The Pumpkin, Issue 26. “I know a lot about health care.” Pardon, Mr President? The most extraordinary thing about Donald Trump; So, farewell, Spicey.

 

Okay, yeah, my wife and daughter are now zombies, your Popeyness, I forget to top up their employer premiums. But we’ve always made room for Catholics. Wanna buy a tie? Made in Vietnam?

I know a lot about health care.” Pardon, Mr President?

Would you like to know all about the Republicans’ ‘Repeal and Replace’ Obamacare bill, that narrowly failed to achieve a sufficient majority in the Senate last week, opposed not so much because it seeks to deprive 32 million Americans of their existing health cover, but mainly because it didn’t cut enough from the wasteful public Medicaid and Medicare budget to give sufficient tax breaks to the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans, who have no shame about demanding more money from cancer victims and the unemployed?

(When are Mr Amazon, Mr Facebook, Mr Microsoft, Mr Apple, Mr Uber, Mr Space-X going to step up and use the blunt force of their billions to stop this crazy descent into hell for the majority of Americans, who buy their shit? They could buy out the fucking Koch brothers’ political PACS ten times over – along with the entire Senate.)

Who better to ask what the bill was about, than the prime mover and advocate of ‘Trumpcare’ himself, Donald J Trump, President of the United States of America?

With apologies for the image theft to Jeffreyhill.typepad.com/ Google Images/ Grant Wood ‘American Gothic’.

Here he is, interviewed verbatim in the New York Times, explaining in its entirety the detailed ins and outs of health insurance. (The Pumpkin warns you, it’s a complicated subject, but he has mastered the brief.) Let us remember that he was elected on a promise to get the bill passed on ‘Day One’ of his Presidency, because his plan was so great, so beautiful, the American public wouldn’t want to wait for it….

“As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70 you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, ‘I want my insurance.’ It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.

“These guys couldn’t believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about healthcare.”

Lovely, fragrant Ana Kasparian at TYT has raised the possibility that Trump in his rambling stream of madness doesn’t understand the difference between health insurance and life assurance, but I’m not so sure. Every time I read another one of his bizarre word salads I think I begin to discern some pattern in it, something he is struggling to get out. Or maybe I’m as confused as he is and we’re just running in parallel.

Michael Wolfe has a good piece in The Guardian today, explaining why Mr Trump will not be removed from office before at least the impending disaster for the Republicans of next year’s mid-term elections, if even then. Part of the reason could be, he wouldn’t find his way out.

Another might be that he is gearing up to fire the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller – which has involved hiring new lawyers, replacing his head of Communications, firing Sean Spicer, and throwing ‘disloyal’ Attorney General Jeff Sessions to the wolves with a Big Leak to the WashPo over the content of his meetings with Ambassador Kislyak.

This in itself might amount to intimidation, just the threat of firing the man who is looking into possible crimes committed by Trump or his staffers during and before the election campaign – another layer to the case for an obstruction indictment.

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC speculates that forcing Sessons’ resignation allows Trump to appoint a shill to the job, who will fire Mueller and lift the cloud of investigations into Trump’s family and their financial dealings, removing the threat that Jared and Ivanka could be jailed over their security disclosures, or lack of them. Kushner has hastily added another 77 not previously disclosed foreign financial transactions to the affidavit he signed in January, making more than 100 things he should legally have declared in order to obtain the top security clearance, but omitted to. That could get him five years.

The head of the Ethics department has quit, and been replaced by a water-cooler appointee – some jerk they found in the corridor who’ll do as he’s told. Conservatives in Congress are gearing up to try to switch the focus of treason allegations away from the Trump gang and onto Hillary and the Obamas. That’s already happening. The new tactic is to go back to out-and-out denying the Campaign crew ever heard of a place called Russia.

It’s about to get very ugly.

Clearly, despite the Russia thing (collusion in hacking the election), the other Russia thing (sanctions-busting, money-laundering), the third Russia thing (the Pipigate Dossier), maybe a fourth (decades of documented connections to the Russian mafia) – let’s forget treason for now; his dodgy property deals with their obvious opportunities for money laundering, his fake University scam, breaches of Classified national security matters, corrupt appointments, misuse in office of public funds, bad overseas loans affording opportunities for blackmail, the blatant ripping-up of the Foreign Emoluments clause, the apparent attempts to obstruct justice, the refusal to recuse himself from his businesses, his desperate clinging to his tax returns…. there seems to be nothing whatever that the Golden Orb can do to incur impeachment – as he bragged to the dumbfucks at one of his election rallies, he could shoot somebody dead on 5th Avenue and they’d still vote for him.

Complete and total ignorance of his brief after six months in office is obviously not a sacking offence, as it would certainly have been in any one of the 21 jobs I’ve been sacked from, if I hadn’t been sacked for other reasons. Dereliction of duty – we’re losing count of the number of golfing vacations he’s taken, at a cost to the taxpayer of $50 million (much of which goes in profit to his golf resorts) and counting – still doesn’t cut it with the GOP, who seem willing to tolerate any abuse of office lest they pull down the shithouse around themselves; pleading that he’s new to the job and will learn. Trump? Learn? (so what are they doing to teach him?). He’s 71. He has dementia. He has a dubious past. He doesn’t want to go to jail. What else is to learn?

Vice-President Pence is of course authorized by the 25th Amendment to remove the President, at gunpoint if necessary, should he be considered mentally incompetent to fulfil his duties. But the snow-capped walking advert for Anusol, the strangely grinning Mike Pence is equally in it up to his righteous Christian ass and definitely does not want to undergo the same degree of scrutiny as he is witnessing with his Master.

Besides, The Pumpkin is more convinced by the day that, while he is everything they all say, an overgrown child with ADHD, a narcissist, a bully, all the rest of it, the conclusion has to be that Trump is not mad; just very, very naughty.

Attempts do seem to have been made by White House staffers to marginalize him, damage limitation, because he is a total embarrassment to America and the free world, his approval ratings at record lows, but nothing seems to be working. He just keeps slipping away from nurse and running off at the mouth, spewing out illiterate tweets, often incriminating himself, his family and his despairing legal team in the process. Even Donny Jr and the Little Nazi, Eric have been saying they wish it was all over. God knows what Melania thinks.

Well, they’ve been doing their best to incriminate him.

So that’s okay, because today he’s reported to have instructed that burgeoning crowd of bungling clowns and Christian charity bunco artists, his lawyers, to brief him on the legal ins and outs of issuing a blanket Presidential pardon to himself, his family and his immediate circle of deplorables before anything really incriminating comes out. He’s also ordered them to find any ‘dirt’ to close down the special prosecutor, Mr Mueller, and his team investigating Mr Trump’s private finances – something he told the NYT was crossing ‘a red line’ with his family, as far as he is concerned.

Now why would he want to do that, I wonder? What has he got to hide?

Of course, if he is planning to leave town in convoy, taking the Federal reserve with him, and take up residence in Moscow, he could always pay Manafort for some advice.

You have to admit, though, he’s a one-off.

We can hope. In the meantime, no State business is getting done; probably for the best, given the manifesto: basically, give all the money to the rich, they’re best at knowing what to do with it.

It’s incomprehensible to an outsider, how this dismal failure of a Presidency is being allowed to grind on, and on, and on making America daily smaller and more ridiculous in the world.

It’s very, very sad.

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The most extraordinary thing about Donald Trump

This is so damned infuriating.

The piece I just wrote disappeared off my screen and only three letters were saved as a draft. There is some connection between the ctrl key and another letter I type, that wipes any unsaved text. I don’t know what it is, as I am usually busy typing.

So I’m going to park this link here now, just in case, before I hit Save Draft. You will need it later.

newrepublic.com/article/143586/trumps-russian-laundromat-trump-tower-luxury-high-rises-dirty-money-international-crime-syndicate

And now I’m taking Hunzi for one of his walks. If we don’t come back, after reading the link have the river dredged.

Wanna see my Mussolini?

The most extraordinary thing about Donald Trump is probably not his hair, or that his emotional development ceased at the age of eleven, or even that he is – I know, don’t – President of the United States of America.

No, the most extraordinary thing about Donald Trump is that he is still alive.

Donald Trump took a dive into the cesspit that was his father’s rack-renting property businesses maybe fifty years ago under the watchful eye of Fred’s mafia lawyer buddy, the brutal Roy Cohn, enjoying the patronage of one ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno, king of the New York concrete supply business, a member of the Genovese familia, and has continued to glide effortlessly through that same shit-smelling space without ever once touching the sides.

Countless books and articles and TV documentaries by the best and most dogged investigative journalists in the world present a weight of circumstantial evidence alluding to Trump’s profound criminality over the decades that would bury Mount Everest in a pile of trouble.

Yet like Al Capone until he got into a bit of a muddle with his taxes, Mr Trump (who refuses to publish his tax returns) has never been convicted of anything untoward. No ‘smoking guns’, no paper trail, nothing has ever stuck. It probably helped that his sister was a District Court judge in New York, but that would only get you out of a charge of stealing candy from the grocery store.

It would hardly ‘trump’ a rumoured longstanding business relationship with someone of the stature of, say Simeon Mogilevitch, the Ukrainian-born billionaire believed by European and United States federal law enforcement agencies to be the “boss of bosses” and, according to his substantial Wikipedia encomium, the most dangerous head of most of the Russian Mafia syndicates in the world.

Yet, while Mr Mogilevitch, another ‘friend’ of Mr Putin, is alleged to reign over a global business empire incorporating such characteristic diversifications as people trafficking, prostitution, drugs and arms smuggling, art-theft, illicit gambling, individual removal services and money laundering on a small-nation scale, there has never been the slightest suggestion that Mr Trump has been personally involved in any of those activities, even though Mr Mogilevitch is also suspected by investigators of having bankrolled Mr Trump’s failed casino developments. Numerous supposed associates of his have been identified as tenants of Mr Trump’s office-cum-residential properties, whilst being convicted from time to time of racketeering or ‘pump-and-dump’ financial fraud. Yet Mr Trump was blithely unaware of their existence.

Such unproven assertions litter the worldwide web. It is necessary only to Google ‘Trump, Russia’ to be deluged with reports on the subject. There’s another one at the link I gave you above (it’s cut-and-paste, I’m afraid.) An industry has grown up around the desire to get to the bottom of Donald Trump, as it were. Yet there appears to be no bottom. He is unfathomable, doors infolding upon doors.

Mr Trump has frequently denied having connections with Russia, even as the scandal of his campaign officials’ and his oldest son’s potentially treasonous complicity with a foreign power continues to grow and swirl around him. Of course, we know that’s not true. His denials are merely to plant a marker with the dumbfucks, his support base, who will see any reports to the contrary as more ‘fake news’. He has numerous connections with Russia and they go far beyond his sleazy 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Even his sons admit he has received $100 million-dollar financial investments from Russian sources, and has frequent contacts with Russian businessmen. Nevertheless, he appears to be mortgaged to the hilt.

We know, too, that he owes large sums of money to Russian and other foreign banks, who never seem to press him for repayment. The story is examined again in today’s Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/19/deutsche-bank-donald-trump-russia-investigation-subpoenas

While the list of identified people who attended the fateful “Clinton emails” meeting with lawyer Natalya Vesevlnitskaya at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 continues to grow, now standing at eight (making it more successful than this summer’s failed blockbuster movie, ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’) with the addition of one more Russian, making four. Daily, the denials turn to grudging admissions and more figures are identified, while it is known that He was “in the building”, as they say; it is, yes, rumoured even that Trump himself may have been the ninth person at the meeting, as he appears to have acted on certain details immediately afterwards – but so far, his is the one name that remains unconfirmed.

And may forever be so. For, The Pumpkin has concluded, Mr Trump’s existential secret, the one thing he absolutely cannot allow to get out; the reason for his desperate lies, double-denials and obfuscations, his deliberate smokescreens and diversionary tactics, his insane-seeming tweets, directives to his staff to, if necessary, perjure themselves on his behalf; his crude demands for ‘omerta’ – loyal silence, his Roy Cohn-style rottweiler legal attacks on anyone who gets near him, on the press and the media in general; his furtive leaks, firings of Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Security Adviser General Flynn, FBI Director Comey, all of whom got too close to the bottom; his attempts to smear the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, all point to one startling possibility, in our view:

Mr Trump is a protected witness.

And if that were true, it really would be the most extraordinary thing about Donald J Trump.

 

Greed on steroids

Possibly Trump’s most assiduous pursuer, for more than 20 years Pulitzer prizewinning financial journalist David Cay Johnson has been following the Golden Orb’s untarnished progress in the belief that he may be a tax-evading financial fraudster.

Asked on the Democracy Now web channel about Trump’s healthcare proposals, he relates the tale of how, when Trump’s father Fred died and the money was divided among the five children, Donald Trump withdrew funding from his seriously ill young nephew’s longterm treatment program because it reduced his own share of the estate.

Greed on steroids, is how Johnson describes the President.

I am starting to think a chemical execution arranged by Mr Scott Pruitt, the incompetent butcher of Arkansas, would be too good for this sick, solipsistic, money-breathing sonofabitch.

Torture, of which he says he approves, should be applied by the bucketload. Preferably for as long as he lives.

 

So, Farewell Spicey

We all hate bullies, right?

But we also despise the people they bully. Also right? Because bullies have an unerring instinct for the right victims.

Siddown, New York Times. Recognise the correspondent from Mad Magazine. Yes, your question?

There was something about Sean Spicer, President Trump’s hapless press spoke, that reminded me of boys at my school who were mocked for their inability to play in goal for the second X1. They would pass the stings on to the smaller boys, bullying them but always surreptitiously. You knew that if they found you swigging from a vodka bottle in the bootroom, it’d be them who would go straight to the housemaster. They would develop strange sexual proclivities, stealing your Wellington boots and masturbating into them, or paying their study mates to jerk them off while hanging by a pajama cord from the hook on the back of the door. Not everyone survived that.

Like Spicey, they were always stocky and sandy-haired, with severe short back and sides haircuts, enjoyed cross-country running, military stuff and had a faintly unpleasant odour. You could never imagine them having much success with girls.

Mr Spicer has been replaced already, making somewhat notional his ‘unhappiness’ with the promotion in Trump’s typically delusional CEO fashion, of the first guy standing by the watercooler as the next Communications Director. Enter yet another Wall Street suit, Mr Antonio Scaramucci, ‘The Mooch’, currently senior vice-president of the Export-Import Bank, a “US government agency” not, one imagines, a million miles from the CIA,  which “guarantees loans for foreign buyers of American exports”. (No opportunities for laundering embezzled Russian money there, then.)

“I love the president and it’s an honour to be here,” Mr Scaramucci announced modestly, having found the microphone on-switch, adding nervously: “He is genuinely a wonderful human being.” His first three lies successfully out of the way, toying with a crucifix and a bunch of garlic, he went on: “The president has really good karma.” Then presumably he went home and jerked off in the toilet to a Taylor Swift album, while his wife was on the phone to the party planner.

Mr Scaramucci, “who has no previous experience in communications roles”, paid tribute to Mr Spicer as a “true American patriot” and “incredibly gracious”. “I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money,” he said. (That being all that matters in Trump’s America. So great. Meanwhile, Spicey is swinging from a tree in the woods.)

“Mr Scaramucci also apologised and said he had been “unexperienced” (sic) as he explained his previous criticism of the president. In an August 2015 interview with Fox Business, he dismissed Mr Trump as a “hack” and “an inherited money dude” with “a big mouth”. (BBC News)

If he can explain that away, he’s up to the job.

Despite sounding like an illiterate Bond villain, The Mooch is clearly a tragic shill for the sickest, most demented, bullying fantasist ever to occupy the Oval Office of the White House.

Judging by Trump’s overnight tweetstorm of paranoid bile against James Comey, for daring to ‘leak’ to the failing New York Times (to whom he gave an incoherent wordstream of an interview only three nights ago) that Jeff Sessions, the loyal and devoted Attorney General he wishes he hadn’t appointed to head the Russia investigation, did in fact discuss the election with Russian Ambassador Kislyak, having sworn on oath that he never, he is clearly going to have a horrible time for the money.

Worse, he’s the boss of the sweaty-lipped current White House press spokesbitch, Sarah ‘Look at me, I’m a Christian’ Huckabee Sanders, which makes him the wop filling in a bully sandwich.

But that’s karma for you.

What goes around, comes around.

 

Congress attack on climate science: The Pumpkin – Issue 24: More Damned Lies, plus world weather report.

‘The Republicans on the House Science Committee held a three-hour hearing on the merits of climate change science, a cavalcade of falsehoods so relentless and seemingly irrational that one might well need psychiatric counselling after having watched it” – The Independent, 30 March, 2017

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” (Benjamin Disraeli)

Here’s an insight from the proper scientific community into the problem we have with energy industry shills, rogue scientists, corrupt politicians and corporate-funded populist media creating amplifying feedbacks by cross-referencing one anothers’ ignorance and refusals (for whatever reason) to attempt any semblance of objectivity concerning the very real threat of global warming resulting from humans overexploiting fossil fuel reserves, clearing forest and breeding huge numbers of animals for food.

From: Greatwhitecon.info website – a scientific blog monitoring ice cover in the Arctic:

“We have now broken the all-time global temperature record for three consecutive years and a number of published articles have convincingly demonstrated that global warming has continued unabated despite when one properly accounts for the vagaries of natural short-term climate fluctuations. A prominent such study was published by Tom Karl and colleagues in 2015 in the leading journal Science. The article was widely viewed as the final nail in the “globe has stopped warming” talking point’s coffin.

“Last month, opinion writer David Rose of the British tabloid the Daily Mail — known for his serial misrepresentations of climate change and his serial attacks on climate scientists, published a commentary online attacking Tom Karl, accusing him of having “manipulated global warming data” in the 2015 Karl et al article. This fake news story was built entirely on an interview with a single disgruntled former NOAA employee, John Bates, who had been demoted from a supervisory position at NOAA for his inability to work well with others.

“Bates’ allegations were also published on the blog of climate science denier Judith Curry (I use the term carefully—reserving it for those who deny the most basic findings of the scientific community, which includes the fact that human activity is substantially or entirely responsible for the large-scale warming we have seen over the past century — something Judith Curry disputes). That blog post and the Daily Mail story have now been thoroughly debunked by the actual scientific community. The Daily Mail claim that data in the Karl et al. Science article had been manipulated was not supported by Bates. When the scientific community pushed back on the untenable “data manipulation” claim, noting that other groups of scientists had independently confirmed Karl et al’s findings, Bates clarified that the real problem was that data had not been properly archived and that the paper was rushed to publication. These claims too quickly fell apart.

“Though Bates claimed that the data from the Karl et al study was “not in machine-readable form”, independent scientist Zeke Hausfather, lead author of a study that accessed the data and confirmed its validity, wrote in a commentary “…for the life of me I can’t figure out what that means. My computer can read it fine, and it’s the same format that other groups use to present their data.” As for the claim that the paper was rushed to publication, Editor-in-chief of Science Jeremy Berg says, “With regard to the ‘rush’ to publish, as of 2013, the median time from submission to online publication by Science was 109 days, or less than four months. The article by Karl et al. underwent handling and review for almost six months. Any suggestion that the review of this paper was ‘rushed’ is baseless and without merit. Science stands behind its handling of this paper, which underwent particularly rigorous peer review.”

“Shortly after the Daily Mail article went live, a video attacking Karl (and NOAA and even NASA for good measure) was posted by the Wall Street Journal. Within hours, the Daily Mail story spread like a virus through the right-wing blogosphere, appearing on numerous right-wing websites and conservative news sites. It didn’t take long for the entire Murdoch media empire in the U.S, U.K. and elsewhere to join in, with the execrable Fox News for example alleging Tom Karl had “cooked” climate data and, with no sense of irony, for political reasons.

“Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of this committee has a history of launching attacks on climate science and climate scientists. He quickly posted a press release praising the Daily Mail article, placing it on the science committee website, and falsely alleging that government scientists had “falsified data”. Smith, it turns out, had been planning a congressional hearing timed to happen just days after this latest dustup, intended to call into question the basis for the EPA regulating carbon emissions. His accusations against Karl and NOAA of tampering with climate data was used in that hearing to claim that the entire case for concern over climate change was now undermined.”

http://greatwhitecon.info/2017/03/the-house-science-climate-model-show-trial/

This is a kind of warfare between objective truth-seekers and people who simply will not listen. Unfortunately the deaf ones often seem to have a more obvious reason to continue denying what anyone can see is happening, and what even to a non-scientist logic must explain.

Money.

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More damned lies

On Friday I found myself wrestling with the BBC Complaints system, which is purpose-designed to funnel complainants into irrelevant streams (divide and rule?) and dump everything you’ve written the first time before ultimately sending you an evasive and anodyne response, to which there is no appeal.

While we await that, here is what The Pumpkin wrote:

Full Complaint: You invited on the Today programme this morning Mr Myron Ebell, a known climate-change denier and PR lobbyist for any number of energy corporations, but failed to identify him as such, or to make any attempt to balance the noxious views he espouses, beyond explaining that he is an advisor to the Trump cabinet, giving him undue credibility as a spokesman.

Mr Ebell has a notorious history of spreading false propaganda from behind a succession of well-funded false-front policy institutes, to undermine the scientific consensus on a range of environmental issues. He is widely known to have been in the pay of Exxon-Mobil, Murray Energy, Dow Chemical and many others with vested interests in spreading false information. Mr Ebell has no qualifications whatever as a climate scientist or indeed a scientist of any kind.

He was, however, previously a guest on the Today programme in 2005, when he proceeded to level a series of scurrilous accusations and insults against the UK’s chief scientist, Prof King, resulting in a Parliamentary question. Your production team appears to have been entirely unaware of this history. No attempt was made to balance his offensive views, a black mark against new editor, Ms Sands.

In my opinion (as a former news editor), your entire coverage of this disastrous Trump administration and its ‘advisors’ from the Washington lobby swamp has been permanently on the back foot compared with his own domestic media’s, especially the excruciatingly bland reporting of your overly diplomatic correspondent, Mr Sopel.

The Today programme’s editorial team indeed has been consistently supine: deferential, incurious and seemingly uninformed about the goings-on in the White House. Added to their inability seemingly to find anyone to speak out passionately in favour of the European Union before it was too late, I have to say I am finding it all rather sad and depressing.

Wake up.

So, lo and behold, come this morning and the BBC news has as its second lead, the story that broke in the New York Times on Monday about Donny Jr’s meeting with Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya acting as go-between at the Trump Tower in New York on 9 June last year – following which, further reports are detailing, later that same day Trump tweeted a sour-grapes retort to a mocking comment by Hillary Clinton, mentioning for the first time ever the ’33 thousand’ deleted Hillary Clinton emails he would later tell a rally he hoped the Russians would find.

Did he get that number from his son, via the Kremlin?

The Washington Post reported Tuesday:

“The session was set up at the request of Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star whose Kremlin-connected family has done business with Trump in the past, according to the person who arranged the meeting.

“Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who represents Agalarov, confirmed Monday that he requested the Trump Tower meeting at Agalarov’s request. Emin Agalarov and his father, Aras Agalarov, a wealthy Moscow real estate developer, helped sponsor the Miss Universe pageant, then owned by Trump, in Russia in 2013.

“After the pageant, the Agalarovs signed a preliminary deal with Trump to build a tower bearing his name in Moscow, though the deal has been on hold since Trump started his campaign for president.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/kremlin-denies-knowing-of-donald-trump-jr-meeting-with-russian-lawyer-during-2016-campaign/2017/07/10/c2bfee34-6566-11e7-a1d7-9a32c91c6f40_story.html?utm_term=.78785cc380c4

From there it gets complicated. Suffice to say, if the original email from LA-dwelling ‘music promoter’ and former British sleazeball journalist and big Russia fan, Rob Goldstone, that brought him, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort scurrying to that meeting can be found, telling Trump Jr that the Kremlin wanted to help his father get elected, it will, say Washington lawyers, be the ‘smoking gun’ that proves collusion by the Trump campaign with a Kremlin-inspired effort to derail Clinton and put Trump in the White House.

Of course, Mr Trump’s lawyers are saying the first the President knew about the meeting was last week, although the story hadn’t broken then, and Donny Jr has now hired his own lawyer to try to settle once and for all on a convincing explanation, the affair following the now standard pattern of denial followed by obfuscation in several versions followed by admission and post-dated registrations as required by law.

Apart from the odd tweet, some other things happened after that 9 June meeting, which Donny Jr says he didn’t remember, oh, yes, it wasn’t about anything, I thought I would get information that would help the campaign, it was all very vague, we discussed Russian orphans…. (The Russian orphans thing concerns a piece of Obama legislation called the Magnitsky Law, halting US adoption of Russian orphans in reprisal for the murder in gaol of anti-corruption lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. Putin wants it repealed.)

First, eleven days after the meeting Manafort was formalized as the campaign committee chairman. He was later dropped, however, when the extent of his financial relations with ousted Ukrainian kleptocrat and Putin-crony, President Viktor Yanukovitch became known via the leak of the Panama Papers, exposing probable money laundering.

Then, that same week, according to the New York Times, on his own admission Peter Smith, a freelance operative, put together a team of computer specialists (including a Russian speaker) answering, he says, to General Mike Flynn, to try to find the missing Clinton emails.

Just the first part of this story appeared on the BBC news, but I thought it was a good start, followed by an interview with Melinda Gates in which she criticized Trump for attempting to shut down family planning clinics and, by this evening when the PM programme was reporting on his latest attempt to cut funding to international HIV/AIDS programs, it seemed they had properly taken my advice to heart and were finally getting off their arses before he gets impeached and it’s too late to start detailing the horrors of this bogus presidency.

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Faint glimmers of hope from nowhereseville

It’s not all awful. People are fighting back, often with the surprising assistance of the courts and political leaders.

While the G20 is still wrangling the cretin Trump over his contemptuous and contemptible abandonment of the Paris Accord, long after delegates were supposed to have run the gauntlet of a hundred thousand protestors defying police water cannon in Hamburg to fly back to their offices, Mother Jones lists a small but heartening selection of positive news items (8 July).

The main one of which is a Reuter’s story that “state prosecutors in Maryland, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, DC, filed a lawsuit on Thursday, challenging Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt’s decision” to reverse an Obama administration ruling banning the use of Chlorpyrifos, a pesticide known to affect brain development in unborn children.

Why any alleged human being would want to encourage birth deformities in children, I have no idea. Perhaps it is because they are scumsucking psychopaths dressed as politicians corrupted beyond understanding.

Mr Pruitt’s famous hoard of emails from his days as Attorney-General of Arkansas, a State closer to the Stone Age than most, reveal that he had several meetings with the makers of the unborn child-poison, Dow Chemical, prior to his announcement. And Trump’s key environmental ‘advisor’ is, of course, the loathsome bottom-feeder, paid professional liar Myron Ebell, who has directed a frenzied assault from the White House on Obama-era environmental protections and lists Dow Chemical among clients of his PR consultancy, the Dr Josef Mengele Memorial Trust.

Investors, however, are pushing back. Dick Russell’s 2017 book Horsemen of the Apocalypse describes a growing revolt against the energy corps by virtually the entire current generation of the ‘trillionaire’ Rockefeller family acting as a concert party, and other large-scale investment funds that have ‘got’ the point, that their future too needs to be a sustainable one. According to Mother Jones, “In 2011, there were 12 shareholder resolutions filed with food and beverage companies when it comes to climate risk. This year there are 131.”

(It is not a sufficiently well-known factoid, that five major US corporations control 80% of the world’s food production and distribution.)

As powerful as these money-breathing, somnambulant dog-turds think they are, they are not going to win. The tragedy is, a lot of people will die unnecessarily in the meantime. The list of good news stories is still massively outweighed by the current tally of extreme heat and flooding events on every continent, as The Pumpkin and the BogPo have jointly been tracking (see elsewhere); and the effect on global food production is already evident.

http://www.motherjones.com/food/2017/07/youll-be-shocked-to-learn-we-have-good-news-about-food/

 

Big Brother is Locating You

There is apparently an Android ‘app’ alliteratively known as SnapMap. I feel the originators missed the opportunity simply to name it Smapp, in line with the modern fashion for crushing words together to make nausea-inducing neologisms, but let’s move on.

It seems that if you are a subscriber to this useful location-finding service, a derivative of the photo-file-sharing site SnapChat, unless you reset the privacy settings, other users can identify and even view your precise location to within one metre anywhere on a virtual global map.

Stay clear of the bathroom.

This omnipresent eye seems helpful for muggers, vengeful ex-wives, pizza delivery boys and pedophiles, or for when you’ve told the boss you’re in bed with ‘flu and you’re really on the beach, or possibly to the emergency services if you’re having a heart-attack somewhere that doesn’t have a postcode, like in the countryside, and the controller is refusing to send help until you tell them what it is.

But SnapMap seems just the latest in a long list of privacy violations of the kind you’re expected to put up with and to be ruthlessly monetized by a service provider in exchange for the convenience of carrying the equivalent of the Library at Alexandria, the Amtrak timetable, Jay-Z’s Greatest Hits, the schedule of lunar eclipses, the Yellow Pages and the British Museum around in your vest pocket.

The BBC iPlayer recently forced users to betray our whereabouts. Now I get only BBC Wales programmes, which is intellectually somewhat limiting. Worse, they’ve got a section where they guess what you’d like to watch next. It seems to consist entirely of the same episodes of Dr Who and Hinterland (a gloomy Welsh detective show with two-dimensional characters. Ed.) they’ve noticed I watched yesterday.

I feel technology is zeroing in on me, but there are ways to protect yourself.

I keep my phone off the hook, in a metaphysical way, by pressing the Power Off button, although in my pocket it often switches itself on again without me noticing, revealing to anyone interested that I’m in the wine section of Morrison’s again. I never make phone calls, only sending cryptic texts at predetermined times once a fortnight from secret locations around town. I hit the Off button anytime a call comes in, as it’s rarely anyone I need to talk to.

Even so, the battery runs down every day, so I’m assuming the thing is in constant communication with someone. It’s like the Eye of Horus, or the feeling that God is up there counting the hairs falling from your head. Some people find that comforting, I know.

Of course, at my age I’ve no idea what SnapChat is, although I could have guessed from the punning name. It doesn’t sound compulsory, though.

Not yet.

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“I have been wondering, exactly, when is the denouement of the various investigations?”
It’s not a perfect world.
“Raisehavoc” is a Guardian Pick commenter today, Sunday, and she has the following contribution I’d like, without apology, to pilfer for your enjoyment, just as she pilfered it for ours:

Zoe Leonard puts it succinctly in her poem way back in 1992. Timely …

“I want a dyke for president.

“I want a person with AIDS for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia.

“I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to AIDS, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying.

“I want a president with no air-conditioning, a president who has stood in line at the clinic, at the DMV, at the welfare office, and has been unemployed and laid off and sexually harassed and gaybashed and deported.

“I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape.

“I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them.

“I want a Black woman for president.

“I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy.

“I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible.

“I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown. Always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker. Always a liar, always a thief, and never caught.”

So, Ms Leonard got her first want, and her last.

The Pumpkin has commented before that Mr Trump looks and sounds and often behaves like an elderly bull-dyke in male drag; his predatory prowling around Hillary Clinton at the debates was a dead giveaway. She oughtn’t perhaps to have worn that suit.

Liar, thief, never caught?

Spot-on, Zoe.

I have been wondering, exactly, when should we expect the denouement of the various investigations – the FBI, the Special Prosecutor, the Senate – into Trump and his gang’s precise associations with Russian and Ukrainian financial, technological and clandestine political interests?

Is there an endpoint, will armed G-Men fight a standoff with the White House security team at some stage, before storming the Oval Office?

Will Trump be forced to do the ‘perp-walk’, led away in full public gaze wearing leg irons?

It seems to be taking ages to prove conclusions we all reached months ago.

There is a protocol, I suppose – a sitting President is unlikely to be charged even with treason until he has been impeached, and at the moment it appears there are no Republicans scandalized and appalled enough at his outrageous behavior and willing to risk deselection to stand up and impeach the fucker.

They know they hate and despise him and themselves for adopting him as their candidate, but they just won’t, the big wusses.

But will anyone be brave enough at least to tell us that the investigations are complete and the President is a big crook?

I somehow doubt that too. It’s not a perfect world.

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Weather News

  • 138 major wildfires burning in British Columbia, Canada.
  • Palm Springs, California: 122 Deg, F. (50 C.) Phoenix AZ still 111 F. Wildfires in Santa Barbara, Arizona, Utah. Wildfires in Colorado. 90 mph winds, severe storms bring flooding to the east of the USA, Massachusetts – Cape Cod – into New York.
  • 22 dead in floods in Japan’s Kyushu island after Typhoon Nanmadol brings 3 ft of rain in 9 hours. 83 dead since mid-June in Hunan province, central China. 12 million affected, 1.5 million evacuated. Flooding and and landslides hit North Vietnam.
  • 26 million facing severe food shortages in East Africa after two-year drought. Some 15 million are displaced by flooding and 44 dead in Assam, Manipur, India and Pakistan (8 July).
  • Kuwait: 96 deg. F. Oh, wait, that was at two a.m yesterday…. 121 F. now… Watch as a truck sinks through tarmac up to its axles.
  • Madrid, Spain: parts of the city underwater after torrential rain, freak hailstorms. Metro system closed. Greece basks in 42 deg. C. heat. 28 major wildfires reported, two on Crete.
  • Mexico: historic centre of Veracruz under three feet of water.

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 23. Grenfell: Oven foil. Trump: Blood libel. Cough Please, That’ll be 50 dollars. Plus: Voters on a roll; and: Putting all his eggs in one Brexit.

“Aw, Miliband only had to eat one sandwich and it was curtains for him.” (Mr Mogg takes tea at the Leadsoms.)

Photo: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Oven foil

“Its chief executive, Robert Bond, is understood to have told Gould in a letter that her “inflammatory statements are highly damaging to our reputation and our business and will be defended by us in the strongest terms possible”.” – The Guardian, 30 June

Thus the firm that fitted the lethal cladding to Grenfell Tower responded to the leader of Camden Council, Ms Georgia Gould, with a threat to sue her for ‘damage to their reputation’, after she expressed disappointment that the polystyrene-filled aluminium-foil panels Camden had paid them to fit on their own high-rise blocks had failed safety tests, along with the interiors, resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of residents in the middle of the night.

Irony is truly dead on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mr Bond is clearly unaware of what his lawyers wrote in reply, otherwise he would surely have removed the word ‘inflammatory’ before clearing it for press release.

He seems also to be unaware that regardless of the outcome of the inquiry his company no longer has a ‘reputation’, certainly not of the kind he would prefer, and will have to start building one all over again.

There are reputation-management agencies that specialize in putting these things right, if he cares to Google one. He can form an orderly queue behind Kensington and Chelsea Council’s jug-eared leader, the impermeable Mr Nick Paget-Brown.

Postscriptum: Five minutes after saving this Post, in a fast-moving news environment Mr Paget-Brown has obviously seen what I wrote and announced that he will do the honourable thing as soon as anyone else can be found who is too cloth-eared and rhino-skinned to refuse the opportunity of hauling the Royal Borough through the rest of this unholy mess. Deputy ‘Rock’ Feilden-whatever has also announced he is stepping down. I don’t suppose knighthoods will follow, but at least they’ll escape the twitstorm.

Claiming that time would show there had been no lack of help or leadership from the council in the wake of the fire, last night Mr Brown terminated a cabinet meeting rather than face questions from his own councillors, having just discovered there were journalists in the press gallery. Journalists who had had to get an emergency High Court injunction to be allowed in; unlike the relatives and survivors kept outside for fear of ‘disturbances’. This morning word came from Number Ten: Theresa is displeased.

Our public officials and company directors are just completely fucking clueless, aren’t they?

Being largely white, middle-aged, conservative boobies-in-bubbles, they obviously have no idea of the way the world has been changed by social media to ensure that no-one can now get away with these kinds of incompetence, evasions, bluster and bullying. Their lives and those of their blameless ghastly wives and children will become a perpetual misery until they throw their hands up and resign.

The current issue of Private Eye magazine contains a horrifying litany of Tory refusals at local and national government level over the past seven years to pay the slightest heed to public and expert concerns about fire safety in social housing and schools, largely on the grounds that any regulation is bad for business. Not just refusals, but actual sneering at people’s wimpish requests for antediluvian safety standards to be updated.

Thus, the strategy of the Brexit leave campaigners, of Trump, to put about the nonsense that the needs of the ‘business community’ (a bunch of undereducated, overpaid sexist bores in bad suits, with bad-breath and dandruff for brains, basically) must necessarily for the sake of the nation be placed above any consideration of human life and dignity. (It’s not, incidentally, something which the majority of business owners in the UK insist on, it’s just Tory dogma that they do.)

The current Communities Secretary, Mr Sajid Javed, for instance, who now finds himself having to oversee the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, was responsible previously as Mr Cameron’s Business Secretary for a Tory initiative to deregulate, among other sectors, the building industry, the ‘red-tape challenge’, in a race to the bottom of the heap to save £10 billion.

His predecessor, the morbidly obese Mr Eric Pickles, is said to have responded to a possibly costly Welsh Assembly initiative to fit sprinklers and save lives in social housing with a witty tweet: ‘Will the last housebuilder driven out by Labour from Wales to England please turn off the cement mixer?’

Fat cunt, as the trollers say.

Rock on

These fatuous and cynical, self-serving oafs will, one assumes, never share any of the responsibility for the disaster. Meanwhile, we are learning that the safer type of cladding originally specified in the Grenfell Tower contract was substituted at the last minute by one costing £293,000 less to please the deputy leader of KCBC, the improbably named Mr Rock Feilding-Mellon, who had been moaning about the budget and the colour scheme.

The report is in The Times but you have to pass a paywall to read it.

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“He is seriously psychotic and must be removed from the White House immediately. This is no longer funny…”

Blood libel

Childe Donald has been at it again.

Only women bleed.

In a bizarre early morning assault on cable news channel MSNBC’s soon-to-be-married presentation couple, ex-Congressman ‘Morning Joe’ Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, daughter of former Carter White House security advisor, Zbig – holder of the Order of the White Eagle (‘officially instituted on 1 November 1705 by Augustus II the Strong’) – among a fusillade of childish insults Trump tweeted that they had begged him to visit Mar a Lago ‘for three days’ at Christmas but he wouldn’t let them stay because she was ‘bleeding heavily from the face’ after having plastic surgery.

In fact, age 50 she had recently had a chin-tuck; rather less surgery than most residents of Palm Beach. Photographic evidence shows no sign of heavy bleeding, but we know what Mr Trump thinks of photographic evidence and we are surprised he has not convened a commission at public cost to examine the evidence for signs of tampering. Mr Trump too, seems remarkably taut around his demented old eyes for a man of 71.

Mika B’s offence had been to poke fun at the notoriously thin-skinned president, alluding to a request from Time magazine that Trump take down a fake cover he seems to have had designed-up with his own face on it, framed copies of which had been found adorning the walls of several of his tacky golf resorts; a story that originated with the New York Times, adding copyright theft to his list of many crimes.

On the show this morning, the couple contradicted Trump’s version, saying that he had invited them (shades of Guess Who’s Comey to Dinner?); that Joe had gone alone but Trump had insisted in his best Godfather style that Mika also came, that she interviewed Melania (‘who I like very much’) for 20 minutes and then they left.

The story got weirder when Scarborough revealed that someone on the Trump team had previously tried to blackmail him, telling him in a phone call that the notorious fake news tabloid the National Enquirer had a salacious story on the couple ready to print but they would spike it if he stopped criticizing the President. Followers of the show look away, but Scarborough was a big Trump supporter until the scales fell from his eyes as things started to get really, really bad.

(You’ll never hear any of this from the BBC, that continues to maunder on appreciatively as though Trump was not a significant risk to humanity and a cannon so loose you’d never catch up with it, but just the President of the United States on a normal day at the office.)

Where it all shades into a Stephen King novel is that, according to Scarborough today, Trump had previously gone off on a rant about Brzezinski in front of an entire room of Republican politicians, again fantasising about her bleeding from her ‘eyes, from her ears’… Something, Joe said, his informant had found ‘frightening’.

Then there was that other precedent when, after one of the candidates’ debates, he described the interlocutor, Megyn Kelly (late) of Fox News, who had asked him a pointed question about his referring to women as ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals’, as a ‘bimbo’ and claimed she too was bleeding: ‘she had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her – wherever’.

He is seriously psychotic and must be removed from the White House immediately. This is no longer funny. To have elected a president who openly fantasises about women bleeding from the eyes and the vagina, and who has frequently boasted of assaulting women in the belief that they welcome it because he is so rich and powerful – he’s not actually wealthy, he appears to be a net debtor, along with his entire shitty cut-price TV crime-family – is a devastating wound on America that has to be cauterized.

That the revolting old slug almost certainly relied on the furore his tweets would create – indeed, even many leading Republicans were appalled, although they don’t dare impeach him for what it might do to their funding – to draw attention away from any other disturbing things he might have been doing since yesterday, the Muslim ban perhaps, ‘Trumpcare’, Russiagate or his renewed threats against China and North Korea, against Germany and NATO, where do you stop?, is not a reason to doubt that the very real nature of the disturbing sexual fantasies which he shares with the nation ought to result in his being removed to a secure unit, pdq.

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A half-Nelson with dumb stuff

In advance of the G20 at which he has been booked to go head to head with his macho money-idol Mr Putin, Mr Trump has stepped outside the ring of Presidential gravitas with an internet video ‘meme’ he has had produced, portraying him (in a suit) at a wrestling bout assaulting and overpowering a character with a CNN logo for a head, before being victoried with a raised arm by the hunky black wrestler in the ring.

The 45th and last President of the United States of America counts to ten. Missing nine.

He has actually spent your and my tax dollars on this witty but somewhat crapulous ‘meme’, a one-man party-political his dumbfucks are just going to love, so illiberal and unelitist is it, so not at all clever, so redolent of their own fuckwittedness. Dumb stuff rules, okay?

It’s a bit liberal snowflakey of me, but I know, and you know, that when their parents and kids start dying from curable illnesses they can’t afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars to treat, just maybe a tiny light will go on in their mushy brains.

But by then the Tangerine Dream will have told them, it’s all Obama’s fault.

And they’ll go yeah, right. Obama.

He was a bad dude. Re-elect the Orb!

Death is good.

 

Postscriptum: The Pumpkin recently speculated that billionaire Republicans might be planning to escape from the uninhabitable cinder their greed is turning the world into, by starting a colony on Mars. Lo and behold, Commander Trump yesterday held a hastily convened conference to announce that he is reviving a long-defunct quango, the National Space Council, to drive toward a colony on Mars.

“Our travels beyond the Earth propel scientific discoveries that improve our lives in countless ways here,” Trump drivelled, listing “new industry, technology and space security” among the benefits. (Washington Post)

Odd, coming from a President who has signed countless Executive Orders in his first weeks in office destroying scientific research, raising trade barriers and putting heavily polluting dinosaur industries centre-stage of his doomed plan for economic revival.

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“Even other Republican Congressmen hadn’t seen the ‘final’ version until it was announced on Tuesday night…”

Cough please. That’ll be fifty dollars

According to a KFF Kaiser Foundation poll, only 38 per cent of Americans have so far understood that the so-called Obamacare replacement health bill currently in front of the Senate provides for $800 billion cuts to their basic Medicaid care program.

Sixty-two per cent have no idea what is in the bill. Many Trump supporters among them still believe his pre-election campaign promises to substitute Obama’s ‘failing’ (actually, pretty successful) American Healthcare program with something much, much more beautiful and have not bothered to check the horrifying truth.

That the Affordable Healthcare Act is going to force – not 22 million, the latest estimate is 32 million – mostly children and elderly people and people with pre-existing medical conditions from the poor and lower middle-class – out of health insurance altogether; while it gives carte blanche to the drug companies and clinics to raise prices.

The cuts in the Medicare and Medicaid safety-net programs to fund a tax giveaway to the top 1% will then finish them off; the implication being that this is yet another Republican attack on the black and ethnic minority communities, to go with their attempts to force such people off the voting rolls in many states.

‘Obamacare’ took seven years to pass both houses of Congress and underwent hundreds of amendments and thousands of hours of debate. The AHCA – ‘Trumpcare’, has had a paltry few hours of consideration by a select cabal of conservative Republican Senators in closed-door sessions. Even other Congressmen hadn’t seen the ‘final’ version until it was announced on Tuesday night, and it’s actually worse news than the original bill that passed the house of Representatives last month; a bill even Mr Trump derided as ‘mean’.

So ashamed of this shit was the supine old Trump-sucking leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, that he had to postpone a final vote scheduled for last Thursday over the 4th of July holidays to allow for some reconsideration.

Meanwhile, many house Republicans are now deeply worried that if they don’t pass the bill, billionaire backers allied to the notorious Koch Brothers might defund their hugely expensive re-election campaigns next year; while if they do support it, the voters will eventually cotton on to what they’ve done and kick them out anyway.

So in the meantime, two things have happened.

One, Mr Trump is luxuriating in the furore created by his over-the-top disgusting campaign of insults and blackmail tweeted at the MSNBC presenters Joe and Mika, which is ongoing. This has provided helpful distraction from criticism of all the other disgusting things he has been doing, of which more in a mo.

Two, it is diverting media attention from the Wall Street Journal story that an elderly party fixer called Peter Smith, who died in March, had given them an interview in which he confessed to having put together a ‘team’, including computer specialists and a Russian interpreter, to try to get the Russians to release the Hillary Clinton ‘private server’ emails to the Republican party – and that he was reporting to, among others on the Trump campaign, General Flynn.

Mr Smith, it seems, was responsible twenty-three years ago for masterminding a Republican campaign to discredit President Bill Clinton. In what came to be known as the Troopergate scandal, two State troopers were persuaded to lie about escorting the married President to private assignations with a number of women and standing guard while he, er, dallied.

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“The Nuremberg Race Laws formed the cornerstone of Nazi racial policy. Their introduction in September 1935 heralded a new wave of antisemitic legislation that brought about immediate and concrete segregation.” – Holocaust Encyclopedia

On a roll

Resistance is reportedly growing among State officials to a letter demanding that they hand over to a special inquiry Mr Trump has set up to look into ‘voter fraud’ at the last election, complete lists of voters amounting to more than 200 million registrations, including details of their religious and voting affiliations, social security numbers, military service records and much, much more.

Appointed by Mr Trump to head the inquiry is Mr Chris Kobach, an obsessive anti-immigration campaigner who has lobbied assiduously for a national register of Muslims, similar to the one ordered of the Jews by the Nazis in 1935.

“As Secretary of State of Kansas, he has implemented some of the strictest voter ID legislation in the nation and has fought to remove nearly 20,000 properly registered voters from the state’s voter rolls. After considerable investigation and prosecution, Kobach secured six convictions for voter fraud; all were cases of double voting.” – Wikipedia

Insane, clearly. Another one.

Faced with a revolt by 44 state governors, one of whom suggested Mr Kobach could ‘go jump in the Gulf of Mexico’, a furious Mr Trump has come out with a strong statement demanding to know what they have to hide?

More to the point, what is he hiding?

It is yet another of Mr Trump’s famous diversionary tactics, an irrelevant accusation making the Governors the villains and inciting his dumbfuck supporters, who will undoubtedly interpret just the question as clear evidence of wrongdoing, there being no smoke without fire. (The smoke/fire principle of course does not hold good in relation to the FBI’s protracted investigations into their golden hero’s murky financial dealings and possibly treasonous activities, of which there is obviously not a shred of proof.)

The answer is probably nothing, as Mr Trump’s claim that ‘three, maybe five million’ illegal voters deprived him of an overall majority of the popular vote, which went to the hated rival Hillary Clinton, has already been thoroughly investigated by independent experts and found to be wholly without foundation.

The number of duplicated or illegal votes, they found, was vanishingly small.

Mr Trump, however, has never accepted that he did not win, both in the Electoral College (which he won) and overall in the popular vote. Like a dog at a bone, he cannot let the knowledge go that Mrs Clinton proved more popular with 2.8 million voters, it sears his soul that he is not universally loved and admired for his great successes.

Meanwhile as the farce continues, in which Mr Trump’s fragile ego syndrome hogs centre stage, the Middle East is falling apart; relations with the Chinese have sunk back into South China Sea, North Korea remains unresolved, Gen Mattis still wants to invade Iran and over a thousand administrative posts remain unfilled; including 500 at the State Department, where Secretary Tillexxon is tearing his hair out for lack of support.

So, as with everything he does, you are left wondering whether the Orb is just vindictive, untutored, thin-skinned, childish and senile, or whether there is some underlying rationale, some strategy behind the endless self-incriminating abusive tweets, the rain of Executive Orders (many of which cannot be carried out without a vote in Congress), the huge waste of public money and growing loss of confidence among America’s allies around the world, the mounting contempt and shame at home for his Presidency, reversing all the limited progress made under his hated (more popular) predecessor.

If you want to know where this obsession with voter numbers is headed, what this unprecedented and probably illegal demand for supposedly private voter details is about, remember two things:

One, it is the clear aim of the Republican majority to gerrymander the vote in their favour by disenfranchising tens of thousands of Democrat voters, kicking them off the rolls before next year’s midterms. This was partly what the Russian intervention was about, to get at the voter data. The information which Kobach initially said would be publicly available, but has now rowed-back and said will be confidential (except to the security forces, Russian hackers and anyone who will pay for it, presumably), is invaluable in the process of controlling the mass of the American people.

And two, Mr Trump vowed many times on the campaign trail to remove all Muslims from American soil; a policy clearly espoused by the likes of Steve Bannon, funded by the spectacularly rich alt-right orthodox Christian fundamentalists, Bob and ‘Bekah Mercer, and others who have espoused the cause of a holy war against both the forces of Islam and scientific modernism in the USA.

To date, in six months a furious Trump has managed to force through almost none of his legislative program, which is why the Healthcare bill means so much to him. He complains that the opposition Democrats keep inconveniently opposing him, he continues to blame Obama for everything (when he is not screaming abuse at his staff), he refuses to initiate any action over Russia’s role in the election… blaming Obama for that as well.

And he is a bad enemy to make. For, as Melania’s PR has tweeted, you hit him once, he hits you back ten times. A true son of Roy Cohn, the ruthless Mafia solicitor ‘friend of the family’ who figured so large in the young Donald’s business education, let’s hope she is not speaking from bitter experience.

Nevertheless he is determined to force through somehow, by hook or by crook, all the absurd, overblown promises of Bannon’s nihilistic, destructive policies he made last year to the dementedly screaming, hate-filled dumbfucks in a hundred aircraft hangars across America; egged on by Flynn and his Russian observers.

So to find out what happens next, after Mr Trump and the Republican party fixers get to know exactly who is voting where, how and out of what conviction, and to what religious creed they affiliate, you should turn to:

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007901

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Steel yourselves

‘And finally’… only joking, finality is a pipedream.

Despite overwhelming evidence and advice that it would be a disastrous move and lead to a global trade war, the Golden Orb has announced yet another inquiry, this time into how Chinese aluminum and steel prices are destroying American jobs and are thus A Bad Deal for Murca.

It is simply impossible to believe this disastrous tangerine effigy actually cares a damn about American workers, otherwise he would not be so keen to kill them all off. So one has to assume he imagines slapping a 20% tariff on imported Chinese steel, of the kind he uses in his own construction businesses and his new friends, the Kochs, use in their tar-oil pipelines, will somehow benefit their employers. (Things go better with Koch.)

“China has many predatory practices in the way they deal with us, with intellectual property and trade barriers for us.” – said Trump, reverting to his old gripes against China after a brief period in which he was being nice to them in the hope that his new ‘friend’ Mr Xi would clobber North Korea for us.

Mr Xi has clearly made the mistake of not fulfilling the loyalty pledge Mr Trump squeezed out of him over sticky chocolate cake at Mar a Lago.

These are presumably the same ‘predatory practices’ in ‘intellectual property’ that have seen Mr Trump and his non-US slave-employing daughter, feminist icon Ivanka, gain more than fifty exclusive product licences between them – including one for Trump-branded prostitution – using a Xi-ordained fast-track that might otherwise have taken them millennia to obtain.

There’s no gratitude among oligarchs.

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All his eggs in one Brexit

Richard Cuck, seen wearing second prize at the Portadown horse show.

Does this slackjawed man look genetically damaged to you? No, he doesn’t much to me either. Just a mite depressed. You don’t get that Louis Vuitton luggage under the eyes at his young age by not imbibing copious drafts of misery juice.

No need to worry, though. Mr Richard Cook (for it is he) won the EU referendum. We’re leaving, God knows how – when, or why. Possibly it was due to an unexpected donation to the Leave campaign from Mrs May’s new friends in the Democratic Unionist Party, who are refusing to say where the money came from.

The caption to the photo in The Guardian says : ‘Richard Cook, the chairman of the Constitutional Research Council, which has no website, publishes no accounts and is not obliged to reveal its donors.’ Photograph: Universal News And Sport (Europe).

The CRC appears to be a by-blow of Mr Cook’s own small business, Cook Consulting, and a temporary parking-lot he registered, Five Star Investments. Another director of CRC/Five Star was listed as Mr Peter Haestrup, a Dane.

According to The Guardian: “Haestrup was named in an investigation into an arms scandal in 1995. Hundreds of AK-47s, anti-tank grenades, pistols and rocket launchers were dropped from a transport plane into West Bengal in what the Indian authorities described as “the biggest crime in the country’s history”.

No wonder Mr Cook looks so worried. Vengeful Thuggees might emerge at any moment from the undergrowth with death in their eyes.

Entirely concidentally, Richard – a former vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party –  also has interests in former West Bengal. Fancy that! The Guardian reports once more: ‘In 2012 his company, Cook Consulting, signed agreements to deliver environmental projects in Karachi worth more than £600m.’

A 13 July, 2012 BBC report reprinted what reads like a stock press release hailing the agreement, which mainly consisted of a £550 million desalination plant to provide drinking water to the city. The story gave no indication as to where Cook was getting the money: another blind alley. Mr Cook’s sources remain just as opaque four years on.

The absence of any evidence of Mr Cook’s finances is linked with a substantial donation, almost half a million pounds, in advance of the Brexit vote, via our new friends the Democratic Unionists (DUP), to the Leave.EU campaign and current Go On, Let’s Leave the EU as Painfully as Possible minister, the freshfaced empire-loyalist Tory baboon, Mr Steve Baker.

In default of a Leave vote in Northern Ireland, the money is said to have found its way to the UK mainland via a special dispensation that says donations received in the Six Counties don’t have to be declared to the Electoral Commission, in case they explode or perhaps come from one banned organization or another.

“In his register of interests, Baker states: “As chair of the European Research Group (ERG), I accepted £6,500 from the Constitutional Research Council to fund hospitality for ERG members and their staff at an event on 19 December 2016.”

So that can’t explain the total donation of £435,000, most of which according to The Guardian was spent on printing and distributing a ‘wraparound supplement’ to the Evening Standard newspaper, a modest enough project urging Londoners to vote Brexit – which they didn’t by a majority of 2:1, so that was a bit of a waste. Never mind! We’re OUT!

Ah, these think-tanks. Endless hospitality, ’tis a wonder they have time to think. You often wonder, too, where they get the money – who from, and what for. Possibly from wealthy speculators keen to advance their private interests, bypassing the tedious framework of democracy? Who can say.

While, bizarrely – perhaps like Alan Bennett he is 40 years older than he looks, or just one of those people you occasionally see written-up in colour supplements as having an unusual hobby – Cook:

“…like Baker, has been a supporter of the Freedom Association, the organization founded by a group of Tory MPs alarmed by the rise of trade unions and Irish republicanism.”

Neither cause has been exactly fresh in the public mind since the Thatcher era. But you know Unionists, easily alarmed.

Not all the money appears to have filtered through Northern Ireland to the mainland, though. Some went west.

According to Open Democracy UK, there appears to have been a payment of £32,000 to a Canadian company thought not to be many miles through snow-tracked wastes from Aggregate IQ, an obscure data analytics firm and referendum fixer whose ownership is, according to the Observer (articles passim), traceable to Mr Robert Mercer, the multibillionaire hedge-fund manager, ultra-orthodox Christian ‘disruptor’ and IT whizz behind the Breitbart News website.

The exact origin of the money remains shrouded in the misty Celtic twilight. Except that the third director of Cook’s short-lived Scottish-registered company, Five Star Investments – now wound up – is a known Saudi Arabian intelligence officer.

Now, a noted conspiracy theorist, I can imagine any number of reasons why the Saudis might want us out of Europe, but it’s hard to articulate one.

The Pumpkin should have thought the deal might possibly have attracted a more productive investigation as a possible case of money-laundering, than as a breach of the pathetic and toothless Electoral Commission’s barely enforceable rules on cross-border political donations and election spending.

Luckily, the Serious Fraud Office is being wound-up also and merged with the stationery purchasing department at Mrs May’s whizzo new National Crime Agency, so the DUP can sleep easy on their £billion pile, another cash bonanza from the endlessly gullible British taxpayer when it comes to Northern Ireland.

x

All Change…

In the space of four days:

  • More than 35 wildfires are burning across the SW United States. The uncontrollable fire at Brian Head in Utah has consumed over 54 thousand acres and continues to spread. The forecast is for continuing 95 deg. heat and rising windspeeds. (Less than a month ago, the governor of Arkansas was declaring a federal emergency owing to extreme flooding and storms.)
  • A flash flood has left parts of Mexico City underwater. (A number of people were killed the previous week including eleven trapped in a bus in floods and landslides in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.)
  • Multiple wildfires are reported in Siberia as the boreal forest and tundra continue to blaze due to record temperatures ‘not seen in the past 10 thousand years’, according to Russian meteorologists. Krasnoyarsk sweltered in 37 deg. C. last week and is still in the mid-20s this week. In the North Caucasus, record rainfall has caused devastating flash floods. Moscow has been hit for the second time in five weeks by an abnormally violent thunderstorm, leaving two dead and a dozen injured.
  • Gerona in Spain was battered on Friday by a freak hailstorm, leaving rivers of ice two feet deep flowing through the streets. Watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqfa6do4u50, at 25’30” in, it’s a most bizarre sight. 150 mm of rain falling in a few hours has left parts of Berlin underwater.
  • Greece has a 42 deg. C-plus heatwave, with wildfires and melting roads.
  • The city of Chennai in drought-stricken Tamil Nadu state, India, has run out of water and rationing has been tightened. North of there large parts of Assam state are underwater, as are neighbouring areas of Pakistan, with deaths reported.
  • More severe flood warnings are out across Hunan province, central China, but the list of Chinese regions afflicted with major floods is over 40, too long to include.

(Climate and Extreme Weather News #39, 26-30 June/Floodlist.com)

The Pumpkin – Issue 22: The emollients clause. Plus: The forensic mind of Donald Trump. Computer News.

 

“Cheer up Ma, at least Trump’s cancelled” (AP)

Hello again

With apologies to its author, Philip Cohen, may I share with you this most excellent diatribe on the subject of The Pumpkin’s favourite object, stolen from the Comments section of The Washington Post, 7 June?

Thank you.

Drumpf’s a charlatan—an arrogant, autocratic, ignorant, incompetent, inarticulate, blustering, uncouth, unprincipled, hypocritical, malevolent, divisive, thin-skinned, grossly narcissistic sociopath; a draft dodging, much sued, numerously bankrupted, pathological liar, and political neophyte, with an adolescent brain displaying chronic “status twitterus” (a debilitating condition in which twittering fits follow one another without recovery of consciousness between them)—in sum, a classic, “Dunning-Kruger” / “Peter Principle” affectee—utterly unfit to be POTUS.

…had he not been born into great wealth it’s likely he would now be living under an overpass somewhere—yet the “poorly educated” have elected this “bouffanted buffoon” POTUS, making the U.S. the laughingstock of the world.Drumpf’s a man of principles few and flexible—he offers only incoherent bluster and delusionary or naively simple answers to complex problems—we will be lucky if this crétin does not cause some major tragedy to befall us. The only thing scarier than Drumpf is the ~63 million idiots that voted for this oaf, and about whom—some may soon enough come to realise—he cares not one iota.

Those who feel this is a bit excessive and are willing to forgive the President for skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars off his browbeaten and shallow-witted son Eric’s fundraisers for a children’s cancer charity, or for claiming that he was ‘better trained militarily than most’ of the 82 thousand US troops who died in Vietnam while he was securing successive exemptions for a probably non-existent and easily curable condition, thus avoiding the necessity to prove the claim, might pause to consider his latest wheeze.

It appears that one of a series of assaults on poverty in the budget he’s recently presented to Congress is to cut funding by 29 per cent for a federal program that provides an already limited amount of housing benefit to the homeless, enabling them to have an address from which to seek work; while at the same time preserving a special government subsidy to wealthy landlords.

Mr Trump has extensive rental property holdings, as you know, including a 4 per cent stake he inherited from his father Fred in a complex called Starrett City, from which he is said to earn $20 million a year. Having, as I say, inherited the holding, Mr Trump has at times claimed it was one of the best investments he ever made. He is an incorrigible scoundrel, a liar and a fantasist, but never mind, let’s press on.

Starrett City’s shareholders have reportedly received $490 million from the subsidy alone since 2013; $28 million in the last four months.

Mr Trump, who nobly announced on taking up the job that he would forego the normal salary of $450k a year, seems to be using the office of President to guarantee himself a side-income of a few million dollars a year; what is, essentially, a taxpayer-funded backhander to himself and his cronies, whilst ensuring the very poorest Americans whom he swore an oath to protect have nowhere to live, thus lessening their chances of finding one of the many jobs he is failing to deliver.

To ensure nothing goes wrong, Mr Trump has appointed the woman who organized his wedding to Melania, Lynne Patton, a former officer in Eric Trump’s charity foundation, a person with no public service experience, to head the New York office of the Department for Housing and Urban Development.

It would be a joke if it weren’t so sad.

(Reporting: Washington Post)

The Pumpkin is honestly at a loss when reaching for the usual supererogatory expressions of nausea today to find new words to accompany this horrible, horrible man on his journey to the innermost circle of Hell, given that I used to keep pigs and have great respect for their perceptive intelligence, forbearance and selfless humanity; their grasp of foreign policy.

I will simply let Mr Philip Cohen’s resonant encomium, that provides such a lazy introduction to this week’s issue 22 of The Pumpkin, stand as mute testimony to my imaginative failure, and go take Hunzi for his morning walk.

The weather too has taken a turn overnight. After five days of record-breaking heat and humid sunshine, reeking of tanning oil, we are enshrouded in a clammy, murky drizzle.

Oh, well. Probably Yellowstone will get us instead.

x

“…there is never an ‘endgame’ in the Middle East, only a transition to something worse.”

The forensic mind of Donald Trump

To use the phrase ‘American foreign policy’ with regard to the situation in the Middle East is to do oxymoronic violence to the English language. For even the forensic, nimble and well-stocked brain of the President seems not quite able to figure out, in his own words, just what the hell is going on; the problem being, he’s the one in charge.

But the Middle East is complicated, idn’t it?

In the space of barely a month, Mr Trump met with the Emir of Qatar and assured him of America’s undying friendship and desire to sell him billions of dollars’ worth of ‘beautiful military equipment’ (the man is sick in the head, but we’ll continue…).

On his return, he tweeted out that he, Trump, had in a single two-day visit to Riyadh – during which he performed a sword dance and Ivanka was handed a present of $100 million, seemingly without strings – ended the scourge of global terrorism for ever, persuading the Saudi allies to embark on a policy of blockading evil Qatar, the source of all global terrorism.

Then, ahem, having been reminded by Gen. Mattis that there are 11 thousand US and NATO troops stationed in friendly Qatar, the main base from where operations are being conducted against ISIS, Mr Trump tweeted out again to complain that he had been misled by the Saudis and Qatar was not a sponsor of terrorism after all, so the UAE should back off.

The correction came somewhat late in the day, as (supported by Russia and Iran) Turkey had already sent troops to Qatar in a ‘training’ capacity to wave a scimitar in the hostile face of Riyadh, and the fairly gratuitous shooting-down of a Syrian airforce plane by a US airforce plane had brought Russia and America eyeball to eyeball once more over the proposed fate of the Assad regime.

Having abandoned command of his forces to the generals on the ground, Trump was now seeing things spinning out of his grasp.

Meanwhile, in a palace coup the senile King Salman’s pleasure-loving son, the war criminal in charge of all those beautiful weapons currently slaughtering Yemeni children, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, has been nominated as the sock-puppet who will take over as the heir-apparent to the ‘oil-rich’ terror-sponsoring Gulf state in place of the King’s more sensible, peaceable but less US-friendly nephew, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, who has, in the words of The Sun newspaper, been ‘fired’….

From The Sun (22 June):

SAUDI Arabia’s future King is a millionaire businessman who is friends with Donald Trump and recently splashed out over £400 million on a yacht.

Mid-East policy all at sea: The Serena (Getty Images)

So we must assume that once King Salman, who is said to have Alzheimer’s, kicks the bucket, Saudi Arabia will follow a pro-American line; rather than as, at present, America follows a pro-Saudi line. And if he is not in jail by then Trump will personally – and presumably financially – benefit.

Who is this a victory for?

Now, The Pumpkin has a confession. Throughout my career I prided myself on my analytical pattern-recognizing abilities and the particular strength I felt I had in being able to join the dots in complex situations: pull together the threads, grasp the big picture (enough business cliches. Ed.).

Pundits are starting to refer to the ‘endgame’ in Syria as Assad finally bids foul to regain control of the country after six years of war, thanks to his Russian pals, with whatever consequences it may bring for his opponents – my bet is a massacre – but you and I know, don’t we, there is never an ‘endgame’ in the Middle East, only a transition to something worse.

So I would really love to give you insight and clarity on the situation as it stands currently, because lots of new and strange things seem to be happening, but I’m afraid it will have to wait for someone better to come along. I am utterly at a loss to explain what is going on, so irrational and contrafibulatory do all the many actors appear to have become.

The noisy men – Victor McGlaglan

It is possible I, or they, have gone mad trying to work out the connections. It’s like John Wayne and Victor McLaglan and Alan Ladd (on his box) slugging it out in a Howard Hawks mass barroom brawl that drags everyone in, smashing chairs and bottles over one another’s heads with scant regard for who is on who’s side. No sooner do I feel I have a handle on it, than my brain suffers a chronic meltdown and everything starts to slip alarmingly sideways.

However, I can offer one possible clue.

Just last week I gave up trying to find anything worth watching on TV, and reverted to my DVD collection. One of the first films I pulled out was ‘Syriana’, a thriller set in the Middle East, by and starring George Clooney as ‘Bob’, a redundant CIA operative turned freelance, who equally has a problem knowing what is going on when he is kidnapped and tortured by the jihadis he has just sold some state-of-the-art kit to (okay, that’s not quite it, but I’m too old to explain) and has to be rescued by Hezbollah; with Matt Damon as the good guy, the fresh-faced analyst from the State Department sent to groom the heir to an oil-rich Gulf kingdom, but who gradually realises he’s being corrupted by the Deep State*.

It must be about ten years old and, although I’ve watched it four times now, I’ve never really grasped the plot.

All I know is that a key point comes – and here is the amazing synchronicity – when the ageing King of the unnamed Gulf state changes his mind about his successor and ‘fires’ his strong and stable but independently reformist heir and friend of Matt Damon in favour of a weak and dissolute younger brother who doesn’t care about ‘his people’. He will prove a more useful asset to the rogue group of CIA conspirators plotting with a giant and totally amoral oil company to turn the oil-rich kingdom into a client state, and will stop at nothing – including sponsoring arms sales to useful but unpredictable jihadi militias.

Meanwhile, the agency has succeeded at home in deflecting an FBI investigation into bribery and corruption reaching up to the highest levels of the company and beyond – as far up as Christopher Plummer, an apparently immortal billionaire politician and former CIA head who, ‘Bob’ realizes, is running the operation from behind the scenes.

Is this starting to remind you of anything?

Spoiler alert

The CIA is essentially depicted as a state-within-a-state, out of control and operating entirely on its own agenda, fractious, fuelled by dirty money and capable of causing havoc across the region in support of global energy interests, corporations no longer bound to the United States and its official foreign policy.

The last scenes of the film show Clooney as agent Bob, tired of being used by all sides, racing across the desert to warn the outgoing prince that he’s in danger, only to be incidentally vaporized in a drone strike by remote CIA operatives in the USA.

Let’s hope that’s the one part of the movie he didn’t get right.

*Just last week in an echo of the scene where Matt Damon’s son dies, accidentally electrocuted in the oil-sheikh’s swimming-pool, there was a report of children electrocuted in a swimming-pool in Turkey. It’s not a very common occurrence. I expect these odd synchronicities go on all the time unnoticed. Either that, or I am making the world happen around me.

Indeed, I have long had a feeling that the world ended in 1962 with the Cuban missile crisis, we weren’t spared the nuclear holocaust after all, we all perished, and the sense that this is all an increasingly weird and dystopian, shared near-death experience and any minute now it will fade to black is nearer the mark.

x

“The exciting thing about working for maniacs … is, anything can happen in the next half-hour.”

Computer News

Did they have inside help?

We’re aware, are we not, of Mr Trump’s undying loyalty to those who are loyal to him – until he thinks they’re not?

It’s a cuddly trait that has, we can see, provided a lot of employment since the election for party and campaign donors from all over the USA. Why, it almost led to our very own Nigel Farage getting the plum post of ambassador to Washington!

Sadly the job was not in Mr Trump’s gift. Nor did Farage have any prior diplomatic service experience. In fact he’s about the least diplomatic person you could shake a cocktail at. But we wonder what our Nige did for his strangely glowing master to deserve that one?

Anyway, in our lead story today, we saw from a report in the Washington Post that Mr and Mrs Trump’s wedding party organizer has been put in charge of housing development in New York, where Mr Trump owns a lot of housing.

It reminds me of my previous employer, Shane, who after thirty years running businesses in Japan signed his memos ‘Founder’, a clear sign of incipient megalomania. He also has an advanced appreciation of loyalty, there’s probably a Japanese word for it, that runs to putting in the job whoever is standing nearest the water-cooler when the previous guy dies.

Hence, hired as the gardener, within weeks I was managing a terrible country hotel with one part-time assistant, an obese Goth with greasy hair and bipolar disorder. I had no hotel management experience whatever after a lifetime in journalism, advertising and publishing. After Matt ran off with the petty cash it was just me, the guy in the Wellington boots standing by the water-cooler (metaphorically – there wasn’t one), cooking meals and cleaning, organizing weddings, chasing intruders at 2 a.m. and renegotiating the business rates.

The exciting thing about working for maniacs with Entrepreneur Syndrome – the belief that whatever the business, they can walk on water – is, anything can happen in the next half-hour.

So, in the Trump cabinet, there are rancid climate-change deniers with no prior experience or science qualification running the Environmental Protection and Energy agencies; the ex-CEO of the world’s greediest and most shameful oil company as Secretary of State, in charge of global diplomacy; a major donor with no public schools administration experience hoping to foist Creationism on America’s children; a multibillionaire seeking tax breaks for his mining businesses put in charge of government revenue; a Russian agent originally (but no longer) in charge of National Security; a blustering little twerp who’s not very good at lying handling the press briefings, Trump’s private banker in charge of Commerce and his not very bright, 36-year-old property developer son-in-law tasked with everything else, from Middle East peace to government reform.

It’s a bit like the amateur dramatic company I work with. Most of the male roles have to be played by women on account of there aren’t enough men.

The Pumpkin has, however, been learning from the indefatigable Rachel Maddow at MSNBC, of a loyalty appointee of an altogether more interesting stripe.

John deStefano was, until he was appointed as Mr Trump’s Presidential Personnel Director, director of a small data analytics firm contracted by the Republican campaign, Data Trust Inc., a business for which it is hard to find a listing. It doesn’t seem to appear among the top six companies on Google with that name, in the first three pages.

It’s possible that he was just being rewarded as a loyal Republican, although he is named as having campaigned as a ‘Never Trumper’. So many were.

Like Charlie Parker, “DeStefano grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. His uncle helped him to get an internship with Oklahoma Representative J. C. Watts during his junior year. Following his graduation, he worked for the House Republican Conference as a liaison to outside conservative groups. In 2006, he ran the reelection campaign of Ohio Representative Deborah Pryce.”

So he does at least have more political experience than the President. By way of further explanation:

“Conservative HQ said DeStefano’s appointment was designed “to funnel Capitol Hill staffers loyal to the congressional Republican establishment into key jobs in the executive branch.” The organization also pointed out that DeStefano has zero experience in human resource functions, which are at the core of his new role.” – Wikipedia, and see above

In other words, draining the swamp off Capitol Hill and into the White House.

As a funnel, Johnny DeStefano was the guy Trump ordered to write the letter firing Sally Yates, the Acting Attorney General, who had been trying to warn the White House that Gen. Flynn was a Russian agent. The reason he gave was her resistance to implementing the Muslim ban, but as that was being blocked by the 9th circuit and about every other court in the land, the real reason seems obvious.

Mr DeStefano also, however, appears to have been entrusted on payment of $6.7 million with collating the entire US voter registration database, 198 million names, addresses, dates of birth, voting intentions, religious affiliations an’ all.

And he accidentally left it sitting for a while in a public Amazon cloud account on an unencrypted server and, hey, guess what?

As Ms Maddow reports, it appears that as far as early research can tell, the Russian ‘hack’, which the FBI now says affected 21 states, although it may have been all 50, appears to have targeted only those wards where the majority voted Democrat in previous elections.

And where there was a corresponding overlap with the use of polling station computers using registration software supplied by companies that reported being hacked earlier, there were reports of unusual breakdowns and delays in processing voters on the door, again in mainly Democrat wards.

It wasn’t an attack on the actual votes, as far as the FBI is prepared to go at this stage. The hackers didn’t impersonate voters or change the counts or anything too overt. It was an attack on the electoral process, designed to deter Democrats from voting. A marginal outcome could statistically have made enough difference to get a candidate, in this case Trump, over the line.

But it required detailed knowledge of voter distribution. And what the implications are for the 2018 midterms we can only imagine.

Did the Russians have insider knowledge of the systems and help with targeting their disruption campaign? We know how attached Republicans are to voter suppression and other fraudulent tactics.

According to the website Carbonated.TV:

“The now-secured files contained data typical to political campaigns, some of which is already public information, but also included analysis to help the GOP best target specific voting populations. Many of the records stored on the server came from data firms other than Deep Root Analytics, one of which was The Data Trust, the primary provider of the GOP’s voter details contracted by the party for a whopping $6.7 million in 2016.”

http://www.carbonated.tv/news/data-of-198-million-voters-exposed-in-massive-leak-by-gop-contractor

 

Making monkeys of themselves

President Erdogan in his wisdom has ordered all references to biological evolution to be removed from Turkey’s state school textbooks. The subject is, says his education director, ‘too controversial’ to be taught to 14-16 year-olds and may only be discussed in universities. (BBC News)

The only other country in the Middle East to have banned the teaching of evolution is Saudi Arabia, a country also not known for its progressive views.

The Koran says God made Adam out of a lump of clay, so that’s a scientific fact. It’s actually not so far from the truth, we do indeed share many elements found in the general make-up of the universe, including those found in clay. But it was just an allegorical story. The point Darwin made is we didn’t start out like this, in human form. We got here by trial and error, starting with a small colony of prokaryotic cells. We were not made from lumps of clay, but by an evolutionary leap called sexual reproduction. It takes two.

And of course, there is now an overwhelming body, not of opinion but of experimental, empirical observation to show that, while there are other evolutionary mechanisms in play, evolution by natural selection of the most useful genetic mutations is the main means by which new species come into being over time. Basically, if you fall over a cliff it helps to quickly sprout feathers.

One student quoted in the report says his teacher asked him if he believed he was descended from a monkey? This stupid debate was settled years ago.

When even teachers are too lazy and illiterate to understand a relatively simple proposition, that we co-evolved alongside the apes, a separate branch from monkeys, from a common ancestor; that there have been many species of humanoid but we are the only ones so far as we know who survived to be what we are today, i.e. credulous, incurious naked baboons capable of swallowing any amount of allegory from 2,000-year-old books, capable of denying the evidence of our own reason, capable of electing dangerous idiots to lead us, you wonder if it’s worth teaching children anything.

Because to refute the oft-observed fact that species are continually changing asa result of ‘the survival of the fittest’ (fit meaning… oh, I give up. Not that kind of fit, the kind that means ‘best adapted to the conditions’) is to suggest that we cannot ever properly learn. Learning is a crucial stage in evolution, since before new physiological characteristics are selected for in our ever-changing, ever-challenging environment the first changes must come in our cognitive processes and behavioral patterns.

Not much sign of that.

So Turkey, ostensibly a civilized, modern and progressive nation of 80 million, has started on its long march backwards to the mud. Yes, advanced organisms like States can revert to type, but in the process they become less fit for survival and are vulnerable to extinction.

So much for Mr Erdogan and his ‘leadership’. We could have told you, Turkey, but you wouldn’t have listened.

 

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.

x

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)

Foot-footnote: The above photograph of a pupil at the unidentified school in my story showing him wearing a Trump T-shirt and then a doctored plain T-shirt has been taken down by WordPress, at whose request and for what reason I know not.

THe BogPo republished a photograph that had been widely published already elsewhere on reputable news sites, to illustrate my point about political propaganda in schools, without making any comment detrimental to the boy and without identifying him or giving any details enabling him to be identified or targeted by anyone.

The BogPo apologizes if we have transgressed the rules and regulations of the WordPress website, but I must remark that it’s a bit rich considering WordPress is constantly sending me Spam messages that have defeated their controls and refuses to engage with my complaints on that issue.

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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 20: The IQ Test; You sick sack of shit; How Trump is drawing us into war.

“Boris Johnson has said he sees no reason to rescind the invitation to Donald Trump for a state visit, despite the US president’s attacks on the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, after Saturday’s terror attack.” – The Guardian, 6 June.

“I see no shits?”

‘IQ’ test?

‘I Quit’ is what we would all prefer to hear from this odious character.

As the Comments expressing horror and shame at what America has done to itself mount up on the web, many commentators are calling for White House staff to simply take away President Trump’s cellphone.

He previously had a Samsung, but has now apparently acquired a more American-sounding iPhone, manufactured – like his daughter’s fashionable shoe range – by slave workers in China. Separating him from his Twitter feed may be difficult. He seems to have an unlimited budget for replacement cellphones.

For, like your Uncle Bogler, he is at heart an overgrown teenage baboon in the first stages of dementia, who compulsively evacuates in 140 characters or less, a medium that might have been invented for an untreated ADHD individual with a 15 seconds’ attention-span, the thoughts produced by his diseased brain and spews them out into the world through the little magic window; a digital megaphone.

He’d sleep better without it, that’s for sure. But is anyone really receiving his thoughts?

It appears that, of the 30 million or so Followers of @realdonaldtrump Twitter feeds, almost half – over 14 million – are fake accounts.

You can go online and buy Followers? Yes, apparently, for a few hundred bucks you can pick up a million or so non-existent names, according to online newsmouth, David Pakman. And, mirabile dictu, there are other websites you can lookup, that tell you whether someone’s Twitter account is genuine or fake; and how many fake accounts they have, and 14 million is the figure they give @real.

Isn’t technology amazing.

And it doth indeed appear that Mr Trump, or someone ‘close to him in the White House’, the pizza chef, maybe, the butler who brings him his constant supply of fizzy drinks, Jared Kushner perhaps, has been buying up fake Twitter accounts to make the chemically poisoned Prez look better.

Whether the activity is designed to impress the public with his popularity which is about at rock-bottom; or just privately to bolster the confidence of the most insecure and thin-skinned leader since Caligula, or to boost revenue from his click-throughs or whatever (The Pumpkin does not entertain knowledge of the workings of social media accounts) is anyone’s guess.

But how bizarre is it, that he should be so obsessed with his personal popularity ratings, that he is prepared to lie even to himself about the number of people hanging on his tweets, that are mostly just incoherent late-night tirades of abuse directed at Meryl Streep, or Mayor Khan, or the ‘failing New York Times‘, or anyone else he’s seen on Fox News who arouses his foul-natured spleen?

Possibly not as bizarre as the deep denial of the majority Republican party that an elderly man with arrested development who sits up all night tweeting pathetically that everyone is out to get him, can possibly be considered unfit to hold the office of President of the United States a moment longer?

Ghastly and devious though the fundamentalist Vice-President, Mike Pence, may be, the ‘snow-capped walking advert for Anusol’ nailed to a cross, he at least isn’t a mad, childish buffoon given to sudden intemperate reverses of 70 years of US policy, directing a stream of complaints and abuse towards its allies, a diseased Emperor indulging in paranoid nepotism, blatant corruption, blabbermouth security breaches, vain and unwarranted boasting, launching hysterical attacks on his opponents, deliberately impoverishing his subjects’ life chances, compulsively lying, throwing screaming fits at his staff as though they were his own employees and not the Government’s – costing the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars in gratuitous holiday expenses* and keeping his wife a prisoner in a New York tower-block.

Nor is Pence entirely prey to the devious blandishments of the Iago of the Oval Office, Steve Bannon, and the Breitbart conspiracy.

The Vice-President does have the power through the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove the President, at pistol-point if need be, if he shows he is so unstable that he cannot be thought of as fit to continue as Commander-in-Chief.

Which he obviously cannot.

That would be quite in line with the First Amendment right of the People to protest and remove if necessary, an oppressive autocrat.

Trump’s revolting campaign of tirades against the mayor of London, Mr Sadiq Khan, are nasty and racist and personally motivated by hatred of a man who came out months ago with a comment opposing his eagerly anticipated State visit later this year.

It would be wholly inappropriate in the view of The Pumpkin for Trump to be entertained by the frail and ageing Queen, 92, as if he were somehow worthy of the honour of a State visit. He’s done nothing to deserve it. We feel sure she is dreading the occasion, being forced to eat steak with ketchup on, tune all the palace TVs to Hannity Guy and have the Buckingham Palace lawn turned into a putting green.

The Prime Minister puts out that Trump was ‘invited’ by the Queen, but the Queen does not issue those invitations, some aristocratic flunkey in Whitehall does that at the request of Downing Street. We imagine she would rather entertain a ruthless dictator like Robert Mugabe, a British-educated and punctilious man of her own age, than have the vulgar Trumps to dinner and sit through their unspooling marital disaster while waiting for the President to make some abusive attack on Prince Charles, a dedicated tree-hugger; or thrust the poor Duke aside to get to the front of a photo-op, wearing his fake ‘Presidential’ face like the late comedian Frankie Howerd being sodomised by a camel.

Nor do the British people wish to be obliged to watch the spectacle of this ludicrous, vain impostor swishing down the Mall in his hundred-ton motorcade, the all-conquering hero. Fuck that. (Worse still, he’s said to have requested a gilded coach… ’nuff said?) The best thing we can do to protest is just to not turn up at his parade, then he can spend the next six months mumbling and crying like a lovelorn snowflake over the non-existent numbers.

The President who rails against the ‘Fake News’ media is not above descending into the swamp of Fake News himself, fabricating (as he did when he called-out Obama for ‘wiretapping’ the Trump Tower) a libellous and paranoid case that mayor Khan is somehow responsible for encouraging terror attacks in London, fatuously challenging him to an ‘IQ test’.

‘IQ’? ‘I Quit’ is what we would all prefer to hear from this odious, self-serving character.

*Now totalling 23 golf vacations in 19 weeks, at a cost to the public purse of over $30 million….

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A view more charitably expressed if in many ways more alarming can be found at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2jqohySZz4

You can stop at 12 minutes, where he goes to phoned-in questions. Reich – Robert Reich – is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.

Not just some schmuck.

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You sick sack of shit

“Additionally, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.

“…while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses. All of this seems to defy federal tax rules and state laws that ban self-dealing and misleading donors.”

What’s this about?

Okay, so according to the highly respected financial journal, Forbes magazine, the Trump family has an extensive network of tax-exempt ‘foundation’ charities, and every year the Little Nazi, Uday (Eric), uses his personal foundation to borrow one of Orange Daddy’s golf resorts, he says for free, to host a fundraiser for a kids’ cancer charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

All the money, he tells the wealthy attenders, goes to help the kids.

Only turns out it’s not exactly free. Orange Dad has been billing Eric for the use of the courses at an eyewatering rate, the money’s coming out of the celebrity and business attenders’ donations and instead of going to the charity is being siphoned off to other Trump ‘charities’, from where it’s been used to pay bills.

This, says the story, is not Eric’s idea – it’s the ‘billionaire’ President of the United States who is insisting on getting paid.

In other words, Donald Trump is reportedly bullying his own son to steal money from kids with cancer to line his own pockets.

And Eric Trump has just been on the ratings-loser Sean Hannity show on Fox News, telling the world that Democrats ‘aren’t even human’ because they attack his dad and make things difficult for him? The opposition party? Surely not!

This reinforces The Pumpkin’s theory that it has not dawned on the President that he is a Government employee, not the CEO of some giant corporation he has already admitted is too complicated for one man to run. The functionaries he is screaming abuse at in his mad tantrums are not his employees, they are his colleagues – other Government employees.

That’s because a President is not supposed to ‘run’ the country, he embodies the Constitution, a system of checks and balances that Donald Trump is racing to dismantle because it’s inconvenient and gets in the way of business.

If the story holds up, if they’re bilking genuine charities to fund their phoney ones, I don’t personally think these bottom-feeders should wait to go to hell before they start burning, do you?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2017/06/06/how-donald-trump-shifted-kids-cancer-charity-money-into-his-business/#d2602d46b4a3

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“Western nations are totally out of their depth in the labyrinthine religious, tribal and political twists and turns of this intensely fractured region”

Does he really want the job?own c

The Syria situation has taken a very strange twist, as Saudi Arabia, Bahrein and the UAE, together with Egypt, have turned on their former ally, the tiny oil principality of Qatar, in a bizarre row over supposed Qatari support for Israel and Iran.

Qatar is a strongly Sunni country and, like Saudi Arabia, finances Wahabbism (rightwing fundamentalist Islam) all over the world. The same puritanical beliefs are also held to the extreme by so-called Islamic State and other groups, as well as the Taleban in Afghanistan, that appear to be fuelling a wave of terror attacks, not only in the West but in the Philippines, Indonesia and even as far away as Australia.

Yet Qatar is supporting to the hilt, the allied offensive against ISIS – as is Iran. Russia and Turkey are listed, too, as friends of the Qataris; both oppose Saudi hegemony in the region, and both are actively engaged in the US-led programme to eliminate ISIS while supporting or opposing other militias and the Free Syrian Army, that are also fighting ISIS; but which, beyond the fight against ISIS, are deeply distrustful of, and possibly even fighting against, one another.

In the view of The Pumpkin, this is not a situation in which the West should be involved.

Israel is – well, Israel, and Iran is a Shia theocracy, sworn enemy of both the Israelis and the Sunni Arab tribes. The idea of any Arab state suddenly deciding to support both its sworn enemies in the region against its friends is unusual, to say the least. However, it is Qatar’s perceived support for the universally hated Muslim Brotherhood, as purportedly expressed through Quatar’s global TV news operation, Al-Jazeera, that is uniting the Gulf states against them.

Seizing the moment, Trump has blundered along with the narrative and has been tweeting furiously against the Qataris, calling them terrorism funders, taking boastful credit for the new hardline stance by ‘the leaders’ of the Arab world against the progressive, pro-Western Emir and proclaiming fatuously that his speech in Riyadh was ‘the beginning of the end of terrorism’ – despite, as The Guardian describes it (6 June):

“While in Riyadh, Trump met regional leaders, including the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He said the US and Qatar had been “friends for a long time” and that the two leaders discussed the Qatari purchase of “lots of beautiful military equipment.”

Now he has performed a 180 degree flip, clearly in the hope of boosting his flagging ratings, or because he forgot, claiming personal kudos for another diplomatic disaster – yet (again) completely undermining his own credibility at the same time.

And he doesn’t get it. His vanity is blinding.

Far from being ‘the beginning of the end of terrorism, Trump’s speech was the starting-gun for Saudi Arabia to flex its muscles in the region, relying on a mountain of ‘beautiful military equipment’ to be supplied by the US arms industry.

Of course the oppressive Saudis are happy to blame little Qatar for all the terrorism, diverting attention from their own monstrous regime. And Qatar’s perceived attempts to mediate with Iran are a perfect excuse to substitute a little terror for all-out war.

Which is all deeply embarrassing to the US military, on the brink of the final ‘push’ against IS in Raqqa. For Qatar hosts the giant al-Udeid airbase, the most important facility in the allied airforces’ Syrian war armoury: and it appears President Trump has forgotten, or maybe never knew, the strategic necessity not to upset the Qataris just yet if he wants to impose the final solution on IS.

White House officials rehearse for Mr Trump’s forthcoming visit to Israel.

So, the Pentagon and White House ‘officials’ (whoever they now are, most have quit or are in hiding or, like Secretary Tillexxon, in constant movement around the globe to avoid encountering his abusive boss) are once again scurrying to distance the administration from deranged tweets fired off like cruise missiles from the iPhone of the lunatic upstairs.

Thus far the Arab states have withdrawn their ambassadors, imposed a blockade on food and other imports coming in over the border and closed most airspace around the small but wealthy city-state on the Gulf, a major oil and gas exporter. It’s pretty serious – about as serious as it gets without a fullscale war breaking out, that could draw in Qatar allies like Turkey, whose troops are already on the way.

But given the tribal and religious dimension, an alliance between Qatar – which has hotly denied the links with terrorism – Israel and Iran seems highly unlikely. While the major exporter of Wahabbist terrorism around the world is, of course, Saudi Arabia. So what could be the reason for the flare-up?

When you go on websites to try to find out what’s afoot in the region, one little word keeps popping up, that may well prove the eventual connection with all this:

Gas.

Qatar shares an enormous gas field with Iran. And we know the Russians are trying to limit output from the gas-rich Middle East to maintain a higher price for their own gas exports, hoping to maintain a strategic advantage over Ukraine and EU consumers and a possible stranglehold in time of conflict.

Similar shenanigans seem to be going on in the Eastern Mediterranean, where various companies including the US-based Noble Energy, a Trump-connected operation, are vying to pipe gas from Israel’s offshore fields under the sea, bypassing Syria and through Turkey, but are being blocked by an Israeli court.

Is part of the Russian rationale for its presence in Syria to prevent that?

Well, CNN has been reporting today that a Russian hack was probably responsible for starting the rumours about Qatari moves to reconcile, both with Iran and Israel.

“US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation. The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/06/politics/russian-hackers-planted-fake-news-qatar-crisis/index.html

Thus far The Pumpkin has not been able to confirm what that ‘fake news’ story was.

And today there have been two terrorism-related incidents in the Iranian capital: a shootout at the Parliament building and a suicide bombing at the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the revolution, with seventeen now dead. ISIS has claimed it, but the Iranian military is pointing the finger at the Saudis, who threatened them with just such an attack a month ago. Ooops. And in response, in a sinister and vaguely repulsive tweet the White House is blaming Iran as a ‘sponsor of terrorism’ for the attack on its own soil, at one of its most sacred shrines. Ooops.

Something is on the move, guys. Tectonic plates shifting. But what this whole murky affair reinforces is The Pumpkin’s thesis that Western nations are totally out of their depth in the labyrinthine religious, tribal and political twists and turns, the power-plays of this intensely fractured region.

Get the hell out, is our advice. We should surely have learned our lesson after 800 years of this.

But the arms industry won’t let you.

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I’d like you all now to watch this interview and you will learn how Trump is drawing us into war:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh16ZF1eWbc

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While we’re linking to interesting and educational stuff, here’s a cogent demolition of our own depressing relationship with Saudi Arabia:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/06/theresa-may-wants-to-talk-about-extremism-lets-start-with-our-ties-with-the-saudis

(Kindly note: Some of our links may no longer be live, if they ever were. Cut-and-paste, me hearties! Cut-and-paste.)

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Live by the Saud, die by the Saud

In case you don’t get the point about Sunnis and Shia, the following report from Press TV news might help:

“International rights groups say Saudi Arabia plans to execute 14 Shia civilians following a “grossly unfair trial” over political protests.

“The rise in death sentences against Saudi Arabian Shia is alarming and suggests that the authorities are using the death penalty to settle scores and crush dissent under the guise of combating ‘terrorism’ and maintaining national security,” said Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson on Tuesday.

“Saudi Arabia carried out 153 executions across the kingdom last year….. Saudi officials execute convicts by sword and then dangle their corpses from a helicopter to make sure the public can see the result of the execution. According to Amnesty, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world.”

Indeed. Higher than Arkansas. Higher even, probably, than ISIS.

 

And when I blow like this, bubbles come out. It’s so great.

When once we practise to deceive

With the election ‘n all, if you’ve not been glued to US cable TV news you might have missed the story.

In 2015, Candidate Trump leapt to the forefront of the so-called ‘birther’ campaign against President Obama, claiming his agents had uncovered earth-shaking evidence that 44’s birth certificate was indeed a forgery. Black Satan had in documented fact been born in Kenya, not as claimed in Hawaii, and was therefore not entitled by birth to be the President.

(The story gained further credibility when the original Hawaii births registrar lady died in a light plane crash.)

After a while some suspicion fell on this theory, as Mr Trump seemed almost as unwilling or unable to actually produce the goods on Obama’s origins as he has been over his tax returns. Nevertheless the story gained traction and was widely believed by the dumbfucks who support Trump come hell or high water.

An interview has however resurfaced from last year, in which Jared Kushner, Trump’s plastic toy son-in-law and now chastened former senior White House advisor and property billionaire debtor, battered and deep-fried in the FBI’s investigations into the Russia links, admitted that it was all made up; Orange Dad had not believed for one moment that Obama was not an American citizen.

He had, said Kushner in so many words (I try to forget the exact quote), explained that: ‘Republicans are so dumb they’ll believe anything’.

And they said Mr Trump was a refreshing change from real politicians.

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 19: ‘Slumdog Billionaires’; The Only Way Is Ethics.

 

“For some reason I don’t seem able to breathe?”

I’m sorry, but your President is a racist hypocrite

A few days ago, two American men, one an army veteran, who stepped in to try to stop a white supremacist dogturd yelling abuse on a Portland, Oregon train while waving a knife at two terrified young muslim girls, were stabbed to death.

In the dock the gross-looking, unrepentant, arrogant little piece of trailer-trash shouted Trump-like slogans about ‘America First!’ – apparently unaware of the fact that he’d just butchered two fellow white Americans.

‘America First!’ is of course the English for ‘Allahu akbar!’

From the White House there was only silence until, three days later, in face of a growing public campaign to get the President to at least say something appropriately condemnatory, if only to express some sympathy with the dead men’s families, the orange fatarse tweeted that the killings were ‘unacceptable’.

While his official Twitter feed, that he doesn’t write, grudgingly admitted that ‘the victims were standing up to hate and intolerance’, the following day the President of the United States of America posted this on his personal feed:

“The Fake News Media works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don’t want America to hear the real story!”

This is an intolerable situation for any American, to have elected as President a self-serving Philistine with arrested development and zero affect, a grossly spoiled, solipsistic child-man who is more concerned about his personal fucking reputation than about the lives of the more decent of his citizens, or even the fate of his country, now branded around the world thanks to him as a pariah state.

As if to rub in the point, within minutes of the latest outrage in London, in which eight bystanders and three perpetrators were killed on Saturday night, and many more injured, in a car-and-knife rampage on London Bridge, this treacherous racist pig was on the phone to Prime Minister May, hypocritically offering any help and support the US could give.

He knows, we feel certain, that it was British intelligence that alerted the National Security Administration in 2015 to the suspicious activities of his wrecking-crew on the campaign staff and their many contacts with Russian spies and money-laundering oligarchs. We feel sure therefore that the phone call was intended merely to suggest that we could still be friends, despite the scornful attitude of the EU and the rest of the world.

To add insult to injury – this outrage on our streets is none of his fucking business but he seems determined to make political capital – he has since launched an astonishing attack on the muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The Guardian reports:

“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack,” the president wrote on his personal Twitter account, “and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!”

“The mayor, Sadiq Khan, did not use the phrase “no reason to be alarmed” in a statement overnight or when he spoke in a television interview earlier on Sunday.” – The Guardian

So, more shameless inventions squirting from the President’s lying Twitter feed. When will he be imprisoned? He would be an embarrassment if he weren’t so incredibly unpleasant.

What Khan actually said was:

“This was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night,” he said. “I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.” (Ibid.)

No longer trusted by the European allies, like the school bully toadying up to any kid who isn’t already his victim, desperate for validation, America and Brexiting Britain now need one another more than ever.

For Trump, those two American heroes were just a pair of losers. As far as he is concerned the only evil terrorism is Islamic evil terrorism, which he proposes to continue bombing into submission, at whatever cost to the rest of us, because he sucked up the Bush line about the ‘war on terror’ and he liked the sound of that.

He will make what propaganda he will out of terrorist attacks abroad – Islamic resistance that his own foreign policy is clearly exacerbating – while remaining sanguine about the vile tide of white racism he has unleashed in America.

That pleases his loyal band of dumbfucks, who are just now waking up to the news that he’s put their taxes up and slashed their healthcare to enrich his billionaire friends and funders, and swamped his administration with Wall Street insiders and fossil lobbyists; but who don’t seem to mind.

We are reminded that two weeks from today will mark the anniversary of the horrific murder on a Yorkshire street of the rights campaigner and pro-Remain MP, mother-of-two Jo Cox by Thomas Mair, a deluded ‘Britain First!’ loner with ties to a neo-Nazi group in South Africa.

A murder celebrated at the time on ‘social’ media by many of Donald J Trump’s extremist supporters with howls of delight.

Evil. Sick. Demented slime-dwelling creatures with a grossly overinflated sense of their importance, granted to them by the capitalist illusion of unregulated ‘social media’.

Unacceptable.

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Slumdog Billionaires

Amid the global contumely and condemnation both abroad and at home of Mister Trump’s singular repudiation (against the best advice available) of the Paris accord, as now doth America, so stands he sadly alone.

And that’s just where he seems happiest, bathed in the refulgence of his own self-pitying solipsism.

Poor Donny, nobody loves you now.

Except he’s not really alone, despite not being able to recruit staff to replace the ones he’s already fired because he doesn’t trust them. I mean, would you?

For Steve Bannon is back in the shadows, having thrown Mister Trump’s politically inexperienced son-in-law, plastic boy Mister Kushner, 36, a successful millionaire property developer (as the supine and compliant wankers at BBC News keep calling the billion-dollar bankrupt), under the giant crunching wheels of the FBI juggernaut last week with a well-aimed leak to the New York Times about his undeclared meetings with Russian officials.

We could possibly swallow the line about opening a back-channel to Moscow, were it not for two clues that it might not be true.

One, he lied about it; or rather, failed on oath to tell the truth. Why? If opening back-channels with known spies when front-channels aren’t working is a good thing for foreign relations, why not say so? But why not wait until Trump was inaugurated before playing footsie with the enemy? And why did other members of the transition teams – Flynn, Sessions, lie more than once about their meetings with Russians?

And two, what on earth was Kushner then doing, having meetings with Sergei Gorkov – the head of VneshEconomBank, or VEB, a Putin crony heading a known FSB intelligence service slush-fund operation, who has no diplomatic credentials whatever?

Add to that, Kushner was not an accredited government official with a security clearance at the time of the meetings, and was thus not legally in a position to hold unofficial meetings with Russian diplomats. It’s illegal under the Logan Act for an ordinary citizen to treat with a foreign power; which possibly explains why he wouldn’t own up to it as it made him an unregistered foreign agent.

Just as had been General Flynn, now thought to be pouring what remains of his heart out to the FBI; Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, all under the spotlight now but all sometime Trump appointees to the campaign team. Not to mention poor Nigel Farage, whose overweening vanity appears to have landed him in the compromising rats’ nest of slumdog billionaires surrounding Orange Satan.

Let’s be charitable. Let’s say, Mister Trump was innocently ‘cucked’ by a conspiracy of Russian agents. His known past associations with New York and Russian mafia figures seem to have been based merely on a mission to do business and to win, whatever it takes; rather than on any desire to personally run drugs or pimp trafficked women. In the mafia, loyalty to the family is everything. Trump is loyal to no-one but his great big beautiful self.

Nevertheless he seems to have a history of courting shady characters while assiduously avoiding criminal proceedings. He perhaps sees criminal types usefully as ‘winners’ rather than ‘losers’, because they have money to flash around and a total disregard for the norms and conventions of society, which he sees as a conspiracy of the losers.

It’s possible, is it not, that he was willing to work with, to turn a blind eye to, a nasty little cabal of traitors, sanctions-busters, money-launderers, PR sloths and verminous oil-industry lowlifes willing to go-between where you and I wouldn’t, because he saw only the advantages for his campaign of playing dirty.

The downside – life imprisonment for treason, possibly – never crossed his greedy old mind, other than as a Freudian transference of his own culpability onto his political opponent, ‘Crooked Hillary’.

It’s an old mind that appears to be failing, to judge by some of his TV appearances. I especially recommend the one where, in the middle of a meeting with Kushner’s mentor, Israeli hardman Binyamin Netanyahu, the Donald just stands up looking confused, brushes away a handshake opportunity and stumbles off the stage as if he has no idea where he is, leaving Bibi clearly puzzled and annoyed. It’s not the first time he has gone wandering off like that.

But his spoiled infantilism, his apparent auto-immunity from responsibility, his notorious Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder that means briefings have to be presented to him in short comic-strip form, the overbearing narcissism that means to retain his interest those briefings have to include frequent mentions (in a positive light) of his own name, praising him for his wisdom and maturity; those abusive meltdowns when he feels he is the only person he can trust to do things properly, or when he’s no longer the centre of attention – Entrepreneur Syndrome – a burning desire to please his authoritarian father – those are the attributes that leave him intensely vulnerable to the Iago of the Oval Office, Stephen K Bannon.

The Pumpkin feels that Trump – sorry, Mister Trump – is in fact in the grip of two separate but conjoined conspiracies; we have previously shown they are linked by money and religion. There is the Russia thing, where it still has not been shown that he is not financially compromised by private bankers, as many people seem to suspect, or worse; and then there is the alt-right nationalist, fundamentalist Christian Breitbart News connection, fronted by Bannon and backed by the Mercers, Robert and daughter Rebekah.

Did Mercer weaponize the Russian-hacked Hillary intel through his Cambridge Analytica company to fix the election of his boy Donald? Just askin’.

Anyway, so, whatever, back to Kushner – sorry, Mister Kushner – and his dealings with the Russians. You see, lots of cable TV news anchors are putting two and two together, and leaping to the unlikely conclusion that the meetings with Ambassador Kislyak were to get a deal whereby Orange Dad would lift Obama’s sanctions and restore the two Russian embassy ‘holiday compounds’ in New York State and Maryland that Obama shut down because of the Trump campaign’s close Russia connections, to which he had been alerted by foreign intelligence services in 2015.

Was that in exchange for a bailout from the VEB’s Gorkov to cover the Kush’s huge losses in the property market? Essentially putting the son-who-also-rises in the same bad applecart as Orange Dad? As in “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” – Eric (Little Nazi) Trump.

It is obviously much too fanciful to speculate that the whole thing might have been Vladimir’s idea. ‘Don’t worry about the $1 billion Steve Bannon accidentally told the Fake News press via his back-channels that you owe twenty banks, plastic tovarich, don’t bother getting it from Soros, he’s not happy with you anymore. We’ll consolidate the loan in exchange for a few simple concessions, like you let us have the cozy rats’ nests back that the nasty black man took away; and if you take off those silly financial sanctions too we’ll let Tex Tillexxon drill the fuck out of the Arctic, now you’ve melted it for us.

How’s that for improving relations?

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The only way isn’t Ethics

Yes, sorry.

While all this may or may not have been deniably going on, Mr Trump back from holiday abusing the EU and NATO ‘allies’ has rediscovered what his right hand is for and signed into Executive purgatory pending congressional rubber-stamping a number of useful new measures we in Britain probably aren’t going to hear about on the credulous BBC news, courtesy of our man in Washington, John Sopoor.

For instance, Congress purportedly has oversight of what used to be known as ‘ethics’ in government. You know, anti-corruption, influence peddling, nepotism, illegal acceptance of foreign emoluments, peddling of US immigration visas, obstruction of justice sort of things.

Among the latest edicts to emanate from the Oval Office has been the suspension of ethical oversight for President Bannon and 16 other members of the cabinet.

All these Trumpointees were in the anomalous position of having worked until recently as paid lobbyists, or as persons with clear conflicts of interest, having previously worked in private-sector companies and now finding themselves in positions of authority over branches of the government responsible for matters pertaining to their previous employments, as it were.

Those conflicts of interest were just about mitigated by a two-year separation rule. Now, the New Swamp has been granted immunity from ethical oversight, to enable them to more quickly and efficiently carry out their mission of destroying the administration and unpicking the regulatory environment, especially where good governance conflicts with the interests of their billionaire backers.

It’s all more businesslike, you see.

And as we recall, Mr Trump has never quite understood the role of an Opposition party in the two houses of Congress. Obama was a Democratic Party choice, so obviously the President hates Democrats, especially more popular ones; as they don’t have a majority in either house, which makes them poor losers.

But when it came to getting things like the wonderful healthcare bill through, the Democrats were just a complete nuisance, weren’t they, opposing everything he is trying to do to make America great again?

Donny’s not sure he can abolish Democrats entirely, but he can make certain of one thing. They won’t be interfering in this tiresome, Fake News thing about Russia and the FBI. Why, he’s never had any dealings with Russia, except the ones he has had.

His latest diktat therefore seeks to prevent any Democratic party politicians, such as the Ranking member, Senator Warner of the Intelligence committee, that is due to hear more possibly damning testimony from that bastard Comey on Monday, from requesting information from the FBI without first getting permission from the Republican chair of the committee, Senator Burr.

Because he doesn’t have power to order the Democrats around, he’s using his position as Chief Executive and therefore head of the security services (bypassing General Kelly, the head of Homeland Security) to tell the FBI instead that they are under no circumstances to co-operate with Democratic representatives and senators investigating his connections with Russian intelligence, unless authorised so to do, effectively by him.

To what lengths, one wonders, does Trump have to go in the obstruction of justice to earn himself an indictment on grounds of a federal crime? Well, it seems his new Italian lawyer buddy has told him, the Prez is immune to prosecution for pretty much anything unless and until he’s been impeached and removed from office for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’.

Anyway, it’s now being reported that he is weighing-up with his lawyers the possibility of using executive privilege to prevent Comey from testifying. How incriminating would that be? In the words of the repellent former Exxon contractor and current Trump energy adviser Myron Ebell, on hearing of opposition to the withdrawal from the Paris accord, ‘Who cares?’

So he seems like Nixon to be at liberty for now to go on trying to impede or make go away the many lines of investigation into himself and his cronies; but he is surely stacking up a mountain of trouble if the House Republicans eventually understand they’re going to be the biggest losers in history in 2018 if they don’t Dump Trump and find someone more capable and less disaster-prone – although for the GOP that’s going to be a stretch.

They’re almost all straw men, fossil-fuel shills and fundamentalist cretins who couldn’t find anybody better than the ineffective and appalling Trump the last time. Ted Cruz? Rick Santmoron? Mike Pence? Please God, not the spaniel-eyed nodding-dog Paul Ryan? while no-one in their right mind would want to follow Trump into the White House, with all the media attention and odious comparisons that would create; and with Trump’s paludine appointees still in place.

No, the genie is out of the bottle, the evils out of Pandora’s box, the system broken. President of the United States is just not a viable employment any longer for any normal, sane human being, which is why you have Trump now. Get rid of him, and get rid of the office. You don’t need ’em.

Free yourselves from institutionalized tyranny, is our advice.

Postscriptum

The Pumpkin has just been watching Mike Nichols’ clever movie of Joseph Heller’s bleakly comic novel, Catch 22, again.

He’d forgotten how like the young Donald Trump is the character of Milo Minderbinder, the heartless entrepreneur who swaps the aircrews’ parachutes for a consignment of cotton-wool balls he coats in chocolate to sell as cakes. Later on, he persuades another US squadron to bomb his own base so he can collect the insurance on the cotton-wool balls he can’t shift.

Of course, such things could never happen in real life.

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I love Paris in the Springfall

“…the target for restricting warming to 1.5 degrees C is already tragically out of date.”

The Pumpkin went slightly overboard on Wednesday night, trolling several Trump supporters in base language over the Paris thing. He blames an incipient 24-hour virus and a bottle of inexpensive Merlot.

In fact it seems unlikely that serious environmental damage will be done as a direct result of abrogating the treaty. It’s more a matter of the global shame and embarrassment most Americans were feeling the next day, the loss of leadership, knowing that everyone now thinks they’re a bunch of uneducated, small-minded ecocidal maniacs who want to withdraw from the world behind a big wall and overthrow the postwar applecart, playing right into Mister Putin’s relatively large hands for such a small man.

There are two reasons why abandoning the accord will make little difference.

One is that the target for restricting warming to 1.5 degrees C is already tragically out of date. The Paris accord is a feelgood declaration, something for the nations of the world (except only Syria, Nicaragua and the USA) to come together over, but it’s far too little and too late to stop a life-denying six degree rise occurring before 2030.

But the second is more encouraging. Many US State governors and big-city mayors have come out in force to tell the deluded President he’s wrong and they’re going to go on aiming for carbon reductions whatever Bannon, the religiose fuckwits and fossil-fuel shills in the White House and in Congress are saying, and have recommitted to the Clean Energy policy of the Obama administration, which was actually working.

After all, they’re the ones who are having to mop up the floods and beat out the wildfires, find the water for agriculture, hold back the sea and reconstruct the tornado-smashed suburbs and trailer parks, that are costing the nation $billions.

And they’re being supported from the most unlikely quarters; apart from the filthy, rich Koch Brothers, the creepy uncles you wouldn’t want at your wedding, almost every energy corporate CEO and tech billionaire has come out of the bunker to tell the President he’s wrong about controlling emissions; that renewables are a business opportunity, not a threat; that there are five times more jobs in solar than in coal. (You have to admire their principles.)

That’s likely to make him even madder and more isolated, but even so.

Anyway,he’s not listening.

The Pumpkin is also feeling very positive about President Macron of France. So far he appears not to have put a foot wrong, apart from one of his ministerial appointees being hauled out of the Quai d’Orsée and charged with tax fraud. Can happen to anyone – and frequently does nowadays. He’s got a crushing handshake one has to admire.

In fact The Pumpkin is thinking positively again about moving to France, if possible, now the threat of Marine le Pen has temporarily receded, to get away from Theresa May – although Corbyn’s poll ratings have been dramatically narrowing since he bought a suit, so it might be worth hanging on.

And a brilliant speech from Macron, a blast against the Monstrous Trump: ‘make the world great again’ – in English, too. Classic. And he’s told Putin where to get off. Formidable!

It’s also a very good sign, we feel, that the governing Fine Gael party in Ireland has chosen by a big majority, as its new leader and Prime Minister, or Taoiseach, a second-generation Indian immigrant doctor who came out as gay in 2015.

That, and gay marriage too? Ah, da toimes, dey are a’changin’. It certainly spells the end of the shameful history of domination by the Catholic church in Ireland.

Excuse the poor attempt at a Dublin accent.

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Death: the art of the deal

BTW, where does Britain stand as a major exporter of probably illegal arms to war-criminal Saudi Arabia, now that Mister Trump has bought the shop?

His $300 billion deal ought to cover most of their child-killing needs for the foreseeable future, closing-out BAe as a key supplier. So much for Mrs May’s supine adherence to the postwar protocol that Britain supports the USA in any of its adventures, advisable or otherwise (except Harold Wilson, who courageously kept us out of the Vietnam war – thus sparing my life. Ed.)

And as usnews.com reported: “A new administration and a new arms deal in the Middle East sends shares of defense contractors soaring.”

It seems no amount of bribery makes one immune to a bigger deal.

Kushner was impressively able right there in Riyadh to persuade the CEO of Lockheed-Martin to lower the price of some high-tech arsenal of death or other with a single phone call to clinch the bargain.

God knows what that’s cost the American taxpayer: while Mrs Kushner was no doubt delighted to accept a $100 million ‘donation’ from the shameless Saudis on behalf of a private charity she runs, promoting – all together now – women’s rights. (She has of course recused herself from benefiting personally, under the Foreign Emoluments clause, while in office.)

Women’s rights. From the Saudis!

Women’s rights.