating ‘thousands and thousands’ of jobs that will in fact disappear as US energy production goes into overdrive for no commercial reason – global demand is already far exceeded, the oil price has collapsed.

Energy industry transparency is being shut down; coal revived and dishonestly or foolishly promoted by Trump as ‘the cleanest energy ever’. Government scientists are being barred from publishing climate research, federal agencies barred from carrying out their duty of issuing public information on environmental matters, their administrations hollowed-out, gone. Climate change? ‘It’s a hoax’. (Has been since the 1880s when CO2 was first outed as a greenhouse gas. A long time to maintain a hoax involving tens of thousands of trained postgraduate scientists, possibly.)

The problem is, you see, once Trump has to get to grips with a little basic science, he becomes the greatest atmospheric physicist the world has ever known. Who better then to declare global warming a hoax?

Then there are his financial dealings; the dealings of the smartest negotiator, possibly ever; the smartest businessman. Simply Google: ‘Trump’, plus the name of any Russian bank – Alfabank, Sberbank, Deutsche Bank; ‘Trump’ plus Azerbaijan; ‘Trump’ plus Rybolovlev; ‘Trump’ plus Moscow, plus Mafia…. Even the rightwing Daily Mail was shocked by that last one. The evidence of money-laundering, of association with criminal enterprises at home and abroad is everywhere you look. Every day throws up the name of another oligarch with alleged connections to Trump and his gang.

For The Pumpkin, Trump’s most unique attribute is this: a man born into wealth, who need never have done any work in his life, something in his upbringing, some Trump family gene, some parental abuse has caused him to live his life like a ragged-arsed immigrant clawing his way out of the Bowery in about 1910, willing to do anything at all, whatever it takes to survive.

The gold of Trump is just leaf, the swagger and smarm a veneer. Underneath he is pure Charlie Chaplin; pure Bugsy Siegel, pure Clyde Barrow: a poor bastard who has turned himself through the desperate desire to prove himself good enough for his father, but who can only measure his progress in money, into a deceitful, facile thug.

His closest associates in the White House, his campaign team, his transition team… many of them are tarnished by similar allegations, financial dealings with corrupt foreign oligarchs and governments; attempts to thwart FBI investigations; billionaire ‘disruptors’ pursuing obscure rightwing and Christian fundamentalist causes, using their vast wealth to influence the outcome of elections, to undermine democratic institutions and cause profitable chaos in order to grasp more.

Wall Street sharks are filling the administration – we should understand that, while on the campaign trail Mr Trump admonished Goldman Sachs in particular, they are the financial advisor that made most of his connections to lenders such as Deutsche Bank and Bank of China, lenders to whom he owes more than a billion dollars; and to whose former executives he has in return entrusted all of the major financial arms of the State.

These are not conspiracy theories, those people are quite open, even boastful about their objectives and methods. They believe, apparently not without good reason, that they are at last untouchable: the Masters of the Universe, back in overwhelming numbers and in reach of real political power at last.

Trump’s immigration policy has been wild, insane, sickening. He has encouraged dreadful divisions in US society, turning people against foreigners and Muslims;  branding all migrants in this land of migrants as criminals, drug dealers, rapists.

Families that have been settled in America for decades are being torn apart as thuggish border goons interpret their remit, unopposed by Congress, to drag hardworking fathers and mothers in handcuffs, even from hospital beds, away from their American children to detention centres from where after a perfunctory hearing they are bundled out, having committed no crime other than to exist, to countries where they have no homes, no connections, no work.

Extra judges are being press-ganged to sit on 24-hour immigration tribunals; punitive funding cuts threatened against ‘sanctuary cities’ whose mayors refuse to impose draconian rules against useful and productive ‘illegals’. It is an onslaught that invites comparisons with Nazi Germany.

Yet immigration is vital: the native American birthrate is well below replacement, the population – as elsewhere in the Western world, is ageing.

Trump’s boneheaded and valueless attempts on ‘security’ grounds to ban temporarily, people traveling from countries from where no actual terrorist threats have ever emanated, the so-called Muslim travel ban, that absurdly has not been applied to prolific terror-sponsoring nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, ended twice in chaos and confusion, leading to face-offs with the courts and those he reviled as ‘so-called judges’, risking in his ignorance of the workings of Government a major confrontation between the Executive, Judicial and Congressional branches of the State.

Even a former Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, on his way to a prayer breakfast (don’t ask me. Ed.) was detained for two hours of questioning at Dulles airport, an incriminating Iranian visa stamp in his passport. And there’s talk of more and more oppressive Homeland Security – the compulsory surrender of personal media passwords, for instance; while Trump has readily signed over to internet service providers the automatic right to sell subscriber data – both measures in fact reducing the national cybersecurity.

He seems to do whatever anybody tells him, provided they are rich enough.

Trump’s much-vaunted promises to build a grandiose and ineffectual wall between the US and Mexico, that Mexico would pay for, that would divide border communities and hinder normal commercial flows worth $billions, have so far thankfully remained unfunded, despite his unfounded belief that it would totally halt the flow of drugs and illegal migrants into the USA.

His vain threats to impose punitive trade tariffs on Mexican goods, it has been shown, would have a negative effect on American consumers, while his promise to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, that he has now abandoned, merely showed him up as being ignorant of its real economic benefits and the costs of ending it. He persists in the hubris that isolationism is the way to restore the stagnant incomes of Americans, while the Federal Reserve continues to print money to lubricate the banks and holds interest rates at zero.

In his first 100 days, so many of his spontaneously generated campaign chickens have come home to roost. Being President is more complicated than he thought. So, Donald, go?

Likewise, another ‘ten-minute briefing’ at the White House with NATO chief Lars Stoltenburg caused another 180-degree turn in policy: ‘failing’ and ‘irrelevant’, NATO is now important once again; although one cannot be sure that he has been cured of his erroneous belief that NATO pays the USA money in exchange for a defence umbrella, and that many member States are not paying what they owe. Hence his $390 billion ‘invoice’ to Angela Merkel.

No, Donald, that’s not how it works! It’s a treaty organization guaranteeing mutual defense. NATO members are independent nations. They commit to keeping their defence budgets at a certain level, but they all have different GDP to begin with! Different defence requirements. And the treaty obliges them to come to your aid too, if the USA is attacked. NATO is not, as he hoped, some kind of standing army, that will take on ISIS terrorists on its own initiative.

This is a man almost entirely ignorant of the affairs of State, of how the world works, of the history of international relations, who is undergoing a learning-curve that seems almost entirely beyond his capabilities to negotiate. Is that not a serious enough failing in a President, in the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful armed force in world history, by whom one mistake could end human civilization?

Earlier in April, while at dinner with the Chinese President at his vulgar golf resort in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, from which he continues to profit while in office, Trump theatrically left the table to sanction a strike by 59 cruise missiles on an airbase in Syria, thereby overturning his own non-intervention policy. It appeared to be an emergency, but by a strange coincidence, his entire security team were already there, waiting in another room.

The strike was ineffectual and although justified as a show of force to tell President Assad he couldn’t use chemical weapons on civilians, and to tell President Xi the US has a tough guy in charge who means business, it was widely seen as a convenient distraction from the FBI’s investigations into Trump’s Russian connections.

Mr Trump later expressed awe at his own military power and suggested he had just realized you had to be careful with this stuff as missiles could kill people. Nine civilians, including four children, died so that he could discover the principle. It was reminiscent of Mr Trump’s revelations regarding uranium, that could be used to make ‘bad things’, who knew?; and his naive query as to why, if we have nuclear weapons, we don’t use them more? Was he joking?

No, his budget provided for billions of dollars to increase the nuclear capability, that is already sufficient to eradicate all life on the planet several times over.

But a strong military is essential for the defence of the nation – and good for share prices.

Soon afterwards his airforce dropped an 11,000-lb MOAB air burst bomb on a cave complex in Afghanistan, killing – it’s thought – 36 ISIS guerrillas, a piece of theatrical sabre-rattling designed to intimidate the North Koreans, against whom Trump began fulminating the next day. His record of drone strikes has far exceeded even that of his predecessor, Obama; ‘collateral’, civilian casualties have quadrupled as his military has been told there will be no criticism, no comebacks, whatever they have to do to get the job done. (The ‘job’ is to eradicate the so-called Islamic State by saturation bombing, another futile policy.)

Since Trump took office, US troops have been sent by the thousand in secret to several more potential theatres of war. He has placed a blanket ban on announcing military operations. He has previously said that the objective of US military policy should be to ‘seize the oil’. He was persuaded not to do that in Iraq, only when it was pointed out to him which side the US was fighting on.

The corrupt appointments: his family members, friends of the family, his financial backers, the party’s financial backers, the backers and staff of Breitbart News, gimlet-eyed military hawks, demonstrably stupid, venal and incompetent local political hicks, all rewarded with key government posts they are not remotely qualified to fill; other, many other posts left vacant – key ambassadorships, heads of department – all are indicative of his inexperience, his isolation as CEO of his own business.

His proposed tax reforms, for instance, all one page of them (in easy to read bullet points), benefitting corporations and the top point two percent of the most wealthy to the tune of, literally, trillions of dollars; gouging the poor and the middle-class, will scarcely pass with no-one in the Treasury in charge of the country’s tax planning; but that post remains unfilled too, another empty department.

Under the toxic Attorney-General, Jefferson Beauregard ‘Jeff’ Sessions 111, who lied about his meetings with the Russian ambassador and had to recuse himself from any investigation of Trump’s team and its unexplained connections with Russia, the Justice Department is filling up with Trump appointees, after he fired all the circuit judges in January without any replacements lined up. The southern racialist, anti-civil rights, anti-abortion advocate and avowed Confederate supporter, Sessions has been busy removing any legal constraints on the actions of the police nationwide.

General Flynn, the first National Security Advisor, waved through by the Trump administration on the basis of an old security clearance that should have been revoked after he was fired by Obama as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, lasted 24 days in post before having to stand down after being caught lying about connections with Russia. They began to emerge in 2016, and have still not stopped emerging, as he took substantial sums of money as an undeclared ‘foreign agent’ for obscure PR efforts on behalf of Russia, and of Turkey – financed by the Russians.

Trump’s son-in-law, the 36-year-old property speculator Jared Kushner, too, who is wearing a bewildering array of ‘hats’ in the White House, including a brief to re-engineer the entire administrative machinery in Washington, was caught lying about contacts he had with Russian Ambassador Kislyak; while since the inauguration a number of prominent Russian diplomats, bankers and business ‘contacts’ based in Washington (and one or two in Moscow) have unexpectedly died, including the Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin – whose autopsy results have been Classified.

The Russian connection extended to apparent attempts to influence the election through the hacking of Democratic party servers and the release via the ever-useful Wikileaks of what the FBI found were non-incriminating emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta. In March Mr Trump seems to have employed a British politician, Nigel Farage, as a go-between to Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange – but Sessions has since had a new warrant issued for Assange’s arrest on old charges of leaking classified documents.

(Beware of Assange’s revenge!)

Farage is an associate of Raheem Kassam, the UK editor of Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News website, and a ‘friend’ of ultra-rightwing billionaire fund manager, Robert Mercer, who with his daughter Rebekah funds Breitbart. Other Breitbart writers and section editors have received posts in the administration, including ‘Dr’ Sebastian Gorka, a British-Hungarian security analyst with suspected connections to a secretive neo-Nazi movement in Hungary (he has now left the administration). Mercer’s company, Cambridge Analytica, is alleged to have been behind computer ‘botnet’ attacks on the British EU referendum, in which Farage campaigned prominently for ‘Brexit’.

Bannon and other wealthy disruptors are linked in a tenuous network with Republican funders and Russian oligarchs promoting religious and racial ‘purity’ and an Islamophobic, antisemitic agenda. They seem in the early days at least to have ‘captured the castle’ as far as Trump and his administration were concerned, giving rise to the suggestion that the President is merely a ‘useful idiot’ in a plot to undermine Western democratic institutions and to destroy the US government in its present form – as Bannon boasted was his intention in a speech to the Conservative CPAC conference in January, at which young, wealthy male delegates notoriously gave a Nazi salute, shouting Heil Trump!, apparently without irony – a plot in which the Russian president Putin is suspected of having a disruptive hand.

Trump seems to have an unhealthy regard for ‘strongman’ dictators: in addition to his expressed admiration for Duterte and North Korea’s Kim, he has happily received at the White House such humanitarians as General al-Sisi of Egypt, Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel and Viktor Orban of Hungary – an old friend of Gorka’s – and has refused to criticise either Putin or the increasingly paranoid Erdogan of Turkey, to whom he Tweeted congratulations on scraping through a referendum giving him absolute powers for life (Following which, Erdogan proceeded to arrest or suspend another ten thousand government officials as ‘plotters’ supposedly supporting his nemesis, the US-exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen).

Indeed, Trump has praised both of them lavishly; and it seems General Flynn’s missions may have helped to bring about a rapprochement between the two countries – as indeed did those of Russian oligarch Aleksandr Dugin – and, perhaps, advanced a lucrative undersea gas pipeline deal bypassing Syria for Noble Energy – a company drilling in collaboration with the Israeli energy sector, in which Trump has shares; one of whose former directors, George Papadopoulos is an Energy Advisor appointee in the Trump administration.

Yet he pretty much cold-shouldered Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Abe, appearing to fall asleep standing up and noticeably refusing to wear his translation earpiece at their joint press conferences, so he had no idea what they were saying.

As a result, his foreign policy is a total muddle that no-one can clearly follow. As is his administration.

His Foreign Policy pointman, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – former boss of America’s biggest oil company – has no diplomatic experience, and virtually no diplomatic or administrative support at the State Department, which has been hollowed-out with over 500 appointments still vacant; there are 34 ambassadors yet to be hired, many to key countries around the world – South Korea, Japan, Singapore. Entire foreign desks, including China, are missing. Is it deliberate? It feels like a Bannon policy.

The Commerce Secretary – an old ‘consigliere’ to the Trump family, billionaire Wilbur Ross was until this March a major investor in and vice-chair of Bank of Cyprus, a known conduit to the west for sanctioned Russian money. His fellow directors included the former head of Deutsche Bank, another money-laundering bank that lent Trump hundreds of millions of dollars, much of which he was unable to pay back. Who owns those debts now? Trump connection Dmitry Rybolovlev owns 10 per cent of the bank. Trump was reported to have benefited from a property deal they did in Florida, to the tune of $60 million. The property was subsequently pulled down as being unfit for habitation.

The former Attorney General of Oklahoma, the climate-change-denying baboon Scott Pruitt, equally has no-one running the key departments at the Environment Protection Agency, that he has vowed in any case to destroy as it conflicts with the demands of his benefactors, the energy companies. He has sued the EPA on behalf of fracking interests on 14 separate occasions. Pruitt fought for years to prevent the release of emails subpoena’d by environmentalists expected to show his connection to the fabulously wealthy mining and energy extractors, the Koch Brothers; America’s third biggest polluters of all three carbon ‘sinks’.

Trump’s appointment as Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, had no public administration experience in the Education field, other than co-owning a business pursuing student debtors. A Christian fundamentalist, she’s the wife of Amway pyramid-selling multi-billionaire and friend of Trump’s, Dick DeVos – who as the owner of healthcare corporations stands potentially to benefit from the new American Healthcare Act if it ever passes.

DeVos’ Spectrum Healthcare was revealed in February to be one of only two users sharing a mysterious email server in a small town in Pennsylvania, traced to the Trump Organization. The other user was the Russian Alfabank, owned by Mikhail Fridman, an oligarch who, Fortune magazine reported, was planning to divest his oil holdings in Rosneft and go into ‘US healthcare’.

Other, lesser appointments reveal a catalogue of incompetents promoted above their capabilities, with woeful CVs, suggesting that no-one in their right mind would want to work for this failing administration.

One success Trump can claim is the appointment of a far-right Supreme Court judge, Neil S Gorsuch, 49, who has an unblemished record of finding against individuals in cases involving corporations and whose career has been bankrolled by oil, sports and leisure industry magnate, Philip Anschutz (net worth $11 bn). To get him appointed, the Republicans on the Approvals committee had to get Congress to change the rules, having filibustered furiously for over a year to keep President Obama from filling the vacant position with a Democrat, but hey, it was a triumph. Of sorts.

Mr Gorsuch’s first act in office was to use his casting vote in favour of executing another black man.

Trump’s relationship with the press has been a disaster of epic proportions, thanks to his hapless, blustering, bullying dimwit of a Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, and his lunatic PR flack Kellyanne Conway – inventor of the ‘alternative truth’.

While there may be humour in the situation, less humorous have been the threats issued against journalists by Trump’s senior policy advisor, Stephen K Bannon; and now, hollow threats by the pathetic Reince Priebus, the White House’s sidelined ‘Chief of Staff’, to rewrite the First Amendment to the constitution in order to modify the concept of free speech for the press. Even to think that might be possible is to countenance the kind of authoritarian administration that characterized Germany in the 1930s; yet Trump’s compulsive, illiterate 3 a.m. Tweeting accusing minor female celebrities of being too fat makes him a pretty comic, second-rate Hitler.

Can we just laugh him out of office? Well, no. He wouldn’t even attend the annual dinner last weekend of the White House Press Corps he despises, after being insulted with humour last year. His only eye on the world is Fox News.

And it just goes on. The refusal to release his tax returns; the leaks, both intentional and not; the illegal profiting from foreign government money funnelled through his hotel in Washington, subsidised by the government estates department that owns the freehold of the building; the threats to sue anyone who writes the sort of things I am writing here; the smell of cover-up and national decay, the permanent smokescreen of confusion and chaos – the primacy of money above humanity.

Indeed, the only question one can ask is, in Trump’s own notorious words, just what the Hell is going on?

To say Trump’s presidency has thus far been a cataclysm and promises only to get worse is an understatement. His military men are still looking for some excuse to go to war, probably with Iran unless North Korea runs another nuclear test or Assad gasses some more civilians or China blockades the South China Sea. Maybe even with Russia, if they step out of line. He seems to have no moral compass when it comes to discussing pre-emptive strikes.

The energy industry with its vast power to lobby governments and to buy politicians like you’d buy a pound of bananas is clearly in charge now of both domestic and foreign policy, regardless of the increasingly alarming, adverse climate data Trump is rushing to suppress; in fact, you could describe it as a global coup unfolding, a grab for the last of our fossil fuel reserves. And the Pentagon is right there with them, Trump’s office is stiff with retired generals – he looks up to strict, authoritative men, like his Dad presumably. He’s a mess of post-parental conflicts and complexes.

Even now, teaching packs are being sent out to schools, telling children climate change is a hoax, there’s nothing to worry about. Will Mrs DeVos stop them? Well, she wants schools to teach Creationism and abstention rather than birth control, she’s homophobic too, so the Pumpkin doubts it. Obama’s liberal edict permitting transgender students to pee in whichever bathroom they prefer has also been rescinded.

Women’s rights too have come under ferocious attack, especially since the four-million march outnumbered Trump’s inauguration crowd; family planning clinics around the world have been defunded from government aid programs. Consumer protections, pollution controls, vehicle emissions limits are being trashed as ‘business-unfriendly’ – and to hell with children’s developing brains.

One hopeful sign, Trump himself has acknowledged in his 100-days interviews that the task of playing at being President is beyond him, telling the world how happy he was just running his family property business and franchising his name and Ivanka’s decorative schemes out to developers of Trump this-and-that around the world; her Chinese sweat-shop-made clothing ranges that he continues to promote on her behalf despite his hypocritical and economically disastrous demands that US businesses buy and sell and manufacture only in the USA; his Canute-like attempts to rollback globalization.

Healthcare? More complicated than expected. The role and purpose of opposition parties? Unexpectedly obstructive. Syria? Complicated. North Korea? His new friend Mr Xi, who executes more prisoners than Arkansas, has explained: it’s complicated.

The man demonstrates it with every breath: an arrogant, thin-skinned, spoiled, narcissistic, childish buffoon; ignorant, unlettered and not in control of his thoughts: he has no mental discipline, no ordered mind; he is observably barely literate: ‘Some of my best friends, contractors, good friends, can’t read or write.’ he told a campaign rally. ‘That doesn’t mean they’re not smart.’ He has stupid ideas, but reverences them as a toddler might proudly present its mother with a nappy full of shit: look ma, see what I just made!

His aides, alarmed, reported that he has the attention span of a four-year-old with ADHD and does not take briefings or read papers of state, he just watches TV all day between signing stuff he doesn’t appear to read. He spends three days a week golfing at Mar-a-Lago, at a projected cost to the taxpayer of $30 million a year; it’s another business, as well as his other golf courses around the world, that he continues to plug mercilessly for profit despite the clear conflict of interest.

He doesn’t care. The theft, the kleptomania are blatant, and his supporters don’t care as long as he allows the mentally ill to own guns – another of his early edicts. His sucking-up to the National Rifle Association has been craven and disturbing: especially from a former gun-control advocate, he now wants to arm the nation three times over, it’s great for jobs. Never mind the thirty thousand gunshot fatalities every year, against which ‘terrorism’, which he equates purely with Islam, white racist attacks don’t count, pales into complete insignificance.

Trump supporters are a kind of death cult.

It’s understandable they felt left behind, he was a symbol of change – only not in the way they expected. Many indeed hope he will bring about the End Times, when they shall see God, get to meet Jesus.

When he promised to ‘drain the swamp’ and has instead appointed lobbyists and Goldman Sachs executives and promised to let Tillerson’s buddies drill on open range in national parks and on monument land that is pretty much sacred to those people, when he cheats on his healthcare promises so their mothers and children are going to die prematurely from cancers, and stinking-rich corrupt Republican politicians tell them Jesus will take care of them if they live right, when he proposes to blow another $50 billion on the military, and they still think he’s great, that he’s cleaning out the stable and raising the stars and stripes, well, who are we to deny them this extraordinary fantasy world they’re living in?

It’s been 100 days that shook our world, and The Pumpkin can’t see the shaking is going to stop until Vice-President Pence exercises his constitutional right and duty under the 25th Amendment to have the senile President carted off with his arms folded, like that’s ever going to happen; or until Mr Comey and the FBI get their finger out and arrest him; or Congress impeaches him.

Like that’s ever going to happen.

The best the USA can hope for is that he will eventually come to and realize, he’s too old and tired and befuddled to run again. Let Jared have the job; let Ivanka.

In the meantime, although the Democrats have also become flaccid tools of the corporate overlords, at least a Democrat victory in the mid-term elections next year might wrest control of the Congress out of the hands of the Republicans, many of whom are as batshit crazy, dumb, actually evil and corrupt as any of the swamp-monsters, billionaire Christian fundamentalists and fuel-fossils in the White House.

And hope for President Elizabeth Warren in 2020.

 

*Not so, we hear. Voting on the budget, following the global March for Science, Congress has inserted modest increases for federal science programs this year. Not all is rosy: Trump’s orders are for cuts to bite in 2018.

 

Postscriptum

My admiration for President Duterte of the Philippines just went up a notch.

Trump, whose new American Healthcare bill passed the House and if ratified in the Senate (unlikely) would see hundreds and thousands of Americans condemned to an early death for lack of medical care while the money goes to tax breaks for the wealthy, invited the self-confessed murderer to the White House.

And Duterte told him no thanks, he’s far too busy.

 

 

Welcome to Post No. 600!

Hi y’all

Welcome to Post Number 600!

On the most informative, innovative, foul-mouthed and stimulating organ available, anywhere on the inter-thing, ever.

Believe me, it’s so great.

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Send as much money as you can, right now, and that way WordPress won’t need to put more ads on my site, that I get nothing out of.

Helping the BogPo to celebrate its 600th edition is Mr Ed Sheeran, the ginger oligarch. Well why not, he’s everywhere else!

“Why are we choosing now in a surly fashion to abrogate all our treaties with friendly neighbours, to cosy up to the most dangerously incompetent and out-of-control, protectionist administration in US history?”

Coming or going

As the PM this morning chucked the paper dart of Article 50 into the eye of our new French teacher, Monsieur Barnier, the dimly illuminated Empire-loyalist, neo-Thatcherite Tory MPs whose support for this lunacy persuaded me years ago that whatever the many flaws of the EU I would never vote to leave it, bellowed their delight like the cattle they are.

So bovine are they that they haven’t even noticed that Mr Putin is dancing a jig: they have played straight into the hands of the Disruptors, imagining that the European bureaucracy they’re bringing crashing down for the benefit of the Russian Federation is somehow worse than what will follow it.

It never occurred to these preposterously entitled, Cicero-quoting oafs and their malcontent Morlocks, the fish-porters of Sunderland, that we were not ‘giving our sovereignty away’: we were extending it over our neighbours. Now we shall have no further say in how they carry on their trade in the world, nor in what we can sell to a market of 450 million buyers we have simply handed over to our competitors. We shall just have to chance it, while these made-for-TV caricatures practise their silly walks up and down the white cliffs, waving their little flags and braying at foreigners.

Writing in The Guardian, Jonathan Freedland argues today that Theresa May’s speech to Parliament setting out her ambition for a negotiated departure from the EU contains virtually all the elements that would have made it worthwhile not leaving in the first place:

“The free trade, the close cooperation on security, the collective stance for liberal and democratic values, the soft, almost invisible, border between the Republic of Ireland and the north – these are the things she wanted. Yet the unavoidable truth is that this is what Britain already had and could have kept on having – but which it has chosen to discard.”

Exactly. I have asked many times, what was possibly to be gained by replacing one complicated set of trade rules and regulations that we’ve spent over 40 years cementing into place, with ad hoc speculative arrangements under the WTO where we have to start over again with unknown and possibly untrustworthy or hostile actors who are never going to add value with investment in our underperforming regions, research, higher education and industry sectors as the EU has done, in a more dangerous world that has already changed out of all recognition since the campaign began?

How is that even a sane policy?

Why are we choosing now in a surly fashion to abrogate all our treaties with friendly neighbours, to cosy up to the most dangerously incompetent and out-of-control, protectionist administration in US history? Why are we apparently prepared to put up with a situation wherein the number of EU nurses registering to work in the NHS has already fallen by 90% a month, while we’re scrapping educational supports – bursaries – for British trainee nurses? What do the Brexit mob think is going to happen to their precious NHS? It doesn’t run on money, it runs on people.

The illogicality of the Brexit position could not have been more clearly spelled out than by that egregious weasel, Bernard Jenkin MP, who told Newsnight on Monday that everything would be fine: we would be welcomed to go on trading in Europe because ‘our cars are the same as theirs’. (Yes, Bernard, the Yanks have just sold our GM Vauxhall plants to the French. Watch that space, you smarmy fuckhead.)

Where has this microcephalic Tory cipher been all these years?

My first client as ‘Head of PR’ for a gritty provincial advertising agency in 1985 was a company that made replacement exhaust pipes for cars. Every new model of car has a different floor-pan and hence, a different conformation of exhaust. There are thousands. Thanks to gaining EU ‘type approvals’ Harmo was able to sell its products to motorists driving VW and Fiat and Skoda and Citroen and Morris and Renault and Volvo cars made in France and Germany, in Britain and Spain, in Sweden and Italy and – eventually – the Czech Republic.

All Jenkin and his disconnected ilk would make of that list is ‘Immigrants’. Trade is something we do with the Empire, not with foreigners.

Had we not joined the EEC in 1973 and accepted a regime of ‘type approvals’, none of this would have been possible. What will happen, not tomorrow but in ten or fifteen years’ time, is very likely that standards in all product categories will drift apart again and markets will be lost. What interest would a French or German exhaust-pipe manufacturer have in giving away market share to the British?

It’s not a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater: we’re letting the water run all over the floor, bringing down the kitchen ceiling and smashing up the bath to get it through the door. And all for some anachronistic principle of British Exceptionalism.

Exceptionally stupid, if you ask me.

Waking up screaming

In the final days leading up to the triggering of Article 50 I felt numb with despair.

Not one media outlet in Britain had noticed something I had.  The ‘Westminster terror outrage’ was, yes, appalling, sickening – an inexplicable tragedy for the victims and their families – but probably rated a one on the seismograph of terror outrages, the salient point for the journo-political conspiracy being its location outside the Houses of Parliament, pricking for a moment the cosy security of the ‘Westminster bubble’.

What it did do was fill in the news agenda for almost the entire week before the 29th and Mrs May’s suicide letter to President Tusk, conveniently obscuring an uncomfortable truth that emerged for just an instant during the tedious five-hour marathon of a US Congressional Intelligence Committee hearing the previous Monday; the proceedings of which I partly followed on YouTube.

I did not know who to tell. To be more precise, having no access to the appropriate social media in this day and age, no Bookface or Whatsagram or whatever is the current  ‘platform’ of choice for news editors, I could not think of a way to alert anyone, even if they would listen. Why had nobody noticed? Were editors deliberately turning a blind eye, or had there been simply too much going on with the new White House administration, its disasters and chaos, its incompetence and spectacular crony capitalism, its nepotistic appointments and barefaced kleptomania for one more minor detail to reach the surface of the swamp?

I managed to write about it three times on The Guardian website, but who reads those Comments apart from other trolls? It was difficult to find an opportunity as Comments are disallowed beneath so many stories involving ‘haram‘ issues – anything to do with Muslims, immigration, Theresa May – and US politics. Comment threads, too, are shut off arbitrarily: a story might appear overnight and Comments be closed by the morning, regardless of whether it has 50 or 1500 contributions. At other times your Comment might be rejected with a curt note to say the thread is closed, when it doesn’t say anywhere that it is.

I wrote then to my MEP, who has an active noticeboard campaigning with her colleagues in the Assembly – first to Remain, which was brave as the majority of Welsh constituents had obviously decided they’d had enough of freeloading on huge subsidies from Brussels and preferred to slit their own throats; and later to try to obtain the best deal possible for Wales from our new dictatorship in Westminster.

There was no reply, obviously, so I wrote next to my long-suffering MP, a pro-Remain Lib-Dem. But by then it was too late, only two working days to go and realistically no way to stop the process.

One morning during all this, very early in the still-darkness, I woke up screaming. Has that ever happened to you? Something about the sleep routine  means you are almost never aware of becoming unconscious: your cognitive process shuts down milliseconds before lights-out. But on rare occasions you wake up at the exact moment when you are falling asleep, in a state of paralysis, with a terrifying impression of some existential crisis about to overwhelm you: a huge wave crashing through the window, the blast of a nuclear explosion – or, in this instance, an assassin come to kill me for writing this stuff.

It was the cat.

What had so exercised me was the point in the proceedings apparently unnoticed by the world when the FBI Director, James Comey, giving testimony, agreed with the Ranking Member, Congressman Adam Schiff, that the Russians had almost certainly interfered with the ‘Brexit’ process, as they had done with the US general election in November. He gave no details, alluded to no evidence – yet he would of course not have said it if there were none.

Mr Comey had just confirmed that the agency is – or was, it appears the White House is doing whatever it can to divert or shut down such enquiries – looking into the role Russia played, both in the hacking of servers used in the Democrats’ campaign and in the possible abuse of process that may have involved extensive undeclared ‘foreign agent’ connections involving people close to Mr Trump, maybe the President himself. Connections a number of transition-team members and Trump appointees have been caught out lying about.

Naturally he was unable to reveal the evidence on which the enquiry is proceeding. It’s obviously a serious matter as a number of Russian diplomats and bankers have died of  ‘natural causes’, such as falling off a roof, since Mr Trump took office; including the UN Ambassador, whose post mortem results were immediately labelled Classified. And so we have only that brief, tantalising answer to the question put by Mr Schiff: did Mr Comey believe the Russians also interfered with ‘Brexit’?

Yes, he did.

So are we likely to find out more?

Well, possibly no. The chairman of the Intel committee, Congressman Devin Nunes is behaving so strangely that no-one understands what is going on, but it seems he is unilaterally refusing to hold any further hearings; which, according to the New Yorker, he has claimed have already been held in private at his home, although no other members of the committee, whether Democrat or Republican, were informed.

Why? What is going on? Everyone agrees, Mr Nunes – who refuses to recuse himself from an inquiry in which he obviously has a conflict of interest – has been ‘persuaded’ to prevent at any cost the former Acting Attorney General, Sally Hughes, from testifying about what she knows about General Flynn and how he came to be sacked as National Security Advisor. Mr Flynn has now let it be known, he is turning States evidence against the Trump clique.

Mr Manafort, Trump’s disowned former campaign manager too is reportedly considering his options as his activities on behalf of foreign governments and the apparent use of money-laundering in order to provide him with undeclared payments amounting to many millions of dollars are seemingly incriminating him to a fatal degree.

You must therefore understand that if a ranking Congressman can be got at in this way, the Russia thing, which points to some treason on the part of the President’s ‘closest advisors’, to put it circumspectly, is a very big deal indeed. Minor details like interference with a British referendum that could ultimately wreck the EU aren’t going to exercise anyone much in Washington.

And I have been a bit obsessive lately over the work of renegade individuals – mostly ultra-wealthy men or groups supported with laundered Russian money – whom I call ‘Disruptors’.

These are non-political party affiliated actors seeking to disrupt the normal workings of our democratic institutions in a variety of opportunistic ways: whether to gain influence over elected representatives, to defeat what they perceive as attempts to curtail their business activities, to establish a global theocracy or to assert the dominance of the ‘white race’; all of which themes have emerged from my lazily superficial researches.

You see, it’s not only the Russians. I’ve become acutely sensitive to the slightest signs of conspiratorial behaviour involving individuals, organizations, governments and countries on my low-wattage radar.

Thus it was that, meandering for a little peace and quiet through the pages of this month’s issue of The Oldie, a bedside vade mecum for intelligent upper middle-class readers of my generation and beyond, I came across just the briefest mention of something that made my right eyebrow rise sharply in a Bondian rictus of disbelief.

About halfway through an otherwise gentle stroll in the park by regular contributor Stephen Glover, criticising the curious decision to appoint the former Chancellor and sitting MP, George Osborne to the editorship of the London Evening Standard, a post for which he has no other qualification but celebrity*, I read the following (you will know of course that the Standard is 70% owned by a recently downgraded billionaire Russian exile, Mr Alexander Lebedev and his playboy son Evgeny, 37, who is the managing director):

“Rather bizarrely, when Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were plotting Brexit at Johnson Towers in Islington a little over a year ago, the young Russian was in attendance at dinner.”

Literally intrigued, I read on. Nothing; the author was in haste to come on to Ms Liz Hurley, as any of our generation might be, another invited guest; and speculate as to why she had failed to attend, so that no further illumination was forthcoming.

All we have are those two introductory words: ‘Rather bizarrely’. What does Mr Glover mean? What is ‘bizarre’ about an influential young Russian oligarch privately dining with two senior British politicians?

I have no evidence that Mr Lebedev is a Disruptor, he seems too caught up in his busy social life, including being friends with former Prime Minister, David Cameron – the varnished buffoon who bet the house, literally, on Britons voting in favour of the European Project, and lost.

Mr Cameron has had some fairly ‘disruptive’ friends in the past, indeed he seems to invite them, especially from the Murdoch camp. (Mrs May seems more enamoured of Mr Dacre of the Mail.) And now here is Mr Cameron’s friend and fellow Remainer, Mr Osborne, receiving some sort of – is it a reward? from the Lebedevs – at least one of whom was party to a private conversation between the two leading plotters against Mr Cameron to, effectively, bring down the European Union.

And we all know who is pushing that envelope, or whatever the expression is.

If you’ll pardon me saying so, something smells not quite right.

31 March: It’s reported this morning that Mr Osborne is absent from his desk at the Standard on only his second day in the job as he has had to pop across to Paris to deliver a lucrative speech about something or other. Clearly neither Mr Lebedev nor the BlackRock corporation is paying Mr Osborne enough between them to keep the wolf from the door, or his feet to the floor. It seems clear already that his appointment is simply going to put more work onto his underpaid minions.

Selfish cunt.

x

“If you have a system that prioritises emergency cases over merely urgent ones, it must inevitably lead to a situation where the urgent case becomes an emergency, and you still can’t manage it.”

The massacre of the innocents

At what point does organisational failure become more like institutionalised murder?

From the BBC report:

“Kayden Bancroft was 20 months old when he died at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH), following repeated delays to urgent surgery. Whistleblowers allege the trust’s focus was on “ballooning” waiting lists rather than emergency care.

“The hospital admitted that failings occasionally occurred.”

Which execrable moral imbecile from the Central Manchester University Hospitals Trust’s PR department made that callous comment, calculated to reassure Kayden’s family that everything possible was done to save children’s lives, occasionally?

The kid was admitted after an accident. He’d suffered a hiatus hernia – basically his stomach had penetrated his diaphragm. A simple operation would have  fixed it. Instead, he was deliberately left to die in a general ward for a week while no intensive care bed could be found owing to “other emergencies”. The injury temporarily stopped his heart. He died from anoxia – brain death due to lack of oxygen. It took two days.

They couldn’t even keep him alive on a ward.

But oh, yes, sorry, we do occasionally murder small children, admitted the Manchester Fred Karno’s army, because we’re a bunch of incompetent, uncaring cucks with clipboards, who couldn’t run ten yards let alone manage a place where 20-month-old children aren’t supposed to die from easily remediable causes. In fact we’re thinking of turning ourselves into a suburban-estate convenience store on Monday, we might possibly be able to manage that if we can get the staff and work out how to pay them.

“Senior surgeons at the hospital told the BBC that they had repeatedly tried to warn trust management about problems, including a shortage of emergency operating theatres and intensive care beds at the hospital.

“But the trust told the BBC: “We believe that there are sufficient theatres in our children’s hospital to cope with the demand for emergency cases; however, on occasions some children (they have names, you fucking cowards) do have to wait for urgent surgery while emergency surgery takes place.”

Note that: “We believe”. Actually, ladies and gentlemen, first-degree murderers, it’s your job to KNOW, not to fucking “believe”. Life on the medical frontline isn’t a matter of “belief”. Systems management isn’t a matter of “belief”. Reliance on “belief” in systems management is or should always be a sacking offence: professional misconduct. You should fucking KNOW. And where it leads to such easily avoidable loss of life of a small child, for Christ’s sake, a SMALL CHILD with a remediable condition, it should be a POLICE matter.

You see, if you have a system that prioritises emergency cases over merely urgent ones, it must inevitably lead to a situation where the urgent case becomes an emergency, and you still can’t manage it.

Would you like me to say that again? Just in case the logic escapes you?

So if there weren’t sufficient theatres and beds in a children’s hospital in a large city to treat an injured little boy, in obvious opposition to their “belief” in their flawed system, why didn’t they just fly him to Great Ormond Street, or anywhere – Bristol, Poland – where he might have got the urgent treatment their own experts said he needed?

Because they “believed” their own lies.

So a bright little kiddy with all his life ahead of him has to wait a week to become an “occasional” statistic because the Central Manchester University Hospitals Trust is a bunch of bungling, murdering incompetents, amateurs and delusionary liars, believers in their disastrously theoretical system, who could not be “trusted” to look after a public toilet, let alone something as complicated as a hospital; as simple as an injured child.

And you imagine in the wake of Article 50 that with a quarter of EU-citizen doctors and nurses already leaving the country because the Lizard Woman is using them as pawns in her little game with Europe, more little Kaydens aren’t going to be murdered by our dysfunctional, rotting health service, its doctors who are terrified of speaking up against the little Hitlers with clipboards, incapable of managing their own departments, of taking charge in an emergency where the clipboards have so clearly failed?

Last week we heard from the Health Secretary, Mr Hunt, when he turned up at a memorial service for another toddler, William Mead, 2, from Cornwall, who died of septicaemia – an increasingly common condition – after a desperate call to the 111 service was dealt with by someone with no proper training or medical knowledge.

The Health Secretary said he, the NHS and the Government had “let down” William Mead, who died in December 2014.

“Speaking at the private service in Truro Cathedral, Mr Hunt said: “I as Health Secretary, the Government and the NHS let down William.”

“Mr Hunt said he also accepted he had failed William’s parents Paul and Melissa, who had organised the service to thank to the local community for their support following the tragedy. “I’ve come here to say sorry,” Mr Hunt told the congregation.” – The Telegraph, 26 March.

Well, that was big of him. It’s the first sign that the Government is starting to understand that they’re not only failing children, and the elderly, parents and communities – but also the NHS itself. It’s the first sign of how very unhappy Mr Hunt is in his impossible, lousy job. Government ministers are not supposed to show humanity, to crack under pressure and start apologising for the deficiencies of their departments; the consequences of their inaction. They’re supposed to say things like; “But we’re spending ten billion pounds between now and the next election, so there’s no problem, whatever the experts are telling you.”

And today we learn that waiting times for surgical procedures will have to be extended beyond the current target of 18 weeks.

Not enough beds. Not enough resources.

Not enough compassion in Lizard-land.

Not enough competence in the Trusts.

Not good enough.

x

Clickbait

On top of a measure to reverse ALL environmental legislation passed during President Obama’s eight years in office, including the US signature on the now futile Paris Accord – we’re already way past that – Orange Satan just signed away your right to any remaining privacy you might have enjoyed on any of the major internet platforms. Gone. Finished.

Not just the privacy of your personal communications; not just for security purposes, but all your data, for commercial and any other purposes one might think of. Blackmail, possibly? Bank fraud?

Now, that doesn’t mean They’re reading this, muh li’l bogl, practically no-one is, which is fine by me, I’ll accept posthumous recognition. And the betting on Capitol Hill is that it won’t pass the Senate. Nevertheless.

What Mr Trump is happy for Google and Amazon and Apple and Verizon and all the other ‘knowligarchs’ of the internet world to do is to use their records, not just of the content but of, literally I am told, every keystroke, every mouse-click – they can even see when you’re only hovering over a button with your mouse or your trackpad, what you’re only considering looking at – and every search term you enter, in my case however confusing, to find out more about you than you know yourself, more than your mom knows, and to pass those assessments on to anyone who will pay them money for it – or attempt to influence your voting habits.

I suppose encryption will be made illegal, too, opening you up to financial fraud on a colossal scale (the Russians deserve some reward) and bringing down the banking system again.

To advertisers, sponsors, e-tail portals – local government authorities, insurance companies – the security services; not what you bought online, or voted for, who you contacted – but what you even thought about looking at or voting for or contacting…. Information I should have thought was mostly pretty useless, but maybe not.

What kind of business would even consider keeping all this stuff which you or I would throw away? It’s trashcan investigation; going through virtual dumpsters to check your ready-meal wrappers, your supermarket receipts, notes of phone numbers – to sniff your worn shoes for traces of cocaine, traceable dogshit – whatever. They’re even collecting your face, your fingerprint! (You think fingerprint recognition is so you can be secure?)

I think 600 Posts might be just about enough to last my lifetime. The option of disconnecting from this heap of shitty spyware I seem to have allowed into my home at great expense is beginning to look real and sensible. Why? Am I a spy, a fifth columnist, a hacker, a demonstrator, a criminal – a terrorist?

No, none of those things. I am a human being – not a number, a free man – and I expect to have control over my own life without being coerced and manipulated and pried-into and assumed to be this or that,  by the kind of prurient garbage-suckers who infest this subterranean sewer; the  intrusively authoritarian and exploitative, self-appointed Disruptors of our rapidly disintegrating liberal democracy, the fucking Stasi of post-consumer-capitalist corporations and their databases.

Yes, I occasionally write about myself on The Boglington Post; revealing only a version of me that I feel in control of. This is different.

You see, what this is about is not public safety. Don’t fucking use the word ‘innocent’ to me, no-one is innocent, no-one, of crimes yet to be defined as such.

It’s about reinforcing the legal rights of corporations over those of the ordinary citizen.

Which is why, for example, the Conservative ‘Freedom caucus’ of the Republican party in Congress is threatening ‘the nuclear option’ (they probably mean it literally) if Judge Neil Gorsuch is not confirmed as Trump’s appointment to the Supreme Court bench.*

US news sources find that the man even the liberal media have been saying is not such a bad pick, a reasonable-sounding if a tad conservative guy, has never, not once, in a case involving a legal argument between a registered company and an individual citizen, ruled against the corporate interest – even in one notorious case when he was the standout ruling in a circuitappeals court where the complainant, an employee of a major distribution company, had been dismissed for disobeying a company order which, if he had obeyed it, would have cost him his own life.

The judge ruled for that big company against the little guy – who’s been blacklisted and out of work ever since. (US ‘justice’ takes a while, it was seven years.)

To establish the pattern I am trying to expose by this example, they also find that Judge Gorsuch – who has presumably never personally been ordered by his employer to stay with his broken-down trailer rig in minus 30 degrees an hour after the repair truck has failed to make it through and he’s out of gas – has been financially sponsored, perfectly legally, throughout his career by one Philip Anschutz.

Mr Anschutz’s personal worth is estimated by Forbes magazine at $18.5 billion. He owns a 300 thousand-acre ranch in Wyoming, and two five-star resorts. “Over five decades (from, they write, a position of near-bankruptcy when he took over a small bidness from his dad) Phil Anschutz has built fortunes in oil, railroads, telecom, real estate and entertainment.”

You imagine Judge Gorsuch, the protégé of such a man, would ever rule against the corporate interest? Thus, he is the darling of the Conservative caucus in the Republican party, a 29-strong group composed entirely of late-middle-aged rich men with hearts of purest flint.

If he has a saving grace, it is that Anschutz owns a private windfarm – the largest in America – and endowed a modern art museum from his own collection. He’s a billion-dollar philanthropist, a throwback to the Rockefellers, the Mellons, the Carnegies and the Rothschilds; the endlessly renewable generation of  gentlemen and ladies who rammed their stakes into your ground, turned your commons into cash, set their goons on you when you asked for your share, took you for every penny you had and brilliantly invented a form of plastic money called credit to lend your money back to you at 29.9% interest when you couldn’t afford to buy their stuff working for them on minimum wage.

And when their banks bundled up your debts and sold them to one another for 70% commissions and went bust, you bailed them out to the tune of $13 trillion.

*Justice Gorsuch was indeed confirmed, following a change to the rules. His first ruling within a week has been to use his casting vote to overturn an appeal against a man’s death sentence.

Get it into your head, America. To ‘drain the Swamp’ you have voted instead for a great, black, stinking cesspit of murderers, liars, rapists, environmental criminals, traitors and conmen.

Plutocrats.

To quote the indefatigable Wikipedia: “Plutocracy or plutarchy, is a form of oligarchy and defines a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens.”

These are the people to whom in the past 30 years the internet and its capacity for seemingly infinite storage has granted the capability to rule your world by any possible means, to monitor and manipulate through ‘data capitalism’ every aspect of your life from your political allegiance to your purchasing habits to your medical records, discovering what you do in bed, or in the bathroom; what you have in your fridge; where (and if) you work – who you know, where you are, where you’ve been, what your penis looks like – because you were dumb enough to show them – even to the bit where you hover over the Off button and say to yourself, this is not my world, not the world I want to leave to my grandchildren – if they survive Mr Trump’s forthcoming environmental apocalypse.

Is this President the most evil man on earth?

Or just clickbait?

The Pumpkin – Issue 9: Bugger! Trump speaks in sentences! Greatest speech in history, ever. Believe me.

“I don’t know what the hell it says, some stuff, but Bannon says it’s my signature o.k., so we’ll run with it”

Bugger! Wire we doing this?

“Mr Trump, who is at his Florida resort, fired off a series of tweets from just after 06:30 local time (11:30 GMT) on Saturday. He called the alleged tapping “a new low” and said “This is Nixon/Watergate” – BBC News

Trump’s latest wheeze, creating fake news to shift the blame for Whiteyleaks onto his new hate figure, Emmanuel Goldstein Obama, by suggesting with no evidence whatever that the former President left a bug in the Trump Tower, is just the orange manchild’s way of denying the leaks are coming from his own staff and the FBI.

And the poor fuckwit doesn’t even understand, Nixon bugged his own office. That’s where the notorious White House Tapes came from. It wasn’t an FBI black op, ‘Tricky Dicky’ was so vain and insecure he recorded everything for posterity. Even the bad bits.

Once the tapes were finally subpoena’d by the Special Prosecutor, they showed the extent of Nixon’s potty-mouthed and devious corruption, his involvement in ordering the break in at the Watergate complex to steal the Democrat Party’s campaign plans.

Mr Trump has therefore just admitted that his transition team probably has enough dirt to hang him out to dry.

‘We’re Americans, we have no idea even where Russia is.”

Bye bye. It’s been fun.

x

Reading between the outlines

What has happened to the BBC, that used to be famed for its impartiality?

I listened to an hour of the flagship R4 Today programme, er, today and anyone would imagine we had woken up on a new rocky, watery planet orbiting a star only 40 light years away by Space-X shuttle.

Total, uncritical reception. The worst they could find any London-based American journalist to say about Trump’s miraculous rebirth was that he didn’t write the speech himself. That was the New York Times man. Otherwise the vox pops, the studio reactions, the long-distance interviews with stunned Congressmen – it was as if the last 38 days had all been a bad dream.

Politicians at that level seldom do write their own speeches. Especially ones as important as this. There’s been a growing movement in Congress to have Trump impeached. Seemingly the problem was that there were so many grounds for firing him, nobody could decide which to go for. His approval ratings in the country are abysmal – only 42 per cent think he’s doing a good job, the worst anyone can remember after so short a period in office.

This was a shit-or-bust speech.

And unless Trump has only been pretending to be a grammatical imbecile all these months, it seems likely someone was putting those silvery, honeyed, joined-up words into his normally angry, lying, confused mouth.

To get any kind of an objective view of the speech he made to Congress, it is necessary to turn to those alternative sources we can get here, carried via short clips on YouTube: MSNBC – Rachel Maddow. TYT (The Young Turks). John Oliver of SNL (can’t stand those ‘satire’ shows for lowbrow whoopers). David Pakman. Keith Olbermann. Sam Harris. Mike Molloy. RT – Thom Hartmann.

These are not moan-for-Hillary neolibtards and commie pinkos narrowcasting from within their snowflake paperweight bubbles, they are pretty serious people (given the obvious constraints of having to explain anything a bit complicated to their fellow Americans), some of them ex-journalists and newscasters, and they all have egos, but they are all renegades who are free to stray beyond the bland boundaries of the mainstream media to share their concerns and join some of the dots.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Socialist presidential candidate who was forced to throw his mass of support behind the disastrous Clinton bid, has for instance delivered a sober deconstruction on TYT Nation of the speech and the policies whose outlines need very much to be read between.

This was a speech for corporate America. $3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest one per cent. The removal, virtually, of corporation tax on big companies who already pay little or no tax and offshore enough wealth to provide free healthcare for all, a free college education, or rescue the economies of Haiti or Venezuela (which, no, they’re not going to do). An increase of nine per cent in the military budget – $56 billion, of which most will inevitably go to line the already overstuffed pockets of private defense contractors. ‘A trillion dollars’ (where’s he borrowing that from?) to be spent on private infrastructure projects. Cuts to welfare programs, public education. More vague promises of a new version of the just about adequate existing affordable healthcare program, to restore the ruddy health of private healthcare and insurance corporations. The blatant hypocrisy of talking about ‘clean air and water’ when Trump has already signed off measures relaxing pollution controls for his coalmining funders, the Fabulous Koch Brothers, and appointed corrupt overseers to eviscerate the environmental agencies. Nothing but vague promises of past their sell-by-date jobs for the 40 million living on the breadline; deportations and broken families for the rest.

Nothing but the tone has changed. It’s a budget by a serial bankrupt, for national bankruptcy. Theft on a grand scale. The US is in hock to the tune of $20 trillion already – what’s a few trillions more? We’ve got the biggest, most expensive army in the world, it’s gonna be bigger – who’s going to make us pay it back?

The fact that Trump has managed to deliver a speech appealing for calm and unity (who, I wonder, created the panic and disunity in the first place?) in joined-up, honeyed words without totally fucking it up does not detract for one moment from what has gone before:

…the lies, the incompetence, the chaos, the bullying, the  despair of staffers, the appointments of ringers, the shameless plugging of his family business interests, the stubborn refusal to publish his incriminating tax returns, the brutalities of his immigration policies that are licensing gum-chewing hicks to persecute Muslims and Hispanics and people of colour legally resident in the country and to impound and turn back travellers whose origins are suspect even if their visas aren’t – even former Prime Ministers: the litany of appalling horrors that have crawled out of this bizarre Oval Office in just a month, calumny upon calumny…

…not to ignore the gathering storm over his possible links via crooked associates and dodgy bankers and money-launderers and oligarchs to organised crime and hostile foreign powers, the huge debts he is said to have accumulated that leave him vulnerable to blackmail and provide him with the necessity to exploit his position for personal gain, to promote supine and self-interested incompetents to positions of power who will never challenge him…

…or the rampant electoral dishonesty engineered by the Republican party with the aid of so-called ‘Russian hackers’ – the increasingly clear connections between such nodes in the conspiracy as the Breitbart News cabal and their shadowy business interests, the Murdoch empire, Nigel Farage and the Leave.UK campaign, Deutsche Bank/Bank of Cyprus and even – for God’s sake – the Kremlin.

None of this shit has suddenly been magicked away by the febrile applause of Conservatives in the House, internally crying with relief that at last some literary genius has been found to sugar the pill and keep the ADHD President on message.

It looks like Donny took his Ritalin for once.

And now, it’s the turn of Jeff Sessions… ‘I did not have intercourse with that Russian Ambassador. I did not inhale…’

“Look guys, long fingers, big hands…”

“I have nothing to do with Russia” – The Wit and Wisdom of Donald J Trump

“The glitzy event (in Moscow), which included a swanky after-party, drew various Russian notables, including a member of Putin’s inner circle and an alleged Russian mobster. Trump later boasted that he had mingled with “almost all of the oligarchs.” Trump had hoped that Putin would attend the pageant—tweeting months earlier, “if so, will he become my new best friend?”—but the Russian leader was a no-show.” – Mother Jones website, 16 Dec 2016.

If Sessions lying to a congressional oversight committee on oath that he hadn’t spoken to the Russian ambassador to Washington is potentially a sacking offence, what the hell is this?

And if he has nothing to do with Russia, why is there an alleged Russian mobster, “property developer” Felix Henry Sater, officed in Trump Tower, New York? A man Trump has denied knowing, yet the first paragraph of his Wikipedia entry states:

“Sater has been an advisor to many corporations, including The Trump Organization.”

And why is Trump followed on a private jet wherever he goes by Dmitry Whothefuckoff, Rybolovlev the ‘Fertiliser King’, a Russian multibillionaire and crony of Putin’s who ‘overpaid’ $100 million via Bank of Cyprus, where he’s a shareholder (Director: Wilbur Ross, Trump’s old friend and now Commerce Secretary; other Director, Dr Joseph Ackermann, former-CEO of Deutsche Bank, yes them again) to buy a dilapidated mansion in Florida from Trump, that was pulled down shortly after?

Did he do that just to thwart his ex-wife, who’d been awarded $4 billion of his fortune?

You’re being fucked, America. We’re all being taken for mugs.

x

Cherry Blossom Time

© cherryblossomwatch

© 2014 cherryblossomwatch

On February 27 the first buds began opening on Washington’s famous cherry trees.

If the stonewall dumbfuck Republican deniers taking their funding from crooked energy company lobbyists in the swamp and the demented runarounds in the White House don’t admit it now, they never will.

According to official website Cherryblossomwatch.com, it’s the earliest Spring flowering ever recorded.

x

 

Dream on

“American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.” – Donald H (sorry, J) Trump

There you have it.

The long-term dream of the dumbfuck alt-right fascist billionaires, right there. What the Trump presidency is all about. The underlying strategy. The Big Plan. Where the money’s gone.

Start over. Earth #2, with racial purity and proper print-your-own capitalism.

Grab some pussy, arm yourself with a full alpha copy of Google on a quantum drive, the blueprint for a New World, hop aboard a Space-X rocket courtesy of Musktours to one of those pristine rocky, watery earthlike planets NASA has found, only 40 light years from our gutted and dying world.

(Actually 40 light years is about 300,000 Earth years away at the speed of the fastest ship Musk can produce, but don’t tell Donald and Ivanka (I feel sure he’ll take his attractive daughter, his ‘terrific piece of ass’ as he calls her,  to use as breeding stock for the new master race, rather than the bothersome Melania). It’s only about 100,000 years longer than the length of time modern humans were around.

While the rest of us, on the verge of starvation and with five billion climate migrants clawing with bloodied hands at our razor-wire fences, die screaming in a methane fireball.

Hello, Jesus.

x

Fore!

“Donald Trump has lost nearly £26m ($31.8m) building his golfing empire in Scotland, his company accounts show – a sum that means the Republican presidential candidate has avoided paying any UK corporation tax on either of his two resorts.

“The latest accounts filed to the UK authorities for Trump’s two resorts, in Aberdeenshire and Turnberry in Ayrshire, also show he has sunk more than £102m ($125m) of his own money into both businesses, despite losing increasing sums on both investments.

“There is also an apparent discrepancy between the accounts and his filings last year to the US Federal Election Commission (FEC).” http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/12/donald-trump-scotland-golf-course-resort-losses

And where exactly is Mr Trump’s controversial new course, Trump International, that he fought tooth-and-nail to have built on a site of special scientific interest against furious opposition from residents, local authorities and environmentalists?

Why, Aberdeen.

Home of Aberdeen Asset Management, since last week Europe’s largest share juggler and tax strategist with over £300 billion of managed funds.

Part-owner of the former Deutsche Asset Management and (see above) part-owner of Rupert Murdoch’s Sky TV.

It must mean something.

A visit to Aberdeen’s prettily designed and reassuring website (motto: ‘Simple is Smart’) produces the following guest quote from Tim Harford, the larky ‘Undercover Economist’ on the Financial Times:

“The mark of success is not to avoid failure but to learn from it, adjust and adapt.”

Mr Trump has certainly learned and adapted from his many failures. Ironically, the FT (now owned by Nikkei) was founded by one Horatio Bottomley MP, a bogus patriot who pocketed the money from the sale of First World War ‘Victory’ bonds and in 1922 was jailed for seven years for fraud.

Martin Gilbert, the CEO of Aberdeen (annual salary £4.1 m), is described thus in The Telegraph:

“Gilbert is the City’s original bogeyman. Long before the likes of Fred Goodwin, Bob Diamond or any of the Libor traders, Gilbert was regarded as the unacceptable face of finance.”

“Just over a decade ago … the savings vehicles famously claimed to have “more safety features than a Volvo” … collapsed, triggering £650m of losses for 50,000 small investors.

“Aberdeen was accused of being at the centre of a “magic circle” of fund managers whose back-scratching fund raisings generated huge fees and bonuses for themselves but created a dangerous pack of cards for savers.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/10471334/How-Martin-Gilbert-the-Citys-original-bogeyman-pulled-it-out-of-the-fire-again.html

I couldn’t possibly comment.

x

Pot, kettle, Pence

Remember all that shit about locking Hillary up for using a private email server on State Department business? Shit that with the help of slimy Judas Assange, the Russians and the biddable FBI director Comey helped to stuff the Democratic campaign in its dying days?

Well, at least a private email server stands less chance of being hacked than AOL, even if it’s only OAPs who still use it.

OAPs like VPOTUS Mike Pence, the walking snow-capped advert for Anusol.

It appears Indiana Governor Pence, as he was, sent embarrassing emails about security matters using his personal AOL account.

I wonder by what circuitous route that came to the public attention?

His account was hacked – laughably his friends and Contacts seem to have received from him, one of those “Help, Mike, we’re stuck in a hotel in Myanmar, can you send us two thousand bucks to pay the bill?” scams – showing that his Contacts file at the very least is now in the hands of the Russians, the Chinese, North Korea, the FBI, GCHQ, Bob Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica, the Democratic party – creatures from a rocky planet orbiting a star only 40 light years from Earth…. maybe all eight.

Who the fuck knows who does this stuff?

All we know is, Pence owes Hillary a huge apology for being an even bigger old fool than she was – and more of a hypocrite. (GOP spokes however are crying loudly, no, you don’t understand, this is different!)

Can Captain Trump’s Traumatised Transition Team take much more of this shit?

As I keep digging a shallow grave as regards connections between businesses and their men, let me just mention that AOL is owned by global comms giant, Verizon (formerly Bell labs). According to Wikipedia:

“In December 2011, the non-partisan organization Public Campaign criticized Verizon for its tax avoidance procedures after it spent $52.34 million on lobbying while collecting $951 million in tax rebates between 2008 and 2010 and making a profit of $32.5 billion.”

Of more interest to Pence, perhaps, is Verizon’s much criticised collection of metadata from customers who cannot count on their security, as the company has frequently handed over information on request… to the FBI.

You’re being fucked, America. But so is the Transition Team.

 

Essay

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/mar/02/electoral-commission-urged-to-investigate-farages-brexit-campaign

Scooped!

Yes, The Pumpkin has been scooped. The day after I wrote the following piece (but hadn’t yet posted it), the above article has appeared on The Guardian Today website, pretty much making the points I’ve been trying to make for weeks. For the first time, someone is beginning to join the dots and fill-in the blanks in this conspiracy-by-numbers, this hardliner coup in America and Britain, that has so far been reported only as a series of random, apparently disconnected events and amusing speculative pieces about Trump’s sanity.

So there we are.

And here’s my piece. I wrote it for the American market, hence the slangy style; dedicated it to the amazing Mike Malloy.

By a narrow margin 48%-52% the turkeys voted for Christmas. The far from definitive result has been hailed by self-interested corporatists, alt-right media and neo-Thatcherites as the indomitable ‘Will of the People’. Or, as we say in this centenary year of the Russian Revolution, ‘The Dictatorship of the Proletariat’. And there is no gainsaying it, or they howl you down.

The European Union is a crock of shit. We all accept that. It expanded too fast, got too bureaucratic, took in some nasty countries we shouldn’t have. Bad hombres in fleamarket shellsuits and black-market trainers arrived in our Victorian terraced slums.

The one-size-fits-all Euro has fucked up the weaker economies of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and even Italy with adverse capital flows – overlending by big mostly German banks borrowing at low rates and lending to poorer countries at high rates – they couldn’t pay back, and are now being fucked over by the ECB ‘Troika’ and the IMF. We know that. My cousin Costas in Athens is a government employee, he hasn’t been paid in months and had a heart attack last year needing a quad bypass in a medical system that doesn’t have drugs, bandages. It’s a disaster.

But it was the best crock of shit we had. It produced a mass of annoying laws safeguarding workers and consumers’ rights, standardising products (my first PR client made generic parts for cars. EU type approvals made it possible for them to sell parts that fit for French and German cars), dictating (with diagrams) what constitutes a legal banana, guaranteeing food safety and traceability; toys that didn’t kill and maim children. I remember the 70s when the most fun you could have on a Sunday afternoon was to sit out and watch your car rust. That changed.

My adopted little nation of Wales is an economic basket case and attracted billions of Euros in EU development finance. We pissed it away, but that’s another story. The EU enables free flows in labour and learning, research and residence. We made the Airbus together. It did away with customs barriers – some acned teenager crawling officiously through your car looking for something he could bill you for, remember? Yet it allowed a measure of internal competition.

And the EU has done good things to resist the monstrously abusive TTIP treaty, abolished unfair cross-border roaming charges by the big cellphone corpses, thwarted putative media monopolies and hit Apple with a $13 billion bill for underpaid tax.…

Why would we throw that away? It wasn’t all bad; it created a safe environment in which we could trade internally without tariffs in a market of 450 million consumers and do business all around the world from a position of strength; and besides, we haven’t had a good war in Europe for 70 years. You can guess which way I voted.

A brash, ugly millionaire called Arron Banks wanted to stop all that. Married to a Russian, with unexplained personal net worth of £100 million, Banks “spent the first part of his childhood in South Africa and returned to the UK to attend a private school in Berkshire before being expelled for “an accumulation of offences”, including the sale of lead stolen from school building roofs.” (Wikipedia)

He stole the fucking lead off his own school roof; yet millions vote for the scam party he started.

With fingers in the online insurance racket, claiming to own a diamond mine in S Africa, “According to Companies House records, Banks has set up 37 different companies using slight variations of his name.” (ibid.)  He has been accused at times of harassment, information theft and insider trading… he also cropped up in the Panama Papers as a secret offshore investor – a right dodgy geezer.

Like a lot of bored business fuckwits with too much easy money, he wanted to get rid of all those foreign barriers to unbridled kleptocracy. So he wrapped himself in the flag and funded the ‘United Kingdom Independence Party’, essentially a disorganised rabble of curtain-twitchers, crazed Empire loyalists, ‘Just About Managing’ squeezed middle Englanders, disaffected working-class Tories and failed High Tory politicians;  and hired a man called Farage to run it.

Now, Nigel Farage is an arsehole. A privately educated millionaire former ‘commodities broker’ with US bloodsuckers Drexel, Burnham, Lambert, he likes to pose outside a jolly old pub with a smoke and a pint, wearing unspeakable ‘English gent’ clothes that make him look like a cashiered army major from a 1950s Ealing Studios comedy, as a ‘Man o’ the People’, railing against political correctness, immigrants (his wife is German, she’s divorcing him) and Big Government. His many working-class fans love him because ‘he’s one of us’, he ‘tells it like it is’, the poor boobies.

Ringing any bells?

Farage is nevertheless a genius at grabbing the limelight and bypassing the normal rules on campaigning appearances by making himself the news story. He has appeared 33 times as a panellist on the prestige BBC political debate show, Question Time. His number is on the front page of every media researcher’s contacts file.

His Wikipedia entry lists a bunch of flakey alt-right committees and organisations. He’s an elected Member of the European Parliament, that he has vowed to destroy – benefiting from a fat salary and massive expenses the meanwhile. But he’s failed to get a proper UK Parliamentary seat six times, leaving UKIP with only one member in the House; a man he doesn’t get on with.

And he’s Donald Trump’s little British bumboy.

How did that happen, that he became a pop-up politician on the Trump trail, was photo-opped in the Golden Elevator with the Sun King, and even appeared at the CPAC  Nazi rally? How was it Trump publicly tried to endorse Nigel for the (not-available) job of British ambassador to Washington – an appointment not in his gift?

The clue is in that photo-opp. Standing next to Farage and The Donald in the portal to Heaven was a gurning Raheem Kassam, editor of the toned-down British version of Breitbart News.

Finally got there.

Now, last week the walking snow-capped advert for Anusol, Mike Pence arrived in Brussels with a message: be of good cheer, The Administration supports the EU to the hilt.

This was somewhat at odds with Trump’s frequent outbursts of approval for Brexit, that threatens to pull apart the fabric of the EU and has triggered a horrific xenophobic backlash here, terrified long-stay EU citizens with British families being used by the ghastly Theresa May as bargaining chips for a ‘red, white and blue Brexit’’; Muslim women having to run the gamut of chanting racists in the streets, spitting and ripping off their hijabs.

(Let us not forget Mrs May: married to millionaire Phil, an investment manager, for six years as Home Secretary she ran Britain’s security apparatus: MI5, MI6, the GCHQ listening post, that collects data for the NSA and monitors the Russian traffic, and pushed through the most oppressive surveillance laws in the western world.)

See, this is all about information, investments and who owns them. There’s a simple problem, which is that a billion dollars, pounds or whatever is a very large number. It’s a problem to find more things to buy, places to put it. ‘Oligarchs’ end up moving it around amongst themselves. Often, it’s hot money that needs a bit of cooling down. I buy ‘x’ for such an amount, I sell it to you for ‘y’ (ten times as much?) and it’s immediately legal.

The cretinous antics of the senile manchild with ADHD isn’t really the story. The story is the money. And who else should be involved?

Through Brexit, Britain, proclaimed the Orange One, had regained its sovereignty, control of its borders, freedom from foreign tyranny and oppression… general whiteness and a warm welcome for US tech companies, defense contractors, money-laundering Russian oligarchs and Murdoch’s News Corp to operate with impunity. But Pence says they just love the EU. What gives?

(Murdoch is also close to the President. He has a bed made up in the corner of the Oval Office; his ex-wife Wendi Deng is best buds with Ivanka. Wendi, 45, has also enjoyed close relations with recent UK Prime Ministers Blair, Brown and Cameron; and is rumoured to be Vladimir Putin’s current Chinese squeeze. She gets around.)

How to swing an election

We are now learning that one of the ways the Vote Leave campaign got its marginal majority was by someone ‘harvesting’ personal data from Facebook and other social media accounts, profiling millions of voters from their ‘Likes’ and search histories, using ‘bots’ (don’t ask, I have no idea) to bombard them automatically with tailored messages to manipulate their presumed voting inclinations. Two million new mystery voters suddenly appeared on the register, days before the vote; presumably radicalised online. The website crashed.

Farage had been judged too toxic even for the official Vote Leave, so contented himself with fronting Banks’ private ‘Leave.EU’ campaign, into which the boorish millionaire sank £7.5 million. And, surprise surprise, according to a report in the mainstream Observer newspaper, it turns out that nifty Nigel is also a ‘friend’ of US multi-billionaire, ultra-ultra-conservative hedge fund manager, Robert Mercer.

Mercer also happens to be the wallet behind Breitbart News, whose co-founder and sometime editor, Steve Bannon, is Trump’s consigliere. And more importantly, he is a computer ‘genius’, a pioneer of Big Data, and the ultimate owner of a firm called Cambridge Analytica, which carried out the data grab on the British electorate on behalf of Leave.EU, that helped to nudge the Leavers over the line.

Another help for their separatist, isolationist cause was the thirty-year-long campaign of fake news about the machinations of the evil EU that had been running in Murdoch’s UK newspapers: the now-defunct News of the World, a Sunday scandal-sheet shut down after allegations of massive phone hacking (edited by Rebekah Wade, aka Brooks – sometime CEO of Murdoch’s News UK Corp. and a close friend of the Camerons); the putrid ultra-loyalist daily The Sun, and even The Times of London. Through his holdings in Fox News, Murdoch has been bidding to complete his stake in the UK’s Sky TV, whose news arm he was forced to divest under EU antitrust laws: BUT… “Mogul needs regulators to approve deal, which will give him full control of pay-TV operations in UK, Germany and Italy” (The Guardian) And they’re resisting; so the billionaires club are trying to take down the EU.

 “A committee of Sky’s “independent” (my parenthesis) directors, led by Martin Gilbert – the broadcaster’s deputy chairman and the chief executive of Sky shareholder Aberdeen Asset Management – scrutinised the deal on behalf of non-Murdoch investors.

“The committee, which unanimously accepted the deal, included the Sky chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, and the finance chief, Andrew Griffith, who are in line for a £40m payday if the deal goes through.”

And a quick trip to Wikipedia reveals that ‘Aberdeen Asset Management’ acquired a share of Deutsche Bank’s asset management business in 2007. The Deutsche Bank to which Trump owes $340 million; the unpaid balance of a loan he took out in 2007.

As I keep saying, follow the money. There’s a lot of it about.

While the FBI is faffing about, pursuing evanescent Russian hackers… They may have tried to ‘influence’ the US election by channelling what dirt they could find on Hillary and her grimy aides  through Wikileaks, whose founder, Julian Assange, remains wanted on a Swedish rape charge he believes the CIA set up so they could grab him in Stockholm. The unpleasant and self-obsessed Mr Assange is still lurking as an unwanted political refugee in the basement of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, presumably hoping Trump would be a better bet for his release than Hillary (he’s also wanted in the USA on data theft charges that could get him a very long spell in Leavenworth).

Thus we have a real live instance of private interference from the USA in a British referendum, with the aim of breaking up the annoying European union and its anti-trust, pro-consumer superstate.

I’m assuming the voter radicalisation, Big Data techniques (more usually used for online advertising) employed by Cambridge Analytica were also applied to the US election, I don’t know. What else did the Trump campaign’s Breitbart connections get up to online, I wonder? Did Russian hackers really infiltrate the DNC? Or did that come from somewhere else?

Ultimately, the story lies elsewhere. We are clearly not looking at a coup only in the USA, this is a global hijacking.

The story is the money. Follow the money!

Trump’s pick for Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross is a director of Bank of Cyprus, a known Russian money-laundering front with links back to Moscow and various Putin cronies – including Dmitry Rybolovlev, the ‘Fertiliser King’, who paid Trump $100 million for a worthless piece of real estate junk in Florida; a vast Xanadu mansion built so badly it had to be pulled down. He never lived there, so why buy it? Oh, right. Another director, Dr Josef Ackermann is a former director of Deutsche Bank, which has been fined $billions for money-laundering on his watch. Ask how Trump’s reported 2008 default of $340 million debt to Deutsche went away, where it’s gone and who made it go?

We’ve all been pissed on, that’s not the story. The story is who owns the President – and by extension, America?

Pithy observation

If the First World War was about the end of empire, the Second World War about national expansionism, the Third World War about global ideological hegemony, the goings-on in America show we are now deep into the Fourth World War: it’s being fought in the infosphere and it’s about data capitalism.

History however will judge they are all part of the same war.

The Pumpkin – Issue 5

Senator Jeff Sessions: nominated is as Attorney General

Senator Jeff Sessions: confirmed he is as US Attorney General. Fear the Dark Side, warning I am you.

Funny Side of the Tweet

“How can (Trump) expect to escape ridicule? Being on reality TV is the closest he ever got to reality. His children look like a teen movie about Wall Street vampires directed by Uday Hussein. He has cultivated a square face that’s the shade of a banned food colouring and the muscle tone of a coma patient. He looks like aliens came to Earth and made a human costume after seeing one commercial for a car dealership.” – Comedian Frankie Boyle, writing in The Guardian, 09/02/17.

Brilliant observational comedy, with acutely perceptive bits thrown in. So unfair. Catch the rest at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/08/donald-trump-obnoxious-karma-reincarnated-as-himself-frankie-boyle?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=212406&subid=19570602&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

(Isn’t there some thing you can buy, an app or whatever, that shortens your URLs to a few simple numbers and stuff? Haven’t I seen one of those?  ‘Cos you might have to key all this in one day and then you’d miss the treat.)

The problem being, the global shitstorm of derisive humour that has greeted the election of a man of whom it can best be charitably said, he gets away with it, to the highest position on the planet is just a waste of good jokes.

If he actually saw or read any of it, you might as well understand, he’s not going to change because of it.

He doesn’t know how.

 

DeVostating news

Trump-nominee Betsy DeVos has also been confirmed as US Education Secretary, apparently to get her case out of the way before the supine and terrified Republican party in Congress has to consider the case of ‘Yoda’, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions 111’s nomination for Attorney General*, at which point all obstructions to Trump’s insane policy tweets and the US Constitution will cease to have legal force.

Mrs DeVos’ principal qualification for the job seems to be that she and her billionaire husband donated $22 million to the Republican campaign.

Betsy DeVos’ husband, Richard Marvin “Dick” DeVos Jr., is a multi-billionaire heir to the Amway fortune who ran Amway’s parent company, Alticor, from 1993 to 2002. Dick DeVos is a major donor to conservative political campaigns and social causes, and was the 2006 Republican nominee for Governor of Michigan.” (Wikipedia)

I wish people gave me  the nickname “Dick”, sadly my bank balance is too small.

Far-right website Heavy.com describes the inexperienced and demonstrably inadequate DeVos thus: “Betsy is an education activist and philanthropist, and she comes from the wealthy and politically active DeVos family”.

Note that “and”. Twice blessed. By ‘Education activist’ they presumably mean support for private schools for the wealthy and education vouchers for the blacks.

USA Today presented a somewhat different picture in October 2011:

“Amway agreed to pay $55 million to former distributors, closely oversee high-level distributors who run training businesses, strengthen refund policies and make other changes estimated to cost an additional $100 million. The lawsuit alleged Amway is a “pyramid scheme” — which was changed to “illegal scheme” in an amended version — in which distributors rarely sell products to outside customers, only to other new distributors they bring in, who must bring more recruits in to make money. New entrants, the lawsuit says, were “effectively required” to purchase products and event tickets from the high-level distributors.”

Now, my ad agency unfortunately attracted a client similarly in the multi-level marketing business, for which read ‘pyramid scam’, so I have some knowledge to share. Cabouchon sold costume jewellery through ‘downlines’ – the suckers who actually did the selling, who were beholden to other sellers back up the chain, and were unreliably  supplied and seldom paid. The company was owned by a stunning young German woman, six feet tall, raven haired Petra D., who claimed to have an MBA, although we found out she hadn’t finished the course. She had a lethal way of doing business, not unlike D. Trump’s: screw ’em, and if they try to screw you back, annihilate ’em.

When Cabouchon came to owe us a large sum of money, they threatened to countersue for loss of reputation. We hit them back with an ‘Anton Pillar’  winding-up order. When they issued a cheque drawn on a bank branch that had closed two years earlier, we had them. Actually, now I think about it, we should have gone to the police.

Anyway, that was twenty-two years ago, but it explains why I checked up on Amway, because they were notorious even then.

It’s said that Yoda’s nomination hearing was deliberately delayed so that, if needed, he would still qualify as a Senator to vote for DeVos, who was embarrassed in the preliminary hearing as she evidently knew not a lot about education policy, hedging her answers. American politics seems to be all about how you can manipulate procedure to deny the enemy. Except that one of her major qualifications to run the education system of the USA may be that she and her husband – they sound like the sort of couple you would develop cancer to avoid – own a business buying up and clawing back student loan debts.

As it happens, despite looking like he has an assfull of suppositories, the ever-faithful Vice President, Mike Pence, is said to have sprinted doggedly up Pennsylvania Avenue to throw his casting vote for DeVos.

yodaAnd today we hear that Democrat Senator, Elizabeth Warren has been BANNED FROM SPEAKING at the Sessions hearing by Trump congressional bumsucker, Sen. Mitch McConnell, after trying to present evidence showing the Alabama Senator incurred the displeasure of no less a personage than Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther, over his attempts to have black voters removed from electoral rolls and to prosecute civil rights campaigners who tried to get more blacks registered; not a racist, just a Republican.

Ms Warren was silenced on grounds that Senators should not ‘impugn’ one anothers’ reputations, even in suitability hearings where it might be that evidence of past conduct would show a Senator from the Deep South, whose appointment has been enthusiastically welcomed by Mr David Duke, late of the KKK, was completely unsuitable for elevation to high office. (Only that’s not what Rule 19 says.)

King’s eloquent 10-page deposition was not even entered into the record at the hearing 30 years ago when Yoda, a pixie-eared midget, failed to get appointed a Federal judge, so respectful is the Republican party toward Civil Rights. In fact, Sessions’ only redeeming feature apart from the practised avuncular twinkle in his dimwitted old mint-julep eyes is that he is worth a mere $7.5 million, compared with the rest of the billionaire kleptos in the Oval Office.

Is anyone still trying to argue that this Trump administration is perfectly normal and not a bunch of lying, evil fascists?

Hell yes.

*Broken news: Yoda got in. Interviewed on TV, he said he was ‘interested in the rule of law’. Just as well.

 

 Lock Him Up!

“The controversial law allows for a minimum fine of about $1,300 (£1,000) and a minimum jail term of three months for publishing false, deceptive or misleading information on a computer system.”

The above line from a BBC story about a Tanzanian safari park guide who has been suspended for pretending on social media that a tourist made slighting remarks about the local people when she had in fact praised them to the skies just leaped off the screen at me.

Could the USA not pass a similar law regarding Twitter? It’ll be brilliant, honest.

 

Time flies when you’re having fun

“It’s really incredible to me that we have a court case that’s going on so long,” Trump told a conference of law enforcement officials in Washington on Wednesday. (Guardian)

What’s that now, five days? Let’s see how long Melania suing the Daily Mail for $120 million damages to her earnings potential as First Lady (NYT report) for stupidly covering the repeat of a retweet of a B-tweet from some teenage blogger in the USA as if it were a real news story, who may have falsely misremembered a rumour she might have had a mildly insalubrious past we daren’t even ask about, goes on….

Anyway, we hope she wins large. Fucking Daily Mail. Good riddance.

 

A Good Malloching

May I recommend a new word for Collins’ dictionary, you know, the one that races to be first every year to accreditate neologisms that ninety-nine per cent of the English-speaking world has yet to hear of until they appear in reports on a slow news day about, like, hey, here are some great new words everyone is saying, that’ve gone in the dictionary courtesy of Collins’ PR baboons?

“To Malloch” would be a verb meaning to embellish one’s CV to a point beyond completely outrageous absurdity; beyond Swift or Baron Munchausen, beyond even Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams,  before landing a plum diplomatic posting to a multinational organisation both you and your political masters and their pals in the Kremlin  are pledged to destroy.

According to a fascinating fact-check in the Financial Times, Trump’s expected nominee for ambassador to the European Union, academic Dr Theodore Roosevelt  ‘Ted’ Malloch, claims to have been knighted by the Queen into the ‘Order of St John’. ‘My family call me Sir Ted’, he quips, merrily ignoring the fact that this minor honorific places him in a category especially created for foreign persons, slightly lower in rank than my Aunt Jeannine’s MBE for services to charity. A knighthood (KCB) it was not.

Video of a conference he attended at which Mrs Thatcher was the star speaker does not, the FT finds, confirm her referring at any point to Dr Malloch as ‘a genius’. Nor was he even entered for the Emmy award he won for a TV documentary he made.

Dr Malloch claims to have gained his PhD in ‘under three years’ when it appears from University records it may have been more like five (‘My thesis took a little longer’). He also claims to have ‘helped bring down the Soviet Union’ while in an ‘ambassador-level role’. According to the FT, his diplomatic role at the time the wall came down was as deputy to an executive secretary in the UN Economic Commission for Europe, a position from which he could only have driven to Berlin with a megaphone and shouted at Mr Gorbachev across No Man’s Land.

The Alice in Wonderland world of alternative facts could possibly find fewer richer sources than the colourful life of Dr Ted, vividly recounted in an autobiography, Davos, Aspen and Yale: a humorous and witty take on his life experiences in this unique and riotous account‘. (Amazon blurb).

WND Books appears to be what is known as a ‘vanity publisher’, in other words you pay to have your electronic submission printed with minimal editorial oversight, as the reviews on their website might suggest. ‘F. Skip Weitzen’, author of Hypergrowth, calls Malloch ‘the world’s best spreader of bull. Read it and laugh out loud!’. ‘Robert W. Patterson, columnist’, The Philadelphia Inquirer, regards his friend Malloch as a ‘Renaissance man’. ‘Prabhu Gupatra, Editor, The Global Indian’, writes, without irony: ‘Sir Ted is too young to be writing his memoirs . . . prepare to be astonished, educated and amused.’

In other words, the guy is a comedian!

For a good Malloching, I earnestly recommend you visit:

http://www.ft.com/content/239d378e-ee20-11e6-ba01-119a44939bb6

 

Easy Rider

Now to the latest Trumpery…

This is America’s leading businessman and Great Deal Maker, right? Yet the evidence is growing that he knows very little about business, especially the complex international webs of component manufacture and ‘just-in-time’ supply that make up the global car industry.

Otherwise he wouldn’t imagine that the simplest solution to fixing unemployment in the rust-belt of the USA is to put up trade barriers and tweetbully Ford into pulling out of a Mexico factory project. Running a global car business is a little more complicated than golf courses and vanity brand-licensing deals,  and does not include damaging your company’s profitability for ideological reasons, to fulfil one senescent self-proclaimed billionaire’s impromptu election pledges.

The President reminded executives of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company at a meeting at the White House last week that President Reagan had saved their business by raising tariffs to protect it from ‘dumping’ by Japanese manufacturers in the mid-80s. It was an alt-fact (they might have realised!) supporting his thesis that the world is taking unfair advantage of the USA and he has to stand up against free trade and cheap Chinese imports (such as the steel he is said to use in his construction projects?).

The truth is that in the 1970s Harley-Davidson got complacent and was making crap products that wouldn’t go uphill, if they started at all, and leaked oil everywhere, and German and Japanese competitors had modernised and were walking all over them, and the probably equally unreliable British Norton and Triumph bikes had cornered the all-leather, middle-aged, 50s-retro-racer market. There was no dumping at artificially low prices, that’s a Trump fantasy: they just couldn’t compete.

Eventually, Harley started making better-engineered products and, with the help of some exciting drug-fuelled rock’n’road movies and broadening their product appeal with monkey-bars and psychedelic teardrop tanks,  regained market share. And that’s how it went with the US car industry too. For years, they confined their production to the US market and sneered at safety campaigners like Ralph Nader but eventually had to fit seatbelts and redesign dogs like the exploding Ford Pinto after hundreds of people died.

Then they had to persuade their cars to run on unleaded fuel because children were getting even dumber, and get rid of the enormous 8 mpg gas-guzzlers with 9-liter engines, huge silly fins and unsafe front bench seats (for easy dating) and soggy suspension ride, and start making compact cars and SUVs and hybrids, like the Japanese were; making them to last, not to rust.

Dumb old GM and Chrysler nearly went bust, but were turned around in the nick of time by responding to foreign competition and, like Ford, saved themselves by moving design and production abroad, buying out Mazda and Vauxhall – but the Wit and Wisdom of Donald J World’s Greatest Businessman would have us believe that raising tariffs on foreign cars alone would have saved the US car industry – for what? To go on making Havana taxis uncompetitively forever and the US people would just have to suck it up, breathe it in, and that would be great?

We’re facing a similar problem here in the UK. A so-called ‘hard’ Brexit, complete walkaway severance from European institutions, markets, standards, rules and business connections might sound like a great idea if you’re a Dumbfuck British Empire isolationist from Spalding, fed up with watching Romanian sprout-pickers working for fuck-all wages in a large field; or a Tory MP sneering at the metropolitan liberal elite from your country estate, running scared from the Daily Mail, but it shows you know nothing about manufacturing and marketing in the 21st century.

The truth is, Trump is a business dinosaur.

And Trump is also trying to take credit for a 227,000 increase in employment during January, his first part-month in the White House. Only, the figures take some time to compile, the date on which the count was taken was in December, eleven days before Trump swung the Electoral College vote and swore on two Bibles in front of an enormous unseen throng of angels that he was the best President, probably ever in the history of Presidents. Believe me.

Those were Obama jobs.

Doesn’t stop PR flak Skelly-tanned Conway from alt-truthin’ about that on CNN as well. Just doin’ her job.

 

The last word

Trump…continued:

“I was a good student, I understand things, I comprehend very well, OK? Better than, I think, almost anybody. And I want to tell you that I listened to a bunch of stuff last night on television that was disgraceful, it was disgraceful, because what I just read to you is what we have and it just can’t be written any plainer or better.”  – quoted in Guardian Today report.

And neither can this, muh li’l bogl – five years old this month!

Goodnight, God bless, and kiss the kids goodbye.

Photos: Google images/Lucasfilm. ABC NEWS.