Trump in the dock… On the up. And then the down… We believe this job may be of interest to you… GW: Ain’t nothin’ but a whole lot of somethin’ goin’ on… Old King Coal.

Quote of the Week

“…you can’t expect people to think about the end of the world when they are worried about the end of the month.” – Guardian Comment on the riots in France.

 

“The number of people in England aged 45 and above admitted with a drug-related mental and behavioural disorder has soared 85% over the last decade.” (BBC)

And you thought we baby boomers were such squares!

 

“If you’re going to kill people, Mr Salman, I wish you would do it more discreetly. Can I recommend a program of benefits reform?”

 

Trump in the dock

STOP PRESS: “Maryland and Washington attorneys general have armed themselves with more than 30 subpoenas approved by a federal judge, and everyone will find out how the president has profited or potentially profited personally.” – says one independent, probably not very reliable web source tonight, 05 Dec.

No-one else seems to be reporting it but we do know the Southern District court of New York has been pursuing lines of inquiry suggested by the FBI’s trawl of documents and recordings taken from Trump’s bagman, Michael Cohen.

The subpoenas can force the evidence to be produced in court, relating to Trump’s egregious breaches of the Emoluments clauses, whereby his businesses have profited from government patronage during his tenure; into his illicit foreign business ventures, and into widely reported financial abuses involving personal use of his and family members’ charity Foundations.

The stony faces of former Presidents and their wives as they took their places along from the Trumps at the funeral of that old monster, George Bush, spoke volumes. And, in the wake of the heavily redacted account of General Flynn’s 19 sessions with the Mueller team, recommending he be not imprisoned*, Fox News contributor yesterday admitted, wide-eyed, that there might be “something in the Mueller investigation” after all… And nobody on the panel contradicted her.

The ex-CIA man, Bush had at least managed to look and sound like a grownup President while he was laying the foundations 33 years ago for the Nicaraguan migrant caravans today, laundering money through Iran to arm the Contra rebels, promoting the cocaine trade and slaughtering possibly 3 thousand Panamanian civilians just to remove his own embarrassing drugs mule, General Noriega.

While to Bush we can owe the ludicrous belief Trump clings to, that tackling climate change will cost American jobs.

May he rot, quite frankly.

 

*I can’t help wondering if the different treatment Mueller is recommending for Flynn, a former 2-star general, whom he has said need not go to jail; and Cohen, a street-fighting mafia ‘soldier’ for the Trump family, who he thinks should get three years, both of whom co-operated, is purely a piece of snobbery from the Purple-heart decorated former marine?

 

On the up. And then the down.

Many science reporters with perhaps a less than dedicated calling or much understanding of the facts are still giving the false impression that carbon dioxide emissions somehow stopped between 2013 and 2016, giving us pause for relief.

Of course they didn’t! The rate of increase may have slowed owing to the global recession, but we continued adding 37 billion tonnes to the atmosphere during those 4 years; the average increase in concentration remained constant at 3.6 parts per million per annum.

Now, it seems, CO2 has come roaring back in 2018, with emissions set to increase this year by 2.6%. That’s another 10.6 ppm – THREE TIMES the average annual increase!

“The rise is due to the growing number of cars on the roads and a renaissance of coal use and means the world remains on the track to catastrophic global warming. However, the report’s authors said the emissions trend can still be turned around by 2020, if cuts are made in transport, industry and farming emissions” – Guardian.

What utter piffle! The trend cannot be “turned around” in a little over a year without somehow sucking billions of tonnes of carbon out of the air and sea at a rate greater than the amount being added. The gas remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years: another 2C is already built-in. Cuts are not going to be made, quite the opposite! an increasing number of governments have just decided, fuck it. The dead can’t vote.

The reporting betrays a complete inability to understand the mechanisms that are threatening abrupt climate change: a phrase that in itself conceals a greater truth which nobody seems to want to hear.

Mercifully, car sales in Britain are 7% down this year. Smoke, however, is up. (Evocative image: Michel Euler/AP)

Other reports at the UN conference in Katowice suggest that in the three years since the Paris agreement was signed, financial institutions have invested more than $478bn in the world’s top 120 coal plant developers. Emissions from China (4.7%), India (6.3%) and the US (2.5%) have led the increase. The Paris accords, according to a University of East Anglia paper, will not keep warming below 3C. A drop in particulate pollution due to cleaner industries may trigger a runaway warming effect as skies clear.

The BogPo remarks that a more immediate threat still may be species co-collapse. We have lost 60% of wild mammal populations and 75% of insect populations in forty years. The same causes are already affecting human populations, according to the WHO; and are only tangentially related to the threat of warming. If human extinction is the powder keg, the fuse is already alight.

 

A colony of 1mm-long nematode worms (Caenorhabditis elegans) has had to miss the trip of a lifetime, aboard the international space station. Owing to a day’s delay in launching the SpaceX rocket, caused by the discovery of some mouldy food, the worms are now “too old” to be of experimental value.

I know just how they feel!

 

We believe this job may be of interest to you:
Live-in/Live-Out Nanny in St John’s Wood, London
Location: UNITED KINGDOM, St John’s Wood
Salary: Not specified

Now, there is a reason, believe it or not, why this popped into my mailbox today, after months of inactivity on the labor front.

I was, for several years, in what you might call domestic service. In the latter part, when I anticipated redundancy on completion of a project to convert the haunted mansion I rattled around in into an upmarket hotel, I put my impressive CV and references about any number of specialised agencies employing dreadful, lazy Australian temps in snooty parts of London, looking for similar work.

The likelihood of finding a job in which the employer expected someone to do everything from gardening and maintenance to business planning, financial management, making beds, serving at table, clearing up sick after functions and cooking for guests seemed pretty slim. Indeed, I seldom bothered to apply, not being a “couple”, the arrangement the wealthy prefer.

So after eight years of fishing entirely unsuccessfully for what is nowadays quite well-remunerated work, often with free accommodation in agreeable surroundings and the chance to drive top-end expensive cars and shiny red lawn tractors, I gave up the unequal struggle and retired to my tiny cottage on a main arterial road in the thunderous outskirts of a busy seaside town, to await Death’s final knock.

As the years have sped by, just one organization has continued from time to time to send me little reminders of what I’ve been missing: the 168-hour weeks, the underlying suspicion that I’m embezzling the expenses; such as the note above, enquiring after my interest in situations they regularly advertise, and that is The Lady magazine.

And I have quite lost count of the times I have emailed back, pointedly asking them to desist.

You may imagine, I am not really interested in working as a nanny in St John’s Wood; even if the lady of the house could be persuaded to take on a 69-year-old single man with no relevant training or experience (beyond raising two kids of my own) and a large dog with strange amber eyes at heel; someone who, to judge by his current situation, grizzled beard, appetite for wine and state of dishevelment, is probably on an offender management program.

He isn’t, but you know what I mean. I several times encountered baffled hostility when applying for domestic “couple” jobs: no mere male could possibly cook, clean and wash-up, or cope with delicate fabrics – and at the same time be trusted to clean the gutters, maintain the boiler, unemotionally shag the mistress from time to time and drive a Bentley.

And, of course, yet again, I receive no reply or acknowledgment of my request. To them, I don’t exist. I am a ghost in the machine: a randomized pick for the occasional, totally inappropriate position.

There’s a peculiar form of reverse snobbery: as I am, I should possibly mention, quite posh myself, although from the “wrong side of the blanket”, determinedly Socialistic and latterly fallen on hard times – something they hate as it reminds them where they may end up themselves one day.

 

God’s thumbprint? Or an unusual energy ripple – such as have been reported recently emanating from Mayotte, an island off the northern tip of Madagascar, travelling at 900 mph all around the world at a depth of 6.2 miles?

GW: Ain’t nothin’ but a whole lot of somethin’ goin’ on

The final statistic from the two major California wildfires last month, the Camp and Woolsey fires, is 91 dead, with 25 still missing in the Paradise area; 18,800 homes destroyed, a total bill of around $18 billion. 15 of the 20 largest and most destructive fires on record in California have occurred since 2002. Wunderground estimates, this year’s fires in California have pumped an extra 15% more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the state usually emits in a year.

USA: And it’s back to Arctic conditions for the eastern seaboard and midwest through into next week. “In areas from the mountains of North Carolina to parts of Virginia, this will be a major storm with the potential for a foot or more of snow,” according to AccuWeather. Further south is expected to receive a coating of dangerous ice, bringing down power lines and disrupting schools and transport.

China: Accuweather reports, a corresponding “surge of arctic air will dive southward across eastern Asia in the coming days, bringing the coldest weather in nearly 10 months to parts of China and the Korean Peninsula. A mild autumn and start to December will come to a bone-chilling end on Thursday as bitterly cold air descends on Beijing and northeast China.” (Accuweather)

Australia: the brutal Queensland heatwave has been temporarily distracted by heavy downpours from ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen, threatening to drop between 2 and 8 inches of rain on coastal areas between Cairns and Mackay. “Strong winds, coastal flooding and rough surf will batter the Queensland coastline through this weekend, creating hazardous conditions.” (Accuweather)

India: Accuweather reports “Air pollution continues to be a major concern across New Delhi and other locations across northern India as little improvement is expected into next week. Despite efforts to limit pollution emissions such as heavy truck bans, reducing construction projects and shutting down power plants, pollution levels have continued to climb across the region and pose a serious risk to millions of people.”

Turkey: a slow-moving low is expected to dump up to 30cm (10-in) of rain, locally maybe more, over southern Turkey, Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean over the next three days, to Friday night. Extensive flooding is anticipated. A casual glance at the Google homepage for “Turkey rain” shows at least three extreme rainfall events with damaging floods already this year.

 

Old King Coal

Katowice: Bob Henson, of The Weather Underground, has a sobering essay on the contribution of coal to global warming in 2018, pointing out:

“The irony is running thick this week as coal—the most climate-unfriendly of fossil fuels, and an energy source in decline—finds itself in the spotlight. The 24th annual United Nations Conference of Parties (COP24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is meeting this week and next in the city of Katowice in southern Poland, a region where coal remains a dominant force in the local economy.

“And on Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose loosening regulations for new coal plants, at a time when global demand for coal is sagging year after year. In his opening remarks, Polish president Andrzej Duda struggled to reconcile the fact that coal use is at loggerheads with a world moving toward carbon-free energy.”

http://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Coal-Fights-Life-UN-Holds-Climate-Meeting-Polands-Coal-Country?cm_ven=cat6-widget

“…the world has yet to fully grapple with the enormous pressure to use fossil fuel reserves that are already far more than enough to push the world well beyond 2°C of warming over preindustrial conditions, which would raise the odds of catastrophic climate-change impacts”, writes Henson, who goes on to point out that only two carbon capture and storage – “clean coal” – experimental sites are working anywhere in the world, but instead of storing the CO2 it’s being used to pressurize nearby oil wells!

And, of course, with a former coal company lobbyist in charge at the US Environmental Protection Agency, the cynical Trump administration is going all-out to maximise the role of coal in energy generation. As Henson says, “Just when leaders from around the globe are meeting in Poland to hash out a path for implementing the Paris Agreement, it’s hard to imagine a more perverse, or paradoxical, message for the U.S. to send to the world.”

Actually, I can think of a few more.

 

That sinking feeling…

Some parts of the city of Tehran, capital of Iran, are sinking into the ground at the alarming rate of 10 inches a year, according to scientists at Potsdam university. The problem appears to be overextraction, causing the roof of the water table to collapse.

Subsidence could become an increasing problem for large conurbations like Mexico City, your Gran supposes, as increasing drought in those latitudes dries out ground and agriculture requires more water for irrigation.

 

 

 

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The Pumpkin – Issue 71: The strange crime of Paul Manafort… Lax financial regulation… Ha!… GW: Has it all blown over yet?

“Er, Houston, we have a problem… (bleep) stowaway on board… (bleep) says his name’s Musk…”

NASA successfully lands InSight probe on Mars

 

“Donald Trump has apparently succeeded in scamming the supposedly cast-iron Purple Heart ex-marine, Mueller; a minor victory that will undoubtedly give him great satisfaction as he shuffles bald-headed to the latrine to empty his night soil, avoiding the gaze of large negroes.”

The strange crime of Paul Manafort

Just when you thought the Trump presidency was running out of the most appalling words and deeds and mispunctuated Twitter characters, and the Orange Panda was losing touch with reality as the Mueller investigation closes in on him and his family, comes time to think again.

There is no bottom to the man.

The most astonishing twist yet in the whole “collusion” saga has emerged in the last three days, when NBC News reported that they’d received a bunch of papers, apparently authentic documents from inside the Mueller investigation; which, to date, has been as tight as a duck’s ass when it came to leaks.

(You may wish to regard this entire narrative as imaginative fiction, since I’ve certainly been putting together the twos I have been gleaning from the American media today to make five, and then some.)

The papers were an informal survey of potential indictments and a prospective plea-bargain relating to the minor crimes of one Jerome Corsi, a peripheral bit-player in the campaign saga, another self-publicizing has-been-or-never-was, but a claimed contact of the reptilian Republican party fixer and longtime Trump dirty-tricks specialist, Roger Stone.

Corsi had it seems agreed to become a Mueller “grass”, compromised by Mueller because he had information that Stone was in frequent contact with Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, in London during the months before Wikileaks published the missing Clinton emails, that were hacked by Russian intelligence; and that Stone had tried to intercede on Assange’s behalf with the Ecuadorian government.

(Shitsplaining: Self-promoting whingeing narcissist Assange is in voluntary incarceration as an inconvenient political refugee in the basement of the Ecuadorian embassy, where he’s been holding court to the global disruptor community (and the foolish Pamela Anderson) for the past six years.*)

It was possible evidence linking Stone both to Russia and to Trump.

But suddenly, last week Corsi seems to have changed his mind about spilling everything he knew to Mueller, and instead made public the details of his arrangement with the FBI – and, more pertinently, the questions and issues that he knew from his interrogations that Mueller was most interested in. A move said to be unprecedented in US legal history.

It was information that has apparently already gotten back to the White House via Corsi’s and Trump’s lawyers, enabling Trump to lean on a few minor facts in order to tweet evermore furiously the story that the Mueller investigation is in disarray and fake news and a WITCH HUNT and all the rest of the cheeseburger-flavored smoke he’s been generating for almost two years, to try to make the horrid bad man go ‘way.

Who ordered the papers to be leaked so openly to NBC – Trump’s supposedly least favorite failing fake news channel? And why?

So, anyway, now it gets murkier still.

You’ll have heard the name Paul Manafort, in the news. Manafort (69, tall, confidently bulky, dyed hair, self-satisfied pug-eyed expression, expensive suits) had for a couple of decades involved his PR consultancy with shady political campaigns in Ukraine; being responsible, among other dirty tricks, for the demonization of former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko – gaoled in 2011 on probably trumped-up corruption charges – and the election as President of the now-deposed Putin crony and massive kleptocrat, Viktor Yanukovitch.

He was also deeply embedded with organized crime figures and other Putin oligarchs in Russia, billionaires seeking influence and the lifting of personal sanctions; and was paid many millions of dollars for his work, which seems to have involved a lot of money laundering and sheltering of illicitly obtained funds through offshore shell companies.

And Manafort was also present at the crucial 09 June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with the Kremlin lawyer Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump Jr, Kushner and two other Russians, both with connections to money laundering and Russian intelligence. Shortly after which, Trump referred for the first time at an election rally to Clinton’s missing emails, and openly called on Russia to find them. Then, in July, Trump appointed Manafort as chairman of his election campaign – later claiming he barely even knew the man. (The FBI is now looking into a trove of “late-night” phone calls between the two.)

That was a lie, wasn’t it.

Seeking to establish connections between Trump and the Kremlin, Mueller and the FBI zeroed in on Manafort, and earlier this year indicted him on many charges, including failing to declare the income from his work in Russia, and bank fraud – the latter relating to a $10 million loan Manafort obtained from an obscure bank, on a promise that he would persuade Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and Senior White House advisor, to appoint the manager of the bank to the lucrative post of Secretary for the Army. (It was a con – he didn’t. And he never repaid the money.)

The loan was ostensibly for the purpose of repaying other money Manafort had previously offered to invest on behalf of a Russian oligarch, Constantin Kalymnik – a Putin crony with suspected links to organized crime. Instead, Manafort had pocketed the money to fund his expensive taste in “ostrich-skin jackets” and his collection of apartments in New York.

All this emerged from the first of two scheduled trials, at which Manafort had unexpectedly pleaded not guilty – even though Mueller had him bang to rights, as they say. The jury duly deliberated, and found him guilty on eight counts – enough to put him away for the rest of his life.

Manafort then cheerfully entered the prison system to await sentence, where he’s being kept in solitary confinement for his own protection. But soon seemed to drop his tough-guy “no co-operation” stance and agreed a plea deal with Mueller to make the second trial go away and the possible life sentence be reduced in exchange for spilling everything he knew about the Trumps, Russia, Wikileaks and collusion.

Two days ago, however, a furious Mueller wrote to the court demanding the judge now execute the sentences for the original guilty verdicts and bring about the second trial, as (after giving him 10 days to rethink his statement) he had concluded that Manafort had been telling the investigators a pack of lies.

Warning: Here we enter the realms of speculative fiction.

Why would Manafort have spent two months pulling the wool over Mueller’s eyes, knowing that if found out, he would spend several more lifetimes behind bars? Lying to the FBI and obstructing justice are serious crimes in America.

Mueller has so far indicted some 32 co-conspirators, including a number of Russians he can’t get at; nevertheless, he has enough detail in the case to be able to compare notes and tell when someone is feeding him a plate of rotten fishheads. Surely, Paulie was living on borrowed time?

The key prosecution witness had either gone crazy, commentators said, or there must be a deeper motive.

Look at it this way.

Trump has the power of issuing Presidential pardons, but he’s mentally a mobster, basing his business methods on bad stuff taught to him by his mentor, the mob lawyer Roy Cohn. He may not really be a “made man”, as they call members of the mafia who come from outside the tight-knit crime families; nevertheless he’s done bidness with a few, and likes to behave like a mob boss himself.

Such a man would rather murder, than pardon anyone who snitches on them. So we can conclude that he would not even be considering pardoning the crimes of Paul Manafort if he believed for one second that Manafort had really spilled his guts to the FBI about Trump’s collusion with the Russians.

The only way Manafort could get out of his extreme predicament would be by serving the interests of the mob boss in the Oval Office: doubling-down on his many crimes by flim-flamming the Russia investigation; pretending to hold a weak hand; presenting a reasonably convincing false narrative to his interrogators, misdirecting them and causing as much delay and confusion as possible; ensuring he would be kept close to the team.

You know how a Lapwing evades its predators, by feigning weakness?

As a prosecution witness, by that “not guilty” plea and then the guilty verdicts making himself seem vulnerable and open possibly to turning informant, Manafort had cleverly managed to insert himself on the inside of the tightly controlled Mueller team, and – like Corsi – his plan was to feed through his lawyers, information about the investigation back to the White House, earning himself a full pardon for his crimes.

In fact, it was Corsi’s recantation of his plea bargain and the release of the documents that put the media onto the possibility of a connection with Mueller’s letter to the court, rescinding Manafort’s protected status. Was it the same plan? And have the written answers Trump gave last week to Mueller’s written questions possibly conflicted with something Manafort might have said?

The question now becomes: was Trump himself personally in on the act? How much did he know, and when? Was this his plan, to scupper the tightly controlled Mueller investigation by planting a man on the inside; making Mueller believe he was open to a juicy plea bargain? Well, as yet Trump has not described Manafort as “weak”, which is Trump code for “disloyal”, and applies in spades to “very weak” Cohen. We can take that as a clue.

Trump’s business history is littered with cleverly plotted scams that have reportedly netted him and his family millions of dollars over the years from so-called “pump & dump” schemes. The MO has been to schmooze the media throughout his career, to build a gilt-edged reputation for the Trump brand: the billionaire playboy/successful business mogul image, complete with a pumped-up blonde on each arm, that convinces his “marks” they’ll be adding value to their criminal money-laundering enterprises with a Trump or two on board.

These scams seem usually to be perpetrated in the so-called emerging nations; especially the former Soviet republics and other countries known for their corrupt politicians and businessmen, where the Trump brand of rackety glitz and bling is still regarded with some awe, still given currency by third-rate gangsters; where the Trump name on a hotel, casino or a leisure complex still guarantees the right kind of trade: punters willing to be fleeced!

Somehow, at some stage the projects all go belly-up and the Trumps walk away with the profits, protesting their complete innocence of any involvement beyond merely “licensing” the Trump name and sales of branded merchandise – for which he is also paid $millions by gullible local sleazeballs eager for the smell of Trump-flavored money to rub off on them.

But that’s just the small change. Without putting their name to the property deeds, the Trumps nevertheless “partner” the developers up until the point at which they walk away from the bankruptcy proceedings as beneficial owners of the company’s cash, which will have been long gone. But the deals always have total deniability. Funny, that.

Trump hustles, basically, crooks. He knows they’re the easiest marks; and that nobody much cares if he stiffs them. He doesn’t care where the money originally came from: in the case of a Trump-branded hotel in Baku, that never opened, it’s reported the source was a proscribed terrorist organization, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. A lot of his “partners” in these scams seem to wind up in gaol.

Here, however, the lifelong grifter had succeeded, albeit temporarily, in getting inside the Mueller camp to find out just what was going on, what evidence the squeaky-clean, poker-rigid Mueller has on him and his feral kids. And still it looks like his involvement may not have touched the sides: his legal team may carry the can. Weird old Granny Giuliani already appears to be in complete meltdown.

If it could be proved, though, it would … well, obstruction of justice barely covers it. It would be Trump’s Watergate moment multiplied a hundred times: a President of the United States conspiring with a convicted felon to sabotage a legally constituted Special Counsel inquiry into collusion with a foreign power to steal an election, abusing the presidential power of pardon to induce a witness to lie under oath? He would die in gaol; unless he in turn could count on a pardon from his Vice-President, Mike Pence – who is also reportedly now under investigation.

Trump has already been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of his former lawyer and bag-man, Michael Cohen, over misuse of election funds to bribe women to silence over affairs with Candidate Trump. Some of those funds are directly traceable to lobbyists for Russian business interests; other money came from corporations tricked into believing they were paying for privileged access to the Oval Office.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to everything. He’d like to see his kids again in this lifetime, and has spilled his guts to Mueller, principally about Trump’s already well-known business connections in Moscow, presumably the Agalarovs, and confirmed what we’ve all known for years, that Trump had an ambition to see his name on a Moscow hotel tower – but Putin has been blocking it. But is he lying too, for a pardon down the road?

Strangely, this story has come out today and is blocking further interest in the far more serious Manafort case. Overwhelmed with news, the US media is running around like a headless chicken with ADHD.

Not to mention, the New York Attorney-General’s office subpoenas alleging corruption within the Trump Organization and financial irregularities involving the Trump Foundation: none of which is in the power of the President to pardon.

The Manafort case however threatens to detonate a thousand barrels of gunpowder under the White House.

The insertion of a spy into the Mueller camp in this extraordinary way is the mark of a master con-man, used to strategizing the fraudulent acquisition of large sums of money by both quasi-legal and contra-legal methods. Donald Trump has apparently succeeded in scamming the supposedly cast-iron Purple Heart ex-marine, Mueller; a minor victory that will undoubtedly give him great satisfaction as he shuffles bald-headed in leg-irons to the latrine to empty his night soil, avoiding the gaze of large negroes.

But Trump surely cannot now pardon Manafort, Corsi and Cohen without revealing his tiny hand as a pervertor of the course of justice; has Paulie miscalculated? To protect himself and his grimy family, Trump’s only out now will be to let the former campaign chairman he barely knew rot in gaol – where he’s probably safest anyway, with so many angry Russians on his tail. But that will risk Manafort at some stage recanting his recantation….

Is Trump now completely screwed? It may be the return of Christmas, which the made-for-TV president promised his dumbfucks, what seems like a lifetime ago.

But don’t count your turkeys.

 

*Former CIA man, Malcolm Nance entertainingly describes how Assange has been hacking the computers of the staff at the embassy even while the Ecuadorians have been monitoring all his visitors and communications through British IT contractors. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgwegB34cGc It’s like the cartoon strip in Mad Magazine – Spy vs. Spy.)

 

“Why have I never made a penny when it seems so easy?”

Lax financial regulation

Company A and company B are both owned by Company C. Company A “borrows” $1.5 million from Company B. Company A “fails” to pay the money back and is sued by Company C.

Meanwhile, Company B borrows $1.6 million from a genuine investor to cover the loss and the loan is guaranteed by Company C which will pay when it gets its money back through the court, where a case is pending. (The odd $100 thousand goes to whoever as useful expenses, presumably. You know, brokerage.)

But when the investor politely requests the return of the loan, Company B is in liquidation. So the investor sues Company C. And the court finds that as there is a prior unresolved case between Company C and Company A, over money owed by the bankrupt Company B, the investor cannot sue Company C, which then makes off with the money.

Simples? Especially when the owner of Company C, and hence presumably Companies A & B, is linked with a business partner of Ivanka Trump.

Those Trumps, a magical name yet so unlucky in their business partners. I put it down to them being quite poor judges of character.

The Pumpkin is neither an accountant (he can’t afford one, either!), nor a grift specialist, thus he apologises profusely to everyone concerned, or unconcerned, if his simple take on some bad business that is described in much greater detail by Ben Shreckinger in GQ Magazine is confused and unhappy.

However if things are much as outlined above, it would be a classic “pump & dump” confidence trick.

Wouldn’t it? Oh dear, why have I never made a penny when it seems so easy?

In the meantime, GQ readers have also learned from Mr Shreckinger, a court acting for the Emirati-owned Commercial Bank of Dubai has quietly issued a subpoena to a company called Madison Avenue Diamonds, which traded until recently as Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, alleging that they may be unwitting accomplices to a fraud. Quite a large one, actually.

It seems that $100 million of diamonds may have been bought from a dealer in Israel by a pair of Dubai oil traders to conceal financial assets they owed to the bank, passed through various offshore shell companies and made into jewelry which – the inference is – may or may not have passed through Madison Avenue/Trump Fine Jewelry, obviously without their knowledge or permission, obviously, and then been sold and the money returned to the borrowers sparkling clean, stiffing the bank: a classic case of money laundering, it’s said (I wouldn’t know, at my age I don’t wash very often).

The director of Madison Avenue Diamonds is a real-estate developer called Moshe Lax, who happens to be the friend who introduced Ivanka to her shiny husband, Jared Kushner. How so? because he was Ivanka’s business partner and thought the couple would be perfect for each other!

Things, as they say, eventually went sour, and Trump parted company with Lax just last year, many months after she took up an interesting but somewhat vague position as an adviser to her father in the White House; where she and Kushner are alleged to have made over $80 million together during President Trump’s first year in office, although how is not explained.

Lax, as I have poorly understood these matters, is or was or is somehow also connected with Company C. Or was it A? Or B? I’m so easily confused, it’s lucky I have no money to invest.

Now, I hope I’ve understood that right, because I’m not an accountant or a diamond specialist; although I once had a client in the costume jewelry business and she was as bent as a paste brooch clasp on a clumsy Edwardian dowager. It appears, anyway, that the diamond dealer had spent time in prison a few years ago on an unrelated matter. Sorry if I have misunderstood, it’s quite complicated. Actually that doesn’t seem all that relevant, I think they threw it in just to add to the general air of criminality. Sorry, where were we?

Now, Trump herself is apparently not accused of anything untoward, as she merely “licensed her name” to Lax’s company and no longer runs Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, which seems to have gone out of business, although she probably did at the time the $100 million disappeared into the global laundromat. (Where in connection with Trump Organization, I wonder, have we heard that before?) Lax himself has been accused of involvement in all sorts, extortion and so forth, but no-one is saying anything.

Except that a house in New York owned by someone or other connected with the deal got torched the other week, NYPD is “investigating”, and nobody will say anything about that either.

All v. mysterious.

Look, if you’re really interested, here’s the link: http://www.gq.com/story/ivanka-trump-jewelry-business

And good luck understanding it, because I may not have got it at all right and have been foolishly jumping to conclusions. Sorry, and all that. I never was any good with money.

 

“An old dog, me, but a tricksy one!”

Ha!

Matthew Hedges, the British student, has arrived back in England after being released under an Independence Day blanket pardon by Crown Prince Mohammed of Dubai; a stroke of good timing, as (much to the consternation of the Foreign Office) Mr Hedges had just been handed a 25-year sentence for spying.

I hesitated to put the word student in inverted commas, because I don’t want to be accused of churlishness or anti-British feeling so near to Christmas, but certain facts in the case as reported in UK media do rather suggest that Mr Hedges is as much a student as Jamal Khashoggi was a “journalist”.

In other words, while writing a PhD thesis about the Arab Spring and a monthly column in the Washington Post’s mid- section might qualify both men for the descriptions, the terms “student” and “journalist” probably tell only a small part of the story.

Yesterday, in his alternate persona as The BogPo’s UB, The Pumpkin wrote:

“Was there some tiny hint of a possible suggestion there, then, that Hedges was hoping to find out what, if any, shift in policy there may have been towards the UAE favoring China as a future trading partner, or some such possibility? Just speculatin’.”

Because it seemed to me that there wasn’t much else worth spying about, given that the UAE buys all their top gear from us and the Americans anyway.

And today, highly paid experts at the BBC write:

“Crown Prince Mohammed … has also developed his relationship with both Russia and China. The UK is in danger of losing its favoured status in the UAE unless it can demonstrate that it is both a useful and reliable ally.”

Ha! An old dog, me, but a tricksy one!

Now look, I am not going to fuck-up somebody’s life chances by slinging speculative assertions around, so don’t take this the wrong way, but Mr Hedges doesn’t look to me entirely like a student, if one is any judge of character. He looks quite grown-up, and two “facts” about him, mentioned by a spokesman for the Emirates on the BBC yesterday just as the formalities for his release were being tied-up, were that he is a) also a “businessman”, and b) he spent much of his earlier life living in Dubai.

Whether those facts are necessarily correct, or grounds for concluding that British foreign intelligence might consider someone with those three strings to their bow as a potential asset, either permanently or merely opportunistically, I have no idea. His wife says he doesn’t speak Arabic. I find that hard to believe. As a PhD student – a very advanced educational level – with a speciality in Arab affairs, and having lived in the UAE “off and on” from the age of 8, so we are told, it seems, well – shall we say – less than likely. Although my son gave up learning the language, finding the writing too squiggly.

But I’m just an old bloke sitting in a chair, the cold rain teeming down outside from a leaden sky, a fitfully gusting wind, still strapped to a bag, a hard plastic tube pressing uncomfortably on my grumbling prostate, who can’t get an appointment to have it looked at for another three months; becoming increasingly testy as another Christmas on my own hoves into view. (I’ve already bought my present.)

Pay no attention.

Oh, though, if I may be permitted one small observation:

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe remains incarcerated in an Iranian hellhole after more than two years apart from her young daughter and British family. One wonders, had she really been spying for MI6, might she too have been sprung by now?

 

It’s not happening

The father of Pump ‘n’ Trump schemes, as Inside Politics kind of dubbed him, is meanwhile blithely denying that there is a word of truth in the 1,400 pages of a report legally commissioned by his own administration from fourteen government agencies and compiled by some 300 climate scientists, painting a bleak picture of a future powered on continuing high-octane fossil fuel production.

Quoting the catchphrase of the great Victor Meldrew, of “One Foot in the Grave” fame, Trump trumpeted:

“I don’t believe it!”

That supine old fanny, the BBC thus informs us that Trump “cast doubt” on the report.

WTF? Trump is such an ignorant fucking pig he couldn’t “cast doubt” on whether the crap in his gold toilet is his or some other orange asshole’s. You actually have to know something to “cast doubt”, and he knows nothing at all. Nothing. His – and our – problem is, he’s so stupid, he doesn’t know he’s stupid.

Flat denial is not a doubt-casting argument. But the BBC is so mired in fear for its future it cannot any longer maintain even a semblance of objectivity when it comes to any story whose fair reporting might put it in bad with the hard-Brexit politicians who hate them and could come to power if May’s government collapses.

Those, that is, who haven’t clocked that Trump has also today poured cold water on prospects for a US-UK trade deal post-Brexit, something they are desperately relying on to justify the banality of their evil.

Remember his “beautiful” steel tariffs? Well, they’ve just cost 14.5 thousand General Motors blue-collar Trump-voting workers their jobs, with another 18 thousand “voluntary redundancies” in the pipeline, but who’s noticing when he comes out with stuff like this? Everything he does or says is calculated to cover-up the last dumb thing he said or did. The man literally farts a cloud of cheeseburger-flavored lies wherever he goes, that swirl about him and hide the truth:

He’s mentally incompetent.

As evidenced by what he then went on to say, which was that climate change was not the fault of the USA, which was “record clean”, but of all the other countries that are signed to the Paris accord, which are not.

In fact, while India and China have higher aggregate emissions, because they have four times the population, the US has the second highest per capita carbon footprint of any nation, behind only Saudi Arabia.

A record of cleanliness – a “clean sheet” so to speak – to be proud of.

But this is the moron who believes “clean coal” means you wash it before burning. And that raking the forest floor will prevent wildfires. Who chucks paper towels and frankfurters to please hurricane victims. Who doesn’t know how to operate an umbrella, or that the President is expected occasionally to show respect to dead US soldiers. Who often doesn’t recognise his own wife. A six-times bankrupt man with skidmarks on his golfing pants and toilet paper stuck to his fucking shoe.

So, from what he says, abrupt climate change is both real and it isn’t. That’s increasingly the binary universe Trump is weaving from quantum entanglements, a kind of “both…and” Heisenbergian uncertainty in which two opposing propositions can be equally true at the same time.

The President, among whose very first actions in office were to issue a series of executive orders removing controls on polluting emissions to air, land and water, permitting drilling in nature reserves and banning the publication of climate research, later gutting and defunding the agencies responsible by putting unqualified energy corporation lobbyists in charge of the environment, has forgotten all that. It never happened.

He finds no contradiction whatever, has no embarrassment at all in announcing to the assembled media gaggle (after, as he says, reading “some of the report”; The Pumpkin concurs that the title page may often provide a clue to the contents):

Right now we’re at the cleanest we’ve ever been and that’s very important to me. But if we’re clean, but every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good.

“So I want clean air, I want clean water, very important.”

Do you sort of get the feeling from that, that he didn’t really make it past fourth-grade? He certainly hasn’t read the report, as the cartoon version is yet to come out. It’ll be on the Christmas books pile when it does. He doesn’t believe it. Only he does. It’s a hoax, only it may not be, “some differences”….

It’s the method-acted Presidential certainty with which he makes the most illogical, inarticulate and uninformed pronouncements that really grates, knowing his dumbfucks will lap-up any smelly brown substance that dribbles from his rotting brain.

So now, go back to my fourth paragraph and take back your “I say, steady on! He IS the President of the United States after all… He must know what he’s talking about…. Let’s have a return to civilized discourse, old chap….”

Fuck that, matey. He’s a monstrous cretin, a deranged criminal ecocide, a caricature Mussolini and phoney game-show host, a lifelong business confidence trickster and serial adulterer beloved of slimy Evangelical Christians, who has to be removed from office immediately, before he kills us all with his ignorance, his stupid and fatuous lies.

If you have to pay him money to go, just do it. It can’t cost more than he does.

 

GW: Has it all blown over yet?

30 November sees the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season. The total of three Category 4 or greater hurricanes making landfall in the continental USA in the past two years is an all-time record. Michael was among the four strongest in history. Hurricanes seem to be changing their patterns and tracks, too. “Hurricane Leslie maintained hurricane status … to a location where no hurricane had ever been observed: just 200 miles west of Portugal. 3 hours after being declared post-tropical, ex-Hurricane )70 mph) Leslie made landfall on the coast. Damage was over $115 million, making Leslie one of their costliest wind storms on record.” (Wunderground)

USA: Winter Storm Bruce brought bone-chilling temperatures to parts of the eastern half of the United States over Thanksgiving last week. Once again the anomalies look kind of weird, it being much warmer than normal again over the far-western half with a sharp gradient inbetween the two systems. At least 21 low-temperature records were broken (CEWN #146), prompting Trump to ask what had happened to global warming? A stupid question he trots out every winter. Monday 26th, Chicago was locked-in by a fierce snowstorm: O’Hare was closed, and traffic became gridlocked as far west as Kansas City.

01 December: hundreds of households in burned areas of California are being mandatorily evacuated and roads closed as torrential rain causes flash-flooding and dangerous mudslides. (The Weather Channel)

Saudi Arabia: Powerful storms have once again brought flooding to the desert kingdom, with Mecca especially badly hit on 24 Nov. These countries are always in the news but you never hear about the many extreme weather events affecting the Middle East this year. (CEWN #146)

Greece: Reporting a bakeries federation warning that bread prices and other flour-based products are about to rise by up to 6.5%, a local source states: “Unprecedented weather conditions in Europe and America, combined with high temperatures, prolonged drought and heavy rainfall, have led to a large decline in the production of agricultural products such as grains… The daily adds that price increases of 20% have been already recorded in bread and goods based on flour in some European cities.” (Keep Talking Greece website)

Which is odd, because most wheat growing areas reported bumper harvests and lower prices this year. Except Australia, where the harvest was slashed by 50% owing to the long drought. Late soya harvests in the USA have been severely hit by the early onset of winter. Russian moves to close the waterway through the Azov sea could affect up to 2 million tonnes of grain exports from Ukraine. (AgriCensus)

Australia: two days after being covered in orange dust blown in from the outback, “Sydney has been deluged by the heaviest November rain it has experienced in decades, causing flash-flooding, traffic chaos and power cuts. Heavy rain fell throughout Wednesday, the city at one point receiving its average monthly rainfall in two hours. At least 2 deaths have been blamed on the storm.” (BBC News) The first week of December sees over 100 fires burning in Queensland, where temperatures are expected to be up in the mid-40sC, +100sF. A cyclone is possibly forming off the coast: the State premier has warned people to “expect anything”. (Guardian)

The Pumpkin – Issue 70: “What’s he gone and done now?”… And in other news… GW: This is getting silly… A bigger splash.

Quote of the WW1 century:

“…that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen” – Sir Nicholas Soames MP

“Hang on guys, is this rain? Did you order rain, Manny? You know I melt in the rain… can we go back in and watch TV?”

The Dead Can Wait

What’s he gone and done now?

Does any news report nowadays not begin with the dread-laden words: “President Donald Trump….”

Do our hearts not sink constantly as we ask ourselves, oh, right, what’s he gone and done now?

In the course of Saturday, 10 November, in The Year of Our Donald #3, he managed to upset the entire European national leadership, again, and half of the Americas by refusing to leave his hotel room for a ceremony to commemorate the US dead of the First World War, because it was raining.

In an earlier statement, he had managed to blame the Baltic States for starting the war. Thus collectively bewildering the assembled Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian leaders, as well as his grimacing Balkans-born wife.

And then he tweeted home that he was going to defund the California forestry service of “$billions”, whom he blames for a number of devastating wildfires that have killed possibly more than 200 of his own people and forced a quarter of a million to flee their homes – a caravan of refugees – in the past five days. Without either mentioning the victims, living and dead, or praising the firefighters.

The fires, as fire service chiefs and assorted weathermen have pointed out, have not much affected afforested areas under the management of the forestry service, but are on the whole brushfires in untended exurban areas of the most populous State, exacerbated by a season of unusually extreme drought and the hottest July to September months in 124 years. The cause of the devastating Camp Fire, for instance, is thought to have been the failure of a power line. It began in an area supposedly under federal management; not CalFire.

But we recall that he also blamed last year’s fires, including the one that destroyed much of the city of Santa Rosa, on the forestry service; so this is probably just a bad case of dèjá vu in a man whose diseased mind is clearly wandering.

The US administration has whined that at least Secretary of State Pompeo turned up at the ceremony, and it was Trump’s military-grade helicopter that couldn’t cope with the rain. It’s hard to find a taxi when it rains in Paris. Trump then announced he would also be a no-show at the Paris Peace Forum, which is run by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. Instead, he flew home. Significantly, so did Putin.

Trump is playing the blame game, again. He clearly has no interest in peace and international co-operation.

One might conclude that he is just a fat sack of tormented, pig-ignorant shitburger, totally unfit for office of any kind. Or one might agree with Sir Nicholas Soames MP, Tory party grandee, former Lieutenant, 11th Hussars, Equerry to HRH Prince Charles, and coincidentally Winston Churchill’s grandson, who (despite advancing years) also has a Twitter account, and knows how to use it. He wrote:

“They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen #hesnotfittorepresenthisgreatcountry.”

There’s a different school of thought that basically believes no man that is born of a woman, as opposed to being hatched from an addled egg or descended from a passing spaceship to ask directions to Tralfamadore, could possibly behave this way unless they were trying to distract our attention from some shittier, even darker purpose.

No-one, for instance, has mentioned since Friday, that he has appointed a Big Crook to the post of replacement Attorney-General, pro tem., after firing “weak” A-G Sessions for failing to protect him against the Russia Thing. No-one had ever imagined they would feel sympathy for the lying little Alabama racist, but people actually took to the streets in support.

A man about whom, on Wednesday, Trump was seen on many TV channels declaring was a great guy, he knew him personally… and then on Friday, was on many TV channels insisting with an equally straight face, betrayed by a somewhat hunted look, that he didn’t personally know the guy, he had never met him, but he came highly recommended.

It was left to Kellyanne Conway, who seems to have had her bags lifted, to explain on many channels that what the President meant was that he had known the man, but no longer did. And that his adverse views on the Russia Thing were irrelevant.

That was all very embarrassing. Constitutional lawyers were soon conscripted to argue that the man, “Matt” Whitaker, a ringer for Desperate Dan of The Beano, was obliged to recuse himself, as his predecessor Sessions had done, from the Mueller probe into the Russia Thing owing to his frequent blunt assertions that it was all a “witch hunt”, a hoax and an illegitimate misuse of Justice department time.

Words that came as music to the furry old ears of the President, who followed himself up with a rousing tirade against Mueller who, he wheedled, had not been approved by the Senate. Whitaker, he said, rolling the phrase around several times for emphasis, was Senate-approved. Mueller was not Senate-approved. So there. Whatever.

More constitutional lawyers then went over the top, blowing whistles, to opine that that was because there was no legal requirement for a federal prosecutor to come Senate-approved, like an egg with a quality stamp; whereas a deputy Attorney-General who looks more like an egg without a quality stamp, laid therefore under intolerable battery conditions, was a political appointee and required Senate approval.

Yet more constitutional lawyers then advanced in open-order, suggesting that merely nominating this “Russia-Thing denier” to a position of power over Deputy Attorney-General Rosenstein, who in turn has power over Special Counsel Robert Mueller, might amount in itself to illegal obstruction of justice. That’s the very charge Mueller is having to investigate beyond just the Russia Thing, with relation to Mr Trump’s many attempts, some successful, others futile, to undermine and fire anyone connected with the investigations; which he has previously asserted he was perfectly competent to manage all by himself.

One school of thought felt that denying he even knew Whitaker, who has been on many TV channels shown visiting the Oval Office with A-G Sessions on at least ten occasions in pursuit of his normal duties as a ranking official at the Justice department, was one of President Trump’s more spectacular own-goals. It must have been either evidence of advancing mental confusion, they believe, or just the biggest lie of his presidency – he has told over 6,500 since taking office, according to the fact-checkers at the Washingon Post.

Another school of thought – can Mrs deVos keep track of all these schools? We don’t hear a lot of her lately – holds to the view that between the two contradictory positions, someone must have informed the President that Whitaker, the nominee, has well-documented connections with two companies that were heavily fined and compulsorily wound-up owing to strong allegations of fraud; that he personally threatened complainants with bogus criminal proceedings; and that he stands little chance of being confirmed in the position, even with a Senate packed to the skirting boards with cheese-nibblers.

Yet, he’s still there.

One of the companies, pertinently, is said to have targeted, specifically, US military veterans – some of them disabled – with a scheme (pronounced scam) to provide them with a valuable course of instruction on how to register and patent and market their inventions; Americans being a famously inventive people. One disabled veteran was reported as saying he had invested nearly $14 thousand, his life savings, only to receive a pack consisting of a piece of paper with a badly drawn diagram he said his granddaughter could have made.

A story that arouses faint memories of another, similar scam known as Trump University.

“Damn, I voted for him and he’s gone and stolen my job!”

So, there is Trump, transported once again at taxpayers’ expense to France, where the first thing he does – this was on Friday, as a warm-up to Saturday’s clusterfuck – is to berate President Macron bitterly over some matter to do with European defense spending. That is then explained by the Elysée palace as a “misunderstanding”. Then on Saturday came “le déluge”, as the Orange Calamity sat sulking in his hotel room, watching TV, while Macron and Merkel and May and the rest held hands and cried in the rain before the graves of thousands of fallen US soldiers.

Finally, on departing from France, Chump tweeted out childishly that French wine tariffs were unfair (they’re actually EU tariffs); the US made better wine anyway, and without the interventions of the USA in two world wars, the French would be speaking German.* And in another tweet he praised French “nationalism” – which has been taken as support for Le Pen’s Front Nationale – and mocked Macron for his low approval ratings; his own having seldom risen above 35% thoughout his term of office..

This on the anniversary of the attack on the crowd at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, that left 130 mostly French dead.

It seems axiomatic that this desperate, feral clown (that’s the “feral clown” school – there’s a more sympathetic school that argues he is genuinely suffering from dementia and deserves psychiatric help, not all this horrid criticism) simply has to step down, or be stepped down; one way, or another, or another, whatever the Constitution allows.

So far the Constitution seems more like Constipation, having great difficulty in excreting a foul-smelling stool.

Surely America cannot afford the embarrassment of yet another day, waking up to the news that “President Trump has….”?

 

Postscriptum

The official WH version according to Lyin’ Sarah is now that the helicopter couldn’t safely fly because there was “zero-visibility” (there wasn’t, obviously not in the daytime), so much for US military capability, and Trump didn’t want to cause a traffic jam in Paris by resorting to his motorcade, on the advice of the Security Service. Nothing to do with the demonstrations, then. Or the rain.

Trump then travelled to another ceremony by car, and stayed in the car as 60 real-world leaders marched in solidarity, in the rain, to the cemetery; later claiming he had attended in the open.

And then… Back in the USSR… sorry, USA, the President refused to attend the traditional Veteran’s Day parade at Arlington cemetery on Sunday, claiming no-one told him it was a bad optic not to. Aides cited fears for his hair in the rain as a reason. He is reportedly in a state of deep depression, worsened by recounts hungover from the deeply flawed midterm elections, that he claimed were a triumph for him, that have elected more Democrats – watch out, world!

One has to ask in passing, why it takes America, supposedly the world’s most technologically advanced nation, more than ten days to count its votes, when Zimbabwe could manage it in three?

And still can’t get it right.

*Is there no end to this? Eric Trump, the “little Nazi” (as Mike Malloy christened him) has enthusiastically welcomed Trump’s critique of EU wine tariffs. Why? Possibly because Eric turns out to be President (and everything else – treads the grapes, gums on the labels) of “Trump Winery”, one of the many diversified interests of the criminal Trump dynasty.

 

And in other news…

Trump, who boasted that he was so rich he would relinquish his official salary, has personally benefited from $3.2 million dollars in profits from hire of his businesses – hotels and golf resorts – since taking office in January, 2017, according to a CNN investigation, much of it from foreign delegations visiting the US; including at least $470,000 from Saudi Arabians.

It is likely that the newly Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will want to look into possible breaches of the Emoluments clause of the constitution. The White House was unable to comment.

Trump has announced that he is awarding the coveted Congressional Medal of Freedom to the wife of Mr Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate and “friend” of the Trump family. No-one seems entirely sure what Mrs Adelson has done to deserve it, but Mr Adelson has donated more than $100 million to the Republican cause.

Liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, however, records that Miriam Adelson, a research physician, has done a lot to combat drug addiction, her specialty; while President Obama in his time honored several possibly less worthy recipients from the world of showbiz; thus the award is not to be taken seriously. Like most secular Jews in America, the Adelsons are really liberals.

Trump is expected to sign into law, if he has not already done so, a measure to deny refugees, regardless of what circumstances they may be fleeing from, the right to apply for asylum in America other than through designated channels, in breach of US law and the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, to which the US is a signatory.

It is supposed to be a response to the so-called migrant “caravan” from Honduras, which Mr Trump pretends is about to bring thousands of Middle Eastern terrorists, rapists, drug dealers etc. across the southern border with Mexico. He has stationed 5,600 US army personnel in Texas, equipped with armoured vehicles, where they will be missing their families over Christmas, since their commanders have pointed out that they’re not allowed by law to intercept civilian refugees.

Although Hondurans have been arriving at the border the main caravan is believed still to be roughly a thousand miles away and is reported by some media to have diverted from a route that would take it directly to the USA over the next two months. The military assessment is that most of the caravan would not make it anyway.

Meanwhile, 150 thousand Americans are now refugees in their own country, having fled the fires ravaging the California suburbs. I’m sure the irony will be lost on the feral clown in the White House.

Poo corner…

In Alabama, meanwhile, communities are up in arms as a lengthy railroad train consisting of big tanks of raw human sewage excreted in New York and New Jersey and exported by a private corporation has been trundling around the State for weeks, parking in sidings close to residential districts and creating a horrendous stench that leaves people vomiting and in tears, while it awaits instructions from the EPA for disposal.

The apparent dumping of this, literally, load of shit on the southland by what’s perceived as the Yankee north has become a contentious political hot potato.

And not the only one, as there has also been a massive bribery scandal in which officials and businessmen have gone to jail, involving environmental clean-up contracts on contaminated land in a poor black neighborhood of Birmingham. The scandal even reached out at one time to touch former Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, said to have been personally involved.

A key official, Trey Glenn, deeply implicated in the scandal has just been appointed to run the EPA’s Southeast Regional division, covering eight States – by President Trump.

And it turns out, his financial disclosure reveals he’s being paid for consultancy by the company running the train.

He’s now been indicted for multiple crimes involving bribery and corruption.

The “Poop train” as it’s being called, coyly, is coming to be regarded by many as an apt metaphor for the current administration. (MSNBC)

Trump does seem to have singularly bad luck when it comes to his appointments, almost every one of whom turns out to be a Big Crook. Who knew?

As the White House goes into post-election meltdown, Trump’s secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke is under investigation on multiple corruption charges; while secretary for Homeland Security Kirstjen Neilsen, the child-snatcher, and the now profoundly compromised Chief of Staff, Gen. John Kelly, are also on watch for a Trump firing squad. Rumor is that he’s also planning to dump the profoundly corrupt Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross.

“I hire only the best, the very best people”, Trump told his election rallies.

Counting is still going on in Georgia and Florida as the courts have had to force the Republican administration to count all the votes, not just the ones cast for Republican candidates. Trump has been grumbling about the Fox-generated fake news that Hillary Clinton has financed a fraudulent campaign against his friend, the profoundly corrupt governor of Florida, Rick Scott.

Clinton has no connection with Florida, and is not even running.

 

(An earlier article on Andrea Leadsom that attracted a Comment has been removed for space. I then managed to delete it while transferring it to tomorrow’s BogPo. I may be getting too old for this. Ed.)

 

GW: This is getting silly.

Wales, UK: It’s another blue-sky-dome day here in Boglington-sur-Mer, gleaming white hummocks of solid cumulus peering like curious teddy-bears from over the hills in the distance, unmoving. Out of the cooling breeze, which drops away now and then, even at its low inclination in the sky the sun is beating down. I can feel its pressure on my skin. And in a T-shirt with a light sweater and an open coat, as we return from Hunzi’s walk around the Industrial Estate I am sweating. Younger, wiser people are everywhere, polishing cars in just their T-s.

A video on BBC News of an incident in London yesterday shows many passers-by wearing only shorts and shirtsleeves.

Remember, remember, it’s the 11th of November.

The deadly Camp Fire, seen from space. (USGS/Wunderground) Chico is approx. 12 miles from Paradise.

California: the horror goes on. Over 130 are still reportedly missing and 56 confirmed dead as more charred bodies are discovered in the ruins of the town of Paradise, after the most lethal series of fires on record. California continues to suffer a prolonged drought now eating well into the rainy season, and dessicating Santa Ana winds continue to fan flames through the wooded canyons. Thousands of properties and hundreds of thousands of acres of countryside have been burned out; 150 thousand people have fled or are in temporary accommodation, tents or even sleeping in the open. (The irony of Mr Trump banning refugees entry to America is not lost on your Old Gran.) Air quality across the State ranges from poor to “hazardous to life”. No rain is forecast before the weekend, while windspeeds are expected to strengthen again over the whole State. (Wunderground, Guardian et al)

To give some idea, the WHO guideline for safe – rather, “standard” – concentration of particulates in the atmosphere is 150 microgrammes (µg) per cubic meter. Regions of California are showing over 9 thousand µg/m3. CO₂ levels as high as 809 ppm were reached on November 10, while there’s a lot of toxic CO (carbon monoxide) around too. (from Arctic News, 4 Nov updated 12 Nov) Sulfur dioxide emissions are also high, producing the “global dimming” effect without which global temperature could rise another 2.5C in a matter of weeks. The dilemma is obvious.

India: three Tropical Cyclones are brewing in the Indian ocean. “Severe” TC Gaja is threatening the Indian coast at Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu provinces; Alcide is aiming for the northern tip of Madagascar; Bouchra is out in the middle somewhere. (Times of India, et al)

Thailand: “Heavy rains have caused extensive flooding, with around 45,000 people affected in as many as 500 villages. Local media have reported 3 deaths. Thai Meteorological Department said that 261.6mm of rain fell in 24 hours.” (from Floodlist)

Brazil: “Authorities in the state of Rio de Janeiro say that at least 10 people have died after heavy rain triggered a landslide in a residential area, destroying 6 houses. 11 people were rescued from the debris. It is feared the death toll could rise and rescue workers are continuing to search for survivors.” (Floodlist)

France: rescue workers are continuing to search through the rubble of two tenement buildings that collapsed in Marseilles last week. 8 bodies have been recovered so far; several more people were hurt when a balcony collapsed during a march to pay respects to the victims. No cause has been ascribed, although buildings in the old quarter are generally unsafe owing to age and lack of maintenance; however your Old Gran is moved to mention the atrocious weather and record rainfall in the Mediterranean of late.

Atlantic: Tropical Depression 96L, somewhere in the region of the Leeward Islands, is expected to become Tropical Storm Patty by Thursday. Forecast track aims for Bermuda but a northward turn avoids contact with the US mainland. Expect it over Scotland sometime next week.

UK again: “The capacity of renewable energy has overtaken that of fossil fuels in the UK for the first time Between July and September, the capacity of wind, solar, biomass and hydropower reached 41.9 gigawatts, exceeding the 41.2GW capacity of coal, gas and oil-fired power plants.” (Guardian Green Light) News that Toshiba has pulled out of the deal to build a new reactor at Sellafield will only add to the sense that we’re going dark anyday now…. (!) It probably doesn’t matter, the forecast for northern Scotland today is 17 degrees C.

World: Your Old Granny poses a disturbing question: can these seemingly endless numbers of people drowned and crushed and choked and baked and burned alive in these extreme weather events, albeit in relatively small numbers at a time, be considered mere collateral damage as the human population increases and spills into areas that have always been dangerous; or are they the first casualties of the coming extinction?

Birds: For whatever reason I see fewer and fewer birds on my bird-feeder this past week. I mix it up, but maybe there’s just nothing they like to eat? Larger flocks of starlings are arriving overhead to roost at sunset, making wondrous patterns in the darkening sky, but numbers are still down.

Clouds: We had some dramatic cloudscapes today after rain this morning! Huge blocks of cumulus, tops streaming in the wind, just blew away in minutes… sun now shining warmly through a thin layer of stratus and my window; blobbies arriving. Must be mid-November… I’ve not had to put any heating on thus far; I can feel smug that my energy provider is again complaining that my meter readings seem too low. On past performance, I’m sure they will just make some up.

 

A bigger splash…

Scientists testing their new ground-penetrating radar in Greenland have found possible evidence that a mile-wide iron meteor – an asteroid or comet – hit the Hiawatha glacier perhaps as recently as 12,000 years ago. The resulting impact crater 19.3 miles wide has remained hidden under a half-mile-thick ice sheet until now. (Guardian)

If true, it is an event that happened well within the memory of modern humans and may have been responsible for a number of puzzling effects that have as yet no complete scientific explanation.

They might include:

  • Triggering the end of the last glacial period
  • The extinction of northern megafauna, including woolly mammoth
  • The so-called Great Flood – creation of the freshwater Great Lakes and Lake Baikal
  • Rapid sea-level rise, isolating what we now call aboriginal communities
  • Reduction of Neanderthal numbers below replacement capacity
  • The near extinction of humans, creating the choke point in human evolution known as the Eve Hypothesis, when numbers are thought to have fallen worldwide as low as 10,000 individuals
  • Oral myths and legends in many cultures involving floods and falling stars.

None of these suggestions is reported in the Guardian piece, The Pumpkin ventures them only as ignorant hypotheses. It seems likely that the damage would have been terminal had the meteor, the same size as the Chicxulub event that ended the reign of dinosaurs, not struck so far north, at a lower inclination; and on a mile-thick ice-field, cushioning the impact. Otherwise the depth of the crater at only 300 meters and the diameter would have been considerably greater.

However, The Pumpkin still envisages the vast energy of such an impact at 12 miles per second would have vaporized trillions of tonnes of water at Ground Zero, leading to potentially weeks of torrential rain around the world, with possible major disruption to the polar jetstream and ocean currents.

The water vapor in the atmosphere – a greenhouse gas – and dust, together with decades of global volcanism set off by the impact – could have provided the warming impetus to trigger melting of the icecaps.

Instantaneous ice-melt further from the center of the impact would have sent extreme localized floodwaves across the open tundras of Canada and Siberia below the ice-line, reducing numbers of mammoth, aurochs and other megafauna to below replacement breeding rates; to be finished off by hunters.

 

Deja vu corner…

This, from the BogPo, September something-or-other, last year (2017)

California: La Tuna, Burbank LA fire consumes 5,800 acres inside the city limits. 700 evacuated. Cal. and western states – Nevada, Montana, Idaho join the million-acre club: Chetko Bar fire in Oregon is burning over 125 thousand acres and not expected contained before mid-October. Eagle Creek fire burning in Washington state. Huge fires in Montana can be seen burning from space. Most of the northern US wreathed in smoke, causing breathing problems. More than 6.8 million acres of the USA have burned so far this season, plus 2.5 million acres of….

Canada: where new fires are reported in British Columbia as weekend temperatures remain in the 30s C. Smoke from Canada’s 2.8 million acres of wildfires burning since June has been detected across the North Pole as far away as Britain.

You’d think there’d be nothing much left to burn by now.

The Pumpkin – Issue 67: No cigar… If, maybe, then (20 October LATEST)… Warren Peace… Trump’s Khashoggi Register… GW: A perfect day for a snooze.

“The US Government’s $523 billion in interest payments to service its debt in 2018 – the highest ever – was more than the entire economic output of Belgium this year.” – Huffington Post.

“The deficit jumped 17 percent (or by $113 billion) to $779 billion at the end of Trump’s first fiscal year, according to final figures released Monday by the Treasury Department.” (TYT) So much for Trump’s economic competence, then. (It’s mainly down to his tax cuts and so will be a lot worse when they’ve had a full year to bed in.)

 

“How dare you say my friend Bin is guilty before we’ve even agreed he’s innocent? Here we go again!”

Lock her up!

“This is a con on such a scale, he even has his own currency!”

No cigar

A major investigation by ProPublica into the workings of the Trump business empire has revealed that he and his family might have been lying their heads off for years about the great deals they do.

In the process, they’ve built a reputation through canny use of the media and assiduous marketing of the brand, that has persuaded a lot of ambitious, unsuspecting spivs in many shithole countries into wanting some of that Trump magic stardust, that’s been paid for by other people, to rub off on them.

They’d better count their fingers.

It’s not really that shocking or surprising that Trump lies constantly about the value of his investments, and who his business partners are, but here it all is in black and white, with a damning “No Comment” forthcoming from the White House.

And we have the gigantic New York Times revelations about his father’s business practises, his creative accounting and huge non-repayable loans to the boy Donald to back all this up: the Trump family has been mired in sleaze, these dogged investigators allege, for three generations.

More than self-made, it’s said, he’s a self-invented man: a conman, in other words. It’s all been done on borrowed money and illegal transfers, And his children are part of a well-trained act, each with their own role to play. Less a family, than a gang.

Trump lies that he merely licenses his name to projects around the globe, and that developers – many of whom turn out adventitiously to be the most enormous crooks and politicians, some of whom even end up in gaol – revere his manufactured reputation so much as a triumph of gangster capitalism, they are happy to pay millions of dollars just to put the word Trump on the outside of their buildings; while daughter Ivanka dabbles in a bit of high-tone interior design, ensuring that mysterious Trump je ne sais quoi (mostly at the expense of endangered species) is stamped through every project.

In fact, says ProPublica, as has already been revealed here and there, not least in Adam Davidson’s sterling work for the NYT, they are involved with those developments up to their fat necks, using borrowed money to sweeten deals and then walking off with the pot. As Davidson writes in a new piece for The New Yorker today, “It is becoming increasingly clear that, in the language of business schools, the Trump Organization’s core competency is in profiting from misrepresentation and deceit and, potentially, fraud.”

An ambitious hotel and condominium project in Panama, for instance, the 1,000-apartment “Trump Ocean Club”.

“Trump licensed his name for an initial fee of $1 million. But that was just the beginning of the revenue streams, a lengthy and varied assortment that granted him a piece of everything from sales of apartment units (5%, win or lose – the cheaper they sold, the higher his cut) to a cut of minibar sales, and was notable for the myriad ways in which both success and failure triggered payments to him.

“Consider the final accounting: In the wake of the project’s bankruptcy, a 50 percent default rate and his company’s expulsion from managing the hotel, Donald Trump walked away with between $30 million and $55 million.” (ProPublica)

They’re not always so successful, as may be evidenced by Ivanka Trump’s inveterate lying about her sometimes non-existent sales numbers to try to persuade buyers to sign up for apartments even before they were built. (We knew already that she and Jared barely escaped prosecution for this practise in New York in 2016, when the case against them was suddenly dropped. It may shortly be reopened, if it is shown that the prosecutor, Cyrus Vance*, took money to close it down. An investigation is underway.)

His dubious relationship with investment bank, Bear Stearns (one of the rotten financial institutions at the heart of the banking crisis, it collapsed in 2008 and was picked up for next to nothing by JP Morgan-Chase), seems too to have been based on optimistic overvaluations of his assets, aimed at conning investors into buying virtually worthless development bonds issued against Trump’s non-existent wealth.

This is a con on such a scale, he even has his own currency.

Many of the apartment sales in Trump Ocean Club seem merely to have been a vehicle for laundering money:

“For example, some buyers bought blocks of units. Purchases were typically made anonymously through shell corporations registered in Panama. That allowed some buyers to change the ownership of the unit in secret, simply by changing the ownership of the company. They often used so-called bearer shares, allowing a stake in a company to be transferred simply by (anyone) passing a piece of paper.”

But the units hadn’t been bult! This was typical of the activity exposed by the leak of the so-called Panama Papers from the legal offices of Mossack-Fonseca. Some figures connected with the sales had dodgy connections of their own:

“One high-selling broker, Alexandre Ventura Nogueira, was linked to money laundering by Global Witness and a joint Reuters-NBC investigation. Nogueira confirmed in that article that some of his partners and investors on the Trump Panama project had connections to the Russian mafia. … Among the buyers Nogueira landed was a Colombian businessman who was subsequently convicted in the United States of conspiring to launder drug money.”

All, of course, denied: all there was on paper was Trump’s hands-off licensing deal, and his massive, totally manufactured, reputation as a Great Businessman.

Sure you would be wary – but if you thought you were beating him, a bigly successful guy like Trump, with all those women and a gold airplane, you’d invest.

The art of making money, Trump-style, appears to be: find a mark – preferably impressionable small fry with bigger fish in the background – borrow as much as possible – it turned out, he didn’t have a penny of his own money invested in the Panama complex – set up the biggest, most prestigious development deal you can sell to unwitting punters and crims needing to launder a few million dollars – make whatever you can out of them legitimately – go bankrupt – cut a deal with the lenders, payback half – sue everyone, and walk away with the rest.

A pattern ProPublica describes as “Pump and Trump”.

But all this is currently under investigation by the Mueller team – and Trump knows it. To the Pumpkin, what is emerging is that he’s discovered the equivalent of those spectacular TV or Las Vegas magic acts; say, Penn and Teller, or David Copperfield. Taking simple magic tricks, by scaling them up a thousand percent – instead of a rabbit, you produce a live tiger out of the hat – same trick, biggest scale money can buy – even an elephant, the more spectacular the better, you can walk away with $millions rather than mere $thousands.

You have to admire him, really. Especially as you kind of suspect Ivanka is the brains behind the whole scam!

Eventually, a group of genuine Ocean Club buyers sued Trump and the development partners for misrepresentation: the case was settled out of court, and since then no-one involved has been willing to talk about it. Presumably the famous Non-Disclosure Agreements with which Trump saws all his victims’ legs off have come into play.

To obtain entry to the three-ring financial circus that is the First Family of the United States of America, that shining city on a hill, if you have an hour or two to spend, go to ProPublica:

features.propublica.org/trump-inc-podcast/trump-family-business-panama-city-khafif/

And to The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/news/swamp-chronicles/is-fraud-part-of-the-trump-organizations-business-model?mbid=nl_Daily 101818&CNDID=49581041&utm_source=Silverpop&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily 101818&utm_content=&spMailingID=14457406&spUserID=MTkwODY5NzgyMTM0S0&spJobID=1501430193&spReportId=MTUwMTQzMDE5MwS2

And to the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-tax-schemes-fred-trump.html

To hear Trump described by so many people as ‘a crook’ is one thing. Politicians? They’re all crooks! So what? We all know the stories: the multiple bankruptcies, the dodgy investors, the payoffs to mistresses, how he stiffs his workforce and his suppliers, posing as a Mafia boss; the huge unpaid debts to gullible foreign banks; the unpublished tax returns.

And we can blithely refer to the made-for-TV star “business mogul” as a “confidence trickster”, a buffoon who has put one over on a section of the American public. We liberal elites can share the painful joke. Ha ha! Stupid Trumptards!

To see how the trick is done, however, is quite another thing. Because it appears that he IS a professional A-movie-standard grifter, not just a smalltime bunco artist. And has been, all his rotten life.

With that sudden realization, scales will fall from your eyes.

Trump is the real deal.

And the dumbfucks love him for it.

*Not the late, former Secretary of State under the Carter administration.

Khashoggi murder

If, maybe, then

This morning, it was reported in the news that Trump has moved somewhat on the Khashoggi murder, that so far he has refused to believe in.

In a statement, he says he now thinks it is likely something happened.

Jamal Khashoggi

Everyone else concluded days ago, there is more than ample evidence, including: Khashoggi is lured to the scene and has reservations but nevertheless goes; two private Saudi jets arrive, carrying 15 operatives to Istanbul, military men among whom at least five have been identified as members of Crown Prince bin-Salman’s personal entourage; video of them arriving at the consulate. The local staff at the consulate have been sent home early; a security recording apparently made by a bug inside the consulate has Khashoggi screaming as his fingers are “sliced off” (a detail perhaps only available on a video), the consul pleading with the killers to “please do it outside” – he’s gone missing, incidentally – the team doctor suggesting the killers listen to music while hacking up the victim’s body. A team of cleaners is then seen arriving with mops and buckets; evidence of cleaning fluids, fresh paint on the walls, DNA and other traces are found at the scene, and much, much more.

But the story has been pieced together, only by leaks from the staff and police. There is no “official version”, and it is thought there might never be, as clouds of doubt and false trails are even now being concocted by those parties who have most to lose from a breakdown of the cozy relations betwen Saudi and western politicians, against a backdrop of Turkish ambitions in the region.

The president has complained until now that his friend the Crown Prince has been traduced, just like his friend Justice Kavanaugh, the world unfairly finding him guilty until proven innocent. Much as he feels about himself.

If they are indeed guilty, says the president, who has so far said only that both the King and bin-Salman have denied it and so it could have been “rogue operators”, so that’s fine by him, there will be “severe consequences” short of econiomic sanctions. So, what?

Then astonishingly last night at one of his Nuremberg rallies for his dumbfuck supporters, he praised Greg Gianforte, the Congress member from Montana, for violently attacking a reporter last year.

“Trump described in glowing terms the physical assault that occurred on 24 May 2017 when Ben Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, was asking Gianforte a question about health care policy …. The US president incited cheers and chants from a crowd of about 8,000 supporters when he said: “Greg is smart. And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand. Never.”

As the cheers rang out across an aircraft hangar in Missoula, Trump went on to say: “Any guy that can do a body slam … he’s my guy.” After praising Gianforte, Trump acted out the motion of throwing a person violently to the ground.” (Guardian, 19 Oct.)

The incredible double-standards this degenerate oaf manages to maintain show clearly, he has no standards at all.

Get rid of him.

 

20 October LATEST:

“YouTubers will be being recruited already by the White House to suggest that perhaps the Turks haven’t yet finished recording it….”

An admission has finally arrived from Riyadh, two and a half weeks after the event, that Khashoggi is indeed dead. They’ve just discovered, instead of him leaving normally, as they honestly thought he must have done (although he has not been seen and his fiancee was waiting outside), he died by accident in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after taking on 15 burly security men who had gone to seize him on a misunderstanding, militarily trained bodyguards of Prince bin-Salman, in “a fist-fight”. This podgy, mild-mannered, 59-year-old man wearing glasses.

Suspects have been rounded up, senior officials sacked: especially the one President Trump suggested might be responsible, as he’d been photographed in a meeting with the Prince just days before the accident, and just happened to be among the party of tourists visiting the consulate.

I doubt we shall be hearing much from him.

This ludicrous explanation worthy of the direst banana republic has been greeted by Mr Trump, desperate both to protect a lucrative personal source of income and to give no hint of possible job losses in the defense sector before an election, as “credible”.

It has perhaps not occurred to him to ask, then, where is the body? Or any of the other 101 questions the Prince’s bullshit explanation raises. No, instead he has sent his “condolences”, his usual “sorry your dog died” message, to Khashoggi’s family.

Now, normally when an inconvenient person is made to disappear, the lies are cooked up in secret, in advance, behind the office door. In this case, however, the story is being developed retrospectively out in the full glare of the media spotlight. It’s precisely the tale Trump and Pompeo have been publicly prompting bin-Salman to put out, if he knows what’s good for him.

It’s standard Mafia reasoning: Khashoggi must have killed himself in a fit of remorse, before sawing his own body into handy, suitcase-sized chunks and disposing of it in a nearby forest, where men with spades were seen going on a nature ramble shortly before he died.

It’s an indication of how Mr Trump has conducted his entire shitty career, on the basis of lies so preposterous and frequently repeated that enough people will believe them. The arrogance of both these profoundly damaged, autocratic individuals is breathtaking: “you will believe whatever garbage dribbles out of our mouths because we are the rulers and you’re not.”

The good thing is, nobody does believe this one. But what’s to be done? The fallback now, of course, is that “we must wait for the outcome of the official enquiries”.

You will hear this a lot in the coming days, and it is perhaps one of the mysteries that this “audio tape”, or even rumored video of the murder does not appear to have been played to anyone outside the highest levels of the Turkish government, and possibly the police investigators. Pompeo has denied hearing it, but then he would. Why the delay in posting proof of what the Turks’ve been saying so far? There’s no shame in admitting they bugged the consul, everyone does it.

YouTubers will be being recruited already by the White House to suggest that perhaps the Turks haven’t yet finished recording it.

With the midterm elections so close, Mr Trump will be hoping at the weekly White House Evangelical pray-in tomorrow, that it’s all blown over by the time Congress, in whatever new form it may have taken, reassembles later in November.

Sickening.

x

“Nothing Trump ever says or does is ever said or done without some nasty little game plan in mind…”

Warren Peace

The Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is the next most plausible Democratic presidential candidate qualified to become the First Woman. A Harvard Law professor, she has a reputation for steely questioning of political and administrative miscreants in committee, for being on top of her brief, for her obvious passion for justice, her forensic mental clarityand her absolute probity; her strength of character.

Everything Trump can’t manage to be and do.

There is of course always a possibility, based o n precedent, that such a butter-wouldn’t-melt person might be a total humbug, only time can tell.

At some time in the distant past, she ticked the box on an application form claiming to be of native Indian descent, as her mom had told her they were. According to Snopes’ fact-checking website, it was just the once. They quote the president of Harvard Law School as saying they don’t hand out well-remunerated professorships on the basis of candidates’ ethnic backgrounds. But political opponents – notably the President – have accused her of dishonestly benefiting from lying about her ethnicity.

Well, she could hardly claim to be black. She has also spoken on behalf of First Nation causes on the basis of her kinship. Neither is a crime.

Warren, seen in 3-D?

Trump, who speaks only for his own cause, spent several years blatantly lying that he had evidence that President Obama was born in Kenya, and therefore disqualified from holding office, evidence he never somehow managed to produce, before turning his poisonous attentions a while ago to accuse Sen. Warren of lying about her origins, derisorily christening her “Pocahontas”.

Clearly Trump has issues with his own origin story: a draft-dodging, undocumented German grandfather who fled to Canada and opened a whorehouse; a property developing, rack-renting, tax-dodging racist father deeply embedded within the New York mafia; an estranged, emotionally dead mother and a retrospectively documented immigrant trophy wife who can barely wait to divorce him.

One time, Trump offered to pay a million dollars to the charity of her choice if Warren could prove her claim to Indian ancestry.

Much to the annoyance of the Cherokee nation, Senator Warren has now taken a DNA test proving that her background is indeed, at several generations removed, nevertheless partly Native American (tribe not specified). So not entirely a lie, then. And who hasn’t tickled up their CV once in a while, to sound more interesting? Trump won’t have, he doesn’t have a CV. Not until Mueller is finished writing it.

Asked by a courageous reporter if he would now pay up, Trump, who may well be one of the most dishonest incubuses to walk the earth while claiming unverifiable human origin, vehemently denied that he had ever in his life promised such a thing.

A thing that he is elsewhere seen on tape, at a rally in front of several thousand of his pet dumbfucks, loudly crowing about.

Needless to say, no apology has been forthcoming.

Instead, in true Trump style, graceless and shitty as ever, the great liar, phony and cheat has doubled-down on the good Senator, getting his insults in early, repeating his view that she is a liar, a phony and a cheat, saying he will only pay up if he can redo the test himself. (He doesn’t believe in DNA, any more than he understands why the planet is melting.)

And given that Stormy Daniels has just failed in her bid to get a court to allow her to sue the President for widely publicized defamation, whereupon he described her in a tweet as “a horseface”, it appears he can now say whatever he damn well likes about anyone he doesn’t like. Another step down the road to lawless autocratic rule by illiterate tweet.

“You will not beat him with honesty, decency or facts.”

Don’t be fooled. Nothing Trump ever says or does is ever said or done without some devious little gameplan in mind, that he hopes will produce results somewhere down the line. He may be an ignorant, bloviating oaf, but he’s a shrewd and calculating ignorant, bloviating oaf, well practised at dirty infighting.

Unfortunately, by commissioning that test, Warren has played into his hands.

Senator Warren is a woman, and Trump is a bullying misogynist who is going to try his best to make her cry, the way he destroyed Hillary Clinton with that “Crooked Hillary” tag, enlisting his dumbfucks in two-minute “Lock her up!” hate sessions based on no more than poor mad Alex Jones’ conspiracy theories, that she’s a pedophile-enabler who murdered the US Ambassador to Benghazi and sold America’s vital uranium assets to the Russians.

Trump doesn’t play by anyone’s rules whom you would comfortably know. You will not beat him with honesty, decency or facts. Thuggery is his trade. Whatever he may have learned at Wharton college, which wouldn’t have been much, he learned a lot more from his dad’s mafia lawyer, Roy Cohn.

He knows Warren is probably the Democrats’ best hope of beating him in 2020, so he’s going to try to defeat her now, two years before she has a chance to defeat him. He knows, she’s far too polite and straightlaced to retaliate in the same coin, going in hard with a knee to the nuts, although God knows, she’d have enough ammunition. Let’s face it, the Orange Pussygrabber’s the one under investigation for treason, obstruction of justice and financial shenanigans – she’s not.

And he knows that what she has going for her, that he doesn’t, is people’s respect: she’s direct, honest, well-briefed and cleverer than he is. But if she runs in the primaries, goes head-to-head in the debates, she knows already, from today, exactly how it’s going to play:

“Pocahontas!”. Nyah-boo! Your mom lied… You’re a phony!

He will never let up on that sneering racial insult until she capitulates.

Or until someone throws him in jail.

And frankly, with the courts now packed with lifetime Trump appointees who owe the boss a favor in return, all the way up to the highest court in the land, corrupted beyond saving, your Pumpkin just doesn’t see that happening.

It’s the classic Mafia playbook takeover of your country: “Fascist Dictating for Dummies…”.

I have frequently commented with the question: what collective insanity possessed the authors of your Holy Constitution to give a free pass to a criminal President with a majority in both houses to abuse such powers as to be able so easily to rig the governmental, fiscal and juridical systems; even subverting US foreign policy, in cahoots with an inimical foreign power, in his own electoral and financial interests, supported by a disaffected, gun-toting minority of religious maniacs, with absolutely no comebacks?

As soon as this criminal, lying motherfucker is gone from office, which he will be one day, assuming we’re all still alive to wave him good riddance or to follow his gun-carriage with crocodile tears down to Arlington, you might possibly give some very serious thought to that question.

“Yep, he was the president who put the ‘fun’ in ‘funeral’… hashtag sadface!”

x

“Two-faced liars with a shameful human rights record that makes Japan’s insistence on the cultural importance of exterminating whales sound convincing….”

Trump’s Khashoggi Register

Trump’s attempts to get Prince Mohammad bin-Salman off the hook over the murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul of regime critic, Jamal Khashoggi get more and more desperate, and more bizarre by the minute.

His sympathetic message is that, like his poor friend Judge Kavanaugh, like himself, poor Bin is being judged guilty by everyone in the world before he can be allowed to prove his innocence.

Of course, there’s an economic imperative behind Trump’s apparently uncritical, blind acceptance of assurances, both from King Salman, who has Alzheimer’s, and Crown Prince bin-Salman, who hasn’t, that there is no Khashoggi blood on their hands, or it may have been a rogue hit squad from somewhere else, China probably – or it was all an unfortunate accident that ended with them chopping him in manageable pieces

Trump’s pathetic dissimulation is designed to protect Saudi investments he profits from, and his famous $110 billion arms deal, “Possibly the biggest in history!” (not true. He’s such a con man. Actual contracts total $380 million, much dating from Obama’s time. The rest is all “letters of intent” – Snopes/Washington Post) Oh, and all those jobs at Boeing and Raytheon.

Has anyone ever thought to ask the people who work in the armaments factories that make the aircraft and the guided bombs that kill children in Yemen and around the world – the people these sanctimonious humbugs in government pretend they’re protecting –  if they care what the awful things they make are doing? People with families and children themselves?

These are skilled engineers, programmers, systems analysts, designers, finishers, metallurgists, explosives experts, project managers. They could be making things all over the developing world that would benefit humanity, maybe tackle the real problems facing the world – not this grotesque shit. Have they so easily convinced themselves their efforts 9 to 5 are making America a safer place?

We are constantly told by politicians, oh, we mustn’t be beastly to the Saudis, or whoever, they’ll take their contracts elsewhere. Think of all those jobs we will lose! Think of the votes!

You are all, quite frankly, self-interested, cowardly liars.

Where? Where else will they go? Because if there was anywhere better, they would already have gone there. They come to us because we make the best stuff at the best prices, but we still imagine we have to offer them huge bribes they can stuff up their jalabas in return for their oily patronage.

And if they could sell their oil elsewhere, they would. They’ve got money, let them manufacture their own weapons of death. Oil dependancy, job dependancy, money dependancy…. Those are our WEAKNESSES!

Why are we so weak?

If we had the will to do it, we could bankrupt them in the morning. They know that, they’re not going to do anything.

(This piece has been edited for length. Ed.)

 

“I don’t want to talk about any of the facts.” – Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, on his return from Riyadh, in a statement confirming his boss’s belief in Saudi protestations of innocence in the torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

“I guess after shaking hands with you, Mr Secretary, I’d better count my fingers!”

GW: A perfect day for a snooze

Wake me up if anything happens…. it’s all gone pretty quiet. There’s ex-Tropical Storm Lara, pushing in across the US southwest with another dollop or two of rain over the desert, the sun’s been shining all day here, and that’s about it from around the weather news sites.

Oh, September was globally the 4th warmest ever, according to the NOAA. So we’re still good for 2018 being in the top 5 hottest years, despite it being a La Niña year – the other four being 2014,15,16 and 17 (not in that order). 2019 should be hotter, as an El Niño is 70 percent likely, based on current temperatures in the Pacific.

Forecasters are expecting anything up to 50 cm of rain in Spain and North Africa tonight as a massive weather thingy is moving through the Straits of Gibraltar. Last week southeastern Spain and the Balearic islands experienced very heavy rainfall, with 13 fatalities – this looks way worse.

And stand by for a blistering cold spell in Scandinavia and northern Europe after the weekend.

Now, buzz off. Zzzz.

 

If at first you don’t succeed

To explain evolution to an idiot, this link might provide them with learning material, and some amusement:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06p4cnx

Tomorrow’s BogPo, early: Get us out of here… “Oh, Gerrard Winstanley…” Spring Fare… And the rot goes on… GW: It’s getting wetter all the time.

Quote of Last Week:

“If the MPS are delaying an investigation into a likely crime because of political interference then ‘scandal’ does not begin to cover it.”

– Jolyon Maugham QC, on learning that, five months since the likely perpetrators were indicted by the Electoral Commission, Scotland Yard has decided not to pursue an investigation into the evidence of fraudulent acts committed by EU Leave campaigners, blaming “political sensitivities”.

 

“All right Phil, where have you been hiding the Camembert?” (Apologies to Stefan Rousseau/AFP/Getty)

 

“If we ‘Remoaners’ have a sense of injustice, it’s because we have been deprived of an essential freedom…”

Get us out of here

One of the country’s top linguists, 27-year-old language teacher Alex Rawlings, fluent in 15 languages, has featured in the press after tweeting out to his personal universe the news that he is emigrating to Spain to get away from the horrors of a post-Brexit Britain.

“This whole country is on the brink of the worst disaster since the second world war, and everyone is just sipping coffee, going about their daily business as if nothing is happening”, he told The Observer. “I don’t want to live an environment where I have to apologise for believing in European unity.” The story explains:

“Rawlings, who is half Greek and retains a Greek passport, will move to Barcelona on 1 November to pursue “creative passion projects”.

At that point I began to cry.

For it seems that anyone with any slender claim to another country’s passport has become a first-class passenger, able to get off and tour the ancient ruins, while those of us who, like me, are so English we miss out on the opportunity to escape, are trapped in steerage on HM Prison Ship Britannia, moored somewhere off the coast of the civilized world in a rotting hulk filled with opportunistic and disputatious madmen – and that’s just the officer class, fighting one another for the last lifejacket.

For us, there is no way out. If we ‘Remoaners’ have a sense of injustice, it’s because we have been deprived of an essential freedom through the intemperate actions of a dimly illuminated mob, persuaded in its sullen and mutinous ignorance to torch the building around us; their retrograde sense of British entitlement heightened by the propaganda of a nasty, neo-Thatcherite cabal seeking to profit from chaos. Formerly secret, their motivations are now openly worn on their flushed and greedy faces.

Power! The power to be sharks in a goldfish bowl.

Among them, the failed applicant for the Tory leadership and useless ex-Environment minister, the formerly obscure housewife Andrea Leadsom, a small-minded woman of the shires for whom the word ‘conservative’ should be written in all-caps, stands out. An extreme Brexophile, she has called for the abolition of all regulation safeguarding the rights, health and safety of the British workforce and consumers; all financial regulation and food subsidies too.

Brexit plotters: sharks in a goldfish bowl (Guardian)

Was that lunacy really what the fish porters of Sunderland were voting for? The sheer, unbridled hurricane-force of naked capitalism, bearing down on them and their children and – if the Environment permits the extension of the race for enough years, which is by no means on the cards – their grandchildren: economic chattels, debt-peons trapped in the maelstrom of the markets, waking poorer every day, subject to the will of giant corporations in a retail culture of delivery “yesterday”?

I ‘ve racked my brains to think of a way out of the horrible future that these rabid, post-truth  politicians with their all-digesting ambition propose for us. Sadly, though my late grandparentage includes one (renounced) Greek-born citizen and one dual British-American of Irish ancestry, neither offers me sufficient relevant DNA to apply for alternative nationality. (And who now would want to become an American?)

In any case, it would be hypocritical: I don’t believe in nations, and I’m mildly revolted by nationalists, as it seems to me they are essentially co-dependants in a corrupted system of bordered parentalism, tribalists unable to think or act for themselves without the protection and permission of a self-defining state and a national creation myth.

I tried seven years ago to get myself out of a Britain I could see one day splintering into factions separating both from Europe and its own senses; but my Committee of Discarnate Entities had other ideas; and it seems they had good intent, because if my house sale – the only one offered – had gone through in 2012, I should now be living on a worth-less pension in the burnt-out ruins of a Portuguese village consumed by wildfire, broiled in 48-degree summer heat and battered by powerful storms; half-blind, half-mad and pissing into a bag.

It might sadly have been preferable to continuing to exist on an impoverished island sinking rapidly in the West, governed by closed-minded native isolationists paradoxically pinning their hopes on faraway countries’ inclinations to owe us a living.

Nor do I speak Portuguese.

 

Contemporary Pillowtalks

“…until I realized that, not 1968, but 1648 is exactly where British politics has returned to in the Year of Our Lord, 2018.”

“Oh, Gerrard Winstanley…”

I’ve not yet succeeded in “getting” Jeremy Corbyn.

He’s always struck me as being a bit of a cantankerous old sod. An obstinate, puritanical stick-in-the-mud, who spent the greater part of his long political career in near-obscurity on the back benches, delighting in his perversity, forever rebelling against his own party whips and demonstrating right-on international solidarity, flirting with some really quite inadvisable representatives of liberation movements not averse to using violence for political ends.

Making me Head Boy for just my last term, my old junior school headmaster, Jeff Cornes, admitted that he was only offering me the position out of respect for my academic record – I had been “top” of the top form for a year by then. “But”, he cautioned, “You should be aware that you have no leadership qualities whatsoever.”

Reader, it’s true. But like Corbyn, I’ve never been a follower either. “I just go where I’m pointed!” I will explain to anyone looking to me for a lead; and then step aside and snipe cruelly from the sidelines as they blunder on.

Since his unexpected election as party leader faute-de-mieux, and Prime-Minister-in-Waiting, a “stalking horse” elected by accident, Corbyn (who is the same age as me, older by five months) seems to me to have displayed a similar lack of interest in actually leading anything; preferring to bask in the extraordinary personality cult that has grown up around him.

When it comes to policy, his party seems hopelessly divided around his lack of direction, especially on Europe, where he is at odds with most of the rest, imagining the EU as a corporatist superstate rather than, as I see it, a bulwark against US hegemony.

The faction of Jeremy fanatics known as Momentum has displayed a Stalinist enthusiasm for purging the party of its less radical elements, careless of the polling figures that still put Labour several points behind what is, by universal acknowledgment, the worst, the feeblest, the most incompetent, most corporate-leaning, the most damaging and most fractious Tory government since at least the Second World War.

Until this morning, when the word “Leveller” popped into my head, and I started reading up on this and other disruptive anarcho-syndicalist factions that emerged from the Roundhead tendency during the interim period between the two acts of the English Civil War; and realized that, not 1968, but 1648 is exactly where British politics has returned to in the Year of Our Lord, 2018.

Take, for instance, the Diggers. No, not a reference to our Australian cousins, such as Rupert Murdoch – known to Private Eye readers as “The Dirty Digger”; although the Digger movement embraced precisely the ragbag of suppressed nativist sentiments exploited by his papers.

If you are looking for a C17th origin for the obnoxiously stubborn and self-destructive Leave campaign, the unbending “Brexiteer” mentality, where would you find a better analogy than in the section of Wikipedia reserved for this communitarian working-class faction, dedicated to the common ownership of national resources?

“An undercurrent of political thought which has run through English society for many generations and resurfaced from time to time (for example, in the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381) was present in some of the political factions of the 17th century, including those who formed the Diggers. It involved the common belief that England had become subjugated by the “Norman Yoke”. This legend offered an explanation that at one time a Golden Era had existed in England before the Norman Conquest in 1066. From the Conquest on, the Diggers argued, the “common people of England” had been robbed of their birthrights and exploited by a foreign ruling-class.”

“Ding, dong…”. (©Leslie Philips, ‘Carry On, Teacher!’)

Led by a man called Gerrard Winstanley, the Diggers were a more rural offshoot still of the Levellers, an informal movement led by Col John Lilburne, who were arguing for extending the franchise to all but a few male voters (no women, of course.) Their signature protest at a time of rising food prices was to react against enclosures by planting crops on newly privatized land where there had formerly been common rights; hence the sobriquet. (I thought immediately of the allotment-tending Corbyn when I read: “The Council of State received a letter in April 1649 reporting that several individuals had begun to plant vegetables in common land…”!)

A combination of thuggish intimidation by private landowners, bent judges – themselves extensive landowners – and endless lawsuits finally did for the Diggers. There was a revival in America in the 1960s, with the liberal, egalitarian, non-property-owning society proposed by the San Francisco Diggers; a quasi-political hippie faction who perhaps had more in common with the C17th “Ranters”, a small, sexually liberationist, proto-anarchist movement; again, an offshoot of the liberalizing, pro-democracy Levellers, whose ambition was to restore (as they saw it) a popular sovereignty and a sturdy independence that had been misappropriated by a ruling elite.

These currents of thought seem to me to have resurfaced in a modern populist movement that has coalesced, somewhat incoherently, around ideas of common ownership, self-validation (identity politics), anti-elitism and the idea of England as a prosperous, independent nation free from foreign influence: the Jacob Rees-Mogg thesis leavened with Socialism. (Opposites attract; similarities divide…)

Perhaps it also explains the curious dichotomy we seem to be wrestling with, between excessive permissiveness on the one hand, and excessive prudishness on the other. While the internet grants unlimited access to pornographic imagery, and removals of oppressive laws have offered apparent licence to express our desires freely, nevertheless the popular press goes on tittering, and we have at the same time adopted a Puritanical tendency to punish sexual individualism harshly, to make examples of those (mostly men) who transgress a somewhat fluid code of “appropriate” moral behavior.

There are parallels with an era in which Britain – principally England – was so bitterly divided between those who cropped their hair short and those who grew it long, the dispossessed and the elites, that 600 thousand citizens were slaughtered during eight years of brutal internecine conflict; not over land or treasure, but over abstract ideas of nationhood and sovereignty.

And here we are again.

  • Editor’s note: I have removed an item here for space, that others have Commented on below, in case you were wondering what has happened.

Spring fare

The odds against a No-deal Brexit lengthened considerably today, when Buckingham Palace announced that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is expecting a baby “in the Spring”.

Already the poor little sod is being hailed as a new dawn for a triumphant new post-Brexit Britain. Oh, Brave New World! (Assuming they don’t induce her on 29th March….)

Well done, Harry. Hundreds of pages of hysterical press coverage should take the British public’s mind off having to queue at heavily guarded military outposts to receive our weekly food ration and essential medical treatment.

“If he puts a silly caption about a three-legged race on this, I’ll send him to the Bloody Tower…”

x

“In failing to challenge their toxic arguments … BBC News renders itself totally unfit for purpose.”

And the rot goes on

“I think the climate may be changing but it could change back again. It might not be a hoax…. I’ve seen a lot of reports, some bad, some good. I don’t know that it’s man-made. I don’t want to spend trillions and trillions of dollars and lose millions and millions of jobs.”

Thus Trump, expatiating in his usual inventive fashion on the most troubling issue of our age (roughly as heard on BBC R4 Today this morning, extracted from yet another discontinuous and self-pitying ABC 60 Minutes interview.)

Interviewer: “…but what about the scientists who say it’s worse than ever?”

Trump: “You’d have to show me the scientists….”

And you ELECTED this childlike imbecile to be your president?

He is surely unique in believing that whatever he knows least about, is what he knows more about than anyone. As usual, Shakespeare got it first:

“Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. (Hamlet, Act 2, Sc. 2)

Seriously, there will be people who believe this nonsensical drivel because he IS the president and so he should be the most informed politician on the planet, when I will give you £100 if you can prove he’s read a single word of the IPCC report or seen any evidence to contradict it. (Then I’ll deny I ever offered you the bet, hahaha! Losers!)

Is it responsible journalism to put those lies on the air without anyone sensible being invited to challenge them?

Has no paid individual within the media wondered logically what Trump imagines he would be spending trillions of dollars ON, if not on creating millions of jobs in the alternative energy and environmental clean-up businesses? I don’t suppose they have, I’ve seen nothing to suggest that they have, so why anyone else would in the current climate, I don’t know. They just seem to absorb his guff like sponges. Maybe just me?

And while we’re at it, the CEO of Cuadrilla was on Today this morning to defend the resumption of fracking in Lancashire, and told a tremendous fib, that natural gas produces less CO2 than coal, and nobody challenged him either. The Union of Concerned Scientists writes that, while on some measures gas emits 50 to 60 per cent less CO2 when burned than coal (depending on the relative efficiency of the systems):

“The drilling and extraction of natural gas from wells and its transportation in pipelines results in the leakage of methane, primary component of natural gas that is 34 times stronger than CO2 at trapping heat over a 100-year period and 86 times stronger over 20 years. … Whether natural gas has lower life cycle greenhouse gas emissions than coal and oil depends on the assumed leakage rate, the global warming potential of methane over different time frames, the energy conversion efficiency, and other factors. …

“Some areas where drilling occurs have experienced increases in concentrations of hazardous air pollutants. Exposure to elevated levels … can lead to adverse health outcomes, including respiratory symptoms, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.” (Edited from web page entry)

Nor was he challenged to defend the safety of the process for groundwater, both in terms of toxicity and overextraction of aquifers, while in the Colorado and Kansas fracking zones the number of measurable M3 or greater earthquakes increased with fracking from two to 850 a year. He would not be drawn on what magnitude of quake he thought his operations should be safely limited to causing! (Currently drilling has to stop if an Eq. of more than M0.5 is registered.The government is considering removing limits altogether.)

Green MP, Caroline Lucas, was however allowed to mention that the establishment of large-scale fracking zones in the restricted area that is the UK will make it impossible to meet our current emissions reduction targets, supposedly set by law.

Yet the ostrich argument persists: we know it’s dangerous to go on burning gas, admitted the Cuadrilla man, more or less; contributing to an extinction-level crisis within a decade (he didn’t exactly say that!). But what else are British housewives supposed to cook on?

(Smoking is killing you, but since you have terminal lung cancer you might as well carry on buying our brand of cigarettes….)

And that’s the principle too behind the US Government’s opportunistic admission last month that yes, the planet is warming catastrophically but it’s too late/costly to do anything about it now (after decades of lying that there was no problem) so we just have to go on burning oil and coal and gorging on red meat so dinosaur industries can create badly paid jobs that no-one will live to retire from, and hope someone comes up with a technological fix before we go extinct.

(Incidentally, I recommend Stacey Dooley’s intense report on the devastating environmental impacts of the fashion industry as a necessary corrective to shopping addiction. Available on BBC iPlayer and at all good branches of Primark.)

These people have been driven insane by the profit motive, prepared to bet their children’s lives on some fantastical and far-off, unaffordable “unicorn” technology being discovered in time to save them.

In failing to challenge their toxic aguments and in continuing to present the most anodyne editorial view of this rapidly advancing crisis, BBC News renders itself totally unfit for purpose.

 

Way to go?

I used to have a mild interest in collecting stories of the strangest or most absurd ways in which people die, like the chap in Australia who was killed on the golf course when a high-flying bird of prey dropped a mullet on his head; a mullet being both a kind of fish, and an unfashionable hairstyle.

Few I think can compete with the tragic death of former police officer Elizabeth Isherwood, 60, a care worker, who died after locking herself in a cupboard at her timeshare in North Wales, which she had sold on and was preparing to leave the next day.

Her death was the result of a bizarre series of events.

Apparently, she got up in the night to go to the bathroom, with nothing on, and blundered into the airing cupboard by mistake. The door closed behind her, locking her in, and the handle broke off in her hand.

Unable to call for help in the deserted building, she quick-wittedly wrenched off a piece of pipe and used it to hack a hole through the wall, big enough to wriggle through.

However, she seems to have failed to understand in her confusion that what she thought was the last layer she could not get through was just a picture in a frame, hanging on the other side of the wall.

The pipe she had broken was live, so all the time she was being sprayed with cold water which, acting as a rapid coolant on a body that had overheated with the exertion, caused her temperature to fall rapidly, and hypothermia set in, causing her to lose consciousness.

The poor woman wasn’t found until a week later, as nobody had noticed she was missing.

Verdict: misadventure. (Guardian report, 17 Oct.)

“Help! I don’t normally do this…”

GW: It’s getting wetter all the time

France: At least 13 people have died during heavy storms ahead of remnant hurricane Leslie, that cut off many roads and caused rivers to burst their banks in parts of south-western France, officials have said. The Aude department was particularly badly hit; the Aude river seeing its highest level in 100 years. 7 inches of rain fell on Carcassonne overnight; 2 metres (6ft) of floodwater was recorded in the streets of Conques; at Trèbes, floodwater was as high as seven metres (23ft), local authorities say. (from The Guardian/BBC News, 15 Oct.)

Caribbean: Is another Gulf hurricane brewing? “Invest 94L was on its way to developing a well-formed surface circulation near the northeast coast of Honduras, and the system had a moderately large area of heavy thunderstorms to the southeast of the developing center. These thunderstorms were growing in organization and areal coverage. Its forward speed of 10 – 15 mph should bring the center inland over Belize by Tuesday afternoon, … bringing 2 – 4” of rain with isolated amounts of up to 8″ to Belize and northern portions of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. These rains will be capable of causing dangerous flash flooding and mudslides. The next name is Oscar.” (Wunderground)

Shades of Puerto Rico: Farron Cousins, of the “Ring of Fire” videocast is reporting, more than a week after Hurricane Michael devastated the region, the 3rd most powerful hurricane ever recorded on mainland USA, that many survivors in the Florida panhandle have still received no help from FEMA, gutted by budget cuts ordered by the Trump administration. The death toll stands at 18, with over 30 unaccounted for at Mexico Beach.

Mexico: Off the Pacific coast, “…the 20th named storm of its ultra-busy 2018 hurricane season (saw) the development of Tropical Storm Tara on Monday morning. Tara was centered about 95 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico at 11 am EDT Monday, with top winds of 45 mph, and was bringing heavy rain to the nearby coast.” Again, up to 8″ is possible. Dr Jeff Masters writes:

“The 2018 hurricane season in the East Pacific (east of the date line) has now had 20 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 9 intense hurricanes. An average season has 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes, so we are well past those benchmarks with several more weeks of hurricane season remaining.”

Uganda: At least 41 people are confirmed dead after a massive landslide and flooding in the district of Bududa, Eastern Region on 11 Oct. Heavy rain caused the River Tsuume to burst its banks, which in turn caused a landslide in Bukalasi. Some of the affected areas are still not accessible and it is possible the death toll could increase. Local media said that 100s more are feared dead.” (from Floodlist)

Portugal: ex-hurricane Leslie finally made landfall as a post-tropical storm, three weeks after appearing in mid-Atlantic. 170 km/h gusts and heavy rain brought down trees and power lines, injuring 37. (CEWN #141)

Europe: the jetstream is maybe going to produce a pattern-flip next week, with an area of intense cold forming over northeastern Europe, where it’s been unusually warm; and a heatwave over northwestern Europe up into the British Isles. More torrential rainstorms with “major flooding” and threat of waterspouts are forecast for southern Spain and Morocco/Tunisia, starting Thursday 18 Oct.

Australia: Red warnings were issued as severe thunderstorms broke over the Brisbane, Queensland region. Two concurrent supercells joined forces, with damaging cyclonic winds, torrential rain and heavy hail. (CEWN #141)

Sumatra: 27 die in flash floods and landslides around Pasaman on the Indonesian island, 11-12 Oct. In the north of the island, 11 children were killed when their school was swept away by floodwaters. (CEWN #141)

Evolution latest

To date, humans have been responsible for the extinction of over 300 mammal species, according to new research at Aarhus University in Denmark, that in combined total took 2.5 billion years to evolve.

It would be 5.7 million years before 300 new species evolve to take their place.

And Yellowstone… yes, the largest geyser in the park, the normally almost inert Steamboat, went off on Sunday for the 23rd time this year. Rocks ejected over hundreds of feet, “the size of bowling balls”. Ground temperature still rising, more shallow earthquakes, many not being reported, continuing erratic ground uplift….

The Blessed Mary Greeley reports, the breaks in the data transmissions from the monitoring equipment also got so bad at the weekend, the USGS (United States Geological Survey) is claiming they were knocked out by lightning. No conspiracy theorist believes that, as it hasn’t happened before, the monitors are scattered over the whole park – and besides, they have capacitors ‘n’ stuff to soak up the lightning, so.

Actually when you consider they recently tried very hard to put earthquake forecaster Dutchsinse (Michael Janitch, of St Louis) off the air, and he reports ‘quakes from other monitoring services which they don’t, there may be something in the theory that they just don’t want anyone to know when it happens.

Endpiece

Staring at the sun

I know people would think me mad if I tried to discuss my current obsession, that there’s something wrong with the sky. Luckily, I have no-one to talk to all week, so it doesn’t matter.

Now, below is a photograph of some clouds, that I pulled the car over and took just this afternoon. Have you ever seen clouds looking like this? The dark ones, I mean? They look like a bucket of eels, or a pod of leaping dolphins, or something more sinister maybe. I have never before seen clouds do this:

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 66: Calumny makes the world go around… Khashing in his chips… Midterm Elections: Roll up, rolls down… Have your cake and stuff it… GW: Wandering around in circles

 

“Not global warming, not mother nature, it is the prophesy that near the end disasters will increase before the return of Christ and there is more to come and will intensify.”

–  ‘Sinner-Saved-From-Grace’, posting on Weather Underground in response to a lengthy and scholarly disquisition from Dr Jeff Masters on the physics behind the formation of powerful hurricanes.

See, how simple it all is when you put the apple back on the tree?

As we know, the greatest threat to the USA is its pandemic of frogbox-crazy Bible ‘truthers’. The ones who believe Trump has been sent by God to restore Christian morality in America! The ones who own the Republican Congress.

“So then I put my hand up her skirt…”

 

“…one wonders what Trump would do if Iran offered to pay his $340 million debt to Deutsche Bank?”

Calumny makes the world go around

The US ambassadress to the United Nations, “Dark Lady” Nikki Haley announced her resignation on 09 Oct., the sixty-somethingth senior Trump administration official to quit or be fired in less than two years.

No clear reason has been given, although Trump has lied that she told him several months ago, which is presumably why he doesn’t have a replacement lined up. Some betting is on Ivanka Trump to succeed her – he told reporters, she’d be “dynamite” in the job.

Less destructive than plutonium, I suppose.

The unexpected announcement triggered a storm of media speculation, with the strong theme running through it that she may be preparing a bid for the White House in 2020. Mrs Haley has denied it, saying she fully supports the increasingly confused and disputacious President for a second term. Frankly, the likelihood of the Republicans adopting a candidate to run against Trump in the primaries is preposterous. They’re so mired in his shit, not even the blood of Christ could wash the stink off.

Others have suggested she’s got too many foreign policy differences with the White House, or she’s being investigated over taking freebie flights and grossly understating their value on her emoluments confessionals; or she’s increasingly feeling irrelevant to US policymaking, in which she had more of a say when the largely hands-off Rex Tillerson was Secretary of State. Or she’s pissed off because Pompeo got the State Department and she felt she was better qualified. No-one knows. Maybe she even wrote that NYT op-ed blasting Trump as a vicious and incompetent infant?

Whatever, reports are that she’s courting the extreme Christian Right, exciting them with tales that she threatened China with an invasion of North Korea, and other juicy morsels for the End Times.

The preposterous triumvirate of the bloviating fraudster, Trump; his overbearing Secretary of State, the well-named Mike Pompeo and “Mr Pastry meets Dangermouse”, John Bolton, he of the volcanic Irish temperament and frosty upper lip, is pulling out of more and more international treaty agreements and institutions they perceive as cheekily imposing limits on unbridled American global hegemony. That’s also said to be pissing Nikki off.

“During meetings at the United Nations last week, Trump, Pompeo and Bolton railed against Iran and berated various other member states and U.N. bodies for not bending to American interests.” (writes Open Democracy) “…at a White House briefing, national security adviser Bolton announced that the administration was reviewing all agreements that could subject the United States to future rulings by the (UN International Court of Justice in The Hague).” While today’s (11 Oct) Washington Post raises concerns linking yesterday’s death-defying plunge on the markets with Bolton’s increasingly hawkish rhetoric against… China.

Because if the Chinese economy goes belly-up, as Trump seems to want, that’s it for the rest, making 2008 look like you went a dollar over your overdraft and the manager called you in.

So it’s fine for other countries, including America’s fast retrenching “allies”, to have to put up with bullying, teenage insults, sanctions, barked orders, huge fines penalizing only taxpayers, gross injustices and the high & mighty jurisdiction of commercially motivated, publicity-seeking, common-or-garden US District Court judges over our own institutions and legislatures, to be told who we can trade with and on what terms; but the American Empire will not accept what these three like to smear as “politically motivated interference” with its often underhand and dirty machinations in return.

“Give him a week, Trump will forget what a great guy Brett Kavanaugh was….”

The constant harping, especially by this degenerate and cavalier President, on the idea that critics of his dangerous caprices are invariably sponsored in the background by the Deep State and other malevolent forces of what are in fact perfectly legitimate opposition parties and media commentators in a polyvalent democracy, is a precise encapsulation of the Trumpian doctrine of autocracy.

Everything that upsets Childe Donald and flouts his wishes or threatens his interests is the fault of his many political and media critics,  wearisomely portrayed time and again out of the “Fascist Dictating For Dummies…” playbook as the forces of evil plotting violent overthrow of the nation state – which is to say, him.

He is perhaps not cunning or ruthless or, indeed, young enough; not sufficiently well informed or focussed on the goal, since he has no clue about the workings of government and displays the intelligence and attention-span of a fruit fly with ADHD, to ever actually become the dictator he obviously so longs to be.

Give him a week, Trump will forget what a great guy Brett Kavanaugh was. The first balanced and rational decision the Supreme Court comes out with, Trump will decide that his inside man is weak and a traitor, tweeting out the old terms of abuse in the sleepless hours.

But can one say the same of the evil armchair warmonger, the Bolton Baddie, for instance? Or the “college vampire”, the ambitious, nativist psychopath, Stephen Miller, a dead-eyed Trump policy “advisor” and speechwriter still young enough to destroy the world?

This is a form of transactional global dictatorship that makes it easier to understand, for instance, the motivation behind Putin’s assault on democratic institutions.

It may become necessary for Western nations too, to adopt a similar program of nonviolent resistance to an increasingly authoritarian United States; as Trump’s foreign policy is mostly about demanding Danegeld – a protection racket; a shakedown. If you don’t want to be hit with sanctions and trade tariffs, or threatened with annihilation, you better remember poor bankrupt Jared Kushner, the son-in-law, could do with another $500 million.

A head of steam is already building around relations with Iran, which were on a reasonable footing until Trump announced he was unilaterally abrogating a vital nuclear non-proliferation treaty it had taken the West twenty years to negotiate, because, he said, it was a “terrible deal”; although it is doubtful if he has read it. It hasn’t yet been published in comic strip form.

There is no mystery why he did that: a simple soul, Trump has been easily bamboozled by the hardline prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, who has been agitating for some time for regime change in Tehran; ever since, in fact, the scruffy little oik in the waiter’s jacket, President Ahmadinejad, aiming to cement his power internally, called for Israel to be pushed into the sea.

Of course he wasn’t serious; it’s not a policy objective. He knew perfectly well, Israel has an even bigger brother armed with more than 70 thousand nuclear warheads. It was standard Islamist rhetoric to please the Ayatollahs.

“Remember when you couldn’t even manage to defeat a few peasants in flip-flop sandals?”

But Israel has always adopted a robustly paranoid view of its neighbours, and has been anxious to finagle the USA with Levantine cunning into crushing Iran before Iran could obtain its own nuclear arsenal and do a lot of damage commercially to the burgeoning Israeli offshore gas industry with its own vast reserves.

One wonders idly, what Trump would do if Iran offered to pay his $340 million debt to Deutsche Bank?

No-one seriously thinks reimposing economic sanctions leading to the collapse of the Iranian economy will result in anything other than even more hardline clerics taking over, now with the support of the people. But that’s all to the good, providing as it would, greater stimulus to the Americans to start another war in which many civilians can be killed without too much comeback from the libtards.

It wouldn’t be the first time. People forget, if they ever knew about, the sneaky invasion of Iran in 1980 by one Saddam Hussein, egged-on by the Americans, and the two million casualties that resulted before the Ayatollahs pushed him back out in a savage war of attrition. They forget, if they ever knew about, the hundreds of schoolchildren used as human minesweepers, ordered to march fearlessly through the fields to their deaths, singing patriotic songs, clearing the way for the troops to advance.

You’re going to fight that, in 50 degree heat, with your overweight, drug-addled GIs? Remember when you couldn’t even manage to defeat a few peasants in flip-flop sandals? Oh, why was that? Is it because you can’t defeat an ideology with bombs?

With hard-assed, gung-ho armchair warriors like the lunatic Bolton inside the White House, the real military sidelined, and with total ferment in Washington politics, anything could happen in the next half-hour.

And probably will.

x

Khashing in his chips

Here’s one for you conspiracy theorists to get your milk teeth into.

Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post contributor who the Turks have got on tape being tortured and murdered and cut up with a chainsaw by a hit-squad consisting of a doctor and 14 military intel goons inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, likely on the orders of the autocratic Saudi heir with terrifying eyes, Prince Mohammad bin-Salam, was the younger cousin (some say nephew) of the late Adnan Khashoggi, a billionaire arms dealer and spectacular bon viveur, who died “peacefully” in London last year, aged 81, of complications from Parkinson’s disease.

It’s not strictly accurate to describe Jamal as “a journalist”. While in exile in the US, on a residential visa, he wrote guest articles in the WaPo mildly critical of bin-Salman, whose much touted liberal reforms have been less than a layer of skin deep compared with his crackdown on businessmen, journalists, social activists and political opponents.

He was also a diplomat and businessman, with extensive contacts among the vast horde of House of Saud princelings who jockey for power in the brutal desert kingdom, where civil rights and the system of jurisprudence have barely improved since the time of Abraham.

It’s more likely he was killed for something more serious; a plot, possibly, some act of corruption, a bad business deal or a tribal feud. He was known, for instance, to have at some time or other been a supporter if not a member of the hated Muslim Brotherhood, in fact a relatively religiously liberal Islamic movement but one that Arab dictators don’t want meddling in their politics.

The family seems ill-fated: Adnan’s sister was the mother of Dodi Al-Fayed, the son of the Egyptian businessman and former owner of Harrod’s store for the very rich, in London. Dodi was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1996, along with his soon-to-be-ex-lover, Diana, “Princess of Wales, Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland...”. You certainly got your money’s worth with our Di.

Almost as many interesting theories surround that tragic event as emerged after the Kennedy assassination.

In his prime, Adnan was worth around $40 billion, supposedly, and scraped a living as an agent facilitating the sale of American arms – particularly Lockheed-Martin aircraft – to Saudi Arabia, earning fat commissions. He acted as the go-between for Oliver North in the notorious Iran-Contra affair, when lovely old Ronald Reagan secretly promised to sell arms to Iran if they kept the seige by radical students of the US Embassy in Tehran going long enough to discredit his Democrat opponent, incumbent President Jimmy Carter.

Perhaps his most famous deal was the one known as al-Yamamah, where he was allegedly paid $65 million by the Thatcher government, using her son Mark as the go-between (he has strenuously denied it), not to hand the $20 billion warplanes contract to the French Dassault company, but to favor British Aerospace. The subsequent bribery investigation by the UK Serious Fraud unit was quashed by Tony Blair, who had a thing about not upsetting murderous Arab dictators.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia are indeed the reason Donald Trump admits he is refusing to say bad things about the pragmatic bin-Salam, who was suddenly promoted over his cousin to become heir to the throne of the demented King Salmaan just a fortnight after Trump visited Riyadh in 2017, at the urging no doubt of “Friend of Israel” Jared Kushner, and continues to prosecute a genocidal war in Yemen with the help of US weapons and special forces.

Trump lies that US sales orders to SA are worth $110 billion, and so cannot be sacrificed for just one man, but that isn’t exactly true. Wikipedia has: ‘On June 5, it was reported that the arms deal consists of ‘a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts.’ On June 13, 2017, the United States Senate narrowly rejected an effort to block part of the deal and approved the sale of $500 million worth of American weapons.”

So it was half-a-percent true!

Trump’s business connections with Saudi Arabia go way back to the 1990s, when his Taj Mahal casino was going bust and he owed $900 million.

The astonishing story of how the Trumps, father and daughter, bankrupted the casino for a second time in 2009 after Trump’s friend, whom he would later appoint to a cabinet post, Carl Icahn had blown $100 million trying to rescue the business is told on http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-trump-bankrupted-the-taj-mahal-2017-5.

Trump had conned the judge at the first bankruptcy hearing into awarding him the business over Icahn, on a rescue plan that included licensing his valuable name to the casino, and then loaded the company with massive debts in the form of lucrative payments to himself and Ivanka for selling their own-branded products via “third-parties”.

Icahn would subsequently leave the Trump administration in 2018 after an illegal insider trade netted him $23 million. But he had the last laugh: “The Trump Taj Mahal eventually ended up in Icahn’s hands after the 2015 bankruptcy process, and the Trumps lost their 10% stake.”

(This is the Great Businessman the dumbfucks believe in so fervently, they’ve made a film hailing him as the new Messiah who’s going to restore morality to America. You could not make this up!)

In 1987, Adnan Khashoggi too was in a bit of financial bother – believe it or not – and had to sell his superyacht, the Nebila – at 87 meters, the biggest one in the world at that time – to the Sultan of Brunei, then the richest man in the world and a close friend of UK heir to the throne, Prince Charles, who was, of course, notoriously, married to…. Princess Diana. Adnan got nothing for it, the Sultan merely covered his debts.

The Sultan then flipped the yacht to…. one Donald J Trump, for $29 million, and Trump later sold it on to a Saudi business contact, Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, for $19 million.

A better deal was to follow. Rechristening the Nebila the Trump Princess, the Golden Wonder (despite his enormous debts) commissioned an even bigger yacht, at 125 meters to be named Trump Princess 11. Then, once work had started, he cancelled the order, forcing the builder into administration, and bought the yard cheaply. Which two months later he sold at a profit.

Never do business with Donald Trump, is my advice.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/history-of-donald-trumps-yachts-2016-11?r=US&IR=T

So when Trump told an impromptu press gathering in the Oval Office yesterday that he didn’t know about Khashoggi, he wasn’t being exactly honest. Why, he was practically a shipmate of the seafaring family. Ship ahoy!

An obituary in the New York Times (I’ve linked the Sydney Morning Herald‘s version) paints Adnan Khashoggi as just the kind of guy Trump would love to have been, if he had ever made any real money: brash, vulgar, insecure (a good Muslim, born in Mecca, he organized a continuous stream of prostitutes for himself and his guests) and astonishingly expensive. http://www.smh.com.au/national/adnan-khashoggi-saudi-arms-dealer-sold-superyacht-to-trump-20170607-gwm6pm.html

And if you think James Bond is fantasy, Adnan even employed as a bodyguard, a Korean martial arts master called Mr Kill.

So, reeling from all that – and there’s more, so much more – you might by now be thinking, perhaps Jamal Khashoggi wasn’t murdered just for writing a couple of brusque op-eds.

It seems unlikely.

 

Postscriptum: Oh God, I just stupidly wondered if the Blair business led anywhere else in this story, and Googled “Khashoggi; Murdoch”…. Don’t, whatever you do, go there, or two large men in sunglasses with a fondness for cocaine and George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President of the United States, will turn up on your doorstep, I warn you!

 

Midterm elections

Roll up, rolls down

By my calculation, from US cable TV reports, Republican states have successfully “voter suppressed” – disenfranchised – well over a million black and Latino voters, basically on obscure technicalities, with three weeks to go until the midterm elections. They haven’t necessarily told them, so thousands will turn up at the polls only to discover they’re not eligible to vote, or that the votes they cast won’t count.

Individual cases show the extent of Republican gerrymandering.

  • In Georgia, AP reports, sitting Republican candidate, State Secretary Brian Kemp has refused to relinquish control of the voter registration office, as required by law, that is holding up 53 thousand applications for new registrations, over 70% of them from black applicants. They’re now time-expired. 107 thousand more have been arbitrarily removed from the roll for failing to vote in a previous election.
  • In North Dakota, there are two wards that have Native American majorities. Because of the way elections work in the US, those wards can help to swing the state for the Democrat candidate. So the Republican State department is insisting Native Americans have to re-register, proving their ethnic status. That requires submitting a street address and zipcode, that most of them don’t have because they’re living in trailers on a reservation.
  • While in Waller County, Texas, the field director for the Democrats, Jacob Aaronowitz, was arrested and his phone confiscated after police quizzed him on his party affiliation when he turned up at the courthouse to deliver a letter requesting that judges uphold the voting rights of black students at a local university, following a long history of intimidation by the Republican administration.
  • And in Dodge City, Kansas – a town with 60% Latino population – State Secretary Kris Kobach (he of the notorious and now disbanded Trump commission on voter fraud, that couldn’t find any) has moved the only voting station that Latino citizens were previously directed to use to a location a mile outside town, and not on a bus route.

The reason being, it’s thought probable that ethnic minority, immigrant, poorer and younger voters tend to vote Democrat.

Often, it seems like Orson Welles’ Southern racialism suspense fim, ‘A Touch of Evil’, has come to life. Especially when Attorney-General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions 111 has been caught warning circuit court judges not to dare rule in suits against Daddy Trump, or parties affiliated to him, if they value their careers. It’s expected Trump will fire him after the elections. The sad little creep.

In the meantime, asked about a fresh round of Russian internet activity, that has resulted in a detailed 28-page NSA indictment of a Russian woman who is apparently in charge of the operation in St Petersburg, Trump shrugged and replied that it didn’t bother him: “It’s nothing to do with my campaign” – and suggested the Russians might be interfering on behalf of Hillary Clinton – whom he defeated in the election he won two years ago, and who is not even running for office, any more than he is.

Is the persistent refusal to engage with an enemy power in defense of the State not treason?

Lock him up!

Georgia on my mind

Further mindboggling evidence of election-rigging in Georgia has emerged from a number of articles about the curious behavior of State officials led by the Secretary of State, Brian Kemp.

Before the 2016 election, State police raided a number of properties in Brooks County, where a high proportion of black people live, and charged 11 with the crime of carrying absentee ballots to the mailbox, on behalf of disabled relatives. Together, they faced a possible 1,100 years in jail. By a strange coincidence, they were all active campaigners for the Democrats. None of the cases resulted in a conviction, after the Attorney General admitted, there was no such crime.

As if blatant intimidation of whole Democrat districts by the State police were not enough, Kemp appears to have been the one holdout State Secretary in the whole of the US, who refused to accept multiple warnings from the FBI and independent cyber security agencies in 2016, that his State’s voting machines were wide open to Russian interference and security needed beefing-up. 100 per cent of Georgia’s voter data was accessible on-line, including Social Security numbers, and was being hacked at that moment.

Kemp hit back with the now-familiar line that it was all a Democrat scare story; there were no Russians.

Following the election, investigators established that a known GRU agent, recalled Washington diplomat Dmitri Kovalev had visited a small number of states in 2016 to gain information about their voting machines, Georgia among them. Huge anomalies were found: in one county, two and a half times the number of votes were cast than there were registered voters. When the FBI requested access to investigate the database, they found it had been wiped clean.

Georgia declared for Trump by a 5-point majority that was totally unexpected in the light of polling. Kemp is running again in the midterms. He is being taken to court (again) for suppressing tens of thousands of legitimate voters, but it looks like there won’t be a verdict before the elections. (Reporting: Rachel Maddow, MSNBC)

The Republicans are blatantly stealing the election, while Trump makes valiant attempts to delegitimize any opposition to his increasingly bizarre and autocratic rule, describing ordinary Democrats – practically half the electorate – as dangerous Socialists, an “angry mob” planning to overthrow the government and take away people’s guns. (It’s called an election, Donald!)

Let’s hope those “3 to 5 million illegals” of his, that Kobach couldn’t find,  turn out again and vote.

 

Have your cake and stuff it

Living in a small provincial town, I can’t say I’d ever taken note of the existence of a chain of rather scrumptious-looking cake shops-cum-cafes called, winsomely, Patisserie Valerie, before now. We certainly haven’t got one here, which seems a shame as the overpriced, pre-sliced, dried-out cakes and muffins you get in coffee shops are pretty dreary and unimaginative. Carrot cake, anyone? Salted caramel flavor?

Sadly for Britain’s cake fiends, the chain of 206 cafes – some with different names – appears to have gone bust after a period in which its finance director was allegedly fudging the figures to keep investors happy, following their listing on the AIM market for small companies, so that no-one noticed, for instance, that they owed the tax people a million quid.

The bullet-point timeline on the BBC website tells an all-too familiar story:

  • The first Patisserie Valerie café was opened on Frith Street in London’s Soho district in 1926.
  • In 1987 the Scalzo family bought the Old Compton Street store and ran the business.
  • In 2006, Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners bought a majority stake when it had eight stores.
  • And in 2018, it’s in receivership.

(This article has been truncated following the announcement of the arrest of Finance Director Chris Marsh following the discovery of a £20 million “hole” in the accounts. It was to have gone on to observe that all too often, business owners fall into the trap – perhaps they have no other option, or are steered by accountants – of selling-out to investment trusts that have little interest in, or knowledge of how to run, their businesses, and no loyalty to the remaining stakeholders, but are only interested in extracting value. In this case I may be being unfair.)

 

The biter bit

Owing to a slump in ratings for his grotesque and repetitive, rambling and abusive speeches, and the reactions of his followers justifying the term ‘base’, Fox News has announced a decision not to air all of Trump’s weekly Nuremberg rallies in full; and some not at all.

Trump is reportedly so furious, he has called for an inquiry.

x

GW: Wandering around in circles

Call me stupid, but I’m totally baffled by the completely different pictures being created by different weather services.

Take Hurricane Leslie. This weird beast has been wandering around in the mid-Atlantic for three weeks, set fair for a record fourth week, and no-one seemed to know where it was headed. A few days ago it looked to be tracking northeastward away from the Canary Islands towards the Azores, thence to Portugal and onward possibly to the British Isles.

A huge cyclonic storm then appeared off the coast of Ireland, with a central pressure of just 952 mb, that was expected by an official website called Severe-weather.eu to drop 30 mb in an act of ‘bombogenesis’ that would bring 35-foot waves and 110 mph winds with much rain to the Emerald Isle and on into northern Britain by Friday night.

Was this Leslie, or was it not? Because as a post-Tropical Storm in the region of the British Isles, it had been christened Callum.  At one time, Severe-weather.eu was calling it both Callum and Leslie.

However, the Wunderground website, part of the US Weather Channel company, has a map showing that Leslie was on 10 October still in the region of the Canary Islands, still as a Cat 1 hurricane, weakening gradually to a Tropical Storm and turning south by Friday, back into the lonely Atlantic, and not expected to make landfall anywhere.

Both the Irish Met Office and BBC Weather service seem to have a more leisurely view of the ‘weather bomb’ that is frighteningly visible on satellite imagery off the coast of Ireland, portraying it as just a normal Atlantic front, with a forecast of ‘stormy weather’, rain and wind gusts of 65 mph in the north. (This has altered slightly with the issue of an Amber flood and wind warning for Wales, Friday.)

Meanwhile there’s a heatwave in the Arctic, torrential rainfall persisting in the eastern Mediterranean, a new Tropical Storm coming out of the Cape Verde islands, the strongest hurricane, Michael, ever recorded in the Florida panhandle, bookmatched Tropical Cyclones in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean (one headed to Oman, the other to the Ganges delta) and Hurricane Garcia in the east Pacific, expected to head inland over Baja California in the wake of last week’s Hurricane Rosa.

Oh, and: “Heatwaves and bushfires are predicted in southern Australia thanks to a 70% chance of El Niño weather conditions, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned. Although cyclones may ease up in the north by the end of the year, the outlook for drought-hit areas is not good, according to the bureau. New South Wales is declared 100 per cent droughted.” – Guardian

But don’t worry, chaps, it’s all quite normal.

Carry on burning.

Weather Report

India and Bangladesh: being ignored by Western media in the excitement over Hurricane Michael, are two intense storms – one in the Arabian Sea, Typhoon Luban – the other, Tropical Cylone Titli, just south of the Ganges Delta, an especially sensitive low-lying area with a very large population lacking any resilience to tidal surges. Both are packing sustained winds over 85 mph. There’s no word as yet on the key developments to watch for, the storm surges. (Wunderground)

“Rain from the storm started to reach the eastern coasts of India on Wednesday, and will become increasingly heavy ahead of landfall on Thursday. Conditions in general will worsen through Thursday as the potent tropical cyclone unleashes torrential rainfall and increasing winds on far northeast Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The strongest winds will likely be confined to the coasts of northeastern Andhra Pradesh and southern Odisha. Ahead of landfall, Titli is expected to strengthen to a very severe tropical cyclone, bringing sustained winds of at least 120 km/h (75 mph). This is equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane.” (1, actually. Ed.)

Already however Times of India reports 300,000 residents of Odisha state are being evacuated as windspeeds have increased to 125 km/h with gusts over 165 km/h. Given the population living in poor quality housing along the shoreline, this could be a much more serious event even than Michael.

Update: CEWN #140 has 8 dead from Titli, remarkable, given its severity. Luban’s track has veered leftwards and the bulk of the storm is expected over Yemen, Friday. Upper date: Titli total: 52.

Sri Lanka: Rain stopped play for a day in the cricket Test Match against the England tourists, frightfully inconvenient. What the BBC didn’t report: “At least 9 people have died and around 5,000 displaced after a period of heavy rain and storms which have caused flooding, landslides and wind damage. Around 1,700 homes and buildings have been severely damaged, with around 35 totally destroyed.” (Floodlist)

Oman: Luban’s track is still a little uncertain, it may affect Yemen, but more likely Oman, with 5 to 8 inches of rain: “By Friday evening, Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates are expected to be affected by heavy rain, and high winds, with sea waves reaching maximum heights of 6 to 8 metres.”

Italy: Major flash-flooding reported from Sardinia as weather system bearing intense rainfall moves westwards through the Med. (Floodlist) The Local reports, the island had an entire year’s worth of rainfall in 4 hours. 1 dead.

UK: Heavy rain from Storm Callum has caused floods across much of the southwest of England and south Wales, and is now moving up into Cumbria. The west of Ireland took a battering as the storm moved more slowly than expected up the coast.

 

Weather talk

I was just on an old Post and came across a reference to Japan, and Typhoon Talim, a Cat 4 that struck with devastating effect a little over a year ago. Many people had to be evacuated. Looking back over this year and the powerful typhoons that have battered Japan, with millions displaced, it occurred to me to write to Mr Abe to suggest that the entire population might be permanently rehoused in evacuation centres, above the tideline, to save the bother of having to move them in and out of their homes.

Seriously, these natural disasters keep happening in Japan. It must be having an effect on the economy, but no-one ever mentions it. Just as no-one ever wonders if several years of drought interrupted by typhoons and floods aren’t in any way responsible for Mr Kim’s overtures to his southern Korean neighbour. We hear little these days of the activities of al-Shabaab Islamic militias in Northern Nigeria. Could that be because vast tracts have been underwater for months, making movement difficult?

An alley between the Gulf coastal states – Texas, Louisiana, Alabama – through the midwest up to the Great Lakes, eastward to the Atlantic coast and up into Maine has been successively battered by severe storms all year, at the rate of about two a month; extreme hail and tornadoes punctuated by extreme heat fluctuating across the continent. Record winter snowfall gave way after months to record flooding, some “1-in-1000-years” floods occurring for the second time in two years. Are we to assume this and hurricanes like Maria and Michael have had no effect at all on the US economy?

For a nation whose number one topic of conversation famously used to be the weather, here in Britain we’ve become remarkably reticent about it lately. No-one looks up anymore, only down at their cellphones; where we are told nothing that might frighten us.

The IPCCress File

For the independent scientists’ reaction to the big report on climate change, go to: Arctic-news.blogspot.com. It won’t come as any surprise to BogPo readers that it includes a cogent 12-point demolition of the IPCC’s heavily downplayed conclusions. Most seriously, they accuse the committee of ignoring NASA’s data: “Records show that, in February 2016, it was on average 1.67ºC warmer than in 1900, while the higher latitudes North had anomalies up to 10.8ºC.”

 

Yellowstone News: Water and ground temperatures still rising, trees dying, earthquakes going unrecorded by USGS, the Steamboat geyser went off last Monday for the 22nd time this year (normally 1 or 2 in a whole year) equalling the previous record full year ever. Although the good news is the eruptions are getting less frequent, now every 6 days.

The Pumpkin – Issue 62: Salmond phishing in Scotland… Painting the skeletons pink… Phooarh!…GW: Wash me down and blow me!

Amen Corner

“We get climate change wrong too often… Manmade climate change exists: if the science proves it we should report it. To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage.”

– Long overdue memo from Head of News, Fran Unsworth to all BBC producers.

Ghoul’s out for ever. (Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

The Pumpkin says: Two hurrahs for Auntie Fran! Fuck off, Lawson, you moneygrubbing ecocidal old ghoul. Back in your grave. And clear up the soil and maggots after you. (See Posts passim)

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/07/bbc-we-get-climate-change-coverage-wrong-too-often

 

“Is sexual kompromat not precisely the tactic Trump and his cohort have been using for years to crush their enemies?”

Salmond phishing in Scotland

Along with many sources, The Pumpkin has previously speculated about the provenance of the variously named Trump International Golf Links project, also known as Trump Aberdeen, or Trump Balmedie; where its $120 million startup funding may have come from, since it certainly did not come from the near-bankrupt Trump Organization in the USA or any cautious British or US banks; and through whom it was channeled.

There are and were numerous other concerns about the development, of course. How Trump railroaded through planning consent over the objections of the community and properly concerned environmentalists; what role the then SNP leader, Alex Salmond played in swinging the decision; how Trump opposed the siting of an offshore wind farm – he hates wind farms – a project supported by Salmond; his bullying and harassment of local resisters – his attempts to massively increase the size of the development, despite the fact that it’s been making heavy losses, partly thanks to the retreat of the North Sea oil industry and the winding-down of Aberdeen as its capital.

And then there was the well-reported instance of Trump’s dimmest son, Eric bragging to a golf journalist that they got $100 million from some golf-mad Russians for course developments. At the time, according to Wikipedia, there were only 9 functioning golf courses in the whole of Russia, and only 4 PGA-registered professionals. The boast was backed up by Donald Jr, who told another journalist that “they were always in and out of Russia”, where the development funding was virtually limitless.

This seemed to contradict Trump Sr’s frequent forceful assertions that he had no business with Russia. None.

Anyway, that’s not what The Pumpkin has been thinking about this morning. Another well-sourced piece by Adam Davidson in The New Yorker this week, entitled “Where will the Trump investigations go next?” (a question on many people’s minds as elections approach and some kind of denouement in the Mueller enquiry is eagerly anticipated) has revived our curiosity, to the point where he lazily dialled “Salmond/Sorial” into the Googlebox and sat back, waiting for any nugget to fall into his lap.

And, unlikely though it may seem, numerous reports have popped up, linking the two names.

Still an Executive Vice-President at Trump Organization, George Sorial was Trump’s point man on Aberdeen: the guy who did all the negotiating, the railroading, the project management and the harassment of the natives (including cutting off their water supplies and throwing high ramparts around their properties) – as well as the relationship-building with Salmond, who somehow became convinced overnight that the development on a Site of Special Scientific Interest would after all be A Good Thing for Scotland, despite all evidence to the contrary.

It seems that part of the relationship-building involved a Salmond scheme whereby Trump, Sorial – and, by extension, Donald Trump Jr – were flattered to be added to a list of international business movers and shakers named as “Global Scots”, honorary nationals who would commit to promoting Scottish business interests worldwide – presumably in anticipation of a Yes vote in the 2014 Independence referendum, a vote that never arrived.

The newly adopted Republican candidate, Trump Sr was swiftly dumped in early 2016, ostensibly because of the multiculturalist SNP’s objections to his campaign promise to introduce a ban on Muslims entering the USA. Donald Jr’s delisting came soon afterwards because, as any fule might have expected, he simply hadn’t fulfilled any of his commitments to promote Scottish business, being too busy chasing tail, pomading his hair (I bet he’s a Dapper Dan man!) and slaughtering endangered animals for their body parts.

There then came attempts to drop Sorial.

Buzzfeed reported (November 30, 2016 – 3 weeks after Trump was elected President)

“According to a freedom of information request from the Scottish government, Salmond gave Sorial the role on the basis that he was “responsible for the Trump developments in Scotland”, he would be an “advocate” for the country, and his parents were from the Scottish island of Lewis.

“However, after being told Sorial was still a Global Scot, Salmond told BuzzFeed News that Sorial should step down from the role. The former first minister has been a vocal critic of Trump since relations between the Scottish government and the tycoon soured over the construction of a wind farm near his golf course.”

The Pumpkin has been wondering about poor Mr Salmond, who has just last week had to resign his seat in the Scottish Assembly and crowdfund an appeal for his legal fees, in order to fight accusations of sexual impropriety made against him quite out of the blue by “two women”.

Is sexual kompromat not precisely the tactic Trump and his cohort have been using for years to crush their enemies and punish or silence their disloyal “friends”, bringing them back into line? One thinks of Charlie Kushner, father of Trump’s son-in-law Jared, part of whose 5-years sentence of imprisonment was for witness tampering – insomuch as he tried to silence his brother-in-law with a DVD of an encounter with a prostitute in a motel room, which Kushner Sr then sent to his own sister, to put a little more pressure on her husband.

And we have heard Trump protege and quasi-legal bagman, Michael Cohen not only pleading guilty to financial violations, but fingering Trump as having ordered him to payoff a porn star and a glamour model out of a special slush-fund created for the purpose, using corporate donations fraudulently elicited to buy access to the White House; while speculation surrounds another Trump associate who may or may not have been involved in silencing a woman who is claiming to have spawned an illegitimate child by Trump.

No wonder he so admires Boris Johnson.

We then have the lurid details of what may or may not have happened in a Moscow hotel room in 2013, as listed in the notorious so-called “Steele dossier” among other instances of compromising information the Russians may or may not have on the President.

So there’s a lot of this sort of thing going around. Were the women put up to “hashtag Metoo” Salmond? Most probably no, but allegations of groping and worse are the kind of “black information” Trump has reportedly stored up for years against individuals he encounters, to secure lasting loyalty; silence (Omerta), and to use against his victims later as necessary.

Could we suppose, taking things to their extreme, that Salmond’s about-face on his apparent loyalty to Trump Org., the defiance of Trump’s thwarted Islamophobic program, the row over the wind farm and the perceived slight of the Leader of the Free World no longer being considered to be an honorary Scotsman have penetrated the notoriously thin skin of the President, and earned poor Alex the dubious distinction of becoming the victim of a Mafia-style vendetta to destroy the career of the ebullient former cruise-ship entertainer?

Betrayal being the number one crime in the Trump playbook? And when Trump Org. has announced it plans further leisure developments in Scotland?

As Davidson writes:

“Some have argued that Trump didn’t knowingly break the law—that he was just impulsive and unfocussed and would, accidentally and without proper due diligence, end up working with crooks. My source told me that this was nonsense: of course Trump knew when he was breaking the law. “Come on. He was trained by fucking Roy Cohn.* Seriously.”

http://www.newyorker.com/news-desk/swamp-chronicles/where-will-the-trump-investigations-go-next?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamieross/donald-trumps-right-hand-man-is-still-an-ambassador-for-scot

*By all accounts, Cohn was an absolute swine, acting as an implacable and cunning prosecutor in the notorious Joseph McCarthy anti-Communist “witch-hunt” hearings; an attorney for the brutal Gambino crime family, and a friend of Trump’s dodgy property developer father, Fred.

In a related earlier piece, however, Davidson recounts how he attended functions at Cohn’s grand mansion, that were almost royal garden parties; and where, like Trump, Cohn would insist on holding open sessions at which rich and influential men – policemen and judges among them – would step up to offer him effusive public praise, adulation that he wallowed in.

The extraordinary thing, Davidson says, is that unlike Trump’s Imperatorial cabinet meetings at which everyone is mercilessly forced to grovel and praise God for his existence and their jobs, Cohn’s guests genuinely seemed to mean it. For those who weren’t his victims, he seemed to offer loyal friendship and a likeable side.

And that’s the secret of success.

Something the thin-skinned and vindictive tinpot dictator, Trump never learned.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/where-trump-learned-to-love-ritualized-flattery

x

“Instead of producing a potboiler one would have hoped Woodward might have credibly pursued the paths trodden by veteran Trumphunters, following the money to expose the dark underbelly of America’s worst ever President.”

Painting the skeletons pink

All America is agog at the publication in the failing New York Times of an op-ed piece by an anonymous contributor, described as “A senior member of the Trump administration”, calling the President out as an erratic and incompetent lunatic, whose wilder policy initiatives have to be buried by his staffers before they can do any harm.

The situation is being made very much worse by an incandescent Trump demanding the miscreant’s head on a platter, to be charged with “treason” (the irony escapes him). If he would only shut up and stop reacting like a child to these provocations, The Pumpkin opines, it might look a lot less like the accusations are true.

Nor is it helping, that the piece has come out only a day after the official publication date of “Fear”, the new “piss-and-tell” book about the churning guts of Trump’s White House by legendary investigative journalist, Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame). No collusion? Possibly not.

On Thursday, the supine BBC managed to find a queue of three Trump apologists, including the discreditable neofascist missing-link, Gorka (“why, oh why?” etc. – BBC listener), who all spouted the same incredible lines about what a great job the President is doing and this is all sour grapes from the lyin’ Democrats in cahoots with da fake nooze media.

Meanwhile Trump was saying pretty much the same thing, boasting about his historically high poll ratings. (He recently told one of his flashmob rallies that he didn’t know if they had polls in Abraham Lincoln’s time (they didn’t. Ed.), but if they did Trump’s ratings would be beating them….) He is insane, in case it hadn’t already occurred to you.

The latest WAPO/ABC polling puts him down at 36% national approval, by the way, with 52% thinking he’s a total trainwreck and 49% calling for his impeachment.

Anyone who knows anything about the workings of great newspapers like the NYT knows they don’t print unverified gossip from anonymized sources without very careful checking. They certainly don’t fake-up op-ed pieces of this seriousness themselves and then source them to non-existent senior members of the administration. Trump isn’t calling for them to be shut down because they tell lies about him.

Trump has now embarked on what one can only describe as a “witch hunt” to out the witch who wrote the piece, sparking fevered speculation as to the true identity of his critic – who, as a staunch Republican, hypocritically went out of his or her way to applaud some of the shittier “achievements” of the administration, such as the utterly cretinous trade policies, the wreckage of the public health insurance system, the vainglorious superfunding of the already bloated military, the rollback of consumer and environmental protections and the budget-busting $1.4 trillion giveaway to the party’s funders; none of which has added a jot of happiness to the lives of the vast majority of Americans.

So, for the past few days his closest advisors, a group known as “the adults in the room” have been rushing to deny responsibility. Many commentators are pointing at Vice-President Pence, on the basis of various clues, such as the use of the world “lodestar”, a metaphor Pence is constantly using; and the fact that he has gone off somewhere at this rather crucial time and had to send his fridge to a press conference*.

The Pumpkin’s betting is on Trump’s public defender, Rudy Giuliani – with help over the more difficult spellings. Trump is alleged to have said very terrible, almost shockingly terrible things to poor Rudy in the past, totally emasculating him, whenever the former mayor of New York’s TV performances have not defended the President sufficiently robustly.

Is this Rudy’s Revenge?

Whoever it is, Sessions, Kelly, whoever, given the reluctance of the debutant to step forward, doesn’t this look like a case of painting the skeletons pink? Should Trump go down any time soon, this individual will be able to step forth from the shadows, this ersatz Deep Throat, and proudly proclaim their patriotic instincts and innocence of the Trump stain. Look, my skeletons are still alive!

There is also, of course, the possibility that Trump himself commissioned the piece from a ghost writer, to take the wind out of Woodward’s sails – and sales. It wouldn’t be the first time he has misled the “enemies of the people” in this way; and none of the allegations of his bizarre behavior is original, they’ve all appeared in print before.

It’s a handy distraction, too, from the Congressional hearings on his pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh – who, when quizzed about any previous connections he may have had with anyone on Trump’s legal team, prevaricated that “he couldn’t remember” and asked his inquisitor, the forensic Senator Susan Harris, to suggest some legal names because he didn’t know any. So that’s a rubber stamp, then.

But who knows? It’s bound to come out soon enough.

In The Pumpkin’s view, it’s a shame Woodward’s book is being filleted by the media for the more lurid tales of life in the Trump White House, until it appears that they might be the major or possibly the only theme. I hadn’t budgeted for another Trump tome this month, I’m still pondering ordering Craig Unger’s House of Putin, House of Trump. At least it’s not just more in-house tittle-tattle, of which I have four volumes already.

We can all see from his forgetful behavior and manner of speaking that the President is senescent, almost certainly in the early stages of dementia. We sense too that he is annoyingly inept as an administrator, ignorant of foreign affairs, industry and economics; a vain, crass, incurious and demanding bully, a whining, childish, foul-mouthed solipsist with no regard for anyone other than himself and his own fatuous saloon-bar theories; that he has succeeded in life only through mendacity, extreme venality, adroit publicity and affecting the threatening posture of a Mafia chieftain. He has also revealed a surprising capacity for cowardice.

We know all that.

We already have a raft of books and articles based on the testimony of dozens of leaky insiders describing Trump’s manic outbursts, his “senior moments”, his impulsive policy-making and his horrible dietary habits. So I guess we shall just have to see what Mueller can do, while Trump furiously tries to undermine the credibility of the Russia investigation, brutalizes the Justice Department, slags-off the media and packs the courts with unqualified placemen.

Whatever finally comes out from Mueller may gain no traction at all among the Republican voters.

As the much-decorated doyen of investigative journalists, instead of producing a sensationalist potboiler one would have hoped Woodward might have credibly pursued the paths trodden by veteran Trumphunters like David Cay Johnson, Craig Unger and Adam Davidson, following the money to expose the dark underbelly of America’s worst and most corrupt ever President.

Because the real question few dare to ask is, what terrible secret is it, that he is apparently willing to destroy the presidency to protect?

Shall we ever be allowed to know?

*Younger readers, if any, might not recognise the reference to a Monty Python sketch. Carry on.)

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Phooarh! Trump strikes out

“Never mind, Mr President, it can happen to anyone. Let’s get you all cleaned up…” (photo: Empirenews.net)

Despite his insistent promises to the adoring dumbfucks on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t have time to play golf because he’d be permanently in the Oval Office, “working my ass off for you” (massive cheer!), and a virulent campaign of Fox poo claiming his predecessor, Obama, was never off the golf course even during national crises (“he plays more even than a member of the PGA”) the website Trumpgolfcount reports that after just 590 days in office, the Fat Fibber has spent 349 days at his own golf resorts, while Obama managed only 328 days golfing in 8 years.

Total cost to the US taxpayer so far: $77 million. (Cost to local businesses forced by the security service to shut up shop while he plays, incalculable.)

But he works so hard – at least four hours a day including an hour for lunch, according to White House insiders – he surely deserves the time off. How else would his tacky resorts make any money?

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GW: Wash me down and blow me!

Hawaii: “Back up to Category 3 strength on Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Olivia remains on a long-term course that looks increasingly likely to take it across the Hawaiian Islands. Located about 1200 miles west of Cabo San Lucas—and was heading west-northwest at 14 mph. Update (11:30 pm EDT Thursday): Olivia has now attained Category 4 strength, with top sustained winds of 130 mph.” (Wunderground) Weaker Hurricane Norman passed well to the north of the islands this week. Hawaii was battered last week by 135 mph Hurricane Lane bearing up to 53 cm of rain, the most powerful storm in a quarter of a century.

Guam: “Though it was just a minimum-strength tropical storm with 40 mph winds on Friday, Mangkhut promises to become a ferocious typhoon over the next few days. The system is surrounded by a large envelope of very moist air and it will be traveling over very warm SSTs of 29 – 30°C (84 – 86°F). …The Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts that Manghut will rocket to typhoon strength by Sunday local time and will be a Category 4 typhoon by the time it nears Guam on Tuesday.” (Wunderground)

Bermuda: Hurricane Florence, which had strengthened into the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season, weakened to a Category 1 storm Thursday as it moved on a path toward Bermuda. As of 5 p.m. ET Thursday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph but was expected to reintensify Friday, the National Hurricane Center said. Large swells from Florence are expected to hit Bermuda starting Friday. Life-threatening surf and rip tides are possible.” (CBS News)

Mexico: “Flooding in the city of Piedras Negras in Coahuila state, (on the Texas border) on 04 Sept. affected more than 10,000 residents. Around 20 people were forced to evacuate and stay in temporary accommodation. Roads in the area also suffered damage. No injuries or fatalities were reported. Local Civil Protection said that more than 150mm of rain fell from late Monday 03 Sept. to early Tuesday 04 Sept.” (Floodlist)

USA: “Kansas Governor, Jeff Colyer issued a state of disaster emergency declaration for five Kansas counties affected by flooding from 02 to 04 Sept. An estimated 300 people were displaced, with areas around Manhattan worst affected.” Over 9 inches of rain fell during the storm. (Floodlist) The east coast may feel the force of Hurricane Florence later in the week.

India: “At least 19 people have died in flood-related incidents in Uttar Pradesh since 01 Sept. Nearly 300 villages have been affected. Many of the deaths were a result of collapsing buildings or lightning strikes. Over 220 houses have been damaged or destroyed in the heavy rain and flooding over the last 4 days.

“The flood-hit south Indian state of Kerala has declared a health alert after 11 people died of leptospirosis or rat fever in the last two days (to 04 Sept.). Health officials in the state said there was no immediate cause for alarm and the situation was under control (! Ed.). Flooding has killed around 400 people in Kerala since June.” (BBC Weather)

Australia: Has been accused by Pacific nations of trying to water down the Boe Declaration on emissions reduction. “Dr Bill Hare, a lead author on the IPCC fourth assessment report, told Guardian Australia that Pacific leaders were growing increasingly disenchanted with Australia’s refusal to commit to cutting carbon emissions, even as their nations faced massive economic, physical and social disruption, even existential threat.”

UK: The Met Office has confirmed, 2018 was the hottest summer they’ve ever recorded in England, and the joint-hottest for the British Isles as a whole. The 10-day forecast from 08 Sept. is completely chaotic, although not extreme, as the huge loops currently in the jet stream break apart into separate segments and go spinning off over the course of the next week. Watch the BBC weatherman struggle to explain!

 

Scary corner

“Roundworms from two areas of (the Siberian permafrost) came back to life in Petri dishes, says a new scientific study. Some 300 prehistoric worms were analysed – and two ‘were shown to contain viable nematodes’.

“‘After being defrosted, the (possibly 42 thousand year-old) nematodes showed signs of life,’ said a report today from Yakutia, the area where the worms were found. ‘They started moving and eating.’

“Both are thought to be female.”

Siberian Times