The sands of time… Our Vanishing World… There is no hope whatever of surviving this…GW: Slip sliding away

Quote of the day:

“The man who was Brexit secretary until 10 minutes ago now reckons the Brexit deal is worse than staying in the EU. Yes, mate. The great spectacle of the past two and a half years has been watching allegedly very clever people realise this incredibly slowly.” – Marina Hyde, writing in The Guardian

 

“Is this rain, Jerry? You have rain here too? You know I melt in the rain. Is this the umbrella guy? Are there burgers? I like to give burgers. They like me to add a little tomato sauce. Where are all the people? I usually have people…. (etc.)”

 Rain Man visits Paradise, Ca.

 

The sands of time

Matthew Hedges, the British PhD research student gaoled for a minimum of 25 years in Abu Dhabi on espionage charges, has been offered the possibility of “clemency”, following a fairly robust intervention by the new British Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Update, 26 Nov.: Mr Hedges has been granted a “pardon” in the upcoming National Day list of prisoners to be freed and is expected home “once formalities have been completed”. This is far from the end of the story, however….

The BogPo suggests he was lucky Boris Johnson is not still the Foreign Secretary, the useless and lazy gumboil who sank the chances for release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British national imprisoned on trumped-up charges by the Revolutionary Guard in Iran, blurting out in Parliament that she was probably doing exactly what she was accused of (i.e. teaching Iranian women how to become citizen journalists).

A pardon from the Emir would of course require Mr Hedges to confirm the court’s perverse ruling that he is guilty, and presumably require him to sign an NDA on any mistreatment he has suffered.

Mr Hedges, attached to Durham University, was arrested while leaving the country, where he has lived on and off since the age of eight. Perhaps unwisely chosen, his research thesis was on the Arab Spring, to which end he had interviewed participants who might be seen to be controversial.

It is frankly quite easy for a noted conspiracymonger such as the BogPo to imagine that this story seems rather convenient, but we’ll press on….

After six weeks of enhanced conversations, allegedly, Hedges was held for six months in solitary confinement and is in delicate health. During his time in prison, under interrogation, he was forced to sign what turned out to be a confession.

The document was in Arabic, which his partner says he does not read. It’s the oldest play in the shithole countries’ police entrapment book. He was denied the benefit of a translator, or legal representation. The court in Dubai last week sentenced him to life after a five-minute hearing at which, again, he was allegedly denied representation or the right to make a defence; although he now has a court-appointed lawyer; and with international media interest generated by his partner, has come the FO’s belated intervention.

Dubai is not on the list of countries the British government likes to upset by confronting them over their pretty rank human rights record.

Any normal human briefly considering the case might conclude that someone who does not speak Arabic is not going to make a very good spy. These primitive desert dwellers are still entirely dependent on Western technology, so what exactly Mr Hedges was supposedly sent to spy on is not clear, given we’ve already got more of whatever it is than they have.

The Foreign Minister of Dubai has described the abysmal proceedings as the fair exercise of justice, but says the Emir might look favorably on an appeal. Frankly, we should lock up their ambassador and pull his toenails out. But that’s not how we do things: we just extract their oil money instead.

My advice to anyone thinking of visiting this luxury tourist trap – lots of shiny skyscrapers, flood-prone artificial island estates for Western celebrity taxdodgers, air-conditioned golf courses and indentured slave labor; nevertheless still home to tribal societies barely out of the Stone Age – country is, don’t. Why go, when you could summer in Margate? Don’t give them the satisfaction of your interest, your money.

Only, the fans of Manchester City have. Britain’s most up-and-come Premiership soccer club followers have reportedly rallied to the flag, the flag of Dubai that is. So happy are they about the scads of oil wealth that have pumped up their formerly failing kickabout enterprise with a plethora of hugely well-paid immigrant talent, that doubts are being raised on their Forum or whatever about Hedges.

It appears from what they are saying, that he must have been a spy after all.

And indeed, that is what the Emirati are saying. An official described Hedges as “50% PhD student, 50% businessman and 100% in the service of British intelligence”, claiming Hedges was trying to get information on the uptake of technology in the state – odd, since presumably one only had to look at the shopping lists they regularly send us.

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

Anyway, the BogPo has detected one curious anomaly. In Hedges’ supposed “confession”. The BBC reported, he had claimed to be “a captain in MI6”. MI6 of course does not operate a system of military ranks, unlike the Russian GRU. Was this perhaps a piece of false information Hedges had inserted before disappearing forever into a Dubai dungeon, to draw attention to the absurdity of his statement and the compulsion under which it was made?

I doubt we shall know, as the detail has not subsequently been much mentioned, other than on the trite satirical BBC panel show, Have I Got News For You. Which I am sure is watched by many MI6 officials.

For a more cogent briefing on what to expect if you fall foul of the Emirati, go to:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/23/justice-uae-dubai-british-academic-matthew-hedges

 

Our vanishing world

Let’s pause for a second to pay tribute to John Allen Chau.

Okay, second over. This brainwashed American booby bribed some Indian fishermen, now being held in custody, to ferry him within kayaking distance of the shoreline of North Sentinel, one of the Andaman islands now owned by India. He stepped ashore brandishing his waterproof bible (the pernicious evangelical movement has thought of everything), singing hymns, and began immediately trying to convert the natives to Christianity, proferring gifts of a pair of scissors, some fish, and a soccer ball, according to his diary – all his grieving mother has left of him.

Was ever Jesus bartered so cheaply? Mr Chau wrote: “Lord, is this island Satan’s last stronghold where none have heard or even had the chance to hear your name?” And that, after 200 years of occupation by the British! These awful prodnoses not only need their heads examining, they need to be taught a little history.

The Sentinelese, as the tiny community of aboriginal tribespeople are called (because nobody knows what they call themselves) enjoy special protection, their numbers having been decimated by years of contact with the trigger-happy, disease-ridden Raj. Outsiders are forbidden by law from landing on the island. The authorities are now pondering what to do about collecting the remains of Mr Chau, perfunctorily St Sebastian’d with arrows and buried on the beach.

The Twittersphere’s verdict? Basically, good riddance. Retailing the tragic story, however, the Washington Post reminds us, Mr Jair Bolsonaro, the newly elected fascist President of Brazil, and a dead-ringer for Rudolf Hess, the Nazi war criminal, has a manifesto commitment to tear up the agreements permitting Amazonian tribes – roughly 100 are left – protected access to their reservations, as he licences more vast areas of the rainforest to be cut down and burned to make space for his business cronies to grow more soybeans to sell to China.

Mr Bolsonaro’s religion is, of course, money – lots of it. He was elected on a platform to end corruption. Why do voters fall for this bullshit every time? It is the best argument I know against extending the franchise to the common people, who do not, as the theory goes, possess even one ounce of native wisdom or percipience when it comes to the horrible bastards they regularly put in power in the pathetic belief that “strong leadership” will save them from the hopeless condition in which they are kept by the very same lying politicians they noisily support at election time.

It’s acknowledged to be one of life’s mysteries, why they do that.

 

Okay, BBC, get over it.

So you’ve discovered women.

Not only is veteran newsreader and Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce slated to take over from Dimbleby at Question Time, and the entirety of Radio 2 being presented by Zoe Ball and Sarah Cox, we now have perky standup, Lucy Porter “guesting” on R4 as presenter of The Now Show in place of Hugh Dennis.

But behind every successful woman there’s a little man, they say… the main writer’s credit still goes to Steve Punt.

 

“The efforts of King Cnut spring to mind.”

There is no hope whatever of surviving this

Anyone fancying that we can change our way of life just in time to prevent the coming Age of Extinction events needs to imagine that they are Mr Andy Southern, a resident of Bath Spa.

An elegant, compact Georgian city in the West of England, Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is being eaten away by pollution. Laid out long before the arrival of the horseless carriage, it sits in a hollow depression, where trapped traffic fumes contribute to a noxious atmosphere in which thousands of residents are suffering from asthma and other lung conditions. And Bath is a traffic nightmare.

The surrounding topography makes the construction of a bypass problematic. Solutions such as tunneling under the city are ruinously expensive. And so, on the direction of central government, that has legally binding emissions targets to meet, the council has proposed introducing a £9 a day charge; creating a low-emissions zone for diesel vehicles, just as there is in London, to help cut down toxic Nitrogen dioxide and micro-particulates; also, the pernicious Sulphur dioxide which, when combined with rain, is eroding the soft sandstone out of which the city was made.

Naturally, there is massive local oppostion to the proposal. Quoted in The Observer, one interviewee among many to voice similar sentiments, Mr Southern says:

“I have a diesel car that will fall foul of this. It’s going to cost me £2,200 a year. I agree we need to improve air quality but this scheme will hit families like mine.” (Guardian)

I agree we need to improve air quality but this scheme will hit families like mine… precisely encapsulates the irresolvable dilemma that is condemning the majority of species on earth, including our own, to extinction; certainly within 100 years, although the process has already begun, is fast speeding up and no-one knows how quickly the web of life and human society could collapse. Some scientists give it less than the next decade.

If you agree we need to improve air quality – I imagine Mr Southern has children – then what the fuck else does he suggest we do, than force diesel car drivers off the road? I’m sorry he can’t afford to switch to a car that runs on unleaded, I can’t either. Even that is not going to save us. He and I need to stop driving altogether and switch to public transport (I can no longer sit a bicycle saddle, thanks to an enlarged prostate). You do too.

But we won’t. Not until we’re all dead.

Bizarrely, in Washington the Trump administration is frantically backpedalling on its own 1400-page report, compiled from contributions from over 300 government scientists, that points in great and specific detail to ever-advancing environmental destruction, food shortages and huge economic damage from chaotic weather patterns and rising seas, toward a 2100 timeline for the end-time.

The response from the White House?

“The White House said the report – compiled with help from numerous US government agencies and departments – was inaccurate” (BBC News). A Trump person spokesplained that it fails to take into account the as-yet unproven assertion that technology will provide the solution just as long as we go on exactly as we are.

Having met with some skepticism toward Lyin’ Sarah’s version, the WH later amended its opposition to claim that the report’s conclusions were based on a worst-case scenario. They weren’t. Quite the opposite.

Meanwhile Trump continues to double-down on his fatuous denials, hailing the sharp arrival of winter in the eastern United States last week as evidence of his theory that climate change is probably a hoax, and if it isn’t it will soon reverse itself. This is a story that is apparently believed by 47% of Republican voters.

A “hoax” that was presumably therefore perpetrated way back in the 1880s when atmospheric warming by CO2 was first demonstrated and has persisted in secret among tens of thousands of scientists from many different disciplines and in many different institutions in dozens of countries, who have been warning us ever since, to no apparent purpose.

The efforts of King Cnut spring to mind.

With these petro-cretins in charge – the claim that the report is “inaccurate” is based on no evidence whatsoever, let alone scientific evidence – and with the prevailing social attitude – also evident in France, where popular riots have followed a proposed increase in fuel duty – that: “I know we have to change, but it will hurt me personally so I’m not going to”, there is no hope whatever of surviving this.

 

GW: Slip sliding away

Vietnam: Typhoon Usagi is just crossing the Vietnamese coast, Saturday 24 Nov., headed for Saigon. To the north, Typhoon Man-Yi is weakening as it approaches the Japanese islands, but the Philippines is threatened by a frontal system bearing torrential rain.

USA: Death toll in the Camp Fire that incinerated the town of Paradise now standing at 84, with 475 still unaccounted for. 14 thousand homes were destroyed. Torrential rain has turned the ash to sloppy concrete making the search for more bodies difficult. Warnings are out for mudslides on steep slopes denuded of tree cover. The fire is now 95% contained; the Woolsey Fire around Malibu to the south of LA is also nearly out, 1100 people still under evacuation orders and 3 confirmed dead.

Update 25 Nov. : the Camp Fire, deadliest in California’s history, is finally out.

This weekend marks the 68th anniversary of the great Appalachian snowstorm that dumped 64 inches over Coburn Creek, Pennsylvania between 22 and 28 November, 1950. Winds in New Hampshire gusted to 110 mph. The temperature in Pellston, Michigan fell to minus 23 F (-30.5C). “A curious extreme occurred in Virginia: the state’s monthly high in November 1950 of 90° at Buccs Island Dam on the 2nd and low of -3° F at Burkes Garden on the 25th were respectively the hottest and coldest temperatures ever measured during November in Virginia.” Between 160 and 350 people died. (Christopher Burt, Wunderground historian, proving that extreme weather is not always the product of a changing climate.)

Australia: “Australia’s east is facing a weather double whammy with both an unprecedented heatwave and flooding rains as two systems roll across the country. Cairns sweltered through its hottest day ever recorded as the mercury peaked at 41.3C. The forecast comes as bushfires punish Queensland with … an out-of-control “monster” blaze focused on the state’s central coastal area. Hundreds of residents have fled their homes.” (News.com.au) Meanwhile an atmospheric phenomenon, known as a gravity wave, has appeared over Melbourne. 100 mm of rain is anticipated in central New South Wales.

Bangladesh: Village women on the coastal margin too poor to afford the bribes to obtain building plots further inland are suffering a higher rate of miscarriages which, researchers believe, are caused by increasing salinity in their drinking water as rising sea-level displaces their fresh water sources and pollutes their crop-growing areas.

Europe: “Excessive” rainfall was again forecast for parts of SW France, Italy and the southern Balkans over the weekend. 4 tornadoes were confirmed touching down around Cortone in Calabria and up into Puglia on the afternoon of the 25th, video showing they were alarmingly large, causing significant damage, and produced several “big hail” events.

UK: A revised forecast from the Meteorological Office suggests that by 2070, summer temperatures across Britain will range from 0.9 to 5.9 degrees hotter, with a 1-in-2 chance of a summer as dry and hot as 2018. Average summer rainfall is predicted to be up to 47% lower. It’s amazing what you can come up with while playing pin the tail on the donkey.

Dust: What’s your preferred color? A huge wall of gray dust has engulfed the city of Zhongye in northwestern China, driven off the Gobi desert by strong westerlies. Sydney, Australia was choked with orange dust from the outback at the weekend. More red dust is to be found on Mars, where the latest NASA mission, the Insight Lander, was due to touch down Monday evening (26 Nov.)

Advertisements

The Pumpkin – Issue 68: Who do they think they are kidding?… Bunfight in the dorm, chaps… Finding one’s way… GW: ah, but you may as well try and catch the wind

Quote of the week

“Everything is going according to plan. I don’t know whose plan it is, and I think that it’s a really stupid plan, but everything is going according to it anyway.” —  Dmitry Orlov

 

PS We value your privacy. We haven’t the slightest idea who you are but we will just as soon as we’ve plastered cookies all over your hard drive and stolen your Contacts file. #Iaccept.

 

 

“These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Next question?”

 

“…they are symptomatic of the contemptuous gangsterism that is threatening the already tenuous security of the world.”

Who do they think they are kidding?

The extraordinary hypocrisies of Mr Trump and his Arab buddy, bin-Salman, are squeezing the world into a parallel universe through a wormhole in reality.

On the one hand, Mr Salman has branded as “a heinous crime”, the absolutely grim torture and murder of a mild-mannered opponent, actions for which he knows perfectly well he was directly responsible. He is, in his own words, a heinous criminal. But one so powerful, none dare say so other than himself; he cannot be held to account by lesser mortals; and thus, he must be innocent of any wrongdoing.

On the other, Mr Trump has whipped his supporters for months into a frenzy of frothing hatred against a cast of heinous baddies inhabiting a parallel universe he has created from absurd lies; direct abuse that has inevitably resulted in a co-ordinated attempt on the lives of his victims. And now he is blaming the media, the “enemies of the people”, for twisting his innocent words in such a way that it has “divided the nation”, which he piously hopes will now come together as one under Trump.

It is simply astonishing. Who do they think they are kidding? Neither man is willing or able to take responsibility for their barbaric words and actions; but instead finds a way to gloat over them instead. Both are straight out of the Mafia playbook: “Fascist Dictating for Dummies”.

These infantile denials are an insult to the intelligence, of course. They will appeal only to the thickest and most brutish elements whom they hope to recruit. But they are symptomatic of the contemptuous gangsterism that is threatening the already tenuous security of the world.

Clearly to the Prince, his goons Skyping their filthy deed, the cries of the victim as he is chopped into living pieces, back to the palace, his divinity is such that he cannot possibly be responsible for the crime for which he is responsible. The heinous crime was carried out by those lower down the chain of command. Once responsibility reaches him, it is no longer a heinous crime he can brand as such, but some kind of administrative detail.

Clearly to the US president, like his mobster heroes a degenerate creature of ratlike cunning and fathomless stupidity, of whom the best that can be said is that he is not thought to have actually killed anybody, he bears no responsibility either for the act of brownshirt terrorism his stunted rhetoric has unleashed. It is not even terrorism, because that would require adherence to the Islamic faith rather than to the prescriptions of Mein Kampf, but a “terrorizing act” which he thoroughly condemns.

“Will nobody rid me of this turbulent priest?”

In 1170, the English king Henry 11 cried out in frustration over the political opposition of his former friend. His bodyguards took him at his word. They rode from London to Canterbury cathedral and hacked Archbishop Thomas à Becket to death on the steps of the high altar. When he realized what his words had done, Henry set off to crawl to Canterbury on his knees.

That’s what you have to do, you see, when you take responsibility for a heinous crime.

It is, after all, the legitimate party of Democratic opposition that is the criminal entity, the ‘angry mob’ that seeks to destabilize the peace and unity of the nation over which Trump benignly presides; and their evil sponsor, the Jew Soros, who is paying a ‘caravan’ of Honduran refugees fleeing an intolerable State created for them by successive US regimes (no-one has yet thought to mention the increasingly frequent floods), a dollar apiece to smuggle a hundred Isis fighters into the USA; many under the age of five.

Over in the Philippines, meanwhile, Mr Trump’s hero, the squalid thug Duterte, has recently been speaking of his regrets over certain actions in his life, while continuing the policy of encouraging his barbarous goon squads to go out and murder common drug addicts, over three thousand of whom have now died. Mr Duterte confesses to having personally murdered some people, we aren’t told who. But he regrets that, obviously. These Catholics.

The only honest actor in all this has been Mr Putin. He has openly refused to condemn anything that has gone on, which is good, because he has his own litany of grubby expediencies to account to himself and his God for.

Do these men of modest intellect and great cunning seriously imagine we are taken in by their self-serving nonsense? Of course not. The crocodile tears they weep over the misguided actions of their alter-egos, that are invariably the fault of others, critics, subordinates, the media – us – are not intended to engage our sympathy or to make us feel somehow better about the crimes they are busily committing against humanity.

They are instead meant to reinforce the image of untouchability which their power conveys upon them. To intimidate and silence us.

Being as they are so far above the law; a place, incidentally, where we stupidly put them, there is no crime they cannot commit, no excuse they will not get away with, tongues firmly in cheeks, to retain their iron grip on the money.

And so we move toward new and more terrible crimes even the blood of Christ is not going to be able to wash away.

 

“That’s all right, your highness, it’s just a bit of blood. My husband Philip can mop it up later.”

Bunfight in the dorm, chaps…

There’s an end of term feeling about the British contingent in Brussels and Strasbourg. They’ll have to be out on the street, clutching their binbags, by 29 March next year, to avoid running into parliamentary elections – you know, democracy. They still have that in Europe, I’m told.

Several thousand in all, including the civil servants. Where will they go? What will they do? How will they live? Will they have to sleep under the railway arches, all now owned for £1.4 bn by rapacious US hedge fund, Blackstone Corp.? What will be the effect on waiting times in Casualty? Will they steal our jobs? Empty the food banks? How will we accommodate all those “remigrants”?

Answers on Question Time, please.

Having campaigned for years to destroy the parliament, a large cohort of UKIP MEPs attended a meeting yesterday about their terms of severance and were delighted to learn that any who had been members of the Parliament since 1999 (yes, Brexit cretins, we were heavily represented in the EU! It was not an “unaccountable” body of foreigners straightening our bananas, as you were led to believe, it was a contingent of unaccountable Brits) would be eligible for six-figure compensation packages.

As well as long-service, their packages will also be dependent on their actual turning-up-and-voting record.

“The Ukip voting average is brought down by the party’s former leaders Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Farage has attended 40% of roll-call votes, the worst voting record of all British MEPs at the European parliament.” (Guardian)

Yes, even Nuttall managed to attend 52% of the debates. And that’s an accurate figure, not one of his.

Now, my philosophy, for what it’s worth, is that if you are going to respect someone and look to them for leadership, it might as well be someone who truly deserves your loyalty, not some shitty loudmouth con merchant dressed like Jeremy Thorpe. That just lowers you in everyone’s estimation, eventually your own.

Because, of course, those payments amounting to several million Euro will be coming out of the money you didn’t realize we were going to have to continue paying, to meet our obligations to the EU during the transition period.

Your money – and the NHS’s. What were you thinking?

Farage, however, may be obliged to return all or some of that £150 thousand reward for his slimy treachery, his bolshy, loutish behaviour in the chamber, and shameless profiteering on expenses. Compensation is contingent on MEPs being unable to find alternative work, and Farage is said to have trousered around three-quarters of a million pounds since 2015 just from speaking engagements, TV appearances and his shit phone-in on LBC.

And you thought he was a great bloke, “one of us”, you poor boobies.

Just wake up, you’re still being conned.

 

Finding one’s way

I know they’ve had a few problems with wildfires in the Napa Valley, but I really must comment on how pisspoor American wine is.

It’s like they make it for babies.

I’d vowed to swear off the red stuff for a night or two, prior to my long, partially-sighted drive back to a place I’ve visited every year for the past three years, for musical purposes, and still I can’t work out how to get there.

Yes, yes, Google maps, etc. I’ve been shown fifty times how to set that up on my cellphone, and fifty times I’ve failed.

Eight o’clock approaches and I’m anxious to get my lamb cutlets under way, but the old demon, my inner alcoholic emerges. Surely, just one more night won’t hurt?

And off we traipse obediently to the garage store, where the only Cabernet to be had that doesn’t look like it might be novichok is something called The Original Dark Horse, being possibly a veterinary sample; and, gritting my teeth, I swipe £9.25 off my card, knowing I can get this stuff for less than half that price at the supermarket a mile away, and head home, a “bold wine with a big personality”, made personally by Beth Liston, in hand.

Does this stuff have sugar in it? I can’t read the ingredients, maybe grape juice?

I’ve not packed yet.

x

GW: ‘ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind’ – Donovan

“7 of the 10 strongest landfalls in recorded history have occurred since 2006” – Wunderground

Marianas: Reports are coming in of massive damage done to the northern Mariana islands, a US dependency, that took a direct hit from 180 mph supertyphoon Yutu yesterday, the equal-most powerful Pacific hurricane of the current crowded season. We know of only one death so far, but “little has been heard” from outlying islands. No doubt somebody will eventually explain to the moron-in-chief that these are US citizens, but at the moment the mayor of Tinian is warning that with the port out of action it may take many months to restore electricity. The day before the typhoon, the temperature at Guam International Airport hit 93°F – the hottest October temperature ever measured on Guam. (Dr Jeff Masters, Wunderground)

Hawaii: East Island, a remote spit of gravel and sand that sat atop a coral reef, has vanished under the sea after coming into contact with Hurricane Walaka, an intense storm that surged past Hawaii earlier this month. Scientists have confirmed the disappearance of the 11-acre island after comparing satellite images. (Guardian, 24 Oct). The loss removes an important breeding ground of the Monk seal. Never mind, 11 acres is about the size of the new bit of land added off the shore when Mt Kilueia erupted throughout May, June and July.

Australia: A “gigafire” south of Broome, NW Australia, has consumed an area of 2.2 million acres, among the largest wildfires ever recorded anywhere. There are no reports of casualties – such a sparsely populated region, they have only 100 firefighters available. Spring in Australia has abnormally high temperatures already and the long-range forecast gives 80% chance of a much hotter than average summer – given that last summer was the hottest recorded. Sea temperature off the east coast (Gt Barrier Reef, e.g.) is up to 5C above normal. (Robert Fanney webcast/Dr Jeff Masters)

Mexico: the better-publicized “Hurricane Willa slammed into a sparsely populated section of Mexico’s Pacific coast near Isla Del Bosque, Sinaloa, around 9 pm EDT Tuesday as a Category 3 hurricane with 120-mph sustained winds. Thousands of people were evacuated. The remoteness of the location meant that the worst damage was relatively confined. There were no immediate reports of deaths or missing, authorities were still trying to reach several small communities near the coast. There was no word from officials on conditions at the Islas Marias, which were struck directly while Willa was at Category 3 strength.” (edited from Wunderground)

Trinidad and Tobago: suffered their worst ever flooding event after a tropical wave passed over on the 24th bringing torrential rain.

Europe: Outrageous weather is forecast for many places early this week, with a mixture of torrential rain in the Balkans, massive snowfalls in the central alps, snow in Spain and Portugal, cyclone-force winds gusting 150 k/h over Sardinia, severe thunderstorms over Italy’s east coast, a huge Saharan dustcloud pushing northwards, all accompanied by “unseasonal warmth”in the Mediterranean and across north Africa. (Severe-weather.eu)

The Terminal Beach…

Yellowstone: Steamboat #24 confirmed (25 Oct); ground uplift and shaking continuing; more superheated water comin’ up.

And, says the Blessed Mary, the USGS spectogram service – internet-available charts showing rising magma, gas releases and ground motion – has been shut down without explanation, following a substantial increase in sulfur and CO2 releases.

UK tree con

Announced in Mr Hammond’s budget, 29 Oct., “more than 10m trees will be planted across England with the injection of £60m of new funding over five years, as part of what the government billed as its ‘drive to preserve the country’s greenery’. The bulk of the money, £50m, will pay landowners for planting trees that lock up carbon, which observers said raised questions over how accessible those woodlands would be to the public. That fund, the Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme, should pay for 10m trees.

So the Tories’ landowning friends get a £55 million cash bonus! It costs approximately 50p each to buy whips in bulk. Most won’t survive, the prospect of more stands of fast-growing, money-making spruce is worrying on all sorts of environmental grounds, and the optimism of the Woodland Trust in imagining these little trees in their first few years are going to be sequestering a sufficient volume of CO2 to make the slightest difference to “climate change” makes you wonder who is conning whom?

Cloud story

It’s a bright sunny day in late October. Off on the horizon is a band of heavy looking cumulus. The sky otherwise is blue, with just some worn-looking shreds of cloud and vapor trails – it’s a busy day for aviation. Out of the cold NE wind, it’s quite warm.

I observe a cloud formation outside my window. With the frame as a reference, I notice the cloud does not change its location in the sky for about an hour. Yet, it is being steadily eroded by the wind. By the time we get back from our walk the cloud has been worn away almost to nothing but is still identifiable from its unchanged outline, and it’s still in exactly the same place in the sky.

On our walk I notice a small ‘blobby’-type cloud appearing low in the north, out of a blue sky. It grows and becomes more dense. We walk on about 30 yards and I look up again, to see the cloud has completely vanished; evaporated. On the way back, on exactly the same stretch of roadway I see that another small cloud has appeared in the same part of the sky. By the time we have walked on about 30 yards it too has disappeared. About five minutes later the same thing again: cloud appears, cloud disappears.

God is up to his old tricks again.

High-level winds rip a cloud to shreds but the cloud doesn’t move in the sky. Can you explain that?

Brexit: with Doomsday fast approaching… GW: “Blow, blow, thou Winter wind” (in September!)… All aboard the Skylark!… Coming to the boil… The magic ball.

Great Quote of the Week!

“They persecuted Jesus, and look what happened!”

– Bill Cosby’s publicist, on his client’s 3-10 year sentence for serious sex offences.

 

“And I tell you, guys, the water, ocean water, was up to here… You never saw so much water! And there was a boat, such a great boat… they didn’t know whose boat… I’d like a boat, but the water…”.

Brexit: Doomsday fast approaching

Oh dear. The National Farmers’ Union is not really a workers’ Union, it’s about the most conservative bunch of wealthy muckspreaders you can find anywhere: our equivalent of the NRA. Even they’re warning that Britain’s farmers won’t be allowed to export any produce to the EU for at least six months in the event of our crashing out of the lucrative market with no deal, while new licensing arrangements are negotiated. That and the immediate ending of EU farm subsidies would put many farmers out of business, although the cows might welcome it.

Their warning comes on top of the Government’s own admission that nothing has been done either about the EU’s Open Skies policy, that permits free movement of commercial flights between member countries, so nobody will be flying to or from anywhere in Europe come April Fool’s Day, 2019. That could include transfer passengers to or from anywhere in the world hubbing at Heathrow for European destinations. Oh dear. You’ll need a neck pillow and some bottled water.

The EU passport scheme for pets travelling between countries will also be off the books, with a likelihood that separate controls will have to be reapplied to prevent the spread of rabies, meaning animals without a relevant inoculation certificate can be quarantined for six months, at a cost of several hundred pounds a week. Four months’ notice will be required before travelling following each inoculation, so don’t imagine you and poochie can just pick up and go.

That’s the caravanning market decimated.

There’s a question mark, too, over Britons hoping to take up residence in an EU country, as both Hungary and Italy have imposed much more severe controls on immigration that could well apply to British nationals; especially brown ones. In Hungary, it would even be illegal for a lawyer to advise you on the immigration rules. Not that you’d be mad enough to want to live there. And political parties are rising in France, Germany, Austria that also have decided views about brown people.

Car manufacturers are getting nervous. Apart from small niche firms like TVR, Morgan and Caterham, there is no longer an indigenous British car manufacturing industry: all our car plants are owned by garlic- and sushi-munchers: Peugeot, BMW – VW, who own our prestigious Rolls Royce marque – India (Jaguar-Land Rover), Kuwait (Aston Martin) or Japanese manufacturers Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

Several have already put workers on short-time. Ford said in July it will consider closing its two remaining UK engine plants, both of which are in towns where the majority of people voted to leave the EU. Ford stopped making passenger cars in the UK in 2002.

Without a deal, these foreign-owned mass manufacturers won’t be able to export their UK-made cars to Europe and vice versa. They’ll be sad to go, because our workforce was the most efficient in the world. As for the “just-in-time” parts market, scattered all over Europe and beyond, the only possible outcome is total chaos.

Cars will be piling up on the docksides and in the fields. (Alamy.com)

The food industry, too, has warned that delays of just half an hour in Customs control at the new borders, bound to happen at the peak holiday periods, already does, will send one in ten UK suppliers spinning out of the game.

The BogPo has been warning about this sort of consequence since long before the poor deluded dumbfucks voted out. Sadly, they don’t read me. (Although, after a week averaging two viewings a day, we had 33 yesterday. Get with the program!)

Meanwhile, the prospect of anyone doing a trade deal with Trump’s America is fast receding as he simply does not believe in free trade or internationalism, and made that quite clear at the UN summit. America’s greatness will rise again in a climate of serene isolation, protected by his beautiful tariffs, his wall, his Muslim ban (we have Muslims here. So many! Who knew?) and his crushing charmlessness, free from the taint of Obama’s lousy deals. So weak.

Things are indeed so appallingly worrisome, that Mrs May has had to appoint a Minister especially to ensure we have enough of everything, come Doomsday. Or, as she put it in New York yesterday: “That’s why we’ve been looking at this concept of the economy of the future, to make sure we have those building blocks in place that are needed post-Brexit.”

Exactly, you need to plan for food riots.

David Rutley, a former Asda and PepsiCo executive, was handed the Ministry of Everything brief at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs earlier this month. Who knew it? And why the secrecy? Was it to keep it out of the news until after St Theresa’s rude awakening in Strasbourg last week?

“There has been a level of naivety that people can stockpile food, which is completely impossible and shows a misunderstanding of how the supply chain works. We would welcome someone genuinely informed and engaged”, said a food industry spokesperson, between forkfuls. Why, what is poor Mr Rutley going to do about it if it all goes pear-belle-Helène shaped? Are we supposed to eat him?

And yet the Great Masturbators: Johnson, Gove, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey, Jacob Rees-Mogg, tortoise-headed Iain Cunting Smith, that fanatical German immigrant woman, the DUP; ambitious Steve Baker and the incomparably dense Bernard Jenkin, plus a coterie of swivel-eyed Brexshit lunatics: Empire Loyalists, proto-fascists, other Express readers, John Redwood, certifiable misogynist Peter Bone (formerly named Britain’s Meanest Employer), ramblin’ Bill Cash and the like, are still sticking their fingers in their ears and chanting “Nya-nah, can’t hear you!” as they march off into the sunset, waving their little flags and whistling cheerily as the darkness falls.

Hush my darlings, ’tis only Project Fear.

Better take a packed lunch.

Be on the safe side.

Beware The Wolves of Wall Street

“Theresa May has been put on the defensive over Brexit at a business summit in New York after a leading chief executive asked her to explain the possible risks of Britain’s departure on future investment, saying: ‘How bad can things get?’ The question came from Steve Schwarzman of asset management firm Blackstone.” (Guardian, 26 Sept.) He described Brexit as “a little daunting”, and asked May about what he said were the risks of a change of government in the UK.

Now, let’s not get carried away, crying salt tears for the global investment community. Mr Schwarzman (see Post passim) is a canny operator undaunted by complex matters, a billionaire of course, head of a spinoff from the BlackRock Corporation, the world’s largest asset management group (that pays former Chancellor, George “eight jobs” Osborne £650k a year for a day’s free lunching, most weeks), who is on record as claiming that his investors can benefit mightily from the uncertainties caused by chaotic events such as Brexit.

He really doesn’t care what happens so long as he has the inside track enabling him to hedge his bets on the markets imploding or, irrational as it may sound, soaring on the news of No Deal.

“Things” can get as bad as Theresa and the Tory right damn well like, he’s going to make his billions either way.

That’s all the meeting was about: gathering intelligence.

Something this “government of all the chancers” is sorely lacking.

Underneath the arches

“Last week, Blackstone paid £1.5bn for thousands of commercial spaces underneath Victorian railway arches in the UK.” (Guardian).

Well, we’ll have to live somewhere.

Milk Brexit, or Plain? Either way, contains nuts…. (“Cadbury stockpiles ingredients in case of hard Brexit”. Guardian, 11 Sept. Photo: Shutterstock)

 

GW: “Blow, blow, thou Winter wind” (in September!)

Japan: Wunderground UPDATE, Tuesday 25 Sept: Trami was updated to Category 5 status with the 5 pm EDT Monday advisory from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), with top sustained winds of 160 mph. Trami now qualifies as a super typhoon.” A northward change in track means Trami will probably not now hit Taiwan but instead pass directly over the Ryukyu islands of Japan, such as Okinawa, before turning again to target the main island of Honshu as a less powerful but still nevertheless potentially devastating storm. Another one!

Wednesday update: Trami has weakened to a 155 mph Cat 4 as it is moving so slowly it has churned up a lot of cold water from depth. It may re-strengthen later over SST at 84F, although wind shear is picking up to its north and may inhibit growth. Still on course for Japan. (Wunderground)

Caribbean: Tropical Depression Kirk appears to be the next threat, taking a southerly track out of the Atlantic, although it has weakened slightly with sustained winds of 35 mph. “If the models are correct, high wind shear and dry air should be able to destroy Kirk’s circulation just before or soon after it arrives in the Lesser Antilles Islands on Thursday. However, Kirk may still be capable of trouble in this scenario, as the storm could pack tropical storm-force winds and dump heavy rains of 3 – 6” in the islands, causing flash floods and landslides.” (Dr Jeff Masters, Wunderground)

Tunisia: At least 4 people have died in flash floods in northern Tunisia over the last few days. 1 person was swept away by floods in Takilsa, another in Bir Bouregba and 2 people near Bou Argoub. 197 mm of rain fell in Nabeul on 22 September. Tunisia’s Ministry of Agriculture reported a record-breaking 297 mm of rain fell in Béni Khalled in 24 hours to 23 September. Roads, bridges and homes were damaged and vehicles swept away.” (Floodlist)

Nigeria: Nearly half a million people are currently affected by flooding in 8 states of the country. At least 108 people have died, with a further 192 injured. As of 24 September (after a month of rains) there were 141,369 people displaced by the floods. There is an urgent need for food and non-food relief items. (edited from Floodlist)

Ghana: “Long-term heavy rainfall combined with water releases from the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, have caused severe flooding in northern Ghana over the past few weeks. At least 34 people have died. The country’s northern regions have all been affected. Local media reported that as many as 100,000 people have been displaced.” (Floodlist)

Mexico: “At least 7 people have died and 8 are missing after flash flooding in the state of Michoacán on 23 Sept. 58 mm of rain fell on Peribán in the space of 2 hours, causing the Cutio river to overflow. Cars, trees, mud and debris were dragged along streets. At least 100 homes were damaged.

In the state of Sinaloa, “storms brought heavy rain and severe flooding from 19 September, 2018. Severe weather was caused by the passage of Tropical Depression 19-E. 359 mm of rain fell in Los Mochis in 24 hours to 20 September. 3 dead, 60,000 without power and 150,000 affected by interruptions to drinking water supply.” (from Floodlist)

USA: “A broad area of low pressure (98L) was located about 300 miles south-southwest of Bermuda on Sunday afternoon (23 Sept). Conditions were favorable for development. The low was expected to track to the northwest towards North Carolina during the next few days, with the center passing very near Cape Hatteras Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. On this track, 98L could bring unwelcome rains of 1 – 2” to portions of eastern North Carolina ravaged by Hurricane Florence’s extreme rains a week ago.”

Meanwhile, “Subtropical (now Extrasubtropical) Storm Leslie continued to amble across the remote central North Atlantic, awaiting more dramatic developments to come later this week.” (Wunderground)

In the eastern Pacific, way off Mexico, Tropical Storm Rosa packing sustained winds of 65 mph and gusting to hurricane-force 85 mph seems to be making a north-eastward turn toward the coast of California. Moody’s Analytics estimates that Hurricane Florence caused around $44 billion in damage and lost output. (CBS News)

Greece: “Models are confirming the development of an intense Tropical-like cyclone / Medicane, named ‘Zorbas’ in the Ionian sea this Friday, Sept 28th. While still many uncertainties are present, high resolution models are picking up a very intense cyclone bringing even hurricane force winds into the region. Dangerous, life-threatening flash floods will also be possible across southern Greece this weekend.” (severe-weather.eu)

“An associated sharp and intense cold front will rapidly move towards east-central Europe, across the Balkan peninsula and (into the) Mediterranean through the next 3 days. Much colder weather will spread across the eastern half of the continent, while west/southwest Europe remains under a strong (highest pressure recorded since 1953) ridge and heatwave.” (39C in southern Spain, 38C in Portugal – 100F – to persist all week.) (severe-weather.eu)

 

“Why Americans always seem to believe climate change only affects them is the result no doubt of their insular exceptionalism and abysmal geographical knowledge…”

All aboard the Skylark

Millions of Americans are expected to become ‘climate refugees’ in the coming decades as their coastal homes and communities are already experiencing sea level rise.

Some cities are abandoning whole neighborhoods, razing their valueless housing to the ground, as people move out and each high tide brings more sewage-contaminated flooding. A very small number of the worst affected communities have received grudging federal funding to shift in their entirety to higher ground. But will that continue?

In a Guardian Environment special article, Oliver Milman writes that the exodus is already beginning:

“…the cost of doing this for all at-risk Americans would be eye-watering. Estimates range from $200,000 to $1m per person to undertake a relocation. If 13 million people do have to move, it seems fantastical to imagine $13tn, or even a significant fraction of this amount, being spent by governments to ease the way.”

Especially as Donald Trump’s madcap scheme to create a space “army” is costing $13 billion in its first five years.

Milman cites a number of sources:

“‘I don’t see the slightest evidence that anyone is seriously thinking about what to do with the future climate refugee stream,’ said Orrin Pilkey, professor emeritus of coastal geology at Duke University. ‘It boggles the mind to see crowds of climate refugees arriving in town and looking for work and food.’

“Pilkey’s new book – Sea Level Rise Along Americas Shores: The Slow Tsunami – envisions apocalyptic scenes where millions of people, largely from south Florida, will become ‘a stream of refugees moving to higher ground’.”

Maritime Miami – high tide brings regular flooding, as Trump rows back coastal zoning regs and defunds flood insurance.

Why Americans always seem to believe climate change only affects them is the result no doubt of their insular exceptionalism and abysmal geographical knowledge, but Milman points to wildfires, megastorms, water shortages and dustbowl conditions returning to the midwest as further spurs to migration; and suggests that many people arriving at the Mexican border from southern Central America are in fact climate refugees.

He doesn’t explain how we’re going to feed everyone as land available for growing food shrinks and the heat outpaces the ability of science to create tolerant crops. Maybe the Evangelicals have a solution for that?

By 2050, Pilkey reports, up to 300 million people worldwide will be displaced by intolerable living conditions. Abrupt climate change does not feature on his horizon, however: he imagines there will still be Americans living, who will have to migrate northwards by 2100 – if they can afford it.

Meanwhile rising sea levels aren’t featuring on Trump’s unique radar either, as among measures he’s already signed are a rollback of Obama-era regulations on building developments in flood-prone areas and the defunding of the Federal support program for coastal dwellers who can’t get insured. Oh, and taking $10 million out of the FEMA budget to pay for more internment facilities for South American refugees’ confiscated children.

Yet he has ordered the building of higher seawalls at his links golf courses.

What a putz that man is.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/24/americas-era-of-climate-mass-migration-is-here

 

Yellowstone: 22 Sept: Steamboat geyser (biggest in the park) erupts for the 20th time this year (normally once or twice in a year if at all), and for well over an hour. Other dormant and new geysers popping up, chucking rocks; mud pools superheating, quakes swarming, vegetation dying, sulphur gas rising, ground pulsating, cracks appearing, data disappearing; park management closing areas to visitors.

Could it be? Surely not. It’s done this before, in 2003. Only…

 

Coming to the boil

“…the lake, about 20 football fields in size, looked as if it was boiling. Its waters hissed, bubbled and popped as a powerful greenhouse gas escaped from the lake bed. Some bubbles grew as big as grapefruits, visibly lifting the water’s surface several inches and carrying up bits of mud from below. This was methane.”

“Katey Walter Anthony has studied some 300 lakes across the tundras of the Arctic. But sitting on the mucky shore of her latest discovery, the Arctic expert said she’d never seen a lake like this one.”

Exploration revealed the gas was mostly coming from vents in the shallow karst lakebed, indicating some deeper reserves possibly linked to the fields of methane craters observed in northern Siberia (and on Mars, a dead planet):

“…in some locations, permafrost soil, and its characteristic wedges of embedded ice, also sits atop ancient reserves of fossil fuels, including methane gas. So as the Arctic warms – which it is doing twice as fast as the rest of the Earth – these gases could be liberated into the atmosphere.”

In other words, we can add a new threat to the anticipated 50 gigatonnes outgassing from seabed methane hydrates as the shallow East Siberian Arctic Sea warms without its summer ice cover (The colorfully named “methane burp”). The already scary implications of thawing tundra – billions of tonnes of rotted vegetation from the last ice age, giving off CO2 and methane as it heats – could get a lot worse, as the permafrost appears to be sitting on potentially huge pockets of methane dating from the carboniferous era, and once it goes…. kaboom!

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/arctic-lake-methane-alaska-gas-esieh-video-a8553666.html

Arctic News (“Sam Carana”) reports (24 Sept):

“Mean global methane levels were as high as 1.91 ppm (1910 parts per billion) on the morning of September 20, 2018, at 293 millibar. This is a level unprecedented in human history and far exceeds the WMO-data-based trend. Temperatures look set for a steep rise within years, as we now are fully in the danger zone.”

The graph shows 10C of warming is a possible worst-case scenario (including from feedbacks such as methane releases and wildfires not taken into account in the IPCC’s watered-down reports) by 2026; implying almost complete species extinction.

So we don’t have to worry about sea-level rise.

 

CO2 news

“In order to prevent further warming, carbon dioxide levels must not grow any further. … There is absolutely no hint in the data that this is happening. On the contrary, the rate of growth is itself growing, having now reached about 2.3 ppm/yr, the highest growth rate ever seen in modern times (e.g. 10,000 years – ed.).

“This is not just a “business as usual” scenario, it is worse than that, we’re actually moving backward, becoming more and more unsustainable with every year. This shows unequivocally that the efforts undertaken so-far to limit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are woefully inadequate.” – Paper: “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Growth Rate” by Carl Edward Rasmussen, 14 Sept 2018 (with minor edits for his English)

Rasmussen also comprehensively demolishes any notion that there was a pause in the growth rate between 2002 and 2016 (e.g. Keenan, and others, 2016 “Recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 due to enhanced terrestrial carbon uptake”) which he says is based on a misreading of the data.

(Abstracted in Arctic News, 24 Sept.)

 

The magic ball

Like many a dog, Hunzi’s passion is chasing a tennis ball.

But he sometimes loses them.

He used to lose them by going into the river to cool off. He’d put the ball down on the water while he slaked his prodigious thirst. Until one day he discovered one of the key principles of hydrology and twigged why his ball was on its way to the seaside. He leaves them on the bank now.

He used to lose them by dropping them on the footbridge and watching helplessly while they rolled away under the guardrail into the water below. He listened carefully to my explanation, with gestures, and now he puts the ball down at the start of the bridge and lets me carry it over for him, if I remember.

He learned about gravity by putting the ball down on a slope where it would run away into the long grass below, while neither of us was looking. Now he makes sure it runs toward me; but anyway he has got much better at finding balls in the long grass and pulls off the most amazing-seeming rescues.

But as yet he hasn’t figured out what happens when he does his thing of not catching the ball cleanly, which he can do, but knocking it up excitingly in the air with his big nose. The footpath has a chainlink fence on one side, and a steep drop into a flood pit on the other. Both sides are infested with dense thickets of brambles, from which even if you can see it, a ball is non-recoverable.

He gets really upset when I refuse to throw a ball under these particular sets of circumstances, along the difficult foorpath. Looking back over his shoulder pleadingly, he will run into obstacles, tread in other doggies’ doodoo and even when we make it to the road, get hit (gently) by cars.

Often, I don’t want to pick up his horrid ball anymore, it’s all cold and slobbery and covered in shit and mud, the way he likes it. And so is my hand. Yergh! So I kick it along the path and he refuses to chase it, finding an interesting p-mail to read and reply to instead.

But if I don’t have his ball, and he doesn’t have his ball, he never believes me. I show him my empty hands, my car keys, my phone. Go on, he says, I don’t believe you. You’ve made it invisible somehow but I know you have it and I expect you to throw it!

So the other day we lost a ball down the brambly bank; and the next day we lost the other ball over the chainlink fence – there’s another steep bank behind there too. And that was the end of the balls. Or so I thought.

The next day he stopped at the chainlink fence and got all excited, and it seemed the wind had blown in the night and the ball was now resting on the ground just behind the fence, and I was able to prise it out.

About a quarter of a mile on, however, it vanished again, into the long grass by the cycle path behind the supermarket. I’m not an accurate thrower, I have hypermobility in my throwing shoulder.

Also, I’ve been looking at clouds a lot lately, they seem different somehow.

Neither of us could find it by sight or smell, and it was already disgusting anyway, so I made him walk on. Just forget it!

Our yellow tennis balls especially for dogs have an inbuilt squeaker Hunzi originally worried about, thinking he was crushing a puppy, but now he likes to make it squeak. And the word ‘KONG!’ printed on them in boldface caps, although he may not know that.

So we were nearing home about three quarters of a mile later, and there, lying right in the middle of the footpath, was a yellow tennis ball. It squoke, and had the word ‘KONG!’ printed on it. Where had it come from? There were no other dogs around.

A magic ball!

Naturally we were both delighted, me because I didn’t need to go to Cheap Charlie’s and buy more. That’s as far as my pleasure went: it was cold and slobbery and covered in mud, the way he likes them. But I threw it anyway, for old times’ sake.

Today, sadly, my throw was off again and it’s in the middle of a patch of ground-elder, where neither of us can find it.

For now, obviously.

 

Ad hic

Are you worried about what THEY know about you?

Just now, I had to enable ads on a page in AccuWeather after they moaned and groaned about my AdBlocker, and was astonished to see that this US-based website owned by IBM was pitching me cheap hotel accommodation in North London.

That’s because, ten days ago, I did a quick lookup on Trivago to see if any hotels were near to where the jazz school I go to in France every year was having a Christmas session, and decided in the end I probably wouldn’t go as the only option was a total flophouse.

Yet here they were, offering me a cut-price deal on what was already a cut-price roomrate. Forty quid? In London? You probably had to share a bed with a couple of scrofulati, I don’t know, I wasn’t about to find out. Waste of the advertiser’s money.

Worse

Worse, you know if you have Gmail, the pointless design makeover they just had, you now get three instant reply options, where you click on the most appropriate and it sends an auto-message, saving you the bother?

Well, I was “talking” to a guitar dealer about possibly getting hold of a rather expensive instrument he was advertising on a sale-or-return basis, and said I would have to go into town to arrange a transfer at my branch.

And the very first auto-reply option that came up was ‘I’ve transferred the money to your account’….

The fuckin’ algorithm is reading my email content.

So who else is reading it? If I go back to AccuWeather in a day or so, is every dealer in fuckin’ Britain going to be selling me expensive guitars?

Are my kids going to take the piss as they think I’m crazy buying guitars? They’ve never heard me play!

Is anyone I owe money to going to call me up and say, hang on a minute, buddy, we wuz ‘ere first?

This is a private matter! It’s none of Google’s effin’ business.

Beam me up, Scotty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pumpkin, Issue 60: Lawful investigation? You’re fired!… Fore!… GW: boil, roast or fry, there’s more’n one way to cook a planet… Doomsday machines.

Yes, The Pumpkin is back after its summer vacation, with more great whatever for you!

51% of Republican voters now believe the media to be “the enemy of the people”. 52% of Republican supporters polled were not concerned that Mr Trump’s criticism would lead to violence against journalists. 23% of Republicans, and about one in eight Americans overall, believe Mr Trump should close down mainstream news outlets like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Quinnipiac/Ipsos polling, 16 Aug. (BBC)

Goldsmith: “We cannot, as a party, rightly and robustly criticise the leader of the opposition for his attendance at this (pro-Palestinian) conference while allowing the attendance of a Conservative peer at the same event to pass without comment or complaint. To do so would be to indulge in hypocrisy and double standards.”
BoJo (for it is he): “I couldn’t have put it better myself!”

 

“Fuck the law! I don’t care about the fucking law. I want my fucking money….”

Lawful investigation? You’re fired!…

More interesting developments in the Trump obstruction of justice inquiry:

“Rachel Maddow shows the prevalence of classified intelligence in the Trump Russia investigation and notes that the people Donald Trump is threatening with having their security clearance revoked are those who would need that clearance to testify for the investigation.” – MSNBC TV – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXTy99W8jsw

You may recall, there’s been some debate about whether President Trump has been technically and unlawfully attempting to throw a spanner in the works of the FBI and Special Counsel inquiries into possible ‘colusion’, as he spells it, by his campaign team with Russian attempts to influence his election.

Prime suspicion of malfeasance fell on the Orange Slug himself after he fired the FBI’s director, James Comey in May last year. First, he said it was because Comey had shown political bias against Hillary Clinton (no, honestly…) but then in a notorious ABC interview he said it was because of the Russia thing that he wanted to make go away.

And that’s what he also told Russian Ambassador Kislyak in a meeting at the White House, that he was now free of that problem.

In the meantime, his National Security advisor, Gen. Flynn, had been fired after admitting lying to the FBI about his failure to disclose his PR activities on behalf of the Russian government, and was rumored to be about to turn State’s evidence against the Trump campaign.

And Trump then embarked on a painfully obvious bid to try to discredit the Special Counsel investigation under Bob Mueller, and to get that closed down, sparking much speculation that he feared it would get too close to the financial affairs of himself and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

His weedy campaign of Sunday tweets has involved trying to brand the inquiry as a Democratic plot, conveniently ignoring that Mueller and most of his team are lifelong Republicans; and pretending that Mueller’s resignation ten years ago from membership of a Trump golf club over a fee dispute amounts to a conflict of interest.

We then had to reconsider the equally notorious meeting with an unofficial Russian delegation at Trump Tower on 9 June, 2016, in the light of new evidence concerning a plainly false version of those events that seems to have been concocted between Trump and his then press advisor, Hope Hicks, aboard Airforce One.

That was a bid to exonerate son Donald Jr and divert attention from the question of what Trump Sr might have known about the meeting beforehand, held ostensibly to commission “dirt” on the Clinton campaign. The presence of Manafort and two “former”Russian intelligence officers also with extensive experience of laundering money through offshore vehicles suggests other possible avenues of inquiry.*

Trump subsequently doubled-down on his attacks on the New York Times and other mainstream media that had reported on it; attempting to force the US Postal Service to increase its charges for Amazon deliveries, lying that they offered a loss-making discount, in a bid to damage Amazon boss Jeff Bezos over adverse reporting in his well-regarded  Washington Post newspaper.

Since then there have been a number of indictments in the Mueller probe against former Trump campaign officials, including against a list now of 26 Russians or Russian companies strongly believed to have been involved in hacking the Democratic National Convention, phishing attacks on voter rolls, arranging illegal campaign contributions and stealing emails from Clinton and her senior campaign people; with or without the knowledge and agreement of the Trump campaign and possibly the candidate himself.

Yet Trump continues to try to pretend that there was no Russian interference, and if there was he personally had nothing to do with it; to suggest otherwise is a “witch hunt”, and does not intend to do anything about it, despite all agencies reporting that the attacks on the US electoral system are continuing.

There has been a clear tendency on the part of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, a nasty little claque of anti-American Republican traitors led by Sen. Devin Nunes, a man who looks and acts as though Trump has his children chained to a radiator in a basement somewhere, to attempt to take down the officers involved in the investigation one-by-one, while also mysteriously refusing to confront the ongoing problem of Russian dirty tricks.

Who are they working for?

Last Friday they claimed another scalp in the shape of Peter Strzok, a senior FBI officer who had foolishly insulted Candidate Trump ages ago in a frivolous series of emails sent to a colleague he was having an extramarital affair with, thus proving that the much later investigation of the Russia thing was all a fake news Democratic witch hunt, or whatever Trump whines it is against him personally.

Strzok just happens to have been the head of the counterintelligence unit at the FBI that investigates and keeps tabs on some 45 Russian agents in America, known in spy parlance as “sleepers”, individuals strongly suspected to have been active in planning and carrying out Putin’s disruptive agenda. He has also strongly hinted to a Congressional committee under oath that he possesses information relevant to the Mueller probe.

Coincidence? Making adverse remarks about a presidential candidate who goes on to win is hardly a sacking offence, nor unique one supposes among officials; many ‘Never Trump’-ers are now inside the tent pissing out, and he had already accepted a disciplinary suspension.

This smacks of Trump’s infantile vindictiveness; but is also more disturbing, in that once again, it serves the Putin agenda to weaken the investigation and the institution of the FBI.

One Russian, Maria Butina has already been arrested, allegedly having infiltrated the National Rifle Association and arranged a $30 million “dark money” pipeline via the NRA to the Republican campaign; but it’s thought that without Strzok at the helm, the Russians will have a clearer field to mess with the November midterms and the 2020 Presidential election.

(A minor adjunct then to suggestions that Trump’s entire foreign policy agenda, particularly towards NATO, is being driven from the Kremlin, so useful is it to the ex-KGB puppetmaster.)

And, as Rachel Maddow points out on her influential MSNBC news show, his scalp virtually concludes a clean sweep against senior FBI officials who were named by the former director under oath as witnesses to a key telephone call from Trump, which Trump denies making, that Comey immediately minuted as having contained a clear and illegal order to drop the investigations into Gen. Flynn.

Five of the six witnesses, plus Strzok, have now been fired or forced to resign after being reassigned to lowlier positions and are presumably no longer in a position to testify against the President’s version of events.

Together with his increasing tendency to exclude even the head of national intelligence, Dan Coats, from the decision-making loop on matters the President himself defines as being of “national security” interest, such as the threats to take back security clearances from former CIA and FBI officials (which he has now carried out in the case of his fiercest critic, ex-CIA head John Brennan) the evidence of Trump’s growing authoritarianism and confidence in his more outrageous actions against his own administration throws an ever-darker shadow.

What is he up to, and at whose bidding?

Alongside Trump’s not entirely successful efforts to pack the District Court benches with supine placemen, many of them completely unqualified, and now a chance to nominate a second ultra-Conservative judge to the Supreme Court; plus a renewed Twitter campaign of bullying insults against Trump punchbag, Attorney-General Sessions, and the entire Justice Department, it appears that the Republican hierarchy is quietly gnawing away at the softer parts of the system.

Their aim is blatantly to undermine any future attempt to indict the President on charges of which he insolently demonstrates more guilt with every cretinous tweet that streams from beneath his tiny thumbs; every inarticulate tirade.

Even his counsel, the increasingly bizarre Rudy Giuliani, now seems to have abandoned any attempt to defend his impossible client, instead adopting the curious posture in media interviews of admitting with a lopsided flash of his atrocious false teeth, yep, he did it, so what?

The depth of corruption in the Trump era was luridly revealed in email evidence during the first trial of his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, on (amongst others) bank fraud charges.

The prosecution alleged that – under some pressure to repay money to a Russian oligarch he had defrauded – Manafort had obtained a $10 million loan he couldn’t pay back from an obscure small bank, apparently on the understanding that the CEO would be offered a senior post in the cabinet should Trump win. A further email was introduced, in which Kushner, having been asked to shortlist the manager – seemingly a preening, self-regarding booby – for the possibly lucrative post of Head of the Army, replied “On it!”

Added to the alleged slush-fund operated by Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, acting as a gatekeeper for privileged access to the White House while paying-off Trump’s former mistresses; the financial shenanigans while in office of Trump cronies like Carl Icahn and Wilbur Ross, the blatant corruption of Environment agency director Scott Pruitt; as well as Trump’s many egregious breaches of the Emoluments clauses of the constitution, his nepotistic appointments – the revelation that Kushner and Ivanka Trump had made over $80 million between them while supposedly in the employ of the government – and the sense is, this kind of thing is just the tip of the iceberg.

Yet the problems of proving Trump’s documented links with Russian organized crime and his apparent subjection to foreign influence pale by comparison with the intricate question of how to prosecute such crimes when they are committed by the incumbent of the sacred office of President. Americans are complete idiots, aren’t they, when it comes to the grovelling respect they show to their profoundly fallible institutions.

As The Pumpkin has mentioned several times before, it seems likely that a spoiled brat brought up with Mafia figures around the family table, who has specialized all his shitty life in getting away Scot-free with appalling, borderline criminal dealings – where necessary buying off or intimidating claimants – a mob boss in all but name, is not going to go down easily, even to an avenging-angel type like Mueller.

We may have to go on filling the news agenda with Trump, and more Trump, for a long while yet.

STOP ALL THE CLOCKS….

*THE PUMPKIN SCORES a palpable hit! New story in The Guardian, 18 Oct., reports that Trump’s would-be Russian development partner, Aras Agalarov, whose son Dmitri was instrumental in setting up the Trump Tower meeting,  transferred $19.5 million via a low-or-no tax Delaware vehicle set up for the purpose, under conditions of anonymity, to a bank account in the US, triggering FBI interest:

Revealed: Russian billionaire set up US company before Trump Tower meeting. Aras Agalarov, who attended the meeting with Donald Trump Jr in June 2016, formed a shell company (in May) with an accountant who has had clients accused of money laundering and embezzlement … Mueller is looking into such activity and whether any of the money involved could have been used to fund Russian meddling in the US election, which Agalarov denies.” http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/18/russian-billionaire-aras-agalarov-company-trump-tower-meeting

The Pumpkin has been bogling and Commenting for months on the number of money-laundering experts – sorry, “investment management consultants” – at that meeting, on both sides. Why else would Kushner and Manafort have attended? It’s all about the money.

x

Fore!

A clue to Donald Trump’s bluff demeanor is being overlooked by many commentators, if not all.

He plays golf.

More than that, he is addicted to it.

He is probably the worst player in the world for all I know, playing off a handicap of 103, maybe, and it’s said he has been known to cheat! I don’t know how, nudges the ball into a better lie when no-one is looking, drops a new ball when he’s lost the last one in the rough and doesn’t count it as a penalty stroke, or just lies his fat head off about his scores, most probably all the time. (Yes, Reader, I used to do those execrable things too…)

“Climb every mountain…” Trump in dogged pursuit of golfing excellence.

He hasn’t quite got to the stage where, like President Kim Jong-un of North Korea’s father, Kim Jong-il, it is said of him that the first time he ventured onto the golf course, he scored eight holes-in-one. But the day cannot be far off when Lyin’ Sarah is sent out to solemnly inform the press corps that the President has broken par.

So addicted to the Scottish game is President Trump, that he has spent in the region of $80 million dollars of taxpayers’ money on playing golf virtually every three-day weekend since his inauguration day. Naturally he plays at his own resorts and then sends the bill for the food and accommodation and hire of golf carts for his large security detail and personal entourage to the Treasury, netting a helpful profit in the process.

It is somewhat at odds with his boast on the campaign trail that he would be the hardest-working President ever. (In fact he works less than four hours a day, including lunch.) It demonstrates a certain hypocrisy, too, since he so frequently criticised his predecessor for being absent on the golf course. Trump has played many, many days more golf in a few long months than Obama managed in eight years – and for free.

In addition to hacking around a course, he also likes to own them. According to his sons, Trump receives huge sums of money from the Russians to build and manage golf courses all over the world, usually at a loss, and to add those tacky resort hotel facilities with fake Time magazine covers of himself framed on the walls, for which huge membership fees are charged to further line the Presidential pocket. Research shows, a round of golf at Trump Turnberry will set you back £375, compared with about £20 on a public course.

(Not only is he a golf bore, he is completely insane. Now read on…)

According to the indefatigable Wikipedia, there are only nine golf courses in the whole of Russia, so Russian investors probably have other motives than the promotion of a healthy outdoor activity involving a little white ball, a bag of sticks, a slave and 18 infernally difficult holes over a four-hour walk round a field. The clean, fresh air of the golf course can do wonders for the color of your money. Well, not actually yours….

But it’s not the playing of the game, so much, to which I allude.

It’s rather the players, and their casual political attitudes.

There’s currently a debate raging about Trump’s insolent behavior toward all groups of people other than his own, a group which largely consists of himself: especially women and minorities, whom he regularly stoops to insult on a personal level. Such suburban conservative attitudes are familiar, are they not? And in the modern way, come under the blanket accusations of racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny.

His somewhat basic, unreconstructed political philosophy sparks the kind of outrage one might reserve for the clubman in the blazer, all shiny buttons and loafers, propping up the bar at the 19th hole, well into his fourth double G&T, loudly voicing his lofty and disparaging opinions about foreigners, immigrants, Chinese imports, the PC brigade, environmentalist tree-huggers, queers, benefit layabouts, uppity women and uppity n-words; the absurdity of regulation and the unfairness of rich people having to pay taxes, just like poor people, of whom there are far too many and whose breeding habits should be discouraged.

To such a man, having left “the missus” at home playing bridge with her dried-up friends, when sufficiently in his cups women become pigs, dogs and other animals; servants a lower form of life; employees treacherous leakers; friends and allies ripe for disparagement; enemies fit for ridicule and name-calling – the club committee ripe for cronyism and corruption.

(And of course, when the time comes to pay the bill and be poured into a taxi, he will have left his wallet at home.)

As is the way, more witnesses are coming forward with tales of the horrible things Trump says in private; especially when backstage on the set of his tawdry reality TV show, The Apprentice. To add to the “Omarosa tapes” (look it up), magician Penn, politically engaged Libertarian half of Las Vegas cabaret act “Penn and Teller”, who unwisely took part in one episode, says Trump bandies vile racist and sexist slurs around the studio all the time; describing him as “capricious” and “petty”. (PS 07 Nov, Trump’s former bagman, Michael Cohen, has also admitted to this flaw in Mr Trump’s character.)

Give such a man, such a saloon-bar bore with his trite opinions on show, his uneducated, bombastic and short-sighted solutions to solving the problems with which he sees the world – i.e. himself alone – beset, mainly by Lefties; hand him the terrifying and complex power of the Presidency of the world’s greatest military and economic empire; surround him with fawning acolytes and incompetent, venal satraps, and his dull-minded prejudices, now unquestionable, grow like a cancer until he is all purulent, tumorous matter.

“Quick, more Factor 50!” California burning.

GW: boil, roast or fry, there’s more’n one way to cook a planet

France: 1 missing, 1600 evacuated as rivers overflow in southern departments after 100 mm of rain falls in 1 hour. Meteoalarm, 18 Aug: Corsica threatened with Orange-level “damaging” thunderstorms.

Italy: “About 30” (now 38, 5 missing) including at least one child dead after the Morandi autostrada bridge in Genoa collapses during heavy rain. Police reported a violent cloudburst. “It was just after 11:30 when we saw lightning strike the bridge,” eyewitness Pietro M all’Asa was quoted as saying. “And we saw the bridge going down.” – BBC News.

Portugal: near-record temperatures, major wildfire at Monchique, other fires… and in Spain around Alcantara, where temperatures reached 43C. While in the Austrian Tyrol, and southwards into Serbia, violent flash floods followed intense rainfall around the 6th Aug.

UK: remnant hurricane Ernesto arriving as a minor Tropical Depression.

Canada: parts of Toronto are flooded and two passengers rescued with moments to spare from a rapidly filling elevator as up to 120 mm of rain falls in 1 hour. Over in British Columbia, almost 600 wildfires have reduced air quality over thousands of square miles to a “10”, i.e. the worst possible.

Mr Trump has blamed the Canadian logging industry for US wildfires. Because of cheap imports: “we have fallen trees, and instead of removing those fallen trees, which get to be extremely combustible, instead of removing them, gently removing them, beautifully removing them, we leave them to burn.” he said. (Global News, 18 Aug.)

He is as mad as a box of frogs.

Turkey: 10 August, 1 dead reported in a landslide in the north as flooding causes major infrastructure damage in Ordu province.

(All above from Floodlist, 13 Aug.)

India: “At least 20 people have died in the state of Kerala in south west India after torrential rain triggered floods and landslides from 08 August, 2018.” Update: “Local media reported 5 more fatalities between 14 and 15 August, bringing the death toll to 44 since the recent spate of flooding began a week ago.” Further update: 17 Aug. death toll now exceeding 320. “Heaviest rainfall in 100 years”.

Flash floods and landslides in Kashmir and Jammu kill 4 “after at least 19 people died in the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh”.

Between 8 and 12 people were swept away and 45 stranded by a flash flood at a scenic waterfall in Madhya Pradesh, after a sudden surge of water due to heavy rain upstream during the afternoon of 15 August.

(compiled from Floodlist reports)

In neighboring Myanmar: 12 dead, 150 thousand displaced by monsoon flooding; thousands of acres of crops lost. Hanoi, Vietnam – floods. Yulin City in China was hit by a powerful storm on 7 Aug, with widespread flooding amid a Red alert from the authorities. 100 mm rain fell in 3 hours. In the north, 8 people were killed by floods in Baiyin City when their cars were swept away. (CEWN #133)

Korea: North and South still experiencing record 40C (104F) heatwave. Nighttime bringing little relief with temps still over 30C all night. Heavy crop losses reported in North; 30 dead in South.

Australia: Almost 80 fires were burning along the New South Wales coast on Thursday, 15 Aug, having ripped through more than 1,000 hectares in recent days. No lives or homes were in immediate danger. (BBC Weather. It’s the middle of winter!)

Wheat harvest down by 50% as a result of the worst drought for decades across NSW and Queensland. Mini winter heatwave in NW around Perth gives way to rain and snow.

“A new study says the rate of rainfall in Australia during thunderstorms is increasing twice or even three times beyond expectation, and much faster than would be expected from global warming.” – Floodlist, citing Climate News Network

More than 30,000 people were evacuated from municipalities in southern Colombia, after heavy rainfall between 11 and 12 Aug. In Mexico, the city of Chimalhuacan was inundated on 15 Aug. following torrential rain. Island of Grenada: torrential rain, floods.

USA: California records its hottest July month in 124 years of record-keeping. Many areas suffering unbreathable air quality as a result of fires. Sea surface temperatures exceeding 80F (26.4C).

“A locally intense heat wave atop long-term warming has pushed the San Diego area into atmospheric and oceanic territory unseen in human memory. The first ten days of August have seen overnight lows hovering in record territory night after night. Meanwhile, the surface of the Pacific Ocean near San Diego is warmer than anything observed in more than a century of recordkeeping.” – Bob Henson, Wunderground

To add to the huge Carr Fire, the Mendocino Complex Fire has rapidly spread through 285 thousand acres near Los Angeles and is still not controlled. Firefighters arriving from Australia and New Zealand to help.

Meanwhile the eastern US is enjoying yet another band of heavy rainstorms moving up from the south, a cold-weather pattern that has remained virtually unaltered all year and caused extensive flood misery:

“Flash flood watches have been issued for all of eastern Pennsylvania, some southern tier locations of central New York, New Jersey, northern Maryland, eastern West Virginia and far northern Virginia, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Harrisburg and most New Jersey suburbs of the New York City Tri-State area. … isolated extreme rainfall totals could occur”.

Florida meanwhile has declared a state of emergency over an unprecedent infestation that coastal residents say stinks and causes skin allergies. “Red tide” is a naturally occurring algal bloom caused by Karenia brevis that forms in marine water. The algae make the water toxic for marine wildlife. (The Weather Channel)

President Trump has blamed California’s environmental laws for reducing the amount of water available to fight fires, although firefighters say that’s not the case; Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, has blamed environmentalists for opposing the cutting down of trees, although that policy was pushed through by the timber industry.

You get the leaders you wish for.

The Weather Channel’s fire map is showing an uncountable number of wildfires burning all across Brazil and central South America; all contributing to the global carbon overload.

Pacific: 115 mph Typhoon Soulik aiming for southern Japan/Korea. Cat 4 (140mph) hurricane Hector losing strength as it heads northwestwards in mid-Pacific, 350 miles south of Hawaii. Not exected to make landfall. Some possibility of Tropical Storm Lane, now strengthening to 125 mph Cat 3 or 4 hurricane, brushing the Hawaiian islands.

Arctic: global methane levels, averaging 1898 ppb, peaked at 3048 ppb on 6 Aug and much is coming from the Arctic regions. Sea temperature off Svalbard island was 22C, 69F – 16.4C higher than the June-August average between 1981 and 2010. Overall, the Arctic has warmed by 5.7C since 1880. (Arctic News)

World: Wildfires and extreme weather events around the globe just in the past few weeks are estimated to have cost hundreds of billions of dollars in insurance claims. Sweden alone is believed to have suffered $100 billion fire losses; German farmers have taken a $3 billion hit; the possibility of a breakdown in food transportation post-Brexit is overlaying a droughtfall in UK agricultural output as grain prices are already rising; the largest ever recorded in California, the Carr Fire is still ablaze near Redding and the cost to date is estimated at $1.5 billion.

“The month of July was marked by record-breaking heat, deepening droughts, and destructive wildfires in areas all around the globe,” said Michal Lorinc, an analyst within Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight team. “Nearly every major continent recorded some type of peril impact that will lead to a major cost to agricultural interests,” he added.

(Insurance Journal)

(Additional reports from Climate & Extreme Weather News #132, #133; MrMBB333 blog.)

Hitting the buffers…

After more than a year of heaving up anything from 20 to 70 earthquakes a day, Yellowstone has fallen silent, which is worrying in itself, as that’s when the experts say you need to worry. The Blessed Mary Greeley observes that the Utah university seismometers are showing a lot of fresh magma intrusion and possible signs of outgassing in the Lake area at the heart of the caldera. She’s worried too. As is the USGS warning tourists about rising poisonous gas emissions.

On top of everything else, your old Granny W. speculates, why not?

 

Doomsday machines

A totally terrifying report from OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, forecasts a rise in consumption of 12 million barrels of oil a day from the present 100 million, by 2040. The increase will mostly come from the number of petrol and diesel fuelled cars doubling to 2.4 BILLION; and from increases in airline travel.

One barrel of oil produces a little under 120 kilograms of carbon when burned. So not allowing for other fractional production, plastics and fertilizers, e.g., which will doubtless also increase massively over the same period, that’s going to be 13.4 billion Kg of carbon – 1.34 million tonnes – released to the atmosphere every day, 365 days a year; not including other sources of carbon emissions such as forest fires, agricultural burning, warming soils, etc. and CO2 from decaying methane from melting permafrost, seabed deposits and animal husbandry.

Oh, and we haven’t mention coal, which OPEC predicts will also be burned in “record amounts” as India and China continue to industrialize.

The load is way more than the ‘carbon budget’ for the next 21 years, that would allow the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to remain stable, assuming we haven’t found a way to extract really significant quantities by then, and a means to neutralize or sequester the gas. 2 to 4 degrees of warming is already built-in to the existing model, that will cause irrevocable changes in our already fragile geopolitical landscape, largely through threats to all avenues of food production.

As Arctic News’ Sam Carana points out, there is no carbon budget; we’re already overdrawn at that bank.

The report of the report makes no mention of OPEC even beginning to understand the dire consequences of their profligacy.

Dear Ivanka Trump, just who the hell are you?… The Amesbury Horror… Scorched Earth Policy: turning America into the shithole of the world… GW: gettin’ sick of weather “experts” and their feeble excuses… Lies on a Summer Night… End Times: Can we have the bill, please?

Forestuff

“…they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.” – (The Guardian, 23 July)

– Technologist, Dr Douglas Rushkoff, describing a bizarre “conference” he was very well paid to speak at, that consisted of just half a dozen worried billionaires sitting around a table seeking answers to profound questions concerning their own survival as the new master race. 

Readers of this, muh bogl, might kindly recall that we Posted some time ago a Long Essay about the survivalist ambitions of the money-breathers. Made most of the same points, I think. Can’t remember when, doesn’t matter. Here’s the link: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/23/tech-industry-wealth-futurism-transhumanism-singularity

 

“you must surely realize in the still of the night that you have no qualification whatsoever to make policy on anything other than your own cheapjack fashion empire?”

Dear Ivanka Trump

Just who the hell are you?

With your preposterous sense of overentitlement, your absurd, deluded “first family” arrogance, you have announced that, in view of the failure of your fashion brands owing to your dad’s unpopularity, you have decided to shut them down (at the expense of many poor Chinese workers’ jobs) and concentrate instead on making long-term policy for the government of the United States of America.

The insouciance is simply breathtaking. You were never elected to anything!

The trophy wife of a slimy, chronically overgeared property developer – himself the teenage son of a criminal fraudster and convicted blackmailer, a squalid, rack-rent corporate landlord desperate for money – as pretty as you once were, you must surely realize in the still of the night that you have no qualification whatsoever to make policy on anything other than your own cheapjack fashion empire!

With the greatest of respect, Ivanka dear, you know fuck-all about running the world, let alone your local precinct, whose name you don’t know. You have never run for office, or hosted a town hall, or counseled a homeless mother of two trapped on opioids!

You may have been there, Davos and places, met world leaders who are running rings around your sad old dad, be best budz with Wendi Deng; but you haven’t yet earned the T-shirt. And if you imagine your demented ignoramus of a father who wants more than anything to fuck you has any greater depth of knowledge of anything other than borderline criminal activity, hatred of America and the most stunted and brutal, self-defeating, outdated economic theories since before Mr Glass met Mr Steagal, well, then you know even less than I imagine.

As the daughter of America’s most catastrophic President in history, the total phonus-balonus, a bullying, blundering incompetent elected by fraud on a minority vote, another bankrupt business failure with a history of murky dealings involving organized crime, an elderly bloviate clearly suffering in the advanced stages of dementia, who needs medical help more than constant praise, you have lost all sense of proportion.

This is surely the apotheosis of the celebrity culture, when the population, so brainwashed by the vapid outpourings of the little social media devices babbling in their ears and on their screens, devices whose aggressive marketing has created an elite claque of slave-owning “tech billionaires” living in a bubble of their own paranoid reality and shareholder greed, that they no longer have any sense of what’s relevant or material, permanently enslaves itself to total mediocracy.

Government by fourth-rate nonentity TV ‘stars’. it had to happen, I suppose, since the common people have little else to compare them with and are not educated to know that there are no easy answers to the most complex problems of our age.

Just check-out the latest Trump speech, in which he fervently urges his dumbfuck supporters not to believe anything they hear or see, other than what he tells them is happening: his nightly re-imaginings of reality in 280 characters or less…. It’s terrifying; the self-contradictory outpourings of a drowning man, the King Over the Water so far out of his depth in the job it has rendered him insensible to all externalities; his personal mythology a kind of mental prolapse, a turning inside-out of the theory of how to do stuff without shitting out your own bowels.

What we are facing is a world in which the “survivors” of Big Brother and Love Island, Trump’s Apprentice; the Kanyes and Kims and other “whodey?s” of popular fantasy, are accorded exactly the same status as the patiently trained politicians and diplomats, the ingenious industry leaders and studious philosophers, the Nobel prizewinning scientists and rectitudinous University deans, when it comes to understanding and managing evermore complex world events: trade, manufacturing, diplomacy, agriculture, technology, climate change, war… unless they are available to your superficial nostrums entirely divorced from context and complexity.

I mean, like, Palestine, Syria, Facebook, the markets – how hard can they be? You just say what you want to happen, and hey presto!

Merely because they have been made into celebrities through sophisticated marketing to produce fully exploitable robotic figures who now – what – by virtue of their ubiquity have a claim to rule in the political, industrial, academic and scientific spheres, the intellectual space, because – what – knowledge, experience, wisdom, intelligence, maturity and deep education count for nothing anymore, so divorced are they from the median student of life and her Twitter feed?

It’s the political victory of the liberal arts over the empirical sciences, in the CP Snow analysis.

Are we now saying that Kim Kardashian would also be an ideal President of the USA, merely because she has been promoted by astute and cynical showbusiness mavens to cult status through emphasizing the prodigious size of her buttocks? Is that even a serious thing? Do you know, women are dying from having stuff injected in their asses to make them look like this fabulous confection, this useless and pitiable drain on our shrinking resources – this cultural prostitute?

Kardashian appears to have no other talents, apart from being the daughter of one of the celebrity advocates of the wife-beater and probable murderer, OJ “The Juice” Simpson, having married an inexplicably popular and unreliable “rap” artist whose philosophical gibberings rival those of the footballer, Eric Cantona, for sheer banality. (And that, of course, is the whole point of her appeal to millions of aspirant teens – you don’t need anything more to succeed beyond your own wildest dreams, provided you keep your ass in shape and buy the product. To hell with the suicides.)

Are we being asked from now on to accept that some permatanned genius like one of the indistinguishable Kardashian sisterhood couldn’t possibly do a worse job of fucking up the planet than Trump, given an adequate marketing push? While trashing classical culture with the other hand? the made-for-TV Taliban?

Is he the benchmark for future Presidents whose executive powers will be limited to deciding what to call their latest range of vacuum-packaged, mail-order steaks? (And then languidly reach out an arm to blackmail another small state before returning to the matters in tiny hand, the construction of a policy tweet, the guzzling of a cheeseburger.) Whose Twitter followers outnumber the stars in the galaxy? Whose YouTube makeup videos suck in millions of dollars in advertising to desperate kids with normal adolescent blemishes?

Fortunately, this whole horror show is winding up as the planet heats beyond human endurance. We have eight years left.

Ivanka Trump’s latest commercial venture, concentrating on making policy for the future of the Free World, in which incidentally you and I will struggle to live, even if she survives for a while longer in the Presidential bunker (yes, a golfing metaphor too!), is going to have to cope with some pretty difficult conditions in the next few years.

The BogPo only hopes she’s vain and stupid enough to lead us out of the wilderness into the sunlit uplands of vacuous commerce and superficial expertry, if only by accident.

x

Sucker berg

But maybe all is not lost!

“Facebook shares tumbled on Wednesday after the social media network’s revenue and user growth fell short of investor expectations …. 2.23 billion monthly active users at the end of June … was up 11% compared to 2017 – the slowest growth in more than two years.” – BBC Business

The biggest ever single-day drop in a company’s market value, Facebook lost another $119 billion Thursday. The Zuck is personally $16 billion lighter tonight. He won’t be going out!

Hold on. You mean, 11% more suckers are still signing up to Zuck’s college scam, regardless of being told repeatedly what Facebook really is and how it exploits them?

Okay, maybe all is lost.

 

“…what are we talking, ‘Poison, by Dior’? ‘Collusion, by Trump’?”

The Amesbury Horror

So, Russian nerve-agent victim Charlie Rowley recovered consciousness, and has explained to police and subsequently the media what happened. It isn’t as the BogPo speculated last week, an extended conspiracy: Rowley and poor Dawn Sturgess turn out to have been almost exceptionally ordinary people, two recovering addicts caught in the social care system, it was incredibly bad luck they found the package, but it’s equally intriguing.

The Guardian writes:

“The man poisoned with the nerve agent novichok has claimed the substance that killed his girlfriend and left him critically ill came in a perfume bottle that was sealed and wrapped up.”

So, the police have cleverly concluded, it can’t have been from the same batch as was used to try to assassinate the double-agent, Sergei Skripal in Salisbury last March. Really? Why not?

The obvious inference is surely that the same batch was split across two or more similarly disguised containers; it would not be an over-imaginative ploy, to smuggle the agent in a perfume bottle of the kind you might bring into the country, say as a duty-free purchase on a commercial flight; and to ensure that if one attacker failed, the other would get through.

There’s more than one!

Now, clearly, if (as the Russian disinformation campaign has tried to pretend) the poison had come from an illicit batch on a shelf at Porton Down, retained in defiance of the international rules on chemical weapons by the devious British for spies presumably with romantic inclinations, it wouldn’t have been in a wrapped and sealed perfume bottle.

Unless it’s kept on a shelf of pre-mixed 1980s compound nerve agents heavily disguised as duty-free goods for handy use in any circumstances. (One certainly hopes Ryanair or whoever weren’t pushing it to passengers by accident.)

But if the assassin/s arrived on a flight, probably via somewhere else, from Moscow, surely it was the perfect method of getting the poison into the country. And if it was convincingly sealed and wrapped, then the most likely explanation is that some agency with the sophisticated ability to refill, seal and cellophane-wrap a perfume bottle in such a way as to make it undetectable and not suspicious to Customs could be responsible.

And, a thought – why split the batch? Well, any container of liquid over 100 ml would be confiscated at Security.

So the Guardian expert’s weird speculation suggests that the media don’t have a clue:

“…if Rowley is correct about the perfume bottle being boxed and sealed (why would he not be? Ed.), it may undermine the line of inquiry that the novichok that he and Sturgess came into contact with had been discarded by the attackers of the Skripals.”

Oh, really? So there was more than one team of Russian knockoff-artists blundering about the Wiltshire countryside looking for former agents to eliminate, all using sealed perfume bottles, and no connection between them?

How do these dimwits get employed on apparently serious news organs, when your Uncle Bogler struggles to get by on his pension because you bastards won’t pay to read his illuminating insights?

The most obvious inference, my dears, is that the attackers had A SPARE BOTTLE which they discarded when they got the message, “job done”.

The question now being, are there more discarded perfume bottles littering Wiltshire – what are we talking, “Poison, by Dior”? “Collusion, by Trump”?

“Charlie”, by Revlon? No, that would be too….

Actually, the question is, what was in the package Yulia Skripal reportedly brought into Heathrow through Customs when she visited her father? Would she have known what she was carrying, or might it have been a plant? And if we have heard Charlie’s version of events, why haven’t we heard hers?

Surely, even if Sergei is still a cauliflower, she could shed light on the whole affair?

Poor Charlie doesn’t now remember where he found the bottle, and there’s no confirmation the police have it, although we must assume they do. He says he gave it to his girlfriend as a gift: Dawn sprayed it on herself, but he only got some on his hand and washed it off.

One lived, the other died. It’s an arbitrary journey, life.

He says it was oily and odourless. This correlates to what my defense-industry-orientated son tells me about the nature of novichok and how it works – faster when inhaled; almost instantly replacing your proteins, or some such, with nerve-blockers, than when in contact with the skin.

So the spray action would have been useful, both to coat a door-handle, and as a sniffer.

Meanwhile we have heard nothing more of reports that the police have a number of suspects in view, Russians who came and went around the time.

Nor of the BogPo’s innocent question: why was Skripal ensconced by his MI6 handlers (who are based in London) in a supposedly safe house in Salisbury, right in the southern heartland of the British defence industry, and furnished with a vivid red BMW car?

Was he some sort of tethered goat?

We have heard nothing more, either, from Det Sgt Bailey, who was also inadvertently poisoned; in what sense was he a ‘first responder’, detectives aren’t usually; and how did he know to go straight to the Skripal house if they were unconscious when found a few miles away, unless he already knew who they were and where they lived?

And what of the coincidence, that both couples spent time in the same park in Salisbury, visited by hundreds of people every week, on the days they were poisoned? What separate action then ties them together across four months in time?

It’s one heck of a mystery, ain’t it.

x

Scorched Earth: turning America into the shithole of the world

Before being dragged from his $43 thousand private phone booth, his manicured and expensively lotioned fingernails squealing on the whiteboard, the profoundly corrupt and borderline insane administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who “very much did not want to leave office” (for details of his bizarre crimes, see Posts passim) tried to push through one more incomprehensible piece of environmental vandalism.

So-called ‘glider trucks’ are new truck cabs that are sold without engines and gearboxes, allowing the haulage company to retrofit their own engines after purchase. Such engines may have been recovered from crashed or dumped trucks, or are recons from decommissioned rigs.

They are naturally older, more polluting units that don’t meet Clean Air Act stipulations, but because they predate the rules, don’t have to.

Either stupid or desperate, persuaded by the manufacturers’ marketing bullshit, US hauliers see only the immediate cost saving and not the long-term extra costs of the maintenance cycle and breakdown issues.

Or the hideous environmental and human health consequences of NOx pollution.

But there you go, or not.

According to the Vox website:

“…the EPA’s (own) tests showed that even shiny new glider trucks can spew upward of 55 times the amount of pollution of modern trucks.”

The Obama administration – them again – had moved to issue an order under the Clean Air Act limiting the numbers of these child-killing monsters to 300 a year, still 300 too many in the BogPo’s view. Pruitt’s last venal sin was to try to overturn the order.

To quote Michelle Obama, what is the matter with these people?

Happily, there’s been an 11th hour intervention by the courts.

In an update to its 18 July story, Vox reports:

“The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by a 2-1 decision issued an emergency stay on Wednesday in response to a lawsuit by the Environmental Defense Fund and other environmental groups. The order forces the EPA to enforce stricter rules on “super polluting” glider trucks as the court considers permanently overriding Scott Pruitt’s final decision as the EPA’s leader.”

The BogPo notes that this is only one of a very large number of unutterably stupid, evil and callous moves by the filthy Trump administration, shilling for its energy bidness donors, to turn the United States, still in parts a beautiful country, into the shithole of the world, the Mines of fucking Mordor, before Americans throw the bastards out on their ears, and has only one uncomprehending question:

Why?

To which a faint echo calls back:

Money.

PS: Mr Pruitt has been replaced at the EPA by Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the coal industry.

No doubt his nickname will now be Andrew “sixteen” Wheeler. (Insert wry orange trucker face.)

For the rest of this horror story – basically, FitzGerald, beetle-browed CEO of the leading glider truck manufacturer in America, happens to fund the very same university engineering department that helpfully produces a report for Pruitt, against the findings of his own agency, claiming the trucks are just as clean as new ones.

See him shaking hairy knuckles with a beaming Donald Trump, who just loves real Americans and big shiny trucks – go to:

http://www.vox.com/2018/7/8/17544380/scott-pruitt-epa-truck-pollution-glider-kit-loophole

x

GW: gettin’ sick of weather “experts” and their feeble excuses

Greece: 24 July, the death toll in wildfires mostly now out in places along a wide front east of the capital, Athens now exceeds 70, including (it’s reported) a group of 26 people found huddled together in a field 50 metres from the sea, overcome by thick smoke in the coastal resort of Mati. Details are still emerging but it’s thought many children are among the dead. Emergency workers have been evacuating locals and tourists by boat.

“Italy, Germany, Poland and France have all sent help in the form of planes, vehicles and firefighters, and Spain and Cyprus have offered Greece assistance, but with temperatures set to soar again they are in a race against time to get the fires under control.

“Help is also needed in Sweden where at least one person has been killed and dozens injured by forest fires there as soaring temperatures continue across much of Europe.” – BBC News, 24 July

Norway, too, has around 100 wildfires burning. In Latvia: a state of emergency has been declared in the farming sector, as there has been no rain since 03 May. In Poland, agricultural production has fallen by 33%. (Climate & Extreme Weather News #130)

Italy: a flash flood raced through the town of Canosa in Puglia, 23 July after a torrential rainstorm. (CEWN)

Japan: The national weather agency has declared a natural disaster, with at least 80 deaths recorded in the past week. A spokesman warned that “unprecedented levels of heat” were being seen in some areas. Around 35,000 people have been admitted to hospital with heat stroke. The heatwave shows no sign of abating, forecasters say. On Monday (23 July), the city of Kumagaya reported a temperature of 41.1C (106F), the highest ever recorded in Japan. (from BBC News) The 37C heatwave is continuing in nearby Korea, and on the Chinese mainland

Laos: “Hundreds” of people are missing and an unknown number dead after a dam collapsed in the south-east of the country. The collapse at the hydroelectric dam in Attapu province late on Monday sent flash floods through six villages, Laos News Agency said. More than 6,600 people have been made homeless. – BBC News. It’s reported the dam was still under construction when heavy rain caused a landslide further upstream.

Pakistan: a damburst in Ghizer district caused by heavy rain swept away a village on 17 July, isolating three more villages. No reports of casualties, but 2 people died and another was injured in flash flooding in nearby Diamer district on 18 July, bringing the death toll in monsoon floods and landslides to 42 since the end of June. (from Floodlist, 24 July) More deadly floods have hit northern India, and the Philippines’ Luzon island as a result of record monsoon rains. (CEWN)

West Africa: parts of Liberia, including the capital Monrovia, experienced flooding on 18 July after days of heavy rain. Flooding caused “significant material damage and severe transport problems” and … also affected parts of neighbouring Margibi County. As of 19 July, a total of 31,186 people were affected, including thousands of children. (from Floodlist, 24 July)

USA: “At 3 a.m., it was 98 degrees in Gaviota on the Santa Barbara coast about 125 miles west of Los Angeles, the weather service said. Maximum temperatures were predicted to be 20 to 25 degrees above normal virtually everywhere.” – CBS News

As the heatwave in the west shows no sign of letting up (49C, 120 deg. F recorded outside LA) , a wildfire near Yosemite National Park has consumed more than 30,000 acres. “More than 2,900 firefighters from as far away as Virginia are fighting the blaze. As of Friday evening 20 July, the fire was only 6 percent contained.”

Meanwhile, “a fire near Portland has consumed 79,000 acres and forced 75 households to evacuate. It’s just one of 160 wildfires scorching southern Oregon. In Colorado, wildfires have already ripped through 175,000 acres, and the ensuing rains have brought mudslides along the freshly denuded landscape.” – edited from Vox website, 23 July.

Last year’s fire season affected more than 10 million acres, making it the second-worst on record behind 2015.

The wholesale price of Californian lemons has risen by 40%. In Canada, British Columbia is again bearing the brunt of an extended wildfire season, with a huge blaze reported at Mt Eneas.

Over in the east, however, what The Weather Channel is calling an “extremely odd” weather pattern is developing, with heavy rainstorms and more flash floods expected.

Russia: Siberian Times reports:

“People from remote Eveno-Bytantaisky and Zhigansky districts turned to newspapers, begging local media to explain ‘the devilry’ of what happened. Their remote communities were plunged into darkness – even though they should have 24 hour light at this time of year. ‘The sun went out around 11am, and didn’t come back until about 2pm. I couldn’t see a thing without switching lights on. We took torches to walk outside, but actually no-one wanted to be on the street because the feeling was as if something heavy in the air was pressing on your chest’, said one resident.

“After the sun returned, locals found a thick layer of dust covering everything outside.”

UK: Forecasters warn that temperatures in the south later in the week could hit 36C, 96F. The National Farmers’ Union has warned of crops “parched to the bone” and livestock farmers resorting to using winter rations, as grass has stopped growing. Several places in England have gone without significant rainfall for 54 consecutive days. – BBC News

The last survivors leave the city… Greenwich Park, London (photo: EPA)

Here out in the west today, 24 July, we have cool, cloudy conditions for the second day running, with occasional rain.

Lucky us, eh?

Oh, right. The sun just came out again.

 

Lies on a Summer Night

The BBC website has a disgraceful feature: the “5 places that have just broken weather records”, each entry accompanied by a ridiculous excuse from a tame weather “expert” explaining the specific reasons why it should have happened in that particular location.

But for the absolute worst in climate change denial on the BBC, what I would consider to be a sackable offence on the part of David Shukman and his producer, go to:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/video_and_audio/headlines/44961700/uk-heatwave-2018-why-is-it-so-hot

And take a sick bag.

Of course, you can’t put individual events down to a general trend of runaway warming, can you, can’t join the dots without panicking the populace. These are all just local anomalies that can be easily explained as funny things happening out of the blue because of technical stuff like the jetstream winds, that have unaccountably gone a bit loopy! Whoops! Why, we had worse during the war!

We’re fine, honest.

(The BBC has never, so far as I know, reported the faintly disturbing news that in July 2016 for the first time ever recorded, the northern circumpolar jetstream became so unstable that it broke apart and crossed over into the southern hemisphere. It might also be worth pointing out that 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 were the hottest years on record (not in that order), and without an El Niño yet this year is rapidly gaining on them.)

Responding to the setting of what may be a new record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Africa, the 51.3C (124.3F) at Ouargla, northern Algeria, on 5 July, for instance, “Environment Correspondent” Matt McGrath writes:

“Algeria could see a sweltering 8C rise by the end of this century. The extreme temperatures of recent weeks may be a foretaste of the norm in decades to come.”

No they won’t, because a jolly-old 8C “sweltering” average rise over pre-industrial temperatures is not survivable by humans or most other animal and plant species because it implies a midday maximum increase of 16C. And on present trend will in any case have occurred long before the “end of the century”, a birthday party nobody now alive will see out.

x

End Times

Can we have the bill, please?

Earth Overshoot day – the day in the year when we pass the limit of sustainability in our consumption of food and natural resources, has moved forward again, by two days, to 1 August. As of next week we’re living on borrowed time until after Christmas, when we start living on borrowed money.

“To maintain our current appetite for resources, we need the equivalent of 1.7 Earths, according to Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation that makes an annual assessment of how far humankind is falling into ecological debt.

“While ever-greater food production, mineral extraction, forest clearance and fossil-fuel burning bring short-term (and unequally distributed) lifestyle gains, the long-term consequences are increasingly apparent in terms of soil erosion, water shortages and climate disruption.”

“‘The day of reckoning is moving nearer'”. – Guardian “Green Light”, 23 July

Yellowstone News

The giant Steamboat geyser in the park has gone off for the 12th time this year, according to the Blessed Mary Greeley’s reading of the USGS runes. The most it’s ever managed before is three times in the whole of 2003.

 

Mental Health News

As the end times and planet Nibiru approach ever nearer, scattering dust and unknown types of UV light, Americans just get crazier. Here’s a typical exchange from the MrMBB333 weather phenomena website:

Someone:

“Its really weird mars has a planet wide dust storm and we have sand off the Sahara going crazy too…I wonder if something from space like gravity waves is to blame?or the planet’s all being on one side of the sun?.”

Jason Hand:

Mars is sonoluminescent and not a solid object.

imineti (edited):

Jason Hand exactly! Planets are wandering stars as it says in the Bible, earth is flat, space is the waters of the firmament. We cant get past the firmament which is why we will never go to space, they faked Moon landings because the Moon is in the firmament and is also a light (a cooling light, seperate light source from the Sun, we can prove thise by measuring the temp of light, moon light is cooler than the night shade). God bless.

I don’t see, with profound thinkers like these in the majority, how we’re going to survive the next twenty years. Maybe it’s time to go?

The Pumpkin – Issue 54. Postscriptum: Donny and Kimmy go to Love island… An enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in 100-dollar bills… Long Essay: Farage, the smoking gun?… GW: venturing out nervously in gumboots and respirator.)

…in terms of the scale of its human rights violations, North Korea ‘does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.’

“In its report, the commission said it had found evidence of ‘extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.’”Washington Post, quoting UN Commission on Human Rights 2014 report.

“Really, he’s got a great personality,” Trump (said). “He’s a funny guy, he’s very smart, he’s a great negotiator.” Trump added in the interview that what was not surprising was that Kim: “loves his people.” Kim’s citizens show great “fervor” for their leader. His country does love him.

“You see the fervor” the North Koreans have for Kim, he said. – The Hill

 

“Piss in our time!”

Postscriptum: Donny and Kimmy go to Love island

The Pumpkin has not yet read the full text of the heads of agreement signed by the two dictators in Singapore, as Fox News hostess Abby Huntsman has apologized for accidentally calling them. He doesn’t read much and is waiting for the cartoon version to come out, with maps.

However he notes that no mention seems to have been made, either of human rights violations (in either country) or of South Korea, and any intention to convert the 65-years old armistice into an actual peace treaty, which would have been a relatively simple objective to announce.

This was the “Me too” summit, a Love Island photo op for the two biggest, most fragile egos and the most crooked salesmen on the planet, stitching together a deal to validate their own authoritarian regimes for the consumption of their cowed and worshipful dumbfucks at home.

To put it another way, had they moved too far in the direction of peace and liberality, even if that was the intention, and not just Trump sensing new marketing opportunities (no mention either of the Trump Pyongyang hotel, casino and golf resort? Ed.), although he has praised the beaches and their opportunity for hotel developments, neither dictator could entirely rely on their “nuke ’em now” hawks not to stab them in the front when they get home.

Just sayin’.

PPS it looks like Kimmy got everything he wanted out of their tryst, with Donny now offering to lift sanctions and stop those huge joint military exercises (“expensive”) with the South Koreans, and his power to summon even the American President being made evident to his worshipful people.

“That’s good, then.”

x“With great change comes great opposition.”

An enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in 100-dollar bills

The triumphal Singapore love-fest draws near and Childe Donald, sulking over the disrespect six of the country’s leading international trading partners and global security allies have been showing him in Montreal – a G7 minus-one summit to which the mafioso man-infant turned up insultingly late and left an entire day early, before issuing a tirade of abusive tweets – goes all out to woo the headline writers with almost anything other than news of his henchmen’s indictments at the hands of the remorseless Bob Mueller, whom he seems to be outplaying daily on the PR front.

It’s worth reminding ourselves then that, whatever concessions he wins from Kimmy, or claims to have won, and whether or not the sainted fools of Stockholm award him their joke Peace prize, he is still “Trump”, the compulsive, narcissistically disordered “made-for-TV” cartoon business thug, and not someone to be regarded as normally presidential or creditworthy in any way.

Further evidence of his deep disrespect for the rule of law emerged last week at a meeting of the cabinet in a bunker-like, windowless room in the White House, where he commanded his subordinates to join him in offering their unstinting praise and admiration for his profoundly corrupt EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt – the Butcher of Oklahoma.

Pruitt’s sins pile upon him like Peleon on Mount Ossa. No sooner had we finished reeling from the news that he had ordered an aide to set up a mysterious meeting with the CEO of a fast-food chain called Chick-fil-A, possibly the world’s crappiest ever brand concept, only for it to leak out that the purpose was to use the power of his office to persuade the poor man to give Mrs Pruitt a restaurant franchise because they love the food so much, than we learn that he got his security detail to drive him around the neighborhood drugstores to hunt down a bottle of his favorite body-lotion, as available in Ritz-Carlton hotels; and spent $1500 buying $100 pens for his desktop.

Mr Pruitt has denied what was patently the case, that he waved through tens of thousands of dollars in unearned pay raises to two staffers he brought with him from his previous job as Attorney-General of Oklahoma. He has apparently also spent $3.5 million on additional security personnel, several motorcades above and beyond what his position entitles him to. He has incurred other non-legitimate expenses, such as the $43 thousand he spent on having a bug-proof phone booth installed in his office; blown who-knows how much on private, military and first-class flights for himself and Mrs Pruitt, $40 thousand on a beano with seven of his pet staffers purely for the purpose of persuading the Moroccan government to import propane gas from a private monopoly firm part-owned by a then-Trump cabinet member, the grizzled billionaire Carl Icahn – who was himself obliged to resign over a $30 million ‘windfall’ profit he made selling a company ahead of the President’s announcement on steel tariffs.

The monopoly bottled gas provider, Cheniere Co. of Houston, Texas, also happened to be a client of lobbying firm Williams & Jensen, from whose senior partner’s wife Mr Pruitt was notoriously renting a trashy Washington apartment for the princely sum of fifty bucks a night. Another W&J client is the Canadian pipeline company Enbridge, to whom Pruitt granted a controversial development permit last year. The New York Times reported (2 April, 2018):

“The signoff by the E.P.A. came even though the agency, at the end of the Obama administration, had moved to fine Enbridge $61 million in connection with a 2010 pipeline episode that sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and other waterways. The fine was the second-largest in the history of the Clean Water Act.”

An act which Pruitt has been instrumental in abolishing, along with the Clean Air Act and other Obama-era abominations.

Not only is Pruitt existentially shameless and an abuser of his office: he is also showing signs of being barking mad. Another aide is reported to have been briefed by him to investigate the possibility of buying a used mattress from a Trump hotel. Its purpose is yet to be disclosed, but might, The Pumpkin suggests over skinny lattes, involve DNA evidence. He also engages in paranoid secrecy:

“Breaking with all of his predecessors at the E.P.A. for the last 25 years, as well as other members of President Trump’s cabinet, he does not release a list of public speaking events and he discloses most official trips only after they are over. Mr. Pruitt doesn’t hold news conferences, and in one episode, journalists who learned of an event were ejected from the premises after an E.P.A. official threatened to call the police.” (NYT)

Mr Trump has asserted on several occasions that Mr Pruitt is doing “a great job” at the EPA, which still has 700 posts waiting to be filled, where there have been a number of high-profile resignations over his singular management style, and whose scientific research policy is now firmly in the control of energy-sector lobbyists and industry executives. It is not certain therefore what “great job” Mr Pruitt is specifically believed by the President to be doing, other than helping him to dismantle any and all protections previously accorded to the environment, turning America into one vast polluted, overheating shithole. (See GW, below.)

FOI requests from environmental groups such as the Sierra Club are continuing to turn up thousands of official emails demonstrating Pruitt’s extreme avoidance of public scrutiny and his ongoing relationships with large energy-sector corporations.

Pruitt’s grandiloquent response to all this unfounded criticism?

“With great change comes great opposition.”

You bet, Swamp-man.

(Did he get that quote from the i-kerChing? lolz. ed.)

 

Hangin’ up now….

As a little extra fillip to the story, Mr Trump’s fine-dining companion, the equally demented Fox News conspiracy-monger and slum landlord, Sean Hannity went on the record last week publicly urging anyone connected with the Trump administration to smash their cellphones before Mueller can subpoena them.

He hasn’t been arrested for obstructing justice, yet. I’d guess that darned old First Amendment makes a bonfire of Fox’s martyrs unlikely.

Nothin’ to see, move on….

Oh, while I have you on the line, not a lot has been reported in our supine media about the pits-to-pipelines Koch Brothers’ low-key divorce.

Clever workaholic Charles has forced dimmer brother David to take early retirement at 78. The New Yorker magazine reports it should make no difference to their meddling in US politics, just like Russians; a project on which the aged neoCons have lavished billions funding climate-change deniers and buying politicians like Paris Hilton buys chihuahuas.

David, said Charles, 82, with regret, has been “nodding off” in meetings lately and it’s time he settled down for the good of his health. Forbes magazine estimates that each brother (there are more, less famous Koch brothers minding the stove at home) is worth approximately 60 billion dollars, making them only the joint 9th richest men in America.

Way to go.

x

Long Essay

“…that leaves the question: if the Mercers, Banks and other disruptors financed this attempt at a paradigm shift in Western democracy, where do the Russians fit in?”

Farage: the smoking gun?

Whether or not the dogged Guardian/Observer reporter, Carole Cadwalladr brokered the latest twist in the story that she has been pursuing for two years, of where the money to fund the Leave tendency in the European referendum came from, both our most respected Sunday papers have carried front-page news of having “seen evidence” that UKIP founder, Mr Arron Banks, had many meetings at the Russian embassy in London prior to the Brexit vote.*

Not only that, but he was introduced, it’s said, by the ambassador himself to a “Russian businessman” who, in a fairytale twist, offered Banks the opportunity to invest in a company owning six gold mines in Russia. An investment which, it is alleged, Banks was told would net him “billions”. And Mr Banks went on record soon afterwards to vaguely indicate that he had some potential new interest with gold mines, although he now denies having any business interests in Russia.

Now, where have we heard that before? So many elements of this story echo statements, denials and ultimate revelations in America.

What gives the story some credibility is that Mr Banks does in fact partly own gold mines in South Africa, although it is said they are not all that productive. These, and his primary businesses of insuring motorcyclists and other uninsurable vehicle owners, were said to have made his personal net worth a modest £22 million.

OpenDemocracy.org however (and others) has been pursuing the financing of the Brexit vote too, and writes that the authorities in Gibraltar have been somewhat lackadaisically investigating reports that Banks’ businesses – registered there for tax purposes –  were so hard up, they were lending each other money in advance of their audits, in a game of corporate pass-the-parcel.

Somehow, nevertheless, it’s reported that Mr Banks managed to invest £12 million – over half his “net worth” – in funding and loans setting up Leave.EU, an unofficial campaigning vehicle commanded by Nigel Farage, MEP, that has been subjected lately to inquiries concerning some of its untraceable finances, funneled via Northern Ireland’s militant Protestant party, the DUP, who seem immune from investigation as a result of their £1.5 billion deal with the May government to boost her tiny Commons majority. Money well spent, given Mrs May’s close-run thing resisting Brexit amendments proposed by the House of Lords.

What all this is leading to, is the conclusion that Russians made substantial contributions to derailing Britain’s relationship to the European Union.

It is not really a surprising conclusion, but as Mr Banks now appears to have lied to Parliament about his connections with the Russian government, and has an opportunity shortly to go back before the toothless culture committee to set the record straight, we may be starting to understand something of the giant conspiracy that resulted in Britain’s fumbling, ill-advised attempts in a fast-changing global environment to withdraw from a complex raft of mutually supportive and largely useful treaties negotiated over many years with our European neighbours.

As Mr Banks is at the second stage of denial – so important is he, in his view, that he may have had “drinks” with the Russian ambassador a couple of times and exchanged a bit of bantz around the samovar – it may take a while, we lack the American dynamism, but clearing away the acrid smoke pouring from the blog of  the juvenile director of the rival official Vote Leave campaign, Mr Dominic Cummings (who, like Mr Trump, is having difficulty getting over the fact that he won), we should eventually get to the truth of how the referendum was fixed.

That will, of course, depend also on whatever is ultimately discovered about the role of Cambridge Analytica, Aggregate IQ and others in using stolen data to micro-target wavering voters with personalized anti-EU messages. A difficult process, depending as it does on whistleblowers competing with corporate liars, and egregious breaches of the Data Protection Acts of many nations.

(One wonders, too, who exactly is behind enormous data breaches, like that revealed by Dixon’s Carphone Warehouse this morning, of five million customer records; data theft that never seems to result in actual criminal actions but which presumably provides someone with a mass of consumer information?)

Multi-billionaire US hedge-fund manager and computer whizz, Bob Mercer gives no interviews and seemingly does not regard himself as a member of the human race, as he never responds to questions, but is alleged to have said at one time that he and his Sarah Palin-lookalike daughter Bekah were attempting to build a “radical free-market, small-government, home-schooling, antiliberal, gold-standard, pro-death penalty, anti-Muslim, pro-Christian, monetarist, anti-civil-rights political movement in the United States.” (London Evening Standard, 23 March, 2018.)

It seems they were also hoping to build one here.

Because if there is a “smoking gun” in the FBI and Justice Department investigations of Russian collusion and US corporate interference in the 2016 elections, it is Nigel Farage himself, declared last year a “person of interest”.

Farage is the obvious link, the go-between for disruptors hoping to swing the Brexit vote and the highly dodgy crew of chancers working with the Trump campaign. Funded by Banks, with cash from who-knows what source, Farage was connected with Mercer, of whom he was frequently said to be an unlikely “friend”; with Bannon and the Breitbart crowd; with Trump personally, at whose rallies he made over-the-top ultraconservative speeches and with whom he was gleefully photographed in the Golden Elevator at Trump Tower; and with Assange, whose Wikileaks organization fenced the data stolen by the Russian GRU from emails in the private files of Clinton, Podesta, Weiner and the Democratic party.

This veritable Zelig has popped up at every stage of the conspiracy on both sides of the pond. Perhaps he needs to be looked at more closely by the security establishment: unfortunately, despite the belated creation of the National Crime Agency, we have far weaker investigative bodies in this country even than in the United States; preferring to rely on 1940s “Dixon of Dock Green” community policing and barely sentient Parliamentary committees to solve immensely complex and sophisticated international crimes.

The Mercers of course funded Breitbart News, several of whose contributors, including the atavistic Hungarian neo-Nazi party supporter, Gorka the Gormless, and Bannon himself were injected by Mercer into the early Trump administration. They funded Cambridge Analytica, whose bullshitting fantasist Old Etonian CEO Stephen Nix has given up denying the testimony of his former executives that they stole data from the accounts of 87 million Facebook users in the USA, with the help of an Anglo-Russian computer analyst.

They also funded the Trump campaign, to the tune of many millions of dollars; giving the lie to his oft-repeated claim that because he was so rich, he was financing his own campaign. Of course he wasn’t.

But now the Mercers have withdrawn from the whole thing in disappointment, disavowing Bannon and the creeps and charlatans who conned them into supporting the Brexit and Elect Trump! conspiracies. It seems they are deeply disappointed in how liberal and progressive Trump has turned out to be. I wonder where they will turn their attentions next?

But that leaves the question: if the Mercers, Banks and other disruptors (see previous Posts) financed this attempt at a paradigm shift in Western democracy, where do the Russians come in? Were they in league?

You know, at this point my shoulders slump and I think maybe it’s time to walk the dog.

Seventeen US intelligence agencies signed their anonymous names to a report stating unequivocally that “Russia” was involved in hacking emails and in testing the water when it came to exploiting data from the voter rolls (possibly to assist the Republicans to edit the voter rolls in marginal wards) and possibly fixing the US’s poorly designed computerized voting lobbies. The FBI has asserted that they now have proof of over 60 contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian diplomatic/intelligence agencies and individuals during 2015/16. Contacts that were extensively lied about, even by the President himself.

Numerous media investigations have shown, pretty much beyond doubt, that Trump had business connections and aspirations in Moscow, and longstanding relations with corrupt oligarchs and property investors suspected of involvement with organized crime in Russia. The Special Counsel, Bob Mueller has indicted 14 Russian individuals and three companies in relation to election tampering and money-laundering, in association with Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, a sometime consultant to the ousted Ukrainian kleptocrat Victor Yanukovitch, who faces charges of money-laundering, acting as an undeclared foreign agent, witness-tampering and fraud.

Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Gen. Mike Flynn, has already been indicted on charges of lying to the FBI and acting as an undeclared foreign agent for, among others, Russian business interests. A special team on the Trump campaign tasked with tracing Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails was set up in the wake of the 6 June, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Jr, Manafort, Jared Kushner and a team of Russian money-laundering specialists, GRU agents and the Kremlin lawyer, Veselnitskaya – who later attended Trump’s inauguration. That team of hackers, one of them Russian-speaking, reported directly to Flynn.

Then there was the Steele dossier, a 35-page compendium of current allegations by Russian officials and MI6 assets in Moscow concerning the President, mostly prior to his candidacy, commissioned originally by the Never Trump! wing of the Republican campaign and then passed on to the FBI and the Democrat election committee. Most of it has checked out to be true, and led to gleeful media speculation that Trump is profoundly compromised, either by a sexual scandal or his huge debts to banks ultimately controlled by Putin – possibly both.

It’s all looking pretty murky.

When the name George Papadopoulos emerged early on as that of someone on the Trump team who had made a bargain with the Devil, the Mueller investigation, to lighten the charge against him of lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts, the general reaction was “George who?”

Mr Trump also expressed total ignorance of Mr Papadopoulos’ existence, until video emerged of a committee meeting at which the guy was plainly seated just four places down the table from the Orange Emperor himself. Trump then changed his story, claiming Papadopoulos was only the office boy who fetched the coffee.

In fact, and can we call him “P.” from now on, my fingers hurt, George P. is of importance in two significant ways.

P. claims he was approached in London early in 2016 by a mysterious “Bulgarian professor”, in fact an FSB agent who told him that over 30 thousand of Hillary Clinton’s private and official State Department emails had been deleted from a private server, and the Russians had gained knowledge of their existence. Later, while mildly drunk in a bar, P. says he let the story slip to a junior attache from the Australian embassy, who had passed it on via his superiors to Australian intelligence, who in turn told the FBI, thus triggering the Feds’ interest in the Trump campaign team’s contacts with the Russians – or the “witch hunt”, as Trump insists on dismissing it at every opportunity.

Nothin’ to see, folks. North Korea? Sure, why not?

Despite Trump’s latest conspiracy theory he can’t let go, that an FBI “spy” was in his camp during the summer of 2016, it seems loose-lipped, mildly drunken George P. was the man responsible for the whole can of worms, the “Russia thing” opening up. Perhaps.

Except that Dutch intelligence, I believe, and subsequently the Czechs, the French, the Germans, the Spanish and Britain’s GCHQ listening post had all intercepted and been monitoring calls between Trump associates Roger Stone, Carter Page, maybe also Michael Cohen, Flynn, Manafort and others, and Russian intelligence agents since the summer of 2015, and had told the FBI long before George P.’s leak, only for President Obama to tell them to sit on the story so as not to be seen to be interfering in the upcoming presidential election; thus giving Trump the plausible assertion that it was all a plot against him, cooked up by the criminal Clinton campaign.

Make of that what you will, it’s where the Pumpkin and I run into soft sand and head off for a cold beer.

The second area of interest in the boy, George may be that, far from being the office gopher, people have already forgotten in the never-ending melee of Trump-related bullcrap that P. was on the team originally as an environmental advisor. An alumnus of the powerful Hudson Institute, a notorious energy-industry-funded think-tank dedicated to burying climate-change science, George P. was working as a lobbyist for a Texas-based company, Noble Energy, in which Trump was reportedly a minor shareholder.

Now, Noble in turn was lobbying the Israeli government over a franchise to exploit natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean, off the coast of Israel – but more importantly, the coast of the Gaza strip, making the project a political and legal nightmare. The case was dragging slowly through the Israeli courts, and P.’s presence in the Trump/Kushner camp was clearly designed to use their personal connections with Netanyahu to speed things up; while Noble were also hoping to construct an undersea pipeline to Europe, via the Turkish end of Cyprus, bypassing Russian and Iranian-controlled Syria. Was that what Gen. Flynn’s PR company was being paid by a Dutch businessman with energy industry connections to lobby for with the Erdogan regime in Turkey?

As it turned out, the whole deal collapsed when Israel decided to sell its gas to Egypt instead.

The words Russia and Iran are, of course, synonymous with enormous gas reserves, Russia being the largest supplier of natural gas to Germany and western Europe. In addition to the strategic implications, both nations would, one imagines, be keen to stymie competition from Israeli and American interests in the region; while American and Israeli animus towards Russia’s ally, Iran, can be framed in terms of competition for global markets for their vital energy resource.

Neither your Uncle B. nor The Pumpkin has the brains to work out how all this fits together, so we’ve ordered another beer.

Back in London, languishing in the basement of the Ecuadorean embassy, a fugitive from an EU arrest warrant, which is probably why he was happy to work against them, is the Great White Worm, Assange – an arrogant, self-publicizing, self-pitying narcissist, another “friend” of Farage and fulcrum-point for all kinds of internet mischief.

His Wikileaks operation has, admittedly, broken some useful evidence (the Snowden files) of the other global conspiracy, that of the US “Deep State” and their intrusive surveillance operations, which we are slowly realizing are irreversibly intertwined with the commercial interests of the major internet service providers; hence, the theft of data from Facebook and its weaponization for political purposes.

Nevertheless it was Wikileaks that collaborated with the Russians and the Cambridge Analytica/Mercer nexus to undermine the Clinton presidential bid, with Farage – who “does not remember” the purpose of their meetings – acting as go-between for the Trump campaign and Assange.

And then to complete the Big Picture – more like an enormous, deflating barrage balloon – there are the activities of European alt-right, “white supremacist” Christian disruptors.

Some are plainly financed by Russian oligarchs allied both to the Kremlin and to the Orthodox Church; and from the money-laundering scams (mainly through overinflated property markets controlled by, among others, the Trump and Kushner families) of actors like Deutsche Bank, to whom Trump allegedly owes a third of a billion dollars; and Bank of Cyprus, formerly owned by ex-Deutsche Bank chairman Joseph Ackermann and – among other major investors, mostly Russian -Trump family ‘consiglieri’ and now US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross.

Another of BoC’s investors, Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, the “Fertilizer King”, was involved in a suspicious Florida property deal that netted Trump a clear $45 million, and seems to have attended at least one of Trump’s election rallies; the one at which he went off-script to announce that the USA would not, under his presidency, be arming the Ukraine government forces against the Russians. (He now says he feels sure he would only have to ask Vladimir privately to leave the Ukraine alone, and he would.)

And among these white European disruptors, as the BogPo has reported before, are several deeply conservative British “millionaire businessmen” like Banks, with anti-Islamic Russian and other East European connections – Banks’ wife is Russian – like Jim Dowson, and other wealthy, self-interested business tycoons and investment managers with declared hostility to the European Union, its supposedly repressive legislative, anti-business, pro-tax regime, its equality agenda promoting women and gays, and its willingness to tolerate a large Muslim presence in our midst.

It’s a vast and rambling conspiracy to defraud the voters of Britain, the USA and other countries where we have seen the fingerprints of Russian interference in democratic processes – with the proviso that Russia is not the only bad actor in this scene, there are these traitors in our midst, imagining that their duty is to cleanse the Augean stables: the obsession of authoritarian paranoiacs down the ages.

I doubt there is even a mastermind behind it: it’s rather a movement of the wealthy against the poor, the degenerates and the despised “ethnic minorities”, planning to leave themselves in command of a depleted but nonetheless still materially gratifying world redesigned for their kind: powerful, white and Christian.

And there bobbing about like a cork at the heart of it all is Farage, although he claims now to be hors de combat and is making self-pitying noises about being separated, broke and soon to be jobless. While the UK media puzzles over the emerging evidence of a Russian connection to Brexit, few people as yet seem to be joining the dots and realizing it is all connected; and that the real collusion with Russia has been that involving the billionaires who control our data.

If there is a smoking gun proving collusion between Trump and the Russians, it’s Farage, the man in the Golden Elevator.

Going down?

Now I think another beer is in order.

*According to Private Eye, sometime Sunday Times hackette, Isobel Oakeshott, author of the Brexit Bad Boys, a semi-biography of Banks, had been sitting on evidence of his visits to the Russian embassy for several months and was pissed off when Cadwalladr broke the story, so she gave the info to the ST as a spoiler.

Miaow.

Writing in the Guardian, Monday 11 June, Matthew D’Ancona says:

“We have known for two years that Arron Banks, the pro-Brexit tycoon, and his closest henchman, Andy Wigmore, visited the Russian embassy in November 2015, just as we have long been aware of the links between Leave.EU and the Trump campaign. What has now been revealed is the sheer scale of these contacts – including a lunch between Banks, Nigel Farage and Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador, just three days after the Leave.EU team had been granted an audience with president-elect Trump in November 2016.

“It appears that there were multiple meetings between Banks, Wigmore and senior Russian officials between 2015 and 2017. … This does not seem, in other words, to be routine schmoozing or glad-handing. It has the whiff of a nexus, suggesting a purpose, or multiple purposes.”

x

Wailing and gnashing

“Greetings from Amazon.co.uk.

“We are writing to confirm that we are processing your refund in the amount of £10.79 for your Order from Amazon US. This amount has been credited to your payment method and will appear when your bank has processed it. This refund is for the following item(s): (etc.)

“Reason for refund: Damaged during transit.”

But I have not asked for a refund! I have not yet received the Order! There must be some mistake! The Order (a rare Chet Baker album) was only dispatched last night for 20 June delivery! I have no idea whether the Order has been damaged in transit or not!

And Amazon offers you no way to contact them to ask what the fuck is going on, other than an infuriating “we put the words in your mouth” FAQ. (Was this helpful? No. Well, tough, thanks for the info, we will use jt to improve our services.” Cunts!

Jeff Fucking World’s Richest Man Baldy Bezos, are you there? Hello, anyone? Help!

x

GW: venturing out nervously in gumboots and respirator

Pacific: The Western Hemisphere’s first major event of 2018 is Hurricane Aletta. “Aletta put on a remarkable display of rapid intensification overnight Thursday (7 June), with the winds increasing by 70 mph in just 24 hours. Aletta was merely a tropical storm with 70 mph winds at 11 am EDT Thursday, but by Friday at 11 am, the hurricane had morphed into a fierce Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds.” Its forecast track is out into the colder waters of the Pacific with little chance of it making landfall anywhere; although an identical feature is forming just a few hundred miles behind. It’s the sixth earliest Cat 4/5 ever recorded in the Eastern Pacific basin, kicking off aways from the coast of Mexico. (The Weather Channel)

Gulf of Mexico: On the other side, a relatively low-key storm now blowing between the Yucatan peninsula and Cuba has a terrifying prognosis, a possible repeat of last year’s “super-soaker” Hurricane Harvey. Several NOAA hurricane center models show it picking up rotation in the Gulf, developing winds up to 120 mph with a huge precipitation potential, as a very slow moving Cat 3 or 4 hurricane stalling for possibly 24 hours over the Texas/Louisiana coastline at Beaumont by next Saturday pm, 16 June. (Satellite forecast as noticed by weather blogger, MrMBB333)

…. 11 June: “Mexico’s weather service warned yesterday of storms, heavy rain and strong winds … as Tropical Storm Bud intensified into a (115 mph) hurricane. Coastal areas were also warned of storm surge of up to 3 metres. Severe weather affected parts of Jalisco state in Mexico during the afternoon of 10 June. Areas around the city of Guadalajara were the worst affected. Around 65 mm of rain fell in just a few hours on Sunday afternoon. Elsewhere, heavy rain was recorded in the state of Guerrero, where 97 mm of rain fell in 24 hours.” (edited from Floodlist) (This is the system closely following Aletta, on Mexico’s east coast. Its forecast track takes it straight up the Baja peninsula towards California.)

Africa: The death toll from heavy rain and flooding across Kenya, where it has been raining since March, has risen to 186. An estimated 800,000 people have been affected by flooding. As many as 300,000 people have been displaced and nearly 100 injured, … heaviest rain recorded in 50 years. (edited from Floodlist)

China: Up to 250 mm rain from Typhoon Ewiniar in 24 hrs triggered landslides in the city of Yunfu, causing houses to collapse, killing 5 people. 1 person is still missing. 73 thousand people were evacuated ahead of the storm. Ewiniar made landfall in Hainan and Guangdong earlier in the week, bringing heavy rain and strong winds. It then moved back into the South China sea before making a third landfall, again in Guangdong, on 07 June. The storm had earlier caused heavy rain in parts of Vietnam, with landslides and flooding. (edited from Floodlist)

Europe: Severe weather, including heavy rain and flooding, has continued in France and at least 2 people are thought to have died in the last two days. After hitting northern areas, in particular Brittany and Normandy, earlier this week, flooding has now affected areas of southwestern France. Heavy rain from 05 to 06 June caused major flooding in parts of northeastern Spain. Emergency services in Catalonia received over 300 calls for assistance during 06 June. (edited from Floodlist)

Arctic: UK Business Insider reports (08 June):

“The Trump administration said on Thursday it would spend $4 million on construction projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in preparation for oil drilling in the nation’s biggest wildlife park.

“The tax-overhaul bill passed by the U.S. Congress last December includes a provision mandating two oil lease sales, each offering at least 400,000 acres (161,874.26 hectares), within seven years.

“The 19-million-acre (7.7 million-hectare) Arctic refuge, the largest in the U.S. national wildlife refuge system, contains some of the wildest territory in North America.”

Your Granny wonders idly, which of many scandals, tweets, Mueller indictments and presidential gaffes covered in the fake news media last Thursday enabled the EPA to bury that news?

Boglington-on-Sea: Guys, it’s been really hot here. Occasional light shower, but mostly sun the past six weeks. Not normal for Wales!

x

Terminal news

Hawaii: A USGS report on the Mount Kilauea eruption reveals that “6 to 9 million cubic meters of magma” is spewing DAILY from Fissure 8 alone, and the event could continue for years or decades, presumably rendering much of Big Island uninhabitable, while producing a new island off the coast. Many people evacuated over the past few weeks will never be able to go home.

The island’s second largest freshwater lake has been boiled dry by a lava flow. Acid rain is killing off swathes of forest and vegetation cover. The vast crater within the caldera of the main volcano is collapsing in on itself, with accompanying explosions. A new eruption on Thursday morning (7 June) accompanied by a M5.6 quake produced a 10 thousand feet-high ash cloud and filled the air with tiny particles of glass, triggering a warning to residents to get indoors. (Mary Greeley/ Dutchsinse/ News US/ USGS)

Southern Africa: 9 of the only 60 known oldest Baobab trees in the world have died, prompting speculation that the changing climate is making conditions too harsh for them. The iconic, oddly-shaped, flowering trees were between 1,500 and 2,500 years old and the largest reached 100 feet in height and 35 meters in girth. (Guardian, citing Nature Plants journal)

Nature Bats Last: in his latest podcast, the world’s most depressing – and terminally depressed – man, professor emeritus of natural resources and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona (suspended from teaching!), Dr Guy McPherson warns us that the coming financial crash – September is the favorite time for financial crashes – will so reduce global industrial activity that the protective blanket of smog around the earth will rapidly fade away, leaving us exposed to the full glare of the sun, as it did for three days when commercial aviation was suspended in the aftermath of 9/11. Runaway warming will ensue within days, he advises, wiping out all life on earth.

We have four months remaining of human history.

If you’re still not depressed, follow this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03kwgj0

 

 

 

 

 

The Saga saga continues… Whereverland… GW: staggering about with a large watering-can as the garden withers in the sunshine… Last Knockings… No Countryside for Young Men…

Welcome to my 700th post!

The editor coughs and then nervously speaks up, addressing his diehard fanbase:

“Lazies and gemmun, yesterday evening while composing a long email in reply to an old friend, just as I was signing it off, I seem to have accidentally stroked the keys to the secret combination of letters and commands upon which this, muh li’l HP laptop has yet again and probably for the last time mistaken my intentions and irreversibly dumped the entire text (bar five tantalizing letters of the first word).

In my mildly drunken frustration, as you do, I slammed down the lid and, with a bloodcurdling oath, solidly struck it a mortal blow with my clunking right fist.

It’s in a very delicate state today, half the time it addresses me in System 32 startup mode with wounded, gloomy messages telling me it doesn’t think I’ve got an operating system installed, or that the hard drive is missing and it can’t reboot. So I may need to acquire a new machine from PC World later… if no more Postings emerge for a while you’ll know why.”

-UB

“And this is where we throw our dissidents out…” Secretary Pompeo entertains a party of North Korean diplomats before introducing them to shopping.

The Saga saga continues

Fans of the definitive Scandi-noir drama The Bridge will have welcomed the start of a new series, although perhaps not its new Friday BBC 2 scheduling giving us only one episode a week instead of BBC 4’s Saturday night double helping, during which you could put your feet up and get properly mildly drunk without having to get up in the morning.

It was, excuse me for saying, an idiotic decision, probably born of desperation to harden-up the lacklustre Friday night schedules, but more likely to reduce the program’s ratings.

But there’s one thing that continues to puzzle your Uncle Bogler, and that’s the curious lyrics to the obligatory wailing castrato theme song with doom-laden cello accompaniment. As best I can transcribe them, they go:

Echo starters in crossing moon

Children noises that come too soon

Special Moomin that seem to hear

Decimating a mask of fear

Hollow talking in hollow girl

Voicing out from a mound of pain

Never said it was goo, never said it was smeary

Shadow rises and you are here

And everything… goes back to the beginning.

I’m hoping one or two of the near-record 41 Viewers who visited this, muh bogl, on Sunday, obviously having nothing better to watch on TV – or maybe one of my Followers, Stalkers, Spammers or Those Not Reading This Anymore – maybe my handler at GCHQ – will enlighten me as to what the hell it means, and why the Swedes, who all speak impeccable English, couldn’t find a less drug-addled lyricist? Were Benny and Bjorn out of the country?

I’m also curious to know how it is that there’s always a parking space right outside the Malmö cop shop’s front door whenever Saga screeches up in her battered old Porsche 911 ‘S’*, in that hideous shade of greeny-yellow? (52% of fans will now tweet that they identify as perceiving the color to be maroony-puce – don’t bother, I haven’t got a Twitter account.)

And why nobody, not even her mournful new boss, seems to intuit that she’s way, way up on the autism spectrum but just think she’s a bit, well, offputting. How insensitive do you have to be to get a job with the Swedish police?

One wonders, finally, if she ever gets those sweaty old leather pants dry-cleaned?

Mucky girl.

*After four series, the car at last got a mention last night from a random garage mechanic, so we have established a) that it is a 911 ‘S’, not just any old 911, and b) that Saga won it in a bet that she wouldn’t survive the police academy training course, from a superior who is now the Commissioner of Police. I suspect this was a somewhat heavy-handed joke at someone’s expense. The last thing we need in a tense crime drama shot entirely under lowering skies is political satire.

x

Journey to Whereverland

Speaking of sagas, Melania Trump has resurfaced after three weeks of speculation concerning her exact whereabouts following her minor kidney procedure, the odds-on favorite theory being that she had done a bunk to get out of the gropey clutches of the demented old Orange Husband while images of him grunting and sweating over Stormy Daniels’ recumbent corpse are still fresh..

“Melania Trump has tweeted to address speculation about her health, after not being seen in public for 20 days. “I’m here at the White House with my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!” the US first lady tweeted.” – Guardian report.

The Pumpkin remarks without conviction that he expects the hard work she is doing “on behalf of children” involves tracking down the more than 1,500 minors who are simply “missing” after being forcibly removed from their parents by her husband’s ICE gestapo at the US-Mexico border, where two US citizens were arrested last week for “speaking Spanish”. (Great Monty Python fans, the Americans.)

It seems the official childcare regime into which the diminutive liar, Attorney-General Sessions claims children as young as four have to be put as they are considered to be at risk from their parents (all border immigration is now illegal, so just by turning up asking for asylum a crime has been committed, therefore the children must be put in care for their own protection, runs the logic) doesn’t in fact exist. No-one seems to be in charge, no-one even knows where the children have been placed, or in whose tender care, and what happens to them next.

Or, as the devoutly Christian Vice-President Mike Pence calls the unknown realm of these forcible outplacements, “wherever”.

This Trump regime is so utterly banal, so useless, so vicious and vindictive, that it has to end peacefully, now or – as many commentators fear – it will end in bloodshed.

x

GW: staggering about with a large watering-can as her garden withers in the unaccustomed sunshine

USA: As “6 to 10 in.” of rain falls in two hours, Civil War-heritage Ellicott City in Maryland has suffered a “once-in-a-thousand-years”-size flood over the weekend.

For the second time since July 2016.

Once in a millennium: Ellicott City floods twice in 22 months. (Baltimore Sun/AP)

“Brown water rushed through Ellicott City’s historic Main Street, toppling buildings and upending cars, as the nearby Patapsco River swelled to a record-breaking level. In some areas, water levels reached above the first floor of buildings.” 30 people were rescued, a National Guardsman is missing. More rain is expected. – CNN

At time of writing, Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto is still out in the Gulf, contemplating an assault on Panama City, Fla. as a near-hurricane, just to the east of New Orleans. Forecasters suggest with 31 deg. C sea temperature off the coast, it’s holding maybe 10 in. to a foot of rain. Storm totals of 25” in Cuba are not out of the question.

2 journalists killed by a tree while covering the storm in N Carolina, where there are fears for the safety of the Lake Tahoma dam after a landslide. Central midwestern states posted record May highs over the weekend, up to 96F, 36C.

Puerto Rico: “The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM, open-access paper) reported that the death toll from Hurricane Maria was likely far greater than any estimates to date. The study’s initial estimate of the death toll through December 2017 was 4,645, but when adjusted for household-size factors (see below), the revised best estimate was 5,740, with a 95% confidence range that somewhere between 1,506 and 9,889 people died as a result of Maria in 2017. (Report: Wunderground, 29 May)”

Most of those deaths are post-hurricane “excess mortality”, attributed to the utterly inadequate response of US authorities, led by the self-congratulatory shitbrains, Donald Trump, to the destruction of the US island’s infrastructure.

Get rid of him.

Cuba: floods. 22 thousand evacuated ahead of SubTropical Storm Alberto now moving north-eastward, up Florida and over midwestern states, dumping a lot of rain.

Oman: Cyclone Mekunu… “High waves and torrential rain caused wide areas of flooding in Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates. Social media images showed torrents of flood water racing along the streets of Salalah (and an incredible cascade of water pouring off the mountain behind). By early 26 May, Salalah had recorded 278.2 mm of rain. … the city would normally see around 95 mm of rain in a whole year. …risk of flash flooding from further heavy rain through the weekend (26-28 May). High waves and storm surge continue to be a risk, with wave heights of 5 and 8 meters expected.” – edited from Floodlist quoting local authorities. Only 2 casualties were reported, 10 thousand people having been evacuated in advance of the unusual Cat 2 hurricane (now downgraded to TS).

Ethiopia: 16 die in flash flooding and landslides the afternoon of Wednesday 23 May. Houses, roads and vehicles are damaged.

India: 3 die in violent storm causing flooding. Local observers said that Panambur in Karnataka province recorded 334 mm of rain to early 30 May, 2018, breaking the previous high of 330.8 mm set in 1982. Roads around the city were inundated, bringing traffic to a standstill and damaging homes and businesses. Many people were left trapped in their homes or vehicles.

Mercury in Churu, Rajasthan hits 47.3C, 117.4F. Continuing 40C-plus heatwave in Pakistan tops out in Karachi at 48C, 118F.

China: Hong Kong heatwave continuing, 35C-plus (96F) in the city, and over 38C, 100F in places) – reservoirs drying up. 4 injured as ‘small’ tornado wreaks havoc in Jilin.

Malaysia: a man and his daughter are swept away in flash flood in Kulim.

Indonesia: Town of Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan underwater after heavy rain.

Europe: heatwave brings on powerful storms, flash flooding, big hail and much lightning… over 400 thousand bolts counted. France, Germany, Spain – massive hailstorms.

Turkey: city of Bursa underwater. Residents of Ankara clear up after 18 inches of hail buries streets in ice.

UK: 80-year old man dies after driving into floodwater in Walsall, north of Birmingham, Sunday 27 May. Up to a meter of flooding occurred locally in the West Midlands and across into Wales at the weekend after torrential rain. Over 150 thousand lightning bolts were counted in a 24-hr period as storms made their way northwards from France.

Tuesday 29th: “Thunderstorms and flash-flooding have brought parts of south-east England to a standstill as the region received a month’s worth of rain in a few hours.” – BBC News. 31 May, the forecast is for more, with amber warnings.

MrMBB333/ CNN/ BBC News/ Floodlist/ Wunderground/ CEWN #122, #123

 

Last Knockings

Yellowstone: We haven’t reported much lately from the Great Outdoors, but you should perhaps know that the Blessed Mary Greeley identifies a number of areas of continually rising ground, intruding magma and increasing surface temperatures; also continuing ‘drumbeats’ and harmonic tremors; together with new gaps in the information record – finagling of the seismometers and spectrograms – in the reports of the USGS and University of Utah monitoring services.

The largest geyser in the park, known as the Steamboat, normally erupts every 1 to 10 years. The last time it erupted three times in a year was in 2003. So far this year it’s blown off steam EIGHT times.

Some concern is being reported as the USGS has finally admitted to a potentially destabilizing “slow slip” of the 600 miles of faults between Vancouver island to the north, on the Cascadia fault, and southern California’s San Andreas, where there are continuing swarms of earthquakes and tremors, many associated with drilling and fracking operations.

Hawaii: the Mt Kilaueia/Pu’u O’o eruption is continuing apace. Signs of geological activity in the Mauna Loa volcano, largest on Big Island – largest active volcano, indeed, on earth – including a M3.2 earthquake, may be worrying for the scientists at the 9-thousand-feet-up observatory, from where global CO2 levels are officially measured. Some are fearing a catastrophic landslip of the SE corner of the island as the 23 vents that have opened up around Leilani Estates, spewing magma into people’s gardens and cutting off roads, join up. Geologists snort in derision.

The USGS has advised residents (in response to an actual query) that roasting marshmallows over volcanic lava is possibly not a good idea. Meanwhile a cloud of poisonous SO2 and other gases from Hawaii is being monitored over Guam, 4 thousand miles away, and health warnings issued.

Ebola: “An outbreak confirmed on 8 May had already claimed the lives of 12 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of yesterday, with a total of 35 confirmed cases. A vaccination program aimed at health workers and friends and relatives of confirmed cases got underway today”, 30 May. – Express.

Nipah: “The Nipah virus was first reported in the northern district of Kozhikode, India on May 19 and has since spread to the neighbouring Malappuram district in Kerala. Officials have yet to confirm the origin of the outbreak, but it is spreading between humans. The first fatal cases were reported on Saturday from a family in Kozhikode, as two brothers in their late 20s and their 50-year-old aunt died from the virus.” A soldier who died may also have contracted the virus. – Express.

Tufts website reports: Spread by bats and transmissible between humans, “The virus causes severe brain swelling … and in some cases respiratory disease, and typically kills three-quarters of the people infected.” Although 100% mortality has been reported in some outbreaks. That makes it more deadly than Ebola, or the pneumonic plague in Madagascar this year. 16 cases have so far been confirmed in the current outbreak.

 

No Countryside for Young Men

Your Uncle Bogler has frequently alluded to the dramatic fall in numbers of flying insects – other than small clouds of gnats along the path on warm evenings – in the exurban river valley that passes for our local park, a multi-use greenspace offering a range of habitats between the town and the industrial estate.

Only last night, sitting up in bed drinking my warm milk (I’m quite elderly!), I wondered – exactly as Kevin Rushby, the author of a Guardian piece today has been wondering – where the usual annoying moth has disappeared to, that would normally be flapping inchoately around my bedside light, with the windows open on a 20-deg. C early summer night?

Of course, the fragile silvery clothes-moths are still there: whenever I open a packet of dog meal or cornflakes or something in a kitchen cupboard, usually one or two fall out and stagger around, having never learned to fly.

The buttercups are incredible this year.

A couple of days ago I saw one Small (or Large, hard to tell)-White butterfly emerge from a small patch of woodland I call the ‘tree museum’, on the edge of our local playing fields, and was mildly lifted when three more suddenly burst out from cover, dancing madly over the weed-strewn road verge. It’s a good year for dock, some are up to my waist. And the buttercups are incredible. But where are the insects? Rushby reports:

“Over a quarter of all British birds are under threat, eight species are almost extinct. Three-quarters of all flying insects have disappeared since 1945, including a staggering 60 different moths. Orchid ranges have shrunk by half; two species are gone. The State of Nature 2016 report described Britain as being ‘among the most nature-depleted countries in the world’.”

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/31/herbicides-insecticides-save-british-countryside-meaows (sic)

Rushby concludes, the agrichemical industry is to blame. I find this curious, as there is no arable farming within many miles of our valley on which pesticides and herbicides might be widely used; while the combination of ancestral and plantation woodland, heath and marsh, riverbank and meadowland – and, of course, upland grazing – ought to support a rich variety of wildlife.

Instead, I observe only diminishing numbers of squirrels, rabbits, pigeons, thrushes, blackbirds, magpies and jackdaws, sparrows – starlings and, in winter, a flock of about 50 plovers that descends on the cricket ground to peck at the leatherjackets there. And this year, so far, almost no flying insects; we’ve seen fewer than half a dozen bees all year, although the flowers they feed on were over a month behind, thanks to the late frosts.

But then I think of those intensively managed playing fields; the scorched verges of the paths, burned by liberal applications of Council glyphosate; the trim suburban gardens, kept neat by liberal applications of this or that, the sheds with their shelves of half-used tins, bottles and sprays. (I confess, even I have had to resort to surreptitious spraying over the fence of my late neighbour’s unkempt garden, that has been threatening to invade with perennial weeds and ivy.)

It seems clear that there is a feedback loop involved in the breeding cycles: declining numbers in intensively managed areas leading directly to declining numbers elsewhere. There are temporal disconnects too, as insects and plants that evolved over millions of years to emerge co-dependently together at certain times of the year are forced apart by the warming climate and the chaotic weather patterns it’s producing.

Then there is the never-ceasing roar of traffic from the main road nearby; and the probably confusing electromagnetic soup enveloping the mostly young women giving a running commentary on their frustrations to some unseen distant and long-suffering friend or family member as they wheel their prams along the cycle paths, where young lovers sit three feet apart, morosely texting their mates.

But all is not entirely lost: numbers can recover. Rushby gasps in amazement as he enters a part of Yorkshire where intensive conservation efforts have produced wildlife-rich woods and meadows much as they were in my youth, teeming with insects, birds and flowers; commenting that he now feels cheated by the apparent normality of the ‘green desert’ we have become used to referring to as ‘countryside’ everywhere else.

Hopes are now pinned on the remarkable conversion of one politician: Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, our new and unexpected champion of diversity and moderation in the use of chemical suppressants and promoters.

We’ll see.