Some Like it Hot – interim musings on fire safety. Plus: Who is this guy, Shakespeare? And: Care in Chaos: where’s the money?

“the fire station officer’s report described the building as a ‘deathtrap’, into which he could not legally order firemen to go…”

Some Like it Hot

Having recently been made homeless, after several years’ helpful experience of hiring myself out between increasingly rare freelance consultancy contracts as a jobbing gardener and house cleaner I was fortunate in 2005 to land a job as the Estate Manager of a large and historic 18th-century country mansion, a Grade One-listed Palladian wedding-cake described by the heritage people as ‘an architectural jewel’.

Scarily illuminated by night, bats flitting through pools of garish yellow floodlighting into the deep black shadows all around, by day the mansion was revealed as a dilapidated Gormenghast, a cheap pattern-book building stuck as the result of a dynastic marriage on top of a probably more interesting and sturdy 17th-century manor house, from where Captain Johnes had mustered the militia to defend the castle against Oliver Cromwell’s men during the English Civil War, before judiciously changing sides.

A succession of eccentric and indigent owners over the years had left the place with a reputation for drug-fuelled raves and unpaid bills. Anything it had once contained of value: furnishings, collections, even fixtures and fittings had long ago been auctioned off, crowbarred out. Yet visitors found it all most enviable, I never understood why.

Infested with bedbugs to the discomfiture of the hotel inspector, who showed me his collection of angry bites but otherwise wrote kindly about us, it had, I think, 19 bedrooms (in theory – the top floor was derelict, making counting difficult). There were nine separate electrical circuits, in some of which nails were being used as fuses, and its water requirements were served by a single, half-inch plastic agricultural pipe that froze solid in winter and then burst, twice flooding the kitchen.

I lived in a sort of semi-furnished apartment at the back, three rooms and a galley (no fridge or cooker provided), on-call 24 hours a day. The pay was minimal, the hours and duties practically infinite. As the only permanent staff for much of the nearly seven years I worked there, in the otherwise empty building, apart from the rare occasions on which there were B&B guests and weekend wedding parties of up to 200 people, I was alone and responsible by night for chasing uninvited intruders out of the house and grounds. Usually they were looking for drugs, or hoping to photograph a ghost.

The new owners lived on the other side of the world and travelled incessantly on business, visiting for perhaps two or three weeks a year. They would arrive in a state of excitement, glad to be ‘home’, then rapidly tire of the limited facilities and tacky local attractions. Not having a clue about listed Georgian buildings and the horrendous repair and maintenance costs they constantly demand, they bought the house on an impulse while on holiday, grandiose but cheap, leaving the seller’s hardly unbiassed agent to commission for them a basic ‘second-gear’ mortgage survey that consisted mostly of small-print exclusion clauses.

What I saw alarmed me.

Still standing… the 270 year-old ‘jewel’ – a potential death-trap.

Beneath the floor of the impressive first-floor gallery was a four-feet high ceiling void that spanned the length of the building with no fire breaks. Through the voids of the disused rooms above ran thick bundles of old electrical cables, whose combined resistance I knew could cause them to heat up, in contact everywhere with piles of wood shavings and materials discarded from abortive attempts at restoration.

The addition of central heating had caused the fine old oak floorboards in the public rooms to shrivel, leaving gaps beneath which a centuries-old accumulation of fluff and dust was visible. The nightmare of a King’s Cross-style smouldering fire resulting from a dropped cigarette seemed inevitable*. Of course there was no sprinkler system: water might damage the historic chipboard furnishings, the crudely faked old masters.

To loud protests from guests and wedding organizers, I immediately banned smoking and naked lights anywhere in the house. It had little effect: people felt that as they were paying to use the facilities, they could do what they liked; especially the outside catering staff I had to bring in when there were too many guests for me to cook for and wash-up after on my own.

The brickwork lining the grand and ‘welcoming log fire’ in the hall was badly eroded. There was no fireback. Sparks were flying everywhere. Further up, where it could not be seen, a collapse had partly blocked the enormous chimney. For £10 extra, wedding organizers could book the fire on a winter’s night; but after the main feature of the house, its gilded rococo ‘music-room’ immediately above the hall filled with smoke one night, setting off the fire alarm, I decided it might be a good idea to stop lighting fires.

That didn’t go down too well either. It’s difficult to get people to think and act in their own best interests where money is involved. I suppose that goes for the world too.

The local fire brigade used to carry out an inspection once a year, bringing their rookie firemen up from town to show them the ropes: the derelict areas, the wiring mess, the grand wooden staircase with the flammable junkroom beneath, just by the main kitchen; where the water supply sometimes was, the decidedly dodgy alarm system, the main emergency escapes – there are seven – and filed a report, on which we were legally supposed to act.

No-one was ever able to find the fire hydrant. It was out there somewhere, beneath the brambles in the overgrown garden. I regularly used to dig it out and put the yellow marker back, until the next tradesman came along and parked his truck on top of it, and it disappeared again under a heap of building rubble. Plan B was to run hoses out and pump water from the lake a quarter of a mile away. It didn’t seem like a very good plan as the lake was in dire peril of silting up entirely.

I first became aware that experts shared my view of the safety of the building when in my second year, the fire station officer’s report concluded that the historic jewel was a ‘deathtrap’ – his word – into which he could not legally order firemen to go, not even to save life. It would, he explained kindly off the record, likely all go up in minutes. Nevertheless, we were permitted to go on using it for room-and-board lettings and public events, as the only alternative to making commercial use of the building was to do what the owners of most similar buildings in Britain have generally done, burn the place down.

The first year’s report I saw had allowed us to open to the public only on condition that certain works were carried out. I conveyed the information to them, only to be told I had to cover the cost myself by letting out rooms and organizing weddings and ‘cultural events’ such as rock festivals before they could spend anything on improvements. Sometimes it was hard to remember I was only the gardener.

Then in October 2006 the rules changed. The fire service was no longer responsible for certifying the safety of public buildings.  Owners and managers were expected to self-certify, any subsequent deaths being on their own responsibility. The safety industry became deregulated. Consultants emerged, mostly retired firemen with a limited grasp of English and £2 million of liability insurance. Firms sprang up to expensively service our fire extinguishers. The annual inspection was showing up more and more faults on the alarm circuits.

I wrote my own risk report and management plan, running to many pages. As it was quite beyond one person to carry out a proper search-and-evacuation, while if possible tackling the fire, it was a little optimistic in places; so to cover my back I engaged a consultant. For £150 his report was perhaps less fulsome, nevertheless it made more recommendations, including the addition of automatically closing fire doors, partitions, a new and fully functioning alarm system, etcetera.

Carrying out his instructions was going to be difficult. You could understand the natural resistance of the heritage people to screwing one-hour fire-resistant cladding to both sides of the original Robert Adam-style moulded internal door facings. Once again I emailed the report to the owners, and once again they ignored it, pleading poverty.

By this time we were getting grief, too, from the electrical contractor. Having rewired one wing of the house we had newly restored, giving me two more bedroom suites to clean, they were now refusing to certify the safety of the wiring in the rest of the house. It seemed like a ploy to screw more money out of the supposedly wealthy owners, a local sport, but I could see they had a point.

Having recently had to upgrade the 18th-century sewerage system under threat of a ‘cease and desist’, no-shit order from the Environment agency, who fancied our guests were polluting the local watercourse – there being no septic tank – the owners were not amused. They were starting to understand why the previous owner had walked away smiling.

Around that time I learned of a court case in which a chainstore had been heavily fined following a fire at their London Oxford Street branch, where the staff hadn’t thought about evacuating the shoppers as there was no proper management plan. No-one was hurt, but the implication of the ruling was that, if you knew there was a problem, you needed to fix it before anyone died.

The sentence could be two years in jail, I warned the owners.

The alarm was frequently going off, usually at three a.m. – a terrifyingly loud, panic-inducing, multitone klaxon that battered the senses. One such night, rousing myself from torpor, hurriedly pulling on clothes, tottering across to the office on the opposite corner of the building to switch off the racket, going upstairs to the unlit top floor, avoiding the many missing floorboards, to find and murder the offending smoke detector – dustfalls set them off – and then back out to the car-park to count the guests milling around in confusion, I found one was missing.

An elderly gentleman, he switched off his hearing aids at night, his daughter told me. Although it would awaken the dead, he hadn’t heard the alarm. That did it. I called our insurance broker and told him the full story: the reports, the wiring, the water supply – the putative dead guest. His reply?

‘I wish you hadn’t told me that’.

I emailed the owners, told them I was closing the house and would refuse any order to keep trading or put on any more events until they got the money together and refurbished the entire estate: house, falling-down outbuildings, dangerous grounds and all. I explained patiently that they were wasting thousands of pounds a year insuring an uninsurable asset. The insurers would never pay out, no matter what, and with no valid insurance and safety certificates the hotel licence was correspondingly useless, we were trading illegally.

My reward was to be downgraded. Having found and briefed the architects, I hung on for three more years, acting the part of the old ‘caretaker’ in my dark and freezing flat while contractors came and went, to the sound of power-saws and jackhammers smashing through historic brickwork.

Finally, as a hotel began to emerge they took away the apartment, that I had decorated and furnished at my own expense, to give themselves more rooms to let. I was paid off, to be replaced by a ‘proper manager’ and a battery of about twenty staff, including an obsequious greeter with an umbrella, something it had not occurred to me to put in the job description, one of my first tasks on being employed having been to write my own. It ran to many pages.

I spent the next eight years looking for another job like it, all over Europe. Although registered with more than a dozen snooty London agencies, I managed by my own efforts to get three interviews; one of which resulted in the offer of an impossible job in a boring part of France looking after an even bigger empty house and estate in even worse condition. On discovering that 95 per cent of the nearby town had been bombed flat by the Royal Air Force during WW2, I turned it down. Eventually I gave up looking and retired.

But at least, in large part thanks to my efforts, that damned old jewel is still standing.

  • In 1987, a lit match dropped on an escalator deep down under the London underground station, King’s Cross, ignited a fire in the oily detritus beneath that smouldered for an hour before bursting out in flames. Thirty-one people died and a hundred more were injured.

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Who is this guy, Shakespeare?

Evidence of the sheer cretinous-ness of Trump’s shrinking band of true dumbfuck supporters emerged over the weekend, when theaters all over America with the name Shakespeare attached received a barrage of abusive messages, rape and death threats indiscriminately aimed at casts, management and crews.

The Washington Post reports, the cause is apparently one single production in New York of Julius Caesar, its short run in Central Park now ended, which rather daringly had a leading character loosely based on Donald Trump – who, of course, unfortunately has to be assassinated in Act three.

Not having the faintest idea who Shakespeare was, 450-odd years after his death, the dumbfucks have rallied round to protect their abusive and emotionally undeveloped orange avatar against the heinous libel by going after the person who wrote da play, imagining in their drooling, cave-troll-like stupidity that this guy Shakespeare don’t respect the boss and oughta be taught a lesson.

…Shakespeare Dallas (Texas) artistic director Raphael Parry reported the receipt of around 80 messages including threats of rape and death and one suggestion, referencing the fate of Shakespeare’s Caesar, that theater staff should be “sent to Isis to be killed with real knives”.

“We just got slammed,” Parry told the Globe. “It’s pretty amazing the vitriol, the wishing we would die and our family would die. A whole lot of them say that we should burn in hell.” Directors said they were surprised by the threats, which Parry thought were most likely generated by a toxic mix of partisan anger and basic web analytics.” – Washington Post, 19 June.

It is of course beyond the bounds of reason that a diehard Trumpist dumbfuck could appreciate how interpretations of the works of the Bard might differ from production to production, and that (too many. Ed.) directors occasionally like to have a bit of fun with them. Sweet Will, I feel sure, would appreciate the grim humour of the situation more than most. He wrote a lot about rape and death.

In fact, Trump should be pleased, up to a point. Julius was a pretty successful general – ruthlessly ambitious, endlessly demanding of loyalty, he massacred hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen and Germans. Unfortunately he flew a bit too close to the sun back in Rome, politically speaking, where even his best mate thought it better to bump him off than let him become a king.

However, his name and deeds have flourished for over two thousand years, and he has lent his surname to an entire phylum of over-mighty, authoritarian bastards who have made people’s lives a misery down the centuries.

Beat that, Donald.

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“…it seems inevitable that one day people are going to start wondering where all the money has gone to? “

Care in chaos: where’s the money?

Simon Cowell, Andy Murray… the wealthy entertainers and sportsmen are all jumping on the bandwaggon, assuaging their guilt over the economic inequality that condemns London’s migrant workforce to live and die in crumby tower blocks, by holding fundraisers.

But is plowing yet more money into the melting pot really the answer?

Although we still have no idea how many died – the police put the number at 79 but it is likely to go on rising – we do now at least have an idea of how many persons or family units escaped the fire, the number being about 180.

By day two the public had already donated roughly £2 million, even before poor stilted Theresa May tried to save face by offering £5 million in immediate government support, with a grant of £5,500 per tenant*. That’s almost £40 thousand per tenancy, although it may need to stretch to cover compensation for the families of the dead, and any legal costs of the survivors having to re-establish their claims for work visas when all their paperwork has been destroyed.

Plus there are the free relocation services already being offered, that aren’t being terribly well handled; and the donations in kind, of food, toys and clothing. The public’s generosity has been overwhelming – and that’s the problem.

Mr Cowell’s aim of raising another £5 million, plus whatever our wealthier sports personalities can drum up, will double the money washing into the system, with seemingly no plan or guarantees as to who will receive what. The inevitable lawsuits against the management company and the renovation contractors will in future years also provide further large sums in compensation.

It all seems to me to be dangerously excessive, making superstar beneficiaries out of the Grenfell survivors – those, that is, who have not already melted away into the suburbs, unsure of their legal status – but not helping the thousands more tenants awaiting their fate in similar buildings across the country.

Coming so closely on top of the election, the whole affair was immediately politicised in ‘rich v. poor’ terms, although London has always been a city both of gross inequality and hopeful opportunity. The lack of leadership shown by the council and central government was shameful, but worse, it has left a vacuum that local community groups have had to fill. Such ad hoc arrangements post-disasters have in the past led to much undignified squabbling and resentful chaos.

In months to come, no doubt the media will be pointing fingers at the failure to create any kind of responsible, independent central administration to collate, control, disburse and audit the very large funds that are now growing unaccounted for.

The desire to help may be genuine, but given the disorganized nature of these appeals it seems inevitable that one day people are going to start wondering where all the money has gone to?

 

*Government charity is, as always, backhanded. £500 cash grants are being made, but the balance of £5,000 has to be paid into a bank account. That’s a great way of catching out the illegals.

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“As temperatures climb in Phoenix, Arizona, more than 40 flights have been cancelled – because it is too hot for the planes to fly. The weather forecast for the US city suggests temperatures could reach 120F (49C) on Tuesday.” – BBC.

Enjoy the end while it lasts…

  • Record 100 deg F. to 120 deg F. heatwave persisting across the southwestern United States. 25 deg F. anomaly over normal June temp. reported in California. 55% of US landmass now ‘droughted’.
  • Tidal flooding along Texas, Alabama, Louisiana coast; high winds and tornadoes, up to 1 ft of rain from Tropical Storm Cindy (see below).
  • Record 95 deg F. heatwave across France, Spain, Portugal. Expected ‘hottest summer on record’.
  • Huge wildfires as reported in Leiria, Beiras province, Portugal. Two thousand firefighters involved. At least 64 dead, others missing. 26,000 hectares of forest destroyed.
  • Fujian province, SE China – still underwater. Northern China: droughted. Heavy storm, flooding hits Beijing, Tangshan. 25 June: rescue workers battle to find 120 missing after landlide buries village in Sichuan province.
  • India: heavy rain and floods in Assam, Manipur.
  • 14 die in floods in Niger, West Africa. Northern Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia, Cape Province: all droughted.
  • Floods in Honduras, Central America; Brazil, Mexico, Chile (again, this time with snowstorms).
  • Floods, landslides in Guatemala kill 11. Tropical Storm Bret trashes Jamaica, Trinidad.
  • 14 June, egg-sized hail fell during storms that brought flooding to the northern Loire region of France. 1 dead.
  • Large temp. anomalies in northern USA, Canada. 78 deg. F. forecast for Fort Simpson, NW Territories.
  • Sudden powerful storm trashes the city of Red Deer, Alberta.
  • Quick check around the ‘permafrosted’ land edge of the Arctic ocean shows 30 deg. C. heatwave in arctic Russia/Siberia.
  • Wildfires… everywhere. Grassland fires over Great Plains area reported to be 300% up on 1980s.
  • Also up 300% since 1980s, extreme storms in the western Sahel area of Africa (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, April 23)
  • Wildfires started by increasing numbers of lightning strikes ‘contributing to rising CO2’.
  • Tsunami caused by undersea slip kills 4 in Greenland. Possible cause: expected increase in seismic activity as land ‘bounces back’ due to icemelt.
  • Temperatures in some parts of the UK exceeded those in Los Angeles and the Bahamas on Monday (19 Jun) as the hottest day of the year so far gripped the country. In Lancashire, roads were seen melting in the high temperatures. – BBC.

Just in case it’s all over before you read this, for the aliens who arrive too late to save us I also need to report:

  • Potentially a monster storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, over the Yucatan peninsula, where there’s been extensive flooding. The chance of a cluster of powerful storm cells merging together has gone from 60% to 80% since Friday, according to USA Today and others, as the system is beginning to rotate ominously. A second tropical cyclone has formed off Belize, and a third is barrelling across the Atlantic from Africa: ‘an unusual event’ to have even two at the same time so early in the season.
  • An unusually long-lasting swarm of earthquakes in the Yellowstone Park supervolcano caldera over the past few weeks – 173 shocks of up to M4.2 recorded since yesterday alone, 500 since 12 Jan. Helium and sulphur gas emissions growing, large cracks appearing and venting. If it does blow, 28 million people will die within three days and the global economy will take fifty years to recover, if ever. Conspiracy theorists are wondering why the US Geological Survey has stopped reporting it.
  • Italian scientists are also concerned about an ancient supervolcano near Mount Vesuvius, right in the middle of Naples, called Campi Flegrei, that is showing signs of waking up.
  • Russia’s defence ministry has said it will treat any plane from the US-led coalition flying west of the Euphrates river in Syria as a ‘potential target’, after the US military shot down a Syrian air force jet on Sunday. Turkish troops have moved to defend Qatar against aggression by other states in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
  • A two-mile wide asteroid with its own moon avoided hitting the earth last week by just 15 million miles. It’s due back in 200 years. NASA is tracking ten more large near-Earth objects.

Bye, y’all. Love you.

The Pumpkin – Issue 21: What is WRONG with him? Kill them all. Everything. Just kill it, okay? More weatherballs.

Sessions in lah-lah land

“With that ambassador ah did naht have intracourse. Dee-testable lahs you are tellin'”

“…meanwhile, he was “100 per cent” prepared to testify that he is innocent of whatever it is he is not being investigated over.”

What is WRONG with him?

Having fired the FBI director James Comey last month, the Sun King from Queen’s found himself in a quandary.

Firing Comey would not make the Russia thing go away. He would have to shut down the entire FBI to do that. Which would look a little suspicious.

He needed someone who would kiss his ring and swear undying fealty, while thrice proclaiming Trump’s innocence to the world from a podium in the White House garden.

For, Comey never said Trump himself IS NOT under investigation. He said he was not AT THAT TIME under investigation. That’s what cost him his job, his refusal to say whether or not Trump MIGHT BE currently being investigated.

Pretty clearly, because Comey would not say he isn’t, but obviously could not say he is, if he was, Trump himself now is under investigation. But dimwitted Fox newsmouths like Ann Coulter, and the flabby-faced GOP Senator Graham continue to parrot Trump’s delusional claim that Comey’s testimony “vindicated” him.

While this feeble propaganda campaign continued, continuing to insult Comey by tweet as a “liar” and a “coward”, once again implicating himself through Freudian transference, the incandescent, panicking President cast about for a replacement for Comey he could characterise as even more ‘strong and stable’ – not a liar, at least.

And meanwhile, he was “100 per cent” prepared to testify that he is innocent of whatever it is he is not being investigated over. He said so at a well-attended press conference, on camera, four days before his press-weasel Sean Spicer told another well-attended media gaggle yesterday that he never said anything of the sort.

Spicey is unravelling fast; a dead spokesperson talking. A spoke.

One of Goldenballs’ first picks for top G-man (there have been five so far) was Joe Lieberman, who had the virtue of never having investigated anyone much. After the failing fake-news media pointed out that Lieberman was a partner in the firm of Trump’s own defence lawyer, Mark Kasowitz, thus creating something of a conflict of interest given the obvious Russia-thing connection, Lieberman resiled himself.

He didn’t need to wait around for the story to get out that he had at one time lobbied for a Libyan businessman linked with the militia group that murdered the American ambassador in Benghazi – one of the many crimes for which Trump felt his opponent, Mrs Clinton, should be locked up.

Trump’s latest pick is Christopher Wray, a Yale Law School graduate – who has never been a policeman, which is a start. Wray’s credentials are, according to the five a.m. tweet from the White House, “impeccable”. USA Today reported: “He has had a decades-long distinguished career as a federal prosecutor and high-level official in the Department of Justice.”

Unfortunately, the euphoria lasted less than a day. USA Today went on to say:

“The most troubling issue that Wray may face is the fact that his law firm — King & Spalding — represents Rosneft and Gazprom, two of Russia’s largest state-controlled oil (don’t forget gas – Gaz is the clue. Ed) companies.”

The Pumpkin enjoys the use of the word “may”.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that Trump might have bothered to discover that before putting Wray in an impossible position? Unless he considers working for the Russians an impeccable credential? (In fairness, we do not know if Wray worked on either account, but as a partner in the firm it doesn’t matter, there’s an automatic conflict of interest.)

Both companies are at the very heart of the Trump regime’s links with Russia; Rosneft in particular having reportedly offered Trump a 19 per cent share of the business if he could get the Obama sanctions lifted, that have been holding up a $500 billion deal with Exxon-Mobil to drill the bejasus out of the rapidly melting Arctic.

Doer of that deal at the time was Texas Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon, holder of the Russian Order of Friendship medal and now Trump’s peripatetic Secretary of State.

The Pumpkin also has a query of his own over the relationship with Gazprom, as the prospective  supply of gas from the ample Israeli offshore and Iranian/Qatari fields through Turkey to the West, bypassing Syria, seems to be a bone of contention with the Russian gas giant, that is naturally seeking to maintain the world price in order to prevent the Russian economy imploding.

Is Trump’s inexplicable turnround on Qatar something to do with the pressure of Gaz? Or – a theory just beginning to twinkle like a candle in the eye of a pumpkin – has Ukraine been plotting to set up an alternative supply pipeline through Turkey from Israel, to break the Russian stranglehold? Does that explain why there seems to be as much of a Ukrainian connection with Elect.Donald as there is a Russian one? What Manafort was doing setting up offshore companies through Panama with Ukrainian money? And what Flynn was doing in Turkey while being paid by a Ukrainian businessman through a Dutch subsidiary?

Whatever, there’s more…

USA Today goes on:

“The law firm’s representation of Gazprom raises even more serious conflict issues for Wray. Gazprom was a partner in RosUkrEnergo AG (“RUE”), which is controlled by Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash. He is under federal indictment in Chicago for racketeering charges, has had numerous financial dealings with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and is generally considered to be a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/06/08/trump-new-fbi-director-chris-wray-russian-ties-rosneft-gazprom-column/102603214/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories

The internet was abuzz today with speculation that Trump is considering also firing Robert Mueller, the Special Prosecutor – claiming that he is too close to Comey. (Others might suggest it’s because he’s getting too close to Donny. The Pumpkin couldn’t possibly comment.)

The gamble would have to be that what, as described by David Frum of The Nation magazine, would be like hiring a small plane to write in smoke above the White House: ‘I’m Super-Guilty!’, will not discountenance his Republican acolytes for more than a day or two, and not disturb his dumbfuck supporters or Ms Coulter at all.

Mr Trump has of course tweeted that he is not considering any such thing, so expect Mueller – who has only been in office three weeks – to be gone before the end of the week.

The next difficulty being, only the man who put him in office, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, can fire him. Attorney General Sessions is too busy giving sworn testimony about why he lied about his Russian contacts to the Senate intelligence committee as this article goes to press.*

And if Rosenstein refuses, and resigns, there are so few appointees in the Justice Department it looks like Trump will have to find the cleaner to do it, as the next in line. (16 June, now he is tweeting out, threatening to fire Rosenstein anyway, for letting him be under investigation for obstruction of justice. The man is clearly nuts.)

The Pumpkin needs to ask again, with the greatest of respect:

What is WRONG with him?

 

*STOP PRESS: Sessions assures the committee the suggestion he collaborated with Russians during his four meetings with the Russian ambassador, that he lied about, is a ‘detestable lie’.

Did he really offer to testify just for that? Is anyone telling the truth?

STOP, STOP PRESS: Someone, ‘officials’, has confirmed to the Washington Post today that Trump is indeed under investigation over the Russia thing. Trump’s Fred Karno team of lawyers has hysterically blamed ‘leakers’ in the FBI, but no-one is buying that.

The news, however, does make it a lot harder for Trump to fire anyone connected with the investigation, such as Special Prosecutor Mueller, without another obstruction charge being laid at his door. And saves the Justice Department, especially Deputy A-G Rod Rosenstein, from having to do the dirty deed.

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Kill them all. Everything, Just kill it, okay?

Mr Trump has not yet signed a Steve Bannon ordinance requiring that ten thousand kittens should be doused in gasoline and set alight on the Supreme Leader’s birthday. (Which happens to be today. 71. They say only the good die young.)

We can however expect it any day.

Mr Trump’s latest reversal of any legislation already on the statute book protecting civilization from total destruction has come in the form of an Executive Order lifting restrictions on fishing nets, mesh-size limits that were aimed at protecting endangered marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and dugongs from becoming by-catch.

Added to the one permitting hunting of she-bears with cubs and during the hibernation season, the shooting of wolves and elk from helicopters with automatic weapons, things hunters have clearly been dying to be allowed to do for years; the ones permitting the polluting of rivers with coal slurry, removing restrictions on methane releases from drilling activities and lifting the cap on vehicle ‘tailpipe’ emissions in cities, and so many, many more, and you have just a frenzied, pathological onslaught on the planet that must, surely, end with the arraignment of this gross, inhuman old monster on charges of crimes against humanity.

Indeed, it is impossible to see what will be accomplished by them?

The minor massacres that have seen various warlords and nationalist leaders held to account at The Hague pale into insignificance compared with what this money-breathing sonofabitch is doing to our planet.

But why? Why is he doing it?

It goes way beyond the obvious influence on his presidency of the energy-industry donors and their hugely well-remunerated lobbyists, disgusting human centipedes like Myron Ebell, his Exxon-fuelled energy advisor. Those people have known precisely the effects of burning carbon in the atmosphere for over 40 years. It’s cost them hundreds of millions to hush it up.

It goes beyond, too, any concern the four-times bankrupted Great Businessman, with his billion-dollar unpaid debts to foreign banks may have for a business community hedged about and fretting with unnecessary restrictions; conservative policies one might at a pinch just about make sense of. Trump has no knowledge of economics beyond running a medium-size family business and a TV show; by ‘running’ I mean just flying by the seat of his pants, bilking his creditors, getting by through having hysterical screaming fits and uttering threats and lawsuits if things don’t go his way.

Even the business community is reeling at some of the things he has done, as his actions will in fact hinder economic progress. The majority of voters, over 70 per cent, many tech billionaires, State governors and even energy-industry giants like the Secretary of State, Rex Tillexxon (former salary as Exxon-Mobil CEO £100,000 – A DAY), have tried and failed to persuade Trump to stay in the Paris accord, as it is non-binding and will not, as he appears to imagine, damage the economy; in fact it offers unrivalled opportunities for growth.

His huge giveaway tax-cuts to the wealthiest one per cent haven’t gone down well either. Even the business community understands that you need a thriving middle-class to buy more stuff. Giving their children asthma, poisoning the water and knocking points off their IQ is hardly going to endear him to them. His approval rating is now 60 per cent NEGATIVE.

Yet even as his presidency unravels in the total chaos of his administration amid numerous investigations of criminal wrongdoing, and the power-crazed Chief Executive resorts to a cult of personality and makes mafia-style demands that his people bow down and worship him with grotesque expressions of love, loyalty and lavish praise for his many invisible achievements, his popularity, a sure sign that he is as crazy as a box of frogs; even as he fails to get a single significant item of his program passed by the Congress, the US economy is moving ahead so fast that the Fed has had to hike the interest rate again.

How is that possible?

Well, it’s a sort of vindication of the Bannon doctrine, a logical development of Friedmanomics, the full realization of Ayn Rand, of Atlas shrugging, isn’t it: Government is just a waste of resources, a waste of money, and entirely unnecessary to an economy that, given total freedom and the removal of all laws and taxes, the total suppression of dissent, the manipulation of public opinion, the cynical abuse of democratic institutions and the disenfranchisement of the poorer class, will run itself.

Either that, or the country will disintegrate in a welter of violence and confusion that can only be good for the well-defended billionaires hunkered-down in their subterranean playgrounds, to emerge as Lords of the Universe and rebuild the smoking ruins in their image.

Trump is the summation of all the evils being perpetrated by these crazy bastards, a devil-child, and the more power he accumulates the crazier and more lethal he’s going to get.

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Dumbfuck news

A teacher in Maryland has been suspended for Photoshopping the name Trump off the T-shirts of pupils whose photos appear in the school yearbook. Parents are furious, although one suspects other parents might have been equally furious if the propaganda images had been left in.

There is, of course, a question over whether political slogans of any kind ought to be permitted on school property: if they allow this, how would they stop a pupil supporting something more worthwhile, like Rise Against, Jeremy Corbyn, or Podemos?

And how are the kids going to feel in years to come when they proudly open their yearbook and remember they were just little dumbfucks being taken for a ride by the most spectacularly self-interested criminal failure of a US President since Warren G Harding? Especially if their parents have died from uninsured cancers?

It doesn’t appear to have occurred to the terrified Principal, who is presumably expecting a knock on the door at 4 am from one of the many local militias now assisting police with crushing dissent. After all, the new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos spent a lot of money buying the Presidency for her friend, Mr Trump.* Who knows what Cruella DeVil could do to a school?

Anyway, if you don’t want to see a before-and-after photo of what a Trump supporter looks like while it’s still in high school, look away now:

A citizen of tomorrow.

*Footnote: a report out today (14 June) concludes that you can buy an election online for $400,000. Betsy must be kicking herself: she and Dick threw $22 million at it. (Trend Micro)

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“…these events are not in themselves so far out of the ordinary that they have never been observed before. But reporting them individually may be masking the global effect.”

More Weatherballs

I’m sorry to bang on about it, but turning to the BBC world weather news you’ll just get bland assurances that everything is normal, everywhere – and it bloody isn’t.

It just isn’t.

What evidence?

Well, it’s been snowing quite heavily over the weekend in northern California and Nevada, where ski resorts are enjoying a late flurry. It’s mid-June. While there’s a record 95+ deg F. heatwave building over almost all the rest of the United States east of the Rockies. Thirty wildfires are burning across Arizona, more in Colorado. Nine hundred there already this year.

It was over 105 deg F. in the daytime in Phoenix all last week; cooler today at only 96. The Telegraph reports: “The United States is experiencing its widest-spread drought in 56 years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that some 55 percent of the contiguous United States, particularly in the Midwest, suffered from drought last month.”

Although, as we reported, there were widespread floods elsewhere in the midwest.

In the Pacific Northwest, up to a foot of snow was forecast for the Mount Bachelor area, with an inch or so expected in Portland; by contrast, 86 deg F. in Hudson’s Bay north of the Arctic circle doesn’t look too hopeful for the permafrost and its volatile burden of methane.

Western Cape province, S Africa, the fires we reported on last week are still blazing. Despite the record-breaking storm that started them, the region has only 26 days’ supply of drinking water.

In Zhengzou province, SE China, 240 mm of rain fell so fast, it knocked down houses. 100,000 people were evacuated in the path of Typhoon Merbok, that crossed Hong Kong to the mainland yesterday. Exceptionally heavy monsoon rains and storms have killed twelve people in Maharashtra province, India (that’s Mumbai).

More floods are expected in New South Wales, Australia, as 200 mm rain falls in 24 hours. Not for the first time this year. Tropical Storm Calvin made landfall in Mexico, with heavy rain and landslides. 61 people have been killed in landslides after heavy rain in Bangladesh. Omsk in Russia is underwater following a spectacular storm featuring a powerful and not very usual tornado.

Oh, and it’s been snowing in Greece.

Now, these events are not each in themselves so far out of the ordinary that they have never been observed before. But not all at the same time! Not all with such intensity, such as the 120 deg F. heatwaves across India that are now a regular summer occurrence. And not in living memory in some of the places observed. Reporting them individually or even disregarding them entirely may be masking the global effect of an average rise of just 1.5 degrees.

Taken with reports over previous weeks of floods, storms, droughts and wildfires all around the world they paint an increasingly aberrant picture of a climate spinning out of control.

What’s even odder is how normal everything seems to be here, where I’m sitting, writing. Apart from the astonishing florabundance and vibrant health of the vegetation cover in our valley, the weather just couldn’t get more normal for western Britain, completely unremarkable for at least the past two years.

Which is weird in itself, don’t you agree?

(Main source: Climate and Extreme Weather News, #33)

The Pumpkin – Issue 12. The great wiretapping scandal: Pumpkin indicted by Grand Jury. Flynn-flam #2.

“Ya know, like this. “””Wiretapping”””. I speak, sick Black Satan listens. So bad.”

The President is really wired

It’s all my fault, as usual.

Several days ago, on or about 7 March, not long, anyway, after President Trump had sent his 4 a.m. Sunday 4th tweet accusing the 44th President of illegal wiretapping, and the FBI had said it was nonsense, I made what I thought was a joke. (It’s a habit of mine, I’m really, really sorry.)

I wrote on a Comment thread under a US cable TV story that the FBI must then have borrowed the UK government ‘listening post’, GCHQ in Cheltenham, to spy on the goings-on in Trump Tower.

I reasoned that, while it’s illegal in the USA to wiretap people without a warrant from a Federal judge or FISA, a ‘security court’ that handles this stuff, in Britain under the new Investigatory Powers Act – the so-called Snoopers’ Charter – brought in by former UK intel boss, the ice-woman Theresa May, it’s probably legal to snoop on anyone, anywhere.

Even your Smart dumpster bin is reporting your every movement. As for your microwave….

But I had no knowledge of that, it was just – I don’t know, a satirical suggestion – a joke. I watch a lot of clips from US TV cable news sites on YouTube. The more reputable ones, mind, not the crazies. Sometimes I make jokes or score points underneath. Bad (sick), I know. But I’m retired, I make my own reality.

And now there’s an incredible row going on at the highest level between Britain and America over sharing intel. We’re practically at war.

Hey, you know those cases on TV where someone goes missing and the police decide with no evidence they’ve been murdered, there’s no body, and they start a big murder inquiry, and the person eventually turns up in Guatemala unaware anyone was looking for them, after the supposed killer has already been jailed or worse? You know, it’s true, it was on, like, Inspector Montalbano or Murder She Wrote?

Well, it’s like that.

Here’s The Guardian story this morning, hold on to your hat. But before you read it, just bear one small fact in mind:

There was no wiretap at Trump Tower.

Okay, now go ‘head…

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/17/white-house-will-not-be-repeat-claims-gchq-spied-trump-?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=217901&subid=19570602&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

You see what I mean?

And it’s all my fault. I am so, so sorry.

 

“The unravelling Press flack, Sean Spicer, crawled once more to the battered podium, wounds visibly bleeding, to defend his Master’s madness, seizing on a morning panel show discussion on Fox News as the smoking gun”

24 hours ago…

So, Mr Trump has been a chump. It seems that one of his staffers slipped into his morning reading – The Beano, New York Post, Mad Magazine, National Enquirer, etc., a page pulled from Breitbart News, claiming Barack Obama had “wiretapped” the Trump Tower.

Mr Trump immediately went cuckoo-shit crazy. Instead of checking with the FBI, who would have been able to carry out the wiretapping only with a warrant and would therefore know if Trump had been eavesdropped or not, and would have had to tell him, because he’s the President, as we now know, at 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning he Tweeted out, accusing Obama of a federal felony.

Breitbart had most probably picked up the story from the clinically insane InfoWars website of Alex Jones (who – genuinely – believes Michelle Obama is a transgender male who had the comedienne Joan Rivers killed to stop her saying so); who in turn had got hold of it from another crazed rightwing radio shock-jock and millionaire motormouth, Mark Levin, who seems to be the one who originally made up the fake news; although who told him, we have yet to find out – if it didn’t come from the White House as a distraction from ongoing investigations into one or other of the President’s many crimes.

Confronted not only by the FBI director James Comey, but also by the leaders in the Senate of both Republican and Democrat parties, and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, who all said the story was complete bullshit and without a shred of evidence, Mr Trump, who can sometimes be a fatuous, childish oaf, but with tenacity, dug in his little heels. Were these not his sworn enemies who were saying these nasty, unfair things? Of course, their denials prove Black Satan bugged his office! Why, for proof just look to Fox News! The New York Times!… er…

The unravelling Press flack, Sean Spicer, crawled once more to the battered podium, wounds visibly bleeding, to defend his Master’s madness, seizing on a morning panel show discussion on Fox News as the smoking gun. Did not no less a personage than former Judge Andrew Napoletano just say that it was the British GCHQ secret spy headquarters that had conspired with the FBI and the demon, Obama, to (frantic air-quotes) “”””wiretap”””” the Presidential candidate? (He has already explained that the President didn’t mean “wiretap” when he wrote “wiretap”, he meant just any old kind of surveillance we might find evidence for, like sentient microwave ovens.)

Don’t all Hollywood villains have British accents? Case closed!

And today GCHQ has gone public with not just a self-effacing British-type apology for not being guilty of the crime, but with a full 32-gun broadside that has resulted in an actual APOLOGY from somewhere in the Administration and a promise not to do it again. How dare the Colonials make such a ludicrous and damaging assertion, that GCHQ eavesdrops on people! Nonsense, the toroidal structure is just an indoor greyhound racing stadium! A particle accelerator! A starship left over from Prometheus!

And if you think about it, which Trump clearly can’t now allow himself to, even if he had the necessary apparatus under the thatch, because he criminally  libelled ’44’, the previous POTUS; and ‘Judge Nap’ clearly hadn’t thought about it either, before he verbally retweeted my Comment, any such request from the US would have had to come from the FBI via the State Department to the Home Office and thence on up to the Prime Minister herself.

Of course, as Wikileaks tells us, everyone monitors everyone else’s diplomatic traffic.

But if the Prime Minister of a friendly country had personally approved an illegal wiretap on a US Presidential candidate without a reason, such as an imminent security threat to the UK, we’d be at war by now. And if the FBI had obtained a warrant from FISA, it could only be because they’d been able to present convincing evidence of serious wrongdoing. And if that was the case, they would have confronted Mr Trump personally.

So the entire thing collapses into a puddle of liquid shit, quite honestly. But…

Oh. My. God.

Did Judge Napolitano possibly read my Comment?

I was only joking, honest, your Honor.

 

Postscriptum

And now I have meanly Googled Hizzonner ‘Judge Nap’, and it seems he is a member of Ron Paul’s slightly unhinged Libertarian Party and the author of a book comparing Americans to sheep, in which he asks why they are letting the Obama government get away with trampling over their Constitutional rights and ” systematically dismantling the rights and freedoms that are the foundation of American democracy”?

Should be an interesting conversation with Steve Bannon, then.

 

Oh God, make him stop!

Mr Trump has finally met Mrs Merkel, leader of the most powerful economy in Europe, after a flight delayed by ‘less snow than expected’.

And immediately made a comment remarkable for its cretinous banality and diplomatic ineptitude: “We have something in common, we’ve both been wiretapped… perhaps.”

No-one apart from Trump and 60 per cent of his pet Dumbfucks – no-one in a position to actually know, that is – believes his bollocks about wiretapping by President Obama at Trump Tower during the election campaign. He is just obsessed with symmetry.

It’s an election campaign Orange Satan is still running in his head, obsessively over and over – to the point where he keeps having to go out on the road to engage with aircraft hangars packed full of adoring, slobbering, AR-15-toting millennialist cretins, angry people with Bibles and frustrated, weeping housewives dying for him to grab their pussies with his little orange hands – as he can’t bear knowing he really lost and has to find someone to blame.

The head of the FBI and senior Congressional leaders have all said they don’t believe it. There is no evidence of “”””wiretapping””””, as Sean ‘Melissa’ Spicey calls it, with frantic wiggling of his little chubby fingers. Challenged to produce evidence, after two weeks Trump has come up with precisely nothing. Nada. Zilch. He has had to row back on speculation started by a feral pundit on Fox News (or ‘Fake Fur’ as it’s known in fashion circles) that it must have been British intel – he says we don’t know that, so, ya know…. No, Donald, we don’t.

Because it didn’t happen, okay?

There is not a shred of evidence that Trump Tower was bugged – other than probably by Trump himself, on behalf of the Russian FRS (Bogler, you’ve been warned! Ed.) – other than an article in Breitbart News based on the ravings of Alex Jones, a congenital moron with a toy website.

Fake news, in which the paranoid and delusional President increasingly believes. (Or does he? It’s a wonderful diversion, is it gnot, from the many and several FBI and Senate investigations into possibly treasonous criminal financial links between Trump, his campaign people and the Russkies, the Iranian National Guard, Beelzebub…. )

Mrs Merkel however was “””wiretapped””” – at least, her official telephone conversations were listened-in to. The evidence – the complaint and the apology – is all there for anyone to see. Admitted.

By the CIA. Probably via GCHQ. Or lizards from the ninth planet, Nibiru…  (Just shut up, Bogler! Ed.)

She was not impressed.

* If you don’t believe in conspiracies, pray tell me how, hours after making that last facetious comment, I got a ‘recommended for you’ in the YouTube sidebar, from some crazies offering me documentary proof that Earth is menaced by the planet Nibiru? Huh? Is The Pumpkin being tapped? (It sure as hell isn’t being read…)

x

The Flynn-flam #2

And a new point of interest is set to emerge, regarding General Flynn’s relations with the Russians.

It appears from records supplied to MSNBC News by his agent that Flynn was paid $33 thousand for PR work – he claims, a speaking engagement – apparently by a defunct Russian airline in connection with the successful Russian bid for the Sochi olympics, in possible contravention of a rule preventing retired Army personnel from receiving payments from foreign powers without permission from the Pentagon. (That was when he was pictured having dinner with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.)

During the Presidential campaign, it also emerged, he had been in contact with Russia several times, but had denied it when asked by V-P Mike Pence – for which he was later fired as Trump’s National Security Advisor. At the same time, his PR firm was also earning $530,000 for work on behalf of the Turkish government, requiring a special registration under restrictions on lobbying for foreign governments, for which Flynn applied only retrospectively. This was known to the White House, who then waited three weeks before doing anything about him.

It later emerged that this stuff only came to light because Flynn’s contacts with Russia had been under surveillance by the security agencies. Security agencies are by law only allowed to monitor US citizens on a warrant issued by a special court on the basis of evidence alleging strong suspicion of criminality or security concerns. But they can “””wiretap””” non-citizens, and as it takes two to make a conversation….

So what was it Flynn was supposed to have done, how if he was suspected of criminal associations or security concerns did he manage to obtain security clearance at the very highest level in order to become the man in charge of national security, and why did the White House and Congress approve his appointment seemingly without due diligence?

This information has been subpoena’d from the security agencies by Congress and is due possibly to emerge blinking into the light anyday now*.

I’m grateful entirely to Rachel Maddow at MSNBC for this story, broken yesterday, which I just thought I’d drop in here for you by way of a PS, on a ‘need to know’ basis, obviously, as The Pumpkin has previously shown an interest in General Flynn’s son’s PR activities in generating fake news about Mrs Clinton, a pizza restaurant and the worldwide paedophile ring.

From the ridiculous to the sublime, you might say.

*As of close-of-play-Friday’s deadline, both the FBI and the CIA were reportedly still refusing to release the information on Flynn demanded by the Congressional Intelligence Committee. A constitutional crisis appears to be looming.

x

“The logical concomitant of this crazed theory is that Russia could conceivably outbid NATO for the use of America’s gargantuan and overbloated military forces.”

Mr ‘two-percent’

Asked whether the US would provide military defense to Baltic countries if Russia were to attack, Trump said: “If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.” – Trump, interviewed at The New York Times. Guardian.

So, this will be the first pay-as-you-go war.

“You pay us two per cent of your GDP and we’ll defend you. If not, we’ll hand you over to the Russians.” It could make for a very interesting geopolitical strategy: they’d defend England, for instance, but not an independent Scotland – unless Scotland were to stump up the cash and England not. They’d let Russian forces leapfrog over the defended Baltic republics that have paid, to get to undefended Germany or Spain that hasn’t.

What the fuck goes through this bizarre man’s mind when he wakes up every day, not knowing what day of the week it is?

The logical concomitant of this crazed theory is that Russia could conceivably outbid NATO for the use of America’s gargantuan and overbloated military forces. If Russia offered Trump more money, America would come in on their side and help them conquer Europe.

(Oh, did I just say something? No, forget it.)

Not everything in the world is a purely financial transaction, Donald!

It is quite astonishing, not that Trump is an ignorant fool who has throughout his wasteful, boastful and selfish existence paid no attention whatsoever to anything outside his own desperately limited universe of ‘deals’, shitty TV shows with lots of ‘pussy’ and tax-avoidance scams, but that even now he has been handed the most important work in the world he cannot be arsed to brief himself on any subject related to the job.

It turns out that he has actually believed all along that NATO pays America to defend Europe.

Which is why he’s been bitching for months on the campaign trail that too many NATO members aren’t paying their way, to deserve being ‘defended’ by America; and that therefore NATO is a bad idea and should be replaced with something else.

Like ‘Trumpcare’, maybe?

Since he hasn’t the faintest idea of what a treaty is, it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s just say, I’ve bogld before that ‘two per cent of GDP’ is a meaningless comparison between countries, as each spends its defence budget in different ways depending on its perceived defence needs. I wrote in those terms, because it had not occurred to me that Trump actually thinks the money has to be paid to the US treasury, or the Pentagon, or Boeing or something, rather than internally within the member countries; and that it’s an aspiration, a target – not a price ticket for admission.

Britain spends approximately 16 per cent of its defence budget – in turn, theoretically 2.1 per cent of our £1.5 trillion GDP – buying arms from America. Much of the money is wasted, as we don’t have the homegrown technical staff needed to build and operate the advanced weapons platforms America supplies us with, and rely on imported American personnel operating here. And of course, there are US bases on British soil. Does that count as a plus or minus, in terms of our GDP?

The two new aircraft carriers we have been building for years at monstrous cost, vulnerable, slow and outmoded coffin-ships gobbling money stripped from the old, the sick, the disabled and schoolchildren, are proving a disaster in trials: the best you can say about them is they do appear at least to float. The new Type 45 destroyers, the F-35s, all have had major and excruciatingly expensive teething troubles. If the kit doesn’t work, is our 2.1 per cent of GDP being better spent than Denmark’s 1.37 per cent ($3 billion) – bearing in mind, Denmark is a third the size of the UK? Whenever you see a NATO operation, the Danes are there, with their horned helmets and their axes.

You see, our defence capability depends on what ‘two per cent’ buys you. It doesn’t stop the Government from running down our actual force capability to the point where the generals have been warning it cannot meet our overseas commitments and defend the country against our invisible enemies.

But at least we’re spending lots of money, showing our colours, unlike those lousy freeloading Germans. No sooner had Merkel departed from Washington with relief predominant among the mixed emotions she clearly felt at having spent a day with the most bewilderingly ignorant and undiplomatic man on the planet, the orange loon Tweeted in his familiar, illiterate style:

…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany! @real donald etc.

But the US doesn’t pay ‘vast sums’ of money to NATO, it doesn’t work like that! NATO is a treaty organisation between countries guaranteeing mutual assistance, not an independent military force like Blackwater or Boko Haram. NATO’s budget is just to keep a bunch of bureaucrats in a building somewhere and hold the odd conference. When ‘NATO forces’ go into action, as they have in Iraq, in Afghanistan, as they did in Korea, on the side of the Americans, they are made up of scraps and units from lots of different countries within the alliance; they’re not some ‘European army’ as he seems to imagine, that he is paying for, that needs bigging-up.

He has no comprehension of history or international politics. And if anyone is advising him about this, who isn’t being paid by the Russians to ix things up, then he ain’t listening. But he certainly understands the concept of gouging the poorest people in the country to bloat his own military-industrial complex, pouring cash down the throats of the global corporate arms-peddlars for the greater glory of Trump Family Inc.

The tragedy is, his many adoring fans will never wake up to what he has done to them.

You’re being Dumbfucked, America.

Postscriptum

And then there is the entirely believable story that Trump handed Merkel a fake invoice claiming $390 billion to pay for the past 70 years of US defense of Germany.

The ‘joke’ was to point up that Germany spends only 1.7% of its GDP on defense. As I’ve bogld previously, Trump believes there is an arrangement whereby every NATO member has to pay the USA 2% of its GDP to belong. He has no idea what a treaty is, or what the Cold War was about.

The execrably stupid Mr Trump is not only unfit to be the President of the United States.

He is unfit, period.

 

Job for the boy

I’ve just learned there is a Mr Skellytanne Conway.

Yes, Trump’s vanishing factual advisor has a husband. And he’s just been given a job on the Transition Team, or wherever the hell we are after two exciting months trapped on the rollercoaster from hell. So there’s two of them now.

That’ll teach the ‘Enemies of the people’ not to make stuff up.

 

 

Old Bore’s Almanacke: A Source of FACTS You Can Trust! (Unlike those propagated by Mr Pruitt.) And, O God, Make it Stop! #2… the Flynn-flam.

Food for thought

Atreus then learned of Thyestes’ and Aerope’s adultery and plotted revenge. He killed Thyestes’ sons and cooked them, save their hands and feet.

There is an excellent potted biography of the late bon viveur, socialite, gambler, author, panel-show personality, dogfood commercial star, famed miserabilist, TV chef and Liberal MP, Sir Clement Freud, available among the obituaries on The Telegraph website:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/tv-radio-obituaries/5163084/Sir-Clement-Freud.html

No mention is made in the text of any known proclivity for young girls; he seemed to lead such a full life it is hard to see where he could have found the time for molestation; although it is mentioned that, with his friend Jonathan Aitken, the MP who was gaoled for perjury in 1999 following a failed libel action he brought against Granada TV over a documentary about secret arms dealings with Saudi Arabia, Freud:

“…also used his political appeal to advance a lifelong commitment to children’s welfare. A former secretary of the Refugee Children’s Fund, he set up, with Jonathan Aitken, a Parliamentary Den of the Good Bears of the World, providing teddies to children in hospital, and was later president of the Down’s Children Association.”

In the light of the Savile affair, any involvement of an adult male in the public eye, even on a philanthropic basis, with children, especially mentioning hospitals, is now a deeply suspicious matter. Dorset police, for instance, have spent years and over a millon pounds in a thus-far fruitless attempt to link the former Prime Minister, the late Sir Edward Heath, with lurid details of Establishment orgies and even murders involving children, tales spun by a known fantasist.

But it seems a far cry from teddy bears to the accusations following his death that Freud was a predatory monster throughout his adult life.

With a profuse apology his family, sadly, seemed to confirm the story; which is surrounded by circumstantial evidence, as well as accusations from a number of women who eventually came forward, of activity dating back to the 1940s. Evidence such as that Freud ‘shared an office’ with the  grossly obese figure of Sir Cyril Smith MP, another politician who notoriously ‘got away with it’ for years (only with small boys) owing, one assumes, to the sickening deference with which the British treat anyone with a handle to their name.

The Telegraph subsequently carried a story headed:

Sir Clement Freud exposed as a paedophile as police urged to probe Madeleine McCann links

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/14/sir-clement-freud-exposed-as-a-paedophile-as-police-urged-to-pro/

I have deliberately used the usually sober Telegraph as a source for this story, as the incandescent rage and vitriol spewed out by the tabloid press over the affair makes the accusation that much less believable. Putting two and two together to make eleven, the tabloids linked the paedophilia claims directly to the long-running McCann abduction story via the curious coincidence of Freud having owned a villa in Praia da Luz, the upmarket Portuguese holiday resort where Madeleine disappeared in 2007, seemingly without trace.

Now, to kidnap a four-year-old for immediate sexual gratification does not fit Freud’s known MO. While grooming girls as young as 10, Freud’s extramarital activity, generally characterised as frenzied and brutal rapes, seems to have taken place only once his victims were past the age of consent.

Other questions remained: was Freud at the villa the night Madeleine disappeared? Apparently not, but he was there soon afterwards when he invited the parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, to lunch by the pool – out of sympathy, and served them ‘egg and watercress sandwiches’ at his ‘million pound’ villa, with its own ‘snooker table’ – you can see how the level of reporting in the tabloids, such as these telling details in The Sun, establishing Freud’s guilt beyond question, is not terribly helpful.

Now, I’m going to mention something not very nice, so if you have a properly politically correct view of the world, look away now.

There is in the history of the West, a particularly nasty myth about the Jews known as the ‘blood libel’ – a myth concocted to excuse persecution that went beyond the simple but daft notion that Jews ‘crucified Christ’, which they didn’t; although, in the unverifiable New Testament stories, they did nothing much to save him from the Romans (there is no historical evidence of any of this). Medieval Christians would have been horrified to have pointed out to them, the obvious truth that Jesus was himself a lifelong Jew.

The ‘blood libel’ however went much further. It held that Jews were wont to go around stealing Christian children, sacrificing them – and cannibalising them in Satanic rituals.

Born in Vienna into a secular Jewish family, a grandson of the father of psychology, Sigmund Freud, the analyst whom every tabloid reader knows as ‘that sex-maniac’, Clement Freud was not a practising Jew. Yet there is a disturbing echo of the ‘blood libel’ in the imputation, not very far from the surface in the tabloid press, who are borderline insane at the best of times, that ‘TV Chef’ Freud probably had Madeleine kidnapped for a special purpose, which we should perhaps not delve into here.

My interest in the story was piqued this morning by a news item that said the Home Office has licensed another £85 thousand to pay for the British police to continue their so-far fruitless investigations in Portugal. Hotels, air fares – it won’t go very far. No stone has been left unturned, uncovering a series of leads over the past seven years that have simply run into the sand. The press would be thrilled if now, after all this time, someone were to be fingered for the crime.

Yet my mouth fell open on the desktop when I discovered thereby that there is a lengthy thread of stories on the web suggesting that two people connected with the US Presidential election were staying at Freud’s villa on the night Madeleine vanished – the Podesta brothers, John and Tony.

I make no claims whatsoever for the veracity of a grimy looking website called Thetruthseeker. I merely draw your attention to a morass of stuff that’s out there, that is typified when they write:

“This may blow your mind.  (It well may have already. Ed.) Of all the conspiracies the “conspiracy theorists” have come up with in the past several years, they never even came up with anything CLOSE to the reality of what is really going on- worldwide.

“From Wikileaks, we have learned that it is very likely John Podesta (Hillary’s long time friend and currently her campaign manager) and brother, Tony Podesta, are actively very involved in a child sex ring that is literally world wide.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, and a distinguished visiting professor of law at Georgetown University, with a long record of service to the Clintons, John Podesta:

“…served as both an Assistant to the President and as Deputy Chief of Staff. Earlier, from January 1993 to 1995, he was Assistant to the President, Staff Secretary and a senior policy adviser on government information, privacy, telecommunications security (note that… Ed.) and regulatory policy. In 1998 he became President Clinton’s Chief of Staff in the second Clinton Administration and executed the position until the end of Clinton’s time in office in January 2001. – Wikipedia

Note also the mention of the dreaded Wikileaks – the web portal that is doing absolutely everything it can to have its founder, Julian Assange, ‘sprung’ from his self-imposed imprisonment in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and flown to the sanctuary of the Trump Tower; Mr Assange, and the go-between liftboy Farage, who is even now proving a ‘useful idiot’ in the perpetuation of the coup underway in the USA by Christian fundamentalists and the alt-right.

John Podesta hit the news last year during the campaign, when it emerged that it was thousands of his emails that were being investigated by the FBI, not Hillary Clinton’s – although the distinction was lost on Trump’s army of Dumbfucks. Evidence emerged that it was Podesta’s emails that might have been hacked by the Russians; possibly with the complicity of or through the agency of Wikileaks.

The alt-right websites that are now trying to place the Podesta brothers in Praia da Luz (you wouldn’t think it would be that hard to get the Portuguese immigration authorities to confirm their movements), along with connections to prominent Jews*, were also buzzing with the story, whose origin seems to have been linked to General Mike Flynn (see below) and his son Michael Jr, that Podesta and Clinton were running a paedophile ring based underneath a Pizza restaurant in Washington, Comet Ping Pong.

You have to gasp for air at this point, so here’s an extract from the Telegraph report: Trump fires Adviser’s son from transition for spreading fake news. It started with a Tweet…

“On Tuesday morning, after the post had attracted national attention and it was reported that Mr. Flynn had a transition team email address, Vice President-elect Mike Pence denied that Mr. Flynn had ever worked for the team, saying on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he had “no involvement in the transition whatsoever.”

The story was so believable, indeed, that a man walked into the restaurant armed with a rifle and fired a shot into the ceiling, explaining on arrest that he was just checking it out. Apparently, the restaurant does not have a basement; and even Mr Trump, the godfather of disruptive fake news, was forced to act to prevent further lawlessness. Both Flynn Sr and Jr are now history. The pattern of denial and retraction however is becoming familiar.

As is the continuing campaign of smears, lies, false news, false claims and false trails, the faint aroma of antisemitism, of 1930s-style fascism, emanating from the President’s office.

Was the FBI looking for evidence of Hillary’s seemingly innocuous use of a private email server, on which she may have carelessly distributed classified material as Secretary of State? Were they looking for the Kremlin’s grubby fingerprints proving extensive interference in the US election? Or were they perhaps looking for evidence of paedophilia – extending to the kidnap and murder of a small child, ten years ago in Portugal?

We should be told.

But we probably won’t be.

* For instance, there’s speculation that Tony Podesta owns a painting by Freud’s estranged brother Lucien, that contains coded images of child-abuse, as evidence of a connection with Clement. Dan Brown is alive and well…

 

Meanwhile, back in the Swamp…

“Democratic super lobbyist Tony Podesta failed to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) when he agreed to represent Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank.

“Sberbank allegedly has close ties to Russia’s intelligence services, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.” – The Daily Caller

dailycaller.com/2017/03/07/exclusive-podesta-didnt-register-as-a-foreign-agent-when-he-represented-a-bank-with-ties-to-russian-spy-agencies/#ixzz4bDuumOI3

Is there any end to this shit?

Any rightwing US website is going to make the link with the FSB, principally because every bank in Russia worth its salt must have ties to spies. In reality, no oligarchs are implicated in the very dull Sberbank, founded in 1840, which is mostly owned by Russia’s central bank and will be familiar to older Russians as the Soviet Union’s widespread State outlet for distributing wages, pensions and lottery tickets.

Podesta’s firm was allegedly paid $170,000 for undisclosed services to the FSB’s own ‘private bank’, a fact which he did declare, but only as a non-foreign agent claiming to have been acting for Sberbank’s New York office. But what was he doing working for Sberbank at all, when his brother was Clinton’s campaign manager and ought to have remained squeaky clean?

Or has this story been cooked-over to counter stories of Trump campaign involvement with the Russians? Who on earth knows anymore?

All these vastly wealthy money-laundering, sanctions-busting criminals appear either to be insensately greedy and totally immune to any legal sanction, or they are just a bunch of rich fucking idiots who can’t cover their tracks or do anything right.

Bearing in mind The Daily Caller is a rightwing website founded by neocon lobbyist Tucker Carlson, and thus no lover of the Clintons, nor an effective judge of East European banking institutions, nevertheless the concern has to be that the end-product of globalisation is international criminality without end. It has gone beyond nationalism, beyond politics.

It is being committed by a loose conspiracy of purely self-interested super-rich, from Putin and Trump on down, playing their own games, their gears greased by greedy lobbying and finance consultants, moving their vast wealth around profitably through hidden pathways with impunity, while millions go hungry and the planet is raped of its remaining resources by the likes of the Kochs and the Exxons.

And this conspiracy, the Thing has seemingly captured the castle, and is busy dismantling American global hegemony and prestige with every passing day.

You’re fucked, America.

 

Mr Big-head

For your amusement, here is a re-Post of one part of a multipart Post I Posted back in May, 2015, just after the General Election and over a year before the EU referendum. It was entitled ‘Polly-Wolly Doodle and the Pundits’, the Polly in the title being Ms Toynbee of The Guardian, who was clearly the worse for wear after staying up all night to comment on the results. This bit wasn’t about her:

 

Pollsters and pundits were telling us for months that we were in for another hung Parliament – no party with an overall majority – only this time it would be more complicated to form a governing coalition because of increasing support for minority parties: the Scottish Nationalists, UKIP and the Greens. In the event they were all wrong – as I predicted! – David Cameron’s party secured a slim majority.

Now the prevailing media wisdom is that without coalition partners, Cameron is nakedly exposed to his own Eurosceptic backbenchers and might be bounced into bringing forward a national referendum on whether or not to remain a member of the European Union.

Should that happen, it looks like the country would narrowly vote to stay in. But even that could prove to be wildly optimistic, given the Farage factor. And the prognosis then is that the dominant Nationalists in Scotland would bring forward their own referendum and the Scottish voters, who are thought overwhelmingly to want to remain in the EU, would vote to leave the Union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Patriotic English voters would then row Britannia out into the Atlantic and sink her beneath the waves they think we still rule.

It’s an interesting thesis, but it takes no account of where the EU itself might be in two years’ time, following ‘Grexit’ – Athens’ massive debt default looming a few days from now, the inevitable exit from the Euro under German pressure and expulsion from the EU that would probably follow.

Why would Scotland want to leave the United Kingdom to join a fragmenting, bickering, economically unstable Europe, in which all the old, failed centrist governments have gone and only weird and frightening Eurosceptic extremist parties are in power? (Because it’s better than being stuck with the English? Don’t answer that!)

The elephant in the room, hopefully to see that wearisome cliche for the last time, is France. What if Marine le Pen and her eminently reasonable but Eurosceptic, anti-immigrant, anti-German, Islamophobic Front Nationale party were to be occupying the Elysée Palace by then? On recent showings, it’s not out of the question.

So, I was right about Cameron and the referendum!

In the event, I was wrong about the EU fragmenting, at least in the short term. The forthcoming Brexit talks seem to have taken the minds of the 27 off the idea of splitting up while there’s money to be made; Greece is still just inside the Eurozone, clinging on by its fingernails. But they are sliding down the blackboard as I write, with a possible new default looming and the culpable German bankers still in no mood to make life easier for Greek pensioners, the sick and the 50% of Under-25s out of work.

I seem to have been more prescient, however, about Marine le Pen, who is, I think, ahead or nearly in the polls, although one poll today puts the teenage Blairite Emmanuel Macron in front – he’s not yet been nobbled by the Russians – with her main opponents, Francois Fillon’s conservatives, in disarray over corruption allegations against the former PM (Mme le Pen’s own expenses scandal appearing to have quietly subsided).

And in the wake of Brexit (which I also predicted in an earlier Post, as long ago as May 2013), despite (more probably because of) Theresa May’s uncomprehending and patronising cross-border interventions on the subject of a national unity she is otherwise doing her damnedest to destroy, with her creaky protestations of ‘one-nation’ Tory policies to help the ‘Just About Managing’ class (bleuch! It’s like nursery school!); policies that always seem to round-out as gouging the poor, the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed – the self-employed (many of whom had no other choice) – and the sick to pay for Mrs May’s investment manager husband Phil’s and all the other investment managers’ wealthy corporate clients to get even richer,  Nicola Sturgeon has been militant in pushing the idea of another Scottish referendum, probably next year (Autumn 2018), that she seems doomed to lose.

You read it here first: no breakup, no MacRe-Entry. But you never know.

“Looking forward to a good day at BlackRock, only the faintest of patrician sneers troubling his Old St Paulian face, the Chancellor, Mr Osborne, slides slowly sideways while pretending to listen intently to a lighthearted intervention by his friend, Mr Cameron…” – Hansard*

*not.

Meanwhile, after a fiercely contested third round of candidate interviews, no doubt, the shortlisted former Chancellor, Gideon ‘George’ Osborne has gratefully accepted an offer of £650 thousand a year to spend one day a week lunching agreeably in an ‘advisory’ role to the world’s largest investment fund management company, BlackRock. (The actual hours aren’t specified. My bet: 10 – 4?)

So he never needs to work again?

Actually, he’s cheap at the price.

At £78k a week, as it would extrapolate on a six-days’ basis, with a raised self-employed NI contribution of 10%, ‘George’ is still a long way behind Manchester United’s prolific striker, the Bosnian-Croatian-Swede, Zoltan Ibrahimovic (£200k a week. We share a birthday, I see). Or even more, the £300k a week which the ageing midfield supremo, Wayne Rooney has been used to receiving, re-bound now for Everton.

Or indeed, Adele, whom George more closely resembles (£25k a day, every day. Oh, the monotony!). Or ginger-nerd, Ed Sheeran ($57 million in 2015 – Forbes)…. Or many CEOs of Footsie-100 companies, rewarded in the £millions. Advertising financial guru, Sir Martin Sorrell’s latest controversial pay award reportedly takes his salary to approximately one million pounds – a week.

Why, that’s more than half the £90 million a year the bloke who makes Cillit Bang’s gardener helps him take home in his gold-plated wheelbarrow!

Back on Earth, there’s Ross McEwan, the immigrant Kiwi backpacker in charge of turning-round Britain’s second-worst bank, RBS. With a salary of £3.8 million a year, Mr McEwan has trousered a £1.2 million ‘bonus’ for presiding over another embarrassing annual loss, this time of £7 billion. In fact the bank has not been in profit since we, the British taxpayer, bailed it (and its then-parent Lloyds) out with a helpful £464.57 billion in cash and guarantees; since when (mostly while Mr Osborne was in charge of the economy) it has lost another head-spinning £58 billion (Guardian Datablog).

(“McEwan … completed a degree in business studies and human resources, despite having failed an accountancy module twice.” – Wikipedia entry. No, any number of wild horses would not induce me to comment.)

My own modest emolument has recently been re-presented to me by the Department of Pork and Beans in the light of the annual inflation figure and the triple-lock formula, whatevs, as £198.20 a week. Taken with some few small sources of further income, including a regular twice-yearly part-time seasonal job for five weeks on a zero-hours contract, it seems to be a not wholly inadequate basis on which to live, given that I still own 2/3rds of my little house.

It’s about what Ed Sheeran makes every 90 seconds, anyway. No wonder he looks as though someone has just clobbered him over the back of the head with a cricket bat.

Frankly I can’t see why anyone would need more – although I’m informed by radio this morning that the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, regards £40 thousand a year as ‘low-to-middle income’. I could go a very long way on it.

But I’m delighted to learn while doing the extensive research for this fact-based article, that Mr McDonnell, he of the timeworn, faded-newsprint appearance and reedy old voice, is two years younger than me! And I’m probably still a better copywriter than Martin Sorrell ever was or will be. I’m just no bloody good with money.)

Way to go, George. You’re not even taking the piss, mate, are you?

 

A man with a wallet for a brain

Scott Pruitt, the Butcher of Oklahoma penitentiary, has struck again.

Carbon dioxide, he has told a press conference, is probably not responsible for global warming. Most scientists, he says, still disagree on the matter. More analysis, he says (he does not have a science background, he has a bad law degree from an obscure college, and we know that the homophones Lawyer and Liar are so easily muddled-up)  is needed.

Yes, more analysis of Mr Pruitt’s motive for spouting this pernicious drivel is needed from the criminal justice system, as it needs urgently to be determined from whom and for why, if indeed he has, he has an incentive thus to lie to the American people; who surely have a right to know the truth about how and why they and we are threatening the future of life on the planet and what they and we might do about it.

What is more depressing than the fact that he has said all this, is that he hasn’t realised the game is up. It’s over, and the deniers have lost. There is 100% agreement among atmospheric physicists, meteorologists and climatologists, that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps solar energy in the atmosphere, cumulatively for decades. And that we’re pumping out too much.

It has been known about for over a century.

Even the fucking oil industry has been saying for years, we’re burning fossil fuels at our peril.

And the relentless ‘hockey-stick’ upward curve in CO2 concentration from 280 parts per million in c. 1770 to what some scientists think may be 450 ppm today has raised global temperature on average by 1.7 deg C since the end of the C19th, with an ever-faster increase from feedbacks such as methane release – now at danger level in the Arctic – forecast to generate more powerful storms, droughts, floods and wildfires – just as we are already seeing.

There is no mystery, except to those who don’t want to believe it: scientific illiterates, conspiracy theorists, internet trolls and just, frankly, wankers like the cretin Pruitt; those cynical committers of an ecocidal crime against humanity whose mouths are stuffed with cash by lobbyists working for powerful C20th corporations that make fortunes for their shareholders out of burning fossil fuels and cannot change.

Mr Pruitt is therefore in my view a dangerous pragmatist, as well as likely a paid liar, who has now found a branch to swing from in the topmost echelons of government.

A poor combination adverting to the absolute moral bankruptcy of this gutter Presidency.

It is well and widely known – I had intended not to write about US politics in this section of muh bogl, but I have been driven to it, sorry – that Mr Pruitt was only appointed to the role of Secretary for the Environment because he was the most stupid, scientifically illiterate and potentially corruptible candidate available for the job. He has previously sued the Environment Protection Agency, the department he now heads (without benefit of deputies or departmental directors, they have yet to be and may never be appointed)  twenty times for annoying his friends in the energy bidness.

He is on record as being committed to destroying the Agency, his own department.

A bill has already been launched by Republicans in Congress to dissolve the EPA; along with other agencies offering consumer, wilderness and endangered wildlife protections. This White House being a criminal conspiracy of cut-throat capitalists and apocalyptic revivalists led by a senescent, inept, tantrum-throwing moral imbecile, anything may happen and probably will.

It’s a pattern Mr Trump has repeated across a wide range of government agencies his funders don’t see the point of. They get in the way of doing lucrative business, so he is setting them up to fail.

Most alarming of all, Mr Tillerson, the powerful ex-Exxon boss and Russophile pal of Putin’s whom Trump put in at the State Department, still has no deputy, no departmental directors and few remaining staff. The most important office of state, America’s face to the world, has been gutted, its senior diplomats and staffers sacked.

Its leadership has been filled by a handsome old expensive suit who has no office; no face; no mission, other than to enrich the President and his cronies with filthy oil deals across the most economically devastated parts of the world. Countries where millions are facing environmental disaster, plagues and starvation while the wealth-laden nations of the West pull up the drawbridge against them.

(Yes, Mr Trump has proposed to slash the aid budget, cut funding to the UN and impose a potentially indefinite moratorium on refugees.)

And this, we learned from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow today, is likely being done on the orders of President Vladimir Putin. (No time to explain. In short: he owns the President. He directs the policy. That will have to do.)

Traitors and compromised bankrupts have taken over the White House. Who will stop them?

The administration under the philosophical guidance of the dissolute, nihilistic Christian-right sociopath, Bannon, sees its remit as the destruction of whole swaths of regulatory bodies that provide the overall governance of the United States; a kind of Year Zero policy, like the one Pol Pot implemented in Cambodia. He has said it: it’s not my invention. He has told American Conservatives, his aim is to bring down the entire apparatus of the State.

Why is he not in jail facing sedition charges? Why is the grotesque Trump not in jail, awaiting trial under the Patriot Act, the Logan Act, the Emoluments Clause, the racketeering laws? Is no-one capable of standing up and taking appropriate actions against these deceptive men?

So I was thrilled to learn today that 1.5 million acres of territory across four states, including Oklahoma, have been reduced to ashes by brushfires in the past 48 hours. I would that the whole of the fucking United States would burn down around the ears of this sick jerk Pruitt, who has fought tooth and nail for years to prevent the release of over 3,000 official emails he has a legal obligation to release on demand, which many suspect will prove his cosy relationship with coal, oil and gas fracking companies.

The biggest, most self-interested fucking liars on earth.

And there will be consequences arising from these outré statements of his. Mr Pruitt knows full well, because it is White House policy to continue to build an army of Trump’s core supporters, ‘The Movement’, that he can tap into the limited knowledge-base of Dumbfucks and internet trolls, trailer dwellers without education or discrimination, middle-class Tea Party disappointees, veterans as unlike Mr Trump as it is possible to be (who haven’t noticed he despises them), racists, millions of self-identifying economically dispossessed voters, conspiracy theorists and crazed survivalists; plus a handful no doubt of the usual suspects, opportunistic thugs happy to create any mayhem, to persecute any ethnic or religious minority, who don’t care that he’s lying as long as he tells them the lies they want to hear; the lies that license their envy and malice without sanction.

Rounding that out, is the promotion of the dimly illuminated Betsy DeVos, wife of the Amway pyramid-selling multibillionaire ‘Dick’, contributor of $22 million to Party and campaign funds, to a role where she can collapse the education system, to promote well-armed Christian schools – madrassas teaching future generations of little American Nazis Creationism and Bible fucking Truther studies and God-knows what unadulterated mystical cobblers, ignorance and fear and loyalty to The Plan. Plus, the value of becoming an Amway downline.

Like, carbon dioxide doesn’t cause warming. Like scientists still can’t agree. Like, more research is needed – except that Trump has already banned with an illiterate flourish, the doomed environment agencies and Government scientists and NASA from publishing research he’s being told by Bannon and Miller, the snow-capped fundamentalist Pence, he doesn’t agree with.

You’re fucked, America.

And so are we.

x

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suqLgsZdR7E

“Newly Released Emails Reveal Pruitt’s Connections with Koch Brothers” –The Real News Network

In case you don’t know the Koch Brothers, the Koch family owns vast slabs of the US energy industry and is responsible for much of the pollution of all three ‘sinks’ – earth, air and water; having extensive holdings in, for instance, the filthy business of tar-sands extraction, opencast coal mining, pipelines and fracking. According to Rolling Stone magazine:

Brothers Charles and David (Koch) are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they’ve cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today’s GOP.”

“According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America’s air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries… Across its businesses, Koch generates 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.” – Rolling Stone

Interestingly, the filthy rich Kochs reportedly don’t approve of Trump, he’s not fully on-board with the program. But he’s being so good to them! Maybe appointing their boy Pruitt to the EPA and signing off orders removing environmental protections is an attempt to make nice with them? To buy their love? But surely not.

That would be corruption.

(A quick check with TheAtlanticist reveals the interesting fact that none of the Top 10 most spectacularly wealthy party donors backed Trump. Hopefuls they did back, whose names are rapidly fading into history include well-funded candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul… so they all lost their shirts. So sad!)

 

Oh God, please make it stop! #2

Lt Gen Michael T Flynn, showing he has normal hands.

To look at, General Mike Flynn is an imposing figure of a man. The sort of leader you’d follow into combat, trusting him to extract you and your unit safely from the hottest firefight.

A craggy, hawkish profile marked by a strong chin and powerful, axe-blade nose; under beetling brows a permanently serious, not to say intimidating expression; his upright military bearing indicative of total authority, strength, command, confidence – total probity.

Not the sort of swamp-dwelling Washington lobbyist of imagination, who would blandly deny, secretly and while not yet in office having negotiated the lifting of sanctions on his country’s oldest enemy, imposed because of their illicit military incursions into a friendly country – an apparent breach of the Logan Acts; nor the kind of sleazy back-alley operator, who would happily trouser half a million dollars to do a bit of PR for a tyrannical Muslim dictator.

But there you are.

Needs must when the Devil drives, as they say. A retired general’s pension ain’t so great. And Mr Trump appears to surround himself with similar types who’ve all done Faustian bargains to obtain temporal power and riches. Flynn’s reward for loyal service to the Trump machine was to be made National Security Advisor, despite his stated allegiance to the Democratic party. And Russia, obviously.

It didn’t go well.

Having been cut loose only days later by the Trump Inc. false facts factory, presumably to keep his activities at arm’s length from the capo di capi, the Big Orange, Mr Flynn found himself in the embarrassing position of having to admit to the media at least four meetings with Russian diplomats, for which obviously read intelligence agents, while not precisely remembering the subjects of the conversations. Amnesia that might have proved costly on the battlefield. Oh, we’re attacking the tanks, right.

I imagine at that point he must have found his life unspooling, and frankly I was tempted to feel a bit sorry for him as he was clearly an honourable man ‘only following orders’ from the gilded buffoon who would shortly become his Commander-in-Chief, although he would not have known it then, and acted in conscience to protect him, only to be thrown to the wolves.

Now I’m not so sure. For, first thing this morning (not as impressive as it sounds, I’m a late riser) we were greeted by the following headline:

“Trump unaware that Michael Flynn was a ‘foreign agent’, Sean Spicer says

“Former national security adviser retroactively disclosed that he lobbied for firm linked to Turkish government while working as Trump’s campaign adviser” – The Guardian

“….Donald Trump was unaware his former national security adviser was working as a “foreign agent” when he gave him the job, according to his press secretary…. “I don’t believe that was known,” said Sean Spicer, when asked by reporters at his regular press briefing on Thursday.”

You mean there are other things that were known?

A typical Melissa Spicer fudge. That little bitch always seems to be flying-by-wire. But was this revelation a means of silencing Flynn?

What Flynn, working through a Dutch PR consultancy, was paid $530,000 to do, it seems, was to lobby the President to send back to Ankara for a spot of enhanced questioning, a ‘radical’ cleric, Dr Fetullah Gulen, who has been living in exile for many years in the USA, which has thus far refused to allow Turkey to extradite him.

Dr Gulen is a former friend and colleague of the increasingly paranoid President Recep Tayyat Erdogan. Rather as first Hillary Clinton, and now President Obama (they keep the title), have become the catch-all hate figures for the increasingly paranoid President Trump and his barely sentient followers, so Dr Gulen is the Emmanuel Goldstein, as it were (to draw an Orwellian analogy), the national hate figure of Big Brother Erdogan, his goons and paid agitators and millions of assorted rustics who keep voting for him (but never seem to get any better off. Funny, that.)

Dr Gulen is responsible for all the ills Turkey has been suffering since the financial crash, that have nothing to do with Erdogan’s competence as he accrues powers to the Presidency that are coming close to one-man rule; and indeed masterminded the badly managed coup many conspiracy theorists seem still to think Mr Erdogan organised against himself in order to have a good clearout of more than 100,000 military and State employees – teachers, librarians and so on – ‘Gulenists’ he believes were plotting against him, many of them now languishing in jail.

I couldn’t possibly comment.

Meanwhile Mr Erdogan continues to pursue military operations as two sides of a curious triangle: against the ISIS on one side, his domestic Kurdish PKK separatists on another; while on the baseline, supported by the Americans, in Syria the PKK is fighting the ISIS.

Thus Mr Flynn was probably inadvertently supporting the enemy of another US ally. But it’s complicated. No, really.

And with over 2,000 civilian dead, mainly Kurds, and tens of thousands more displaced by fighting, the Turkish Army in the south is being accused by the UN of serious human rights violations. But as I say, it’s complicated. No, really.

And, guided by Mr Putin, in Ankara the nutjob is railing against the European Union and NATO to try to stoke up nationalist fervour ahead of next week’s Presidential referendum increasing his powers to those of Allah the almighty himself. But Mr Flynn is happy for a few dollars to assist the enemies of NATO, albeit that they are themselves valued members.

We pray fervently, do we not, for contact with aliens from more sophisticated civilizations, only in the hope that someone is powerful enough to rid the world of these scumbags. But no-one comes.

Many years ago, I worked with a journalist whose dinner-party story was that he had at one time been PR advisor to Idi Amin, the Butcher of Uganda: a murderer, embezzler and a suspected cannibal. Like the Catholic church, a good PR man doesn’t take sides, you see, he just hears the confessions and takes the money. Poor Julian was put away eventually, after setting fire to his own house with his attractive French wife and kid inside.

General Flynn’s future seems less clear at present. It’s a ‘watch this space’ situation until what is believed is not known can be believed to be known, as it were.

 

Bang to rights

I’ve Posted before about discrepancies in police prosecutions and court sentencing of felons whose actions result in the deaths of police, and those who kill civilians, in the course of police pursuits.

My particular focus was on the case of 19-year-old Clayton Williams, given a 20-year sentence for manslaughter after (he says, accidentally) striking and killing PC David Philips, a foot-patrol officer who was ordered to stop Williams’ stolen Mitsubishi pickup truck two hours after a minor break-in was reported, with other officers in hot pursuit.

A more normal sentence for manslaughter in a motoring case involving the deaths of civilians where the police are not involved might be from two to six years.

There were elements of the case I found disturbing, especially the way the police identified Williams and published a highly pejorative social media photo and held an emotive press conference after he had already been charged – with murder, initially – but before trial, potentially prejudicing a jury.

I contrasted it with a more recent case, that of 24-year-old Joshua Dobby, who struck a group of pedestrians in south London, killing a ten-year-old boy and his aunt, while being pursued by police. In that instance there was no hyped-up emotional rhetoric or talk of ‘murder’. The original charge was one of causing death by dangerous driving.

His case has just concluded.

We learned that Dobby, the estranged son of a wealthy businessman, had been high on crack cocaine and heroin at the time, and had no driver’s licence or insurance. He was already out on licence from an 18-week prison sentence for handling stolen goods.

“The defendant had 53 previous convictions dating back to the age of 13, including a conviction for aggravated vehicle taking, having crashed a car into railings with police in pursuit, aged 16.” – BBC News

And it was the second time he had been pursued by police that same day.

You would imagine then that such an egregious offender would have been subject to the full force of the law; but the maximum penalty for his offence is only 12 years; whereas it appears that a charge of murdering a policeman, reduced to one of manslaughter, has no limit on the sentence.

Twelve years is a hefty sentence, and more than deserved in this case. Dobby is a mess, a deeply damaged personality who needs correction. He won’t get it – our prison system is in meltdown: understaffed, underfunded, programmes abandoned; riddled with drugs and violence, prisoners are reported to be locking themselves in their cells for protection. People have been calling for his sentence to be increased, but by the usual standards of manslaughter sentences it is already at the top of the scale.

Williams too is by all accounts a miserable social specimen, who had also been taking drugs. When the victim was a policeman, however, doing a job everyone, including the police, accept can be dangerous – although on average annual police operational casualties throughout the history of the 150,000-strong force have thankfully rarely exceed two or three in a year it’s less dangerous than working on a building site) – with a defendant five years younger than Dobby, and with a lesser string of convictions, 20 years seems excessive.

In both cases, police were engaged in a high-speed chase through a built-up area, pursuing minor criminals for what were initially minor offences. Don’t they bear any responsibility for the consequences? For all those wrecked lives?

 

The Boglington Post: Another Enormous Brexit Lie…. Not Feeling Hungary… Death by Financial Services… + Bonus material

Suck it up, Brexwits.

So call me a liar, punk –  if you’re elite enough.

“Liam Fox, the international trade minister, accepted last week he did not know of any new free trade deal that did not also include liberalisation of migration rules between the two countries signing such agreements.” – The Guardian, 10 February.

Another enormous Brexit lie

The principal reason people voted to Leave the EU last June was, of course, a mass outbreak of cretinism.

Definitive, detailed research carried out for the BBC last month showed conclusively that those voting for Brexit were, as I suspected all along,  a confused rabble of credulous, self-deluding, elderly dimwits and skinhead internet trolls who had failed their GCSEs, left school at 12 and flunked the police entry exam, but nevertheless thought they had a perfect right to decide the future of the country based on their detailed knowledge of Daily Mail front-page headlines over the previous thirty years.

Asked generally by none-too-scrupulous pollsters why they had voted Leave, of course 99 per cent of them mentioned that there was too many of them furrin immigrants comin’ ‘ere, being housed at the public expense, claiming asylum, spreading diseases, starting-up successful tech companies, propping up the NHS, chewing garlic and generally driving down wages.

Enthusiastically taking up this theme, basing her profound knowledge of the public mind purely on an ‘in-out’ vote with no room whatever for grey areas, Mrs May, the enigmatic Prime Minister, a shoe-in (haha) from leafiest Thameside villaville, announced that ‘regaining control of our borders’ by massively reducing inward migration from friendly EU countries was ‘The Will of the People,’ and vowed to follow the rubric to the letter.

Now we’ve discovered it was another massive voter fraud. A fraud, that is, on the mass of voters.

Because the best estimates we’re getting, now Parliament has lent its sovereign voice to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, indicate that inward migration ‘might’ fall by 15 per cent or so, only it’s not possible to say how much it might also go up by at the same time, if we have to let in hordes of American refugees fleeing the police state of Der Trumpenführer in exchange for repatriating Ford Motors’ Dagenham plant to Deerborn, Michigan, where they can make American cars great again, wid’ fins an’ all.

(Kindly note that in one of his unread Executive Orders, the Orange Precedent has proposed to close down the agency responsible for consumer protection. Yes, he has. Another of his Execution Orders effectively abolishes any local oversight of animal welfare. What kind of monster have you elected, American baboons, who can’t even sign his own name but just draws a picture of a spring unravelling, and hates dogs, cats and horses?)

I’ve been asking the question of my beloved Spammers, Likers, Followers and those no longer reading (25 yesterday, what’s going on, Man?) for over three years:

“What is the point of replacing a working set of trading arrangements that allow us to operate pretty much anywhere within a safe framework to quality standards we helped to design, with instead a ragbag of hopeful, one-off deals with nasty countries that manufacture dangerous electrical fittings and children’s toys with metal spikes for eyes, who will be out to screw us?” (Something like that, I seldom quote myself accurately.)

Now the Fantastic ‘Dr’ Fox, our Bounceback Brexit Business Baboon and ‘disgraced former defence minister’ (New Statesman) has had to admit, he can’t stop vast numbers of foreign fuckers swarming in from darkest Turkey in the wake of some terrible deal to export fridge-magnets to Ankara.

I warned you about this character. I told you he shows more loyalty to the USA than he does to you, and you wouldn’t fucking listen.

So suck it up, Brexwits.  Migrants is a comin’.

Only you won’t know where from!

Sorry folks, party’s over.

Feeling too elated this weekend? Annoying joyousness of the heart? Spring in your step? Love in the air? Need bringing down to earth with a bump?

http://arctic-news.blogspot.co.uk/

Nice knowing you.

Not Feeling Hungary

I’ve been reading about a little village adrift somewhere out on the Great Gromboolian Plain that has passed new by-laws and put up official-looking road signs banning Muslims and all displays of Islamic culture. According to the BBC report:

“The new local legislation bans the wearing of Muslim dress like the hijab and the call to prayer and also outlaws public displays of affection by gay people. Changes are also being brought in to prevent the building of mosques, despite there being only two Muslims living there currently.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38881349

Laszlo Toroczkai is the mayor of Asotthalom, “a remote village in the southern Hungarian plains, situated around two hours from the capital Budapest.” He says:

“We primarily welcome people from western Europe – people who wouldn’t like to live in a multicultural society,”  he told the BBC. “We wouldn’t like to attract Muslims to the village.”

We are not told how many gay people there are in the village, or how many people from western Europe it attracts to live there, but it reminds me of the long-running joke in the show Little Britain about Dafydd, the only gay in Llanddewi Brefi (a small village in mid-Wales, small Welsh villages being known for their intolerance of difference, apparently. As an Englishman I’ve occasionally felt that too.)

It’s possible the two Muslims go around holding hands, behaviour between male friends that is totally accepted in Muslim countries and not really at all gay, although it might look it. Or maybe they’re actually buggering one another silly, we aren’t told.

Now, the Hungarian metropolitan elite is dubious about the legality of all this, arguing that it’s racist and against the constitution. But is it? There’s a history of vicious persecution of religious minorities in Hungary going back more than a thousand years.

Hungarians are either a proud warrior race, or a bunch of nasty, intolerant thugs, depending on your point of view. Mr Toroczkai puts it thus:

“We can see large Muslim communities in western Europe that haven’t been able to integrate – and we don’t want to have the same experience here,” he says. “I’d like Europe to belong to Europeans, Asia to belong to Asians and Africa to belong to Africans. Simple as that.” (Ibid.)

As ordered, presumably, in the Bible. There’s clearly not a lot of logic in the idea that people who are barely represented on the demographic map should not be allowed to live somewhere because they can’t integrate in numbers, integration being a two-way process, but ignorance and intolerance make strange bedfellows. I’d have trouble integrating with small Hungarian villagers and I’m white and Western. So would you.

The total Muslim population of Hungary is only 5,500 – a little over zero per cent. The majority polled regard themselves as Hungarian. It wasn’t always so. I’m grateful to muh gudfriend, Ms Vicky Pedia, for the information that – the history is complicated – Muslims first arrived in Hungary in the 10th century, practically before the West existed, and have been there ever since.

Even then, when there were only around 30 Islamic settlements in the whole country, Muslims were persecuted.

“In the 11th century, St. Ladislaus and later Coloman passed laws against the non-Christians (Synod of Szabolcs). These laws subdued Islam by coercing Muslims to eat pork, go to Church and intermarry and to forbid them from celebrating Friday. – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Hungary

Any Muslim caught, basically, not eating pork or offering it to their guests  could be dragged off to Budapest for a dressing-down from the king, while the informant would be granted a share of their property. These rules were pretty extreme and quite similar to laws in other European countries passed against their Jewish minorities. But they kick-started the Hungarian goulash industry.

In the 16th century, large parts of Hungary were under Ottoman (Islamic) rule and apparently integrated. The Ottoman Grand Vizier, Kanijeli Siyavuş Pasha (d. 1602), was a Hungarian-born Muslim. In 1944 Hungary was occupied by Germans. 800,000 Jews were killed before Hungary was ‘liberated’ by the Soviet army. Stalin relentlessly persecuted Muslims, but the Germans courted them as allies and potential supporters in the eradication of the Jews – although hundreds of Muslims in Eastern Europe were accidentally murdered by SS ‘Einsatzgrüppen’ goons who couldn’t tell the difference just from a short-arm inspection, both Muslims and Jews being Semitic peoples practising circumcision.

The collaboration with the Nazis led to reprisals after the war and may very well be partly the cause of modern Islamophobia in the east. (History Today – http://www.historytoday.com/david-motadel/muslims-hitlers-war)

With the arrival through Greece of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Syrian civil war moving north towards Hungary, and the passing of welcome-in quotas by the Council of Europe, of which Hungary is supposedly a member, Hungarian “Christian” sensitivities have once again been outraged and, encouraged by the re-election of the authoritarian nationalist, Viktor Orban,  racial purity defended on the Right. A fence was hastily thrown up to keep the desperate Syrians out.

But the persecution of religious minorities had already begun again.

In 2011, Hungary passed its notorious  Law on the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion, which does not include the right of Muslims to any such freedoms. “It recognizes only 14 religious groups. Islam is not included in this list and Muslims have to apply to get official recognition.” (Wiki.)

“It’s very important for the village to preserve its traditions” says Mr Toroczkai. Presumably he means the traditions of persecution rather than the traditions of actually being an Islamic republic. “If large numbers of Muslims arrived here, they would not be able to integrate into the Christian community.” (I know, you’re making mayonnaise, you put in too much oil…)

To which one can only wonder, why the hell should they ‘integrate’?

What’s so great about Christians, that they go around persecuting minorities of two, for holding hands on a Friday? I suppose it’s only a matter of time before some prissy little postcard village in England or Germany starts putting up signs banning whoever, whatever.

Metropolitan elitists, possibly?

I don’t recall Western countries putting up razor-wire fences when a quarter of a million Hungarians fled from the advancing Red Army tanks during the 1956 Soviet putsch against a peaceful centrist revolt. Britain took in 27 thousand.

Fuck ’em, send ’em back, useless spongers.

(News just in: residents of Leipzig have started putting up a fence unofficially around a refugee resettlement centre.)

Death by Financial Services

Maybe I’ve wrote about this before.

Since my mum died in December, I’ve been on a twin-track strategy of trying to clear her apartment so the new landlords can send in workmen to turn it from a slum created by the previous landlord into a £6,000 a month Central London cash cow, or possibly a multimillion pounds demolish-and-rebuild luxury sale proposition; while at the same time ploughing through boxes and boxes of yellowing tragic papers I’ve lugged back to my tiny sitting-room to try to find anything left of the £130,000 she was apparently worth just 13 years ago so we can all get a break from Brexit and Trump for a couple of weeks.

It’s been pretty dispiriting on both fronts, without even beginning to consider that my amazing mum just died, leaving me a chain-smoking, whisky-drinking, 92-year-old friend short of a Christmas party for two. I’m a rather elderly orphan now, living on my own with just Hunzi and Katz.

That’s a bit of a lifestyle changer, knowing you’re next on the list.

Most dispiriting is that in terms of her finances, her total net worth when she died was probably less than £3,000; the final numbers aren’t in, but we sold pretty well everything; while the £130,000 investment bond side of the financial equation ended up as worth just £102 when you take away fees and redemption penalties. And to think that once upon a yesteryear, after months of battling my stepfather in the High Court, she actually owned two properties in Knightsbridge.

For about five minutes.

£102 is not a lot to show for 70 years of exposure to professional financial advisors, a breed of optimistic middle-aged ex-merchant-banking baboons it behoves every single young person to understand they should avoid and ignore and shun and disparage and mock and throw stones through their chintzy Sunningdale windows and write rude words on their gated compound walls throughout their lives, if they know what’s good for them.

That’s a list of not-to-go-nears, including: bank managers, credit card issuers, solicitors, accountants, tax consultants, Independent Financial Advisors (IFA = I know Fuck-All), Chancellors of the Exchequer, fund managers, stockbrokers, insurance underwriters and actuaries, financial PRs and marketing people, City journalists, company agents, estate agents, property developers, share tipsters, taxi drivers – and, finally, ex-husbands; all of whom have been to a special school where they teach you to exude overwhelming confidence and knowing sophistication without a shred of expertise or knowledge to back it up: a School for Scoundrels (it was a movie. See it.)

And they all get a special dark green polyester tie with a bold crest you’ll come to think of as a perfect target, to wear along with the blazer with the shiny buttons.

Anyone, in short, who affects to be able to predict the financial future with such certainty as to dare to advise you what to do with that £50 windfall you got from Auntie Ethel on your birthday. Don’t listen, they’re lying to you. Spend it now on something you like, anything, before the Financial Services industry gets its sticky mitts on it.

You’d do better giving it away to a rough sleeper. At least it won’t end up being invested by an ‘expert’ in fucking BP shares, like mine did.

There’s a financial instrument known as an ISA, a partly tax-exempt savings scheme with a grudgingly generous upper limit cooked up by some previous government money-baboon to encourage saving and boost bank liquidity. Once upon a time an ISA would generate a few tens of pounds a year in tax-free interest. No longer: the interest rate on a typical ISA is nowadays less than half of one percent and still dropping. Inflation is at two per cent.

But it could still go lower. Would you have known when you created it that you might end up actually paying the bank to hold your £15,000 ISA? Take it out,  mate. Invest it in a campervan, certain types such as the VW Caravanette hold their value remarkably well and may even appreciate over time. (Warning: investments may go down as well as up, as if. You may lose your house if you do not keep up the unaffordable repayments. Terms and conditions apply, naturally.)

Only, don’t take my word for it. I’ve still got the ISA.

(to be continued)

Suffer little children

I’m sorry, some news just makes me mad as hell.

“The private security company G4S is to take over from a children’s charity the contract to provide welfare support to detained families facing deportation, the Home Office is expected to announce on Friday.

“The Home Office has privately insisted that the much-criticised private security company can provide the “same key aspects of welfare support to families” as have been delivered by the current providers, Barnardo’s. – The Guardian, 9/2/17

Is there a reason to replace Barnardo’s, a charity established over 130 years ago with the original object of caring for London’s teeming horde of orphans and rejected children, other than the growing suspicion that the cosy relationship between G4S and the UK Home Office may be a corrupt one, given the inept, not to say brain-dead, management of custodial facility contracts by this blundering poster child for Thatcherite privatisations?

Is there any hope for terrified families in the clutches of these, frankly, thuggish goons? Do I want my tax money to go to this Dickensian bunch of money-grabbing capitalist pigs? (No, I don’t. Let those poor people alone, Tory cunts.)

“Kent police investigating alleged abuse at Medway child prison, run by G4S, made five more arrests. The same day a report by prisons inspectors revealed that a child at another G4S prison, Parc, in Bridgend, Wales, had been strip searched while held under restraint, one guard had been dismissed for using “excessive force”, and children reported being verbally, physically and sexually abused.

“G4S-run Medway secure training centre has been under close scrutiny since BBC Panorama broadcast undercover footage, in January, of children there being subject to physical and emotional abuse.” – Open Democracy UK

http://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/shinealight/carolyne-willow/five-more-arrests-and-another-critical-inspection-report-for-g4s-chil

G4S was founded as The Wackenhut Corporation in 1954, in Coral Gables, Florida, by George Wackenhut and three partners (all are former FBI agents). In 2002, the company was acquired for $570 million by Danish corporation Group 4 Falck (itself then merged to form British company G4S in 2004) (Wikipedia).

The list of their incompetently managed contracts is a long one and includes the standout failure to recruit and train enough security staff for the London Olympics, a contract worth £284 MILLION, so that the army had to be called in to bail them out at the last minute.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_surrounding_G4S

As is the list of individuals whose ‘security’ they have managed to compromise, in too many cases fatally.

Why then does the Home Office keep throwing public money at these tossers to replace existing contractors and formerly stable, properly trained, state-run workforces?

We should be told.

In the meantime we can only guess.