“Brexit belongs to this era in one quintessential way. It is an act of the imagination, inspired by an imaginary past, carried along by misdirected grievances, borne aloft by an imaginary future.”– Columnist Roger Cohen, New York Times.
In the long run we’re all dead
The seldom knowingly understated Daily Express is reporting on a random computer simulation, showing that the Chinese Fish ‘Flu coronavirus could end up killing “65 million” people around the world.
The BogPo has done a computer simulation of its own.
Given that the infections-to-deaths ratio has been running consistently to date at 47:1, a little over 2%, it would require 3.05 billion people to catch the virus, to produce a death toll that high. At the current rate of spread of the infection, about 2,500 new cases a day, it would take 344 years to kill 65 million people.
By which time, most of them would tend to be dead anyway.
Update: 5 Feb., 24,558 cases, but overnight deaths are at 493, roughly a halving of the nightly rate for the past two weeks. (49:1)
Update update: 6 Feb., 28,018 cases, 563 dead. (49.7:1 – again an improvement in morbidity but a larger number of overnight deaths is reflected in a bigger leap in the number of cases reported.)
Sort of further update: 6 Feb., a third case has been confirmed in the UK, unconnected with the first two. Patient from Brighton is in an isolation unit. Dr Li, the 34-year-old ophthalmologist who first tried to alert the authorities in Wuhan to a new disease and was silenced, has died of it.
Friday morning: 31,400 cases; 630 deaths. Ratio 49.8:1, again a very marginal improvement possibly due to earlier detection and treatment. 61 cases have now been confirmed aboard the horror cruise liner stranded at Yokohama with 2,660 passengers and 800 crew trapped aboard.
Hyundai has suspended car production at its giant Ulsan manufacturing plant in S Korea, owing to Chinese parts drying up. N Korea has reported its first case, a woman who’d been visiting Wuhan. Hospital workers in Hong Kong remain on strike, demanding closure of the border with the mainland. Supermarkets are reporting empty shelves after a wave of panic buying.
Speaking of panic, I watched the last-of-the current-series episode of “Silent Witness” last night – for any foreigners, it’s a long-running BBC Drama CSI-stroke-pathology-lab procedural in which a large and internationally respected forensics institute is entirely staffed by just four mentally tortured individuals, who solve crimes the cops can’t or won’t by cutting up corpses in a gruesomely explicit way, reconstructing broken hard drives and watching hours of CCTV: the unlikely premise being that they work so closely with the police, they’re even invited to sit in on interrogations and interview witnesses.
Spoiler: In this episode, Dalek-with-hands, computers-stroke-tiny-fragments-whizz, Clarissa Mullery is leaving to look after her old mum – popular disability icon Liz Carr has got a part in a Hollywood movie – while tall, handsome, anal CEO and troubled single-father, Thomas Chamberlain (Richard Lintern) gets written off – and out of Series #397 – by an escaped Porton Down experimental military nerve agent that goes straight through ordinary masks; nobly sacrificing himself to save chemically stricken, kickboxing crimescene cluehound, brooding Ulsterman, Jack Hodgson (David Caves).
The evening’s weirdness was compounded by watching Thomas writhing in his death-agony on the lab floor, doors barred to keep the foul stuff safely inside while he mentally computes the formula that will save Psycho Jack.
Following his demise, as the credits rolled I switched over to continue binge-watching Series 3, Episode 9 of a timeshifted mid-afternoon, do and say nothing to upset the old biddies, quirky but amiably watchable private-eye, he-she buddy series called (it’s set in Stratford-on-Avon) Shakespeare and Hathaway, in which two bungling amateurs and their faggy, wannabe-actor assistant prove they’re cleverer than the local clueless but hostile smartypants Detective Inspector.
Five minutes had barely passed in a late-evening whisky haze before, damn-me, if Thomas-slash-Lintern wasn’t miraculously resurrected, popping up on-screen as the tall, handsome etc. smooth-talking, property-developing villain who bumps off a bonkers ghostbuster (played by another disability icon, Francesca Martinez) to stop her contacts in the spirit world proving he doesn’t own the land under the local pub.
The idea of the suave, 6’1″ Lintern climbing in through a window round the back or visiting a small campervan to knock off a woman with cerebral palsy, a feat we aren’t shown, was almost more BBC Drama than I could take. For the first time ever I thought it might be worth contacting the Issues Helpline number they always tack onto the end of the show, in case you’re feeling worried.
Don’t feel you have to leave
Am I alone in finding some elements of this viral story rather odd?
Last week there was a big to-do in the news for a few days, about an evacuation flight laid on for British and Spanish citizens, mainly, fleeing the outbreak in Wuhan. As the Wuhanese were streaming out of the city before they were finally banged-up, spreading the stuff everywhere, we heard about people not being able to bring their Chinese wives and kids out, the plane not being allowed to take off, the scramble to find a quarantine space and the rest. Travel bans were being put in place everywhere.
In the end the Brits boarded, flew, were dropped off as the plane went on to Spain and are now in isolation in a Cheshire hospital. To date none has tested positive. Other nations have had similar stories to tell, of evacuation flights. A German flight unwittingly brought back a number of positive cases. The plague is rife aboard a stricken cruise liner at Yokohama. There cannot be any non-Chinese resident left in Hubei province who doesn’t know the virus poses a risk.
Now, a week later, the Foreign Office has perked up and brightly advised British nationals in China that: “You should think about leaving if you can”…. And epidemiologists are being quoted as saying the advice “will come as a relief” to those who remain. What, they think being advised to leave is the same as getting a flight out? Because it’s a long way to bloody walk. And that people need permission from HMG?
They don’t think these people will have made up their own minds yet, or what? That they’re not capable of deciding what to do until the Foreign Office tells them it’s okay to act in their own best interests – if they can? For fuck’s sake! How disconnected from real life do scientists have to be?
The British Foreign Office it seems to me, is in an advanced state of not having the faintest idea what to do either, and is fully symptomatic of this shambles of a government halfwitted voters have just elected, that is being run not by the elected politicians but by scheming teenaged advisors and ambitious ideopaths who couldn’t collectively organize a shit in a 2-gallon bucket.
But as they say, talk’s cheap.
(Postscriptum: 5 Feb., the FO has announced overnight one further, final, take-it-or-leave it charter flight out on Sunday, in conjunction with the French, although we gather the Chinese authorities may not yet have agreed to it. Spreading the virus around the world is not something Premier Xi wants to see happening. At home, a row has erupted over a meeting the Chinese ambassador had with the Prime Minister’s father, a man of no position but whom the Ambassador mistook for an official emissary. China’s participation in the disastrously disorganized COP-26 conference in Glasgow in the Autumn is now uncertain.)
And the latest medical advice, with still just the two British cases confirmed after a week is, if you’ve been to China and you don’t feel well, stay home.
The image of mummefied corpses being found everywhere in a year’s time, clutching their return tickets, bolt upright in their armchairs with the telly still hissing, by social workers and bailiffs (repo-men) keen to recover the rent arrears springs to mind, as for sure, GPs won’t be making house calls. Nor do most people have the specialized life-support apparatus at home, which serious cases require.
Followers, Likers, Spammers and Those No Longer Reading this, muh bogl, may well include journalists at the Express.
I deduce this because you lovelies will all kno’ that I drew everyone’s attention many days ago to the comparative data from the official US ‘Centers for Disease Control’ in Atlanta, Georgia, showing that while the US had identified only eight cases of coronavirus by the middle of last week, over 19 MILLION Americans had already been struck down by seasonal Type A avian H1N1 ‘flu, 180 thousand had been hospitalized, and 10 thousand had already died.
We might perhaps recall that as of 2017/18, 27.3 million Americans had no health insurance at all, relying entirely for survival on the hit-and-miss state-funded Medicaid service – and many more still have no insurance for the pre-existing conditions that will have weakened them against things like ‘flu and other viruses.
The Hill has asked the question, why are Americans so terrified of foreign viruses like the coronavirus and ebola, that offer them almost no threat, but don’t appear to care that homegrown viruses are making millions sick and killing around 30 thousand Americans a year? Curiously, the site is still quoting the CDC’s figures from early last week. Their answer is probably that word ‘foreign’, but let’s not forget the huge numbers of gullible fucknuts who swear by the anti-vaxxer message.
Maybe something smelling of Trump’s asshole, Goop by Trump, will keep them safe?
The story also appeared in the Express today, 4 Feb., using the same figures as we reported last week – although they should logically have changed by now, the mystery as we have also previously mentioned being, the CDC website is no longer even reporting it and therefore it’s difficult to check.
Your Uncle Bogler has pondered this enigma, and has come up with one of his finer conspiracy theories.
Coronavirus fears have hit the Asian stockmarkets hard over the past few days. God forbid even worse news on the health front from the USA should be allowed to cause a similar shutdown of industry there, causing Trump-unhelpful jitters in the rise and rise of the ever-bloating Dow Jones Index; his only positive economic indicator. Silence, as they say, is golden.
But the problem is possibly more prosaic. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in 2017:
“…the agency is the target of deep spending cuts under Trump’s budget proposal. His budget draft would have cut the CDC’s spending by $1.2 billion, which health experts warned could hamper the agency’s disease-fighting efforts and immunization programs. (Former Director, Dr Tom) Frieden called them ‘unsafe at any level of enactment.'”
Yep, the CDC’s been hacked back to pay for Trump’s tax cuts for the billionaires.
Welcome to your fascist state, America,
“Can the clusterfuck that COP-26 is turning into make us look any less useless?”
Look on the bright side
I seldom see anyone commenting on a peculiar fact of economics. The worse the news gets, the higher the markets seem to bounce.
Both oil prices and global markets had been sagging over the past few days owing to what the WHO is on the verge of declaring is a global pandemic, that has already had a depressing effect on industrial output in China.
But market jitters never seem to last long, even though the news may be bad. On the basis of one unconfirmed rumor that a Chinese lab has found a ‘cure’ for the coronavirus, which even if true would take months of trials before it could be released, this morning the men who bet on flies have resumed cheerfully buying stocks and oil futures as if the whole thing was just a bad dream.
Grab it while you can, I say.
Meanwhile, the pound is creeping up against the Euro and the dollar, even while HMG dithers over HS2, productivity remains through the floor and Vanishing Johnson reveals the culture of bungling incompetence at Number 10 as he faffs about trying to find anyone willing to organize the make-or-break COP-26 conference on climate change Britain is supposedly playing host to next Autumn, with no help from him.
That’s if Border Force’s goons will allow any of the darker-tinted delegates into the country.
Nor can anyone finally decide where to hold it, as the PM refuses to allow the Scottish parliament to have an input in the globally important event supposedly being held in Glasgow, in case it makes them look too independent; so Ms Sturgeon has gone and booked up all the best venues around the city for as-yet unspecified purposes. (Retaliation denied.)
Still, the UK already looks laughably dysfunctional after three years of Brex… sorry, of leaving the EU-type clusterfuckery, that’s still going on, with positions on a trade agreement hardening on both sides. Can the clusterfuck that COP-26 is also turning into make us look any less useless and irrelevant on the world stage than we already do?
And capitalists haven’t changed their spots. Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways has told its workforce they should voluntarily take three months off to allow for the dip in air travel owing to coronavirus – without pay.
So, nothing to see there. Buy!
Pot, kettle #106
Mike Lynch was thought of as a successful British entrepreneur, who sold his Cambridge-based tech company to the late Hewlett Packard for $8 billion, only for HP to have to writedown almost $9 billion a year later, claiming they’d been conned.
“In the civil fraud case in London,” reports the Guardian, “HP’s successor companies allege Lynch fraudulently inflated the value of Autonomy before its acquisition by HP. The businessman, once hailed as Britain’s answer to Bill Gates, has been accused of lying repeatedly and inventing evidence in the witness box.” And has surrendered himself to the court, facing extradition proceedings that could land him with a 25-year sentence in a Federal house of correction alongside Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.
The Pumpkin has no idea if accounting skulduggery took place or not. It looks like the people who bought out Hewlett Packard are just a bit pissed and need to make some money back quickly.
But he wonders when the Department of Justice might take it into its woolly old head to ask some pertinent questions about credible accusations that Trump deliberately inflated his asset values to fraudulently obtain $2 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank, secured against worthless junk bonds and nebulous guarantees from Russian signatories?
And how those loans were approved despite America’s answer to Dick Dastardly being red-flagged as a money-launderer and serial defaulter? A repeated liar (16.4 thousand and counting) and an inventor of evidence in his own impeachment trial?
At least we’re not hearing that Lynch has threatened and intimidated witnesses and bribed jurors.
The problem being that the main witness who could testify for or against Trump, the Deutsche Bank wealth management division (Enrich) executive Thomas Bowers who approved his loans was found tragically suicided at his agreeable Malibu home last November.
Oh dear, what a trial.
And one in which Mr Trump would certainly have been totally, completely and fully exonerated. Perfect, in fact.
GW: we’re sinking in the rain
Turkey: At least 23 rescue workers have been killed on a mountain road in eastern Turkey, 5 Feb., after they were hit by an avalanche while searching for two people missing in an earlier snowslide, that had already killed 5 people. 30 rescue workers were pulled out alive, but emergency teams were still searching for other colleagues who might be buried under the snow. (Guardian)
Malawi: “1 person has died and hundreds have been displaced after flooding in the north that began on 1 Feb. after heavy rain caused several rivers to break their banks. Over 450 households in the district have been displaced due to flooding of the North Rukuru river. Food stores have been damaged or destroyed. Crops and livestock have also suffered.” (Floodlist) News emerges two weeks late from the northwest of Burundi, too, of floods that killed at least 3 people and displaced over 1,000.
New Zealand: a Red-level emergency is in operation on South Island after a meter of rain (39 in.) fell in Southland in just 60 hours. 100 hikers and about 70 people in vehicles were stranded by flooding and road closures in the tourist area of Fiordland. Hundreds more were evacuated to shelters. Helicopters flew over the bush trails to find and rescue those stuck. Fears are growing that floodwater may enter a chemical store in Mataura and release a cloud of toxic ammonia.” (Guardian)
Indonesia: At least 3 people have died in recent flooding in Papua New Guinea, Floodlist reports. “Homes and two bridges were destroyed in the floods. At least two more people are thought to be missing.”
USA: “When the system arrives over the southeast US and East Coast, rapid surface cyclogenesis takes place and significantly worsening conditions develop. A violent winter storm spreads across the northeast, introducing very heavy rain and severe winds across the region, but also very dangerous conditions in the cyclone’s wake where violent blizzards develop. Extremely high temperatures are expected before the front pushes through.” (Severe-weather.eu).
Canada: A state of emergency remains in place in some Vancouver Island communities after flooding forced residents from their homes and shut down roads over the weekend. Heavy rain hit the area Friday and into the early morning of Saturday, prompting the district to issue evacuation orders as water levels rose in rivers and streams in the region. (CBC) Let’s hope Meghan and Harry can swim.
Australia: flood warnings are out in fire-ravaged New South Wales as heavy rain and thunderstorms begin to batter the region. Western Australia, a tropical low off the north coast is expected to develop into a tropical cyclone on Thursday morning, 6 Feb. It’s expected to deepen and could become a Cat 3 cyclone by Saturday as it moves toward land, although there’s still uncertainty as to whether it would make landfall. (Guardian) Severe-weather.eu reports on a second cyclone, Invest 92P, forming off Vanuatu.
Brazil: Wunderground reported, 29 Jan., on an “unprecedented multi-day stretch of torrential rain and destructive flooding at a time of year when frequent rainfall is already the norm. Flooding from a rare south Atlantic cyclone, Kurumi took at least 58 lives and displaced some 30,000 people. States of emergency were declared for more than 100 communities in the state of Minas Gerais.” Total rainfall through January of 809.7 mm (31.88”) was more than 250% of the January average, according to Brazil’s national meteorological institute.
France: Days of heavy rain have caused flooding as rivers rose to near-record levels in parts of eastern France. Three weeks’ worth of winter rain fell in one 24 hour period. Emergency services carried out flood rescues in Luxembourg, where several roads had to be closed due to flooding. (from Floodlist)
Croatia: and it’s ‘batten down the hatches’ as winds gusting to more than 200 km/hr (125 mph – hurricane force 3) are forecast over the Balkans tonight, 5 Feb. (Severe-weather.eu) Update: Earth Changes Media reports, Cyclone Teodor left 1 person dead and 22 injured, along with much property damage.
British Isles: Another of those giant Atlantic cyclones we’ve been reporting, Storm Ciara is expected to bring ‘very unsettled’ weather on Saturday night. 8 Feb., and into Sunday. “People can expect delays to road, rail and air travel, and those living by the coast could be affected by large waves and sea spray. The Met Office also warned of possible power cuts and building damage caused by the high winds, which are expected to last for more than 24 hours.” (BBC)
Antarctica: has logged its hottest temperature on record, 18.3C, beating the previous record by 0.8C. The reading, taken at Esperanza on the northern tip of the continent’s peninsula, beats Antarctica’s previous record of 17.5C, set in March 2015. (Guardian)
Japan: 2,660 passengers aboard a Japanese cruise liner are being quarantined, ordered to remain in their fetid cabins at Yokohama after 10 tested positive for coronavirus and were transferred to hospitals onshore. They include two Australians and an American. It brings the number of confirmed cases in Japan to 35. (Japan Times)
Update: 6 Feb., another 10 cases have been confirmed aboard the Diamond Princess.
The Taal volcano in the Philippines‘ Luzon island is still rumbling away, with over 130 earthquakes a day felt locally, up to M4. Experts expect the island volcano to erupt again soon, which means it probably won’t. 150 thousand people were evacuated when it blew its top last month.
Daily Excess: sorry to draw on this bizarre website for something interesting to write about, again, but I couldn’t resist retweeting this standfirst from a 4 Feb. story:
“World War 3 panic: US launch devastating terror airstrike as it bids to make ‘US safer’”
Yes, folks, a routine drone strike on an al-Shabaab guerilla base in rural Somalia at the weekend, causing one fatality, is going to start World War Three…. Don’t think so, lads. Nice try.
I’m trying to ignore another story, too, that warns us NASA is worried about a killer asteroid hitting Earth. Not a specific asteroid, it turns out. Just any old asteroid, really. Lots to choose from. Not much we can do about it.
Yet a third sensational headline about USGS finding a ‘smoking gun’ at the Yellowstone volcano turns out to be a story about how scientists first discovered that the entire park was really the caldera of a giant supervolcano – that was about 50 years ago by my reckoning. Hot news!
What is the matter with these people? How panic-stricken do they think we are?
Don’t answer that.
Decarb: “More than 90% of the £2bn in energy deals struck at the inaugural UK-Africa summit last month were for fossil fuels”, The Guardian has found, despite the UK government’s commitment to “support African countries in their transition to cleaner energy”. A publicly-funded investment program, The Private Infrastructure Development Group has also been found by NGO, Global Witness to have invested three-quarters of a billion pounds in fossil fuel projects, thus helping to dump a large percentage of the UK’s much-vaunted cut in CO2 emissions on the Third World.
The crimes of one’s youth
A Commenter called Albs posted a few choice paragraphs this morning under another splendid cartoon by The Guardian‘s Steve Bell, showing Trump as a grossly naked and wobbling Venus on the half-shell, Botticelli’s famous painting, shit pouring out of his signature Bell motif, his head wearing a gold toilet seat for hair, as a craven-looking Senator McConnell rushes to clothe him in the American flag
Tragically for Albs, in his or her last line the word obviously meant to be ‘threw’ emerges as ‘through’, and another Commenter called Albs – oh, I see it is in fact the same split-personality – later writes ‘threw, not through, you numbnuts’, a Comment which captures the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation as other Commenters rush to reassure her/him that anyone can make a mistake and he/she is not to dwell on it.
Trump’s miraculous deliverance and his coronation, not to say his apotheosis at the hands of a broken and wretched Congress, the abysmally corrupt and crime-complicit GOP, are forgotten.
Your Uncle Bogler, however, recalls how, 58 years ago, back in 1962, while sitting his Common Entrance History paper, he made a literary gaffe of such egregious and monumental stupidity that it became in his mind a crime he has never forgotten, and still shudders at to this day.
Despite having worked for many years at the coalface of textual conception and analysis: in news, in advertising, in publishing – he edited more than 150 ‘serious’ books – despite the many millions of words committed to paper since in an editorial career of little and poorly rewarded distinction, your old Uncle has never, ever forgotten the shame of realizing, too late, that he had written of the ’emasculation’, instead of the ’emancipation’, of women.
A mistake which he feels is at the core of his ‘impostor syndrome’, that has dogged him all his working life.
For, this was clearly not an intentionally precocious alignment with the core tenet of feminism. He was, for Christ’s sake, only 12 years old. His mother was probably the only woman he had ever met, apart from the Headmaster’s wife, Mrs Cornes. And, he supposes, Matron. After almost six decades haunted by the shame, and with many lesser errors since logged in the celestial record, nevertheless as a working writer he has yet to expiate a literary crime of such an awful dimension, and doubts he ever shall.
So, sorry, Albs, but I fear you will have to go to your grave with the shameful memory of how your spellchecker, possibly unnoticed, once gave you ‘through’ instead of ‘threw’, and showed you up for what we all truly are, deep down.
My error has permanently emasculated, and never emancipated me. As it now has you, numbnuts