“I do not know the ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US.” No, Donald, and neither are you, so stop interfering in our domestic politics.
Trump reacts badly to British diplomatic cables hinting he’s totally unfit to be the President.
Is Trump in fact God?
It was while I was out walking Hunzi this morning along the cycle path through the exurban space that passes for our local park, that it suddenly struck me.
Trump might be God, after all.
The Biblical resemblances are striking. And many people think he is. Especially himself.
As the great Christopher Hitchens liked to point out, the God everyone is obliged to worship now, the one called, surprisingly, just “God”, which is not his real name, obviously, is only one of hundreds, if not thousands of claimants for the title of Supreme Being down the millennia.
There’s no reason to believe that just because He told everyone He was God, He (I use the male pronoun advisedly – there are two Gods in the OT and the God of Genesis in the garden is definitely female), the Biblical God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has any more right to a claim for apotheosis than, say, Julius Caesar, who officially became a God by way of the cult that surrounded victorious Roman leaders, and whose son Augustus took on the mantle after him, but in a more cosmological way.
After all, if you really ARE God, you wouldn’t need to go around telling people, would you? Just like, if you were really a stable genius….
The Romans, of course, had lots of God-cults, many of them borrowed from the Greeks. The Greek word Zeus, meaning God, the Supreme Being, the top dog, is the same as the Roman word Deus, from which we derive the word deity; although he had a name, Apollo – the Sun God. Religious cults, to the Romans, were like the rap artists of their day, they had their fickle tribal followers. Some, more official than others, enjoyed State protection.
All the civilizations we know of have had their pantheon of Gods, starting with a Supreme Being at the top and working down through animistic ideas about the immanence of divinity – soul – in the very rocks, trees and rivers; many Gods taking on semi-human form shared identities with the celestial constellations. The Egyptian pharaoh, Akhenaton was the first ruler we know of, who decreed there was only the one true God. Like the Victorian-era’s star painter, JMW Turner, Akhenaton believed the sun was God. As the sun both gives and takes away life, it seemed a fair bet.
From that simple perception, the three Abrahamic desert religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – developed the idea of the sun-God as the unique creator, and anthropomorphised him into the personified, living being of the earthly ruler, The Lord of Hosts, the Lord most High, whose divine authority reflected in a coercive priesthood on earth was to be upheld on pain of death.
The Christian religion especially, which merely introduced some Zoroastrian elements into Judaism, operated – and still does, outside the Church of England – as a patriarchal, authoritarian death cult, with the judicial murder of the avatar and his inspirational but unlikely survival of death at its center.
Still today, the Eucharist is celebrated every sabbath, or seventh, day – the “body and blood” of the avatar are symbolically or transformatively consumed by the worshippers, in a cannibalistic ritual administered by the sacerdos, or high priest, beneath the sculpted, 3D image of the bleeding Christ nailed to a tree. It’s all pretty weird and horrible, to be honest, but conducted in an atmosphere of such reverent good taste it remains popular with all ages.
Essentially, the picture we have of The Lord High God sitting on a throne with his “son”, the semihuman Jesus thoughtfully inserted on his right hand, surrounded by angels descending in rank beneath him betrays a unique symbiosis of religion and state bureaucracy. Simultaneously, Chinese emperors demanded unquestioning obeisance to their own godhead; Confucianism being a kind of secular religion, a self-help system combining civic responsibility and a duty of personal growth with obedience to courtly ritual as the way to “the right life”; while later, blood-soaked sun worshipping cults developed in South America, founded on copious human sacrifice, that were ended only by an egregious program of genocide by Christ-cult Spanish colonialists and their followers, who came less to spread the Word of God than to steal gold.
It’s all a bit rackety, to be honest.
To gain an insight into Trump’s claim to Godhood, especially in light of his 4th of July parade this year, the Wikipedia page on the Imperial cult of Rome makes interesting reading. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_cult_of_ancient_Rome
Various American TV preachers have closely aligned Trump with God, or with God’s son Jesus, arguing that, despite his well-known venality, hatred of his neighbor, twice-divorced adulterous status and self-confessed record of sexual abuse, he was divinely appointed – God forgives everything (unless you’re a Muslim or a faggot) – and is thus to be unquestioningly obeyed.
Of course, child-rape and murder are mandated in the Bible, so they’re forgiven too. But not the taking of the as-yet unborn clump of insentient cells. That’s an unpardonable sin.
The slimy Jim Bakker, a TV preacher of virtually zero intellect who promotes his contemptible business brands as integral to his religious authority; the far-right evangelical nutjob, Pat Robertson; and the son of Billy Graham, Franklin – the virulent homophobe who reputedly had a long-running and very expensive affair with a handsome young pool attendant – and others have commanded their followers to believe in Trump and his mission to “Make America Great Again”.
By that, they mean they believe they can more easily manipulate government policy through Trump to revoke the inconvenient First Amendment of the Constitution and institute a white, nominally Christian hegemonic state, antipathetic to women’s rights; and promote the more absurd notions of Biblical literalism in schools. Not only in the USA – more than $50 million is believed to have been channeled into subverting the 2019 European elections in support of Christian and alt-right parties.*
My sudden intuition however, that Trump might indeed BE God, was based on a recollection of a conversation I once had with my ex-wife, who impressively has a Master’s in Eastern Philosophy, concerning the curious individual in the Old Testament, known to us as Yahweh.
She pointed out a number of things the Bible records about him, that one might now reconsider in light of Trump’s known beliefs and behaviours. Here are three, plus one for luck:
First, he had an unusual diet. Like Trump and his overdone steaks, Yahweh needed a constant, high-carbon diet of burnt meat offerings to keep him going. Like Trump and his overdone steaks.
Secondly, like Trump, Yahweh demanded total obedience and loyalty from his acolytes. He liked to be waited on, hand and foot. “Be still, and know that I am God!” Yet, like Trump, he had a contemptuous attitude towards those who genuflected to him.
Thirdly, Yahweh insisted that Moses’ brother Aaron, whom he selected to be his Chief of Staff, should wear a covering made of gold in his presence. Gold, as my ex-wife pointed out, is better than lead as a shield against ionizing radiation. Like Trump, Yahweh was toxic to anyone who came near him.
And another point, Yahweh appears to have possessed something like a battlefield nuclear weapon, with which he could smite whole armies; evaporating them in a single strike. Mr Trump has lots of those at his disposal, especially now he has abrogated the Intermediate Weapons treaty with Russia.
We jointly concluded from these and other nuggets that the Biblical description of how this domineering – demanding – and thoroughly selfish, self-regarding, malignant narcissist imposed itself as The One True God on the unsophisticated and deeply superstitious tribes of Israel, just as Trump has imposed his divinity on the poor, deluded dumbfucks at his MAGA rallies, may well be the only historical record we have of an actual alien visitation.
Let me add one further observation of my own.
My ex-wife’s take on the “burning bush” out of which Yahweh first spoke to Moses was that any Sci-fi addict would recognize a portal surrounded by a glowing energy field; while any semi-savage, illiterate, desert-dwelling nomad would naturally allegorize it as a “burning bush”.
I can easily see too, however, that any Big Brother, Love Island or The Apprentice addict would immediately conclude that what to a primitive herdsman would have been allegorized as Yahweh’s “burning bush” could equally well have been a TV screen, or a projection.
Maybe the same one from which the Orange Godhead speaks to his deplorables through his Chosen Servants: disciples Hannity, Ingraham, Coulter, Pirro, Carlson and the rest of the Trumpsuckers of Fox and Friends, forerunners of the priestly caste of Apostles who will preside over the new deserts and ruins of the post-Trumpian era after the Orange One is taken aloft by Executive Order.
When a French chef has a meltdown, it’s serious. M. Marc Veyron of La Maison des Bois in the Haute Savoie has demanded to be removed altogether from the Michelin guide after losing one of his coveted stars, which, he says, has left him in a state of depression for the past six months. Interviewed for Le Monde, M. Veyron went off on one, as they say:
“They dared to say that we put cheddar in our soufflé of réblochon, beaufort and tomme! They have insulted our region; my employees were furious. When we have eggs from our chickens, milk from our cows, and two botanists collect our plants every morning! They know absolutely nothing about cooking! … Let them put on an apron and get in the kitchen! We are waiting. Let them show us what they know how to do … they’re basically amateurs. They couldn’t cook a decent dish!” (and so on, for several paragraphs, in which M. Veyron expressed the opinion that the Michelin men hadn’t actually visited his premises at all.)
The Guide replied they were sorry he was upset, but they would continue to recommend his restaurant as long as their expert inspectors did so. (Guardian)
Fore! No, five!
Several children’s charities have pulled out of a fundraising event sponsored by a strip club, after discovering that the highlight of the evening was to be an auction of naked or nearly naked women to the male donors in the room.
The women were to act as “caddies” for the men. Oh yes, did we forget to mention, this was at Donald Trump’s southern Florida golf club, Doral? The event has been cancelled. (TYT/Slate)
Federal authorities are fining Facebook $5 billion for their part in the Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal when, in advance of the 2016 US elections and of the Brexit referendum, over 90 million Facebook profiles were exploited for political purposes by the UK-based company run by Steve Bannon and funded by billionaire disruptor, Robert Mercer and his daughter.
Most people seem to regard the fine – less than one month’s revenue – as a mere slap on the wrist, given the enormity of the offence. The FCA committee voted 3-2 on a Republican majority against Democratic objections that the fine was meaningless. Other suits are pending against Facebook over the breach of confidentiality, so it might cost them more in the long run, and there are moves by the antiTrust committee in Congress to have the giant IT corporations broken up, but for now they seem free to carry on as normal.
Odd, then, that US authorities are threatening dire reciprocal action over new French moves to ensure that companies like Facebook pay taxes on their local sales, rather than on the tiny profits they declare in other, lower-tax regimes where they register shell companies.
Or maybe not so odd: America First!
GW: It’s raining, Hamburgers
Europe: Your granny finds it difficult to follow-up these Severe-weather.eu reports as they have cut right back on editorial content lately, but the forecast on 09 July for north central Italy, up through the Balkans, into western Russia and across to Georgia and northern Turkey, was for supercell storms bringing high winds, heavy rain – hailstones up to 3-in. in diameter; and it is far from the first of its kind this year. Among the consequences:
- 6 tourists and a fisherman have been killed and dozens of people injured in a fierce storm in northern Greece, that ripped a caravan and a restaurant apart. Strong winds and hail hit the Halkidiki region near the city of Thessaloniki late on 10 July. Television footage showed overturned cars, fallen trees, torn roofs and mudslides. The freak storm lasted about 20 minutes. Temperatures had soared to 37C (98.6F) over the past two days. (Guardian)
- An extremely severe thunderstorm hit Pescara (Abruzzo, central Italy) in the afternoon of 10 July. The thunderstorm produced very large to giant hail, with hailstones up to 15 cm (6-in.) in diameter, severe straight line winds and intense flash floods. (Severe-weather.eu)
- Up to 160mm of rain fell in a few hours in NE Spain on 08 July, causing flash floods in the Navarre region. I person drowned, and “the regional government said the material damage was far-reaching. The N-121 road between Pamplona and Tudela was washed out. Rail transport was also interrupted, as was power supply to thousands of homes.” (Floodlist)
- Accuweather reports: “A strong storm struck Venice, Italy, on 7 July, creating mayhem for cruise ships attempting to dock. 60 mph winds flung lounge mattresses and other furniture about aboard the cruise ship Azamara Pursuit and another ship, the Costa Deliziosa, had a close call with a dock in the high winds.”
- While parts of Britain are facing almost a month’s worth of rain in the space of a couple of hours. The Met Office has issued a storm warning for much of Scotland and the north of England, with possibly life-threatening flooding on 11 and 12 July. (BBC)
China: In an Accuweather report on 03 July that we missed: A very rare tornado struck northeast China’s Liaoning Province on Wednesday, causing significant damage and killing at least 6 people. Almost 200 were injured as the powerful storm devastated an industrial zone of Kaiyuan, destroying buildings and throwing cars in the air. There were also reports of people trapped in the rubble of a collapsed factory.
Elsewhere, flooding continues as heavy rain persists over Shangxi province and a warning is out for the mighty Yangtse River to overflow. Evidence that rainfall is intensifying comes from the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief. Since the start of the annual flood season this year, they report, a total of 279 rivers in 17 provinces were struck by floods above-warning level, 50 percent higher than that of the same period in any year since 1998. (UN ReliefWeb)
India: 3 people are now known to have died as rivers overflow and floodwaters continue to rise in Assam; almost a quarter of a million people are affected in over 500 villages, while 13 thousand Ha of agricultural land is underwater. Down south, a special train has been delivering drinking water to the city of Chennai, which has run out. Patchy monsoon rains have failed to recharge the city’s reservoirs.
Nepal: “Monsoon rain in Nepal has destroyed buildings and caused flooding and landslides, leaving dozens dead or missing and hundreds displaced in several districts of the country, including the capital Kathmandu. As of 13 July, at least 29 people have died, 14 are missing and 24 injured. Hundreds of people have been displaced after their homes were damaged or destroyed.” (Floodlist)
Pakistan: A “glacial lake outburst” occurred in the remote Golen valley in Chitral District on 07 July. No fatalities were reported but the flooding has wiped out roads and bridges, leaving communities cut off and tourists stranded. Relief supplies are being air-dropped. Flooding has also damaged homes, farmland and power infrastructure. (From Floodlist)
Bangladesh: tens of thousands of people including many Rohingya refugees in border camps have been affected by severe flooding. “Rivers in at least 9 locations are at or above danger level, and 2 rivers in the east and south-east are at severe level (more than 1 metre above flood stage).” (Floodlist)
Russia: The extensive floods around Irkutsk in Siberia are continuing, but the death toll previously reported as 170 seems to have been revised to 23 (various sources). 8 others remain missing.
Australia: Queensland in the subtropical north has seen snow again for the first time in 4 years, while in the east, Sydney has been battered by severe windstorms now moving towards Perth. Three “pulses” of polar air in quick succession are forecast to bring cold, high winds and heavy rain to the south of the country and Tasmania. (Accuweather/News.au)
USA: Dozens of people had to be rescued from vehicles and flooded homes after record rain – up to 6.5-in. – caused rivers to rise rapidly in areas around Washington DC on 08 July. Storm cells are persisting over the NE. To the south, New Orleans had almost 6-in. of rain in 3 hours, with flash floods on 10 July, as Tropical Storm Barry grows offshore in the Gulf.*
There’s little sign of historic floods abating across three states of the midwest. The year to the end of June was the wettest 12-month span in US records since 1895 (Wunderground). Mr Trump has issued a bizarre speech hailing himself as a champion of the environment.
Updates: “Parts of Pennsylvania saw over 4 inches (101.6mm) of rain on 11 July, triggering flash floods and mudslides. Two people reportedly died after their vehicle was swept away by flood waters.” (Floodlist) Tropical Storm Barry is expected to “achieve a Cat 1 hurricane status by the time it comes ashore at the mouth of the Mississippi, 13 July. A state of emergency is declared in New Orleans” as 10 to 15-in. of rain (with “pockets” of 20 to 25-in. – Wunderground) is anticipated on top of last week’s flooding. (CNN)
*Dr Masters at Wunderground points out: as Tropical Storm Barry intensifies, the storm surge pushing up into New Orleans could meet the flood stage of the Mississippi coming down and potentially overtop the levees protecting the city.
Mexico: 7 people died when a house was swept away in a mudslide during heavy rain over Pueblo province.
Boglington-on-Sea: Your Granny W. was delighted to observe an unusual “rainbow” event the other evening when, at about 8pm, with the sun thinking about setting, two small clouds on either side of it began glowing with colours. Above them, jet trails had mixed with thin stratus cloud to form a curious, regular criss-cross pattern. The larger of the two then parted to allow a laser-like beam of white light to strike through it, as the area immediately around the hole glowed brightly, red, blue and green. The effect lingered for about ten minutes while I cursed myself silently for having left my phone at home.
Hurricanes: Your Granny has been asking myself why there has not yet been any sign of a hurricane event in the west Atlantic/Caribbean theatre, five weeks into the season.
It appears that the bizarre antics of the jetstream have created so much upper-level wind “shear” that the right atmospheric circulation cannot form – proto-storms are simply shredded before they can start to organize. While the sea is easily warm enough, 4C above the 26C level at which hurricanes form, there is so much Saharan dust in the atmosphere that it’s not wet enough aloft to make rainclouds.
Unexpected benefits there from a warming Arctic.
Wildfires: In Alaska during just the month of June wildfires emitted 50 million tonnes of CO2, as much as Sweden emits in an entire year.
Sweden. Who knew? Sweden!
Bee minus: The US Environment Protection Agency is reportedly about to license the use of yet another pesticide banned in some countries, despite research showing it may prevent bees from breeding. Sulfoxaflor is produced by Dow AgroSciences and sold under the ominous brand names Closer and Transform. (Guardian)
It comes as no surprise that the EPA is favorable towards yet another environmentally damaging industrial product from this industrial giant. Notoriously, in 2017 then-Director, Scott Pruitt, pushed through a re-license for another Dow product, Chlorpyrifos – overturning an Obama-administration ban – despite its known dangers. Harvard University reported:
“The most disconcerting effect of chronic exposure to chlorpyrifos is its potential to impair children’s developing brains.
Most Americans probably contain Chlorpyrifos, as it’s been widely used for years in household products too. Its effect on adults is to impair cognitive function, which might explain a lot. Oh, and in passing, the Harvard report mentions without a trace of irony: it “is also widely used in non-agricultural settings like golf courses”….
In case any evidence should emerge that Sulfoxaflor is a bee colony depletor, the Guardian reports, the agriculture department, which claims to protect pollinators, also recently suspended data collection for its Honey Bee Colonies survey. Commercial beekeepers reported a further 40 per cent collapse in colony numbers last year.
A 2018 report (among other sources) claimed:
“The Trump administration has had plenty of contact with Dow and DuPont. Last year, Dow Chemical bluntly asked the Trump administration to “set aside” research showing three of the organophosphate pesticides it manufactures pose threats to endangered species in letters obtained by the Associated Press.
“The request came after Dow donated $1 million to fund Trump’s inauguration ceremony.” (Sorry, reference source mislaid.)
Given that coal barons, the late Chris Cline (killed last month in a helicopter crash near his home in the Bahamas) and Robert E Murray both coincidentally donated $1 million to this mysterious Trump “inauguration fund”, and were the immediate beneficiaries of Executive Orders loosening restrictions on the mining industry, it would appear that the price of a favorable Government ruling on environmentally damaging activities and bee-killing products has been fixed.
Trump’s “inaugural fund” continued to attract industry cash long after the actual inauguration, and is being investigated by the Attorney General for the Southern District of New York as $50 million of it remains unaccounted for. It was certainly not spent on Mr Trump’s underwhelming inauguration celebrations.