Oxfam: Only trying to help…. GW: stumbling blindly through the blizzard… Yellowstone News: It’s been a blast!… A higher gear…

“…the Bronze Age states (c. 1250 BC) were hit by multiple events. Not just sustained droughts and famine, but also numerous volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, civil unrest, mass refugee migrations, trade disruptions and war.” – BBC feature: Economic Collapse: the real message of the fall of Troy.

Ring any?

Oxfam: Only trying to help

Like John Milton I’m going to struggle with my near-blindness for a bit, because I need to say something. (Unlike Milton we’re hoping it will go away eventually…)

I’ve just lost it again with a harmless old chap I run into most days on my walk, who keeps triggering my inner libtard by parroting toxic ideas he gets from the rightwing media, mostly about ‘foreigners’ (although he tells me he was born in America).

A bit ashamed of that, actually. Sorry, dear old chap. I treasure you really.

Today, he was most exercised that ‘we’ give money to Oxfam so they can exploit 10-year-old Haitian prostitutes.

I agree, that’s not good. However, it’s probably more shocking in my more expansive view that ‘we’ pay the officers of Oxfam half a million pounds a year to fly first-class and stay at the best hotels just down the road from the disaster zone, while allowing 10-year-olds to ply the oldest profession in the street outside.

The economics of prostitution are generally related to a failure of good governance at many levels, but it is invariably born out of necessity, of a kind one had imagined charities like Oxfam have for more than 50 years been paid to relieve.

While Oxfam probably employs many thousands of good people around the world in difficult situations where they can’t always be supervised, there are a few bad apples in every large organization, who in this case were fired as soon as Oxfam found out. That’s not good enough for the British press, however.

But do we really want to destroy institutions that still do some good in the world, while yet there is a British parlour wall unhung with a 60-inch TV screen?

The occasionally atrocious behavior of a tiny handful of employees is a lot less unexpected than the broader failure of the organization to do its work. There should be no 10-year-old prostitutes in the first place in an earthquake disaster zone where international charities are thick on the ground. That’s the outrage – not that a few wicked and licentious officials may be tempted to exploit them.

The elderly party thinks it’s a disgrace anyway that the government gives ‘our’ money away to people in foreign countries when we should spend it instead on the National Health Service and other poverty-stricken causes in ‘our’ own country.

I agree… many of ‘us’ also need help. But… Don’t ‘we’ already get help? Maybe not quite as much as we feel we deserve. But there is no famine in Britain. No militarized mass rape. No genocide. No rampaging warlords or traffic in “blood diamonds”, beyond a few isolated cases of exploitative gangsterism. Influence-peddling, some inequality, but no kleptocracy to speak of; and very few earthquakes.

As I have recently experienced, in Britain you can walk in off the street into a clean, professionally run hospital and, provided you have the right condition, be swiftly assessed and treated expensively for free. Every child receives a free education to the age of 18. Comply to the nth degree with the miserable conditions and endless bureaucracy of the Government’s rotten means-test and you can at least get a few tens of pounds a week in benefits to help you survive to an age when the State grants you a pension.

And who left those “shithole” countries in the state they’re in? They’re mostly former colonial territories of ours, the French, the Belgians, the Germans, the Dutch, the Spanish, the Portuguese – and they didn’t have much to begin with.

I try explaining that ‘we’ give just 70 pence out of every hundred pounds we earn, our Gross National Product, to the aid budget because some people on earth are even more desperate than we are, the sixth richest nation in the world – and we’re nominally a Christian country. Does the old guy really think that if ‘we’ took back that 70p, they’d give more to people like him? Ha ha! Sillyface.

The NHS already swallows twelve whole pounds out of every hundred we earn; the problem seems to be (forgive me, I’ve spent too much time in hospitals lately) a mismatch between the facilities available, the staff available and the patients’ medical needs, which are seldom serious. That’s a management, not a money problem. £40 billion goes to Education; a similar amount to defend ourselves against the North Korean menace. Good God, we’ve spent 7 billion pounds building two leaky aircraft carriers with no aircraft, and propose to spent 60 billion more on useless nuclear submarines we can only operate with the permission of the Pentagon – 60 billion more still on a superfluous and destructive 110-miles of railway line on which you and I will not be able to afford to travel.

Isn’t that selfish enough for the average Daily Mail reader?

Indeed, £38 in every £100 the nation earns goes into the pockets, the country estates, the offshore accounts and the Bentley Continentals – who knows, maybe also the 10-year-old prostitutes – of the top 1 per cent of wealthy people in ‘our’ country – among them that braying, bullying egoist, the £2.5m a year editor of the Daily fucking Mail – people who prefer you not to think of them when you’re begrudging the world’s poorest their 70 pence.

I should like to explain that only some of the aid budget, that 70p in every hundred pounds, goes to famine and disaster relief. Some goes to useful development projects that intendedly help to increase ‘our’ export sales. Some goes to preventing refugees from coming to Britain. Some goes to maintaining embassies abroad. Some goes to the United Nations. And some even goes to the military to pay for peacekeeping missions that ultimately increase security on ‘our’ streets.

This huge generosity is what the editor of the Daily fucking Mail, the world’s nastiest, greediest, most selfish, fascist-supporting so-called newspaper, a privileged Jingoistic swine who owns a 17 thousand-acre Scottish estate and gave himself a 60 per cent pay rise last year, a bullying brute by all accounts pandering profitably to the worst instincts in stinking humanity, describes as ‘madness’.

But I don’t explain. What would be the point? Instead, I tell this elderly party, who’s probably no older than I am, ‘oh, fuck that Daily Mail bullshit’, and walk away angrily, because I don’t expect him to understand what I’m saying to him. No-one wants to hear they’re being played for fools, or that they’re just normally thoughtless, selfish, dog-eat-dog human beings.

I’m sure he was only trying to be helpful.

 

GW: stumbling blindly through the blizzard

Look, I’m still not really up to writing loads of copy. Staring at this screen hurts my eyes. I’m going to just give you a link to Climate & Extreme Weather News #92 pt 2, the latest issue, and you can draw your own conclusions. They’d better be the right ones. Video footage from Iowa includes instructions (from 08’53”) for how to build a traffic jam out of idiots – 12 of whom died trying.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djg7FEuxQCI

And now there’s CEWN #93 and it’s just overwhelming:

Cyclone Gita: Samoa, American Samoa & Tonga …The Philippines: Tropical Storm Basyang …Bolivia: Tiquipaya mudflows …Brazil: Porto Alegre storm …Argentina: Cordoba hailstorms … The USA: Midwest snowstorm & south-east flooding …Europe: Western Europe cold & France snow …Iceland: Reykjavik blizzard …India: Maharashtra thunderstorms …Japan: Snowstorms …Australia: Queensland heatwave & Brisbane thunderstorms …New Zealand: Opotiki flooding …Sudden Stratospheric Warming Event…. and more!

To summarize (more winterize, actually):

5 dead in the Philippines as TS Basyang batters Mindanao. Cordoba experienced quite a few giant hailstones of 10 cm dia. and more, but we recall it is the city that had five feet of hail in fifteen minutes last August. 12 people have died in record snowfalls over coastal Japan in the past week. Central Queensland is heading into a possible record heatwave for next week. 4 people died in a cyclonic hailstorm in Maharashtra, with extensive crop damage.  Reykjavik experiences total whiteout and hurricane-speed winds with 5-ft snowdrifts burying cars overnight. Arctic sea ice is at another record February low, while a heatwave in the stratosphere is intruding over the Arctic and expected to play hell with the polar vortex over the next few days.

The forecaster fails to mention however that the subArctic jetstream is somewhere over North Africa.

USA: “Heavy rain, flooding and landslides have affected areas of Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee since 10 February 2018.” 2 die as Chicago experiences 9 straight days of snow.

Bolivia: “Heavy rain and flooding has left 6 people dead and 9,600 families affected. As many as 14 municipalities have declared a disaster.”

Mediterranean: “Severe weather, including strong winds, heavy rain and high waves, caused damage in Malta on 10 February. 1 man was killed and a passenger injured when a car was hit by a fallen tree. A large ship ran aground during the storm. Over 100 mm of rain fell in some areas in 24 hours.”

Pacific: “Days of heavy rainfall brought by Tropical Cyclone Gita have caused flooding and landslides in Samoa. The storm dumped massive amounts of rain from 07 to 11 Feb. Some areas recorded over 600 mm in a 24-hour period. Heavy rain in eastern areas of Malaysia caused flooding in parts of Sarawak from 03 Feb. Samarahan Division recorded almost 200mm of rain in 24 hours to 06 February. Schools and hospitals have been closed and thousands of people affected.”

Africa: “The south of Malawi is enduring a dire dry season that the country’s ministry of agriculture says will leave more than 700,000 farmers with less than 40 percent yield from their crops.” Mob violence has accompanied rumors that the drought is due to witchcraft. (Washington Post, 08 Feb).

Last week, however, GW was relaying news from Floodlist that northern Malawi was yet again underwater owing to intense rainfall. Maybe a pipeline or some buckets would be useful?

Anyone there at Oxfam?

Thanks to Floodlist/ Washington Post/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #92 pt 2, #93.

 

It’s been a blast

Yellowstone is “under strain” according to a group of seismologists who are monitoring the potentially catastrophic volcano, prompting fears an eruption is imminent. 15 Feb a new earthquake swarm up to M2.9 is recorded (but not reported) in the park.

Food security: “Some areas of Australia have seen up to 70% (grain crop) reductions compared to last year’s output. Reasons are drought and cold related issues.”

Mary Greeley website quoting the Billing Gazette and an unsourced scientific paper/ ABC News

 

A Higher Gear

I don’t normally give a shit about the BBC’s noxious car show for drooling petro-cretins and their embarrassed-looking girlfriends, Top Gear. I’m just watching for the first time the stilted, amateurish, characterless new autocue-stumbling presentation team going through the motions while waiting for something better to come on.

A dreary presenter is having an orgasm driving the latest Ferrari round a track somewhere. It goes at 300 mph, you can’t legally drive it on the road and it’s not race-licensed either. Only 40 will ever be made, it costs only £2 million, comes with its own fulltime team of mechanics – the tyres last only a few miles – and you can’t just buy one, you have to be invited as a deserving person to own one (Lewis Hamilton, enjoy!).

It is, of course, exquisite. Out of this world. It even limits the number of laps you’re allowed to drive it, before you die of smugness. And has a button that lets you drift excitingly round corners at 200 mph with no traction control, just for the hell of it.

FXXK? FXX that.

You’re taking the piss, right?

Or is this a new series of Pointless?

 

 

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Last week’s post resumed – THE SCREAM… The United Kingdom Instability Party… GW: Kickin’ up a storm in me floral wellies and me snowboard… the latest scary Arctic news, Plus: Signs and portents, and… WARNING: Capitalists.

The Swedish founder of the Ikea furniture chain, Ingvar Kamprad, has died at the age of 91, the company has announced.

No jokes about flatpack coffins now, guys…

 

Men driven to extremes by #metoo take to carrying their own sheds about. (BBC)

THE SCREAM

Watch this.

Do not not watch it. It contains important information everyone needs to know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S6QvJOTAVQ

 

Introduction

As I unexpectedly went blind in one eye last week and required a retinal reattachment procedure, which involved miniaturizing Raquel Welch with an arc-welder and injecting her into my optical jelly wearing only an aqualung, my Post got delayed and now I’m struggling a bit as I appear to have half my head inside a goldfish bowl with an oil slick on the surface, my remaining ‘good’ eye being so longsighted already, I can’t really see to type.

So I hope you’ll forgive me recycling an old Post, but this article was relatively free of unforced typos and seemed so prescient it was worth a rerun. It’s about the chaos in a fragmenting political party of once-popular protest, that didn’t quite cut the mustard post-Brexit – UKIP. Not now, but eighteen months ago. It was first posted in August 2016.

No fool like a middle-aged fool.

Last week’s extraordinary sequence of events in which the recently elected leader of the UKIP rump party, the anally retentive, 50-something, ex-military chap, Henry Bolton, has been refusing to stand down in a row over a pretty vile racist tweet about Meghan Markle posted by his new girlfriend, “25-year-old topless model” Jo Marney, whom he publicly repudiated but was then spotted having a clandestine meet with, there being no fool like a middle-aged fool – he’s also married, and now says he intends to stand by the floozy – despite the resignations following a vote of No Confidence of almost the entire party committee, and the spectacularly unhelpful interventions of the self-promoting narcissist, Trump bumsucker and “person of interest” to the Mueller investigation, Farage, have brought us pretty much full circle to previous disastrous UKIP “leadership” trials.

This (with minor edits) is what we wrote:

The United Kingdom Instability Party

I suppose it is a bit fatuous to suggest that politicians could or should ever be brought to book for misrepresentation of anything other than their expenses and constituency accounts.

In a recent Appeal Court ruling it was, for instance, decided that, to avoid lengthy explanations, it was okay to slightly misrepresent the facts on which you have based an insurance claim, provided the claim itself is valid.

It’s called ‘collateral lying’.

‘Collateral lying’ is pretty much what all politicians have done throughout political history. It’s the inevitable consequence of having to provide ‘pie-in-the-sky’ today, with ‘jam tomorrow’ as dessert for the yearning masses.

Voters would simply not know what to do, if politicians were not in some sense lying to them about most matters of public policy. Candidates are expected to lie extensively about the shameful past record of their opponents, and to lie more about what they plan to do themselves when in office; how a newer, pinker, fluffier world will come into being.

While, of course, in Islam, the concept of Taqqiya allows the devout Muslim to deny his religion – or anything else – under torture.

I’m not sure, however, that I’ve ever come across a case before, where a new political party built on a mass movement driven by disaffection with the status quo has, in only three years:

  • terrified the government of the day to the point where a stupid, hasty and disastrous plebiscite has wrecked both the economy and the nation’s standing in the world;
  • put its candidates up for election on a platform of root-and-branch reform of the political landscape;
  • won a substantial number of local authority and European Parliament seats, and then:
  • its founder and incessantly yarping mouthpiece has owned up to several ‘collateral lies’ and resigned to spend more time making money, while the party organisation has…
  • immediately evaporated in a welter of procedural wrangling and top-level resignations, as it…
  • struggles to elect a new ‘leader’ from among what one senior officer describes broadly as a squabbling bunch of obscure ‘megalomaniacs’.

In other words, a party that has obtained votes and seats and spent public money and caused global chaos entirely under the false pretence that it was ever a serious political entity.

This seems to me to go rather beyond ‘collateral lying’ to outright misrepresentation.

Do we expect UKIP to apologise and call for a re-run of elections in those areas where it has gained local authority seats at the expense of the other parties?

Do we think they should pay the money back, that they got from the EU? (Not to mention Russia… Ed.)

Not really. That wouldn’t be politics.

x

GW: Kickin’ up a storm in me floral wellies and me snowboard

(some of these reports date from the previous week)

It’s a good look… how long before it appears in Vogue?

Russia: According to the State weather bureau, Moscow had its darkest December ever, recording just 6 MINUTES of sunshine over the entire month. “The cold in Yakutia, in the far east, dipped below -60C (-76F)”. (Schools are normally closed in Russia’s coldest province at -50C…) “Some residents recorded temperatures as low as -67C, -88F… in touching distance of -67.7C, the coldest-ever officially recorded for a permanently inhabited settlement anywhere in the world”. In Anzhero-Sudzhensk, the body of a 26-year-old industrial climber was found frozen to the outside of a building.

Kazakhstan: Black snow has fallen on the city of Temirtau. Residents are blaming industrial pollution from the local steelworks. “In 2016, nearly 600,000 tons of harmful substances were released into the air in Karaganda according to Kazakhstan’s statistics committee. In December 2017 alone, the national meteorological agency recorded levels of hydrogen sulphide in Temirtau exceeding the government-mandated limit by more than 11 times.”

Mauritius: Tropical Cyclone Berguitta is likely to be the most powerful to hit the Indian Ocean island in over 30 years, with wind gusts of 130 mph. That’s according to the Meteo France/BBC report: Wunderground’s NOAA tracking map has the storm veering away from the island out to sea. Either way, the smaller islands of Réunion and Maurice are fully in its path (PS and were badly damaged but suffered no casualties).

Mozambique: 11 die in floods. 78 thousand people displaced by a tropical depression, 2 thousand properties affected. 240mm (10-in) rain fell in 24 hours.

Burundi: “severe weather, including strong winds, heavy rain and flooding has left almost 2,000 displaced and destroyed or severely damaged hundreds of homes since 14 January. Over 12,000 people have been affected.”

South Africa: After three years of intense drought, the first major city in the (modern) world is set to go dry in April: ” “Day Zero is the day that the water resource system runs out of water,” said Mark New, Research Chair in Climate Risk at the University of Cape Town. What does this mean? “No water coming out the taps. Toilets cannot be flushed. Fire services cannot get water out of the fire hydrants. People will have to walk to water tankers to fill up drinking water bottles.” And there will be knock-on effects, such as schools considering whether they can operate with no water on campus.”

New Zealand: hottest January on record (100 years). In nearby Australia, parts of New South Wales are experiencing 48C, 116F. in Melbourne, Australian Open tennis final invokes ‘extreme heat’ protocol and closes the roof (28 Jan)… still 90F at 11pm, power cuts hit thousands of homes. Cooler conditions forecast, plunging to only 64F by Tuesday!

Philippines: “Heavy rain since 12 January has caused flooding and landslides in Eastern Visayas and Davao Region. Authorities say that at least 11 people have died and around 8,000 have been displaced.” 264 mm rain in 24 hours fell on Catarman – Jan 12 to 13.

Malaysia, Indonesia… more flash floods reported as storms hit Kuala Lumpur and Denipasa respectively.

USA: The death toll from the Montecito mudslides continues to rise. “At least 20 people (now 21/2) have died and 3 remain missing as a result of the mudslides and floods that devastated Southern California, according to a Santa Barbara County Press Release on Jan. 15. The mudslides occurred early on Tuesday, Jan. 9, destroying an estimated 115 homes and damaging hundreds of others.”  Shocking footage on CEWN, see below).  In the East, very cold weather is set to return after a short lull.

Colombia: “At least 13 people have died in a landslide near the town of Túquerres in Nariño Department, Colombia. The landslide occurred on 21 January, 2018 after a period of heavy rain. A huge section of a hillside along the Tumaco-Pasto highway fell onto the road, pushing a bus carrying at least 15 passengers into a ravine.”

  • In fact much of South America has been badly hit by floods and landslides in the past week. Video reports showing powerful storms, torrential rain, urban flash floods, buildings wrecked and streets turned to debris fields have come in from SE Brazil (São Paolo/Santa Carina), Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.

UK: 80 mph winds and heavy snow are forecast this midweek, with amber warnings out for most of Scotland. It’s already bloody windy here in the west, with gusts to 65 mph. The 6th storm of the winter season, it’s been named Ffion in Ireland – doesn’t seem to be named at all in the UK (eventually, Georgina), where it’s caused widespread power outages in the southeast – but the Germans have called it Friederike.

  • Sunday 21 Jan: snowing in London (a rare event), minus 13C in Scotland, plus 14C in the Southwest (10C here…) as warm front meets cold. Met Office says 20C temperature gradient dividing the British Isles in half is ‘quite unusual’.

Europe: “4 people have been killed by falling trees or debris as a fierce storm tears across northern Europe. Storm-related accidents killed 3 people in the Netherlands and 1 in north-west Germany. Gusts of up to 140km/h (90mph) caused transport chaos. … Police temporarily closed the centre of Almere, a Dutch city with about 200,000 residents.  … warning people to stay at home because of risk from the storm.”

Paris after the fall… (NBC)

France: Sunday 21 Jan – virtually the entire country is covered by yellow and amber flood warnings. These convert to numerous avalanche warnings in mountain resorts affected by recent heavy snowfall. Meteo France reports, the country overall has seen 4 to 5 times the normal rainfall for December to January. Many rivers, including the Seine at Paris, are giving concern.

Far north… Temperature anomalies in the Arctic region are truly disturbing. “The sea surface near Svalbard was as warm as 15.9°C or 60.8°F on January 12, 2018, compared to 2.4°C or 36.4°F on January 12 for the period 1981-2011. … On January 1, 2018, Arctic sea ice extent was at record low for the time of year … Temperatures as high as 18.5°C or 65.3°F were recorded on Jan. 14 and 15 in Metlakatla, Alaska. … surface temperatures as high as 7.4°C or 45.2°F were reached on Jan 16 in Yukon Territory, Canada.” Record high methane levels are also being detected.

World: Figures adjusted to account for annual anomalies caused by the El Niño/La Niña currents show 2017 was ‘significantly’ hotter than 2016 – on unadjusted NASA and NOAA figures, 2017 was either the second hottest between 2016 and 2015, or the third after both. According to the anonymous team of climate scientists posting as ‘Sam Carana’ (Arctic-news.blogspot.com): “Global warming has crossed 1.5°C / 2.7°F above preindustrial* and looks set to cross 2°C / 3.6°F soon. Due to accelerating warming in the Arctic, that could happen within one or two years’ time, i.e. much faster than the trendlines … may suggest.” After reviewing feedback loops now being triggered that will speed the process, they conclude: “Add up the impact of all warming elements and, as an earlier analysis shows, the rise in mean global temperatures from preindustrial could be more than 10°C in a matter of years.”

*Grannysplaining note: The IPCC figures showing warming has still not yet met the 1.5C ‘threshold’ are taken from 1981 onwards and don’t include the 0.59 deg of warming post-roughly 1750 when we started burning coal industrially. Warming since 1981 has been increasing exponentially but we don’t imagine there will be any immediate recognition from the powers-that-be, that we have gone over the irreversible 2 deg. mark.

Meteonovosti / Siberia Times/ BBC Weather/ BBC News/ Floodlist/ Accuweather/ Wunderground/ Meteoalarm/ Natural Resources Wales/ Arctic News, posted 22 Jan./ Climate & Extreme Weather News #90, Pt 1 (10-24 Jan). Below: Mary Greeley website, et al.

x

Signs and portents

The famous marriage-and-divorce city of Reno in Nevada has been experiencing an unusual swarm of small earthquakes, known as ‘temblors’. Since last Thursday night (18 Jan – today’s Sunday 21) they’ve had more than 260, in what is normally the least geologically active part of the state – although there are many, hopefully extinct volcanoes nearby. Nobody seems to know what it portends, if anything, although some have pointed to its concentration around a hydrothermal borehole. The BogPo notes after extensive research that a similar swarm of temblors up to M2.1 was previously reported in Reno in April, 2008.

Mt St Helen’s last erupted with cataclysmic force in 1980, killing 57 people.

A continuing series of M3+ earthquakes is occurring in Washington State, inside the craters of and close both to Mount St Helen’s and Mount Rainier, the State’s two largest active volcanoes. There’s no sign either of the Yellowstone swarm stopping, now the longest ever recorded. Instruments recorded a plume of rising magma last week, that almost broke the surface. A new USGS newsletter confirms, the total extent of the Yellowstone magma field is 248 MILES in diameter….

Volcanic activity in the so-called Ring of Fire in the Pacific has been off the scale in the last week, with hundreds of thousands of people evacuated from islands in the Indonesian archipelago and Vanuatu. Mount Kadovar in Papua-New Guinea blew for the first time in recorded history. 23 Jan, 1 person is killed and several skiers injured when the sudden eruption of 7-thousand-foot Mt Kusatsu-Shirane in central Honshu island, Japan, with no prior seismic activity, sets off an avalanche and a rain of sooty boulders. On the eastern side, large earthquakes included a 6.3 in Baja, Mexico/California, a 6.5 in Peru and a 7.1 in Honduras, just in the last week – a shallow (8km) M6.2 off Kamchatka and a whopping shallow (10km) M7.9 (to 8.1) that’s just struck this morning at Kodiak Island, Alaska, triggering a tsunami warning that thankfully produced just a 7-inch wave… leading all the YouTubers to worry about why so little?

Meanwhile, the weather blogger and Fortean, MrMBB333 continues to track the increasing number of strange, apparently non-lunar tidal retreats of the ocean for long periods at a time – including the now well-observed disappearances of the Mississippi river at its delta. There’s still no clue as to what is causing these events, although environmentalists are blaming overextraction and new flood defences for the problems of North America’s longest river.

 

Massive climate-change cretin dies

John Coleman, founder and CEO of The Weather Channel – the pioneering trans-continental US cable weather station – has died at his home in California at the age of 83.

Bizarrely, Coleman spent much of his later life vehemently contradicting the views of his own meteorologists, dismissing climate science as a ‘massive scam’ – possibly the greatest in history – and an affront to the interests of US business.

As such, he may be largely or even entirely responsible for Trump’s misinformed opinion on the matter, that has led to US withdrawal from the now largely symbolic Paris accord.

In a thoughtful and balanced obituary by Dr Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, we read:

“As recently as 2017, Coleman was referring to climate change as “baloney” on CNN and called it a “totally failed theory” on his blog.

“It’s tremendously unfortunate that Coleman later devoted the same energy to dismissing climate change science and the people who carry it out. Coleman’s brightest legacy by far will be his accomplishments in making national-scale weathercasting an important part of U.S. culture.”

http://www.wunderground.com/cat6/weather-channel-founder-john-coleman-dies

(GW writes: let’s recall that both the US Petroleum Institute and several global energy corporations including Shell and Exxon-Mobil have recognized, researched, documented and been fully aware since the early 1960s of the likely consequences of emitting vast quantities of greenhouse gases from burning fossil biofuels. Every UN-recognized country in the world is a signatory to the Paris accord, except now thanks to this massive asshole the US – some ‘conspiracy’!

So whatever Coleman’s motive was in claiming they were all merely hoping to get research grants – he was a TV weatherman, not a climatologist, and that bogus claim can be traced right back to the Koch-funded campaign of deception – let’s all join in saying, fuck him.

We hope it’s hot as hell where he’s gone. If you deal with the devil you must expect one day to have to go live with him.

 

WARNING: Capitalists.

Major owner of The Weather Channel is Blackrock investments spinoff, private equity firm Blackstone Group ($387 billion under management).

To read what they have to say about their market positioning, please position a sickbag beneath your chin as you read the annual report from nearly literate founder and CEO, Steve Schwarzman:

“…we moved aggressively into Europe early in the recovery, focusing on fundamental value or situations where dislocation created compelling opportunities. This enabled us to ride out the shorter term volatility brought on by some of the issues they’ve had, like the Greek debt crisis, Brexit, and the ongoing impact of populism on several elections.

“These types of dislocations provide opportunity for a firm like Blackstone.”

He left out “of total cunts”, before adding: “You can make enormous money doing the right things in our business.”

You certainly wouldn’t want a little thing like 10 degrees of warming by 2026 to get in the way of that, now would you? I mean, that’s a dislocation you can make a freakin’ shedload of wonga out of.

As far as Steve is concerned, the ‘right thing’ mainly involves buying up a raft of totally disassociated companies and selling off only the best bits, dumping the rest along with the workforces. It used to be known as ‘asset stripping’, which Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath once famously described as ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’.

It’s not like caring for people. Wikipedia reports:

“The purchase and subsequent profitable IPO of Southern Cross led to controversy in the UK. Part of the purchase involved splitting the business into a property company, NHP, and nursing home business, which Blackstone claimed would become “the leading company in the elderly care market”. In May 2011, Southern Cross, now independent, was almost bankrupt, jeopardising 31,000 elderly residents in 750 care homes. It denied blame, although Blackstone was widely accused in the media for selling on the company with an unsustainable business model…”

Capitalists. Dontcha gotta love ’em?

 

The Pumpkin – New Year Edition: Happy New Year from Granny Weatherwax (fuckin’ moron)… The BogPo InHuman Awards, 2018.

Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump

In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!

“For President Trump to be the principal spokesman for a now totally discredited campaign to deny these facts and to refuse to take action to mitigate them for the safety and security of the American public is, or should be, a criminal act for which he most certainly ought to be impeached.”

Happy New Year, fuckin’ moron (From your old Granny)

President Troll proved himself to be the ultimate internet Chump with a teatime tweet, 28 Dec., boasting that the record cold spell that’s seen parts of Minnesota buried under five feet of snow and temperatures plunge as low as minus 37C in International Falls, Mn. (“America’s Coldest Town”) proves that global warming is a hoax, as he has frequently said, and that by pulling out of the Paris accord he has successfully saved America from having to pay “trillions of dollars” to combat something that doesn’t exist.

“And if you think these hugest ever hands are small, you should see the size of my intelligence!”

I honestly don’t know where to start unpicking the lies, dangerous ignorance and confusion of this demented old sack of composting fishburgers. Especially as there seemed to be some sly tongue-in-cheek humor in back of his tweet. Does he really ever fully tweet with conviction, or are his tweets just little hoaxes he likes to perpetrate, little teasers to annoy decent, liberal-minded internationalists like the staff at The Pumpkin; to keep himself in the nooze?

He must know, surely, that global climate is not the same as local weather. And according to NOAA, the US weather bureau, despite the big freeze this has still been the third warmest year across the US since their records began in 1895 – the top two being 2016 and 2015. Parts have seen their hottest temperatures ever. (And by the way, fish-breath, this is already costing you hundreds of billions in damage.)

I’m only a visual arts graduate, I failed Physics-with-Chemistry, my only O-level flunk, although I got 100% in Geometry! Nevertheless by reading what scientists write and watching their podcasts over the past year I feel I’ve gained quite a useful impression of what meteorology has discovered, and must thank my Committee of Discarnate Entities for not engineering a life for me in which I need to make uncomfortable field trips to measure things for myself. It’s bad enough out today just walking the dog.

It makes you wonder why Trump cannot be bothered to do the same? He doesn’t need to read, there’s a lot on YouTube.

America (will go) First

Temperature, pressure, windspeed and precipitation are recorded at frequent intervals at thousands of points all around the globe, not only in the USA, simultaneously at the equator and the poles and all points inbetween, on mountaintops and in the oceans, and monitored by internationally accredited scientific bodies from satellites with instruments so sensitive they can register a 1 mm change in sea-level. These data are not simply conjecture.

Heading for Florida – Hurricane Irma. Rising sea temperatures are making hurricanes more violent.

All the data are then plugged-in to big computers – machines – that apply them to various models that are insistently telling us things are going haywire, although there are hairs’ breadth differences in the trends and trajectories. That’s the point of computer models, unlike politicians they don’t conspire against the US economy. And they show the planet is warming, without any doubt. They don’t explain why, but that it is mostly caused by human activity, as we shall see, is really no longer a matter for debate.

(It’s completely illogical to believe we’re not having an effect.)

Any increase in global average temperature naturally perturbs cold regions as well as hot. But the knock-on effects are not evenly distributed: global climate is the overall condition, local climate variations are sets of lesser conditions, and “the weather” is a product of local climate when acted on by other variables: wind, ocean currents, solar energy, the rotation of the globe – air and sea temperature, and barometric (air) pressure.

When the delusionary old man in the White House calls for ‘America First’, a slogan he borrowed from the good old-timey brownshirts in the 1930s, and thereby imagines that the only things that have any meaning are American things, like the weather in Minnesota, he imagines there is no rest of the world to bother knowing about! But the area of the US and Canada currently affected by the Arctic plume is just 1% of the world’s land mass.

1.7 degrees of industrial-era warming, where we roughly are now, is interfering with the seasons and creating many problems, but it does not yet mean there can be no winter and that we shall all bask forevermore in eternal summer. Of course there are still winters. When it is winter in the northern hemisphere, it is summer in the southern – and Australia, which is in the southern hemisphere, Donald, has already set new records for heatwaves this summer. It’s a matter of balance, and the marginal 1.7 degree tipping of the scale over the whole globe has more complex effects than just causing the fundamental differences between summer and winter in Minnesota.

Your primary-school way of looking at the science is not how it works, Chump.

The sudden arrival of global cooling in the US set tongues wagging…

Climate change is visible mostly at the extremes of normal weather events. Without 1.7 deg. of warming, a minus 37C winter’s night in Minnesota could have been a chilly minus-38.7C. We don’t know! Next year, perhaps, the record 56C (133F) experienced in Iran last summer will be 57.7C, who knows? Generally, like boiling frogs we mostly experience more gradual effects somewhere in the middle, where it’s easier not to notice.

The cold air mass has penetrated so far south this winter because warming oceans are weakening the jetstreams, which are broken and loopy and no longer function to keep cold air penned up in the Arctic. This winter in the northern hemisphere too we have a strengthening La Niña effect, for the second year running, moving the warmer waters northwards, prolonging the ice melt season and displacing the colder, fresher water.

At the same time as the cold has penetrated far southwards, Alaska, to the far north of both America and Canada, is experiencing record warmth, with temperatures up to 20C above normal for the time of year. Unusual dry heat and wind are continuing to create a risk of wildfires in California, long beyond the usual season. The Arctic ocean, too, is showing around 8 deg. C of warming.

These anomalies are a cause for alarm, rather than for lamebrained internet trolling about snow in December.

The fatuous oaf, Trump does not mention that; or that it is unusually hot in parts of Australia – again. Nor does he understand that his well-funded lies have an effect on gullible Americans and will undoubtedly lead them to catastrophe if he doesn’t stop.

(Of course, many Americans are fervently praying for the end of the world, as they are longing to meet Jesus. The Rapture can’t come soon enough for them. The Pumpkin however doesn’t see why my children should suffer to encourage the suicidal delusions of credulous backwoods baboons in Arkansas. I’ll back my Enlightenment over theirs anyday.)

They already know the truth so why are you lying?

There is ample evidence that the earth’s temperature is warming faster than any effect of natural background heating can explain. Even the powerful oil and gas conglomerate, Exxon-Mobil, accepts this and urges – unenthusiastically – governments to take action.

Exxon has known for over forty years that there was a problem with continuing to burn its products, but tried to keep a lid on it, as an academic research project paid for by the Los Angeles Times comparing Exxon’s internal and external communications revealed back in July.

Here is what Exxon now say on their own corporate website:

“The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. There is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken…” – Exxon-Mobil website

Suck on that, Trump.

And if you want further reassurance:

“Significant temperature changes are almost certain to occur by the year 2000, and these could bring about climatic changes. […] there seems to be no doubt that the potential damage to our environment could be severe. […] pollutants which we generally ignore because they have little local effect, CO2 and submicron particles, may be the cause of serious world-wide environmental changes.”

That’s from an American Petroleum Institute report, commissioned in 1968. While astonishingly, physicist Edward Teller, the ‘father of the atomic bomb’, had lectured the Institute 9 years earlier on the problem with CO2, saying presciently:

“At present the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 2 per cent over normal. By 1970, it will be perhaps 4 per cent, by 1980, 8 per cent, by 1990, 16 per cent [about 360 parts per million by his reckoning). …if we keep on with our exponential rise in the use of purely conventional fuels … our planet will get a little warmer. It is hard to say whether it will be 2 degrees Fahrenheit or only one or 5”

That, he calculated, would be enough to start melting the polar ice caps, with the ultimate effect of drowning New York. Read the full story of the release of papers:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jan/01/on-its-hundredth-birthday-in-1959-edward-teller-warned-the-oil-industry-about-global-warming

For President Trump to be the principal spokesman for a now totally discredited campaign to deny these facts and to refuse to take action to mitigate them for the safety and security of the American public is, or should be, a criminal act for which he most certainly ought to be impeached.

Is persistently lying to the American people about a major threat facing the country not sufficient of an impeachable ‘Misdemeanour’ at least?

A Chinese hoax? Don’t think so!

The risk of global warming as a result of human industry releasing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) and other ‘greenhouse’ gases was known about even before the API report, certainly in the 1890s. Much of the CO2 released from burning billions of tonnes of coal each year during the early C20th is still in the atmosphere. It can persist for a thousand years, transferring heat to land and sea. Does Trump really see sense in putting out more, while lying that to do so is creating “millions of jobs”?

2017 wildfires in the US destroyed entire communities and burned 10 million acres. 44 people died. Trump has yet to visit the devastated areas: California did not vote for him.

It would have to be some hoax to have run on this long without apparent purpose or outcome, and to have convinced so many tens of thousands of unsuspecting scientists with PhDs over all that time of something that cannot be demonstrated experimentally to be true, namely that greenhouse gas emissions are not warming the planet.

(It is not logical to believe you can fill a bath and then piss in it without the water turning yellow, even if some does go down the overflow pipe.)

Founded only in 1947, modern China did not begin to industrialize until the 1970s, so the idea that Chinese “scientists” created a hoax at the height of the Boxer rebellions for the purpose of gaining global economic dominance is clearly absurd. Trump fails to explain how pretending the world is warming dangerously would help to achieve China’s foreign policy objectives in the 1890s?

In any case, being so dependent on coal for so long, China has suffered more than most from the problems of global warming and is doing more than most at greater cost and speed than most to try to mitigate the effects.

Mr Chump conveniently ignores that the credit for discovering in 1889 that CO2 is a greenhouse gas – i.e. it stores heat over and above the background temperature of the other atmospheric gases, oxygen and nitrogen – has already gone to a Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius.

So it’s a Swedish hoax to rule the world?

Saving you $trillions? No, but costing you $billions

“2017 has been the joint-costliest year for extreme weather events in US history”

No-one is asking the USA to pay anything!

  • The Paris Accord does not place financial targets or obligations on signatory nations, who following the accession of Syria to the treaty last July now include every country in the world – except Trump’s laughably isolated America.
  • The evidence is that the move to renewables can be equally profitable for the energy industry, employment and the economy.

“They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round…” It appears the moron-in-chief couldn’t be bothered to read or understand the Paris document, which is only 30-odd pages, before making a pariah state of his country.

Alternative energy sources to coal, oil and gas – wind and solar power generation – are now demonstrably cheaper even than nuclear, and require much smaller federal subsidies. To promote fossil fuels as Trump does is unnecessarily costing the nation, if not trillions of dollars, certainly billions. But it does inflate the profits of global corporations to whom he is beholden for the coup that brought him to power. Nor does Trump appear to understand that going hell-for-leather to pump American energy into the world market is depressing the price and hence, causing jobs in the energy sector to vanish like leaves in the Fall. He’s an idiot, but you voted for him! (Well, probably not you personally.)

As for the price of mitigating their environmental and climatic impacts, 2017 has been the joint-costliest year for extreme weather events in US history (the tie being 2011 – Katrina). It has been the third hottest year in the record-book, according to NASA, by about one-twelfth of a degree behind 2016, but the hottest ever to occur in a year without an El Niño event (they’re warmer) – and despite the cold weather this week in the eastern US may still catch up to it. Fifteen of the hottest years in recorded history have occurred in the last 17 years. It’s not coincidence.

And every degree increase in temperature increases the energy of storm systems, the height clouds reach (precipitating hail) and the amount of water they can hold (by about 7%). Stalled by rogue jetstream winds over Texas, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than five feet of rain on Nederland, near Port Arthur, in 72 hours last August. Later in October, five feet of hail fell on the city of Cordoba, in Argentina, reportedly in just 15 minutes…

In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, the death toll in the US territory of Puerto Rico may have risen to more than 1,000. The authorities admit they don’t know how properly to count the victims. Three months after, despite Chump crowing about his great success tackling the aftermath: notoriously chucking paper towels at the survivors, blaming the victims for being lazy and praising the turnout on his arrival, 36% of homes were still without power at Christmas and many survivors still homeless. Several Caribbean islands were devastated in 2017, Barbuda being rendered possibly permanently uninhabitable.

This scene in Jamaica in November was repeated endlessly around the world in 2017.

Many new records were set in 2017 for rainfall, snowfall, floods, heat, drought and wildfires. Even Greenland suffered a wildfire in August that burned for two weeks over 3 thousand acres. Prolonged dry, hot conditions promoted record wildfires over millions of acres in Canada and Siberia, and in West Africa. In September, 1,050 people died in a landslide in Sierra Leone after torrential rain fell over several days. Up until December, 187 records had been broken in the USA for hottest cities, while only 17 had been set for the coldest.

The UK’s Meteorological Office survey recorded that the six winter months of 2016-17 had been 2 deg C above the 1981-2011 winter average. Disappointingly, however, 2017 was only Britain’s 5th hottest year since 1910; possibly owing to the weakening of the Gulf Stream current. The Boglington Post reported in April on a visible CO2-induced increase in biomass in the local area. The Arctic News survey announced that daily surface temperatures off the coast of Svalbard island, the northernmost settlement in the world, measured during the month of October/November 2017 had continuously exceeded the October/November average for all the years between 1981 and 2011 by 13.9 deg. C.

These changes have consequences, not least that they promote through what are known as positive feedback loops, greater and faster warming. Just one example, it was explained this year that warmer soils create a more conducive environment for bacteria to speed up their breeding cycles. The increase in bacterial population produces a greater quantity of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, further warming the soil.

Dozens of these feedbacks are known about, and many are already irreversible; such as the increase of methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas with up to 100-times more latency than CO2, from warming Arctic permafrost; the lowered albedo (hence increased heat absorption) of Arctic and Antarctic melt-ponds; the release of CO2 and the inhibition of further uptake caused by wildfires – not to mention the depositing of heat-absorbing soot particles from fires on distant sea-ice and glaciers.

Ottawa University’s Paul Beckwith identified the fragmentation, and the unprecedented crossing of the equator by broken segments of the northern jetstreams (upper-atmospheric winds) last July, merging with the broader southern jetstreams, bringing unpredictable chaos to the world’s weather systems. Abnormal was becoming the new normal. A kick in the tail, a fairly normal SW Pacific typhoon season ended unexpectedly with a blow that killed 25o people in the Philippines. “A-68”, a trillion-tonne iceberg the size of Cyprus, tantalizingly broke off from the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica and floated away, spawning “small bergy bits” – some up to 10 sq km in area.

Take a breather

“Your bogus, braggadocious and bought opinions are not worth a fart in a candle-flame.”

After a recession-induced pause, CO2 emissions started to climb again in 2017, showing a 2% increase over 2016. Global CO2 is now concentrated at 405-410 parts per million – pre-industrial (mid-C18th) CO2 has been estimated as 285 ppm. Regions affected by wildfires such as Southern California in December registered as high as 922 ppm. At about 570 ppm, we can expect a geopolitically destabilizing and potentially unsurvivable 5 deg. of warming not seen in the fossil record. While most predictions push the extinction event away to 2050 and beyond, ‘the turn of the century’, some climate scientists are predicting we could be there in as little as eight years from now.

In 2017, the Trump administration made strenuous attempts to censor the science, removing advice on climate change from their websites. All of the federal agencies responsible for environmental research and management, parks and agriculture were headed by climate-change deniers without scientific qualifications. Around 700 government scientists left their posts and were not replaced. Protections capping emissions and protecting waterways were removed. In June, Trump announced the US’s intention to pull out of the Paris accord, the only country now not signed up to it. The US delegation to the Bonn climate conference consisted entirely of executives from the energy industries, who gave a presentation on the benefits of “clean coal”.

In a speech in West Virginia, Trump made it evident that he thinks “clean coal” is coal that has been washed before burning.

Fanned by unseasonal Santa Ana desert winds, the flames of the Thomas fire in Ventura County, the biggest in California’s history, were visible mid-December from the international space station. 1800 homes were destroyed, tens of thousands driven from their homes. Tragically, many horses did not survive. A month earlier, the vineyards of the Napa Valley were decimated and over 40 people killed as wildfires swept through parts of northern California, destroying whole suburbs of the city of Santa Rosa. Cities all up and down the west coast became smokelogged. Rainy Seattle enjoyed a record drought, chilly Portland posted record heat, while over the border fires destroyed over 2 million acres of British Columbia.

Fox59’s graphic explaining what Trump doesn’t know. Climatologist Paul Beckwith identified the unusual turbulence of the northern jetstreams last summer.

Cereal production in the US was down 15% in 2017. 25% of the country is officially in drought conditions. Agricultural production is failing all over the globe – crops in Southern Europe were reduced by drought and record heat this year by around 60%, winter floods led to a Europe-wide shortage of Spanish salad vegetables; while millions of acres of crops were destroyed by excessive monsoon flooding in India and China. Hundreds of people drowned or were buried in mudslides; millions displaced.

While other areas may be brought into cultivation, the amount of new land available for growing crops is shrinking fast, in competition with non-food agricultural production imposed by multinational corporations. The onward march of deforestation in the Amazon was resumed. Meanwhile, overexploited and undernourished, soils around the world are rapidly degrading and becoming less productive. Several papers reported finding that key food crops have a limit to their tolerance of CO2, after which their nutritional content rapidly declines.

There is a growing threat to the food security of all of us as a result of a warming climate changing weather patterns and intensities.

In October, 14 elderly people were drowned in the suburbs of Athens as a ‘Med-icane’ hit Greece. Most of southern Europe endured a gruelling, 110 deg. F. heatwave that even earned a name: Lucifer. Temperatures in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan regularly topped 120 deg. F. By November, the Arabian peninsula was hit by widespread flooding. Massive ice storms bombarded Spain, Turkey, Russia, South Africa, central America, Australia. The Iberian peninsula was ravaged by drought and wildfires; in June, 64 people burned to death in central Portugal; in September, another 49 died in the north. By November, it was snowing. Lingering high-pressure systems allowed vast smogs to build up, over China in January, in India in November. Thousands died from respiratory complaints: the World Bank estimates as many as 2 million extra deaths worldwide. In New Delhi, toxic particulates exceeded WHO limits by a factor of 18.

But you carry on, O Great Orange Asshole. Carry on lying to yourself, deceiving your people, encouraging a climate of blissful ignorance and brute stupidity for the enrichment of your party’s corrupt and greedy corporate backers. It won’t last.

Your bogus, braggadocious and bought opinions are not worth a fart in a candle-flame, Trump. At 32% approval (AP, Qinnipiac) you’re already considered by Americans to be the worst President in polling history: 52% think your embarrassingly inept first year in office has been bad for the nation, making it less great. Your staff turnover rate is running at 34%… even the people who work for you, hate you; your former confidant, Mr Bannon, whom you now lie (as your former Chief Strategy Adviser) had nothing whatever to do with your government or your election ‘success’, has turned against you.

Unofficially, it’s been said, even your Secretary of State thinks you’re a “fuckin’ moron”; while your friend, Rupert Murdoch thinks you’re a “fuckin’ idiot”. Which is it?

Happy New Year, fuckin’ moron.

For a disturbing analysis of his foreign policy, such as it is (“a wrecking ball”) I can offer no better opinion than that of Susan Glasser, senior foreign policy analysis at Politico. Read it and be slightly more afraid:

@www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/02/donald-trump-foreign-policy-analysis-dangerous-216202?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_todayworld

Happy New Year, everyone. (Photo: Gideon Mendel)

USA/Canada: Storm Jonas brings even worse wintery conditions to east-coast states on New Year’s Eve, stretching from Florida (and even the Bahamas) to Labrador, with up to another 2 ft of snow on top of already record falls and a ‘brutally cold’ storm-force wind. 2018 is shaping up to be the worst winter experienced in the east for more than 50 years; maybe in 100. A ‘cyclone-bomb’ followed – Storm Grayson was one of the fastest-intensifying cyclones ever measured. ? 20 dead (5 Jan). Ireland and Britain are hit by 85 mph Storm Eleanor, gusting up to 100 mph, disrupting transport, closing bridges and bringing power outages across the country and on into northern Europe, where 3 people have been killed.  The video has probably gone viral, but in Newfoundland an exhausted wild moose had to be dug out of the snow, buried up to its head.

Material drawn from various sources of weather news previously credited. For a more credible scientific overview of 2017 visit:

http://www.wunderground.com/cat6/new-years-freeze-out-it-can-still-get-cold-even-warming-climate

 

Prof Simon Bell, Professor of Innovation and Methodology:

“The end of Project Fear. 2017 has seen a wave of populist responses to threat and anxiety – often promulgated and reinforced by social media manipulation. In 2018 there will be a push back against this … with empowering messages of holism and rational response to unstructured worry.”

Prof Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences:

“Maybe a big meteorite will fall and rock civilisation to its foundations? Maybe the interstellar comet will come back and we’ll find that it is a spaceship full of aliens.”

From: BBC – Tomorrow’s World scientific predictions for 2018.

Good to see scientists in agreement for once…

 

May God strike them down and all their works

The BogPo InHuman Awards, 2018:

 

5 Mark Regev, Israeli ambassador to Britain

At the risk of being branded an antisemite, which if he reads this I shall be, since he does it to everyone who criticizes his paymasters, Regev has been the chief apologist for the worst crimes of the apartheid Likud regime in Tel Aviv (now renamed Jerusalem) and after threatening and bullying the BBC for years was rewarded in 2016 with the ambassadorship. Whereupon this Aussie migrant, who changed his name from Freiberg, abused his position in 2017 to bully the authorities into, essentially, no-platforming a Holocaust survivor invited to speak at Manchester university, on the grounds that she supports the rights of Palestinians to equal treatment and likens Likud to the Nazis; while demanding total editorial control of the conference. Arrogant little fascist, basically.

4 Nigel Farage, architect of Brexit ( a wobbly edifice)

Late in 2017, Farage confirmed he would be accepting his £70 thousand a year pension from the European Parliament, where he has been a UK MEP for a number of years, whilst sworn to destroy the very institution that employs him on a handsome salary and glamorous expenses. Employed too as a gobby rightwing talkshow host on a local radio station mainly for elderly London cabbies, Farage is for some reason almost a permanent BBC panellist who continues through sheer force of his obnoxious personality to dominate the fractious debate over how Britain is to leave the EU, a problem the combined forces of the government and the civil service have no solution to, other than to walk away and destroy the British economy for a generation. Yarp, yarp, yarp, could he shut the fuck up for once?

3 Global capitalism, a cancer on the face of the earth

Global capitalism has delivered unparallelled, not to say obscene wealth for the few, short-term relief from absolute poverty for the many, nothing for the hated middle-class and an iPhone or Google Android spy device in every pocket. It has taken political power through subverting democracy and the primacy of the individual. It is about to deliver the unprecedented miracle of universal redundancy conferred on people by AI, 3D printing and robotics, but has no answers to the socio-economic implications of its technological developments. One interesting example of the operation of global capitalism: we have known for two decades that antibiotic resistance will soon be killing millions, yet the pharmaceutical companies obeying the dictates of shareholder greed see no financial benefit in researching new drugs to combat infectious disease ahead of diet pills and antidepressants, so none exist. Amoral genocide.

2 Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America

No human being in the history of the world has been so criticized, analyzed, abused, insulted and dismissed, with good reason – yet Trump is so thick-skinned, it’s all been water off a duck’s back… Seriously, he doesn’t know it! There he sits, putting on his Mussolini face for the cameras, guzzling Diet Coke and MacDonalds’ fishburgers, the least popular President in the history of polling, under investigation by the FBI for multiple crimes, glued to admiring cable news reports and screaming abuse at his acolytes, having to be fed predigested cartoon security briefings, firing off childishly vindictive tweets at 4 a.m., golfing in Florida three days a week; believing he is the greatest US President in history because he orders his kow-towing minions constantly to tell him so… What a dick!

A senile tyrant with untreated Attention Deficit Disorder, a spoilt and profoundly ignorant, narcissistic old thug to whom no-one has ever dared to say no – a climate-change-denying threat to the planet, armed with nuclear weapons, that he has publicly wondered why we don’t use more often? Where to start? By voting him only second worst InHuman of the year!

1 Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Chief Counsellor of Myanmar

BogPo InHuman Award, 2018 WINNER

Suu Kyi – British-educated, Nobel peace prizewinning daughter of the great liberator of Burma (from British rule) – was once the darling of the Oxford set. How we libtards all wept when, a prisoner of the military regime, after years of house arrest, smuggling out messages of hope, laden with honors, her British husband Michael Aris was dying of cancer and she wasn’t allowed to visit him or go to his funeral. Known as ‘The Lady’, this fragrant, aristocratic midget has presided in 2017 without a qualm over the ‘final solution’ genocide of her country’s persecuted and disinstated Muslim minority: mass rape, child murder, arbitrary executions, village-burnings, mass expulsions (through minefields) and more; nothing the military is doing has been too awful to touch her hardened little Buddhist soul – added to which, she refuses to acknowledge that it is happening, or that those poor bastards ever existed.

Wizened, hypocritical, lying old racist cunt, the BogPo says she goes down in ’18. Lock her up (again)!

America, You’re Fired!… Is this really as bad as it gets?… Granny Weatherwax says: Welcome to October… End of the World News.

Postscriptum, 12 Oct: California fires – over 500 missing, 23 confirmed dead – 3,500 homes burned, 170 thousand acres. Puerto Rico: 4 deaths reportedfrom water-borne disease as FEMA relief efforts flounder. Overall death toll from Hurricane Maria may be much higher than thought – “350 bodies counted in morgues”.

“Let’s see Little Rocket Man hit a par-64!” Emperor Sneero golfs while California burns and Puerto Rico rots. (AOL.com)

“…the campaign was run across all the main platforms, Google being the latest to ‘fess up, and that natural cross-medialization between networks had a ‘firestorm’ effect, resulting in hundreds of millions of views on personal media accounts.”

America, You’re Fired!

I make no apology for once again pointing you to a segment of the Rachel Maddow Show on America’s leading cable news channel, MSNBC. (Link below)

On Tuesday, 10 October Maddow led on the sudden outbreak over the weekend of devastating wildfires in heavily populated areas of northern California, whipped up by hot, dry winds. (There’s also one threatening Disneyland at Anaheim in the south.) While there have been serious wildfires burning all over the western USA since late June, costing billions of dollars in damage, right up into northern Canada where they had an unprecedented heatwave and a record wildfire season for British Columbia, these appear to be of a different order, as whole suburbs have been burned out (see below) and many people are dead or missing.

Fanned by 50 mph winds, fires quickly spread. (sacbee.com)

While the President – mindful of his predecessor-but-one, George W Bush’s gaffe over New Orleans – has made teeth-grindingly forced-looking efforts to drag himself off the golf course with his stony-faced wife to spend an hour or two meeting relief officials working in hurricane disaster zones, helpfully chucking packs of paper towels at the victims, he has yet to take the slightest notice of other, possibly worse environmental catastrophes unfolding in his country this summer – other than to continue with his insane attempts to rollback Obama’s environmental protections.

The California fires story even made the BBC main news, which you might not expect as they’ve been ignoring extreme weather events all summer, reporting only on those where they’ve got correspondents or can cheaply send a reporter; where Britons are involved, as in the South of France, or where the death toll, as in the Freetown, Sierra Leone landslip that killed 1,300 people, can’t be ignored. Perhaps the shock news that extensive damage has been done to the Napa Valley vineyards might have played-in to the BBC news agenda?

Mostly, wildfires have been burning in more remote scenic areas; national forests, mountainous regions. They’re happening all over the world, of course; even in Greenland, but with greater intensity and frequency, over longer seasons, as the effect of Arctic warming has been to weaken the jetstreams, causing weather systems to slow or stall, ensuring that drought conditions hang around longer. And this year hasn’t quite yet set new records for acreage burned, or the number of reported outbreaks.

It’s at 3’45” in to the program, however, that you absolutely have to start watching, because that’s where Maddow turns her attention to the newly-released flood of reports on exactly what the Russians got up to during the 2016 election, and why it’s so important.

It appears that Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, was warned as long ago as July 2016 that Russian agents were busy buying advertising space on his platform; yet he appears to have done nothing about it. Facebook continued to vehemently deny the story until last month, when they reluctantly accepted that ‘Russian accounts’ were responsible for maybe ‘$100 thousand’ of revenue, a drop in the bucket. Twitter on the other hand is refusing to say anything.

Now we know, however, that the campaign was run across all the main platforms, Google being the latest to ‘fess up, and that natural cross-medialization between networks had a ‘firestorm’ effect, resulting in hundreds of millions of views on personal media accounts, micro-targeting anti-Hillary/Bernie propaganda ads and YouTube video clips at individuals, promoting ‘false-front’ organizations stirring up anti-immigrant sentiment and even organizing demonstrations. Much of this embarrassing stuff was quietly taken down by the major players and reporters have had difficulty getting access to it, but enough evidence remains to show the breathtaking extent of the Russian penetration.

The Russians were exploiting the entire rationale for these sites, that their revenue is derived not from ad sales, but from the capture, analysis and resale of personal data. By tapping into that process, they were able to create a wall-to-wall impression through ‘retweets’ and ‘Likes’ and fake accounts in personal media of a widespread opposition movement to the Clinton campaign that never really existed; even recruiting Nigerian filmmakers and actors to impersonate a pro-Trump groundswell among black Americans.

This all ties in to the second in a series of three hour-long BBC documentaries by the investigative reporter, Jacques Perretti, about the ‘billion-dollar deals’ underlying the construction of a new world order, which I strongly suggest if you haven’t seen it that you watch.

(Please join me in a petition to ask Jacques not to wear that godawful quarter-sleeved black T-shirt and grubby, skin-tight jeans in his interviews, often with important people. It’s demeaning, disrespectful – a thoroughly bad look – and the constant views of his hairy, gibbon-like arms and muscular buttocks, combined with his distressing shaving cuts are pretty offputting to people with delicate sensibilities. This is not what HD was invented for.)

Now, I’m going to be the first person to take the knee and say, hand on heart, I’m not entirely convinced that Trump and his campaign baboons need necessarily have been aware of the true extent of this conspiracy, or were even behind it. I think the Russians would have done this anyway, as an experiment and to show that they could.

Collect all the cards and win a Virgin Island… Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr and the gang (NBC News)

Frankly, much of the propaganda was pretty inept and the grammar a little wonky. I think it was just the start of a global campaign of disinformation causing disruption to Western liberal democratic institutions sponsored by the Kremlin and Russian intelligence, that was going on anyway; and the fact that they hooked into the Trump campaign – itself a massively disruptive force, with its backing from the nihilistic ‘alt-right’ Breitbart set – was mainly fortuitous.

Of course, the mini-moron Donald Trump Jr and his dad would have welcomed any support, and in their own little Trumpworld filter-bubble would have had little concern for the idea that they were participating in a subversive, anti-American plot. As far as Trump Sr was concerned he had Russian business contacts, Russian mafia backing for his failing developments, a longstanding ambition to do Trump hotel deals and build golf courses in Russia – he owed Russian banks $millions, the near-bankrupt Kushner needed in on the scam as well – why wouldn’t he accept a little help for his Presidential campaign from the Russians?

It was all part of the bigger deal, and with his experience of Russian politics, money-movement through offshore shell companies and his connections among the oligarchs, Manafort was the ideal guy to run the operation, which is why Trump had him drafted in at a late stage in the campaign, alongside Flynn, without realizing that his new manager was already under investigation for money-laundering and that Flynn’s firing by Obama had been a security issue involving breaches of the Logan Act (banning non-governmental agents from negotiating with foreign powers) and long-term failures by both men to register their lucrative lobbying businesses as foreign agents with Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian clients, as required by law.

The preponderance at the notorious Trump Tower, 9 June ‘Veselnitskaya’ meeting of both Russian and American specialists at hiding and moving ‘dark money’ suggests to the BogPo that this was the meeting at which Russian support for the election campaign was confirmed and accepted, and methods discussed of paying under-the-radar for the purchase of US media and influencers.

But I don’t think Trump would have been entirely apprised of the full extent of what the Russians were proposing, when they decided – possibly even at that meeting, or shortly before – to swing their wider campaign of disrupting Western democratic institutions and the neoliberal consensus behind his bid for the White House. This operation had all already been set up.

Nor do I imagine Mr Putin, or whoever is running the campaign for him, was entirely convinced he was backing the right horse; nevertheless, it was worth a try as he hated Clinton even more; and he already had the ‘kompromat’ on Trump (as per the Steele dossier), the leverage of his Russian debts; and enough on members of his team that might buy him, for instance, relief from sanctions.

Since – much to Putin’s discomfiture – Congress refused to lift sanctions, and barred Trump from acting unilaterally, you may notice a lot more dirt has been coming out in the wash, with daily better confirmation of the Steele dossier.

Tsk. When thieves fall out…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4SgPt4amnE

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b097rqr4/billion-dollar-deals-and-how-they-changed-your-world-series-1-2-money

x

“I may have been the only protestor there in gold brocade ‘loon pants’ and a very expensive roll-collar silk shirt by Mr Fish”

Is this really as bad as it gets?

In the Spring of 1968 I marched, twice, in a crowd of many thousands to Grosvenor Square, home of the US embassy in London, to protest the Vietnam war.

Until now I hadn’t the slightest idea why, it just seemed like the thing to do at the time. And as my flatmates were going I tagged along, managing to avoid the minor violence that generally accompanied protests in those days. Those, that is, not in Paris – or Prague, where the Soviet Union was cracking down brutally on Alexander Dubcek and his liberalization movement.

I may have been the only protestor there in gold brocade ‘loon pants’ and a very expensive roll-collar silk shirt by Mr Fish. I was 18, and a student at film school, with a part-time vacation job as a pool attendant in Chelsea. That July was the hottest I can remember, the temperature at night never seemed to fall much, and I was ardently pursuing a young lady who lived in a top-floor flat in a brownstone near Queen’s Park, that had access to the roof where we spent nights under the stars, glugging a fairly inexpensive wine by Charles Kinloch.

One of a number of iconic images that brought the futility and brutality of the war home to middle-America. (photo: CNN)

I say ‘until now’, because the horrible war was at the time so far away and beyond our experience, mediated through the press. British TV news was not showing the more difficult footage American audiences were getting night after night. The Wilson government probably wisely refused to get dragged into it, so that I never had to make those choices: to serve, probably as a conscript ; or become a conscientious objector, a draft resister without really knowing what the war was about and why anyone was fighting. It seemed only that America was the bully and that carpet-bombing Northern cities and neutral countries was an obscenity, Communists or not.

Up to half a million American GIs were dragged into it, and over 82 thousand died. Almost three million Vietnamese were killed, many of them South Vietnamese supposedly on the American side, in atrocities committed by friend and foe alike. Nevertheless, despite attritional losses and lack of airpower the North was able to chip away at the perceived colonialist presence and mount occasional costly spectaculars, such as the Tet offensive of 1968, that played badly in the neatly-kept homes of midtown USA as the flag-draped coffins kept coming back.

That vile war was to prove in the end an utter humiliation for the USA, for the ever-optimistic – and then, the over-optimistic President Lyndon Johnson and his Secretary of State, Robert McNamara, neither of whom was still in post by the end, as neither was General William Westmoreland, of whom it can be charitably said only that he probably did his duty to the Pentagon, but not to his men, ordered into ludicrous and suicidal missions time and again merely to save face, to aggrandize the all-important ‘body-count’ and to keep up the pretence of ultimate victory with the increasingly desperate inhabitants of the Oval Office.

Meanwhile, back home as the opposition to the war grew against a background of civil rights campaigns, the LSD-fuelled ‘summer of love’ turned to university occupations, police crackdowns, National Guard militia on the streets and the Detroit riots, that killed 46 people and spread across the nation in the wake of the assassination (almost certainly ordered by FBI Director Hoover) of Martin Luther King Jr; followed not long afterward by the shooting of the popular anti-war presidential candidate, Bobby Kennedy, supposedly over his support for Israel by a demented Jordanian, Sirhan Sirhan (now on his 15th parole application).

Looking at the USA now, despite the unbelievably rotten and chaotic administration, the profound corruption of the Washington ‘swamp’, of which Donald J Trump seems to be the ultimate patsy; the incompetence and nepotism, the absurdly childish tweeting and continual vainglorious boasting, the expressions of support for militant racists, the narcissistic infantilism of the President – a mid-size property speculator and ‘mock-tycoon’ reality TV show host with the brutal instincts of an old-time mobster and no political experience on the Hill, who can’t get his madder legislation passed, who refuses to take advice, knows the job is completely beyond him yet cannot resist fucking everything up, to the point where people are fearful he may kick-off a third World War; the old faultlines his presidency has been opening up in society, his contempt for racial minorities and the poor….

Despite all that, can we really say it’s as bad now as it was, back in 1968 – or anything like?

If you’re not certain, can’t remember or are just too young, Ken Burns’ triumphant documentary series, “Vietnam”, now running on the BBC, must be compulsory viewing. Don’t miss any of it, if you want to see how a global power can just implode under the weight of its own hubris and the incompetence of its leaders.

And then recover.

x

“Does President Kim need to bother jacking-up his nuclear arsenal, when the climate will take care of America for him?”

Granny Weatherwax says: Welcome to October

USA: Tropical Storm Nate brings major flooding, after “at least 30” dead in floods and landslides in Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Oil and gas production shut down as it barrels at 25 mph towards the US Gulf Coast as Cat 1/2 hurricane, pushing a 6ft storm surge. Misses New Orleans, floods Biloxi Ms. Later reported dispersing with heavy rain up the east coast into New York state, almost 1ft of rain falling in North Carolina.

Coffey Park suburb, Santa Rosa, after the wildfire. Does President Kim need to bother? (Twitter)

California: 17 people killed, over 100 injured, 150 still “missing”, 1,500 buildings including entire communities ‘destroyed’, 20 thousand evacuated as “tens of thousands of acres” including many vineyards affected by “at least 14” wildfires that broke out Sunday in the Napa Valley, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. National Weather Service has issued a warning for the San Francisco area that “any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly” as dry, windy conditions persist.

Does President Kim need to bother jacking-up his nuclear arsenal, when the climate will take care of America for him? And where was the lazy, fatuous oaf, Trump, while this was happening? Playing golf, naturally.

Up to 30-inches of snow falls on Montana – heaviest snowstorm “since 1914”. 10 thousand without power. Winter storm warnings for up to 1ft of snow around Denver, Colorado – meanwhile the Autumn heatwave continues over the southeastern states with temperatures up into the high 80s.

Germany: Storm Xavier brings strong winds, torrential rain, kills 7 in the far north of Germany. Storm surge floods Hamburg, Wilhelmshaven. 2 dead in neighboring Poland, 8 firefighters injured. Local severe weather alerts for ‘disruptive’ thunderstorms are in place for the whole of southern Italy, Oct 9/10. Autumn heatwave continues in Portugal, where more fires have broken out, this time in Pampilhosa da Sierra region.

Norway: Torrential rain causes severe flash-flooding and river overflow around Kristiansanhed. Much property damage.

China: new flooding, landslides and rain damage has been reported in the provinces of Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Chongqing, Sichuan and Shaanxi – 23 dead, 5,000 homes destroyed. Engineers warning of relief efforts at the Three Gorges dam causing more flooding downstream. Still raining.

India: More flooding affecting Assam state: the fourth wave of flooding since the Brahmaputra river overflowed on 02 June. 78 thousand people affected. 4 dead. Power failure as central Hyderabad underwater. 48 hours more rain forecast.

Indonesia: Pangandaran, West Java underwater after heavy rains. River overflows. 4 dead.

Vietnam: “Torrential rain brought by a tropical depression has caused landslides and floods (12 Oct), leaving 37 dead, 40 missing – 21 in Hoa Binh, many of them in landslide. Eleven people have also been reported missing in Yen Bai Province. 17,000 houses flooded, over 200 homes have collapsed. 20,000 acres of paddy fields destroyed and around 1,200 heads of cattle and over 30,000 poultry drowned.” (edited report)

Australia: Heavy rainfall on the 5th inundates Bundaberg, Queensland. Bureau of Meteorology sources, said “the Wide Bay city had received more than 340mm rain on Monday, breaking a 64-year record by more than 60mm”.

Brazil: San Bernardo del Campo, Sao Paolo – massive ice storm. Buildings brought down, streets turn to rivers of ice.

Mexico: Tropical Storm Ramon (not reported on Weather Underground?) brings new flash-flooding to Oaxaca and Tamaulipas provinces: Altamira and Tampico underwater, 2 dead, 18,000 evacuated. More ‘torrential’ storms forecast.

Argentina: powerful hailstorm batters Corrientes. Cars damaged.

South Africa: Huge storm, tornadoes strike Johannesburg on 9 Oct. 8 dead, many injuries, shopping mall trashed, 150 homes destroyed. Electricity substation knocked out, large areas without power. Hailstones literally the size of tennis-balls. In Durban, a powerful storm-cell raises hurricane-force winds with torrential rain bringing flash-floods to large parts of the city and environs. Coastal storm surge washes away cars; “autoggeddon” inland as busy roads become rivers under up to 5 ft of water. The storm moves on to Pietermaritzburg, where a man is swept away and drowned.

Atlantic: Out in mid-Atlantic and unlikely to threaten landfall other than possibly in the Azores, is a new Tropical Storm, Ophelia, that’s forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane. If and when it does, it will be the C19th-record-equalling tenth TS to become an Atlantic hurricane this year, with six weeks to go before the ‘end of the season’ (whatever that implies in this new record-setting year!).

Postscriptum: the UK Met Office is warning that Ophelia is on track to graze northern Portugal and Galicia in the next 48 hours and make direct landfall in southwest UK and southern Ireland as a Tropical Storm, Monday. Meanwhile, 11 Oct: “Heavy rain in northern England caused flooding and disruption in parts of Cumbria. The Environment Agency said that some areas recorded 211 mm of rain in 24 hours.”

Another system that developed to the SW of Ophelia has a 20% chance of deepening into a Tropical Depression before running into the Bahamas. If it strengthens over warmer water to a Tropical Storm it will be known as Philippe.

Climate and Extreme Weather News #71, #72 citing AP, Euronews, Ruptly, TOI, etc./ BBC News/ Floodlist/ 13News Now/ Weather Underground

On the slide… Rumbling Cumbre Vieja threatens US east coast with giant waves. (Hellocanaryislands.com)

End of the World News

Yellowstone update: “far from normal” M3.2 earthquake activity continuing outside the caldera in Idaho at Soda Springs and in Montana near Lincoln. The “swarm” that has been going on in the park since 12 June with up to 60 quakes a day and continuing harmonic tremors is officially the longest on record.

La Palma: The Cumbre Vieja ridge now swims back into the focus of millennarians as more than 40 tremors up to M2.7 have been recorded in the past 48 hours under the Canary Islands volcano, whose western flank is generally thought to be unstable. Earthquake swarms are said not to be very common there. A 5 km section is expected at some stage to fall into the Atlantic, causing a mega-tsunami that modelling suggests threatens the East Coast of the USA with a 120-foot wave penetrating up to 12 miles inland, also spreading up the African coast to reach western and even northern areas of Europe, with up to 35 ft waves hitting the south coast of the UK.

BBC Science & Nature website has this: “Don’t worry, it’s not going to happen tomorrow… scientists are predicting … the collapse is likely to happen any time within the next few thousand years. Scientists also know that a collapse will not happen without any warning. They will be able to alert people to possible danger several weeks in advance.” Which is all very well, except there is virtually no monitoring going on at Cumbre Vieja and the collapse, it is estimated, will take just 90 seconds, giving the US 5 hours’ warning.

Also, “scientists” are NOT able to predict volcanic eruptions with any degree of certainty, as is shown by events in Indonesia. A general alert was issued in relation to Mount Agung on Bali a fortnight ago, and 110 thousand people evacuated. But while the ominous rumblings go on, not a lot else seems to have been happening.  “Mount Agung was hit by 73 shallow earthquakes, 135 deep volcanic quakes and nine local tremors between midnight and 6am local time today. Thick white smoke was observed rising about 200m above Mount Agung’s crater, according to Bali’s Geological Agency.” When or if the sacred mountain will blow, however, no-one seems able to say.

You have been warned!

Mary Greeley/ USGS/ BBC Science & Nature/ Express.co.uk

The Pumpkin – Issue 32. Let’s see the color of your money, Mr President. Granny Weatherwax, 29-31 August: not getting better all the time (Post under construction)

I’m collecting for Ivanka’s kids. So needy. That’s right, whatever you are, please give generously, I’ve called for ICE backup, you’ll be on your way home to Mexico shortly…

 

“…let’s see the multibillionaire tax-dodging shareholders drive their fucking superyachts into Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur to save the people drowning.”

Let’s see the color of your money, Mr President

President Trump has ‘personally pledged’ $1 million to swell the Congress-approved $5.5 billion fund for the 400,000 victims of Hurricane Harvey flooded out of their homes last week. Thirty-two thousand are still huddled in shelters, and it’s not over yet.

The eventual bill has been put at possibly $130 billion.

Who will rescue him, and tens of thousands like him?

It’ll be interesting to see if, when and how he actually pays this money. (Rumor has it, he’s already rescinded the offer.) His personal tax-exempt Trump Foundation has made numerous declarations in the past about its generous charity donations, all of which have been denied by the supposed recipients who say they’ve never seen a penny.

If he does stump up, and it’s his own money, not skimmed off the growing budget for his Re-election Campaign 2020, then it might go some way towards mitigating the horrible effects of his – Steve Bannon’s, Bob Mercer’s – ‘shrink the State’ policy.

Because when you have emergencies and disasters on this scale, you do sort of need a central Government, with real people in it and real money behind it.

The possibility of Hurricane Irma hitting New York city next weekend as a Cat 5 (see below) with a tidal surge through Manhattan higher than that caused by Hurricane Sandy, followed by several feet of rain and 180 mph sustained winds over a period of hours or days, coming on top of Harvey, could leave the government looking to find possibly half a trillion dollars to clear up the mess.

And that’s before the bills roll in for States already facing huge costs related to many other flooding episodes this summer, infrastructure damage and the costs of tackling wildfires; which Oregon alone estimates at $100 million.

But the money’s not there. Congress has yet to see detailed 2017/18 budget proposals, let alone debate and pass them. The Government is due to run out of road financially on 29 September. And Trump’s headline budget is all about tax cuts for corporations and wealthy investors, not about fishing ordinary people out of bayous and drying out their homes.

Since his underwhelming inauguration parade, Trump has vowed to slash the budget for FEMA, the federal emergencies management administration that is the first line of Federal support in the event of a disaster like Harvey; burn the budget for compensating underinsured flood victims (the fund is already $24 bn in the red); and blow-up the budget of NASA, particularly its climate monitoring and research programs.

He’s appointed mentally unhinged, corrupt and unqualified rogue incompetents to the strategically vital positions of Secretary for Energy and Director of the Environment Protection Agency; the Parks and Agriculture and financial policy departments, even the State Department, are headed by morally bankrupt placemen on under-the-counter corporate payrolls: the middle tiers of all their administrations are gutted and empty, or silenced.

He’s greenlit more pipeline-fed refinery developments in the highly concentrated southern Texas energy bidness, where overdevelopment of former flood-absorbing wetlands was in large part responsible for exacerbating the misery last week; and where chemical pollution from damaged plant is a major health hazard.

Trump has still to appoint a Director of NOAA, the national weather bureau, as he doesn’t believe in the existence of weather; it’s all a Chinese plot – and has commanded the rollback of environmental legislation from the Obama years, including an order requiring property developers and local planners to take proper account of environmental risks.

Without wishing to deluge the victims of Harvey with a trillion gallons of schadenfreude, if this is the best he can do to protect ordinary Americans from the obviously worsening extremes of climate disruption and industrial pollution, this miserable apology for a President, this bunco artist, can shove his piddling $million up his fat, hairy, orange ass.

He doesn’t give a fuck about you!

Let’s see corporations; let’s see the multibillionaire tax-avoiding shareholders drive their fucking superyachts into Houston and Port Arthur to save the people drowning.

 

“This slow-moving beast could make Hurricane Harvey look like a summer shower”

Granny Weatherwax, 29-31 August: not getting better all the time

USA: Harvey’s third bite at the Gulf coast in a week, with renewed storm-force winds, pushes up into Louisiana and Kentucky, dumping another 30 inches of water. Galveston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Richmond, East Texas all hit again and underwater. Many homes, some shelters flooded, refugees moved on again.

California: wreathed in smoke from wildfires, ‘dangerous’ high September temperatures forecast for the Labor Day weekend – general warning for up to 115F (46C) inland. “Heat-related illnesses overwhelmed San Francisco hospitals on Friday, according to the Bay Area NWS office.” 106F in San Francisco on Friday and still 86F overnight uncomfortably exceeded records for over 150 years.  Fire raging near Burbank, LA – evacuations reported in Butte County, near Oroville lake.

Yemen: intense monsoon rains now flooding the south of the country, Lahij province underwater, 15 killed – coming on top of extreme heat, civil war, Saudi bombing, widespread famine conditions threatening 7 million and a large-scale cholera outbreak.

Turkey: Istanbul hit again, torrential rain, storm-force winds, flash floods. Similar story in SW Turkey, city of Denizili hit by powerful storm, large hailstones, streets turned to rivers of ice.

Spain: flash floods rip through towns in Zaragoza province. More ‘rivers of ice’ flow through medieval town streets.

Europe: more wildfires in Valle Subequana, around Secinaro, Abruzzo, central Italy. Latest weather warning for much of Italy from the national forecasting service, possible risk from storms bringing high winds, could fan fires. Threat of disruption due to more heavy rain forecast for Austria and Hungary. Heatwave is now confined to the Balkans – Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, followed by disruptive thunderstorms.

France: 15  injured, two seriously, by lightning at a music festival in the north-east of France. Several bolts of lightning struck the Vieux Canal festival in the town of Azerailles.

UK: Sport fishermen catch second 500-lb Yellowfin tuna off the coast of Wales. Many fish species said to be moving northwards as oceans warm.

Pakistan: extensive flooding in Karachi. 16 deaths reported, parts of the city impassable. (Why do selfish idiots keep on trying to drive in 3ft of water and have to be rescued at the risk of other people’s lives? Video from around the world suggests, tens of thousands of cars may have been severely damaged or destroyed in this summer’s storms – an insurers’ nightmare?)

Indonesia: Towns of Banjir Bandang and Balikpapan, Borneo – underwater.

China: In the wake of Typhoon Hato and Tropical Storm Pakhar, comes Tropical Storm Mawar, set to make landfall in the next day or so just to the NE of Hong Kong, near Shantou, bringing more heavy rain and flooding. 

Nigeria: Benue State – towns flooding. 100,000-plus people affected. More flooding too in Niger, where the death toll is now 44 and thousands evacuated. In Sierra Leone, the death toll from the Sugarloaf Mountain collapse near Freetown last month has unofficially exceeded one thousand. Heavy rains continuing.

Argentina: violent thunderstorm over La Plata – intense rainfall, hail floods streets. Press reports: ‘7 minutes of chaos’ – several inches of rain causes flooding.

Colombia: intense rainfall floods-out towns in Santa Marta province.

Mexico: Valle Dorado, Cuautitlan and Mexico City, violent flash flooding follows intensive rainfall. Airport underwater. Huge Tropical Storm system, Lidia making landfall NW Mexico, Baja California.

Russia: 12 waterspouts form simultaneously off the coast at Sochi, Black Sea republic.

Hurricane Irma: one out of a reducing number of possible scenarios, NOAA predicted track has Irma making landfall North Carolina/New Jersey/ New York next weekend as a Cat 5, the maximum category, with sustained windspeeds of 181 mph.

This slow-moving beast could make Hurricane Harvey look like a summer shower. Other potential targets include the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, Costa Rica, Florida – or the Gulf. And trailing behind it, another ‘African Wave’ system with the potential to develop into something more – if a hurricane would be named José -and two more still over West Africa heading towards the Atlantic.

Buckle up.

Climate and Extreme Weather News #61/ NOAA/ Weather Underground (NBC)/ BBC Weather

 

 

Granny Weatherwax: Harvey Special (updates). A fresh plea to the BBC Board to get its fucking ducks in a row.

Rockport, or what’s left of it. Harvey made landfall Friday night with winds gusting to 160 mph. (Google images)

Granny Weatherwax

Monday 28th Update: the BogPo has no special knowledge of the situation in Houston this morning, that cannot be obtained from watching the CNN live feed or visiting the live updates on The Guardian website. The confirmed death toll in Texas still stands fortunately at only two, although much of the devastated town of Rockport remains inaccessible to rescuers. The cleanup bill is so far estimated at $40 billion and FEMA is suggesting it could take two years or more to recover.

We can however make two comments of our own: firstly, that the severe flooding in China and elsewhere over the past two months has been if anything more extreme, with far greater loss of life; images of rivers turned to boiling torrents, carrying away everything in their path, have been horrifyingly evident on the four-day compilations of raw cameraphone footage and local news reports available on a deeply depressing YouTube channel called Climate and Extreme Weather News, from which the BogPo frequently quotes.

The flooding in Houston seems somehow more sinister, just water rising inexorably everywhere. People still seem unwilling to leave their cars and get to shelter. What idiot drives into three feet of water, where is it so important they have to get to, that they risk their lives and others’? With over 6,000 emergency calls from people needing rescue, the mayor of Houston is having to defend himself against the charge that he should have ordered a general evacuation. Have people lost all sense of individual responsibility? This flood was predicted days in advance.

Secondly, there will no doubt be a heated debate over whether or not this possibly once in 1,000-years or more event is being caused by climate change. The answer is yes, in at least three respects. Of course there are major hurricanes and cyclones from time to time. In this case however, three new factors are in play.

One, for every one degree rise in air temperature, 7% more water vapor is retained, leading to heavier rainfall amounts – as has been observed over vast areas this summer, when global temperatures have been up to 1.85 degrees above the 1910-2001 average. Your Granny W. has been keeping tabs on the situation globally for a couple of months now and there can surely be no doubt that increased precipitation is becoming quite alarming.

Two, the sea has been absorbing solar-heated CO2 ten times faster than the air – warmer seas transpire more water vapor and impart more energy to storms. The Gulf is showing a 4 deg. C anomaly this summer above the 26 deg. C level at which hurricanes form. Harvey formed in the Gulf as a huge Cat 4 storm, drawing in cloud mass from other fronts, within just 72 hours. Corresponding cyclones in the eastern Pacific this summer have also benefited from warmer waters, despite the lack of a major El Niño event.

And three, the northern jetstream is behaving chaotically as a result of warmer waters entering the Arctic, the loss of sea-ice reducing albedo enabling further solar warming of the ocean in a blue-water ‘feedback loop’. Fragments of the jetstream, normally a continuous ribbon of high-speed, high-altitude wind around the Arctic circle, have pushed down into the southern states of America this summer and are preventing Harvey from moving further inland.

(I am indebted to the Ottawa University climatologist, Prof. Paul Beckwith, citing websites Earth Nullschool(.org) and Climate Reanalyzer(.org), for much of the above.)

Harvey is now forecast to back south over the coast, where it will pick up new energy and more water before heading off through Louisiana (New Orleans in its path), up into Tennessee around Memphis. Gruesomely, it’s said to be ‘feeding off’ its own rainfall, recycling the floodwaters.

Live updates UK: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2017/aug/28/ex-hurricane-harvey-houston-flooded-as-catastrophe-unfolds-in-texas-latest-updates

Additional summary from: http://floodlist.com/america/usa/flooding-houston-south-east-texas-august-2017

 

Houston, we’ve got a problem… (photo Times of India)

Bombay ducks

India: Torrential rain causes major flooding in Mumbai (Bombay), 29 Aug. Three dead including two children as a building collapses. “Incessant rains hit Mumbai for the fourth straight day on Tuesday, flooding vast areas of the city, throwing traffic out of gear on key arteries and affecting trains and flights services in the Maharashtra capital.” More heavy rain forecast.

24-28 Aug.

Sunday 27th: Five dead. 4-6 inches of rain AN HOUR reportedly falling around the eye of Hurricane, now downgraded to Tropical Storm, Harvey, which is stuck virtually at a standstill over most of southern Texas because of the broken jetstream pushing south. Extreme emergency declared in Houston as 100% precipitation brings flash-flood warnings through to next Thursday and tornadoes to the entire region. Up to 50 inches (1200 mm) of rain forecast by Friday.

After growing in speed and energy in the Gulf, from an ordinary storm over the Yucatan peninsula last Wednesday, until it made devastating landfall only 72 hours later, Harvey could be one of the largest weather systems ever recorded, feeding other storms out as far as Florida (40%-60% possibility of forming new Tropical Storm) up to Wisconsin, firehosing a 60,000-foot column of warm water out of the Gulf and dumping it onland, with 92% humidity. People are talking of a ‘reconfigured coastline’ for when this horror is over, not before Wednesday or Thursday.

Saturday 26th: having made landfall near the town of Rockport as a 130 mph Cat 4, Hurricane Harvey is weakening to a tropical storm but still with sustained windspeeds of 75 mph. It’s moving very slowly, about 2 mph, and dumped 14.6-in of rain on the town of Austell in 12 hours. Residents of an old folks home that collapsed in Rockport are feared trapped – the town has sustained severe damage from wind gusting to 160 mph and storm surge.

Many buildings elsewhere severely damaged, 1.9m coastal surge, many requests for help (60% of homeowners refused evacuation!) but as yet no major flooding and no casualties reported, other than a man shot by a nervous householder. Three babies born in Corpus Christi, no doubt boys will be named Harvey?

Forecasters warn it will go on for several days, with potentially ‘catastrophic’ flooding. Trump has ordered federal aid and then decamped to Camp David. Harvey is reported heading for San Antonio where many were evacuated from the coast.

There are also connected storms over Florida and Wisconsin, making this possibly the widest storm system ever recorded. See Paul Beckwith seminar (Prof. of Climatology, Ottawa U.)  at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0-Os6jYtNo

Waters in the Gulf are up to 4 deg C above ‘hurricane-forming’ temperature. And there are still two months of the season to go.

One of the largest storm systems ever recorded. (photo: ABC News)

More horror

USA: Las Vegas Na, Phoenix Az temps still hitting around 40-42C, 104-108F. Extreme heat warnings (up to 44C, 111F) out over the weekend for many parts of California. 50C, 121F recorded in Death Valley, Sacramento Ca. at 41C, 107F today. This is what, the seventh week of the heatwave? And in Portland, way up there in Oregon, it’s 36C, 98F….

Canada: New wildfires breakout around Kelowna, British Columbia. Over 1,000 homes evacuated. Herd of wild horses killed in Chilcotin forest. Canada’s annual CO2 emissions ‘tripled’ by unprecedented fires this year alone.

Uganda: “Severe flooding has been reported in northern Uganda and Southern Sudan over the last few days, leaving 2,000 people displaced and 2 people missing. Heavy rain has also affected western parts of the country, where a landslide near Bundibugyo has left at least 1 person (6 yo child) dead.” More rain forecast, crops and roads damaged.

Iraq: At 18.00 today, 26th Aug, it’s still 44C, 111F in Baghdad; 40C, 104F in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

China: Death toll from Typhoon Hato confirmed at 12, 153 injured. Towns around Macao still under up to 3.5 metres of water, much damage. Downgraded Hato also brings flash flooding and landslides to the mainland, 4 die in landslide in Yunnan province. Roads, bridges, houses swept away. Moving towards Vietnam.

China: Heavy rainfall brings severe flooding to Hefei city, Anhui province, western China. Guijou province: “A landslide struck some 34 homes in southwest China on Monday, killing two people and leaving another 25 missing in the latest natural disaster to hit the country, according to the local government.”

China: Tropical Typhoon Jolina (Pakhar) makes landfall Sunday at Guandong, south of Hong Kong, brings wind, rain and some flooding to areas already hit last week by Typhoon Hato. Moving westward, expected heavy rain in west and Vietnam, running through by the weekend to flood-hit Myanmar (Burma) and… northern India.

Houston, we’ve got a problem….

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh: Numbers affected by flooding in north now put at 41 million (UN report). Death toll exceeds 1,200. Floodwaters ‘receding’. Food and water shortages, fear of disease outbreaks.

Philippines: Tropical Storm, strengthening to Cyclone, Jolina (Pakhar) with sustained windspeeds of 85 mph is moving NW across Luzon towards China. Likely to hit the same area as Hato, south of Hong Kong/Macau Wednesday.

Venezuela: Six dead and 26 missing after flash flood reported (22nd Aug) washing away a mountain village in Choroni province.

Europe: Regional stations have ‘extreme high temperature’ alerts again for the weekend out across Italy, Corsica, Sicily – up through the Balkans into Bulgaria, Hungary, across to Spain, Portugal and back to Greece – high 80s F to high 90s F, locally higher. Thunderstorm warnings anywhere across north-central and eastern continental Europe.

Bulgaria: wildfire sweeps through Kresna Gorge scenic beauty spot. 15,000 acres affected.

Russia: one dead, several injured in wildfires burning around Volgograd.

Yellowstone: report from USGS on new monitoring equipment installed and Bob Smith’s CAT-scan survey (results embargoed) states that the area has had 15 thousand earthquakes since mid-June – one of the biggest swarms we’ve ever had, says Smith – who goes on to advise cheerily that if there’s going to be an eruption, it’s when they stop you have to worry, ha ha worried smileyface.

(That compares with ‘only’ 1,638 they’ve admitted to publicly….)

BBC and various/ Floodlist/ World Weather Information/ Weather Underground/ Climate and Extreme Weather News #58 (link to https://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8UwLB4fHWI)/ Hong Kong Free Press/ Hindustani Times/ Mary Greeley website.

x

“When will you get it through your silly heads: there is no more ‘debate’ worth having?

A fresh plea to the BBC Board to get its fucking ducks in a row

Dear BBC

I’m starting to believe that there is something seriously amiss within BBC News and current affairs editorial.

A month ago, I felt obliged to protest at the inclusion of a studio guest on the R4 Today programme, who was not as you announced him. Mr Myron Ebell was introduced as a White House energy spokesman and ‘climate-change skeptic’. In order to be a science ‘skeptic’ one has to have some scientific credentials, which Mr Ebell does not: he is a longtime Washington lobbyist with known connections to Exxon Mobil and other energy sector clients.

I had to point out too that in 2005 he was the subject of a Parliamentary early-day motion after a previous appearance on Today in which he made slanderous remarks about the UK’s chief scientist, Dr King. Your researcher ought to have been aware of it, as the information is clearly presented in Ebell’s pretty damning Wikipedia entry.

This morning, yet again, you carried a disingenuous interview with one ‘Dr’ Sebastian L v. Gorka, White House ‘deputy assistant advisor’ (very junior rank!) on Middle East security, who was said to have ‘resigned’ his position in the Trump administration, and who came on to claim that Trump is being ‘undermined’ by elements in the White House – who can only be General Kelly, Trump’s relatively sane new chief policy advisor; daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the very few people who have been trying to hold the administration together and check the President’s wilder and more tantrum-throwing impulses.

An Orthodox Jew with connections, Kushner has, of course, been tasked (among many other things) with finding a solution to the Palestinian question. I imagine he would have found it somewhat difficult to have to share the ear of the President with a notorious anti-Semitic and Islamophobic, ultra-conservative Christian white nationalist.

It is therefore not thought likely that Gorka ‘resigned’. Indeed, the Huffington Post today offers five very good reasons for firing him – principally that he is, as one reader tweeted, a “fuckin’ lunatic”.

British-born, of Hungarian extraction, educated BA in religious studies at a Jesuit college in London (scraped a 2.2), he was brought on board by Steve Bannon, who also ‘resigned’ last week; the man most widely believed to be the architect of what Gorka calls ‘Trumpism’ (i.e. more tax breaks for the wealthiest; disenfranchisement of Democrat-voting minorities, suppression of Muslims and immigrants, increasing police unaccountability, denial of science, hiking of medical insurance premiums, lowering of the nuclear threshold, dismantling the State apparatus, etc.)

Gorka was most probably removed from office by General Kelly in his ongoing purge of the Bannon faction, that has now retreated to the offices of Breitbart News from where it is sniping at the disorientated President for having gone soft on the alt-right agenda and surrendered to the Pentagon’s demand for a troop surge in Afghanistan.

Knowingly or unknowingly, you give voice to their campaign.

His appearance on Today earlier this month, in which he doubled-down on Trump’s hardline stance on North Korea and told Secretary of State Tillerson to, effectively, stop sticking his nose in, came in for much criticism and ridicule. You also carried a lengthy and uncritical interview with this relatively low-level figure by Emily Maitlis in Washington on Newsnight last month, also with Evan Davies back in February.

Why? You might just as well interview a taxi-driver, a coalminer or a fish-porter.

I fail to understand – unless there are neoliberal ‘disruptors’ working covertly within the BBC – what your fascination is with certain toxic individuals, Mr Nigel Farage being a case in point, who seem never not to be on the air?

‘Mr Gorka’, as you politely call him, is widely disparaged in the US security community as a charlatan. Senior and respected figures in the defence establishment have publicly stated that he has no standing whatever as a security consultant. His ‘advice’ on Islamic terrorism is, they say, no more than humdrum.

He has no field experience or intelligence service background; only a dubious PhD whose rigour has been questioned by US academics specializing in the subject. He has frequently been called “a clown” by genuine intelligence personnel.

A self-proclaimed former advisor to the hardline Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, Gorka has also been associated with László Toroczkai, the hardline anti-Islam mayor of Assothalom, the town where (the BBC reported) the road traffic signs say No Muslims. He came to the transition team only via an association as a contributing editor to Steve Bannon’s fake news Breitbart website, and as the husband of transition-team security ‘consultant’, New York steel heiress Katherine Cornell; another veteran of rightwing think tanks whose websites are inexplicably suspended.

Since your programme researchers appear not to have done their homework, let me explain that in January, Gorka was the subject of a Congressional enquiry (still ongoing) over his immigration status, as the ‘v.’ initial he retains in the way he prefers his full name to be presented stands for ‘Vitez’.

That’s a coded reference to his well-attested (but denied) membership of a far-right nationalist group in Hungary with a wartime history of collaboration with the Nazis in the extermination of 800 thousand Jews, the Vitezi Rend; whose pin-badge he sports in public. Gorka failed to declare this on his immigration form, a federal offence for which his deportation was being called.

Is it the BBC’s policy to present paid liars and neo-Nazi-sympathising nonentities, apparently uncritically and without reservation, as credible spokesmen for the failing Trump administration? You are playing with fire. As with your Brexit coverage, the critical voices of moderate opposition to the neoconservative agenda are barely detectable; in your unfailing politeness towards this despicable President we only ever seem to hear from lobbyists, conspirators, fantasists, old neocons from the Strauss/Wolfowitz era, and fellow-travellers.

Second complaint

A propos, in the interests of ‘balance’, which is no balance at all, against former Vice-President Al Gore, who had a movie to plug, you exhumed Nigel, Lord Lawson last weekend on Today to put forward his indefensible, inexpert and well-remunerated views on the climate crisis. When will you get it through your silly heads: there is no more ‘debate’ worth having. The matter is settled: climate change is man-made, the warming is speeding up dangerously, tipping-points are being reached.

No-one argues about it now, other than those with vested interests and dimwitted internet trolls. Oh, and BBC programme editors.

In view of the fact that his paymasters at Exxon Mobil have been comprehensively outed in the New York Times, who commissioned a serious, peer-reviewed academic analysis proving conclusively that the oil giant whose £100k a day CEO is now the US Secretary of State has been lying about its own research for the past 40 years, your editors need now to stop this frankly evil pretence that paid climate-change deniers have anything more to say.

I am concerned that the worldwide crisis is being treated in such a piecemeal fashion. Were the listeners and viewers to rely solely on your output, we might know for instance that there have been ‘monsoon floods’ in India, as if the displacement of over 40 million people, with 1,200 deaths, the loss of crops, the lack of drinking water, over a three-month period (including a month preceding the monsoon season) were a normal event – when vast areas of Myanmar, Thailand, the United States and especially China have also been underwater, and where river flooding, landslides, flash-floods, droughts, wildfires and heatwaves have been breaking records once again, in countries all around the world.

We have indeed heard from you that there has been an epochal hurricane in Texas, a landslide in Sierra Leone (possibly a thousand dead after 80 cm of rain fell in a night) or that ten thousand tourists were evacuated from a wildfire in the South of France, or that 64 people were burned to death in Portugal, or that it’s a bit hot in southern Europe. But would we have learned that these extreme events are part of a much wider, increasingly random pattern?

No, because your half-witted, uninformed broadcasters continually cut to the BBC weather presenter and ask if this weather event or that is a sign of climate change, like annoying children in cars, ‘are we there yet?’, and invariably the cautious experts have to reply ‘We can’t tell from just one event’. Of course they bloody can’t! But it’s not just one event, is it?

We would probably not know from your coverage of this existentially important story that, in some cases for the third year in a row:

  • California and the SW states have suffered six weeks of 100 deg-plus temperatures;
  • Las Vegas, Kansas City, Houston and New Orleans have all been badly flooded already this summer (before Hurricane Harvey);
  • there has been a succession of powerful storms over New England and the East Coast, causing major flooding events;
  • over a million acres of British Columbia have been burning for months, with tens of thousands of homes evacuated;
  • extensive uncontained wildfires in Siberia and even Greenland have been depositing a layer of soot across the Arctic where sea ice is again at a record low and wave heights increasing, to beak up what is left;
  • people have been dying from a heatwave in Korea; from powerful storms in Russia, in Mexico; from unseasonal tornadoes;
  • 3,000 acres of the ancestral Bielowicza forest in Poland, a World Heritage site at the centre of an EU row over illegal logging has been flattened in violent storms;
  • there is famine in Somalia, millions affected, but flooding in neighbouring Sudan;
  • drought in South Africa but devastating floods and landslides in Sierra Leone and Niger;
  • daytime temperatures in Baghdad and Riyadh have exceeded 42C, 120F over the past two weeks;
  • a temperature of 34C (94F) was recorded in Canada on the Mackenzie River, north of the Arctic circle, last month; 56C (132F) in Iran in June.
  • We would not have seen the satellite data on the weakening jetstreams, that have become fragmented and chaotic as never before.
  • We would not know that atmospheric CO2 levels as high as 840 ppm have been recorded in, for instance, Kazakhstan; or that methane emissions from melting permafrost are at danger levels.

Because you don’t cover the story in any coherent way.

The pattern is consistent and worsening from year to year. Fifteen of the warmest years in at least the past ten thousand have been recorded since 2001. No month in the past thirty years has been colder than its previous year’s equivalent.

Climate change has real geopolitical effects – for instance, backgrounding the North Korea crisis, that country is on the verge of starvation again after a three-year-long drought, with implications for the effectiveness of the military –  and raises serious concerns for our own food security.

All this information can be sourced, if you take the time; the dots connected – but it is beginning to look as if the mainstream media and politicians are either a bunch of ignorant, tax-eating wastrels, or they are deliberately suppressing the gravity of the situation so as not to panic people.

And all we get on the BBC is non-scientists and energy business shills denying that any of this is happening, to a wider background of well-funded denial within the US administration, censorship of research and the hobbling or dismantling of relevant agencies.

Do you perhaps need to find out who is driving your internal editorial policy and ask them some searching questions? Or are they acting on your instruction?

(Postscriptum: this Post appeared two days before a piece in The Guardian by environmental campaigner George Monbiot, making similar points about media coverage.)

Comment threads on YouTube ‘Harvey’ videos are jam-packed with simple folk fervently praying to their friend Jesus to keep Texas and its inhabitants safe. Of course, others are sure the storm is punishment for the wickedness of the LBGT community, as foretold by the Eclipse. The BogPo prefers the more direct, Humanist approach above, it’s just as likely to work!  (photo: The Sun)

The BogPo says: Let’s boo the whole rotten sport! Just another woman, making a go of it. Keepin’ it cool with Granny Weatherwax. Van News Weekly.

Could have been among the greats: Justin Gatlin.

“…no commentator dares to mention his name without prefacing it with ‘drugs cheat’.”

Let’s boo the whole rotten sport

If Justin Gatlin was roundly booed by the near-capacity crowd at the World Athletics championships in London last Saturday, most people think he has only himself to blame.

The 35-year-old sprinter is a controversial character who has twice served penalty bans for drug offences. Most people if asked would say they favour a lifetime ban on athletes caught cheating even once, but then people are an unforgiving lot until they get into trouble themselves, or their children and best mates do, and then it’s always somebody else’s fault.

Few, one suspects, are capable of unpacking the words ‘drugs cheat’ to understand the differences between substances that might in other circumstances be considered perfectly innocuous, and those that genuinely enhance performance. Perhaps they even take medication themselves that would fail a WADA test. The rules for athletes are pretty harsh, as is the testing regime.

One infringement might have been forgiven but two has made Gatlin the Mephistopheles of athletics. A shame, because without this monkey on his back, the powerful Floridan could well have been among the greats of the 100 and 200 metre sprints. Instead, he’s in a sinkhole.

So detested is Gatlin, so toxic the climate within athletics over the doping issue that no commentator dares to mention his name without prefacing it with ‘drugs cheat’. That he was being booed more possibly because he had the bad manners to beat the hugely popular Usain Bolt in his farewell 100 metres final , running what was actually a clever tactical race against an under-par champion –  is a secondary consideration.

British athletics is furious that the 2012 London Olympics produced some 23 subsequent revisions of drug test results leading to the withdrawal of medals and the cancelling of record times, weights and throws. A hundred and seventeen more athletes were disqualified before the games had even begun. It’s been claimed by insiders that one in ten athletes are probably cheating.

Those results and the hideous sham that was Vladimir Putin’s personally sponsored cheating programme at the Sochi Winter Olympics have led to a two-year (so far) ban on official Russian teams and a major upheaval in the International Athletics Federation.

Gatlin’s first ban resulted from a trace of an amphetamine he claimed must have been in a prescription drug he’d been taking since childhood for ADHD. His appeal against a two-year ban was successful. The second offence was for testosterone, a muscle-building hormone detected six years later, which he could not explain.

My own view is that it takes more than one person to cheat in athletics. According to Wikipedia:

“Gatlin was coached by Trevor Graham. Among athletes Graham has coached, eight have tested positive or received bans for performance-enhancing drugs. After Gatlin’s failed test, Graham stated in an interview that Gatlin had been sabotaged. He blamed massage therapist Christopher Whetstine for rubbing a creme with testosterone onto Gatlin’s buttocks without his knowledge. The therapist denied the claim, saying: “Trevor Graham is not speaking on behalf of Justin Gatlin and the story about me is not true.”

“On August 22, 2006, Gatlin accepted an eight-year ban from track and field, avoiding a lifetime ban in exchange for his cooperation with the doping authorities, and because of the “exceptional circumstances” surrounding his first positive drug test. Gatlin appealed against the ban; an arbitration panel reduced it to four years at a hearing in December 2007.”

How easy is it for sport-addicted youngsters to challenge what their coaches tell them to do, or have the knowledge to question the legality of substances they are being administered by physiotherapists and team doctors?

While lesser rival athletes continue to twist the knife, raising eyebrows publicly whenever Gatlin runs, there is no denying his prowess and there have been no further testing problems since his return to the track seven years ago. He is undoubtedly a great athlete. He beat Bolt by one-hundredth of a second to win the 100 metres at the Golden Gala meet in Rome in June 2013, and lost to the taller, younger man by just 0.1 of a second at both the Beijing and Rio Olympics. The rivalry was similarly close over 200 metres.

One could describe the booing as unsportsmanlike and unfair. The British press has manifested its usual revolting partisanship. It has been harder to know whether they disapprove of his past cheating or of a ‘gatecrasher’ (as The Telegraph called Gatlin, who holds many records in a long if interrupted career) having the gall to beat their people’s hero. Which is to ignore the fact that Bolt was also beaten into third place by another American, the promising youngster Chris Coleman – who barely rates a mention in any of the press coverage.

It was almost as if the other runners were expected to throw the race to let the hero Bolt go out on one last high. Wouldn’t that have been as bad as cheating? Typical was The Sunday Sun:

Usain Bolt sunk as drugs cheat Justin Gatlin ruins golden goodbye by storming to 100m gold

Bolt showed characteristic sportsmanship, hugging his tearful rival as the boos rang out.

Gatlin is probably no more a ‘drugs cheat’ than hundreds of other athletes, and in a different time would have been regarded even on his reduced record as a great sprinter. The minefield of anti-doping regulations makes conforming to an absolute ideal virtually impossible for most ‘human’ beings, who are subject to illness, injuries, wear and tear.

Testosterone taken over time builds the kind of fast muscle that enables a sprinter to explode out of the blocks and is therefore an obvious candidate to be banned, although it occurs naturally in the body. Amphetamines can stimulate performance and stamina, but don’t persist.

So there are grounds for questioning Gatlin’s right to run. But he ran within the rules, apparently clean for the past six years. Despite that, 24 hours later the BBC Sports unit is still discussing what they are calling his ‘controversial win’. It seems he has a right to run, but not to win.

The sneers and jeers and evident distrust of a man who came from a deprived background in rural Florida to become the oldest man ever to win an individual Olympic sprint medal and one of the five fastest men in Olympic history do little credit to the armchair athletes.

Nor to veteran miler Lord Coe, the IAAF president, whose own position as regards ‘who knew – and how much was in the envelope?’ over the doping scandal in the past has previously been questioned, along with his well-funded years as a global ambassador for Nike sportswear.

Coe made clear at the trackside his distaste that Gatlin was allowed to run. But doping violations are just the tip of an iceberg of corruption in international sport, that goes all the way up to national federation officials motivated by easy money and the desire for medals and national glory at any cost.

If we’re going to boo Justin Gatland, let’s boo the whole rotten sport.

 

Just another woman, making a go of it

Worse if anything than the media hoopla over Bolt’s ruined Last Run, Gatlin’s disgraceful victory, Sir Mo Farah’s amazingly predictable third World Championship win in his last-ever 10,ooo metres on Friday night, is the curious fact that the media has barely acknowledged the arrival of an athlete who seems destined to become one of the great female distance runners of all time.

Almaz destroyed a top-class field to win the 10,000 metres.

The tiny Almaz Ayana, 25, running in only her first race of the 2017 season owing to injuries, set off after ten laps and over the next twenty minutes totally demolished a field of 30 supposedly top  athletes to win the women’s 10,000 metres by a distance of 330 metres – more than half a lap. In the process she lapped the entire field apart from the small following pack, some of them twice.

After a few admiring words, no fuss at all has been made of the dominant young Ethiopian. Not our idea of a celebrity, perhaps.

And the amazing thing is, her London performance – though not another world record – repeated her incredible run in Rio last year, when she trashed another world-class field to break the existing 23-years-old record by an incredible 14 seconds, and still appeared to be accelerating effortlessly at the finish. It left your Uncle Bogler in tears, again. Oh dear. As the Mail on Sunday reported:

“Olympic champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia produced an extraordinary display in her first race of the season winning the world 10,000 metres title by almost a minute on Saturday. The 25-year-old, who smashed the world record when winning in Rio last year, finished over 46 seconds clear of her legendary compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, the three-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion.”

Why wasn’t this THE story from the weekend? Maybe the clue was in the Mail story that greeted her win at Rio 2016: “Disbelief at amazing 10,000m. world record: a hefty dose of scepticism accompanied Almaz Ayana’s gobsmacking victory…” Or maybe it was just that it wasn’t the men’s 100 metres, a 9.8-seconds thriller in an era when attention spans are getting shorter by the hour?

The story went on to quote Sarah Lahti, who finished 12th and set a Swedish record of 31:28.43: ‘I do not really believe she is 100 per cent. It is too easy for her. We see no facial expressions.’ So that’s proof then. Although I don’t think Botox is on the banned substances list? Doubt was further cast when an Ethiopian squad coach was found with drugs in his hotel room. And even the previous women’s world record, set by China’s Wang Jungxia in 1993, was suspected at the time to have been drug-assisted.

Oh, well, I guess she’s just another woman.

But Lahti’s kind of reaction has become typical, any ebullience over a possibly unlikely sporting success now being tempered with a heavy dose of cynicism. Gatlin may not be entirely responsible – we’re sceptical enough about our own national cycling hero Sir Bradley Wiggins and his mystery Deliveroo pharmaceuticals – but his story is symptomatic of how money and greed have poisoned the well for the entire sporting sphere.

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“…we don’t have an automatic right to win everything.”

As if our moral outrage over other sprinters being allowed to beat a below-par Usain Bolt into third place weren’t enough, we’re now being enjoined to hate the South African Caster Semenya, who pipped Britain’s sweetheart Laura Muir into fourth place in the women’s 1500 metres heats last night.

Caster Semenya: let her run.

Never mind that after taking on the role of pacemaker right from the start, Muir made the tactical error of slowing the race from a 64-seconds first lap to a 71-seconds second lap, thus failing to break the field, and left herself too little in reserve for a final sprint to the tape after she was swallowed up by the chasing pack.

Ho no, the fact that she did well to hang on for fourth place and qualify for the final in which she managed sixth was entirely eclipsed by Semenya’s hyperandrogenism, a hormonal condition that makes her look all big and muscly and flat-chested, and run like a bloke.

No matter that the race was actually won by the distinctly female-looking world champion, the Kenyan Kipyegon, over whose gender there can surely be no quibble; and that America’s experienced 30-year-old Simpson ran a near-perfect race, darting through in the final split-second to take silver.

No, as far as some sections of the British media and partisan crowd were concerned Muir’s failure to medal was entirely down to the cheating of Semenya, who should be taken away and force-fed with oestrogen until she grows a pair. Worse, this response has become a regular feature of the coverage whenever she runs: ‘is she or isn’t she?’, despite the IAAF clearing her after successive medical examinatiuons.

Remarkably, the Daily Mail leapt to her defence, arguing: “The treatment of Caster Semenya has been shameful… show her some respect and let her run.”

Will we ever grow up and understand that just because we’re British, or in this case Scottish, we don’t necessarily have an automatic God-given right to win everything all the time?

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Keepin’ it cool with Granny Weatherwax

(Photo: Thepetshow.com/Google Images)

The Lancet reports, excess heat could kill up to 150,000 more people a year by the end of the century – very possibly within your children’s lifetime. That’s just in Europe. Though it  rather presupposes the Sixth Great Extinction won’t have run its course long before then.

Europe: still in the grip of a 40 deg+ heatwave, expected to relent gradually after Wednesday.

Italy: Extreme heat, storms in north. More fires across south. Drought persists in Italy’s grainbelt, 60% + crop losses across all outputs. Deliveries to northern markets failing. Water shortages looming.

Greece: extreme heat. Island of Kythira ablaze. The entire Aegean area has been plagued by earthquake swarms in recent weeks.

Austria: powerful thunderstorms trigger flash floods affecting mountain communities.

Russia: noonday temperature currently (7 Aug) in Norilsk, northernmost city in Siberia, 21C, 72.6F. Recklessly, desperate authorities have started chemically seeding clouds to combat wildfires consuming the Taiga.

Japan: Typhoon Noru claims two lives in Kyushu, moves on over Honshu main island, bringing 60cm rain in 48 hours. Flash floods in Osaka area. More heavy rain following on behind.

China: Heavy rain affecting the northeast up into Mongolia. Flash flooding, 100 thousand people affected, 25,000 acres of crops damaged. Liaoning – 1,000 flood refugees trapped on higher ground by rising water, being rescued again. Two dead, 350,000 affected in Jiling province. Damage estimated at $700 million.

India: Ten dead, new widespread flooding in Uttarakhand. ‘Huge loss’ of property. More heavy rain forecast.

Pakistan: “At least 5 killed and others injured after floods and landslides in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. Meteorological Department issued warnings for glacial lake outburst floods after heavy rain and temperatures up to 5 degrees higher than normal (caused) ice to melt.” 116 people have died as a result of flooding or landslides in Pakistan since the start of this year’s monsoon.

Korea: extreme heatwave continues.

USA: again, New Orleans experiences flooding with up to 3ft of water as a tropical storm brings up to 10 inches of rain in 4 hrs to the city. “The rate of rainfall in many neighborhoods of the city was one of the highest recorded in recent history.” New York State is on flash flood alert, as is Manhattan, with more heavy rain also forecast across Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware. A ‘rare’, out-of-season tornado causes casualties and damage in Toledo, Ohio.

USA: Las Vegas, Nevada – one victim died and 7 others were rescued after flash floods in two areas of the city. Flash flooding submerged parts of Kansas City, shutting down parts of highway I-35 and flooding other streets across the city. Vehicles were submerged and drivers left stranded by flood water.

USA: Staff at the US Department of Agriculture have been told to avoid using the term “climate change” in their work, with officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead. The primary cause of human-driven climate change is also targeted, with the term “reduce greenhouse gases” blacklisted in favor of “build soil organic matter”.* Sound policy indeed. Dig more shit in, the BogPo says. (The Guardian, 7 Aug.)

Mexico: Tropical storm Franklin now building over the Caribbean is expected to head across the Yucatan Peninsula towards the capital, Mexico City, bringing up to 300mm of rain.

Venezuela: as if the country doesn’t have enough to worry about, severe flooding after days of torrential rain has caused several major rivers including the Orinoco to burst their banks, with about ten thousand people affected. Well done Floodlist for reporting this four days after the event.

Arabian peninsula: It’s currently 43C, 117F in Baghdad and Kuwait, a little cooler in Riyadh – only 40C. Across North Africa temperatures are in the high 30s to mid 40s currently: 95 – 100F. Not as bad as July and August the last two years when searing 50C + heat killed hundreds. The forecast is for temperatures ‘building across the week’. Satellite map shows virtually no cloud cover across the region. Long drought is causing severe crop losses in Egypt.

Africa: heavy rains persisting across mid-western and central Africa, eg. Nigeria. Bad news for elusive anteaters:

On the way out: the only living species of the order Tubulidentata.

“Hotter temperatures are taking their toll on the aardvark, whose diet of ants and termites is becoming scarcer in some areas because of reduced rainfall, according to a study released Monday. Drought in the Kalahari desert killed five out of six aardvarks that were being monitored for a year, as well as 11 others in the area…”

World: despite the record heatwaves in Europe, Asia and the US west and midwest, provisional global weather data give July as only the second hottest on record, after 2016; it seems Antarctica has been letting the side down. The US NOAA report for June states:

“June 2017 was characterized by warmer to much-warmer-than-average conditions across much of the world’s land and ocean surface. The most notable warm temperature departures from average were present across much of central Asia, western and central Europe, and the southwestern contiguous U.S. where temperature departures from average were 2.0°C (3.6°F) or greater. … Overall, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature for June 2017 was 0.82°C (1.48°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F) and the third highest June temperature in the 138-year record, behind 2016 (+0.92°C / +1.66°F) and 2015 (+0.89°C / +1.60). June 2017 marks the 41st consecutive June and the 390th consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average.”

The good news for climate-change deniers is that the mysterious North Atlantic Cold Spot is persisting; hence our indifferent summer here in the west of Britain. Scientists imagine it’s caused by the Gulf Stream losing energy and sinking, allowing colder water from the Arctic to move south. The bad news is, the cold water is being replaced by warmer water flooding from the Pacific up through the Bering Strait, leading to further loss of ice cover.

Strangest of all: U. of Ottawa’s much-Followed climatologist and vlogger, Prof Paul Beckwith reports that on July 20, for the first time he believes in history, the weakening and fragmenting northern and southern jetstreams both crossed the equator at various points all around the globe into one another’s hemispheres, pulling hot and cold air masses with them and creating a huge vortex over the Pacific. This chaotic mixing is attributable to rapidly warming water in the Arctic and has no predictable weather outcomes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJYWvnuA9w8&t=563s

Climate and Extreme Weather News #51/ D Mail/  NW Global temperature report/ Floodwatch/ NOAA/ Paul Beckwith/ the Guardian/ local weather reports.

*Footnote: actually the BogPo finds the phrase ‘climate change’ to be far too wishy-washy and unthreatening a concept. What does it mean? It is itself the politically correct solution to the problem of what to call this existential threat to humanity. ‘Climate chaos’ or ‘weird weather’ would be a better description.

Scientists are far too cautious and media unsavvy. Precisely because they are not ‘a community’, have no organization or finance, they have as yet found no means of countering the slick PR messages, myth-making and outright lies of the denial conspiracy. Who cares about the ‘truth’ anymore? Let ’em have it with both barrels. We’re fucked, okay? Suck it up, people of Earth.

 x

Go on, give it a go! BogPo’s Project of the Week. (Google Images)

“I’m beginning to wonder if this is not some sort of metatextual situation comedy…”

Van News Weekly

An unmistakeable waft of cannabis hangs in the air of the busy street.

So he’s out there again today, my neighbour, fitting a green carpet into the back of his little white van, parked illegally as usual on the pavement, right on the corner of the main road.

(That’s the vehicle he sometimes advertises  – though not today, your friendly ‘man and van’ – that he will use to cart your garbage off to the recycling centre a mile down the road. In palatial comfort, obviously.)

There are half a dozen bolts of carpeting piled on the pavement next to the van, that they’ve been trying out. The carpets presumably came from the same source as the motorbike they loaded into the back last week, i.e. very possibly off another van.

My neighbour and two younger ‘helpers’ in shorts, vests and baseball caps have been at it all morning, fitting that little piece of carpet in the back, flexing their tattoos in the sunny intervals, enjoying the bantz, assisted by loud music. After a break for lunch they’re back at it again.

Fitting 1.5 sq yd of carpet in the back of a van, were I moved to do such a thing, is a job that might take me an hour at the most to do really nicely. It would probably take my hi-to mate from over the estate, Gareth Carpets, about ten minutes. And I’m not even working-class.

I’m beginning to wonder if this is not some sort of metatextual situation comedy, like The Office, whose point I am clearly missing.

Postscriptum

It’s twenty to ten at night, Day 4 of their holiday, and they’re still out in the garden having another fitful conversation I can hear through the wall. What do they find to argue about? Occasionally an angry young man can be heard going off the rails. Happily an entire day of rain is forecast for tomorrow.