The Pumpkin – Issue 92: I was down there also… Treason!… We smell a rat… The grass is bluer… GW: And I’m aflame with such a burning desire.

Lie of the day

“I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder”

– Trump lied magnanimously at a Rose Garden event, where genuine first responders on 9/11 were present to witness him signing a bill protecting their longterm medical care against his assaults on Obama’s Affordable Care Act. He went on to tell the heroic men and women who were really there at Ground Zero, that he had been down often, helping with moving rubble – a complete fantasy.

The Pumpkin looks forward to the fact-checkers’ version, especially as Trump has several times been forced to row back on lies that he “lost many friends”. There is no evidence whatever that he lost anybody he knew on 9/11; or that he was ever there – especially as he previously claimed to have been in New Jersey, where he personally “witnessed thousands of Muslims” dancing and cheering; something that also never happened.

We’ve since learned that he continues to tell the story of how he was luckily pulled off a helicopter flight before it crashed in 1989, killing two crew and three of his employees. A former PA says that’s just bullshit, he hadn’t been due to fly. He just has to insert himself, Zelig-like, into every drama.

I thought he might be crazy, but no: he’s just a pathetic, attention-seeking little creep.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping clink glasses at a conference in Tajikistan.

“And once we’ve necked a few of these babes, we can throw the turnips at the Americans!”

 

“This is the new reality of Trumpworld, in which truth is forced to kneel by an open grave, before being shot through the head.”

Treason!

Astonishingly, since Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s six-hour appearance in front of the House Judiciary Committee being lightly slapped around on his famous report, 488 pages that few Murkans could be bothered to read – the Disney version comes out next month – Trump and his scummy acolytes have been loudly and triumphantly proclaiming that he said in all respects, exactly the opposite of what anyone watching would have clearly heard him say.

Asked directly by chairman Jerrold Nadler if his report “totally exonerated” Trump, as the president has been going around saying for five months since the report was published, Mueller clearly and unambiguously replied: “No. “Was there obstruction of justice? “Yes”.

Yet Trump is still furiously tweeting that Mueller’s testimony totally exonerated him.

Because he knows, not enough people would have been watching. Again, it’s all about the ratings, the percentages – the distractor factor. Without sufficient consensus – critical mass – between people who heard Mueller not exonerating the president, and the majority who weren’t watching, Trump is gambling, he can create enough doubt for those who did hear it, to be persuaded that they heard exactly the opposite of what they heard.

Never mistake this man for a complete clown.

Asked if he thought Russian activities had played a part in Trump’s election, Mueller replied “Yes”, and added that he had no doubt the Russians were continuing to interfere “as we sit here” in the 2020 campaign.

Yet Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s former press spokeswoman, now looking like zombie-shit (he added, ungallantly) since her ouster, her lyin’ eyes reduced to puffy slits, has tweeted that Mueller said exactly the opposite, totally vindicating the president and presumably the Russians. While Trump himself has doubled down on his “witch hunt” slogan, openly accusing Mueller of “treason”.

Treason! A legally constituted criminal investigation, sanctioned by no fewer than six circuit court judges, whose initial causes and purposes have twice been thoroughly investigated and found to be free of any possible taint of conspiracy against the president or any suggestion of “fakery” by Mrs Clinton, President Obama and the Democrat party.

(Oh, but Peter Strzok made a joke… Presidential harrassment! Witch hunt! Failing FBI! Dem conspiracy! Treason!)

Treason – a capital offence. While we might perhaps note, the Justice Department has just this week revived capital punishment for federal crimes, after decades in suspension. Intimidation? Surely not.

Treason – because Mueller twice disobeyed Trump’s illegal order to defy the Congress and not show up to testify.

Just more lies, piled on lies. Treason.

A report, of which Mueller himself commented at last month’s private hearing that if his findings had applied to anyone in America other than the president, they would have been indicted for obstructing justice. (He is still of the opinion that if Trump loses the 2020 election and leaves office next year, he can be indicted. After a second term, however, he is not so certain as there is a statute of limitations that may have run out by then.)

A report, which he had to defend twice in letters, accusing Attorney General Barr of putting out a false summary for public consumption prior to releasing the redacted version to Congress, claiming it had exonerated the president when it had not.

(Okay, Mueller has to take the blame for not saying as much without a confusing double-negative and a lot of pussyfooting, hand-wringing and punch-pulling over whether or not you could indict a sitting president and, even if you could, did he have the authority to do it? No, he didn’t.)

Findings, of which no fewer than ONE THOUSAND current and former prosecuting attorneys have signed an opinion stating that indictable crimes were undoubtedly committed, on the basis of the evidence.

A report, from which Trump’s enablers in the senate are desperately trying to persuade the American public that it’s “time to move on”, because there’s nothing in it.

This is the new reality of Trumpworld, in which truth is forced to kneel by an open grave, before being shot through the head.

And what is the excuse for the liar, Trump to contradict every word Mr Mueller said at that hearing? Well, as reported by a fawning, cringing media, even by the Washington Post and the New York Times – who should know better than to give the orange fabulist a pass –  it was because Mr Mueller’s “performance” lacked conviction, making him sound “old”, “unreliable” or even “incompetent”. It was “disappointing” that he had not added significantly to his thoroughly comprehensive report.

Disappointing, too, I imagine, that he did not break into a chorus of Happy Days Are Here Again and go tap-dancing around the room in a pink tutu, sprinkling fairy dust from a wand.

In other words, this 74-year-old man, a notoriously self-effacing, media-shy Purple Heart combat veteran and former most highly regarded Director of the FBI for twelve years, supported by a handpicked team of highly experienced, specialised prosecutors and the resources of the number one federal crime-fighting agency in the country; who had only the day before been instructed not to say certain things by Trump’s pet Deppity Dawg Attorney General, Barr – who has himself been ruled to be criminally in contempt of Congress – and was struggling to balance his allegiances to the Department of Justice (to which he was answerable); to the sacred office of the president, that he swore an oath to uphold; and to the American people, was not sufficiently “entertaining” for a TV audience.

Yet in all the key respects – I did not watch all six hours, just the highlights – his testimony totally supported the conclusions of the written report, that is there for anyone to read if they even give a damn, which clearly no-one now does.

Murka has moved on, to discussion of whether children in concentration camps should be allowed to sleep, eat, wash and use a toilet, or whether they are happier in conditions under which it would be illegal to keep a herd of pigs. Whether or not the president is a lying, criminal sonofabitch, well, is the Pope a Catholic? Who cares!

Murka has moved on, to discussion of whether people of colour should go back to whichever shitholes their ancestors came from, and stop becoming legitimately elected representatives of their communities, telling white folks how to run their country.

Murka is too busy fascinating over another story of a pedophile ring – this time, one that seems to have had an actual existence. Oh, and that may once have involved Trump! (He hasn’t said he wasn’t, only that he is “no longer a fan” of Jeffrey Epstein.) And Murka is worried Trump’s twin satraps, Pompeo and Bolton, may be dragging them into an oil war again, against a manufactured enemy.

There was no contradiction or backtracking on the Grandpa Mueller show. No “confusion”, although a lot of whiffling and card-sorting. Even in its redacted form, blacking out references to intelligence reports and grand jury testimony, the Mueller team had found that:

Yes, there was collusion with the Russian attempt to influence the election –  indeed, Trump has since stated publicly on camera that he would do it again! He would see no reason to inform the FBI if the Russians offered him “dirt” on his next opponent, “why would I?”

One hundred and forty instances were cited, of communication between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign team. But “collusion” is not the word Mueller uses, because “collusion” is nowhere to be found in the criminal law. “Collusion” is not the name of the crime. “Conspiracy” is. Thus, and thus alone, there was no “collusion”.

And there was not sufficient connection found between campaign members and Trump himself on the issue of Russian interference, that would stand-up a criminal charge of conspiracy; although nobody objected to the Russians interfering, indeed they positively welcomed it. This is a legal technicality, not proof of innocence. Although, as Mueller said at the hearing, having understandably some difficulty getting the words out, Trump “generally, yes” had lied to him in written answers to questions, and other Trump officials had lied under questioning, while documents and recordings had been destroyed, so that all the evidence could not be properly evaluated.

(It may be noted, that the full story of the Russian campaign of interference was not covered by the report, or in Mueller’s testimony because, as he said, it is still under investigation. Nevertheless, there was no doubt it happened; which is why Trump has now let the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, go and has nominated a dumbfuck Texan in his place, a man with no intel experience, who agrees that Mueller, Clinton and President Obama should be investigated for treason. Yes, Dear Reader, you are watching a re-run of the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany, only without the pretty uniforms.)

And yes, there was obstruction of justice. Eleven counts, detailing meticulously how Trump attempted to shut down the investigation by ordering his staffers to bully and intimidate and threaten those involved, right up even to the level of the then-Attorney General, Mr Sessions – by attempting at every stage to undermine the credibility of investigators and prosecutors; ordering his people to manufacture, destroy or withold evidence; and firing anyone he had the power to fire, who was connected with the investigation.

Were those the actions of an innocent man, d’you think, or of a career criminal “trained” in aggressive-defensive tactics by the notorious mafia attorney, his father’s old consigliere, Roy Cohn?

And he is still obstructing justice, continually seeking to discredit and undermine (and even to personally sue) the Congressional committees and their chairmen battling to investigate the Trump campaign and his nefarious financial affairs; branding the ongoing inquiries as more evidence of a “witch-hunt”; presidential “harassment”, such as no president before has ever had to put up with (I wonder why not?) nor should ever again; commanding his present and former staff under made-up rules not to comply with legal subpoenas requiring their testimony and the release of documents.

Yet, by some special dark magic and the tragic shortcomings of a constitution whose authors never imagined a hellish succubus like Trump would be able to con its way into the White House, this terrible, incompetent old grifter, made-for-TV businessman and superannuated, barely literate playboy whose ignorance of geopolitics and history lead him to believe that democracy is just a loser’s word for totalitarian dictatorship, this “kakistocrat” remains perhaps more firmly in office, with higher approval ratings, than before.

As Trump daily demonstrates, the rule of law in America has ended; the rule of “lie” is firmly established. The only version of reality permitted is the one he and his officials choose to invent and endorse to cement their powerbase. The man is a gangster, pure and simple; bidding for leadership of a cabal of international gangster-capitalists clamped like an octopus over the face of humanity.

 

We smell a rat

Trump has been doubling down, as he always does when criticized for wild statements he makes, on his remarks about Elijah Cummings, chair of the Oversight Commitee, that is looking into his murky tax affairs. The congressman represents a ward in Baltimore that Trump has asserted is a disgusting, rat-infested, crime-ridden shithole.

The assiduous reporters at the Washington Post have pointed out, over 900 rental properties in that area of Baltimore are owned by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s company, that has been cited for over 200 code violations in respect of city housing ordinances.

They refer to an investigation by the New York Times and Pro Publica published in 2012, when tenants of Kushner properties reported mouse infestations, mold problems and maggots. A private investigator who looked into Kushner’s property management company, Westminster Management, described the managers as ‘slumlords.’

 

The grass is bluer

Former Republican congressman, now host of the MSNBC “Morning Joe” program, and man-who-has-seen-the-light, Joe Scarborough has taken to calling the leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, not without a trace of contempt, “Moscow Mitch”.

It marks a change of name for the profoundly venal and obstructionist Senator from Kentucky, McConnell, who has hitherto been known – and has branded himself for promotional purposes, because he thinks it’s funny – as “Cocaine Mitch”.

The nickname derives from some past allegations of skulduggery involving his wife’s Chinese family, apparently. The pair of them – Elaine Chao is a Trump appointee, Secretary for Transportation – are also deeply mired in a corruption-to-influence-peddling scandal; not that you’d remember that, what with the other shit flying around, an’ all.

Whatever he’s on, McConnell is refusing to stop calling “a hoax” (zero points for originality), the reports of his own Intelligence Committee gleaned from the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA and the FBI, that there’s continuing Russian online interference in the 2020 election; and is adamant that he won’t even allow a debate on cyber-security measures the Democrats in the lower House have passed to the Senate for ratification.

The question everyone is obviously asking is, whyever not? Why would he not defend his country against a hostile adversary? It can’t be merely because he has made a career out of stymieing every legitimate attempt by the Democrats to introduce legislation in the Senate, or to get their judicial nominees ratified, since Obama first became president?

It’s being suggested he may not want to upset Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch mate of Putin’s known as Russia’s “Aluminum King” (allegedly murdering his way to the throne), who is offering to open a scenic smelting plant amid the rolling hills of Mitch’s bluegrass constituency.

McConnell’s Senate lifted Deripaska’s sanctions last December, despite testimony in the Manafort trials that the Russian used financial kompromat to push Manafort into a relationship with a Russian agent, Kalimnick, and the pair of them went fishing for voter data to send back to the GRU.

But the media is leaning more toward the theory that it’s because McConnell has read the polls and sees that Trump can’t win without foreign help. The kind of help he has publicly said he would welcome.

I love the deep scent of corruption among the julep trees, whatever, don’t you? Especially when it comes laced with a dangerous hint of treason:

“Collusion”, by Parfums de Trump. For a greater you!

 

GW: And I’m aflame with such a burning desire

Europe: Firefighters are battling wildfires on multiple fronts in southern Italy, including one blaze in Puglia that left at least one person dead. 3 Canadair aircraft were dumping water on a wildfire raging in Tortoli, Sardinia, that forced the evacuation of a beach and some homes. (NYT) The weather outlook in the wake of last week’s powerful heatwave across the northern Mediterranean, southern France, northern Italy and the Adriatic, pushing northwards through the Balkans, is for more severe ‘supercell’ storms, with destructive high winds, potential for tornadoes, torrential (“excessive”) rain, spectacular lightning and large hail. (Severe-weather.eu)

And we have our very own Tropical Storm… an area of exceptionally low cyclonic pressure off the Bay of Biscay is likely to bring damaging winds and torrential rain to northwestern France and southwest England, Tuesday 30 July. (Severe-weather.eu) The heat plume that brought new record temperatures to Britain (38.7C) and France last week, shattering the ones set in June, has resulted in a reading of 34C in Finland.

USA: An Idaho wildfire that burned 113,000 acres and forced the partial evacuation of the nation’s leading nuclear energy research lab, INL, has been partly contained, officials said (25 July). The fast-moving Sheep Fire was sparked by a lightning strike near Idaho Falls. Dry conditions and rising temperatures are creating a perfect environment for summer wildfires. The Vader Fire, Canyon Fire and Shady Fire are burning farther west in National Forest land. (CNN) New York was under a 95 degree Heat Index advisory, 30 July (Accuweather).

Arctic: Hundreds of fires are continuing to burn out of control in northern Canada, Greenland and Siberia, where nobody much is available to fight them. Some have extended over 300 thousand Ha. Along with the rest of the hemisphere, “The Arctic region recorded its hottest June ever (10C anomaly). Since the start of that month, more than 100 wildfires have burned in the Arctic circle. In Russia, 11 of 49 regions are experiencing wildfires. (Alberta has had over 400). The WMO has called the fires “unprecedented” (The Guardian, 26 July). Soot is falling on ice fields, darkening them and speeding melting. Smoke is detected all around the globe and air quality in northerly cities is becoming a health hazard.

On 25 July, CO2 across Siberia where many fires are burning was measured at 1,205 parts per million, and poisonous carbon monoxide at over 80 thousand parts per billion. (Arctic News) Over the whole ocean, sea ice has plummeted to its lowest ever measured volume. There is now no ancient sea ice left off the north coast of Greenland, where it has been raining for days.

Russia: Even the usually optimistic Siberian Times, that likes to attract tourism, is alarmed: “A series of natural disasters are hitting Siberia, with the latest a dire threat from severe flooding to Baikal – the oldest and deepest lake in the world, containing 20% of the planet’s unfrozen freshwater. The alert concerns flooding in Baikalsk – where evacuation has begun – and concerns that toxic mudflows can dump poisonous sludge from a former pulp and paper mill into the lake’s pristine waters. Pools of liquid sludge containing lignin pose a huge threat to life in Baikal with warnings of an ‘ecological catastrophe’. ‘We can only pray now,” said one campaigner pointing to a risk of a dam burst on the Solzana River where a bride (bridge, surely? ed.) had been swept away already.”

“Almost 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres, an area greater than the size of the state of Massachusetts) are now burning in Siberia and the Russian Far East.” Smoke has covered an area larger than the size of the EU.

India: 1,050 people were rescued by Naval units from a train stuck for 15 hours in floods outside  Mumbai, 26 July. Flights were cancelled at the airport. The death toll from this year’s monsoon flooding in India is over 600. (BBC) Other parts of the country such as Tamil Nadu are trapped in drought.

Brazil: 3 people are confirmed dead and others missing in floods and landslides that have hit Pernambuco province. The government of Recife municipality said 102mm of rain fell in 6 hours early on 24 July. It’s the second “excessive” rainfall event in Pernambuco in 6 weeks: 7 people died there in June.

No denying it: a Swiss meta-analysis sampled from 700 data points of 20th-century research on cyclical warming and cooling has blown out of the water the energy-industry sponsored suggestion that current warming is merely normal cyclicality and things will cool down again in due course. Not only is the current state of warming twice as high as anything found over 2,000 years of past data (please, media, choose words more carefully – it wasn’t warmer 2,000 years ago, that’s just the chosen baseline!), but the so-called Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period supposed to prove warming is cyclical were far shallower, more intermittent, probably volcanic in origin and did not happen all at the same time across the whole globe.

CO2, they say, always was and is still the main driver of atmospheric forcing. 95% is man-made. Come on denier guys, give up, you know you’ve lost.

Tunnel approaching….

The Blessed Mary Greeley reports: 477 small earthquakes were recorded in 24 hours at Ridgecrest in Southern California yesterday (26 July) – scene of the big M7.1 quake three weeks ago. The city is located on a known faultline southwest of the Coso volcanic field, an area of hundreds of ancient volcanic cones thought to overlie a larger magma field than Yellowstone. The swarm is being read as an indication of pressure building and another big one is anticipated – even the “unzipping” of the famed San Andreas nearby.

Or not, as the case may be.

The following message posted on Mary’s site by “Rand Jooe” – I have previously alluded to the other Posts suggesting we all get to know Jesus – sums up the mood of nervous jitters:

“My sweet sweet Mary…. When I get ‘stressed’, I go get a x-LG jar of crunchy Jiff peanut butter, spoon & watch a little YouTube…. Chill. Now, we could infuse a bunch of x-crunchy peanut butter into the fault line, MAYBE, it might too CHILLOUT.
my2centsworth. 😜👍”

See what we might be losing?

Is Trump in fact God?… Melted cheese… About face… GW: It’s raining, Hamburgers… Bee minus..

“I do not know the ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US.” No, Donald, and neither are you, so stop interfering in our domestic politics.

Trump reacts badly to British diplomatic cables hinting he’s totally unfit to be the President.

 

Is Trump in fact God?

It was while I was out walking Hunzi this morning along the cycle path through the exurban space that passes for our local park, that it suddenly struck me.

Trump might be God, after all.

The Biblical resemblances are striking. And many people think he is. Especially himself.

As the great Christopher Hitchens liked to point out, the God everyone is obliged to worship now, the one called, surprisingly, just “God”, which is not his real name, obviously, is only one of hundreds, if not thousands of claimants for the title of Supreme Being down the millennia.

There’s no reason to believe that just because He told everyone He was God, He (I use the male pronoun advisedly – there are two Gods in the OT and the God of Genesis in the garden is definitely female), the Biblical God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has any more right to a claim for apotheosis than, say, Julius Caesar, who officially became a God by way of the cult that surrounded victorious Roman leaders, and whose son Augustus took on the mantle after him, but in a more cosmological way.

After all, if you really ARE God, you wouldn’t need to go around telling people, would you? Just like, if you were really a stable genius….

The Romans, of course, had lots of God-cults, many of them borrowed from the Greeks. The Greek word Zeus, meaning God, the Supreme Being, the top dog, is the same as the Roman word Deus, from which we derive the word deity; although he had a name, Apollo – the Sun God. Religious cults, to the Romans, were like the rap artists of their day, they had their fickle tribal followers. Some, more official than others, enjoyed State protection.

All the civilizations we know of have had their pantheon of Gods, starting with a Supreme Being at the top and working down through animistic ideas about the immanence of divinity – soul – in the very rocks, trees and rivers; many Gods taking on semi-human form shared identities with the celestial constellations. The Egyptian pharaoh, Akhenaton was the first ruler we know of, who decreed there was only the one true God. Like the Victorian-era’s star painter, JMW Turner, Akhenaton believed the sun was God. As the sun both gives and takes away life, it seemed a fair bet.

From that simple perception, half-baked by the sun, the three Abrahamic desert religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – developed the idea of the sun-God as the unique creator, and anthropomorphised him into the personified, living being of the earthly ruler, The Lord of Hosts, the Lord most High, whose divine authority reflected in a coercive priesthood on earth was to be upheld on pain of death.

The Christian religion especially, which merely introduced some Zoroastrian elements into Judaism, operated – and still does, outside the Church of England – as a patriarchal, authoritarian death cult, with the judicial murder of the avatar and his inspirational but unlikely survival of death at its center.

Still today, the Eucharist is celebrated every sabbath, or seventh, day – the “body and blood” of the avatar are symbolically or transformatively consumed by the worshippers, in a cannibalistic ritual administered by the sacerdos, or high priest, beneath the sculpted, 3D image of the bleeding Christ nailed to a tree. It’s all pretty weird and horrible, to be honest, but conducted in an atmosphere of such reverent good taste it remains popular with all ages. Millions of Christians have died at one anothers’ hands, arguing over this point.

Essentially, the picture we have of The Lord High God sitting on a throne with his “son”, the semihuman Jesus thoughtfully inserted on his right hand, surrounded by angels descending in rank beneath him betrays a unique symbiosis of religion and state bureaucracy.  Simultaneously, Chinese emperors demanded unquestioning obeisance to their own godhead; Confucianism being a kind of secular religion, a self-help system combining civic responsibility and a duty of personal growth with obedience to courtly ritual as the way to “the right life”; while later, blood-soaked sun worshipping cults developed in South America, founded on copious human sacrifice, that were ended only by an egregious program of genocide by Christ-cult Spanish colonialists and their followers, who came less to spread the Word of God than to steal gold.

It’s all a bit rackety, to be honest.

To gain an insight into Trump’s claim to Godhood, especially in light of his 4th of July parade this year, the Wikipedia page on the Imperial cult of Rome makes interesting reading. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_cult_of_ancient_Rome

Various American TV preachers have closely aligned Trump with God, or with God’s son Jesus, arguing that, despite his well-known venality, hatred of his neighbor, twice-divorced adulterous status and self-confessed record of sexual abuse, he was divinely appointed – God forgives everything (unless you’re a Muslim or a faggot) – and is thus to be unquestioningly obeyed.

Of course, child-rape and murder are mandated in the Bible, so they’re forgiven too. But not the taking of the as-yet unborn clump of insentient cells. That’s an unpardonable sin.

The slimy Jim Bakker, a TV preacher of virtually zero intellect who promotes his contemptible business brands as integral to his religious authority; the far-right evangelical nutjob, Pat Robertson; the several private aircraft-owning son of the conman, the late Jerry Falwell; and the son of Billy Graham, Franklin – the virulent homophobe who reputedly had a long-running and very expensive affair with a handsome young pool attendant – and others have commanded their followers to believe in Trump and his mission to “Make America Great Again”.

By that, they mean they believe they can more easily manipulate government policy through Trump to revoke the inconvenient First Amendment of the Constitution and institute a white, nominally Christian hegemonic state, antipathetic to women’s rights; and promote the more absurd notions of Biblical literalism in schools. Not only in the USA – more than $50 million is believed to have been channeled into subverting the 2019 European elections in support of Christian and alt-right parties.*

My sudden intuition however, that Trump might indeed BE God, was based on a recollection of a conversation I once had with my ex-wife, who impressively has a Master’s in Eastern Philosophy, concerning the curious individual in the Old Testament, known to us as Yahweh.

She pointed out a number of things the Bible records about him, that one might now reconsider in light of Trump’s known beliefs and behaviours. Here are three, plus one or two for luck:

First, he has an unusual diet. Like Trump and his overdone steaks, Yahweh needs a constant, high-carbon diet of burnt meat offerings to keep him going. Like Trump and his overdone steaks.

Secondly, like Trump, Yahweh demands total obedience and loyalty from his acolytes. He likes to be waited on, hand and foot. He demands constant praise, not only from the living, but from the dead, as well as the permanently employed angelic host, for all Eternity. What’s that, another 14 billion years?

Yet, like Trump, he has a contemptuous attitude towards those who genuflect to him. “Be still, and know that I am God!” He advocates the enslavement of women, the rape of the daughters; something of which Trump has been latterly accused in connection with his diabolical friend, Epstein.

Prayers for mercy mostly go unanswered; as with Trump, there is no certainty with Yahweh, except the unsupported sales patter that death somehow brings life. It’s easy to see the analogy with winter and spring; it’s an old pagan animist hangover. But when life is pretty much shit and you’ve got toothache….

Thirdly, Yahweh insists that Moses’ brother Aaron, whom he selects to be his Chief of Staff, should wear a covering made of gold in his presence. Gold, as my ex-wife pointed out, is better than lead as a shield against ionizing radiation. Like Trump, Yahweh is toxic to anyone who comes too near him.

And another point, Yahweh appears to have possessed something like a battlefield nuclear weapon, with which he could smite whole armies; evaporating them in a single strike. Trump has lots of those at his disposal, especially now he has abrogated the Intermediate Weapons treaty with Russia; and he thinks they can safely be used without going full megadeaths.

We jointly concluded from these and other nuggets that the Biblical description of how this domineering – demanding – and thoroughly selfish, self-regarding, malignant narcissist imposed itself as The One True God on the unsophisticated and deeply superstitious tribes of Israel, just as Trump has imposed his self-assumed divinity on the screaming, deluded dumbfucks of undereducated Middle America at his MAGA rallies, may well be the only historical record we have of an actual alien visitation.

No wonder the poor old Cathars of southern C13th France (exterminated in the Albigensian Crusade) believed the world was created by Satan, and you only got to live with a decent, fair-minded god after you died.

Let me add one further observation of my own.

My ex-wife’s take on the “burning bush” out of which Yahweh first spoke to Moses was that any Sci-fi addict would recognize a portal to another dimension, surrounded by a glowing energy field; while any semi-savage, illiterate, desert-dwelling nomad would naturally allegorize such an incomprehensible phenomenon as a “burning bush”.

I can easily see too, however, that any Big Brother, Love Island or The Apprentice addict would immediately conclude that what to a primitive herdsman would have been allegorized as Yahweh’s “burning bush” could equally well have been a TV screen, or some similar kind of projection device.

Maybe the same one from which the Orange Godhead speaks to his deplorables through his Chosen Servants: disciples Hannity, Ingraham, Coulter, Pirro, Carlson and the rest of the Trumpsuckers of Fox and Friends, forerunners of the priestly caste of Apostles who will preside over the new deserts and ruins of the post-Trumpian era after the Orange One is taken aloft by Executive Order.

*http://www.opendemocracy.net/en/covering-european-parliamentary-elections-2019/?utm_source=Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=f3d0134cc1-DAILY_NEWSLETTER_MAILCHIMP&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_717bc5d86d-f3d0134cc1-408090269

 

Dieu, ceci n’est pas un fromage… c’est du Cheddair Britannique! Ptah!

Melted cheese

When a French chef has a meltdown, it’s serious. M. Marc Veyron of La Maison des Bois in the Haute Savoie has demanded to be removed altogether from the Michelin guide after losing one of his coveted stars, which, he says, has left him in a state of depression for the past six months. Interviewed for Le Monde, M. Veyron went off on one, as they say:

“They dared to say that we put cheddar in our soufflé of réblochon, beaufort and tomme! They have insulted our region; my employees were furious. When we have eggs from our chickens, milk from our cows, and two botanists collect our plants every morning! They know absolutely nothing about cooking! … Let them put on an apron and get in the kitchen! We are waiting. Let them show us what they know how to do … they’re basically amateurs. They couldn’t cook a decent dish!” (and so on, for several paragraphs, in which M. Veyron expressed the opinion that the Michelin men hadn’t actually visited his premises at all.)

The Guide replied they were sorry he was upset, but they would continue to recommend his restaurant as long as their expert inspectors did so. (Guardian)

 

Fore! No, five!

Several children’s charities have pulled out of a fundraising event sponsored by a strip club, after discovering that the highlight of the evening was to be an auction of naked or nearly naked women to the male donors in the room.

The women were to act as “caddies” for the men. Oh yes, did we forget to mention, this was at Donald Trump’s southern Florida golf club, Doral? The event has been cancelled. (TYT/Slate)

 

About face

Federal authorities are fining Facebook $5 billion for their part in the Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal when, in advance of the 2016 US elections and of the Brexit referendum, over 90 million Facebook profiles were exploited for political purposes by the UK-based company run by Steve Bannon and funded by billionaire disruptor, Robert Mercer and his fundamentalist Christian daughter ‘Bekah.

Most people seem to regard the fine – less than one month’s revenue – as a mere slap on the wrist, given the enormity of the offence. The FCA committee voted 3-2 on a Republican majority against Democratic objections that the fine was meaningless. Other suits are pending against Facebook over the breach of confidentiality, so it might cost them more in the long run, and there are moves by the antiTrust committee in Congress to have the giant IT corporations broken up, but for now they seem free to carry on as normal.

Odd, then, that US authorities are threatening dire reciprocal action over new French moves to ensure that companies like Facebook pay taxes on their local sales, rather than on the tiny profits they declare on their ginormous turnover in other, lower-tax regimes where they register shell companies.

Or maybe not so odd: America First!

 

GW: It’s raining, Hamburgers

Europe: Your granny finds it difficult to follow-up these Severe-weather.eu reports as they have cut right back on editorial content lately, but the forecast on 09 July for north central Italy, up through the Balkans, into western Russia and across to Georgia and northern Turkey, was for supercell storms bringing high winds, heavy rain – hailstones up to 3-in. in diameter; and it is far from the first of its kind this year. Among the consequences:

  • 6 tourists and a fisherman have been killed and dozens of people injured in a fierce storm in northern Greece, that ripped a caravan and a restaurant apart. Strong winds and hail hit the Halkidiki region near the city of Thessaloniki late on 10 July. Television footage showed overturned cars, fallen trees, torn roofs and mudslides. The freak storm lasted about 20 minutes. Temperatures had soared to 37C (98.6F) over the past two days. (Guardian)
  • An extremely severe thunderstorm hit Pescara (Abruzzo, central Italy) in the afternoon of 10 July. The thunderstorm produced very large to giant hail, with hailstones up to 15 cm (6-in.) in diameter, severe straight line winds and intense flash floods. (Severe-weather.eu)
  • Up to 160mm of rain fell in a few hours in NE Spain on 08 July, causing flash floods in the Navarre region. I person drowned, and “the regional government said the material damage was far-reaching. The N-121 road between Pamplona and Tudela was washed out. Rail transport was also interrupted, as was power supply to thousands of homes.” (Floodlist)
  • Accuweather reports: “A strong storm struck Venice, Italy, on 7 July, creating mayhem for cruise ships attempting to dock. 60 mph winds flung lounge mattresses and other furniture about aboard the cruise ship Azamara Pursuit and another ship, the Costa Deliziosa, had a close call with a dock in the high winds.”
  • While parts of Britain are facing almost a month’s worth of rain in the space of a couple of hours. The Met Office has issued a storm warning for much of Scotland and the north of England, with possibly life-threatening flooding on 11 and 12 July. (BBC)

China: In an Accuweather report on 03 July that we missed: A very rare tornado struck northeast China’s Liaoning Province on Wednesday, causing significant damage and killing at least 6 people. Almost 200 were injured as the powerful storm devastated an industrial zone of Kaiyuan, destroying buildings and throwing cars in the air. There were also reports of people trapped in the rubble of a collapsed factory.

Elsewhere, flooding continues as heavy rain persists over Shangxi province and a warning is out for the mighty Yangtse River to overflow. Evidence that rainfall is intensifying comes from the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief. Since the start of the annual flood season this year, they report, a total of 279 rivers in 17 provinces were struck by floods above-warning level, 50 percent higher than that of the same period in any year since 1998. (UN ReliefWeb)

India: 3 people are now known to have died as rivers overflow and floodwaters continue to rise in Assam; almost a quarter of a million people are affected in over 500 villages, while 13 thousand Ha of agricultural land is underwater. Down south, a special train has been delivering drinking water to the city of Chennai, which has run dry. Patchy monsoon rains have failed to recharge the city’s reservoirs.

Nepal: “Monsoon rain in Nepal has destroyed buildings and caused flooding and landslides, leaving dozens dead or missing and hundreds displaced in several districts of the country, including the capital Kathmandu. As of 13 July, at least 29 people have died, 14 are missing and 24 injured. Hundreds of people have been displaced after their homes were damaged or destroyed.” (Floodlist)

Pakistan: A “glacial lake outburst” occurred in the remote Golen valley in Chitral District on 07 July. No fatalities were reported but the flooding has wiped out roads and bridges, leaving communities cut off and tourists stranded. Relief supplies are being air-dropped. Flooding has also damaged homes, farmland and power infrastructure. (From Floodlist)

Bangladesh: tens of thousands of people including many Rohingya refugees in border camps have been affected by severe flooding. “Rivers in at least 9 locations are at or above danger level, and 2 rivers in the east and south-east are at severe level (more than 1 metre above flood stage).” (Floodlist)

Russia: The extensive floods around Irkutsk in Siberia are continuing, but the death toll previously reported as 170 seems to have been revised to 23 (various sources). 8 others remain missing.

Australia: Queensland in the subtropical north has seen snow again for the first time in 4 years, while in the east, Sydney has been battered by severe windstorms now moving towards Perth. Three “pulses” of polar air in quick succession are forecast to bring cold, high winds and heavy rain to the south of the country and Tasmania. (Accuweather/News.au)

Some irony for Mr Trump in the name… Hamburg, Iowa, seen on 18 March. Flood damage estimated since at $3billion.

USA: Dozens of people had to be rescued from vehicles and flooded homes after record rain – up to 6.5-in. – caused rivers to rise rapidly in areas around Washington DC on 08 July. Storm cells are persisting over the NE. To the south, New Orleans had almost 6-in. of rain in 3 hours, with flash floods on 10 July, as Tropical Storm Barry grows offshore in the Gulf.*

There’s little sign of historic floods abating across three states of the midwest. The year to the end of June was the wettest 12-month span in US records since 1895 (Wunderground). Mr Trump has issued a bizarre speech hailing himself as a champion of the environment.

Updates: “Parts of Pennsylvania saw over 4 inches (101.6mm) of rain on 11 July, triggering flash floods and mudslides. Two people reportedly died after their vehicle was swept away by flood waters.” (Floodlist) Tropical Storm Barry is expected to “achieve Cat 1 hurricane status by the time it comes ashore at the mouth of the Mississippi, 13 July. A state of emergency is declared in New Orleans” as 10 to 15-in. of rain (with “pockets” to 25-in. – Wunderground) is anticipated on top of last week’s flooding. (CNN)

*Dr Masters at Wunderground points out: as Tropical Storm Barry intensifies, the storm surge pushing up into New Orleans could meet the flood stage of the Mississippi coming down and potentially overtop the levees protecting the city.

Mexico: 7 people died when a house was swept away in a mudslide during heavy rain over Pueblo province.

Boglington-on-Sea: Your Granny W. was delighted to observe an unusual “rainbow” event the other evening when, at about 8pm, with the sun thinking about setting, two small clouds on either side of it began glowing with colours. Above them, jet trails had mixed with thin stratus cloud to form a curious, regular criss-cross pattern. The larger of the two then parted to allow a laser-like beam of white light to strike through it, as the area immediately around the hole glowed brightly, red, blue and green. The effect lingered for about ten minutes while I cursed myself silently for having left my phone at home.

Hurricanes: Your Granny has been asking myself why there has not yet been any sign of a hurricane event in the west Atlantic/Caribbean theatre, five weeks into the season.

It appears that the bizarre antics of the jetstream have created so much upper-level wind “shear” that the right atmospheric circulation cannot form – proto-storms are simply shredded before they can start to organize. While the sea is easily warm enough, 4C above the 26C level at which hurricanes form, there is so much Saharan dust in the atmosphere that it’s not wet enough aloft to make rainclouds.

Unexpected benefits there from a warming Arctic.

Wildfires: In Alaska during just the month of June wildfires emitted 50 million tonnes of CO2, as much as Sweden emits in an entire year.

Sweden. Who knew? Sweden!

Bee minus: The US Environment Protection Agency is reportedly about to license the use of yet another pesticide banned in some countries, despite research showing it may prevent bees from breeding. Sulfoxaflor is produced by Dow AgroSciences and sold under the ominous brand names Closer and Transform. (Guardian)

It comes as no surprise that the EPA is favorable towards yet another environmentally damaging industrial product from this industrial giant. Notoriously, in 2017 then-Director, Scott Pruitt, pushed through a re-license for another Dow product, Chlorpyrifos – overturning an Obama-administration ban – despite its known dangers. Harvard University reported:

“The most disconcerting effect of chronic exposure to chlorpyrifos is its potential to impair children’s developing brains.

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/widely-used-pesticide-one-year-later/

Most Americans probably contain Chlorpyrifos, as it’s been widely used for years in household products too. Its effect on adults is to impair cognitive function, which might explain a lot. Oh, and in passing, the Harvard report mentions without a trace of irony: it “is also widely used in non-agricultural settings like golf courses”….

In case any evidence should emerge that Sulfoxaflor is a bee colony depletor, the Guardian reports, the agriculture department, which claims to protect pollinators, also recently suspended data collection for its Honey Bee Colonies survey. Commercial beekeepers reported a further 40 per cent collapse in colony numbers last year.

A 2018 report (among other sources) claimed:

“The Trump administration has had plenty of contact with Dow and DuPont. Last year, Dow Chemical bluntly asked the Trump administration to “set aside” research showing three of the organophosphate pesticides it manufactures pose threats to endangered species in letters obtained by the Associated Press.

“The request came after Dow donated $1 million to fund Trump’s inauguration ceremony.” (Sorry, reference source mislaid.)

Given that coal barons, the late Chris Cline (killed last month in a helicopter crash near his home in the Bahamas) and Robert E Murray both coincidentally donated $1 million to this mysterious Trump “inauguration fund”, and were the immediate beneficiaries of Executive Orders loosening restrictions on the mining industry, it would appear that the price of a favorable Government ruling on environmentally damaging activities and bee-killing products has been fixed.

Trump’s “inaugural fund” continued to attract industry cash long after the actual inauguration, and is being investigated by the Attorney General for the Southern District of New York as $50 million of it remains unaccounted for. It was certainly not spent on Mr Trump’s underwhelming inauguration celebrations.

The Pumpkin – Issue 89: Swamping the drains… Sorry seems to be the hardest word… The code of Omerta… Lock them out!… GW: Boom bang-a-boom!… What’s gone wrong with the weather, then?

Swamping the drains

I’ve just been enjoying the 18 June roundup of press stories compiled and adroitly cross-referenced by the indefatigable Rachel “Madcow” Maddow of MSNBC, concerning Trump’s noted ability to pick “the very best people”.

It seems that after two years of disastrous picks for Secretary of the Army, starting with the crooked bank manager who lent Paul Manafort $16 billion he hasn’t paid back, who is now himself up on a felony corruption indictment, and having insulted his way through a platoon of Defense Secretaries, Trump has had to let Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan go, over “lurid” allegations of domestic violence (he told the Washington Post there was “no justification” for defending his son beating his mother unconscious with a baseball bat, and not in a fun way), and has now promoted Pick No. 4 for Secretary of the Army after only weeks in the job, across to being his new Acting Defense Secretary.

The gentleman in question, Mr Mark Esper, who will be responsible for running the bigliest defense establishment the world has ever known, with a budget the size of an emerging nation and a mission that looks like it’s any day about to become a shooting war over Iran, is the former principal lobbyist – a PR consultant – for one of the world’s largest advanced weapons systems manufacturers and a key US defense contractor, Raytheon.

In which President Trump was reported in 2017 to hold stock.* No conflicts of interest there, then. Let’s hope his family life is a little less turbulent than his predecessor’s.

This sorry trail of recruitment blunders Trump always denies has infected the White House since his election is only one among many that have characterized the administrative chaos everyone else observes. Starting with National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, an extraordinary number of senior officials have been appointed, only to be obliged to resign or be fired, often after offences related to domestic violence have emerged from their past. Trump, too has been accused – but never convicted – of violence, including rape – against previous wives.

It looks like no-one is ever vetted for a post in this administration, which appears to offer a wife-beaters’ charter to candidates for office, although I’m sure that’s just inadvertent. Who doesn’t go after the little woman with a baseball bat from time to time? Their security clearances are just railroaded through over the objections of those whose job it is to make sure criminals and lunatics are kept out, while repellent enabler McConnell squeezes the nominations like perfectly formed turds through the bowels of the Senate.

Drain that swamp!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LdIBdqTJ84

*I’ve just read the full Wikipedia account of the night over chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago with Premier Xi, when Trump ordered allied forces into action to bomb the al-Shayrat airbase after deciding Syria had dropped chemical weapons on Douma, a suburb of Damascus, killing civilians. It’s a terrifyingly detailed account listing previously unreported instances of aggression by Russian units against British Royal Navy submarines – a majorly complex sea-and-air action also involving the French. Amid the general mockery of Trump wasting 103 cruise missiles (many made by Raytheon) at $900 thousand a pop on rocketing an abandoned airbase, not one of the mainstream media as I recall reported how close we came to an actual war with Russia that night.

 

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Trump today launched his official bid to gain a second term as president, although while not on the golf course he hasn’t stopped campaigning for a minute since 2015 (60 Nuremburg-style rallies and counting) and is still bitching about how “Crooked Hillary” rigged the election he won. At a presser on the White House lawn he was asked by April Ryan, the veteran White House correspondent, if he would now apologize for his notorious campaign to secure the death penalty for the Central Park 5. An opportunity to heal division, bring unity?

Not a bit of it.

The case involved five young black and Hispanic men who confessed to the rape of a jogger in Central Park in 1990, on a night in which some 30 criminal assaults took place in the vicinity. The woman was beaten and left in a coma. To boost his credibility as a prominent citizen of New York, Trump took out full-page press ads demanding their execution. Four defendants served 6-7 years each; one, tried and sentenced as an adult, served 13 years in adult prison.

In 2001, however, DNA evidence and a confession proved beyond doubt that the five had not committed the offence for which they were tried and found guilty, also on appeal; and they were eventually released. “Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and serial rapist who was serving life in prison, confessed to officials that he had raped the female jogger. His DNA matched the two samples found on and near the rape victim, and there was other confirmatory evidence. He said he committed the rape alone.” (Wikipedia)

The original confessions had been obtained without witnesses – four of the five were minors and should legally have had a responsible adult or legal counsel present – and all five claimed they had been beaten by police.

Trump has never apologized or admitted any error over the miscarriage, and today was no exception. In an unpleasant echo of his take on the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally, that there were “good people on both sides”, he pompously turned away from Ryan, a black woman, to explain to no-one in particular that there were “views on both sides” and that the prosecution (who formally withdrew the case against the men) were still convinced of their guilt. He then shut down a follow-up question.

This is the appalling, self-justifying, incompetent old sack of rotting shitburgers who desperately wants, and may very probably somehow engineer, another four years in the White House. (Even if he loses, he says, he might not go!) His poll ratings are currently disastrous, so much so that last week he fired the White House pollsters for telling him that. Following which he told ABC TV interviewer, George Stephanopoulos, that he would welcome more Russian help; an admission of treasonous intent publicly available on video that he has since denied making.

A good war should set him right.

 

Lock them out!

President Trump’s first policy announcement on launching his campaign has been to order ICE, the immigration police, to begin deporting all undocumented migrants from the US next week – literally, that is, millions of people – as he says Mexico is doing such a “very good job” of keeping unwanted migrants out.

Shome contradiction, shurely? Why, only two weeks ago he was threatening Mexico with tariffs if they didn’t do more to seal off the border with Guatemala. Now they’re very fine people. What does go on under that terrifying wisp of golden keratin?

He really is a shameless, bigoted old fraud. Gammon personified. A real gammonburger. His policies are aimed purely at pleasing his minority voter base and have nothing whatever to do with his key platform of national revival; quite the opposite, his divisive economic and social policies are having disastrous effects and only his rambling, bombastic, delusional speeches to aircraft hangars full of screaming, hate-filled lunatic dumbfucks are keeping his atrocious presidency alive.

 

The code of Omerta

“Trump faces at least 15 criminal or civil inquiries by nine federal, local or state agencies into his business, his charity, his campaign, his inaugural committee and his personal finances.” (Politico). MSNBC reports, the FBI is also drilling into his transaction history with Deutsche Bank on behalf of the House Finance and Oversight committees, following bank whistleblower Tammy McFadden’s claim that managers shut her down when she flagged possible instances of fraud and money laundering involving both Trump and Kushner accounts.

Might explain why the latest former White House staffer, Trump’s – ahem – rather attractive press counsel Hope Hicks, accompanied by a Trump lawyer, clammed up totally under questioning by the House Intelligence commitee, even on questions she’d answered for the Mueller inquiry. The committee is considering having to hold her in contempt, along with Mueller himself, former WH counsel Don McGahn and Attorney-General Barr, all of whom are refusing for whatever reason to co-operate with inquiries into Trump’s criminal conduct.

The Shite House meanwhile is claiming that anyone summoned by congressional committees who is or has ever been connected with the president is covered by a non-existent “special Presidential immunity” Trump’s lawyers have invented, that prevents them from testifying.

How does he get away with it? It amounts to a massive obstruction of justice, a cover-up of what looks more and more like a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy. But it seems that unless the doubtful Democratic duo of Pelosi and Schumer move to start impeachment proceedings – which in any case he is likely to ignore – there’s no-one who can prosecute the case as all the judicial power rests with the prime suspect himself, a president who claims that by virtue of having been elected he must be above the law.

Welcome to your new dictatorship.

 

He’s got a little list #2: Count your fingers

A UN special rapporteur has delivered “an excoriating” indictment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman in respect of the murder of Saudi dissident, Jamal al-Khashoggi; demanding that the prince – who has denied responsibility – be criminally investigated by the International Court.

“It is the conclusion of the special rapporteur that Mr Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law,”, quotes The Guardian.

An aspect of the story that is unlikely to have been considered, and for which no indictment is anticipated, concerns Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; often described, in the peculiar phrase commonly adopted by journalists instead of the more accurate “confederate”, or “co-conspirator”, as “a friend” of the equally callow and carefree Prince bin-Salman.

Mr Kushner is, as we know, despite his lack of experience in any field that doesn’t involve throwing poverty-stricken tenants out on the street, wearing a bewildering assortment of hats as a “senior advisor” to the strangely tinted president.

One of them is as his Middle East peace envoy. For instance, he is about to be involved in a conference in freedom-loving Bahrain, to obtain support from “the international business community” for more private investment in the shrinking Palestinian sectors of Israel, from which Trump has withdrawn federal aid; and on which (at the urging of his billionaire friend and political funder, decrepit casino magnate Sheldon Adelson) he has piled numerous insults, such as the highly controversial recognition of Jerusalem as the country’s capital.

It’s been a bit of a mystery as to why Trump rushed so soon and so ardently to exonerate “MBS”, as the ruthless Crown Prince is disarmingly known, of any responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder, even before the full horrible details of his dismemberment in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul had emerged; and to continue to argue in the face of much intelligence community reporting that the jury is still out, “it may have been him, it may not”, right to the present day.

Trump has long had a peripheral involvement in the story. Back in the 1990s he bought (and then had to sell at a loss) a modest-sized superyacht from Khashoggi’s billionaire arms-dealer cousin Adnan, an international playboy who was involved in a major 1980s bribery scandal known as the al-Yamamah deal, in which the Thatcher government appears to have bunged him $60 million to swing a fighter jet contract for British Aerospace over a decision to go with the French Dassault.

Yet in his classic defense of ignorance, Trump denied knowing any Khashoggis.

Jamal sought sanctuary in the United States in 2017, having found himself on the wrong side of the Saudi royal family – a unique governmental entity consisting of hundreds of unpleasant and interrelated desert princelings all jockeying for power. There, he wrote a monthly column for the Washington Post, critical of the bin-Salman faction; earning for himself the accusation that he was an agent of the hated political Islamists, the relatively non-violent Muslim Brotherhood.

MBS, who is responsible for prosecuting the failing war to prop up the corrupt Saleh regime in Yemen against rebellious northern tribals, in which 100 thousand civilian victims are believed to have died pointlessly so far, came to power and prominence just a couple of weeks after Trump had made his first foray into international diplomacy, not something he had ever been noted for, with a state visit to Riyadh that culminated in an esoteric-looking ceremony where the gathered leaders all weirdly placed their hands together on a mysterious glowing ball, or “Illuminatus” as some call it.

Your friendly Pumpkin has previously suggested a purely coincidental link between the deposing of MBS’s cousin, the former Crown Prince Muhammad bin-Nayef, and Trump’s visit. The business seemed in some ill-fated way to be based on the plot of Syriana, a 2005 George Clooney movie in which a US-compliant despot is installed in an oil-rich state by its senile king over the incumbent modernizing Crown Prince, who ends up being vaporized with his whole family in a drone strike by a rogue CIA unit secretly masterminded by Christopher Plummer.

One of MBS’s first actions in his new position of acting head of state – bin-Nayef’s father, King Salman bin-Abdulaziz al-Saud, has Alzheimer’s – was to have 200 of his princely family and prominent members of the Saudi business community arrested on vague charges of corruption and locked in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, until they agreed to pay him huge sums in ransom. Some were tortured, and one died.

Shortly after that, began the strange campaign by Saudi Arabia (Barbaria, as we call it) and MBS’s friend MBZ, the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, to blockade the tiny, but spectacularly oil-rich gulf state of Qatar, interdicting its food supplies and oil exports and threatening war unless the emir agreed to shutdown the well-regarded Al Jazeera global news operation and make other helpful concessions on their bucket list.

Back home, Trump gave his full-throated support to the Saudis, accusing Qatar publicly of sponsoring international terrorism (ha! Ed.) and being in league with Iran. Which was odd, considering a) he had met with the emir of Qatar, Mohammed bin-Thani (MBT) during his brief tour of the Middle East and said what a great ally he was and how much money he was going to spend buying “beautiful” American weapons, and b) the biggest US airbase and forward command in the entire Middle East is located at al-Udeid, in Qatar. Although some have suggested Trump may not have realized it was there, being the Commander-in-Chief who doesn’t take briefings from anyone other than Sean Hannity.

A few weeks later, however, MBS and MBZ quietly lifted the blockade, and Trump once again began praising Qatar as a good friend of the USA. What had changed? Certainly not Al Jazeera, which is still very much operational.

Well, the only thing anyone could think of, especially after it came out that Kushner’s father Charlie had been to Qatar some months previously on a cash-raising mission for his business and been turned away, concerned the welcome news that a Canadian investment company, Brookfield, had agreed to buy out the 999-year lease on a loss-making Kushner Companies-owned office-cum-retail property, 666 Fifth Avenue.

Jared had been nominally left in charge of Kushner Companies while his father, Charlie, was serving time for fraud and witness tampering, and in 2007 – just before the banks imploded – had paid way over the odds for a New York tower block, in his puppyish excitement to impress his dad, only to fall foul of the 2008 global crash. The hideous “signature” building, which is in urgent need of expensive refurbishment, was half-empty and hemorrhaging money. Now, looming up in 2019 a loan instalment of $1.8 billion was due, and KushCo didn’t have the liquidity to meet it.

Major crisis!

So Kushner, seeing that American banks won’t touch either the Kushners or the Trumps, known serial defaulters, with the proverbial footage of pole, arranged a very large loan with the giant Chinese insurance company Anbang that seemed to include a hefty cash emolument for himself. And on that basis, after the Chinese got cold feet over the possible allegation of bribing an influence-peddlar, his “friend” MBT, bin-Thani of Qatar, who had agreed a further half-billion investment, hastily withdraw the offer. This apparently enraged Jared, with consequences that are fairly not unclear.

Happily, Brookfield agreed, for no apparent reason, they would pay the entire future rental of the building up-front, and carry out the full refurb. With one bound, the Kushners were free. But who was this previously not much known Canadian company with a cash-splashing habit? Well, as Bloomberg reported, it turns out it’s a funnel operation for investing into global opportunities, a hefty proportion of the embarrassment of oil riches owned by the sovereign wealth fund of… Qatar.

Tiny, oil-rich Qatar, in essence, or so the implication of the story would seem to run, had been strongarmed into bailing out the piddling little Kushner family’s struggling real estate firm in a shakedown operation run under the auspices of the Trump administration – US foreign policy – by the Orthodox Jewish “Peace envoy” Jared’s Middle Eastern Arab “friends”, MBS and MBZ; risking a regional conflagration.

Result!

And then began the faint background accusations that it could have been Kushner who, purely as a favor, might have possibly helpfully supplied his “friend”, the newly installed MBS, with the list of names and locations and whatever dark crimes those 200 wealthy princes and businessmen he “arrested” in The Princes in the Hotel affair, may have been suspected of having committed: all the muck US intelligence could rake up on their known movements, contacts, holdings, investments, current assets and possibly hostile affiliations.

This was a top-secret CIA file, so the story goes, that Jared was only able to access because his father-in-law had overridden the strong warning of the official security analysts that his son-in-law – in view of his many dubious connections and unpaid debts to foreign banks – did not deserve a high-level security clearance; let alone a White House Sunday garden pass.

And even more faintly in the background, can just be heard the faint, squeaky whisperings of a nuance of a hint of a susurrus of a suggestion from some quarters that among the names exposed on that CIA target list, together possibly with some reference to his suspected dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood, may have been that of Jamal Khashoggi.

But we should draw a veil now over the proceedings for, as your Pumpkin concurs, it is highly unlikely and, indeed, wrong to believe that the name Kushner would ever appear anywhere in the 100 pages of the UN’s “excoriating” report, as being in any way complicit with a brutal execution his father-in-law has doubted really happened.

The Pumpkin would rather keep his fingers attached to his hands, if you don’t mind.

 

“A YouGov poll this week found that (by two-thirds to one-third) Tory party members would rather Brexit took place even if it meant significant damage to the economy, even if it meant Scotland leaving the United Kingdom, and even if it meant the loss of Northern Ireland, too. A large majority of Tories even think Brexit is more important than the survival of their party. Half of them would be happy for Nigel Farage to be their new leader.” (Guardian)

Eastbourne hasn’t been this exciting since Debussy wrote La Mer here! (BBC Weatherwatchers)

GW: Boom bang-a-boom!

Turkey: “At least 3 people have died in the north east of Turkey after heavy rain caused flash floods and landslides in Arakli district in Trabzon Province on 18 June. A further 7 people are still missing and 3 others were injured.” Rescuers “are carrying out search and rescue operations with helicopter support. Around 70 people were evacuated from the area.” (Floodlist)

Poland: A heavy downpour caused severe flooding around Lublin on 19 June, 2019, leaving communities cut off. Local authorities said 100 homes suffered damage, along with several roads. Electricity and drinking water supplies have been interrupted. Dozens of fire service and military personnel are working in the area. (Floodlist)

Philippines: over 45,000 people have been displaced by flooding on Mindanao Island. (Floodlist)

Uruguay: Many areas have seen over 30 cm of rain in the past week and over 5,000 people have been displaced by floods. 3000 of those “are in the city of Durazno, where the overflowing Yi River has caused severe flooding. Flooding has blocked vital roads in at least 12 locations across affected areas. Neighbouring parts of Argentina have also seen heavy rain over the last few days.” (Floodlist)

Europe: “Models are in good agreement for the development of an intense heatwave across a large part of west-central Europe, starting on Monday next week and likely extending until the weekend. Both global models GFS and ECMWF are hinting at peak afternoon temperatures around 36-41°C in France next week – up to 20C above average – and even 32C in southern England.” French meteorologists are not ruling out 45C, 4C over the previous highest-ever (The Weather Channel). More thunderstorms bringing heavy rain, high winds and large hail are the forecast for the Balkans up into eastern Europe until then. (Severe-weather.eu)

USA: Accuweather is predicting a high chance of more tornadoes in northeastern states Friday (21 June) as the seemingly unending chain of storms continues across the country. 100 deg. F-plus temperatures (103 yesterday, 20 June) this week are in fact slightly lower than normal for Phoenix, Az. Last week’s unseasonal 100F-plus heatwave in California has eased off the throttle, with temps back in the high 80s.

Bhutan, etc.: The melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled since the turn of the century, with more than a quarter of all ice lost over the last four decades, scientists have revealed. The accelerating losses indicate a “devastating” future for the region, upon which a billion people depend for regular water. Temperature data from the region also show an average rise of 1C from 2000-16 compared with 1975-2000. (Guardian)

Tunnel approaching….

Kaboom: “The Pentagon believes using nuclear weapons could ‘create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability’, according to a new nuclear doctrine adopted by the US joint chiefs of staff last week. The document, entitled Nuclear Operations, was published on 11 June, and was the first such doctrine paper for 14 years. Arms control experts say it marks a shift in US military thinking towards the idea of fighting and winning a nuclear war.” Guardian. The paper was taken down after the Pentagon realized people reading it might be scared.

No sweat: “Wetbulb” temperature is a calculation based on both temperature and humidity. At 35C and 100% humidity the limit of survivability in the open is 6 hours. Higher temperatures require less humidity to kill, largely through the inability of the body to cool itself by sweating, leading to cell breakdown and organ failure. In other words, you cook. Parts of northern India and Pakistan have seen temperature over 50C, 123F. Paul Beckwith reports, “Present extremely hot temperatures combined with high humidities exceed the 35 C (95F) wetbulb temperature threshold. It doesn’t matter how healthy, fit, and strong you are; the physics is fatal. Luckily, the worst conditions seen on the Pakistan-India border (mostly in Pakistan) are for a few hours, and not the full day, but death rates in this region must be huge.”

 

“It’s hard to believe we’re looking down the barrel of a loaded climate gun when it’s so consistently damned embarrassingly weirdly normal outside.”

What’s gone wrong with the weather, then?

Okay, well, look, here we are, three weeks into the official Atlantic Hurricane season, and the only storm there’s been was Andrea, back on 20 May, that only made 1006 mb and a 40mph sustained windspeed, which we get pretty much every 2-3 weeks here on the west coast of Britain – and it didn’t make landfall either.

Other than that, nothing.

Outside as I write, 21 June, it’s sunny and 21C, 70F. Not that the official Met Office weather station 4 miles up the road will admit to that, hidden away as their thermometer is in a dark box where it’s probably 4C cooler. But nor is my digital thermometer in full sunlight either, it’s been swallowed up by a forever-expanding Photinia bush that’s grown just this year to rival the size of the house and has sparrows nesting inside it.

Okay, it’s been mild – a “green winter”. We had a long dry spell in March, and a long wet spell just the last three weeks. Inbetween, 80mph Storm Hannah ripped the opening buds off the westerly-facing trees and burned the leaves brown with salt spray. They’re happily recovering, and apart from that it’s a bucolic spring, with birds and bees and verdant, vibrant countryside – just about everything you could wish for.

So as far as anything goes we’ve had nothing but normal since the end of February, when there was that big heat anomaly over one weekend and record temps. It’s hard to believe we’re looking down the barrel of a loaded climate gun when it’s so consistently damned embarrassingly weirdly normal outside.

Luckily, we have Dr Andrew Glikson writing in Arctic News today to set us straight.

“The term ‘climate change’ is no longer appropriate since, what is happening in the atmosphere-ocean system, accelerating over the last 70 years or so, is an abrupt calamity on a geological dimension, threatening nature and human civilization. Ignoring what the science says, the powers that be are presiding over the sixth mass extinction of species, including humans.

“As conveyed by leading scientists: “Climate change is now reaching the end-game…”

Glikson goes on to elaborate that the current 560 ppm-plus carbon equivalent, which takes into account the carbon content of all the other greenhouse gases we’re struggling to breathe along with the CO2, is as high as it’s been since the Oligocene (33.9 to 23 million years ago). The current rate of increase is as alarming as it’s been since the extinction of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago; while the warming oceans are reaching the limit of their ability to absorb more CO2, that we’re pumping out in record amounts again.

“The current rise of total GHG to about 560 ppm CO₂-equivalent implies that, for a climate sensitivity of 3 degrees Celsius per doubling of atmospheric CO₂, global warming has potentially reached 3°C. This level is almost 3 times the 2018 global land-ocean temperature of 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels as reported by NASA.” (And twice the so-called Paris target, of 1.5C by 2030.)

Oh dear. Well, that’s told us. Anyway, the UK is virtuously on course this year for almost 50% of its electricity to be generated from renewables.

I guess we deserve our normal weather. We’ve earned it.

(Dr Glikson is an Earth and Paleo-climate Scientist, Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, Research School of Earth Science, the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Planetary Science Institute, and a member of the ANU Climate Change Institute.)

Brexit: behind the curtain… Polluted waters run deep… Corbyn, eh? Pathetic. Predictable… Counting on chaos… Pot, kettle, smack… GW: Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain… Climate of concern.

Brexit: behind the curtain

“It’s perhaps no surprise … to find that those pushing for a hard or no-deal Brexit also have strong ties to a trans-Atlantic climate science denial network.”

“Three current cabinet ministers have denied the scientific consensus on climate change and several of those standing in the Tory leadership contest have close links with organisations and individuals promoting climate denial.”

– Thus, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s shadow Environment secretary, speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions last week, quoted in Open Democracy: “The tangled web of Tory leadership candidates and climate science denial”, 14 June.

Are we seeing the final clues emerging, to the dark-money influences behind the Brexit vote? The bones of the coup?

According to Open Democracy’s Matt Hope, the DeSmog environmental campaign has traced an astonishing two thousand connections between Brexit-voting MPs and known denier groups, false-front climate “research” organizations, corrupted academics and politicians, many founded and funded by energy industry science deniers such as the Kochs, “pushing for environmental regulations to be rolled back”, as they are being by the corrupt Trump junta in America.

(Trump has recently said he is minded to allow uranium mining in the iconic Grand Canyon national park. He really hates America.)

Since the IPCC report came out last year, GW has noticed, and despite fulsome acknowledgments that the energy corporations have known about the problem perfectly well for decades, there have been renewed attempts to undermine the consensus on global heating caused by man-made climate change, almost on the heroic scale of a Chernobyl fire; principally, by undermining faith not only in climate science, but in all science: it’s all too uncertain! All just conjecture, compared with the Biblical certainty that God created the world in 6 days; starting, as Bishop Usher calculated, on 22 October, 4004 BC.

So let’s sit on it while the jury is still out. (The jury that grew old and died years ago.)

These revelations come on top of the clear, loud and obvious threats coming from across the Atlantic, supported by treacherous cunts like Trump-shill Nigel Farage, to breakup the NHS and sell it off to US health insurers; to foist lower food hygiene and animal welfare standards on us; to introduce brutal, high-pressure corporate farming methods, and to breakup the BBC and sell its TV divisions off to US media corporations.

On top of that again, are the well-funded efforts of US Christian evangelical foundations to bring about an end to women’s rights to family planning, promoting a patriarchal, anti-Islamic, white-nativist agenda, with a direct money-pipeline to Farage’s Brexit and other rightwing groups in Europe.

It’s not me saying it: all of this shit has been publicly exposed and expressly endorsed by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. But you’re just not fucking widey-woke enough to get it. (No, okay, you are but they’re not.)

Listening, any Leavers? You’ve been had. Again. When are you going to wake up from your pugnacious, self-satisfied dreams of empire and understand, this is NOT what you persist in shouting-down as “Project Fear”. The vested interests behind your fatal vote are going to eat-up this country for profit. They don’t want the world you want.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/tangled-web-tory-leadership-candidates-and-climate-science-denial/?utm_source=Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=95dea4d99b-

“That it is even possible to find and prove and convict for actual treason in peacetime is a legal nicety.”

Polluted waters run deep

While, your old Granny Weatherwax (see GW columns below and passim) prompts the Bogler to conjecture that the defenestration by the Tory party of poor Mrs May might certainly, in the light of the above, have followed a deliberate and sustained campaign of vituperation in the press, on social media and in Comment threads, leading to her downfall.

Was The Guardian’s editorial board “had” by these seething, ambitious traitors too?

That it is even possible to find and prove and convict for actual treason in peacetime is a legal nicety.

But the removal of a Prime Minister, her elected authority undermined and destroyed by secretive actors funded by global corporations and alt-right ultras, her actions thwarted at every turn by a vicious little cabal within her own party, whose influence sadly extends beyond itself, might certainly amount to a coup d’état, given that one of Mrs May’s last vain attempts to maintain the status quo ante while in office has been to announce a commitment to speedier and deeper decarbonization.

Can’t let that happen.

Clearly, as revelations emerge of their clandestine connections via the Tufton Street nest of vipers, the tobacco industry-founded IER and its feral children, with Big Oil and Coal, as well as with the evangelical right in America and its allied Orthodox Christian-empiricists in Russia, not “Fatberg” Johnson nor any of his shitheaded enablers and opponents, except possibly “Snowy” Gove, is planning to honor her dying efforts to spare the planet.

Their rank corruption pollutes everything it touches. Literally, it seems.

 

Corbyn, eh? Pathetic. Predictable.

“A source close to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who went to Tehran last week and tried to initiate an unsuccessful mediation between Trump and the Iranian regime, told Kyodo News Agency that what the Americans had presented as evidence did not amount to “definite proof” that Iran was to blame.” – The Washington Post, Monday 17 June.

Oh, but I thought politicians demanding more conclusive proof of an Iranian attack on tankers in the Gulf using mines were “pathetic”? At least, that’s what Tory leadership challenger, Jeremy Hunt told us was wrong with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said he wanted more proof the attack was carried out by Iran, and was:

“Pathetic and predictable. From Salisbury to the Middle East, why can he never bring himself to back British allies, British intelligence or British interests?”

Oh, but I thought that British general in charge of our forces in the Gulf told the defense chiefs there was no evidence of Iranian escalation? And the Americans and their asscreeper, Hunt told him to shut up and mind his own business? And now the Japanese Prime Minister is “pathetic and predictable” too, is he?

So how about our “allies”, the Germans?

“’The video is not enough,’ German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters. ‘We can understand what is being shown, sure, but to make a final assessment, this is not enough for me.’”

God, how pathetic. How predictable.

Something disgusting is being cooked up and our pathetic and predictable Tory foreign secretary wants us to be up to our bloodied elbows in it, his head firmly rammed between Trump’s fat asscheeks, caressing his furry little orange balls with his forked tongue like an ass-snake, an assp, just to prove Britain is still a world power that can talk a tough game while having fuck-all to back it up and a failed minority government in total disarray, a nation betrayed by a bunch of alt-right-funded Brexit ultras, that this failed ex-health minister is desperate to lead for all of four months, until hopefully we kick them into the long grass for a generation.

Pathetic. Predictable.

 

Counting on chaos

“As Edexcel is the only privately owned examination board in the UK, questions have been raised on whether the examination board is acting in the best interest of students, or solely as a profit making business, due to the wide range of officially endorsed text books published by Pearson, the international multi-billion company who owns the exam board Edexcel.” – Wikipedia entry, failing on grammar but otherwise instructive, as ever.

A-level Maths students in the UK have been devastated to learn that for the third year in a row, “someone” had leaked part of the Maths, Stats and Mechanics exam paper in advance, and after two years of hard studying and late-nights revising, their marks will suffer as a result.

A tweet published by BBC News showing the questions being hawked around for £70 a go contained the misspelled word “tommorrow”, which ought to be a strong clue that a teacher is behind the leak.

Students are bitterly criticizing the outsourced contractor, Edexcel, for the sheer incompetence they continue to show, year after year. It seems the leak was discovered in advance, and a secure substitute paper exists to be handed out in just such an emergency, but the company either couldn’t get its act together in time or couldn’t be bothered.

Edexcel have denied all responsibility, claiming it’s a minor breach and all down to the schools. No surprise, surely, as there seems to be not one outsourced contractor in Government service in the entire country in any sector, from education to health to security, that isn’t employing a groaning heap of baboons who have been at the fermented fruit again.

They are all, without exception, thoroughly rotten at their jobs. But they have the advantage of being cheap, which is all the Treasury cares about.

The whole principle of outsourcing is based on offering a lowest common denominator service supplied by foreign-owned companies and/or overdiversified hard-hat building and engineering operations desperate for “wet-weather” revenue-earners, of which there can be no reasonable expectation of quality outcomes, concern for users, competence and dedication to service. Yet another such, Keir Group, is battling liquidation as I write, and has announced many job losses.

Your Uncle Bogler pays for his annual week in France through twice a year, for two-and-a-half weeks, taking on the role of an exam invigilator at his local University of Boglington-on-Sea. (Okay, I’m an outsourcer too!) The job is kind of a cross between a butler and a nanny, a policeman and a purveyor of fine stationery to the terminally penless.

He has to mention that this year, he was aware of at least three occasions when batches of papers were sent out by the various departments to be distributed that day, that contained – clearly in error – copies of the wrong papers, that were not due to go out until the following day or week. He understands this to be a possible criminal offence. Add to which, the rising number of proofreading errors in questions having to be back-checked in the middle of exams.

The point was raised, with some concern, and the explanation given that the University has been in the habit of writing to departmental admin staff recently, demanding that they re-apply for their contracts on lower grades and zero-hours contracts; while dozens of take-back redundancy notices have been issued, and the lucky survivors reallocated ad hoc to departments often where they have had no previous experience.

In other words, no-one has the slightest idea what the fuck they are doing anymore.

Taken together with, for instance, the disasters over the uncoordinated changes to the railway timetables last year, the utter shambles that has marked the Brexit negotiations and the demise of the Conservative party, it is not hyperbole to suggest that our familiar civilization is genuinely falling apart around our ears, and the process is rapidly accelerating.

 

US televangelist, Rick Wiles has warned his congregation that meatless vegeburgers contain Satan.

 

Pot, kettle, smack

The traitor, US President Trump, busy lying that he never said he would welcome illegal help from the Russians to get re-elected, like that other Trump did on ABC TV last week, has been tweeting his usual racist garbage against the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, following a mini-spate of knifings and a shooting in the city on Friday.

As if it is any of his filthy, goddam business. Does he run this country? Don’t answer that.

“US President Donald Trump, who has a long-running political feud with Mr Khan, took to Twitter to say London “needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster – will only get worse!”

No mention there of sympathy for the victims’ families; no acknowledgement of the exemplary speedy arrests by the Metropolitan Police. And no mention of the fact that the “feud” has been entirely one-way, since Khan originally made a disparaging remark about Trump’s attempt to ban Muslims from entering the USA – which would have included him.

Trump has not ceased since his inauguration to criticize the management of Britain and other countries – Sweden, who knew? – while praising Norway, oddly, at every possible occasion. Tall, blond Norway… reminds him of his daughter? Would he like to fuck Norway?

Just bile spewing from his fat gut and an overweening sense of his own importance, that he is putting before, even, his own country. To Britain’s eternal discredit, however, weird stary-eyed Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has endorsed his anti-Khan tweet, saying he “150 per cent” supports Trump’s quoting the insane bitch-harridan, Katie Hopkins’ racist ravings about “Londonistan”.

Deary me. And this pathetic shill wants to be Prime Minister. Under a second Trump presidency, no doubt. It’s a bad look.

The three deaths, says BBC News, take the total number of murders in London in 2019 to 56.

Oh, isn’t that fewer in 6 months than are murdered in one day, every day, by plain folks and their guns in Mr Trump’s festering, Wild West country? Thirty-three THOUSAND violent deaths a year? Some very good people, obviously.

Trump is the fucking disaster. Will only get worse – if the cowardly, pusillanimous Democrat leaders don’t start impeachment proceedings immediately. Needs a new President.

Trump has instructed his assfucked acolytes not to testify or submit documents to Congress, despite legal subpoenas and threats of lesser impeachments, and to ignore court orders at which he openly sneers. He’s accepting illegal foreign campaign donations in exchange for promises of access, and putting out fake videos to slander his opponents while claiming the media, the “Enemy of the people”, is “fake news”. He and his family members are openly and illegally profiting from office.

He has rejected a call from one of his own appointees, a judge on a special ethics committee, to sack “senior advisor” Kellyanne Conway for numerous, egregious breaches of the Hatch Act, which supposedly prevents civil servants from openly endorsing political candidates or promoting commercial interests, such as Ivanka Trump’s “fashion” brands. On TV last month Conway sneered at the Special Counsel: “Blah, blah, blah. Let me know when the jail sentence begins”.

These are the actions of outrageous criminals who believe they are untouchable because of the power of the President.

A career criminal himself, Trump has no respect whatever for the rule of law. Never has. Never will. Why he thinks that qualifies him to comment on law and order issues in other countries, no-one can say.

It’s just that he hates Muslims, I guess.

And that’s fine with Jeremy.

 

“Last year, the equivalent of 68,000 shipping containers of American plastic recycling were exported from the US to developing countries that mismanage more than 70% of their own plastic waste.” (Guardian “Toxic USA” investigation)

 

GW: Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain

China: “At least 61 people have been killed and 356,000 evacuated from their homes as heavy rain and floods swept through large parts of southern and central China this week. … Local authorities say “9,300 homes have collapsed and 3.71 million hectares of farmland damaged during the floods, with direct economic losses now estimated at 13.35 billion yuan ($1.93bn).” (Al Jazeera)

Sudan: As if a murderous, apparently endless civil war is not enough, “at least 770 homes have been completely destroyed and hundreds more damaged by flash floods that swept through some of the most vulnerable areas of North Darfur on 10 June. At least 420 homes were reportedly destroyed by floods in camp Rwanda for the displaced in Tawilah locality”, and three children injured. Of concern to the authorities is the loss of most of the camp’s temporary sanitation. (from Floodlist)

Indonesia: Following floods last week in nearby Sulawesi, “flooding has affected over 35,000 people in Samarinda City in East Kalimantan Province, according to local disaster authorities.” No injuries have been reported. “The Mahakam river, in the east of the island of Borneo, overflowed after heavy rain on 09 June.” (from Floodlist)

Italy: “Homes, businesses and a campsite were evacuated in Lombardy on 12 June, due to flooding from the Varrone and Pioverna rivers. Heavy rain and severe weather in Europe since 09 June 2019 has caused flash floods in parts of the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Greece and Poland (from Floodlist). More storms, with high winds, big hail and intense rainfall are arriving over eastern areas of France and Germany, up into Denmark. (Severe-weather.eu, 14 June)

France: has declared a state of natural disaster, “after rain and hail storms lashed a swathe of the south-east on 15 June, devastating crops. The flash storms, which brought hailstones as big as pingpong balls to some areas, killed 2 people in France and Switzerland, and injured at least 10 others. The worst-hit area … is known as the ‘orchard of France’. The agriculture minister said the government would … introduce emergency measures to deal with what he described as a catastrophe for farmers.” (Guardian)

UK: After 2 months’ worth of rain fell in 48 hours, a local state of emergency was declared on 13 June and hundreds of residents evacuated from 580 properties in the town of Wainsfleet, Lincolnshire, as the local river burst its banks and temporary shoring threatened to give way. “Passengers on a London to Nottingham train were stranded for 8 hours following a landslide. Commuters were transferred to a second train which also became stuck due to flooding on the line. Food and water ran out onboard and 1 person collapsed.” (BBC News)

USA: And the wet goes on. “Locally heavy rain (and thunderstorms) are expected to return to the Arkansas and Mississippi River valleys by Father’s Day weekend, bringing another risk of flash flooding to rain-fatigued parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma that could last well into next week.” (The Weather Channel)

India: Has escaped the worst of Cat 2 Typhoon Vayu as the storm has turned northward parallel to the coast. The Typhoon Warning Center placed Vayu about 90 miles out, 14 June. “The storm had top winds of 110 mph and was headed north-northwest at 4 mph, with tropical-storm-force winds extending out 145 – 170 miles.” It’s still bringing damaging wind, waves and heavy rain to coastal regions. “About 300,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas of Gujarat, where a storm surge is forecast of 1.3 meters (4.3 feet). (The Weather Channel)

Unfortunately that means no relief yet from the brutal heatwave inland that has claimed 36 lives. With cities turning into “urban heat islands”, where temperatures in recent weeks have nudged 50C, 122F, a scarcity of water has led to fighting in the streets, with a number of stabbings, injuries and even deaths. (Deutsche Welt)

Australia: The quarterly update of Australia’s greenhouse gases, which span December 2018 to March 2019, showed a 0.7% hike in emissions. Save for agriculture and electricity, all sectors were up. Pollution from the manufacturing, construction and commercial sectors and domestic heating shot up by 6%. Emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, says Australia is still on course to meet its Paris commitment to a 28% reduction by 2030. Shadow energy minister Mark Butler says he’s a liar. (Guardian)

Climate of concern

CO2: Normally starts to reduce in May in the northern hemisphere as spring vegetation growth starts to absorb more. Of concern therefore must be a sudden spike in the weekly average over the past two days, putting concentrations back to the late May 414.5 ppm high. At its peak in mid-May it was over 415.7, up 10 ppm from March last year.

A glance at the weekly averages curve over the whole of 2018-9 is scary enough, but the long-term average in just the last 40 years shows a 50%-plus rise in CO2 concentration over the previous rate of increase from the pre-industrial background of 280 ppm. http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/weekly.html

That’s a rather clumsy way of saying it’s been rising twice as fast as it was before 1980. And remember, CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas – the others are all increasing more rapidly than previously.

The Great Debate: You know how the media is constantly parroting the line that you can’t tell if “man made” global warming is responsible for any individual event? Well, now you can. New modeling by Oxford University has shown without doubt that there is absolutely zero probability of last year’s lethal heatwave in Japan having been caused by anything else. Oh, and it’s happened again already this year. (Climate change news)

Denierworld latest: As Trump calls for pipeline protestors to be jailed for 20 years, comes news from the Washington Post that EPA officials were ordered by the White House to shutdown a report compiled by two intelligence agencies for a Congressional committee, affirming previous Pentagon assessments that “climate change” is posing possibly the greatest threat to national security. I’d give you more on that but I can’t afford the $90 a year Jeff Bezos wants for me to be allowed to read articles in the WaPo.

Tunnel approaching…

Yellowstone: Steamboat geyser went off Saturday 15th for the 22nd time this year. Intervals have shortened from every 7 to every 5 to every 3 days…. “Normal” is two or three times a year. Earthquake swarms, ground uplift, magma “drumbeats”, rising “melt”, volcanic outgassing and harmonic tremors continuing in the caldera. USGS’ live webcams mysteriously freezing, data disappearing. (Mary Greeley)

Heating: The Canadian permafrost is already thawing at the rate previously anticipated to occur by 2090. Greenland shed 50% of its normal annual summer ice loss just last week. Coastal areas (higher humidity) in places like the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea are approaching the limits of human survivability. (Paul Beckwith)

While, “humans are already functionally extinct” may come as a shock to some people (Arctic News, 10 June).

Functional extinction describes a state where sufficient adverse factors exist to bring about imminent population collapse. The Australian koala, for instance, is said to be functionally extinct, after 30 million years on earth. Once shot in their millions for their fur, the cuddly marsupials are down to a population of about 80,000. In itself that might be enough to preserve the species, but habitat loss is scattering ever-smaller communities over ever-wider distances, leading to inbreeding and epidemic disease. Throw in more brutal heatwaves like this summer’s, and they’re gone in a matter of years.

Another indication of imminent human extinction is, of course, the bellicose policies being pursued by US Secretary of State, Mike “two lunches in a suit” Pompeo. An evangelical Christian of great fervor, he says the bible informs everything he does, and he’s a genuine believer in the Rapture – a millennarian, end-of-the-world prophesy in which crazy, fat assholes like him lose their clothes and fly up directly to meet Jesus in Heaven while the rest of us burn. God will then create a new Earth for the righteous. “Fight for it”, he has urged congregations. (New York Times 30 March, et al.)

I kid you not, this delusional, Koch brothers-funded lunatic is in charge of Trump’s foreign policy.

Take cover.

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 87: The State of the Art, the Art of the State… Raindance festival… Off with their heads… The gain in Spain… Oh, the pain…

Quote of the Week

“I’m ashamed of my country for what it has done. It’s torn people apart … I am sick to death of politicians, especially British politicians. I am sick to death of Brexit. I am a European. I am not a stupid, colonial, imperialist English idiot.” – Sir Elton John, speaking while on his latest farewell tour in Verona.

 

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on an Isis propaganda video

“Ar-har, Jim lad, we be bound for Treasure Island!”

Long John Silver speaks out in shock new IS recruiting video.

 

“There’ll be only one monarch on parade.”

The State of the Art, the Art of the State

The problem with the Trump approach to diplomacy – stir everything up, throw shit at your allies and hold your enemies embarassingly close, while gutting the State Department of traditional diplomatic expertise and listening to nobody but the tiny yammering faces on Murdoch’s Fox & Friends – is that someday you’re going to turn up to the party to find the hosts piled up in the corner, gibbering incoherently in a state of advanced intoxication and no use to anybody.

This week, Trump’s callow son-in-law, special envoy Jared “Ken” Kushner arrived in Jerusalem to unveil his pre-doomed “peace plan” for the Middle East, only to find that the Israeli government had just collapsed in a groaning heap. Who expected that?

Newly re-elected by a whisker, The Kush’s dad’s old pal Netanyahu had tried to push for a law making it impossible to prosecute him on growing corruption charges, while parties far even to the right of his hardline Likud were refusing to join his coalition, leaving him with a minority in the Knesset.

As Kushner and his entourage were descending from the skies, Netanyahu was declaring a fresh election in the autumn, his majority whisked away in part by liberal voter opposition to Trump’s clumsy efforts to influence the election last month; while the White House’s unpopular attempts to deprive the Palestinian Authority of funding has largely failed as a typically Trumpian negotiating tactic since European sources have stepped into the breach.

The Washington Post reports:

“A new campaign cycle means no Israeli politician — least of all Netanyahu and Kushner’s other interlocutors on the Israeli right — would want to be associated with any kind of compromise with Palestinians.”

Nor, with the 2020 election fast approaching, does the Post think Trump will risk giving the deal another outing in November when the possibility – most say the likelihood – of failure could compromise his anticipated triumphal return to the White House for another four years of mounting chaos, kleptocracy and spiteful untruth-telling, a nation descending into madness.

Meanwhile, an ostentatiously huge delegation of 800 American officials: security men, hairdressers, burger-chefs and military planners has been landing on harmless little Britain like mosquitos to prearrange the arrival of The Beast – no, not Trump, the two-and-a-half ton bomb-proof perk, that travels everywhere to protect the president against satirical balloons – and the rest of the Imperial baggage-train, in advance of Trump’s greatest PR coup, his self-exonerating State visit.

And, oops, his dear friend Theresa May, whose authority as Prime Minister he went to great lengths on his “informal” visit last year to undermine, is now dead in the water and sinking fast, having agreed to step down as party leader the day after the Orange Nightmare goes home, under intolerable pressure from the Trumpists and Bannonites, the hardline nativist No Dealers, Victorian throwbacks and hedge-fund managers on the far right of her formerly centrist party, who have determinedly fucked-up her futile negotiations to exit the European Union with anything approaching our national dignity and the Good Friday Agreement intact.

Who will he be left to hold significant talks with?

The Pumpkin supposes he will not be much interested in being harangued on the subject of climate chaos and the Sixth Extinction by our putative future Green King, and may wish to escape ASAP the stuffy and oppressive atmosphere of Buck House and all those dull, hoity-toity, jewelry-encrusted losers and their hangers-on, just as soon as the photo op is finished.

There’ll be only one monarch on parade.

Nor will he want to mix with the likes of poor Jeremy Corbyn, who has already set light to his own invitation to the ceremonies. In the ritual pre-visit interview with Murdoch’s rabid tabloid Sun newspaper, Trump’s inner mob boss emerged to ominously inform Corbyn – just in case he should win an electoral victory – that he was making a big mistake.

Why, then, summon forth his old pal and elevator boy Nigel Farage, Britain’s Reichschancellor in waiting! Summon the correspondingly golden-haired wunderkind and darling of the provincial tricoteuses of the aging Conservative matriarchy, Boris “Watermelon, Picanninny, Letterbox, ‘Fuck Business'” Johnson.

Summon, why not, for Heaven’s sake, the pocket nationalist, “Tommy Robinson”, martyr for the cause of racist street-violence, to commiserate over the Presidential Abuse poor traduced Mr Trump has suffered for two years at the hands of Obama’s Deep-State Democrats and their profoundly conflicted inquisitor, Bob Mueller 111, gay lover of sacked FBI Director, James Comey, who has completely exonerated the President with his notorious hoax report levelling numerous unproceedable charges of treason and obstruction of justice at him that never happened, okay?

(“I wasn’t involved with the Russian attempt to… er, no, as you were, there was no Russian attempt to…”)

The fact is, whoever the “unindicted co-conspirator”, employer of undocumented labor and convicted tax-cheat, Trump chooses to consort with, his visit will be seen by most as an unwarranted intrusion into the political affairs of the nation. It remains to be seen what tone his infamous nocturnal tweets will adopt, what petty insults and whinges and lies and false accusations his tiny thumbs will produce around his unwelcome visit, for the entertainment of his dumbfucks at home.

It’s hard to see how exceptionalist British nativism can willingly reconcile to the imposition post-Brexit of US Imperial corporate hegemony in these islands, summarised simply for consumers as “chlorinated chicken”, although it’s a lot worse than that, but stranger things have happened.

His devoted followers may not be willing to consider, or even wish to hear about, Farage’s actual political agenda, beyond doing the maximum offence to inworkers and leaving the hated EU on any terms, including the collapse of much of Britain’s remaining manufacturing industry and the clawing back of worker and consumer protections.

But the removal of our revered State-funded universal healthcare system is high on his list, in favor of a US-style, US-owned, co-pay insurance market few people and small businesses will be able to afford to buy into.

So don’t blame The Pumpkin if life in Britain is about to take a very strange and ugly turn. He’s been trying to warn everybody for years.

 

Raindance festival

“Claire Cahm was preparing to set up an anti-Trump banner on the roof of her house, in the hope it catches his eye as he flies in. ‘I don’t suppose he will see it but it’s my gesture,’ she said. ‘We all have to do what we can. I hope it’s rainy and windy so his hair flies around everywhere.'” (Guardian)

Ooh, you absolute bitch! Portsmouth prepares to protest Trump’s personal Donald-Day event. (But of course, if it’s raining he won’t attend. Military helicopters can’t fly in the rain, as we all know.)

 

Off with their heads

Asked by his nemesis Jim Acosta of the hated CNN at a press conference on the lawn if he would agree that “treason” was a crime punishable by death, and who would he suggest could be prosecuted for the crime, a curiously swollen-looking President Trump began rattling off the names of James Comey, Peter Strojk and other former FBI officers he has had fired, apparently for investigating Russian interference in the election or, as in Comey’s case, refusing an illegal order to stop investigating former Trump soldier, Michael Flynn (said by a judge to have sold out his country) and swear personal allegiance to Trump.

Mr Trump also mentioned “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, who, he said, had instigated a coup d’etat against the government, purely out of spite because he won the election. (This, from the man who has floated the idea publicly that if he loses the 2020 election, he might refuse to leave office because the vote will have been rigged.)

Given the antithetical elements in the Commentariat and all the Democrats in the House, Death Row is going to get pretty crowded.

In the meantime, Trump has seized on comments tweeted by Liz, extreme rightwing daughter of former W Bush Vice-President and broadly acknowledged war criminal, Dick Cheney, one of the authors of the neocon conspiracy known as the “American Project for the 21st Century”, that political opposition to the President constitutes treason, to redefine the meaning of the word.

Bit by bit, America descends into the abyss.

 

For fairly terrifying analysis of the extent of the coup Trump is mounting against the State which, as the President, he is sworn to protect, see David Smith’s piece, ‘The Kraken unleashed’: how Trump’s shock troops attack US democracy, at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/01/donald-trump-gorka-lewandowski-hannity-fbi-treason-mueller-russia

 

The gain in Spain

As further evidence of the growing insanity of the right, a proposal by the probably incoming Popular Party president of Spain’s Madrid region to abolish the city’s successful Low Emissions traffic zone must take the tortilla.

The aim apparently is to please the Vox party, that the Popular Party needs to go into coalition with to obtain a majority. The Francoist Vox is believed to be funded by the Christian right in the USA and to be acting as a conduit for money pouring into far-right disruptive parties in other parts of Europe.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso, 40 – yes, a woman (pretty hot!) and probably a mother (her marital status cannot easily be ascertained) – has argued that traffic congestion at 3 a.m. is part of the city’s culture and what gives it its vibrancy. Increased traffic is consistent with the city’s lucrative nightlife, she says, and so must take precedence over what she admits is not an ideal environment for humans.

The scheme has rapidly cut congestion and dangerous nitrogen pollution from diesel engines by up to 50% in parts of the city, in response to EU regulation. The European Environment Agency has estimated that 30,000 additional deaths in Spain annually are caused by air pollution.

Much research recently has shown too that CO2 and other airborne pollutants, including microparticles from diesel exhaust, are damaging children’s growing brains and lungs, and actively cause cognitive impairment in adults.

Neoliberalism is literally killing people and making us even more stupid.

And these greedy, selfrighteous, self-serving fuckers on the Christian right just don’t care.

Well, if they don’t care if others live or die, babies and children, as long as they go on making money for Jesus and his Lear jet, then what is the moral bar to killing them first? (reporting: Guardian)

Just askin’.

 

Oh, the pain

In response to an interview with the US Ambassador to London, Mr Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson a couple of months ago, in which he told Britain we would basically have to suck-up US food standards if we wanted a trade deal, the Bogler pointed out that Mr Johnson’s family business, Johnson & Johnson, was facing 12 THOUSAND law suits in the USA relating to allegations that their famous baby powder is cut with cancer-causing asbestos dust.

It gets better. The State of Oklahoma is suing the New Jersey-based firm for perpetuating America’s worst ever public health crisis, that is killing more than 50 thousand people a year through overprescription of powerful painkilling opioid drugs, for conditions that are essentially medicalized, i.e. invented by doctors. The Guardian reports:

“The New Jersey-based firm, better known around the globe for baby powder and shampoo, is fighting allegations by the state of Oklahoma that it conspired with other drug makers deceptively to market opioids by downplaying the significant risk of addiction and by pressuring doctors to prescribe narcotic painkillers, including to children.”

Several other companies involved in the lethal trade, including the Sackler family, have already settled huge compensation claims. You can bet your boots the Johnsons would be the kind of philanthropic Christians who tenaciously oppose abortion, being pro-life. Being accused of killing live babies and children however is a problem for their legal team.

A superstorm cell, photographed on 27 May. America, anyone?
(Mike Coniglio, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory.)

GW: Gettin’ better all the time

USA: The Weather Channel reports, “A much-needed break is finally on the horizon after a month-long siege of severe weather that ranks among the worst in modern U.S. records. A 12-day streak of daily rounds of severe weather culminated on Tuesday with a major long-track tornado … across the Kansas City metro area. … The havoc this month has also included widespread flash floods across the Plains and Midwest and severe river flooding in Oklahoma and Arkansas. … Amazingly, only six deaths have been directly attributed to this month’s tornado swarm.”

The worst flood in US history?: 2,289 died in the Johnstown flood of 31 May, 1889, 130 years ago, when a 40-foot wall of water from a bursting dam roared through the town. Around 8″ of rain had fallen overnight – the weather station was washed away with its operator, so no-one knows quite how much rain fell. Many residents took refuge on a stone bridge, where a huge pile of debris including oil tanks caught fire, leading to many deaths. (Weather historian, Christopher C Burt, on Weather Underground)

Vietnam: Heavy monsoonal rainfall in China that has claimed 9 lives and ruined 23 thousand Ha of crops has spilled over into north Vietnam and killed another 2 in floods and landslides that have destroyed homes and crops. “National Center for Meteorological Forecasting warned of further heavy rain with risk of flooding and landslides over the coming days.” (Floodlist) BBC Weather reports, the monsoon is late arriving in southern India but is expected any day now.

Japan: It seems a little cooler, Japan Times is now ignoring the whole story. Earlier in the week, The Weather Channel reports, “At least 5 people have died and nearly 600 have been hospitalized as a heat wave grips Japan. Sunday, the temperature hit 103.1 degrees in the coastal town of Saroma on the island of Hokkaido, according to the Japan Times. The Meteorological Agency said that is the highest temperature at any observation point in Japan for the month of May.”

Chile: BBC is reporting, trails of destruction have been caused by a rare series of strong tornadoes that hit the towns of Los Angeles and Conception, 100 km apart, yesterday. 1 person is reported dead, others injured.

Spain and Portugal: Many parts of the peninsula have been on Orange heat and fire alerts this past week. Spain’s national weather office placed one province, Cordoba, on Red alert, the highest level in the scale, meaning soaring temperatures posed an “extreme risk” to health. Temperatures in the Andalusian countryside were expected to climb to 44 deg. C., 111F (Earth Changes Media)

“‘These are not usual meteorological phenomena, being of an exceptional intensity and with a very high level of risk for the population,’ a spokesman for Spain’s national weather office said.”

It’s expected still to be around 30C this evening, 1 June, for the 8pm kick-off of the European Champions’ League final in Madrid between British football clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.

UK (the south, anyway ): “is forecast to record the hottest day of the year so far as temperatures are set to soar this weekend (1 June). According to the Met Office, the south-east of England could reach 29C (84F) on Saturday, 0.5C higher than the joint warmest days of the year so far, on 19 April and 15 May. The average June temperature is 17C. (Guardian Weather) Here in Boglington, it’s an agreeable 25C. Sadly, it’s a one-day wonder: Sunday it’s back to cloudy and cool with rain in the west.

“Britain is setting new records for going without coal-powered energy. In the latest milestone, it has gone for two weeks without using coal to generate electricity – the longest such period since 1882.” (Guardian Green Light)

 

Tunnel approaching…

Bali: Mt Agung is at it again. A major eruption yesterday, latest of many that have led to mass evacuations in the past two years and disrupted air travel, sent a cloud of ash up to a height of 6000 feet. Mt Etna on Sicily has also been erupting quite violently, a new fissure spewing lava in spectacular fashion.

Yellowstone: looks like the Steamboat geyser went off again briefly on 28 May. That makes 18 this year, on course for a new record to beat last year’s total of 32 (normal year is 2 or 3). USGS printouts show, there’s been major venting in the Norris Junction area this week of sulphur dioxide, ancient helium and other volcanic gases. (Mary Greeley)

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 86: Collision… Trumpenfilth corner… How many wars can Trump sustain all at once?… Bent crude… The Man Who Would be King… GW: Water, water everywhere – except where there’s drought…

“Gangs in England are so adorable. This is what we could have here if we just implemented gun control!”

– Stephen Colbert, on the milkshake attacks in Britain on rightwing agitators like Robinson and Farage.

 

Brexit party and supporters at an event in Bamber Bridge, Lancashire

Last Brexit to Nowhere… Leave supporters who have stolen our future
wait to die at a working men’s club in Lancashire. (Photo: Guardian)

 

How many wars can Trump sustain all at once?

You must watch this issue of Thom Hartmann’s vlog (link below). Unlike any panel discussion of Trump’s startling refusal to co-operate with legislators I’ve heard on US media, arguing that he is above the law, it provides a crystal-clear, historical analysis of the legal position regarding the constitutional battle between Congress, the courts and the White House.

And the conclusion is terrifying.

Spoiler alert: Thom’s verdict

If Trump refuses to co-operate with investigations, tough luck. Not even the Supreme Court can enforce the law if the President chooses not to obey it, as Congress and the courts have NO POWERS OR MEANS OF ENFORCEMENT under the constitution. Only the Executive branch, which includes the Justice Department and the White House, can order arrests.

And with the appointment of Attorney General Barr, Trump has the DoJ in his pocket.

Even if Congress were to impeach Trump for ignoring legal subpoenas ratified by the Supreme Court, as he is proposing to do if decisions go against him, they have no power to arrest him. And he knows it.

Until Nixon, such unpresidential defiance of US law has occurred only three times in the history of the USA. The first was in 1861, when the southern states backed the Supreme Court against a certain Abraham Lincoln, who refused to give way on their ruling that African slaves were not humans, and it cost 600 thousand lives to settle the matter.

Not for nothing does Trump sit under a portrait of his favorite President in history, the appalling racialist Andrew Jackson, who twice ignored the Supreme Court in matters pertaining to his genocidal campaigns aganst First Nation Americans.

How many wars can Trump sustain all at once, on how many fronts? A clue may lie in the number of law suits he’s currently juggling.

I refer you to the incomplete list of lawsuits pending against Donald Trump (NB these are only primary cases, excluding many hundreds of cases in which he is named incidentally.)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lawsuits_involving_Donald_Trump

Thom Hartmann: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1Zv3zlK714

 

Collision

An open letter stating an opinion that Trump should face trial for multiple crimes of obstructing justice on the basis of the evidence gleaned by the Mueller investigation and published in the redacted report has been signed by 900 (nine hundred!) current and former prosecuting US states’ attorneys.

The problem being that only the Department of Justice can indict – the investigation was under their jurisdiction. And the Attorney General whom Trump personally appointed in February to run the DoJ, M William “Bill” Barr, is refusing to indict on grounds that you cannot indict a sitting President; although that is a controversial opinion or, as we say, bullshit.

Talk about obstructing justice!

While the President also remains an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the case for which his lieutenant, Michael Cohen, was sent to gaol for three years, for co-operating with Trump’s order that he should pay bribes to silence two inconvenient women, illegally out of campaign funds, to assist Trump’s election prospects. The President remains under suspicion that he also persuaded a friend, Mr Elliott Broidy, to pay $1.8 million to a Playboy model whose baby he had aborted, and to accept responsibility himself.

Next week, this corrupt criminal – yes, he last year pleaded guilty in a New York court to misuse of tax-exempt charity funds and his Trump Foundation was compulsorily wound-up; while, in 2017 he was forced to pay $35 million reparations in a case involving the bogus “Trump university” scam – and his wretched family, all of whom are under investigation for financial crimes – is to be entertained, literally royally, by the British State, at a cost of many millions of pounds, and will hypocritically attend a 75th anniversary parade to mark the joint military invasion of Europe by US, Canadian, French and British forces.

Pray for rain.

 

During President Trump’s election campaign he promised voters that, unlike “lazy” Obama, he would be the hardest-working president in history. In his first 27 months in office he has played golf on average once every three days, at a cost to the US taxpayer now of $102 million. (TYT/The Huffington Post)

 

Trumpenfilth corner:

I wrote recently that the 2020 campaign will only get filthier. In response to Speaker Pelosi’s comment that Trump is engaged in a cover-up with regard to the Mueller report, video of her statement has been digitally edited to make her look drunk and rambling* and this fake news version was helpfully put out on air by the Fox Business channel.

It’s also been posted online with, so far, 2 million views. Facebook and Twitter have made half-hearted attempts to takedown the video. No doubt many dumbfucks will not have the cognitive abilities to see what’s been done to the original, although it’s pretty crude. Or they’ll just think it’s hilarious.

Asked about it, Trump defended it, whining that she attacked him first. An opposition politician! And this is the cheesy sleazeburger with an emotional age of nine they’re inflicting on the 93-year-old Queen next week, officials desperately claiming “It’s not the man, it’s the office”?

*How to edit a video to make a person look drunk and rambling, Part One. First, cut it into little pieces and put it back together with little delays and overlaps and hiccups and repeats. Then you slow the voicetrack down by about 15%. We recommend you use FinalCutPro for a cleaner finish.

 

Bent crude

It’s axiomatic now that Trump’s actions stink of corruption and malpractise. To the point where, it seems, nobody cares. He hasn’t launched the nuclear missiles, like everyone feared. He’s derailing the economy, but the Obama momentum, a global recovery and a weak dollar are still keeping it going. Cuts in Medicare and tax increases on the middle-class have yet to kick in. He’s done many other horrible things, told endless lies, started a trade war and bust the budget, but so far they haven’t made a telling shot among his base. His chief propaganda mouthpiece, Brad Parscale (late of Cambridge Analytica) is Facebooking lies like a good ‘un.

And many people quite approve of the way he seems to be standing up to the hated politicians in Congress, even if it is to cover up his own crimes.

He continues to protest his innocence of the charges investigated by Mueller. It’s been two months now since his hand-picked Attorney General, a man who doesn’t think a sitting President can be indicted for anything, a man who has argued the Mueller investigation was illegitimate, released a three and a half page summary of a 488-page report, using Mueller’s inability or strange unwillingness to prosecute a sitting President for abuse of office as a pretext for claiming he totally exonerated Trump and his campaign, which he absolutely did not.

Mr Barr is again summonsed to testify before a Congressional Intelligence Committee, Thursday (23 May) and the media is waiting to see if he turns up, having refused to the last time and being held in contempt for it. Unfortunately, Congress has no powers of arrest outside the building itself.

The redacted report has been published, but few people have taken the time to read it. Those who have are convinced, despite the redactions, of the President’s guilt. The one Republican senator who read it and admitted openly that he was convinced of Trump’s guilt has been, as they say, sent to Coventry by his colleagues.

The vast majority of Americans however are left with just those three and a half carefully selected pages and a president who continues to tweet and whine and cry and boast that he’s a “stable genius” (yep, he said it again!) who has been cleared of all charges; and who has now said he will not co-operate on government legislation while the House is investigating him – a childish tantrum neither Nixon nor Clinton threw, even while impeachment hearings were going on.

What are the public supposed to think? The Justice Department continues to refuse to release the unredacted report, even to Congressmen and women with the highest security clearance.

Well, they could look at his behavior. Whining and blustering that he’s been proven innocent, Trump has continually attacked the investigation as illegitimate, the investigators as biased plotters – “traitors”, he’s calling them, in the best tradition of dictators the world over. He’s called for them to be investigated, and a supine Justice Department already convicted of lying to the House is complying.

And nobody seems to think that’s strange. If he was exonerated, what’s the problem? Why not release it all? But it’s just what he does. Look how he continues to claim Hillary Clinton rigged the 2016 election, even though he won it! Nothing must be allowed to undermine the legitimacy of his presidency, which he genuinely seems to believe in his paranoia and delusional narcissism will go down as the greatest in history; although he has achieved nothing but growing inequality and chaos.

Perhaps unwisely, Mueller left it to the Justice Department and Congress to make up their minds based on the mountain of evidence he uncovered, and is now curiously silent on the whole affair. Trump has continued to claim that, as he was exonerated, which he was not, there is no evidence of crimes; consequently further investigations and the judgement of Congress have no validity and must end – before, many assume, more dirt comes out.

And time is going by, with the 2020 elections approaching and the public growing bored and fractious and easily distracted by talk of war and an immigration crisis on the border, “collegegate” and the unsatisfactory conclusion of Game of Thrones.

The British government, equally in chaos amid similar accusations of divisiveness and abuse of the poor and immigrant, with the far-right poised to take control and Prime Minister May due to stand down as Conservative leader in total humiliation on 7 June, has dumped almost the entire State visit of the criminal Trump family, which she instigated, onto the shoulders of the extended royal family – a further “exoneration” Trump and his infinite propaganda machine will make maximum capital out of for the dumbfucks.

Now, congressional committees trying to investigate the findings of the report, as Mueller charged them to do, are themselves being shut down, either by lawsuits – all so far rejected in the courts – or by the simple expedient of the White House refusing to release information under subpoena, refusing to allow witnesses quoted in the Mueller report to give testimony about their evidence to Congress, daring the Democrats to impeach.

The main example is that of Don McGahn, former White House counsel, who gave over 30 hours of testimony in private to the Mueller team, but is now at risk of being charged with contempt of Congress, having failed to show up for a scheduled committee session under subpoena. Why? Well, it’s possibly to do with his law firm having $1.2 million worth of consultancy to the Republican party that’s going down the pan if he testifies.

Witness intimidation.

And, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8LI2-dCoro, Rachel Maddow discourses on the other main topic, that of the request by the House Oversight Committee to see Mr Trump’s tax returns.

The committee is empowered by a law of 1927 that is absolutely clear: if the chairman wishes to see anyone’s tax returns, the IRS is legally obliged to comply. But no, Trump is not of a mind to let anyone ferret through those, literally, thousands of pages detailing his financial activities over 7 years. A barrage of dubious legal objections has been put up to deny the committee’s clear and lawful request; Mr Trump having hired a separate legal team to fight on just this one issue.

And, it turns out, in Trumpworld there are massive and unexamined conflicts of interest between the top three officials at the IRS and their duty to the law. Three officials whose appointments were in the gift of the President, whose appointments were railroaded urgently through the Senate by the leader, “Cocaine” Mitch McConnell*, as the likelihood of impeachment drew nearer.

(Incidentally, the question remains, was Donald Trump at any time involved in the cocaine trade? Evidence suggests he may have been, but that’s yet another accusation that’s gone unresolved for years, as there’s just so much of this stuff going on that the legal system is totally underequipped and unable to deal with it all.)

Three officials, one of whom happens to be a partner in an accounting firm that used to work as tax advisors for Trump Organization. Another of whom just happened to write a legal opinion that while the IRS may be obliged to furnish tax returns to the committee of anyone in the country on demand, the law doesn’t apply to the President. He also happens to own several apartments in Trump condominiums.

The third, Stephen Mnuchin, is the Treasury Secretary. He’s a former longtime Goldman Sachs man, like several of Trump’s arslikhan cabinet of all the millionaires, draining the swamp, who profited from the 2007 crash by buying up the assets of busted banks and loan companies cheaply and foreclosing on all the debtors, including hundreds of families who lost their homes. According to Wikipedia:

“Mnuchin founded a hedge fund called Dune Capital Management, named for a spot near his house in The Hamptons, in 2004 with two former Goldman partners. After its founding, Mnuchin served as the CEO of the company. The firm invested in at least two Donald Trump projects, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Honolulu and its namesake in Chicago.”

Together, these profoundly conflicted appointees at the head of the country’s tax collection service form a formidable wall against intrusive inspections of their patron’s financial affairs, even as they may be mandated by law and unbroken precedent.

But, you know, given Trump’s nature, it may just be that his tax returns will show nothing amiss. It’s possible that he’s just preternaturally averse to being investigated. Or that he’s happy to create a diversion by getting the media to focus obsessively on his taxes and ignore how he makes money illegally outside of the tax system altogether.

 

*Where does the nickname “Cocaine Mitch” come from? Apparently, from a debunked story involving his wife’s Chinese family; although financial journalist and veteran Trumphound, David Cay Johnson, has written that there is substantial circumstantial evidence linking Donald Trump with the Columbian cocaine trade in the 1980s.

But apparently, McConnell is willing to leave no turd unstoned when it comes to re-election, and is milking the monicker for all he’s worth. He has already raised $70 thousand from sales of Vote for “Cocaine Mitch” T-shirts. As website FastCompany.com reports:

“It’s exactly the kind of trolling nihilism you can expect from the man who obstinately opposed the Obama administration at every turn and now frequently calls Democrats who don’t accede to Trump’s agenda ‘obstructionists.’ Cocaine is hilarious, trolling is politics, nothing matters, who cares?”

 

Trump has ordered US farmers to be compensated for losses caused by China imposing retaliatory tariffs against the tariffs he’s imposed on China, blaming China for deliberate aggression against US farmers. The cost to the US taxpayer: $12 billion. Experts believe the soybean trade may never recover.

 

The Man Who Would be King

The Guardian is reporting on video evidence of meetings between Nigel Farage and Steve Bannon, in which the two men discuss the possibility of forming a “global alliance” of some of the most terrible men on the planet “to combat globalism”.

It would be funny if it weren’t so horrific. “Fake news”, if the possibility exists that The Guardian does not check its sources carefully. But after luring Mr Bannon to a private entrance at the Ritz Hotel in London, presumably because the doorman wouldn’t have let an Islamophobic nihilist looking like a dishevelled drunk into the foyer, the conversation with Farage is all apparently there on tape, in the form of out-takes from a new fly-on-the-wall (more like “flies-on-a-turd”) documentary about Bannon, The Brink, to air here in July.

Among those great leaders they thought it would be a nice idea to involve in their little plot to rule the frazzled earth are the self-admitted murderer, Duterte of the Philippines, on whose say-so thousands of presumed “drug dealers” – mostly harmless addicts – have been exterminated by police death squads, and who speaks openly and pleasantly of raping women.

Indian “strongman” – actually he’s just an elderly peasant buoyed up by heat-crazed Hindu nationalists and appears to The Pumpkin from a distance to be a quite profoundly stupid man – Narendra Modi is on the list, as is the authoritarian Hungarian PM, Viktor Orban, ruthless exploiter of any passing populist issue and slayer of NGOs. Egypt, too, was mentioned – see below.

Amusingly, Farage is on tape telling Bannon he finds Boris Johnson too lightweight and incapable of concentrating on anything for more than a few seconds. This, from the pathetic Trumpsucker photographed in the Golden Elevator, adoring inches away from that other adulterous, overweight, tow-headed scamp who practically invented ADHD.

(In case you objected to my use of the word “turd” earlier, I should mention that this global conspiracy of White-is-Rightists was known appropriately as The Movement.)

Apparently The Movement has been abandoned, as the funding mechanism wasn’t quite meeting internationally accepted rules, while Farage’s instant pop-up Brexit party, the No Deal, anti-EU party leading in the polls for tomorrow’s EU elections, is being investigated for accepting illegal foreign donations.

Taking a leaf out of Trump’s “Quick, smear anyone you think may be a threat!” playbook, Farage has been quick to dismiss the Electoral Commission without the slightest evidence as a bunch of Remainers. The worst insult he can imagine! It might even work with his Brexit party dumbfucks, 5,000 of whose jobs at British Steel in 70% Leave-voting Scunthorpe are imminently threatened by Brexit contractions.

Let’s hope it doesn’t end there, and that these deluded voters finally understand what an unreconstructed fascist this deeply unpleasant, richer-than-he-pretends-to-be, “Man o’ the People” is.

From supporting removal of workers’ rights, to cynical climate-change minimization, to privatisation of the NHS, Farage is not at all what his fans think he is. Or maybe he is, I don’t know. Anyway, being “different” is not a reason to vote for someone who has no plan to do you any good whatsoever.

And how “different” is he? Most if not all of the dead white men in the Tories’ factional European Research Group share his 1950s golf-club-bore views; as do, apparently, the elderly lads and Thatcherized mineworkers of northern working men’s clubs.

Miserable old farts, our beer glasses are empty, but our time has come to screw the rest of you.

 

A filthy, murderous little regime

“Ahmed Saddouma will face his final hearing on 8 June for a crime he could not have committed. He was only 17 years old when he was abducted from his bed in the middle of the night by the Egyptian authorities. He was tortured for three months until he ‘confessed’ to a crime that took place 21 days after his arrest. He was sentenced to death in a mass trial of 30 people, where he could not present a defence.”

Thus the content of an email from Reprieve, the NGO that campaigns worldwide against the gross injustice of the death penalty, especially where no defence case is admitted.*

The filthy, murderous regime of General al-Sissi grows more barbarous with each passing day. As it has the courts in its pocket, a policy of torture and the vast financial and military resources of the United States of Ismerica to underpin it, the regime easily passes the bar of fascism.

Fascism is when the State, for its own ends and those of its partners in business, the military and the religious establishment combined, empowers its ordinary citizens to unleash their frustration, their brutality, what Hannah Arendt called the banality of evil, on the chosen Other: in this case, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an invented enemy.

How bitterly must those who took part in the Arab Spring revolution that overthrew the last oppressive dictator of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, be regretting their failure to properly organize and to coalesce around clear ideals and objectives, allowing this strutting, pockmarked little shit to take over and impose the most astonishing brutality on his people; with almost daily judicial massacres of his perceived “opponents”.

The “strongman” view of history is littered with such examples, of lawless, power-crazed thugs – generally ugly little men of reduced stature and stunted intellect but infinite low cunning – riding to power on the credulity of the mob and the seemingly endless willingness of followers to hide inside a uniform and commit unbridled acts of violence against even those fellow citizens who would hope to improve their lives too.

I signed the petition, but without optimism. Theresa May is not going to intervene, she may not even be in office tomorrow. How many more Ahmed Saddoumas will hang before justice and moderation and good governance are restored to the world?

It will never happen in our lifetimes. We are descending into a barbarism not seen since the 1930s, that will undoubtedly end with the collapse of the socio-economic order as the planet rapidly heats beyond bearing.

*And just watch sales of Amazon’s new face recognition app to oppressive regimes like Egypt’s.

 

GW: Water, water everywhere – except where there’s drought

USA: Heavy snow is reported in Denver, Colorado; major flooding is forecast for the northeast, more storms for Texas; while in Georgia, temperatures are approaching 37C, 98F.

A dangerous storm system in South and Midwest USA has produced dozens of tornadoes, strong winds, hail and heavy rain since Monday 20 May. Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and Missouri have all been affected, with major flooding reported in parts of Oklahoma and Missouri. 2 people died in a vehicle accident. Heavy rain is expected to increase river levels, many of which have been high since March this year. More storms are forecast throughout the week. As of 22 May, rivers were above flood stage in 370 locations across the South and Midwest. (Floodlist)

Update, 25 May: A large and violent tornado has left at least 3 people dead in Missouri as torrid weather continues to pummel parts of America’s midwest. A series of devastating storms hit the area on Wednesday night (22 May) leading to multiple tornadoes. The region has already endured days of torrential rain and flooding.

All 3 fatalities were in Golden City. Another tornado carved a 3-mile swathe of destruction through the state capital, Jefferson City (where people are thought to be trapped under rubble). It brought the death toll from Midwest twisters this week to 7. (BBC Weather)

Drought and unseasonally warm temperatures in Canada have brought two massive uncontained wildfires to northern Alberta in an early start to the season (BBC). 5,000 residents have been evacuated from the path of the Chuckegg Creek wildfire, which is burning out of control and has already consumed 200 thousand acres. The High Level fire has been prevented from reaching the town but has burned 100,000 sq km of forest. (CNN/Global)

Japan: as Trump arrives to play golf with Abe, the Japan Times reports, “Unseasonably hot conditions gripped wide areas of Japan on Sunday, with the town of Saroma setting the highest temperature ever recorded in the country for the month of May. The mercury hit 39.5 degrees in the northeastern coastal Hokkaido town. (26 May). Strangely, although the earthquake that shook Tokyo an hour before Airforce One touched down gets a mention, mainstream media is making no mention of the heatwave.

Germany: “Storm Axel” brought heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms to parts of Germany between 20 and 22 May. Several states were affected by flooding. Some areas of Bavaria recorded over 250mm of rain in 48 hours. I person is known to have died. Rail travel was disrupted. (Floodlist) The storms are moving away across Georgia into Russia (Severe-weather.eu)

Turkey: Over 30 buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged by a landslide in Aybasti district in the Black Sea province of Ordu. The area had been affected by an earlier landslide in February. It’s thought recent heavy rainfall in the area triggered a second landslide on 15 May. Over 80 homes have been evacuated. (Floodlist)

Mali: At least 14 people have died in flash flooding that hit the country’s capital, Bamako, on 16 May. The flooding struck after a sudden torrential downpour that lasted several hours. Flood water was up to 2.5 metres deep. At least 1 person has died in flash flooding in southern Ghana after a downpour lasting around 2 hours on 15 May. It’s one of several spates of flash flooding to affect the country since March this year. At least 12 people died in the capital Accra in early April. (Floodlist) In Guinea, 5 people died when drains in the capital, Conakry, blocked with years of garbage, backed up during a heavy rainstorm. (from: Floodlist)

Korea: North Korea is suffering its worst drought in 37 years (when tens of thousands starved to death) and has called on its citizens to “battle” against the crop damage. It comes after the UN said that up to 10 million North Koreans were “in urgent need of food assistance”. State TV however is showing images of lush crops and flowing streams. So it must be bad.

UK: As Sheffield council contractors continue to hack away at the city’s remaining mature trees, protected from elderly protestors by the police and courts, “more than 130,000 trees are to be planted in English towns and cities over the next two years as part of the nation’s battle against global heating”. Previous tree-planting programs are way off schedule. Environment secretary, Michael Gove has announced that grants for the plantings will be made available through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund. Researchers have determined from lake sediments that flooding twice in the past 10 years in Cumbria was the heaviest for over 550 years – as far back as they can go. (Guardian Green Light)

Tunnel approaching….

Yellowstone: Steamboat geyser, largest in the park, went off on 21 May for the 17th time this year, on course to beat last year’s record 32 eruptions. Normal activity is 2 or 3 a year. A huge, very deep M8.0 earthquake in Peru on Sunday 26 May (1 dead, a dozen injured, buildings brought down) seems to have produced a responding M4.2 quake in Utah, near the caldera. (Mary Greeley) Was the M5.0, 48 miles south of Tokyo, also related?

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 85: Does anyone still imagine the American republic is a democracy?… Does anyone still imagine the United Kingdom is a democracy?… Gay abandoned…GW: all a bit topsy-turvey if you ask me

Ed Note: Things may slow down on the old BogPo express over the next two weeks as I shall be busy earning my annual train fare to France. I’m continuing to edit and add to this issue for now.

UB

“Who’d have thought going on the Jeremy Kyle Show would lead to this?” (Photo: Michael McGurk, Brirish Press Awards. With apologies!)

According to New York city officials, the president’s eight largest New York properties pump out around 27,000 tons of planet-warming gases every year, the equivalent of 5,800 cars. If no remedial measures are taken, by 2030 Trump’s kids will be paying over $2 million a year in fines. (from Guardian)

The old fraud won’t be around, of course. And good riddance, he should be buried at Fresh Kills (the city rubbish dump.) His vicious policy of confiscating people’s children at the Mexican border and farming them out to abusers having largely failed, the latest wheeze being quietly implemented by the Department for Housing is to separate migrant families living in subsidized housing.

“HUD acknowledged the Trump administration could displace more than 55,000 children if plans to evict undocumented immigrants from public housing is (sic) successful.” (Guardian)

The rule to date has been that at least one member of a household in which migrants are living must be properly documented. The new rule, which the media is attributing to Trump’s dead-eyed college vampire, Stephen Miller,  is that if even one undocumented migrant is living in subsidized housing, the entire household – usually a family – has to get out. (Undocumented does not always mean illegal, by the way. Applications and appeals could be pending.) That includes children….

Trump spent the minimum amount of time he could with his various families, rarely if ever interacting with his four (known) children. He clearly hates families – his own parents were aloof and hypercritical – and has no family values to speak of. He is a genuine sociopath without empathy or understanding. What a fascinating character!

Psychology students will be crafting their PhD theses on this piece of shit for a long time to come.

 

Does anyone still imagine the American republic is a democracy?

Last week, claiming “security concerns”, the White House revoked the access credentials of more than 50 press correspondents, including all six of the passes issued to the deeply hated Washington Post. There are to be no more of the old, anodyne, ritually structured encounters in the briefing room, where the fake-tanned, abusive President can tell the assembled media that they are “very rude” and “fake news” when they presume to ask him questions.

“Exceptions” are being individually approved now by the chief spokesbitch, sweaty Sarah (“Ah’m a Christian!”) Huckabee Sanders, but only, it seems, in the case of correspondents with no history of criticizing the President. Sit-down classroom-style briefings have been abandoned in favor of informal “gaggles” to be held outside on the driveway, and only then to pre-registered attenders. (See various reports collated on the Mike Malloy channel) When it rains, expect no news.

There is henceforth to be no independent in-house press oversight or hostile questioning of the President, ending a decades-old and perhaps too cosy relationship between the White House and its tame Press Corps. It’s a situation Trump has also tried to impose on the Congress, invoking a bogus “executive privilege” to bar anyone connected with his administration from giving testimony to any of the five congressional committees investigating his egregious conduct, and refusing to accept legally enforceable subpoenas.

The United States has effectively been taken over by a criminal gang locked in tight formation around a pretend mafia-boss who knows he has been outed as a felonious obstructor of justice and abuser of office by the Mueller investigation; knows too, that he faces at least 16 further criminal investigations for fraud and money-laundering in the Southern District of New York, and who is determined to distort and suppress the truth by any means.

Back in the blood-caked hands of the Project for the American 21st Century, the regime is hurriedly manufacturing a case to begin bombing another invented enemy, Iran. Having dispatched a carrier group and B-52s to the Arabian Gulf, “Security” adviser John Bolton has followed it up with a specialist cruise-missile launcher, and has called for 120 thousand troops to be put on readiness. The Washington Post acknowledges that Trump is not so interested in invading Iran, but has given Bolton his head. This cowardly mad old backseat neocon fucker needs to be institutionalized, and quickly.

Writing in The New Yorker, however, Susan Glasser speculates that Trump is rapidly tiring of Bolton’s tub-thumping – especially as Candidate Trump promised on the campaign trail no more American adventures, and he likes to keep his promises – mad and reckless as many were: “Amazingly enough, we are now at a moment in the Trump Presidency when the capricious President himself is being touted as the possible constraint on hawkish advisers like Bolton.” The danger is not past, however: “I wouldn’t discount the chance that a series of mistakes could lead to a conflict that Trump himself doesn’t want.”

Two sabotage “attacks” on Saudi oil tankers and the apparent rocketing from drones of Saudi pipelines are already being blamed on Iran. None did the “significant damage” being claimed, which seems significant in itself. Iran has condemned them. And who, given the tinder-dry political situation and Bolton’s long-held determination to kick-off a war, is more likely to have carried them out, the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guard or US/Saudi black ops forces?

Meantime, we are learning of a “secret” financial connection between Qatar and Trump’s plastic son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Actually we’ve known about it for months, but strong suspicion is not knowing. What we saw was that soon after Trump’s 2017 visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia persuaded the UAE to join in an economic blockade of Qatar that ended happily just days after a Canadian asset-management company agreed to take a 99-year lease on 666, 5th Avenue – a disastrous loss-making 2007 development for Kushner Companies – “paying a near-century’s worth of rent upfront”. (Vanity Fair)

Brookfield Asset Management is a well-funded arm of the Qatari sovereign wealth fund’s investment division, and although the fund is claiming to be bewildered and unhappy that such a deal should have been brokered, if it ever was, the money arrived fortuitously just in time to forestall what might have turned into a massive $billion debt default against Kushner Companies and their gargantuan New York white elephant.

(http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/02/qatar-666-5th-ave-jared-kushner)

And it was apparently Jared’s criminal father, Charlie Kushner, who was behind the deal; favorite son Jared being too witless and inexperienced, basically, to be the real brains behind Kushner Companies, while time-served fraudster and witness-intimidator Charlie is barred technically from running the business.

So we can see that the Trump regime is not above getting down and dirty to suborn US foreign policy for the benefit of the President’s criminal associates. We know the regime owes bin-Salman one for that. And that Saudi Arabia and Israel would both like the US to lead on regime-change in Iran. An Iraq-style invasion however seems unlikely before November as summer temperatures in the region are regularly starting to exceed 50 deg. C, making fighting on the ground pretty nearly impossible.

Unless they want to see their capital cities going up in smoke, beleaguered and deeply unpopular centrist European politicians like May and Macron must not be tempted to rush to join Trump and his satraps Bolton and Pompeo in some unholy war against what he calls “the ayatollahs” of Tehran – no filthier or more murderous and corrupt a theocracy than that of Riyadh or Tel Aviv; Moscow, Manila or indeed, Washington.

The lessons of Iraq must be learned.

There must be no collusion with this profoundly corrupt President and his narcissistic, dictatorial ambitions.

But I fear there will be.

 

The Pumpkin confesses:

In the middle of “Years and Years”, former Dr Who-tsar Russell Davies’ latest near-term futuristic family-saga drama on TV, a newsflash pops up, proclaiming “Trump wins second term in office”.

Instantly, I burst into floods of tears, beating my head on the keyboard, loudly moaning “no, please, no!”.

I blame the wine.

The misery is compounded (spoiler alert) when, in the final days of his second term, Trump nukes an island in the South China Sea. Okay, there are episodes to follow, so it might not escalate too badly.

But I’m not sure I might not have to spend more of these lighter evenings out, doing something. Anything.

 

Tickety-boo

“Clarance Jones of Lynn, Massachusetts, the nation’s most frequent winner, claimed more than 7,300 tickets worth $600 or more in only six years. Jones would have had to spend at least $300 million to have a 1-in-10 million chance of winning so often, according to a statistician at the University of California, Berkeley.”

The Columbia Journalism Review bombarded several co-operative states with FOI requests to obtain data on unusually frequent lottery winners and concluded that many claimants were acting as proxies for the real ticket-holders , who didn’t want their creditors or the tax authorities finding out.

It’s a living, I suppose.

 

Does anyone still imagine the United Kingdom is a democracy?

Threatened by a feeble suggestion that accusing a certain Mr Richard Cook of breaches of electoral law in channelling money to Be.Leave and other dodgy pro-Brexit causes in advance of the referendum is “basically defamatory” (whatever status “basically” has in law!), having already rapped the main Vote.Leave campaign on the wrist for overspending its allowed budget, the supine and toothless watchdog, the Electoral Commission, is refusing to investigate further evidence of fraud, saying it wouldn’t be in the public interest.

Just what the hell is in the public interest, if Brexit was bought with illegal donations from unregistered and possibly foreign parties? Well, astonishingly, the Electoral Commission is not sure if buying votes with the illegal proceeds of crime is actually unlawful.

So much for democracy.

Anyone who like your Uncle Bogler delights in poking a stick at the dimmer elements of the Commentariat on, for instance, The Guardian‘s website, will be familiar with the cry that invariably goes up from despondent and truculent majoritarian Leave voters when you ask what on earth they thought they were voting for: “You Remainers don’t respect democracy!”

Well, no, we don’t respect criminals who steal our democracy, as they clearly did, with or without the knowing participation of certain ambitious politicians who have nothing whatever to offer the British voter, other than the prospect of imposing on us their corrupt brand of unenlightened self-interest for years to come.

At the heart of the conspiracy is the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland – the bunch of ten knuckle-dragging Protestant gargoyles on whom Theresa May thought she could rely for extra votes in the Commons in return for a billion-pound bribe from the British taxpayer, and then found to her cost that she couldn’t.

(We should perhaps remember that the bulk of the DUP’s possibly illegal campaign contribution was spent on advertising in Northern Ireland and in London, both areas that voted solidly Remain; and for unspecified services on a Canadian data analytics company, Aggregate QI, linked with Cambridge Analytica and the Mercers, father and daughter – the secretive billionaires who bankrolled Trump’s election victory and put Steve Bannon into the White House. But as the DUP continues to refuse to reveal the source of the donation, we can only speculate.)

And Cook, who he? A reticent former Tory party candidate with unexpected sources of funding – a business partner at one time was the former Saudi chief of intelligence – who has, basically, allegedly dabbled in some rather sticky business – illegal waste dumping, money-laundering and illegal arms shipments being among the activities mentioned in certain press quarters. (See previous Posts)

According to Open Democracy:

“The bulk of the DUP’s massive Brexit donation was spent on a wraparound advert in the Metro newspaper just days before the European Union referendum. Spotlight (Antifa) journalists discovered that the advert, costing £282,000, had been booked directly by Richard Cook, not the DUP.”

The Electoral Commission, however, has argued that it cannot go further to expose the illegal “dark money” donation as they themselves can find “no evidence” that Cook booked the advertisement. (Asking Metro might produce some information?) And in the light of investigations by OpenDemocracy.org into a Madrid-based conduit for US “dark-money” donations to Vox and other far-right European parties, MPs have called on the Electoral Commission to look afresh at possible further breaches of electoral law by Vote Leave, so far without success.

The embarrassing inertia – call it incompetence rather than corruption – of our legal institutions threatens to undermine any further possibility that a historic wrong can be righted at the last minute. The government has no interest whatever in pursuing criminal investigations until it can declare that it has fulfilled the deeply suspect mandate given it by “the will of the People” to wreck the country and very probably break up the Union.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/not-in-the-public-interest-why-the-electoral-commission-didnt-investigate-vote-leave-and-dup-donation/ Baed on reporting by Jenna Corderoy and Peter Geoghan.

 

Gay abandon

A few years ago now, Fox News was enlivened by exchanges between the fat, sweaty Trumpsucker and rack-rent landlord, Sean Hannity and our very own, the late-lamented Christopher Hitchens, last and bravest of the public intellectuals, who had dared to write rude things about the recently deceased “Reverend” Jerry Falwell, a hugely wealthy and hypocritical, corrupt Tele-vangelist currently roasting for Eternity down below.

Some speculation now surrounds his son, Jerry Falwell Jr (so up their own fundaments are these fundamentalists, that they insist on perpetuating their holy egos in the names of their offspring). It’s being whispered that the married minister of the bogus church had an affair with the household’s handsome young “pool attendant” (Blessed are the poor… etc.)

And that having taken him into their home, a well-chiselled 21-year-old they met at a hotel, the rabid homophobe Falwell “invested” $1.8 million in a “business venture” of this Adonis, Carlo Grande, which turns out to have been a gay party venue, or “flophouse” as it’s been described in the Washington Post.

Which takes us back to President Trump (it still sticks in the craw) and his former lieutenant, rough-edged “fixer” and part-time legal advisor, Michael Cohen, who started his three-year prison sentence last week for obeying Trump’s orders to “fix” some of the President’s own indiscretions using campaign funds, and then lying for him. (The President remains at liberty, of course.)

In a splurge of late confessions, Cohen has alleged that Falwell employed him in 2015, at Trump’s suggestion, to also “fix” a cache of exceedingly embarrassing photographs he wanted to make go away. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC reported on the Post story last week, that after bullying them out of the possession of the unnamed blackmailer, Cohen had managed to hang on to one particularly damning image as insurance.

Presumably it’s now in the hands of the FBI.

Falwell, meanwhile, had popped up at several of Trump’s campaign rallies, literally comparing the Orange Tax-dodger and chief pussy-grabber to Holy Jesus and exhorting his evangelical dumbfucks on Biblical authority to vote for the new Messiah. Interviewed in the Post, he described Trump as “pretty much perfect”, acknowledging that he might have sinned from time to time (yes, whose was that by-blow Trump’s pal Elliot Broidy had aborted and paid $1.8 million to the Playboy model to stay stum?), but that it was his policies, not his character that really recommended him to Christian voters.

Odd, says the Americans United website, since his father had once described his ideal occupant of the White House as someone who would say: “As long as I am President, I shall lead this country in the ways of Christ as set forth in this book, God’s Holy Word. I would vote for the president who would take a bold, uncompromising stand against sin – SIN – and tell us what he believes it is.”

The question must obviously be, why would F. Jr turn so suddenly and completely against the idiotic precepts of his insanely corrupt and uber-wealthy dad, F. Sr, buoyed up by the contributions of his poorest parishioners in hopes of admission to Heaven, in order to announce the Second Coming of Christ in the bloated and unlikely shape of the decidedly un-christian and unethical serial adulterer and swindler, Trump?

And when can we expect a suitably painful Crucifixion?

We should be told.

 

One law for the poor

US actress Felicity Huffman has pleaded guilty to fraudulently conspiring to win a college place for her daughter. Prosecutors have recommended a four-month prison term and a $20,000 fine. Huffman, 56, was among 50 charged in the college admissions scandal. (BBC News)

According to a recent biography by US-naturalized Brit journalist Katy Ward, “Kushner Inc.”, Charlie Kushner made a $2.5 million donation to Harvard shortly before his educationally substandard plastic-toy-boy favorite younger son, Jared, was admitted over a number of more promising but less wealthy students.

Are these cheating, rack-renting bastards going to jail for it?

Doesn’t look like it. Jared is the President’s son-in-law. Although he’s no longer quite such a trusted White House advisor, in fact Orange Dad has been hoping to find a way to get rid of him. This pay-for-places scandal would seem to be a good opportunity?

Questions, however, would have to be asked about how Trump even got into primary school.

 

GW: all a bit topsy-turvey if you ask me

Russia: A corridor of exceptionally warm airmass is reaching far into NW Russia, with daytime highs at the Arctic circle pushing up to 30-31 °C! “This is exceptionally warm weather for the region, about 25-30 Deg. C above average” for mid-May. (Severe-weather.eu). The temperature in one of Russia’s most northerly ports, Arkhangelsk, 1100km north of Moscow, hit 84.4F, 29.1C on 12 May.

45 forest fires have been raging around the city of Irkutsk, near Lake Baikal. There are reports of the sky turning black and residents getting sick from bad air quality. (Siberian Times) Moscow News 25 April reported 1 dead, 8 injured – and a cost to date of US$15m.

USA: Large parts of Texas, Kansas and Mississippi are underwater, with emergencies declared. “Parts of the state have been badly affected by storms since the start of the month. Houston, Tx. saw around 10 in. (254 mm) of rain in 24 hours to early 08 May, 2019. 1 person died in flash flooding in Austin. A slow-moving storm dumped heavy rain in parts of Mississippi on 09 May. Some areas recorded up to 8 in. (203.2mm) of rain in 24 hours. The city of Jackson experienced severe flooding. (Floodlist)

Leading Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden reportedly still has not formulated a policy on climate change and is sitting on the fence when it comes to reducing carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel. Of the 22 runners, only 2 have dared to declare a course of action. (Guardian)

It’s been the wettest year-long period in U.S. records going back to 1895, according to the NOAA . Averaged across the contiguous U.S., the total of 36.2-in. made the period from May 2018 to April 2019 the first year-long span ever to top 36-in. (3 ft). (Weather Channel)

Adding to the above, it’s 18 May and Mammoth Lakes, California has just had 10 inches of SNOW! The popular ski-resort area has had a total of 470 inches of snow this winter. Elsewhere in the northern part of the state they’ve had record rainfall.

Australia: Intensifying to Cat 2 in the South Coral Sea, out-of-season Tropical Cyclone Ann is forecast crossing the northern tip of Queensland near Cairns before heading across the Gulf of Carpentaria in the next few days. (News AU)

India: At least 300 yaks have starved to death in Sikkim province near India’s border with China after getting trapped by heavy snowfall. The yaks had been trapped since December. Authorities had tried to drop food to the animals but were pushed back by poor weather. (BBC Weather)

Europe: As exceptionally cold weather has continued to affect eastern central Europe, Spain and Portugal have been experiencing a spring heatwave, with temperatures up in the mid-30s C, mid-90s F: 10C to 14C above the mid-May average. Northern Italy has had more severe thunderstorms and a powerful Bora wind is blasting the Balkans, where there’s a warning of flooding as 300 mm of rain is expected during the coming days.

Weekend outlook, 18/19 May: “Temperatures in parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland will reach above 20s, with daytime highs reaching into mid-20s locally. That is quite exceptionally warm for now, up to about 15 °C higher than the long-term average!” (Severe-weather.eu)

The Fortunate Isles: It’s getting harder than ever for your old Gran to concentrate on some far-off global climate emergency when the weather here on the west coast of Great Britain is so bloody agreeable!

We have 19.5 degrees under sunny skies again today, and for the rest of this week, dry and getting warmer. The green spaces are in full leaf, the oaks looking especially fine, the ash – well, they say “oak before ash, we’re in for a splash… Ash before oak, we’re in for a soak”, so a dryish summer is projected in nature. Clouds of midges over the footpath, birds chirping merrily…. Just a slight note of concern, some trees are looking stressed, with strangely withered leaves; while we’ve just strolled through a wildflower meadow and disturbed no butterflies or any insects at all. Nor still are many bees around, despite the profusion of pollen sources getting up everyone’s noses.

We met almost none today, even amid the glorious blossoming of the May trees only one or two per show.