The Pumpkin – Issue (where are we – 18?): The Sabotage Diaries; “What Is Wrong With You?”; Did you hear the one about the ISIS asset?

Editor’s note: apologies for the delay in getting this issue down – I’ve been busy and then I got an abscess and off my face on painkillers. Still not too coherent, I fear, trifle wobbly, but we can’t let the fan down. Bear with.

 

Special “What is wrong with you?” Issue

You let Hillary lose? You’re FIRED!

The Sabotage Diaries

By Skellytanne Conwoman ©2017 #desperationrow

Can no end be put to the relentless sabotage of Mr Trump’s inspirational and well-run American government for all the people?

It seems a piece of non-copyright music was added to the soundtrack of a wonderful video Mr Trump has tweeted-out to his millions of adoring followers around the world, explaining his entirely logical reasons for firing the head of the FBI, the showboating, disloyal little garbage-snooper, James Comey.

We don’t know who decided to use the stirring theme, or why. Astute Twitterates have tracked the music to a library, from where the following description is available:

“… “News Anchor” …  Powerhouse news theme with a classic network vibe. Designed for news broadcasting, newscast, breaking news, special news reports, financial reports, Wall Street, election returns, corporate branding, trade shows and infomercials. Instrumental, News, News Openings”

Notice, there is no mention of the Fake News that so stains the reputation of our treacherous media, enemies of the glorious people. But ‘election returns’? Surely, they taketh the pee-pee? The vile baboons who added this snatch of subversive, disloyal muzak to the video while totally lacking a sense of irony must be found and fired.

The Pumpkin is not a member of Twitter and cannot find the video, in which – ABC News says – Mr Trump has personally recruited a montage of leading Democrats being rude about Mr Comey at the time the FBI chief treacherously swung the Presidential election against Mrs Clinton who, as you recall, was a notorious criminal user of a private Internet server not unlike Mr Trump’s own private internet servers that are not, I repeat NOT, in constant communication with Russi… sorry, start again.

Of course it is outrageous that Mrs Clinton should have won the pop… sorry, sorry. I just can’t seem to avoid not lying about this… despite Mr Comey’s best/worst efforts (delete according to how much sleep the old bastard had last night and whether he’s taken his meds today – xxxSpicey, Lt, USN res. c/o USS Carl Vinson, somewhere). And she really wasn’t elected, honest.

Nevertheless the President has been seething for months about the FBI meddling in his international relations, as that surely ought to be the job of the CIA, and detests Mr Comey for being six inches taller (probably better endowed) and disloyally refusing to tell the White House first, unlike the new Director of the FBI, Mr McCabe, what he plans to say about his investigations about the White House to the Senate committee.

PS I see Flynn has been subpoena’d by those devious shits in Congress. What next, Special Prosecutor? Impeachment? Ha ha, don’t-think-so face!!!

(Remind self – get back on the media, tell them they’re never again to criticise any decisions of our glorious leader, refulgent in his golden aura. Etc – make it up as you go. Keep ’em confused! Hail Trump. K-A C.)

Postscriptum

Mr Reince Priebus (what is that, white South African? I think we should see his birth certificate) the White House Chief-of-Staff, has let it be known that if this sort of thing carries on the President intends to repeal the First Amendment to the Constitution, that he regards as a traitor’s charter for all that boloney about free speech and not making Betsy DeVos’ Bible Trutherism the State religion.

Oh, and also the bit about Americans’ right to protest against and even remove lying, overbearing, biddable, corrupt and incompetent, pouting monsters in the White House if they don’t care to be governed by that sort, he especially doesn’t get that part.

HAS ANYONE SEEN THIS MAN LATELY?

$1bn REWARD, KILL OR CAPTURE . LAST SEEN PENNSYLVANIA AVE. DISTRICT, FRIDAY 5th MARCH.

WARNING: DO NOT APPROACH. MAY OFFER DANGEROUS OPINIONS FOR MONEY.

IF SEEN CONTACT THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVICE SQUAD ON 0101 911911

In a daze

I’ve been in a daze since 3 a.m. Monday with a worrying abscess on one of the three remaining teeth to which my astonishing piece of bridge engineering, my entire smile is anchored.

It flared up either luckily or as a direct consequence only after my final appearance on stage Sunday night in our production of The Merchant of Venice. Some people have linked the two events, while I confess that having as yet no toothache, yet I had been unusually grumpy on Sunday afternoon, even for me.

The younger members of the cast I find particularly annoying as they’re either messing about, dancing around and chatting loudly, making too much noise backstage despite endless warnings from the director; or they’re coming offstage and straight on to their bloody mobile devices.

How the hell do you perform to your best level if you can’t concentrate on what you’re supposed to be doing for more than a nanosecond at a time? Those phones and tablets and even notebooks are a beastly distraction and yet, despite the entire history and culture of the human race being contained therein, no-one under 50 seems to know anything about anything anymore, being endlessly fascinated merely to gaze into the digital mirror.

Grrrr! (gnashing of elderly gums).

Looking up the range of side-effects of paracetamol, I can safely say I’ve had them all this week, only not yet death. Two 500mg caplets are supposed to give four hours’ relief, I was getting about 20 minutes. It became impossible to observe a four-hour gap between doses. I started to fly, my heart racing, saliva tasting – pee smelling – of paracetamol; chest pains, stomach pains, kidney pains, joint pains – rumblings and gurglings, headaches, tinnitus, shortness of breath and more.

The chemist pointed out that I could safely mix Ibuprofen between doses of paracetamol, so I started doing that. Then, one of those awful coincidences, in the supermarket I passed a newspaper stall and one of the tabloids was carrying a headline story: Ibuprofen doubles your risk of a heart attack.

I’m now on antibiotics and slowly coming down – as is my face, which yesterday swelled up like… a Pumpkin?, my top lip dragging downwards like a stroke victim’s, huge swellings on my gums, my left eye half-closed, my speech slurred like a drunk’s. At least the poison spreading from the root of my eye-tooth in finding an escape route through my sinuses had relieved the pressure on the nerve and, though tender, my top teeth were no longer firing darts of pain throughout my face, spreading through my body and keeping me awake in the throbbing small hours.

Anyway, I’ve been living on mush; soup, mashed potato, crême brulée. Anything that didn’t require teeth to eat. And, of course, no alcohol. 24 hours after my last fistfull of paracetamol I essayed an uncharacteristically small glass of Semillon-Chardonnay last night and slept until nearly 11 this morning. I forget what I was dreaming about, it seemed to go on for ages.

Which is all by way of saying two things:

  • First, I’ve been too mentally bewildered to write coherently about the latest, most amazing goings-on in Trumptown.
  • And secondly, even now I’m not sure I can keep up any longer, since every hour brings startling new revelations and reports of portentous signs in the sky. (I also find I am running out of pejoratives, can anyone help me there?)

Attorney-General Jeff Sessions ‘was present at the meeting’.

For instance, Mr Trump sent his notorious letter firing FBI Director James Comey, that he said was based on info given to him by Deputy Attorney-General ‘Rod’ Rosenstein, whereupon he had no option but to act urgently, but which it later transpired he had ordered Rosenstein to write in order to ‘cover’ his firing of Comey and the fact his supposedly ‘recused’ Attorney-General was present at the meeting which touched on the very matter, the Russia enquiry, he had recused himself from.

No sooner had Trump inserted another brazen lie, that Comey had assured him, like St Peter, ‘three times’ he was not personally under investigation, than MSNBC was reporting that the acting director of the FBI, the former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a 20-year man with a permanently worried expression, may have attempted to sabotage the investigation into General Flynn’s highly lucrative contacts with the Russians or otherwise broken ‘house rules’ by disclosing information about it to the White House.

In other words, he is not:

New FBI Acting Director McCabe Considered a Respected, Bureau Man

…as reported by MSNBC’s mainstream parent company NBC News, but is now – only one day later – said to have pedalled round to the White House on 14 February, two days after Gen. Flynn was resigned, in order to brief the President on the state of the investigations into Flynn (that may go on to compromise the President), and to reassure Chief of Staff Priebus that a report in the New York Times the previous day stating that the FBI was investigating ‘a number of’ Trump campaign staffers was ‘bullshit’.

Only it wasn’t. Numerous sources including British, French and Dutch intelligence, it’s now known, had been warning the National Security Administration of serious, repeated and ongoing contacts between members of the Trump team and Russian intelligence, since 2015. In the frame were Flynn, the reptilian ‘fixer’ Roger Stone, Carter Page (a minor go-between and energy ‘consultant’) and former campaign director, Paul Manafort – fired in July 2016, probably the first of Trump’s ‘bodies on the floor’: bodies connected with or looking too closely into the connections with Russia, Ukraine and the online sabotage of the election.

We know this, because NSA chief James Clapper told the Senate hearing so, two days ago. That’s the hearing at which Sally Yates, the former Acting Attorney General fired by Trump because she twice warned the White House legal advisor about Flynn, was finally able to confirm that Flynn, Trump’s ‘National Security Advisor’ – a man Trump tried for weeks to protect before ‘resigning’ him on a feeble pretext – a man who had previously been fired as unsound by President Obama – was possibly embedded with Russian intelligence.

The Pumpkin and a’ would like to know what Trump knew about Flynn while Flynn was merrily chanting ‘Lock her up! and encouraging the dumbfucks to revolt against the Obama regime, that had fired him. Was Flynn acting on his own, for his own PR company – or as a high-level go-between for Trump Campaign with the Kremlin? Or for Trump himself?

We now know, of course, that Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian ‘diplomats’ in December 2015, a move curiously not resisted by the Kremlin after Trump condemned the move, was not because of the GRU’s hacking of the Clinton and Weiner emails, as the White House explained – but because of the ongoing direct contacts between Trump’s transition team, including Flynn, and Russian intelligence. Did Trump tip Putin the wink, that it was okay, he would put everything back again once in office?

And what did Flynn’s PR efforts have to do with lurid tales of a plot to kidnap and render Dr Fetullah Gulen, Erdogan’s nemesis, to Turkey. Was luring former CIA Director James Woolsey to that meeting just a way of ‘confirming’ a false-flag decoy operation? Was Flynn really working for Noble Energy to get an undersea pipeline built to sell Israeli gas to Turkey?

And why is almost everyone in this story called James? We should be told.

With the cadavers mounting up in the closets of the Oval Office, anyone with information possibly leading to his impeachment for treason, it surely has to be clear even to what Lord Chief Justice Denning famously termed ‘The Man on the Clapham Omnibus’, the definition of any reasonable juror, that Trump is in a state of blind panic and desperately manufacturing any nonsense to try to push the FBI and Senate investigations away from himself.

Careless talk costs lives

He seems too, to be rapidly losing support. He’s reported to have screamed abuse the other day at the reliable Gen. McMaster; while no-one has heard the name Steve Bannon mentioned for at least a week. And Priebus has apparently had to order staff to stop slipping fake reports to the President as he reacts instinctively to tweet out about everything that comes across his desk; a number of people have lost their jobs as a result of internal plotting.

Indeed, the Pumpkin might travel a stop beyond Clapham to ask whether the Trumpkin might not have had the chief reason in pursuing the presidency he’s never really wanted and is scarily bad at, being to obtain the one position in the USA where he might be immune from criminal prosecution?

The Pumpkin gathers too that Trump has hired a firm of rottweiler Washington lawyers to go after the press and anybody else who doesn’t think he is wholly innocent of what he has already admitted, that he has had dealings with Russia, maybe not ‘in’ Russia as he says, that may have seriously compromised his position.

Yet he continues to incriminate himself. In an embarrassing interview with NBC he prevaricated over which of two accounts he should give, saying both that Comey had requested a private dinner-meeting in January to discuss the Russia investigation AND that he, Trump, had requested the dinner. He has since also denied Comey’s memorandum of the meeting, saying he never asked Comey to declare his personal loyalty – a promise Comey as Director of an internal security agency with powers of law enforcement would obviously have had a problem giving, especially to the prime suspect.

Nor, one hopes, did he actually ask Comey about the possibility of locking up journalists guilty of writing unfavourable ‘fake news’ about him. Only Comey apparently thinks he seriously did.

And today Trump has invited to the Oval Office, Russian ambassador Kisliak and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. Right at the height of the fevered speculation of the world’s press as to his possibly compromised relations with Russia – or indeed about his fetish for pee-pee (if you think all this is planned policy for ‘improving relations’ with Russia and a Good Thing, get a brain).

Not to the State Department, as would be the normal protocol, but to the heart of the administration which Director Comey was beginning to prove they paid for. Is the President in their pocket, or just unbelievably stupid and reckless? And why was Lavrov there, what was the point of his visit?

But of course, Lavrov was going to be sent over to check on how much trouble Trump is really in. And Trump has already let slip that the meeting was arranged at the personal request of… Vladimir Putin, and that he ‘could not refuse’ it.

What, no horse’s head?

And the only media allowed in was the Man from Tass, following which Trump protested like a complete booby that he had been ‘tricked’ by Russians-who-lie into thinking this was Lavrov’s ‘personal photographer’. In fact The Pumpkin is not even certain if the Secretary of State, Rex Tillexxon was invited along, let alone the nurse who administers President Trump’s reality medication.

Yes, he actually invited an unknown Russian from a Kremlin-owned news agency with a camera and no security clearance into the Oval Office, along with the local chief spy and his Moscow handler.

And then boasted about his wonderful connections with Israeli intelligence, look, they’ve even got a guy inside ISIS who told us about the thing with the laptops you already knew about….

So dumb.

Donald, we all know you inhaled. It doesn’t matter, sweetie. Just come out with your hands up.

x

Four

For many months now Trump has been swearing and protesting loudly that he has and had no financial or business connections whatever ‘in’ Russia. It’s not a question of belief, everyone knows it’s a Big Lie. It’s more a matter of definition.

How do we know?

Because before his election campaign he was forever boasting about his connections with Russian oligarchs, having organized a beauty pageant in Moscow and attended a party where, he announced breathily, he had ‘met them all’

Yes, all those delightful, very smart, very rich people he owes money and favours to, but whom he sucks up to because they’re richer and more dishonest than he is. He just adores guys who get away with stuff the press wouldn’t let him. He admires people who kill people.

And because he has produced a letter, written a full two months before the accusation even arose, from some accountants in Washington swearing he has no links with or income from Russia – except for a few, and maybe just a bit. Why did he get them to write that? Oh, right. Flynn.

And because he has lavishly praised President Putin and had a strange financial relationship with Putin crony, ‘The Fertiliser King’ Dmitry Rybolovlev – a part-owner in Bank of Cyprus, a known money-laundering outlet with Russian and US shareholders and a direct connection to Deutsche Bank’s Moscow-based Real Estate investment branch, to whom Trump owes over $350 million of a $640 million loan he reportedly defaulted on in 2008.

And because he has borrowed money – hundreds of millions – from Russian (and Chinese) banks, both private and State – American banks will no longer lend to him, such a credit junkie is the President that he long ago maxed-out his Platinum cards in the USA – to whom (and others, including RBS) his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, also owes $1bn.

(If Trump is indeed a billionaire, why is his poor son-in-law, whom he has also brought inside the protective shield of the White House, having to finance his own property developments with massive unrepayable loans from foreign banks?)

This latter was confirmed by Eric Trump, the ‘Little Nazi’ who wonders why women don’t just put up with being groped, three years ago while unwisely playing golf with Arnold Palmer’s biographer, golfing writer James Dodson. According to a report in The Telegraph (07 May):

“Mr Dodson told Boston radio station WBUR: “This is the journalist in me, I said ‘What are you using to pay for these courses?’ And he (Donald Trump) just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million.

“So when I got in the cart with Eric, as we were setting off I said, ‘Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks, because of the recession, the Great Recession, have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.'”

“Mr Dodson claimed Eric Trump then told him: “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programmes. We just go there all the time.”

“We just go there all the time”…. To play pitch’n’putt on the Kremlin lawn? Maybe Eric was just being puppyishly naive in blurting out some nonsense he might have thought would impress Dodson? Maybe Trump was too?

Wikipedia reports:

“Golf in Russia is not yet widespread, not only because of adverse natural conditions, but also because the construction of golf courses requires large capital investments (a few tens of millions of dollars, usually more than a hundred). The first 18-hole golf course was built in the suburban area of Nakhabino in 1994, and remained the only one in the country for many years.”

Only a handful of Russians who ‘really, really love golf’ are professionals, maybe four or five. The Russian Open has been won pretty much every year by outsiders – few of them household names – since Konstantin Lifinov lifted the first trophy in 1993. There are only nine golf courses in the whole of Russia, with another ten ‘under construction’.

The question might then be, if Trump has to borrow to build, who funded the controversial Trump International course at Menie Park near Aberdeen, to the tune of $120 million? It’s obviously losing money, its Google entry is offering ‘no reservation fees’ and ‘half-price hotel’ deals.

Clearly Russia is an area the Trumps would like to get into, if they had the money.

Or might I put on a fiction writer’s hat and outline the latest James Bond plot, a conspiracy to launder $billions of Russian oil wealth through covering the free world in tasteless, unused golf resorts patrolled by thuggish staff, funded by sinister oligarchs, and bring down Western democracy in the process?

x

The wisdom of the innocents

Trump’s latest poll figures somewhat belie his claim that his first 100 days have been a rip-roaring success. CNN reports his overall approval rating at 35%, and when asked to give one adjective to describe the President of the United States, 38% replied: ‘idiot’.

“Businessman” was the word least associated with President Trump by those polled.

 

“Since taking office, Mr Trump has mounted a frenzied, hate-filled, childishly resentful onslaught on the Obamas’ legacy by every possible means, heedless of the immense damage he is doing to ordinary Americans in the process.”

38% of Americans believe this poor fellow is an idiot. Please give generously.

“What is wrong with you?”

The Pumpkin believes that Michelle Obama has struck, with customary charm and wit, upon the exact slogan The Resistance needs to confront this tyrannical and abusive old moron.

What indeed is wrong with you?

Since taking office, Mr Trump has blundered around, unable to concentrate for more than a few moments on any issue other than the precipitous nature of his election, making rambling, confused and self-contradictory, self-justifying statements blaming everyone and everything for things he just can’t do right, appointing certified cretins, racialists and sinister lobbyists to positions of power ranked according to wealth and insanity; screaming abuse at subordinates and trolling people and institutions at random with vacuous, illiterate Tweets.

What is wrong with you?

Well, we wonder.

His handling of the James Comey firing has been completely cackhanded, even for the CEO of a one-man business. After first driving his newly appointed Deputy Attorney-General, the formerly well-regarded Rod Rosenstein, to the point of resigning over a lie that he, Trump, had had to move against Comey urgently on the basis of a letter which, it transpired, he had forced Rosenstein to write (there’s always a letter), Mr Trump tried to shift the blame onto his hapless little Press Secretary, Sean Spicer.

Spicey has been effectively suspended for his abject performance (on ‘Naval reserve duties’ he is, as usual, all at sea) in attempting to defend his demented Master without being briefed about the circumstances and the reasons behind the precipitate decision. Mr Spicer was discovered by the press pack, hiding in the dark among the bushes on the White House grounds, imparting a Keystone Cops dimension to the story you could not make up.

This poor creature, once human, has been trapped for 110 days in the White House: Please Give Generously.

With further contradictory statements by the Vice-President, the snow-capped advert for Anusol, Mike Pence; Sarah ‘We hate Huckabees’ Sanders (Spicey’s unpopular-fat-girl-dorm-monitor deputy) and the increasingly loopy and defeated-looking Kellyanne Conway, the story was being spun everywhichway, including by the Orange Glow himself, even during the course of a single interview with NBC in which he as much as admitted what he didn’t want anyone to know, that it was to stymie the FBI investigation into his Russian connections.

What is wrong with you?

In the middle of the night he sits alone in the Oval Office, firing off dangerously abusive tweets about things that have upset him, that he has seen reported on Fox News, the unreliable TV channel he apparently watches obsessively all day, and which, aides say, is – along with the Breitbart News website – his principal window on the world as he refuses to receive briefings from actual experts: a clear sign of paranoia.

And – The Pumpkin is not a qualified psychologist but a nearly 70-year-old observer of human goings-on – to that amateur diagnosis must be added Mr Trump’s two main drivers of policy – if you don’t count the attraction of his weekly three-day golfing holidays at Mar-a-Lago, that have as of last weekend racked up a total of $27 million in travel and security costs to the taxpayer in only four months and cost the local community many more $millions in lost trade; which he has been told about, but does not care.

What is wrong with you?

One driver of policy is the unbearable knowledge that he really lost the election.

It preys continually on what remains of his mind, that he actually got 2.8 million votes fewer than his opponent, Hillary Clinton, despite the vitriolic campaign of hate which he and his team of fascist brownshirts, frustrated housewives and Russian agents spewed at her, unprecedented in modern politics.

He won the election, only because the numbers were affected in the Electoral College process by Republican gerrymandering in a few key ‘swing’ states, disenfranchising tens of thousands of potentially Democratic voters.

The campaign of dirty tricks included putting out fake-news messages on social media giving Democratic voters incorrect information about registration and polling dates; reducing the number of voting machines in poorer wards (sometimes through fake burglaries) in order to create unacceptable lines, and sending out to large numbers of mainly black and Latino voters who had previously been removed from the electoral roll without their knowledge ‘on suspicion’ of duplicate registration, non-valid polling cards. Such tactics affected tens of thousands of voters.

Nevertheless in his confusion, the 70-year-old Trump was told, presumably by Bannon, to keep tweeting that between three and five million unregistered immigrants had voted for Clinton – a completely preposterous meme that over 60% of his supporters came to believe; prompting ‘Morning Joe’ Scarborough on NBC to comment was the first case he had encountered, of a ‘sore winner’.

Add to Mr Trump’s equally neurotic obsession with trying to rationalize the relatively small number of people who turned out at his inauguration parade – for which he had raised $107 million in special donations (nobody knows where the money has gone, three times what it cost to bring out three times as many Obama supporters in 2008) – and the weekly ‘campaign rallies’ he keeps re-running all over the midwest, and you have a potent cocktail of grievance on which to endlessly brood.

His actual unpopularity haunts him night and day; indeed, he has been especially vengeful in shutting down the activities of the Parks Department, that reported the true official figures for his poor turnout and published the incriminating photographs showing an almost deserted plaza.

It is as if his great triumph in becoming President, the ultimate ratification of a life spent selfishly cheating people, never lasted beyond the moment of declaration and only the euphoria of that moment, the feeling of being swept along on an adoring tide, makes up for the sheer agony of having actually to do a job for which he is totally unprepared and unqualified. So many of his actions shout ‘Help, get me out of here’, even as he swaggers and bullies and lies his way daily deeper into trouble.

What is wrong with you?

There is no other route to political power in America, than through The Money.

His other great motivation is his equally strong hatred of the Obamas and their enduring popularity. How dare the uppity n-words get above him in social prestige? Especially when he and his dad invested so much in racially excluding tenants from their rack-rent housing projects.

President Obama was not quite the great black hope everyone imagined. Sadly, he is just another Wall Street white guy in disguise; a constitutional lawyer beholden to The Money. But what else could or should we have expected? There is no other route to political power in America, than through The Money.

Nevertheless, he is not a bad man. He did not try to grind the faces of the poor as the Republicans delight in doing, when they can be bothered to think about them at all between elections*. He genuinely did his best to bring about social reform, to extend free healthcare and to protect the environment. Despite his sorry record of extrajudicial killings, he is not thought to be an ecocidal money-launderer and serial bankrupt with connections to global criminal enterprises.

And Michelle has done sterling work all over the world in advancing the cause of public education and the advancement of women, a genuinely inspirational and gracious figure some say they wish would run for the Presidency.

Which is how she came to be at a conference in Washington yesterday on children’s nutrition.

Since taking office, Mr Trump has mounted a continued, frenzied, hate-filled, childishly resentful onslaught on the Obamas’ legacy by every possible means, heedless of the immense damage he is doing to ordinary Americans in the process.

He has attacked and attempted to rollback every single piece of legislation, every appointment the 44th President succeeded against the political odds in making during his eight years in office – including a tiny, inexpensive and inoffensive order requiring schools in the public system to meet proper standards of nutrition when providing pupils with meals.

When you consider that one State (Republican, naturally – what is wrong with them?) recently ruled that Pizza counts as a vegetable towards the ‘5-a-day’ target on account of it’s got tomato paste on it, duh, along with the processed cheese, you can see why it might be important to insist on a healthy balance of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

“We have a lot more work to do, for sure, but we’ve got to make sure we don’t let anybody take us back because the question is, where are we going back to?” Obama told a Partnership for a Healthier America summit in Washington.

“This is where you really have to look at motives, you know. You have to stop and think: why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you?” – Guardian Today report

It’s not an argument Sonny Purdue, the Agriculture secretary, would go along with, as, presumably in response to a Trump order, he has simply scrapped the requirement, the Pumpkin imagines in the face of lobbying pressure and much to the relief of the US’s vastly powerful junk food lobby, the ‘stuff everything with soya and sugar’ industry that is killing people around the world in large numbers for profit – another key plank of Republican policy.

What is wrong with Mr Purdue is easy to answer: he’s an asshole.

Mrs Obama’s comments, her appeals to Moms to fight this kind of Trumpenshit, apparently met with rousing applause; and not only from Jamie Oliver.

“What is wrong with you?” should be the question loudly demanded of every bribed Republican energy, arms, medical insurance industry and food-lobby shill in Congress, every member of Trump’s incompetent wrecking crew of billionaire Deplorables, every dumbfuck who voted to cancel their own healthcare, every supine journalist who goes along respectfully with the Office of President that is being daily disgraced and diminished by this lying, self-deluded old monster – and of the monster himself.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, TRUMP?

*As, for instance, the disgusting old Senate leader, Orrin Hatch, who has likened single-payer healthcare to being ‘on the dole’.

x

Did you hear the one about the ISIS asset?

Every new dawn brings news of yet another Trump gaffe, yet another hastily cobbled-together attempt by his frazzled staff to put him back in his box. And still no-one has the guts to have him removed from office, by force if necessary.

That meeting with the Russians? The Washington Post and others have been reporting, like a large orange baboon-child he blurted out to Lavrov a secret so secret it has a higher security rating than Top Secret.

It can, literally, only be spoken of in code.

Hey, guess what, I’m the President! Gee whillikers, who’d a’ thought it? Did you hear the one about the ISIS asset? Yeah, we’ve got one! His name’s dtgjk,skjiudcgtudjk, right?

Now, the subject matter of the coded secret isn’t actually a secret at all, it’s been in the papers for days. We all knew selected national security administrations around the world were making airports ban travellers from carrying laptops onboard as hand-luggage because of a tipoff that IS were planning to bomb one or more aircraft.

It must have been a pretty specific threat. But the real secret is who leaked it? The highest classification was designed to protect the source inside the IS, who given the difficulty of penetrating IS may be one of the most valuable assets on the planet. Trump apparently gave Lavrov enough background to enable the Russians to identify the source.

Now, the Russians, the US, Iran/Hezbollah, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, the Kurdish PKK militias, Bashar al-Assad and many others in the grand coalition are opposing IS. So we’re all on the same side, right? Well, no. The US is opposing Iran/Hezbollah on behalf of the Israelis, and the Russians are allies of Iran – Turkey wasn’t an ally of Russia but now is, only it’s an enemy of the Kurds… God, it’s a complete mess and I’m not even confident of finishing this paragraph.

Somewhere in the mess is Saudi Arabia, the oligarchic C15th dynasty that barbarously decapitates more people for less reason than ISIS ever did, where Trump is off to on a grand mission, his first trip abroad, to kiss the ring of the senile King and sell yet more $billions of arms to slaughter and starve more children and doctors in Yemen. (But not before he’s chocolate-caked President Erdogan in a summit of the world’s two leading authoritarian paranoiacs.)

And now the entire Gulf States region knows that Trump cannot be trusted with the secret of what day it is.

And Trumpski’s response to the shitstorm that even leading Republicans are gulping about?

“I’m the President. I have an absolute right to tell the Russians whatever I like.” (Actually, he doesn’t.)

The question must then surely be, if the info is fine to be given to the Russian Foreign Minister, what compulsion was there to send Lavrov in person all the way to Washington to receive it, when it could just have been exchanged via the normal channels?

He knows, he understands, he can be trusted with, nothing. Nothing whatsoever. He has become a grave concern to US allies and a laughing-stock at NATO, where it’s said they are preparing for his forthcoming visit with instructions to keep all speeches to under four minutes, in simple language and make them visually entertaining.

But the FBI has a way of eventually dealing with people like Trump, dangerous subversives, incompetent loose-tongued lunatics with dodgy connections, and you get a National Day named in your honor after the gun-carriage has passed by.

The Pumpkin – Issue 17. The Bartered Bribe. Plus long essay: 100 Days of Sod ’em

“…gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes?”

The Bartered Bribe

By: Our Chief North America Correspondent, John Sopoor. ©2017 @support_us.gov

You know, I keep going back to a Post of The Pumpkin on 21 April which began with Oliver Cromwell’s famous 1653 speech dissolving the Long Parliament, and finding more and more resonances with Trump’s White House.

Once again I am indebted to Rachel Maddow at MSNBC for exhaustively explaining (her explanations can be pretty exhausting, and then you don’t get the meat of the story because she’s gone to a commercial break and the rest hasn’t been uploaded, but we’ll persevere) the background to yet another potential shitstorm, this time involving the plastic toy, Special Advisor and general US Government, Jared Kushner.

I have often exclaimed in mock despair that there appears to be no end to the stories and allegations of dodgy dealings surrounding  Trump and his family, going back into the mists of time and before; and it seems into the future, with no reprehension; no clarity, no remorse. I guess some families are just like that. The Borgias spring to mind.

But the Pumpkin’s famed despair is beginning to lose its mockiness. I read on the hot-news ‘crawler’ unspooling beneath Ms Maddow as she outlined the latest Trump family financial plans that, for instance, Ivanka Trump’s lovely face is now to be found on billboards announcing the opening of the Trump Tower in Manila, capital of the Philippines.

Now, Mrs Kushner – Ms Trump – Ivanka has an official position in the US government. She was appointed three weeks ago as a special advisor, given a title: ‘First Daughter’ (her wicked stepmom remains a prisoner in the gilded Manhattan tower), her own office and a brief in the White House – and a top-level security clearance.

Under the Emoluments clause of the constitution it’s illegal for public officials to profit from foreign business transactions, but here she is, advertising Orange Daddy’s hotel business, that she and her brothers Donny Jr and the Little Nazi, Eric, are supposed to have been put in charge of precisely so he isn’t compromised by his ownership of said businesses while he abuses the Office of President of the United States.

Well, fuck that for a game of soldiers.

Not only that, but Trump has invited Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, to the White House – Duterte, a squalid little pockmarked thug who publicly called President Obama a ‘son of a whore’, has operated an open policy of paying police death squads and vigilantes to hunt down and murder anyone suspected of involvement in the drugs trade, the number of his victims now at 7,000 and rising; has compared himself favourably to Hitler, and who has boasted that he has personally murdered people, is considered by Trump a fit person to enjoy his chocolate-cake hospitality at the expense of the US government.

Could there be a connection? Is the US taxpayer, of whom The Pumpkin is one, paying for a private Trump Tower Manila-flavoured thank-you gift to Duterte? I don’t suppose in the midst of everything else we shall ever know.

Kushner is in fact all over the press today, it is necessary only to Google ‘Kushner, Guinea’ to get the story from several newspapers behind Maddow’s exposé of his business relationship with Beny Steinmetz, an Israeli businessman whose companies are in the New York South District Court dock right now, charged with paying massive illegal bribes to the government of Equatorial Guinea for iron ore mining rights, following an FBI wiretap operation involving the widow of the late President, Sekou Touré.

Israel-based Steinmetz is alleged to have invested almost $200 million in Kushner’s properties, including a Trump Tower project, since his firm was indicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That in itself would be prima facie evidence of corruption.

Yet nothing seems to touch the Trump family. The recent piece of brilliant investigative reporting by Adam Davidson in the New Yorker magazine linking Trump Organization via Ivanka to a deal over a Trump Tower in Azerbaijan that appears to have been part-financed with laundered money from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (a proscribed terror organization) in breach of international sanctions, through the profoundly corrupt Mammadov family, seems to have attracted barely more than a yawn, and a ‘well, he’s Trump, what do you expect?’ from the authorities. (The Trump lawyer who carried out the apparently innocent ‘due diligence’ search and greenlighted the illegal project in Baku has been given a key post in the administration.)

These kinds of deals are going to be increasingly difficult to uncover, as one of Trump’s earliest executive orders rescinded an Obama rule that companies involved in the energy and mining industries have to declare payments to foreign officials for extraction rights.

No prizes for speculating why he passed that particular Trump Turd, then.

Meanwhile details are emerging from the Wall Street Journal of some more of ‘Mr Kushner’s’ financial arrangements, including the news that he is indebted to more than 20 banks for a total of over $1 billion, part-guaranteed by Machiavellian billionaire speculator George Soros. Unfortunately he forgot to declare it when accepting his multitasking role as a White House advisor to his equally deeply indebted father-in-law, President Donald Trump.

There’s one world for them, and fuck the rest of us.

‘A mock-presidential cumface, like Frankie Howerd being sodomised by a camel.’

Sayings of the Week:

“Money is no longer a measure of value; for most people in the West it is merely a form of energy, like gas and electricity. The new currency of capitalism is data.” – Uncle Bogler

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Long Essay

100 Days of Sod ’em

The problem, it seems to The Pumpkin, that the world’s media is having in presenting the mad, ugly, dysfunctional face of Trump to the public is that the appalling things he is doing – or trying to do – and the bizarre way he is going about doing them are so bewilderingly stratified as to be almost incapable of coherent rationalization in policy terms.

(A mock-presidential cum-face that, excuse me, rather resembles the late comedian Frankie Howerd being sodomised by a camel.)

Instead of grasping the bull by the horns and campaigning full-out to get the President removed from office urgently as a threat to national security, so clearly mentally unhinged is he, the media is salami-slicing Trump’s grotesque first 100 days, spinning out a catalogue of monstrosities as a disconnected series of odd events, and thus failing to present a holistic picture; presumably for considerations of space, as a comprehensive blow-by-blow critique is going to take a fair-sized tome.

Can The Pumpkin do better? Well, not a lot, but he’ll try.

For instance, we appear to have forgotten already that only a little over a week ago Trump had sent V-P Mike Pence, a weirdly smirking snow-capped tailor’s dummy, to South Korea, where he was threatening all-out nuclear war against tiny North Korea, until his boss realised that the nuclear-tipped ‘armada’ he thought someone had despatched to the southwestern Pacific to threaten President Kim was in fact 3,500 miles away in the Indian Ocean on exercises with the Australian navy.

Yes, within his first 100 days, the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful force on earth had managed to lose an aircraft carrier, two destroyers, a frigate and some supply ships.

Today, instead, he is lauding Kim Jong-un as ‘a smart cookie’ whom he would be ‘honoured to meet’ – this is the 33-year-old mass murderer and personality cult leader in charge of the most repressive regime on earth. The Daily Mail reported, not without relish:

“North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un executed his uncle by having him stripped naked and eaten alive by starving dogs while he watched, a report claimed yesterday.”

Honoured? Fuck’s sake. Make America great again, kowtow to a teenage psychopath who starves dogs. It’s pretty demeaning, but you can understand the envy with which the fragile ego constrained by civilized values contemplates the possibilities of absolute power. ‘Morning Joe’ Scarborough, thrown to starving women….

It’s only a few other days since Trump made a snide comment about how Kim had been involved in ‘failed’ negotiations with President Bill Clinton, not realizing that that was so long ago it would have had to be his father, Kim Jong-il. (Indeed, according to Prof Chomsky, North Korea has several times tried to make peace with the US by giving up its nuclear ambitions and been rebuffed.)

However, it does seem the strategy has been working, inasmuch as President Xi has been so alarmed by Trump’s aggressive irrationality, his ignorance of affairs in the western Pacific and charmed by the chocolate cake dessert at Mar-a-Lago, that he appears to be co-operating in cramming a lid at least for now on his chubby Korean ally’s more provocative nuclear flag-waving.

Nor, it was demonstrated in another weird appearance before the press last week, could Trump recall who his oyster-eyed acolyte, the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan is. Instead, he kept confusing him with former Senator Ron Paul, founder and practically the sole member of the Libertarian Party.

He continues to obsess like a dog at a bone about the election result, in which he failed by 2.8 million votes to win a popular majority; and about the poor turnout at his inauguration, holding more and more rallies of the faithful to convince himself that he really won, that he is really loved by the people.

He isn’t loved by the CIA, however; as, at a memorial service in January for their Cold War dead, he delivered an atrocious speech in the poorest possible taste, praising himself, his election victory and his record turnout.

You see, he’s too old for this. He’s still not in the mental space labelled President of the United States, and may never be.

Since taking office, Trump has not ameliorated his habit of reacting petulantly to every perceived criticism; continuing to Tweet out bilious, misspelled vengeful messages in the early hours in response to anything he half-remembers seeing on TV news. It got him into serious trouble early in March when, at 06.30 on the 4th, this appeared:

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

The story is cloudy. Trump’s grasp of the history of McCarthyism is tenuous, he later amended the analogy to ‘Watergate’, but it appears the President was jumping to conclusions after seeing a story from Breitbart News among his morning briefs, that was subsequently traced to a so-called ‘alt-right’ website, InfoWars, run by the demented shock-jock Alex Jones; and thence to other obscure rightwing sources; and may ultimately have had its origins in a manufactured leak back in the White House.

The story broke just as the FBI investigation into connections between team Trump and Russian intelligence was getting interesting, and when the FBI dismissed the wiretap allegations as unproven and absurd, Trump proceeded via Fox News to an even wilder allegation against the British intelligence monitoring service, GCHQ, that provides the NSA with all the latest European and Russian scuttlebut, plus weekly copies of this, muh bogl.

Two weeks later, however, there appeared to be some tangential truth in Trump’s madness when it became clear that GCHQ was the source of the original allegations against Trump staffers, in particular one Carter Page, a ‘deniable’ self-deluding international fixer, as the British had intercepted conversations in 2015 with Russian agents who were already under routine monitoring and the FBI had obtained a FISA order to surveille Page.

The story thus dissolved into the normal smoke-and-mirrors of friendly clandestine spying operations between nations and took the heat off the President and what if any role he may have played in allowing or encouraging Russian military intelligence to hack his competitors’ servers to dig up dirt he could use against Clinton.

Trump thus felt totally vindicated, until on the 20th FBI Director James Comey confirmed to a Congressional hearing that Obama was innocent but he was still investigating the Russian connection. The hearings were abruptly halted by Republican chairman Devin Nunes when it became clear that the next key witness was going to be Sally Yates, the former Acting Attorney-General, who had been abruptly fired by Trump over ‘what she knew’ about National Security Advisor, General Mike T Flynn – who had himself been fired after lying about his Russian connections.

So bizarre and clearly panic-stricken was Chairman Nunes’ behaviour in attempting to suppress his own investigation – fed another anonymous ‘intelligence dossier’ via the back door of the White House ‘proving’ Obama’s treachery, he subsequently pretended to hand it in to the Presidemt and then claimed that the hearings were continuing in secret at his home without any of the committee members being invited – he was eventually forced to recuse himself and would do well to book himself into rehab.

But the hearings have not been resumed as the matter has since proceeded up to the Senate, where there’s again a small Republican majority. It seems unlikely to get any further; there is talk of Grand Juries already sitting, but the Justice Department is being packed with Trump appointees who will surely not dare to challenge him. There is as yet no sign of the kind of dogged Special Prosecutor who did for Nixon or Clinton.

This astonishing kerfuffle was so irregular that it seems almost to have been forgotten about, but it clearly illustrates the disturbing nature of the administration and the smokescreen of chaos with which it has deliberately surrounded itself.

The fact that Trump had instantly Tweeted out his total belief in a phoney claim made in a most dubious publication without bothering to check the facts with his security advisors and the FBI surely indicates either that he is temperamentally unfit to be the President, or that he rightly has no faith in his security advisors.

Nevertheless he is still there, and may be until January, 2021 at least. It is hard to see who or what will remove him, other than if he were to make a determined sexual assault on Nancy Pelosi on the floor of the House.

Meanwhile, the ‘Golden Showergate’ dossier, a 35-page report compiled by former British MI6 Russia-desk officer Chris Steele from Russian intelligence sources indicating that Trump might have been the victim of a kompromat operation by Putin’s spies, and that he was a potential security threat, remained in the background, parts of it being occasionally confirmed by Congressional investigators, the FBI and the CIA, to no apparent overall effect.

The story of Teflon Donald’s first 100 days, about the historically unprecedented success of which he has already begun making promotional TV commercials, complete with paranoid attacks on the ‘fake news’ media, also reveals the unprecedentedly shambolic nature of his fumbling maladministration, his incredibly poor and uninformed capacity for rational thought or judgement; and ignores his past criminal associations, his doubtful financial record, his compulsive lying, his boasting, his ungrammatical confusions, his ignorance of detail, his ‘flip-flopping’ (We prefer the more grown-up ‘bewilderment’. Ed.) on so many key issues.

This week, for instance, we had more of his rambling, incoherent, self-contradictory assertions – the latest of which is that former President Andrew Jackson, a brutal slavemaster and genocide of Native Americans whom Trump greatly admires for his ‘big heart’, was so concerned about the issues surrounding the origins of the Civil War that he might have prevented it had it not been for Abraham Lincoln invading the South.

Never mind that he died sixteen years before the first shot was fired by the Confederacy at Fort Sumter.

Now, detailed examination of this rubbish – Trump also speculated that, had he been there at the time, he would personally have prevented the war, and complained that ‘nobody (but him) ever asks’ about the causes of the war – the purpose of possibly several hundred books on the subject he will never have heard of – which were much misunderstood, would lead one to the conclusion that the President a) has no knowledge whatever of American history, yet is perfectly prepared to pose for his Dumbfucks as an expert; and b) is so mentally unstable and narcissistic as to constitute a danger to the free world.

For it must be obvious to anyone with eyes to see, that he is also posing as a President.

But there is no time for such detailed examination, because no sooner has the liberal establishment expressed amazement and concern over one bizarre interview or scandal brewing than there will come another, and another to confound everyone.

The media is never going to convince his supporters that they made a stupid decision, even when it is clearly shown that his American Healthcare bill, that failed abysmally at its first hurdle and was withdrawn without a vote, sneaking back this week in a barely revised form, will not only disqualify millions of poorer Americans – including themselves – from holding adequate health insurance, but will penalize many with pre-existing conditions so severely that they will simply be left to die.

That is actually Republican Party policy, to get the sick and the State-dependant off the books as fast as possible; while at the same time gerrymandering constituencies by the simple expedient of disenfranchising black and Latino voters likely to be Democrats, and passing laws preventing Democratic party politicians from passing laws.

Numerous other of Trump’s huge and generalized campaign promises, seemingly made on the hoof, have turned out to be bullshit. But not all. And advantage is being taken of the abrasive tone of his campaign speeches by other sections of his party.

Among some of the extraordinary laws Republican States administrations have been trying to pass since the election is, for instance, the formal exoneration of motorists who kill demonstrators by running them over if they obstruct the highway. The Pumpkin hopes that was fake news. States that had liberalized personal marijuana possession are being forced to recriminalize it. Masked and well-armed State police have threatened they will be out early, kicking down doors. Oklahoma has been racing to execute more prisoners before they run out of drugs to do the job.

A kind of licensed brutality is in the air, but so little is comprehensively reported that it doesn’t look like a takeover by the authoritarian far-right, which it plainly is.

First Amendment freedom of the press to criticise the President is also becoming an issue.

The coverage by the mainstream media that reaches most Americans is disturbingly supine and respectful, as if they are dealing with a normal person, a normal administration that is perhaps just a little wayward in its early days, but which will straighten up and fly right eventually.

“I’ve got a little list”

Any actual criticism is shrugged off by the Trump propagandists as ‘fake news’; but like Nanki-poo, they’ve ‘got a little list’. The ‘enemies of the people’, as he continually calls them, aware of corporate financial pressures on their editorial staff and the ongoing loss of advertising to the internet, the rise of so-called ‘citizen media’ making the cost of investigative reporting prohibitive, the ‘failing media’ is conspiring to prevent Trump making America great again, and that’s what his supporters will believe until their dying day.

In fact, many Americans have met their dying days since Trump took office: not only the service personnel unnecessarily sacrificed to his vanity and military incompetence. The toll of record floods, raging wildfires, supercell storms and tornados, droughts, record temperatures and big-freeze ice storms is running into the hundreds, just this year. Sixteen more, including several children, died in floods and tornados only yesterday in Texas and the midwest – Trumpland. The climate is running rapidly out of control; and so is the oil-fuelled, coal-burning President, in hock to the denial industry.

And nobody cares, nobody apparently wants to see that their hero is just the extreme manifestation of the elitism of the rich and powerful, the very embodiment of ‘the swamp’ he promised them he would drain; that he has not the slightest interest in helping people he calls ‘the losers’ but, with his history of bankruptcies and lawsuits, his tax avoidance and huge unpaid debts to foreign banks, is out only to enrich himself and his already obscenely wealthy friends, driven mad by money; and, if the allegations prove true, his Russian paymaster.

The Pumpkin could enumerate literally dozens of horrible, awful things Trump has either initiated or agreed to.

What human being but a complete sadist or the crazed ‘supermom’ Sarah Palin, with her Tea Party morality and her sexually incontinent children would readily agree to sign an order licensing hunters to shoot hibernating she-bears with cubs?

It is incomprehensible that such a minute detail of administration should occupy any President in his first 100 days, yet there he was, his camel-fucked Presidential cum-face glowing like an amber traffic light next to his ridiculous squiggle on a document licensing many such horrors, a gurning crew of macho poltroons lined up proudly behind him for the photo-op.

This is surely one monstrous old poser, a cretin bereft of most human values, who is bound straight for Hell by express delivery.

“A cretin surely bound for Hell by express delivery”

The man is wittingly or otherwise an ecocide, a world criminal, having attempted to push through more than fifty such orders removing protections and precautions for the environment, for the climate, for wildlife in a frenzied onslaught on our fragile ecology, with no comprehension, no compassion, no vision – no belief in anything other than the power of money; as if we can eat money, drink it, breathe it – survive it.

He has been obsessive in his vindictive, childish determination to remove every trace of his more popular predecessor, Obama; to trash his reputation and to exceed his excesses with barbaric enthusiasm.

Federal agency budgets have been cut savagely*, NASA has been told to drop its satellite weather monitoring program; the National Monuments lands are under threat of development, permits being granted for aggressive pipeline projects and unrestricted drilling in formerly protected wilderness areas, the Arctic, all in the name of creating ‘thousands and thousands’ of jobs that will in fact disappear as US energy production goes into overdrive for no commercial reason – global demand is already far exceeded, the oil price has collapsed.

Energy industry transparency is being shut down; coal revived and dishonestly or foolishly promoted by Trump as ‘the cleanest energy ever’. Government scientists are being barred from publishing climate research, federal agencies barred from carrying out their duty of issuing public information on environmental matters, their administrations hollowed-out, gone. Climate change? ‘It’s a hoax’. (Has been since the 1880s when CO2 was first outed as a greenhouse gas. A long time to maintain a hoax involving tens of thousands of trained postgraduate scientists, possibly.)

The problem is, you see, once Trump has to get to grips with a little basic science, he becomes the greatest atmospheric physicist the world has ever known. Who better then to declare global warming a hoax?

Then there are his financial dealings; the dealings of the smartest negotiator, possibly ever; the smartest businessman. Simply Google: ‘Trump’, plus the name of any Russian bank – Alfabank, Sberbank, Deutsche Bank; ‘Trump’ plus Azerbaijan; ‘Trump’ plus Rybolovlev; ‘Trump’ plus Moscow, plus Mafia…. Even the rightwing Daily Mail was shocked by that last one. The evidence of money-laundering, of association with criminal enterprises at home and abroad is everywhere you look. Every day throws up the name of another oligarch with alleged connections to Trump and his gang.

For The Pumpkin, Trump’s most unique attribute is this: a man born into wealth, who need never have done any work in his life, something in his upbringing, some Trump family gene, some parental abuse has caused him to live his life like a ragged-arsed immigrant clawing his way out of the Bowery in about 1910, willing to do anything at all, whatever it takes to survive.

The gold of Trump is just leaf, the swagger and smarm a veneer. Underneath he is pure Charlie Chaplin; pure Bugsy Siegel, pure Clyde Barrow: a poor bastard who has turned himself through the desperate desire to prove himself good enough for his father, but who can only measure his progress in money, into a deceitful, facile thug.

His closest associates in the White House, his campaign team, his transition team… many of them are tarnished by similar allegations, financial dealings with corrupt foreign oligarchs and governments; attempts to thwart FBI investigations; billionaire ‘disruptors’ pursuing obscure rightwing and Christian fundamentalist causes, using their vast wealth to influence the outcome of elections, to undermine democratic institutions and cause profitable chaos in order to grasp more.

Wall Street sharks are filling the administration – we should understand that, while on the campaign trail Mr Trump admonished Goldman Sachs in particular, they are the financial advisor that made most of his connections to lenders such as Deutsche Bank and Bank of China, lenders to whom he owes more than a billion dollars; and to whose former executives he has in return entrusted all of the major financial arms of the State.

These are not conspiracy theories, those people are quite open, even boastful about their objectives and methods. They believe, apparently not without good reason, that they are at last untouchable: the Masters of the Universe, back in overwhelming numbers and in reach of real political power at last.

Trump’s immigration policy has been wild, insane, sickening. He has encouraged dreadful divisions in US society, turning people against foreigners and Muslims;  branding all migrants in this land of migrants as criminals, drug dealers, rapists.

Families that have been settled in America for decades are being torn apart as thuggish border goons interpret their remit, unopposed by Congress, to drag hardworking fathers and mothers in handcuffs, even from hospital beds, away from their American children to detention centres from where after a perfunctory hearing they are bundled out, having committed no crime other than to exist, to countries where they have no homes, no connections, no work.

Extra judges are being press-ganged to sit in 24-hour immigration tribunals; punitive funding cuts threatened against ‘sanctuary cities’ whose mayors refuse to impose draconian rules against useful and productive ‘illegals’. It is an onslaught that invites comparisons with Nazi Germany.

Yet immigration is vital: the native American birthrate is well below replacement, the population – as elsewhere in the Western world, is ageing.

Trump’s boneheaded and valueless attempts on ‘security’ grounds to ban temporarily, people traveling from countries from where no actual terrorist threats have ever emanated, the so-called Muslim travel ban, that absurdly has not been applied to prolific terror-sponsoring nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, ended twice in chaos and confusion, leading to face-offs with the courts and those he reviled as ‘so-called judges’, risking in his ignorance of the workings of Government a major confrontation between the Executive, Judicial and Congressional branches of the State.

Even a former Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, on his way to a prayer breakfast (don’t ask me. Ed.) was detained for two hours of questioning at Dulles airport, an incriminating Iranian visa stamp in his passport. And there’s talk of more and more oppressive Homeland Security – the compulsory surrender of personal media passwords, for instance; while Trump has readily signed over to internet service providers the automatic right to sell subscriber data – both measures in fact reducing the national cybersecurity.

He seems to do whatever anybody tells him, provided they are rich enough.

Trump’s much-vaunted promises to build a grandiose and ineffectual wall between the US and Mexico, that Mexico would pay for, that would divide border communities and hinder normal commercial flows worth $billions, have so far thankfully remained unfunded, despite his unfounded belief that it would totally halt the flow of drugs and illegal migrants into the USA.

His vain threats to impose punitive trade tariffs on Mexican goods, it has been shown, would have a negative effect on American consumers, while his promise to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, that he has now abandoned, merely showed him up as being ignorant of its real economic benefits and the costs of ending it. He persists in the hubris that isolationism is the way to restore the stagnant incomes of Americans, while the Federal Reserve continues to print money to lubricate the banks and holds interest rates at zero.

In his first 100 days, so many of his spontaneously generated campaign chickens have come home to roost. Being President is more complicated than he thought. So, Donald, go?

Likewise, another ‘ten-minute briefing’ at the White House with NATO chief Lars Stoltenburg caused another 180-degree turn in policy: ‘failing’ and ‘irrelevant’, NATO is now important once again; although one cannot be sure that he has been cured of his erroneous belief that NATO pays the USA money in exchange for a defence umbrella, and that many member States are not paying what they owe. Hence his $390 billion ‘invoice’ to Angela Merkel.

No, Donald, that’s not how it works! It’s a treaty organization guaranteeing mutual defense. NATO members are independent nations. They commit to keeping their defence budgets at a certain level, but they all have different GDP to begin with! Different defence requirements. And the treaty obliges them to come to your aid too, if the USA is attacked. NATO is not, as he hoped, some kind of standing army, that will take on ISIS terrorists on its own initiative.

This is a man almost entirely ignorant of the affairs of State, of how the world works, of the history of international relations, who is undergoing a learning-curve that seems almost entirely beyond his capabilities to negotiate. Is that not a serious enough failing in a President, in the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful armed force in world history, by whom one mistake could end human civilization?

Earlier in April, while at dinner with the Chinese President at his vulgar golf resort in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, from which he continues to profit while in office, Trump theatrically left the table to sanction a strike by 59 cruise missiles on an airbase in Syria, thereby overturning his own non-intervention policy. It appeared to be an emergency, but by a strange coincidence, his entire security team were already there, waiting in another room.

The strike was ineffectual and although justified as a show of force to tell President Assad he couldn’t use chemical weapons on civilians, and to tell President Xi the US has a tough guy in charge who means business, it was widely seen as a convenient distraction from the FBI’s investigations into Trump’s Russian connections.

Mr Trump later expressed awe at his own military power and suggested he had just realized you had to be careful with this stuff as missiles could kill people. Nine civilians, including four children, died so that he could discover the principle. It was reminiscent of Mr Trump’s revelations regarding uranium, that could be used to make ‘bad things’, who knew?; and his naive query as to why, if we have nuclear weapons, we don’t use them more? Was he joking?

No, his budget provided for billions of dollars to increase the nuclear capability, that is already sufficient to eradicate all life on the planet several times over.

But a strong military is essential for the defence of the nation – and good for share prices.

Soon afterwards his airforce dropped an 11,000-lb MOAB air burst bomb on a cave complex in Afghanistan, killing – it’s thought – 36 ISIS guerrillas, a piece of theatrical sabre-rattling designed to intimidate the North Koreans, against whom Trump began fulminating the next day. His record of drone strikes has far exceeded even that of his predecessor, Obama; ‘collateral’, civilian casualties have quadrupled as his military has been told there will be no criticism, no comebacks, whatever they have to do to get the job done. (The ‘job’ is to eradicate the so-called Islamic State by saturation bombing, another futile policy.)

Since Trump took office, US troops have been sent by the thousand in secret to several more potential theatres of war. He has placed a blanket ban on announcing military operations. He has previously said that the objective of US military policy should be to ‘seize the oil’. He was persuaded not to do that in Iraq, only when it was pointed out to him which side the US was fighting on.

The corrupt appointments: his family members, friends of the family, his financial backers, the party’s financial backers, the backers and staff of Breitbart News, gimlet-eyed military hawks, demonstrably stupid, venal and incompetent local political hicks, all rewarded with key government posts they are not remotely qualified to fill; other, many other posts left vacant – key ambassadorships, heads of department – all are indicative of his inexperience, his isolation as CEO of his own business.

His proposed tax reforms, for instance, all one page of them (in easy to read bullet points), benefitting corporations and the top point two percent of the most wealthy to the tune of, literally, trillions of dollars; gouging the poor and the middle-class, will scarcely pass with no-one in the Treasury in charge of the country’s tax planning; but that post remains unfilled too, another empty department.

Under the toxic Attorney-General, Jefferson Beauregard ‘Jeff’ Sessions 111, who lied about his meetings with the Russian ambassador and had to recuse himself from any investigation of Trump’s team and its unexplained connections with Russia, the Justice Department is filling up with Trump appointees, after he fired all the circuit judges in January without any replacements lined up. The southern racialist, anti-civil rights, anti-abortion advocate and avowed Confederate supporter, Sessions has been busy removing any legal constraints on the actions of the police nationwide.

General Flynn, the first National Security Advisor, waved through by the Trump administration on the basis of an old security clearance that should have been revoked after he was fired by Obama as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, lasted 24 days in post before having to stand down after being caught lying about connections with Russia. They began to emerge in 2016, and have still not stopped emerging, as he took substantial sums of money as an undeclared ‘foreign agent’ for obscure PR efforts on behalf of Russia, and of Turkey – financed by the Russians.

Trump’s son-in-law, the 36-year-old property speculator Jared Kushner, too, who is wearing a bewildering array of ‘hats’ in the White House, including a brief to re-engineer the entire administrative machinery in Washington, was caught lying about contacts he had with Russian Ambassador Kysliev; while since the inauguration a number of prominent Russian diplomats, bankers and business ‘contacts’ based in Washington (and one or two in Moscow) have unexpectedly died, including the Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin – whose autopsy results have been Classified.

The Russian connection extended to apparent attempts to influence the election through the hacking of Democratic party servers and the release via the ever-useful Wikileaks of what the FBI found were non-incriminating emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta. In March Mr Trump seems to have employed a British politician, Nigel Farage, as a go-between to Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange – but Sessions has since had a new warrant issued for Assange’s arrest on old charges of leaking classified documents.

(Beware of Assange’s revenge!)

Farage is an associate of Raheem Kassam, the UK editor of Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News website, and a ‘friend’ of ultra-rightwing billionaire fund manager, Robert Mercer, who with his daughter Rebekah funds Breitbart. Other Breitbart writers and section editors have received posts in the administration, including ‘Dr’ Sebastian Gorka, a British-Hungarian security analyst with suspected connections to a secretive neo-Nazi movement in Hungary (he has now left the administration). Mercer’s company, Cambridge Analytica, is alleged to have been behind computer ‘botnet’ attacks on the British EU referendum, in which Farage campaigned prominently for ‘Brexit’.

Bannon and other wealthy disruptors are linked in a tenuous network with Republican funders and Russian oligarchs promoting religious and racial ‘purity’ and an Islamophobic, antisemitic agenda. They seem in the early days at least to have ‘captured the castle’ as far as Trump and his administration were concerned, giving rise to the suggestion that the President is merely a ‘useful idiot’ in a plot to undermine Western democratic institutions and to destroy the US government in its present form – as Bannon boasted was his intention in a speech to the Conservative CPAC conference in January, at which young, wealthy male delegates notoriously gave a Nazi salute, shouting Heil Trump!, apparently without irony – a plot in which the Russian president Putin is suspected of having a disruptive hand.

Trump seems to have an unhealthy regard for ‘strongman’ dictators: in addition to his expressed admiration for Duterte and North Korea’s Kim, he has happily received at the White House such humanitarians as General al-Sisi of Egypt, Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel and Viktor Orban of Hungary – an old friend of Gorka’s – and has refused to criticise either Putin or the increasingly paranoid Erdogan of Turkey, to whom he Tweeted congratulations on scraping through a referendum giving him absolute powers for life (Following which, Erdogan proceeded to arrest or suspend another ten thousand government officials as ‘plotters’ supposedly supporting his nemesis, the US-exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen).

Indeed, Trump has praised both of them lavishly; and it seems General Flynn’s missions may have helped to bring about a rapprochement between the two countries – as indeed did those of Russian oligarch Aleksandr Dugin – and, perhaps, advancing a lucrative undersea gas pipeline deal bypassing Syria for Noble Energy – a company drilling in collaboration with the Israeli energy sector, in which Trump has shares; one of whose former directors, George Papadopoulos is an Energy Advisor appointee in the Trump administration.

Yet he pretty much cold-shouldered Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Abe, appearing to fall asleep standing up and noticeably refusing to wear his translation earpiece at their joint press conferences, so he had no idea what they were saying.

As a result, his foreign policy is a total muddle that no-one can clearly follow. As is his administration.

His Foreign Policy pointman, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – former boss of America’s biggest oil company – has no diplomatic experience, and virtually no diplomatic or administrative support at the State Department, which has been hollowed-out with over 500 appointments still vacant; there are 34 ambassadors yet to be hired, many to key countries around the world – South Korea, Japan, Singapore. Entire foreign desks, including China, are missing. Is it deliberate? It feels like a Bannon policy.

The Commerce Secretary – an old ‘consigliere’ to the Trump family, billionaire Wilbur Ross was until this March a major investor in and vice-chair of Bank of Cyprus, a known conduit to the west for sanctioned Russian money. His fellow directors included the former head of Deutsche Bank, another money-laundering bank that lent Trump hundreds of millions of dollars, much of which he was unable to pay back. Who owns those debts now? Trump connection Dmitry Rybolovlev owns 10 per cent of the bank. Trump was reported to have benefited from a property deal they did in Florida, to the tune of $60 million. The property was subsequently pulled down as being unfit for habitation.

The former Attorney General of Oklahoma, the climate-change-denying baboon Scott Pruitt, equally has no-one running the key departments at the Environment Protection Agency, that he has vowed in any case to destroy as it conflicts with the demands of his benefactors, the energy companies. He has sued the EPA on behalf of fracking interests on 14 separate occasions. Pruitt fought for years to prevent the release of emails subpoena’d by environmentalists expected to show his connection to the fabulously wealthy mining and energy extractors, the Koch Brothers; America’s third biggest polluters of all three carbon ‘sinks’.

Trump’s appointment as Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, had no public administration experience in the Education field, other than co-owning a business pursuing student debtors. A Christian fundamentalist, she’s the wife of Amway pyramid-selling multi-billionaire and friend of Trump’s, Dick DeVos – who as the owner of healthcare corporations stands potentially to benefit from the new American Care Act if it ever passes.

DeVos’ Spectrum Healthcare was revealed in February to be one of only two users sharing a mysterious email server in a small town in Pennsylvania, traced to the Trump Organization. The other user was the Russian Alfabank, owned by Mikhail Fridman, an oligarch who, Fortune magazine reported, was planning to divest his oil holdings in Rosneft and go into ‘US healthcare’.

Other, lesser appointments reveal a catalogue of incompetents promoted above their capabilities, with woeful CVs, suggesting that no-one in their right mind would want to work for this failing administration.

One success Trump can claim is the appointment of a far-right Supreme Court judge, Neil S Gorsuch, 49, who has an unblemished record of finding against individuals in cases involving corporations and whose career has been bankrolled by oil, sports and leisure industry magnate, Philip Anschutz (net worth $11 bn). To get him appointed, the Republicans on the Approvals committee had to get Congress to change the rules, having filibustered furiously for over a year to keep President Obama from filling the vacant position with a Democrat, but hey, it was a triumph. Of sorts.

Mr Gorsuch’s first act in office was to use his casting vote in favour of executing another black man.

Trump’s relationship with the press has been a disaster of epic proportions, thanks to his hapless, blustering, bullying dimwit of a Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, and his lunatic PR flack Kellyanne Conway – inventor of the ‘alternative truth’.

While there may be humour in the situation, less humorous have been the threats issued against journalists by Trump’s senior policy advisor, Stephen K Bannon; and now, hollow threats by the pathetic Reince Priebus, the White House’s sidelined ‘Chief of Staff’, to rewrite the First Amendment to the constitution in order to modify the concept of free speech for the press. Even to think that might be possible is to countenance the kind of authoritarian administration that characterized Germany in the 1930s; yet Trump’s compulsive, illiterate 3 a.m. Tweeting accusing minor female celebrities of being too fat makes him a pretty comic, second-rate Hitler.

Can we just laugh him out of office? Well, no. He wouldn’t even attend the annual dinner last weekend of the White House Press Corps he despises, after being insulted with humour last year. His only eye on the world is Fox News.

And it just goes on. The refusal to release his tax returns; the leaks, both intentional and not; the illegal profiting from foreign government money funnelled through his hotel in Washington, subsidised by the government estates department that owns the freehold of the building; the threats to sue anyone who writes the sort of things I am writing here; the smell of cover-up and national decay, the permanent smokescreen of confusion and chaos – the primacy of money above humanity.

Indeed, the only question one can ask is, in Trump’s own notorious words, just what the Hell is going on?

To say Trump’s presidency has thus far been a cataclysm and promises only to get worse is an understatement. His military men are still looking for some excuse to go to war, probably with Iran unless North Korea runs another nuclear test or Assad gasses some more civilians or China blockades the South China Sea. Maybe even with Russia, if they step out of line. He seems to have no moral compass when it comes to discussing pre-emptive strikes.

The energy industry with its vast power to lobby governments and to buy politicians like you’d buy a pound of bananas is clearly in charge now of both domestic and foreign policy, regardless of the increasingly alarming, adverse climate data Trump is rushing to suppress; in fact, you could describe it as a global coup unfolding, a grab for the last of our fossil fuel reserves. And the Pentagon is right there with them, Trump’s office is stiff with retired generals – he looks up to strict, authoritative men, like his Dad presumably. He’s a mess of post-parental conflicts and complexes.

Even now, teaching packs are being sent out to schools, telling children climate change is a hoax, there’s nothing to worry about. Will Mrs DeVos stop them? Well, she wants schools to teach Creationism and abstention rather than birth control, she’s homophobic too, so the Pumpkin doubts it. Obama’s liberal edict permitting transgender students to pee in whichever bathroom they prefer has also been rescinded.

Women’s rights too have come under ferocious attack, especially since the four-million march outnumbered Trump’s inauguration crowd; family planning clinics around the world have been defunded from government aid programs. Consumer protections, pollution controls, vehicle emissions limits are being trashed as ‘business-unfriendly’ – and to hell with children’s developing brains.

One hopeful sign, Trump himself has acknowledged in his 100-days interviews that the task of playing at being President is beyond him, telling the world how happy he was just running his family property business and franchising his name and Ivanka’s decorative schemes out to developers of Trump this-and-that around the world; her Chinese sweat-shop-made clothing ranges that he continues to promote on her behalf despite his hypocritical and economically disastrous demands that US businesses buy and sell and manufacture only in the USA; his Canute-like attempts to rollback globalization.

Healthcare? More complicated than expected. The role and purpose of opposition parties? Unexpectedly obstructive. Syria? Complicated. North Korea? His new friend Mr Xi, who executes more prisoners than Arkansas, has explained: it’s complicated.

The man demonstrates it with every breath: an arrogant, thin-skinned, spoiled, narcissistic, childish buffoon; ignorant, unlettered and not in control of his thoughts: he has no mental discipline, no ordered mind; he is observably barely literate: ‘Some of my best friends, contractors, good friends, can’t read or write.’ he told a campaign rally. ‘That doesn’t mean they’re not smart.’ He has stupid ideas, but reverences them as a toddler might proudly present its mother with a nappy full of shit: look ma, see what I just made!

His aides, alarmed, reported that he has the attention span of a four-year-old with ADHD and does not take briefings or read papers of state, he just watches TV all day between signing stuff he doesn’t appear to read. He spends three days a week golfing at Mar-a-Lago, at a projected cost to the taxpayer of $30 million a year; it’s another business, as well as his other golf courses around the world, that he continues to plug mercilessly for profit despite the clear conflict of interest.

He doesn’t care. The theft, the kleptomania are blatant, and his supporters don’t care as long as he allows the mentally ill to own guns – another of his early edicts. His sucking-up to the National Rifle Association has been craven and disturbing: especially from a former gun-control advocate, he now wants to arm the nation three times over, it’s great for jobs. Never mind the thirty thousand gunshot fatalities every year, against which ‘terrorism’, which he equates purely with Islam, white racist attacks don’t count, pales into complete insignificance.

Trump supporters are a kind of death cult.

It’s understandable they felt left behind, he was a symbol of change – only not in the way they expected. Many indeed hope he will bring about the End Times, when they shall see God, get to meet Jesus.

When he promised to ‘drain the swamp’ and has instead appointed lobbyists and Goldman Sachs executives and promised to let Tillerson’s buddies drill on open range in national parks and on monument land that is pretty much sacred to those people, when he cheats on his healthcare promises so their mothers and children are going to die prematurely from cancers, and stinking-rich corrupt Republican politicians tell them Jesus will take care of them if they live right, when he proposes to blow another $50 billion on the military, and they still think he’s great, that he’s cleaning out the stable and raising the stars and stripes, well, who are we to deny them this extraordinary fantasy world they’re living in?

It’s been 100 days that shook our world, and The Pumpkin can’t see the shaking is going to stop until Vice-President Pence exercises his constitutional right and duty to have the senile President carted off with his arms folded, like that’s ever going to happen; or until Mr Comey and the FBI get their finger out and arrest him; or Congress impeaches him.

Like that’s ever going to happen.

The best the USA can hope for is that he will eventually come to and realize, he’s too old and tired and befuddled to run again. Let Jared have the job; let Ivanka.

In the meantime, although the Democrats have also become flaccid tools of the corporate overlords, at least a Democrat victory in the mid-term elections next year might wrest control of the Congress out of the hands of the Republicans, many of whom are as batshit crazy, dumb, actually evil and corrupt as any of the swamp-monsters, billionaire Christian fundamentalists and fuel-fossils in the White House.

And hope for President Elizabeth Warren in 2020.

 

*Not so, we hear. Voting on the budget, following the global March for Science, Congress has inserted modest increases for federal science programs this year. Not all is rosy: Trump’s orders are for cuts to bite in 2018.

 

Postscriptum

My admiration for President Duterte of the Philippines just went up a notch.

Trump, whose new American Healthcare bill passed the House and if ratified in the Senate (unlikely) would see hundreds and thousands of Americans condemned to an early death for lack of medical care while the money goes to tax breaks for the wealthy, invited the self-confessed murderer to the White House.

And Duterte told him no thanks, he’s far too busy.

 

 

Whizz, bang, pop: The Pumpkin – Issue 15. Plus: Beating the Retweet; Tending to the Extremes.

Mr Xi reveals he also has tiny hands. So far, so good.

Before we start, will the BBC please sack their supine, regime-compliant, uncritical so-called ‘Senior US Editor’ John Sopel? The man is a pathetic pushover, a Trump shill who makes no effort to investigate, establish or explain the unpleasant truths behind his shallow, cliche-ridden reports but merely contents himself with praising the satanic Orange Liar and its traitorous regime.

Fuck him. He is less a journalist than a PR baboon.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/live/bbcone

(Is it okay to say this sort of thing over the Interwhatsit? I mean, they won’t withdraw their advertising? Ed.)

For a complete contrast to the routine disgraceful normalisation of Trump’s dystopian White House in UK media, The Pumpkin suggests you read Adam Gopnik’s piece in The New Yorker, 6 April. It’s not as long as the URL would suggest:

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-new-dark-art-of-trump-towerology?mbid=nl_TNY%20Template%20-%20With%20Photo%20(154)&CNDID=49581041&spMailingID=10780658&spUserID=MTkwODY5NzgyMTM0S0&spJobID=1140557724&spReportId=MTE0MDU1NzcyNAS2

Thank you, carry on.

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Where’s this going?

By: Pumpkin Chief  America Editor, John Sopoor ©2017 @anywherebuthere

The world is agog. What does this overnight change of policy towards Syria mean?

My assumption is it means General McMaster is now running the country, and after rationalising the Bannon problem on the Security Council has taken Jared Kushner under his wing; while Ivanka will have “softened” her loving father’s approach with a few tearful, well-chosen words about dead “beautiful” children; as if Assad hasn’t been killing both beautiful and plug-ugly children indiscriminately by the thousand for the last six years while Trump supported his predecessor’s drone-infested non-intervention policy that he now says was responsible for the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. (The UN has charted 161 chemical attacks during that time.)

(And as if he didn’t have his goons throw a woman with a “beautiful” crying baby out of one of his campaign shenanigans last year. And as Jonathan Freedland points out in The Guardian today, as if Trump hasn’t been trying for weeks to ban Syrian children from fleeing to safety in the USA.)

It means that Mr Trump is holding a summit with President Xi today – ringside tickets at $200 thousand apiece – and wishes to send a strong signal from General McMaster that he means business over North Korea, business over the South China Sea, business over… er, business. Sixty cruise missiles at $832 thousand each just to crater an airfield is not a rap over the knuckles for Assad, it is a show that the Orange Oligarch can afford to blow $50 million of US taxpayers’ money on a one-night stand. Sixty missiles incidentally manufactured by Raytheon, a company listing as a stockholder, one… er, Donald J Trump.

It no doubt amused someone that President Xi learned about the assault over dessert. After all, did the Chinese not invent fireworks?

It means Mr Trump has had a chat with Mr Putin who has reluctantly agreed to get his men out of the target area while Mr Trump has a play with his missiles. Suitably patriotic images of their bright, hopeful rocket trails leaving US destroyers up past Old Glory into the night sky have been distributed, and Mr Trump’s weak and failing old eyes will have sparkled in the light. The chat probably took place a few days ago, when Mr Trump called to commiserate with Mr Putin over the St Petersburg train bombing.

Hope that it represents any sort of a coherent policy shift on Syria seems less certain. The mainstream media held in such contempt by Bannon/Trump has rushed yet again to hail this example of his maturity, firmness and wisdom, as they did after his disastrous budget speech that had only the virtue of not having been written by him. The media has got to stop normalising Trump and support those in government and the security services who are working to impeach him.

However much you respect the office, the tenant is not what you would wish him to be. He is a well-suspected financial criminal, a con-man, a compulsive liar, a nepotist and serial bankrupt with traitorous and amoral associates. He owes millions of dollars to your enemies’ private and State banks. He is so clueless and biddable as to be a danger to world peace. Find somebody better.

I am reliably informed by MSNBC that of the 530 vacancies in the State Department that opened up at the start of the Trump administration, for want of a better word, 76 days ago, including most of the top diplomatic positions, only 12 have so far been filled. There is still no China desk, so Mr McMaster will have had his work cut out preparing the ‘President’ for the summit.

The senior diplomat, the unqualified Mr Tillerson is operating virtually a high-wire act without a net: he travels with just a small clutch of ex-oil industry cronies and no press pack. He doesn’t trust civil servants, and indeed staffers have been ordered not to address him, or even to look at him directly. (This might be because he is too important, blindingly effulgent even, but it looks to me more like shame.)

It seems to suggest that negotiators with any Middle Eastern diplomatic experience are going to be thin on the ground, despite Kushner’s baptism of fire on a joint Iraq-Kurdish security round-table last week at which the only other US delegate supporting the 14-year-old plastic wunderkind appears to have been a man identified as one of Mr Trump’s personal bodyguard; a goon in a track-suit prominently displaying the Adidas logo.

Where I am struggling for air is to understand why no-one has asked if, the instant Mr Trump makes the inevitable gaffe with ‘Xi who must be obeyed’, the Chinese leader would not simply ask for the money back? Although China has recently dumped a lot of US debt, which has fallen to only $1.12 trillion (Japan is now America’s largest creditor), Mr Trump and his business associates have outstanding loans from Bank of China (and other banks) worth almost $1bn (Mother Jones).

Then, it wouldn’t be the first time the President has defaulted on his debt.

Only previously, he didn’t have the American taxpayer to cover it; and $50 million-worth of 1,000-lb whizzbangs to brandish at his creditors.

x

False flag? So fake!

The usual response from the Russian smoke machine to accusations of foul play is that the victims must have murdered themselves or possibly killed their own children to gain some more effective intervention from the Western powers.

In the case of the attack on Khan Sheikhoun they played a minor variation, suggesting that kindly Syrian fighter-bombers must have accidentally struck a warehouse known to contain rebel supplies of Sarin gas, thus inadvertently releasing a poison cloud. (If it was known to contain banned chemical weapons, why was it allowed to be bombed? The Pumpkin was under the impression the Russians had cleared out all Assad’s stockpile three years ago?)

The ingenious theory was debunked today by Guardian journalist Kareem Shaheen, who managed to get into the small town in Idlib where he found that there was indeed such a warehouse, but that it contained only silos empty apart from some rotting grain, and hadn’t anyway been significantly damaged. While yesterday, the BBC unearthed a chemical weapons military expert who pointed out that any Sarin if hit by a bomb would have been destroyed, as it burns.

Of more use to the Russian case however is the question, why would Assad still be using poison gas on civilians, when he is so clearly now winning the war?

Was he confident there would be no American retaliation? Was it a test of the Trump administration? Are there rogue elements in his airforce hoping to drive a wedge between the Americans and the Russians to take the heat off ISIS? Was it force of habit, simple terrorism? Or is Sarin just cheaper than using high-explosive? And if the Shayrat airbase was indeed the point of departure for Syrian planes armed with Sarin bombs, why didn’t Trump order the silos destroyed with specialist nerve-gas-killing warheads, which the Americans have? Why did he leave the base operational?

No-one has yet succeeded in answering it, and may never do. None of it adds up.

But certainly it has been of enormous value to the flailing Trump administration, providing him at last with the opportunity to look tough and decisive in a popular (-ish) cause with little risk of starting WW3 at the same time as diverting salacious media attention away from FBI and Senate probes into the treachery, confusion, financial finagling, nepotism and rank incompetence in the White House.

A helping hand, possibly, from his friend and banker, Vladimir Putin?

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Beating the retweet

What is going on?

YouTube appears to be censoring critics of the Trump regime.

Since a number of large advertisers pulled out of Google and other social media platforms in protest at their ads appearing coincidentally alongside ISIS beheadings and other horrid content, several online news and comment channels have had their advertising pulled too.

But not by the advertisers who want to remain with them.

Having invested heavily in studio facilities, broadcaster David Pakman has been increasingly despairing as despite his three million weekly pay-per viewings his ad revenue slumped to a low of 34 cents on one day last week. Pakman was unable to get any information out of YouTube but has been told by his furious advertisers that they have been told that the mention of various keywords in his opening title sequence referring to controversial subject matter that might be discussed on the show has triggered the ad placement algorithms to shut down their advertising content, leaving him with only the few small sponsors he plugs on-air and his subscriber base.

The Pumpkin also likes to steal material from the Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell shows on MSNBC. In the past week, several issues of the broadcast have become ‘Content unavailable’, although the shows are listed in the sidebars to the main pages. Where the show is available, the picture has been messed with so that you get a small vignette of the actual show inset into a larger frame of just picture noise, or a tiled duplicate of the smaller frame; apparently for ‘copyright’ protection purposes, although there was no problem with copyright up to ten days ago. Not only that, but content posted as ‘NEW’ with a today’s or yesterday’s upload date is often found to be weeks old.

Both Keith Olbermann and Mike Malloy seem not to have added any new content the past week. If they did, I can’t find it: ‘current-date’ postings to the YouTube menu of both broadcasters are anything from one month up to 7 years old. And if Thom Hartmann, the one broadcaster on RT America who isn’t a propaganda mouthpiece for the Kremlin, hasn’t just taken a vacation, that show’s got a problem too; since he’s no longer around*. *Oh no, he’s back now.

What is going on?

These are not ‘fake news’ merchants, Islamists, religious cranks, global warming deniers or Russians, although they are occasionally strong and insightful critics of the Trump regime; that as the number of FBI and Senate investigations into his criminality goes on rising is increasingly meddling with internet service provision. Measures taken or mooted in the past week include ‘data-strip’ searches of travellers’ mobile devices, and extending rights to sell or pass on supposedly secure customer data without notice – including passing a law making it illegal to ever reverse the ruling.

YouTube is owned by Google. According to the Independent, Google could take a $750 million ‘hit’ while it sorts out its placement problem, five of the world’s largest advertisers having pulled out – with YouTube its hardest-hit subsidiary.

Has someone taken a decision to adversely impact channels specifically critical of the administration, under the smokescreen of a general boycott? Is the discussion content of these non-mainstream news programmes too much for Google’s delicate constitution to stomach – even while they continue to profit from selling your data to any and everyone? Or while the platform ad revenues slump, hopefully temporarily, is it more profitable to just not pass on the money to the content providers, thereby keeping the cash flowing?

What is going on?

(PS 23/04, advertisers seem to have discovered power: a boycott by 50 advertisers on Fox News has brought down the serial sex-pest, Bill O’Reilly, despite his huge… er, ratings.)

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Tending to extremes

A lengthy piece in the London Review of Books (7 January, 2016) by the legendary investigative journalist and war reporter Seymour Hirsh identified what has been a long-running civil war in US strategy over Syria, between the CIA and the Pentagon.

Their two opposing views formed in 2013 and highlight an obvious concern, ignored by the CIA, that continuing to arm and train the rebel forces against Assad would merely encourage the migration of moderate opposition groups to more hardline militias such as Jabhat al-Nusra and ensure a constant flow of arms to ISIS.

The CIA appeared to have learned little from the 1970s conflict in Afghanistan, where their creation of the Muhajideen force to counter the Russian insurgency – as in Syria also there by invitation – led to the growth of the Taliban. In 2013, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, the DIA however, took the opposite view, in alignment with the Russian policy, arguing that Assad was the better option as his removal would inevitably lead to extremists taking over, as they had done in Libya after the downfall of Gadaffi.

And the Director of the DIA from 2011 to 2014 was… General Michael T Flynn.

Thus, according to the Hirsh account, a secret policy was adopted of supplying the Assad regime indirectly via allies including France and Germany with ‘leaked’ US military intelligence, behind the backs of the Obama administration.

The dilemma for all the Western nations in Syria has simply been that, while everyone identifies Assad as the villain of the piece, an urbane, softly spoken, courteous and well-educated torturing, murdering, psychopathic pragmatist who gas-bombs his own people, before the war his broadly secular regime represented and possibly still represents the best hope for stability in the region and a bulwark against Iranian-backed Shi’a extremism; which for some reason we still regard as worse than Saudi-backed Sunni extremism.

This is now, one would have thought, a pretty optimistic view. Without continued support, either from Russia alone or a coalition of the unwilling, Assad could not regain and retain power while spending hundreds of billions of dollars on reconstruction, without maintaining his brutal repression of opposition elements and a flow of cash from China. The Russians certainly can’t afford to rebuild dozens of ruined cities.

To say as Tillerson was until this morning, that the ‘Syrian people will decide’ who is to lead them is just fanciful: the prospect of holding free and fair national elections beyond Assad’s safe-area west of Damascus, dominated by his own Alawite party, is surely non-existent; even if the voters were to return from the refugee camps in Turkey and the chilly fields of Croatia and Bulgaria to their blasted cities, the disruption has been almost total. Were they able to, by some miracle, it is certain they would vote Assad out. You imagine he would contemplate that possibility for one moment?

Now, however, with Russian intervention designed to break the deadlock and create a barrier – with or without Assad – against the spread of  Islamist contagion northwards into the Caucasus, thus putting the Russians into direct conflict with the generally anti-Assad, non-interventionist policies of the NATO alliance, America is in a pretty impossible position: arming and training the same supposedly moderate militias the Russians are trying to obliterate, but with both sides taking direct action against ISIS under a shared-skies arrangement that has now broken down as a result of Moscow witholding co-operation in feigned protest against Trump’s gestural rocketing of the Shayrat airbase.

Paint Turkey into the picture, however, its complex love-hate relationship with Russia, the Kurdish nationalist dimension, the bizarre machinations of its president-for-life, and you start to run out of mental capacity to grasp the full canvas. (Especially when you add-in China’s soft-power ambitions in the region….)

So we’ll ignore all that and speculate wildly instead about the energy industry.

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Noble gases

One of the reasons no-one has been too exercised about the civil war in Syria is that Syria is not to any great extent an oil-producing nation; unlike its neighbour, Iraq; where the oilfields lie mainly in the northern area where Kurdish nationalist ambitions have created a proto- home state.

Offshore it’s a different story, with massive undersea gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean opening up opportunities for Israeli and US players.

Thus far, there appears to have been no exploration off the Syrian coast. But there seems to be no reason why the field should not extend that far north; indeed, there may be some additional reason for Moscow to take an interest: not to encourage, but to suppress competitive production.

The major fields under development are in the politically tortuous areas of Israeli waters, where an Oklahoma-based company called Noble Energy is sitting on massive reserves that are the subject of a legal action in the Israeli courts that has prevented them from exploiting their find. A decision is awaited later in the year.

The problem for all the energy players in the region is that there is so much gas under the sea – and maybe under the adjacent land; the Israeli- occupied Golan Heights, for instance – that prices have been tumbling; which naturally adds to Russia’s woes in the wake of the collapse in global oil prices; Russia being the dominant supplier in the region, and to Eastern Europe. But few buyers are willing to pile in to share in the bonanza if they know prices are only going to fall once they’ve signed the contract.

So it would be in Russia’s interests to restrict the supply of gas and force the price up; while at the same time using its Latakia and Tartus bases in Syria to break out of its Black Sea bailywick and project a little more ‘hard power’ in the region.

Noble, however (we’re not supposed to say who it is) in conjunction with an Israeli company, Delek, is talking of bypassing Syria to build an undersea pipeline directly to flood the Turkish energy market.

This would also conflict with Russia’s interests, as Gazprom is anxious to extend its market reach beyond the area of Ukraine, from which it profits little by exporting gas to a country that often fails to pay for it. And Gazprom also sells to Turkey and would not like to see its price undercut by Israeli gas. Turkey in turn is showing signs of fomenting trouble again in bi-partite Cyprus, which borders the gas fields to the west; and in other disputed Aegean islands. Does Erdogan have ambitions to explore and exploit his own ‘domestic’ energy sources?

There is the minor problem, too, that another major field is sitting off the coast at Gaza, discovered by British Gas. Israel is under pressure from Turkey to let the Palestinians immured in Gaza develop it as a means of providing themselves with a productive economy. There are both good and not so good reasons to say yes, since more prosperity for Gaza would reduce the hold of Hamas on the populace, but it’s being fiercely contested by rival interests.

And a shareholder in Noble is… President Donald J Trump. (Or was, under the Emoluments Clause he’s not supposed to be profiting from foreign investments; although the words ‘conflict’ and ‘interest’ are among the many thousands missing from his vocabulary.) Hence the presence of Noble director, George Papadopoulos as Foreign Energy Security advisor to the Trump team. (Another climate-change denier, incidentally, from the oil-soaked Hudson Institute.)

The Jerusalem Post (23 January reported on a productive meeting in Washington between Papadopoulos and ultra-right Israeli settler leader Yossi Dagan, after which George purred: “We are looking forward to ushering in a new relationship with all of Israel, including the historic Judea and Samaria” – settler code for the East Bank. Settlers are the last people who would approve a deal on gas with the Palestinians. In February, after a meeting with a bemused Prime Minister Netanyahu, Trump modified US policy on settlements and greenlighted a return to the ‘one-state solution’, effectively marginalising the Palestinians as second-class Israelis living permanently within a system of religious and ethnic discrimination.

Which might all sort of explain why General Flynn, who since leaving the Army has been earning (and failing to declare) large sums of money as a PR consultant of various kinds to the anti-Israel Erdogan regime, while also working for several Russian interests, and having fed all that US military intel to the Assad gang, is no longer persona grata in the Oval Office, and instead is urgently seeking the protection of the FBI.

A version of the story can be found on the RealNews channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO13RDfDWMQ

The Pumpkin – Issue 13: Jim’ll Brexit: There is no end to this conspiracy. And: Hey everybody, Rex Tillerson!

It’s Budget Day on the Hill

Okay guys, I found the money, Vladimir lent it to me. Let’s get spending.

Jim’ll Brexit

The question The Pumpkin would like to ask is, to what extent is Russian interest in the US election a continuation of the old Cold War and Putin’s ambitions to destabilise the West – or is it something quite new and excitingly different?

While the media focus is  on the Congressional Committee hearing at which FBI Director, James Comey, confirmed with his lovely eyes that the security police are looking into connections between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence, hopefully not forgetting the money-laundering, the ‘Enemies of the People’ may be ignoring other, perhaps more disturbing connections between far-right Christian fundamentalist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic groups in Eastern Europe, possibly funded by Russia, to members of the current Trump administration.

Former Methodist minister and convicted criminal, Jim Dowson is a virulent anti-abortion campaigner and extreme Protestant  loyalist from Northern Ireland (no jokes about ‘Orange men’ now. Ed.), with connections to Hungarian and other East European nationalist groups who like dressing up and marching around.

He’s frequently labelled in the press, ‘millionaire Jim Dowson’, although The Pumpkin’s limited researches have been unable to establish any source for that fact. He owns no businesses, seemingly; is CEO of nothing. Wherefore then, apart from having been a fundraiser for nationalist charities (and not apparently well trusted in the role) does he become a millionaire?

dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/exclusive-bnps-scots-fundraiser-is-criminal-1025700

Among things we have established is that he is an unpleasant piece of work who delights in publishing the names and addresses of employees of family planning clinics. He has also been videoed dressed in camouflage gear on a ‘hunting expedition’ with armed vigilantes on the Bulgarian-Turkish border – hunting Syrian refugees.

According to Wikipedia, who got the info probably from the anti-fascist group Searchlight:

“Dowson has been observed in eastern European countries with his latest venture, the Knights Templar International (KTI)*, along with former BNP (British National Party) leader Nick Griffin and a Hungarian anti-abortion campaigner, Imre Teglasy.

“Dowson’s last sighting, according to the Daily Mirror, was on the Turkey-Bulgaria border with the KTI supplying equipment to a vigilante paramilitary group, the Shipka Bulgarian National Movement, to hunt down asylum seekers.

“Dowson was subsequently reported as having developed close links with Russian extremist Aleksandr Dugin, with Dugin aiding Dowson in the establishment of a Belgrade office for his internet activity in support of the ‘alt-right’.”

* No immediate relation to the late-medieval religious order that committed unspeakable atrocities against the Muslim population of the Holy Land.

nytimes.com/2016/12/17/world/europe/russia-propaganda-elections.html

Now, Dugin is a bit different: not your average fascist bully-boy, he is a well-bearded Russian philosopher – the son of a KGB man – respected on the far-right, and spiritual guide to Vladimir Putin. He has said he wants to bring on the ‘end-times’. Thus he fits in almost perfectly symmetrically with Steve Bannon. Described as a modern Rasputin, Dugin in turn is sponsored by “Konstantin Malofeyev, a multimillionaire with ties to the Russian Orthodox Church” (Independent. See below).

Dugin is said to have been instrumental in bringing about a rapprochement between Putin and the increasingly paranoid and authoritarian Turkish president Erdogan in the wake of the shooting down in 2015 of a Russian fighter over the Syrian border: thus, Islamic Turkey is moving out of the ambit of Europe and more towards a pro-Moscow line of pragmatic non-opposition to the war-criminal Bashar al-Assad.

Russia and Turkey being two countries where, it may be noted, President Trump’s sacked National Security Advisor General Mike T Flynn was doing bidness last year. Turkey is, of course, a NATO country.

“…Dugin, whose views on the evils of liberalism have been cited by Bannon and other far-right leaders … also moved Russia a step closer to fulfilling his vision of unwinding the US-led global order, in part by luring Turkey away from NATO and creating a “Russo-Islamic pact” that includes Iran.” (Ibid.)

Dowson is linked too with László Toroczkai, the extreme right-wing mayor of Assotthalom, in Hungary – the village where, the BogPo reported some time ago, Muslim migrants are ‘banned’ from settling, even to the extent that specially designed traffic signs are to be found, excluding people wearing Islamic dress. (BBC report)

And alt-right watchers will have noted the name of Nick Griffin, one-time leader of the British National Party, who is now based in Hungary – not a million miles from Dowson’s Russia-funded Budapest office, one might assume. Clearly, they have patched up their differences following Dowson’s departure from Britain First – a group he founded, but whose attacks on mosques he felt were ‘un-Christian’.

This story is positively trammelled with such weird contradictions: indeed, the KTI website specifically states that attacks on other religions are against the Biblical traditions of Christianity. There seems to be an element of fantasy in Dowson’s crusade for some long-ago, lost age of purity and chivalry. This puts him in the same league as some of Trump’s immediate circle: not racist, but purist, could be Stephen K Bannon’s motto.

But all agree, the coming war will be between Christianity and Islam for the soul of the world.

The founder of an alt-right website called ‘The Patriot News Agency’, Dowson also interferes in other countries’ elections. Again from Wikipedia:

“Dowson described his strategy as spreading “devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and soundbites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning.”

Yet Dowson has no apparent dog in the US election fight; nor any specific reason to support Trump, other than a generalised desire to cause trouble benefitting the Russian campaign of destabilization.

Among the ‘memes’ he is alleged to have spread is the story of Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, operating a worldwide paedophile ring from the basement of a Washington pizza restaurant – a story so preposterous that only forty per cent of Donald Trump’s supporters were inclined to believe it.

And his next ‘project’ is to bring about Scottish independence and the dissolution of the United Kingdom. According to the New York Times:

“The ex-Orange Order member, who along with his family is based in Northern Ireland but spends considerable time running the rightwing agency in eastern Europe, claims his networks have a global reach of 50 million online viewers, 17 million of whom live in Britain.

“A one-time member of the far-right Britain First organisation, which he resigned from three years ago, Dowson said he would be directing the pro-independence online media campaign from his bases in Hungary and Serbia as well as in Britain, including from an office in Stirling.

“(He said) ‘This is a global network that I believed helped elect Donald Trump and backed Brexit to win.'”

For many people prepared to overlook the obvious point that Britain held real powers within the EU and extended its influence into Europe, rather than having genuinely been in the position of surrendering sovereignty to “unelected bureaucrats in Brussels” – a meme so simple and easy to spread among the British Dumbfucks that even Dowson might have thought of it, Brexit was about ridding Britain of foreign influences. For some, like Dowson, the Brexit campaign was a moral crusade to restore the ethnic and religious (i.e. Christian) purity of the British race; although he now sees that it might have to lead to a federal Ireland rather than a hard customs border.

How like Islamic fundamentalists Christian fundamentalists are.

theguardian.com/politics/2017/mar/20/jim-dowson-back-scottish-independence-patriotic-news-agency-far-right?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=218243&subid=19570602&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

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Power Hungary

Dr Sebastian L v. Gorka “attended St Benedict’s School in west London, and received a lower second-class honours (2:2) Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Theology from Heythrop College, of the University of London.” (Wikipedia). Heythrop was founded in 1614 in Louvain, Belgium, at the height of the Inquisition, by the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits, to whose stern moral code its website suggests it retains some residual connection.*

Born in Britain to Hungarian refugee parents, nationalists who fled from the Soviet repression of 1956 (we gave refuge to 27,000 Hungarians, rather more than we seem to have managed with the desperate Syrians), Gorka re-migrated to Hungary in 1992, where he ended up in 1998 as an advisor to the authoritarian nationalist premier, Viktor Orban.

In the meantime he had somehow converted that pretty poor degree into a PhD in Political Science from Corvinus University, Budapest, and become an expert on Islamic terrorism. In 1996, he married an American heiress from an old Methodist family in the ironmongery business, Katherine Fairfax Cornell. A trawl of the sources fails to produce an estimate of her worth, or indeed that of the family business, that nowadays makes architectural steel products. All we find on their website is that the company used scab labour to break a strike in 1987 and probably turns over $10 million a year.

Yet what Katy Cornell Gorka’s family has in common with Donald Trump is that girders from the original iron smelting works took “New York’s buildings from four stories in the 1850s to thirty stories by 1899.” (Wikipedia). Even the Statue of Liberty stands on Cornell iron.

“Katharine C. Gorka is the President of the Council on Global Security, a think tank that works to develop, advocate, and build support for policies that will promote freedom of belief and defeat extremist ideologies*. From 2009 to 2014 she served as Executive Director of the Westminster Institute, based in McLean, Virginia. Her company, Threat Knowledge Group, provides counter-terrorism training and expertise to the FBI, Special Operations, local law enforcement and military. She co-edited the volume Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism and appears frequently in the media, including FOX News, Breitbart, EWTN, CBN, and al-Hura. Most recently she co-authored the report ISIS: The Domestic Threat.” (Amazon book page biography)

*The website for this organization is non-responding. A message merely says it is not currently available.

On November 30 2016, The Intercept reported that Gorka had been appointed to be part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s transitional “landing team.” (Wikipedia) Her role, like her husband’s, was to advise der Trumpenführer on the causes and growth of Islamic fundamentalism. (You recall, he ‘knows more about ISIS than many generals, believe me’. Gorka’s input may be why he thinks so.)

Yet there is something quite peculiar about her.

Living in Hungary for 12 years, Katy Gorka is a former director of the National Forum Foundation’s Budapest office – whose URL brings up only ‘Freedom House’, a think tank founded by the Roosevelts in 1941. “The organization’s annual Freedom in the World report, which assesses each country’s degree of political freedoms and civil liberties, is frequently cited by political scientists, journalists, and policymakers. Freedom of the Press and Freedom of the Net, which monitor censorship, intimidation and violence against journalists, and public access to information, are among its other signature reports.” (Wikipedia/Freedom House website)

Political freedom? Civil liberties? Freedom of the press? Almost nothing could be further from the domestic policies of Viktor Orban, to whom in 1998 Katy’s husband Sebastian was an ‘advisor’. But amid all the high-minded talk about monitoring the kind of intimidation against journalists which her Presidential employer is busy practising, she is also a contributor to Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News – an alt-right website pushing a racially pure, Christian agenda; often of false news, and whose former editor warned the press a month ago to ‘shut its mouth’ and think carefully about what they print about the President in future.

And one of Trump’s first executive orders, which none of the media has seen fit to protest about, was the gagging of  public access to information in the shape of the normal dissemination of news and scientific papers through the federal Environment and Parks agencies, and NASA’s Earthwatch program. Where did he get that from? He’s not thought to have any ideas of his own. An unusual approach to ‘freedom of belief’.

In 2012, ‘Dr’ Sebastian Gorka applied to become an American citizen.

“We are deeply concerned by reports that Dr. Gorka concealed the material fact of his membership in the Vitézi Rend, a far-right anti-Semitic Hungarian organization, when he applied for U.S. citizenship. As you know, it is unlawful to make a false statement in naturalization proceedings (18 U.S.C. 1015) and procuring naturalization by concealing a material fact or willful misrepresentation is punishable by denaturalization (8 U.S.C. 1425, 8 U.S.C. 1451).”

So wrote three US Congressmen recently upon learning that Gorka is, or may be, an illegal immigrant.

businessinsider.com/sebastian-gorka-vitezi-rend-nazi-trump-2017-3: 3 US Senators calling for inquiry into his immigration declaration

According to some sources, through his father Gorka – who includes in his full name the telltale lowercase letter ‘v’ for Vitez – is a virtually lifelong member of Vitézi Rend, an extreme Hungarian nationalist group with maybe as many as twenty thousand members. His membership has been admitted by its leaders, although he’s denied it. How did anyone know? He appeared on TV wearing a jacket of the type worn ceremonially by members of the society, the Bocskai tunic, and sporting their pin-badge – which he later explained was only a tribute to his late father.

Again, when we look at the origins in the 1920s of this secretive society we find that same element of East European chivalric mysticism and a yearning for racial purity, enshrining the virtues of the knightly warrior caste that had once stood against the advance of Islam, that formed such a strong part of the National Socialist ideology in Germany in the 1930s. Indeed, the Order of Vitez, founded by Admiral Horthy to celebrate the heroism of fallen Hungarian soldiers of the First World War, was encouraged by – and perhaps even assisted – the Nazis during the occupation in 1944 as they hastened to eliminate 800,000 Jews ahead of the advancing Red Army.

Gorka is a naturalized American citizen. He gained his citizenship in 2012 but his acceptance may now be in doubt as it is reported he made no mention on his application form, a compulsory question, of his membership of Vitézi Rend, which is listed in the US as a banned organisation for its associations with the wartime Nazi occupiers in Hungary.

In addition to being cited as a member of and contributor to, a speaker at, numerous academic institutions and think tanks, in January 2017 Gorka assumed the position of Deputy Assistant Security Advisor on Terrorism in the Trump Administration. How did Trump get to know about him? Gorka immediately became a member of an internal White House team known as the Strategic Initiatives Group, which was set up by Trump’s Chief Policy Advisor, Steve Bannon, together with Trump’s annointed, his son-in law Jared Kushner, to act as a counterweight to the normal channels of advice the President might receive on matters such as national security and foreign policy, to prevent him being led astray by outside experts infected with things like knowledge and sanity.

thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/31/steve-bannon-builds-a-new-node-of-power-in-the-trump-white-house.html

While some academics and military people say he’s pretty sound on Islamic jihad, basically arguing that the West is at war with Islam already, the peer-reviewed journal of terrorism research, Terrorism and Political Violence, has never used him as a reviewer, because according to associate editor Lawrence P Rubin, he “is not considered a terrorism expert by the academic or policy community.” (Wikipedia)

From 2014 to 2016, Gorka was an editor for National Security Affairs for the Breitbart News Network, where he worked for Stephen K. Bannon.

Surprise, fucking surprise.

Everything to do with Trump sooner or later comes back to Bannon, Breitbart and the illegal movement around the globe of vast sums of Russian money: the so-called “Global Laundromat”.

How much of that money is finding its way over to ‘whiter-than-white’ organizations led by agitators, disruptors and misty-eyed, medieval-Christian revivalist ‘millionaires’, we wonder?

*On re-reading, I have just spotted this potential connection with Steve Bannon, who is associated with the conservative leader of the Jesuitical Catholic fringe group, Opus Dei, Cardinal Burke.

Correction: Cardinal Burke is not the ‘leader’ of Opus Dei but merely ‘associated’ wiith the leadership.

Postscriptum, 1 May

Following a shakeup or ‘palace coup’ instigated by ‘Mr Kushner’ and the new Pentagon hawks installed in key advisory roles – a military takeover – both the Strategic Initiatives Group and ‘Dr’ Gorka are no longer part of White House policy advisory arrangements; Steve Bannon is no longer a permanent member of the Security Council although he retains his role as ‘senior policy advisor’.

Ivanka Trump is now the ‘First Daughter’ – her stepmom remains a prisoner in the penthouse at Trump Tower in New York – and officially in post as ‘advisor’ to Orange Daddy. She continues to advertise Trump businesses, including Trump Tower, Manila – Mr Trump has welcomed the squalid little thug, President Duterte of the Philippines , to the White House, in line with his general policy of admiring ‘strong leaders’ who remind him of his father.

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There is no end to this conspiracy.

I’m trying to remember what I was doing at the age of 42. It’s a bit hazy. I think I’d just started a small PR business with an ethical charter, supporting small environmental businesses and NGOs by devising joint promotional programs with bigger clients needing to improve their ‘green’ credentials. It folded five years later because none of them would pay their bills on time.

At 42, billionaire investment manager Constantin Malofeyev (see above) is one of the movers and shakers behind a religious revival movement that has captured the White House without a shot being fired. From Vanity Fair:

“As a believer in the Russian empire on a cultural and religious level, Malofeyev’s goals align with those held by some of Europe’s fringe parties. Both would like to see the weakening of the European Union.

“In 2014, Malofeyev attended a Vienna-based conference for Europe’s far-right parties. Also in attendance were Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, who openly supports Putin (she has called for the removal of sanctions) and accepted at least 9 million euros in Russia-backed loans in 2014; and Austria’s Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party, which was recently defeated in national elections.” (Presumably not the outcome General Michael T Flynn was hoping for at Trump Tower in December when he discussed doing a bit of PR for him. Ed.)

vanityfair.com/news/2016/12/mike-flynn-nazi-sympathizers)

thinkprogress.org/trump-russia-sanctions-1b20f8d48ded#.46jtlm8e1

The Pumpkin is sort of waiting for the links between the Brexit campaigners and Putin’s Christian-right crusade to become more obvious. A less obvious link might be to Mr Paul Manafort, Trump’s erstwhile campaign manager, said to have been the recipient of a $12.7 million fee for ‘campaign advice’ (Oh, come off it! Ed. Really, where do I sign?) to the exiled Ukrainian kleptocrat, Viktor Yanukovitch; and also, of a $10 million a year PR retainer for several years from the Russian government.

The Daily Beast (August 2016) reported:

“The Associated Press has also found that Manafort helped route “at least $2.2 million in payments” from the Party of Regions “to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012” and did so in possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. (Was either of those firms possibly linked to General Flynn, The Pumpkin asks, idly? Or Mr Tony Podesta?)

“According to a leaked document that was “brought” to Vladimir Putin’s presidential administration, the takeover of Crimea may have been mooted in mid-February 2014, as independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported. Likely prepared in part by “Russian Orthodox businessman” and future separatist-financier Konstantin Malofeyev, the text envisioned a “launching of the process of the ‘pro-Russian drift’ of the Crimea and eastern Ukrainian territories” along with a “PR strategy” in advance of “referendums raising the question of self-determination and further possibilities of annexation to the Russian Federation.” The Daily Beast.

I guess if it can work in Ukraine, and Britain, it can work in Texas or Arkansas.

Remember the Alamo. Remember Dunkirk! Build that wall!

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A Game of Leapfrog

Over in France the waters are just as murky.

Already under investigation for allegedly paying his wife half a million Euro out of public coffers to do a few hours’ secretarial duty, with only days to go before the first round of Presidential elections that could see the alt-right ‘Marianne’, Marine le Pen, do well, former Prime Minister Francois Fillon is now accused of taking money from a Lebanese ‘businessman’ to fix a meeting between the head of global French energy company Total, and… President Putin.

An  article in the venerable satirical journal Le Canard Enchainé, reports that Fillon’s consultancy company 2F Conseil had earned $50,000 for setting up the 2015 meeting. According to a Guardian report:

“Fillon’s spokesman vigorously denied the allegation, saying Canard Enchaîné’s “insinuations” were “completely without foundation”. The Kremlin dismissed the report (encouragingly) as “fake news”.

“The claims are the latest in a string of accusations levelled at the beleaguered rightwing candidate, who languishes third in the opinion polls for the first round presidential vote in a month. He is also under scrutiny for accepting an undeclared €50,000 loan from a French businessman in 2013 and for the gift of bespoke suits worth up to €48,000 from another wealthy friend.

“Fillon has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing … saying … “I’ve made mistakes. Who hasn’t?”

Quite so. It explains perhaps why The Pumpkin has almost nothing in the bank, having made the mistake of failing to become a highly paid political lobbyist. (Oh, I thought you said ‘hobbyist‘!).

Thanks to social media, the vast amounts of dirty money sloshing around and the power-seeking ambitions of extra-national third-party actors it’s getting too easy for disruptors in the Kremlin and elsewhere to try to affect the outcome of elections, in what is increasingly evident is a deliberately orchestrated campaign to shake up the existing alliances in the West.

Their task is made easier still by the appalling venality of politicians like Fillon and, in Britain, George “eight jobs” Osborne.

As has been widely reported, with no prior journalistic experience the former Chancellor of the Exchequer has accepted an offer presumed to be somewhere in the mid-six figures to become the new editor of the London Evening Standard, formerly a newspaper but now the personal fiefdom and social diary of exiled Russian oligarchs the Lebedevs, père et fils.

That bloody country just won’t lie down.

And while The Pumpkin is conspiracy theorising, Mr Osborne and his friend, Mr Cameron, showed blinding incompetence in their ‘leadership’ of the failed campaign to keep Britain in the EU, focussing on what the Leavers dubbed ‘Project Fear’, an entirely negative assessment of the economic risks which they plugged relentlessly at the expense of any more positive reasons for remaining in Europe.

Is this a reward?

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Hey, everyone! Katy Gorka?

‘Hillary for President’ contributions to the 2008 primaries:

  • Gorka Enterprises LLC: $750
  • ‘Cornell’: $550

Big spenders! But get this… Hillary’s campaign coffers in 2008 also contained $800 electo-bucks donated by… 21st Century Fox TV!

Nothing like hedging your bets. Or mislabelling your post.

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Hey, everyone! Rex Tillerson?

A story on today’s Guardian quotes ‘sexy Rexy’, Trump’s normally taciturn Secretary of State, as saying he didn’t want the job. (It shows. Ed.)

He was looking forward to retiring to his ranch in Texas, he says, to enjoy his grandchildren (good luck with that, Rex – most people won’t get to enjoy theirs), his Old Age pension buoyed up by $245 million in free Exxon shares, but after Trump – whom he hadn’t previously known – offered him the post out of the blue at a surprise meeting called to “discuss the world”, and presumably how to end it, his wife told him: “God isn’t through with you yet”.

I’ve always felt I was appointed to high office by God, haven’t you?

I felt, you see, that God wanted me to be the boss of a bloated global corporation that endlessly lies and cheats and gouges the poorest people on earth while raping it of its commons for my own obscene enrichment and that of my billionaire friends at Davos, that tramples God’s Creation into the methane-pluming ground, heedless of warnings of the dire future it’s creating for the very survival of Mankind (we’re making the eye in that old needle as big as we possibly can.)

Sadly, as the Almighty is only a figment of the boundlessly optimistic American imagination, I’m sitting here writing this stuff instead.

Mysterious ways, and so forth.

Next time, eh?

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

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

The President is really wired

It’s all my fault, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, it’s like that.

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

There was no wiretap at Trump Tower.

Okay, now go ‘head…

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

You see what I mean?

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

 

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

24 hours ago…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh. My. God.

Did Judge Napolitano possibly read my Comment?

I was only joking, honest, your Honor.

 

Postscriptum

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

Should be an interesting conversation with Steve Bannon, then.

 

Oh God, make him stop!

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

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

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

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

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

Because it didn’t happen, okay?

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

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

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

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

She was not impressed.

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

x

The Flynn-flam #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the ridiculous to the sublime, you might say.

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

x

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

Mr ‘two-percent’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like ‘Trumpcare’, maybe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re being Dumbfucked, America.

Postscriptum

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

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

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

He is unfit, period.

 

Job for the boy

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

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

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

 

 

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

Food for thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Telegraph subsequently carried a story headed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We should be told.

But we probably won’t be.

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

 

Meanwhile, back in the Swamp…

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

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

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

Is there any end to this shit?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re fucked, America.

 

Mr Big-head

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, I was right about Cameron and the referendum!

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

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

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

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

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

*not.

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

So he never needs to work again?

Actually, he’s cheap at the price.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A man with a wallet for a brain

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

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

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

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

It has been known about for over a century.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re fucked, America.

And so are we.

x

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

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

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

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

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

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

That would be corruption.

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

 

Oh God, please make it stop! #2

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

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

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

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

But there you are.

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

It didn’t go well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You mean there are other things that were known?

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

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

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

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

I couldn’t possibly comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bang to rights

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

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

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

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

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

His case has just concluded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 10: It’s so unfair.

“All I ever wanted was to be loved and admired”, said Pumpkin-Trumpkin. “It’s so unfair!”

The tip of the iceberg

It seems a lifetime ago that the worst things Donald Trump was supposed to have been involved with were a phoney ‘University’ offering bogus degrees in estate agency to suckers paying thousands of dollars, clearly a PR program gone wrong;  and his apparent muddling-up of his personal finances – on which he might have been too smart to pay income tax – with those of his companies and his tax-exempt charity foundation, into which he rarely seems to pay anything, but out of which substantial funds seem to go on demand.

The first of those charges went away after he settled $25 million on the New York court to pacify claimants. He had previously also ‘donated’ $25,000 to a political group supporting the Attorney-General of Florida, probably illegally under voting laws, where he has substantial property investments, following which another investigation into the so-called Trump University seems to have sunk into the Gulf. Truly, money can’t buy you love, but it has its uses.

But the story may not yet have ended:

http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/trump-university-its-worse-than-you-think

Trump’s persistent refusal to publish his tax returns, expected to show what an unpatriotic, greed-fuelled, mean-spirited old ogre he is, his refusal to ‘recuse’ himself from many of his businesses or, at best, his insolence in placing his unconstitutional business affairs in the more than capable hands of his own children; the relentless plugging of his daughter’s personalised product ranges and his loss-making golf resorts, where he sells access to himself, are not actual crimes,  but merely evidence of the Trumpian ‘exceptionalism’ with which he disdains the world beyond Trump Inc. and abuses the office of President.

The strange thing about his character, The Pumpkin observes, is that for a Trustafarian born into a wealthy family, who need never have worked in his life, Trump acts at all times like an ass-poor Jewish or Italian migrant clawing his way out of the mean streets of the 1910s Bowery, willing to do absolutely anything, anything at all to survive. Values possibly inherited from his immigrant grandfather, who founded the family fortune from a brothel in the Klondyke.

His recent statements about Putin ‘the killer’ and how we know killers also exist in America may very well be an example of one of his famous Freudian ‘transferences’, wherein his many sweeping accusations against others are really a reflection of his own preoccupations. And his admiration for North Korea’s murderous Great Leader, Kim Jong-un, centres on the young – ‘what was he, 26? 27?’ – Kim having had the strength and resilience to ‘take over his father’s business’… just like you-know-who! Being a psychopath who had his uncle torn to pieces by starving dogs… well, that’s business.

Not a lot of attention has recently been paid to Mr Trump’s alleged inherited connections with former organised crime syndicates, which his father Fred Trump is said to have made back in the 1940s and ’50s while growing his New York property empire.

It’s considered unlikely that any developer would survive in a climate of intimidation and ruthless control over the supply of labour and materials without making accommodation with the city’s now legitimised old Sicilian families. Mr Trump has often been photographed at charity events in the company of one Joey ‘No Socks’ Cinque, a convicted art thief now an organiser of social occasions.

One of his earliest advisors, now dead, was the notorious Roy Cohn, of the notorious McCarthy trials, an attorney working for the mob who did dirty legal work, using the law and worse to crush the young Trump’s many opponents. Trump was also associated on the building sites with ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno, a convicted racketeer supplying concrete (!) at inflated prices; and with other known members of the Genovese family. I expect none of this material, widely available by Googling ‘Trump, mob’, has ever been proved in a court of law, even if such associations are in themselves illegal.

You see, Mr Trump is above all else a pragmatist. Don’t take my word for it, even the UK’s alt-right Daily Mail was shocked:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3716125/How-Trump-Mob-offer-not-refuse-killing-building-skyscraper-Donald-s-shrewdest-investment-MAFIA.html

Then there is his expressed admiration for President Vladimir Putin and his curiously gracious attitude towards Russia, the old enemy. Agreed, some thawing of relations would be nice. We don’t want another Cold War, another arms race. But there is a growing belief in the media – as The Pumpkin has been speculating for months – that somehow, Mr Trump may have got himself in a spot of bother financially with hard-nosed elements in the Moscow kleptocracy; the implication being that he is now effectively owned by it. It has nothing to do with ‘golden showergate’, or whatever the kompromat is being called, any politician would survive that sort of gossip nowadays.

At least six of Mr Trump’s campaign team are now alleged to have had contacts with Russian ‘diplomats’ before the election, a matter which is under investigation by the FBI to see whether there is a connection between those meetings, any possible breaches of State security, and the alleged hacking of the Democratic Party’s email servers. Mr Trump has hit back in characteristically bullish fashion by seizing on a story prefabricated by ranting shock-jock attorney, Mark Levin, passed to one of his most trusted sources, InfoWars, the barely-literate blog of crazed far-right vlogtroll Alex Jones and favourite reading of delusionary neofascist teenage baboons, and picked up by Breitbart News, the nihilist website co-founded by Mr Trump’s trusted consigliere, Steve Bannon and Mr Trump’s favourite, probably indeed his only, reading.

At six a.m. on Sunday, Trump was to be found tweeting, without a shred of evidence, that his predecessor, Barack Obama, the 44th President, had ordered the hacking of the phones in Trump Tower. The accusation bordered on paranoia, but may have been inspired by some vague memory of having met Rupert Murdoch. As only the FBI, CIA and other security agencies can legally (and physically) do that, hack phones; and require a warrant from a special closed FISA court that, if applied for, seems not to have been granted, FBI Director Comey has had to step in to say it’s nonsense; another intervention that has left Mr Trump no doubt screaming at his subordinates and kicking his little feet in fury.

In the past week, the journalist Rachel Maddow, broadcasting on MSNBC, has drawn attention to no fewer than three more matters of grave concern, any one of which if proven could potentially see Mr Trump not only impeached, but jailed for a considerable period of time. Again, all are extensively referenced by reputable online sources.

The first concerns Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Mr Manafort had to be ‘let go’ after it was revealed he had benefited to the tune of $12.7 million from his advisory relationship with Viktor Yanukovitch, the sticky-fingered Ukrainian president and Putin crony, who fled the country with, it’s said, $27 billion in public funds during the short-lived Kiev revolution in 2014. Manafort reportedly set up a number of small companies in Ukraine linked via Mossack-Fonseca in Panama with offshore investment trusts in the British Virgin Islands. One of his biggest investors was another Putin crony, Oleg Deripaska (net worth $5.1 billion), who was in for $19 million. Mr Deripaska was reportedly not happy when Mr Manafort reneged on his obligations to investors.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/16/donald-trump-campaign-paul-manafort-ukraine-yanukovich

http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/03/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-panama-papers

Other accusations of Russian money-laundering via Manafort’s shell companies have not so far stood up, but the tale is a murky one. And it has been noted that not a few Russian diplomats and businessmen having any possible knowledge of these affairs have suddenly died from natural causes, such as falling off tall buildings, since Trump came to power; or been recalled to Moscow.

One of the latter was Konstantyn Kylymnyk, a dual Ukrainian-Russian national and a known associate of Manafort’s, who is reported to have been present at a Trump rally where the Presidential candidate departed from an arranged speech to call for a halt to US military aid to Ukraine to help the elected government with its fight against the Russian military supporting rebels in the eastern Donbass region. Trump and Manafort initially denied making the decision to change the speech, but later Trump said it had been his, although he would give no explanation.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-diplomats-deaths-theories-putin-kremlin-a7602201.html

Mr Trump is reported to have suffered an alarming meltdown at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend, ranting and raging and reducing staffers to tears, over the news that emerged shortly after his address to Congress that his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, had ‘fessed up to meetings with the Russian ambassador, which he had previously denied under oath. Not because of what Mr Sessions may have done, according to the leaks, but because by confessing when he did, he stole Trump’s Congressional thunder!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-trumps-fury-the-president-rages-at-leaks-setbacks-and-accusations/2017/03/05/40713af4-01df-11e7-ad5b-d22680e18d10_story.html?utm_term=.5faf4faf7817

Mr Trump is perhaps understandably nervous about investigations that might attract attention to any personal dealings with Russia and its business community, that he publicly swears he never has had.

He recently appointed an ‘old friend’ of the family, Wilbur Ross to his team, in the important role of Commerce Secretary. Mr Ross (net worth $2.8 billion) was until 1 March a Director, vice-chair of Bank of Cyprus, where a number of sanctioned Russian so-called oligarchs close to Mr Putin (net worth $100 billion?) are thought to have private accounts through which they ‘clean up’ their ill-gotten gains by investing in legal entities abroad, such as property in Central London and New York. Excerpting from an original investigation by DCReport.org, the Daily Beast reports the following:

“The records Henry (a former McKinsey consultant now specialising in investigating corrupt banking practices)  combed through show that Ross and his team invested more than $1 billion in the troubled Bank of Cyprus. Ross became one of two vice chairmen of the bank. Putin appointed the other….”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/27/wilbur-ross-is-still-another-trump-cabinet-pick-with-underexamined-russian-ties.html

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article135001434.html

The chairman of the bank is Dr Joseph Ackermann, former CEO of Deutsche Bank, from whom Mr Trump reportedly borrowed $640 million in 2007 for a hotel development in Chicago and then at the height of the financial crisis declined to pay $340 million of it back, countersuing the bank for lending it to him in the first place. Dr Ackermann was in charge at the time Deutsche Bank was fined a record amount for money-laundering:

“On that chairman’s watch, Deutsche Bank paid $20 billion in fines. Among these was a $650 million fine for helping launder Russian money through Deutsche Bank offices in Moscow, New York City and Cyprus…. Deutsche Bank is Trump’s largest known lender, having extended him more than $300 million of loans that remain outstanding.” (Ibid.)

See also:

http://www.theguardian.com › Business › Deutsche Bank: How Donald Trump Became Deutsche Bank’s Biggest Headache

Clearly, if nothing else the President of the United States is deeply compromised by this adverse relationship between his debt and a foreign bank branch in Moscow.

Another Putin crony owning 10% of Bank of Cyprus is Dmitry Rybolovlev, who reputedly paid Mr Trump $100 million for a derelict, sprawling property in Florida, that Trump had paid $40 million to acquire just two years earlier. There is no suggestion that Mr Trump profited from the laundering of $60 million, but as he never lived there you would imagine he must have paid quite a corporation tax bill! The property was allegedly in such poor condition that it had to be demolished shortly afterwards. The money apparently came from Bank of Cyprus accounts.

MSNBC, the New York Times and many others report that Mr Rybolovlev, the ‘Fertiliser King’ (net worth $10 billion) has been sighted several times parking his impressive private jet on the same US airfields where the secondhand Trump Boeing was also parked while the Presidential candidate was on the campaign trail, and not so far apart; coincidence no doubt, perhaps Mr R. is simply a fan of Trump’s; a wealthy stalker. Perhaps he just wants his money back.

http://www.palmerreport.com/news/dmitry-rybolovlev-who-keeps-flying-in-to-meet-donald-trump-owns-russian-money-laundering-bank/1692

In the latest revelations, so outrageous that they could finally sink the legend of The Donald, it is alleged in a widely requoted article in the New Yorker magazine today that a phoney deal was set up using Ivanka as a go-between to build a ‘luxury’ Trump hotel in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, a hideous tower-block wits like myself might christen The Toenail, seemingly located next to a traffic intersection in a poor and grimy uptown suburb of Baku, with no sea view and no road access, that has turned into an abandoned ‘white elephant’ project since Trump became President.

The Trump connection there, the other partner, seems to have been a family business owned by billionaire Azeri transport minister Ziya Mammadov (official salary $12,000 a year) – a man with known financial connections to the brutal and repressive Iranian Revolutionary Guard, an organisation named as a sponsor of terrorism, which is thought to have put up the money for the project – they’ve got lots, apparently, and as sanctions prevent them spending it abroad they go in for these prestige development projects through wealthy intermediaries.

ForeignPolicy.com (among many others) reports:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/06/trump-hotel-in-baku-partnered-with-notoriously-corrupt-oligarch-with-ties-to-iranian-revolutionary-guard-corps-new-yorker-report-azerbaijan-iran-corruption-conflict-of-interest-mammadov

But why would the Revolutionary Guard be so stupid as to invest in a loss-making turkey like the Trump Toenail?

Only if the price was not, what you might say, the actual price, and the (possibly quite large – see ‘Florida mansion’) – discrepancy could be invested onwards in weapons and oil without busting the sanctions on Iran.

Poor Donald never seems to have his lawyers do due diligence on his business deals; he only uses them to silence his opponents and creditors.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/13/donald-trumps-worst-deal

The $64,000 question (how antiquated that figure now sounds!) is, can he be tied to these deals?

No US President in history, not even Nixon, surely has a record of corruption allegations, dubious associates and shitty deals as long, as devious, as vicious, as expensive and as global as this; all of which has yet to be proven in a court of law, but seems to be widely and confidently documented by a growing range of independent sources. Surely, the Republicans in Congress cannot go on ignoring the evidence out of blatant self-interest?

Yet millions of Americans still believe Trump genuinely stands for the little guy and the American way, for higher wages and full employment and cheaper, better healthcare, and all the other bullshit promises, and are not interested in hearing about any of this: it’s all ‘Fake news’. Obama and Hillary Clinton are the real villains; the media is the ‘enemy of the people’.

In 2005 a 65-year-old British businessman, Christopher Tappin, was jailed in the USA for 33 months after a lengthy extradition process, for selling a consignment of batteries potentially for use in Iranian missiles during a ‘sting’ operation by US federal authorities.

“Tappin was flown to El Paso, Texas via Houston and incarcerated in Otero County jail in New Mexico before his first court hearing. At his own request, he was held in isolation. He appeared in court on 29 February wearing an orange-colored prison jumpsuit, handcuffed and in shackles.” – Wikipedia

Can we ever see Mr Trump in an orange jumpsuit and shackles? Well, the batteries (35) were for use with the Hawk air-to-air missile, a system sold to Iran by the US military during the Reagan administration. Nobody thought to dress Mr Reagan in an orange jumpsuit, so it seems unlikely.

Not even his ‘measured’ speech to Congress, outlining his budget ambitions to give a $trillion tax cut to the rich and grossly bloat the defense budget for the benefit of contractors while gouging the poor and the sick and the immigrants, could possibly convince anyone of his real intentions; but the Dumbfucks just can’t, won’t listen. Nobody likes to accept they’ve been played like a well-tuned fiddle, not even when their mortgages are being foreclosed, their healthcare stripped away and their rivers polluted by Trump’s closest associates.

And this man is in charge of US foreign policy towards Iran.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if a deaf-blind orang-utan had run for office with a placard around its neck promising to ‘make America great again’.

But we know, don’t we.

Secretly we know.

 

What crawled out from under a…

One of Trump’s longtime buddies is a key White House advisor.

Likely substance abuser, Roger Stone, 64, has publicly called Hillary Clinton a ‘cunt’ and called for her execution. He uses vile racist and sexist language just to shock. He has inveighed against journalists with abusive tweets which he then retracts, claiming he doesn’t realise anyone else can read them.

He is currently busy, abusing anyone who fails to go along with Trump’s paranoid claim, based on nothing more than crazy tales on the neo-fascist  fake-news website he relies on most (after Murdoch’s Fox News) for info, Breitbart, that the devil, Obama, tapped the Presidential candidate’s phone (although he appears to have done nothing at all with the information he may thereby have gleaned!).

Mr Trump has stated, again by Tweet, a communications channel designed for airheads with ADHD, like himself, that he does not believe FBI Director James Comey when he says there is no truth in the allegation against President Obama. In other words, he trusts Breitbart – and the other crazed alt-right sieg-heiling teenage baboon-fodder websites – more than he trusts his own security services. No wonder they’re conspiring against him.

But of course it’s all a smokescreen to draw attention away from the alarming volcano of evidence linking the President with Russian and Iranian sanctions-busting, money-laundering activities (see above).

Stoned has also claimed (again retracted) to have a ‘back-channel’ to Julian Assange of Wikileaks (the slimy, self-regarding Australian narcissist, Assange is currently serving an indefinite prison sentence he imposed on himself when he took refuge four years ago in the basement of the Ecuadorian embassy in London to escape arrest and extradition to Sweden… (yeah, I know, that place again…) on a rape charge.

And lo, Wikileaks appears to have dedicated its sorry existence to taking down the American State – supporting Trump by channelling Russian hacks against the Clinton campaign, and now revealing the CIA’s innermost secrets as to how it is intruding into your internet-enabled kettle and hiding inside your TV to spy on you; a boot stamping on a human face forever, as Orwell put it.

Under any other circumstances one might applaud those ‘Snowdonian’ revelations, as we are broadly opposed to the Stasi State, so it sounds a mite hypocritical to criticise Wikileaks for it now.

But when it is done in the service of getting a so-called President elected who is doing, and licensing the doing by servile, crapulous and profoundly corrupt Republican Congressmen of so many horrible things, on the off-chance his gratitude will run to springing Assange with the co-operation of his new friend Theresa May, possibly in exchange for some shitty trade deal she is desperate for, under the noses of the Metropolitan Police and spiriting him away to America, where the other rather serious charges of hacking State Department intel will be dropped, The Pumpkin feels justified in taking a more high-minded Statist attitude than usual.

The reptilian Mr Stone is clearly someone who shares Trump’s complete lack of boundaries and his total moral relativism. They are, to put it mildly, visibly a matching pair of bunco-artists, lying their hideous old heads off and deliberately creating carnage and chaos, hollowing-out American institutions, even the State Department, that they hope will lead to a world better fitted for insatiable moguls to go on raping and pillaging, in which you and I become little more than servile wretches stunned by cultural mediocrity and surrounded by environmental devastation while they compete to become the first trillionaires on Mars.

Fuck ’em.

http://www.mediamatters.org/research/2016/05/09/comprehensive-guide-trump-ally-roger-stone-racist-sexist-conspiracy-theorist/210303

 

Lock him up. Then execute him.

Maybe Scott Pruitt, the butcher of Oklahoma, could be persuaded to perform the honours?

After all, former governor Pruitt will shortly be looking for a job. Excited Republicans in Congress have already brought forward a bill, abolishing his Environment Protection Agency.

As we know, his employer, President Trump has stated his belief that climate change is ‘bullshit – a Chinese conspiracy’.

The fact this grotesque, pig-ignorant arsehole is in the White House has greenlighted a bunch of dumbfuck Republicans to imagine they have a right to murder your children, deny life to your grandchildren, to massively increase the marginal profits of giant corporations that continue to rape the planet of its resources, starve its people and poison the air while paying massive bribes to keep those criminal fuckers, congenital cretins and fascist kleptocrats in office.

(Yes, I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine. So what?)

‘The Swamp’. That puddle of anoxic scum that comprises the paid lobbyists and Princeton-educated denizens of well-funded ‘think-tanks’ that reacts viscerally, ever alert to any criticism of their paymasters to instantly respond with pre-prepared slimy lies and obvious cunning distortions, to paint their honest opponents with grotesque dishonesties, heedless of the threat to life on Earth. That’s someone else’s problem.

Oh, but look, silly climate scientists can’t agree on whether it might rain tomorrow or the next day! They’re just trying to get bigger grants. They all want to put your taxes up, as well as their own. Look, it’s snowing! So they’re all wrong!

It’s fucking la-la-land.

The Swedish chemist (that foreign country AGAIN!) Walter Arrhenius discovered the ‘greenhouse effect’ of carbon dioxide emissions, 108 years ago. Some conspiracy. Almost as long-running as the gerrymandering, hypocritical fake-politics, the pork-barrel that is the Republican party.

And any position that fails to recognise the logic of the argument that says whatever is the cause of the problem, we should not be putting more CO2 into our thin sliver of breathable atmosphere than we already have, is a dangerously false position.

But look. We know that Exxon’s in-house people were fully aware of the probable consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels back in the 1990s. A policy decision was taken, not just to bury the findings, but to actively campaign against anyone repeating them. The travesty has gained so much traction since, that the majority of poorly educated but emotionally sensitive baboons surveyed now refuse to believe ANY experts, in ANY field of research; and vote for any moron that agrees.

So, hard cheese, you’re all going to die, your obese, shaven-headed, tattooed little scumrat kids too, texting their dying prayers, they won’t have time to breed your grandkids – and sooner than you think.

If you think I’m exaggerating the scale of the denial problem, I recommend you all to watch ALL of the documentary film linked below. (I know, my blog is preaching to the converted. Tell your enemies.)

Anglo-Dutch Shell is one of the world’s oldest and biggest oil companies. Since the 1930s, off-and-on, it has been sponsoring serious documentary films about our world. As they themselves say:

“The company created its Shell Film Unit 80 years ago under the guidance of the UK’s most influential documentary film-maker of the time, John Grierson (1898 – 1972). One of the first to see the power of motion pictures to educate and shape opinion, Grierson is still widely regarded (a copywriter, I’d have used ‘revered’, more accurate. Ed.) as the father of the documentary today.

“The films Shell produced set out to inform and entertain, using action and animation to explain the mechanical marvels of the age to a wide audience. They demonstrated how people around the world could overcome challenges in health, food and transport. The intention was not to advertise Shell’s brands: the film-makers consciously took a journalistic approach, and the company name and pecten logo appeared only at the end of films.” – Shell website.

In 1991, probably by mistake, it made this short film called ‘Climate of Concern’. It is the most reasoned, calm and lucid exposition of the climate problem EVER. (I contend that one of the problems scientists today have in getting across the urgency of the situation is how lousy and amateurish they are at communicating.) The scientific equipment shown is primitive, compared with what climatologists have now. But more compelling for that.

And it is absolutely, totally, 100 per cent believable, because it comes from the OIL INDUSTRY ITSELF.

I promise you, there is nothing scientists are saying now, and that criminal lunatics like Donald Jesus H. Trump are not desperately trying to deny, that was not fully known about in 1991, 26 years ago; and that has not been coming true since. (If you believe the story that there was a ‘hiatus’ in warming in the 2000s, you’re wrong. That was also a lie. The global average temperature has increased in EVERY MONTH since 1988, without exception. At the time the film was made, the annual average temperature was just 0.5% over what they think it was in 1880. Today, it’s 1.67% above what they KNOW it was. Temperature anomalies of +30 deg C were recorded this winter in the Arctic; +20 deg C in the waters of the North Pacific.)

Here in this 26-years-old documentary film sponsored by one of the world’s largest and oldest oil companies are: the problem, the probable consequences of the problem, and some possible solutions that we have totally failed to implement until now, thanks to industrial slaughtermen like the self-interested billionaire shitty coal-mining lobby-funding Koch Brothers and the smarmy, serious, handsome-looking bilgerat and pal of the Kremlin, Rex ‘Sexy Rexy’ Tillerson, late of Exxon-Mobil’s filthy global deals department, now (for God’s sake! Are you mad?) Secretary of State of the fucking United States.

And these shitbrains you put in the White House: these cynical, compulsively lying, money-obsessed, bullying, mentally diseased, life-denying, anaerobic bottom-feeding monsters with their military faces and snow-capped heads and suppositories up their asses you think in your fathomless dumbass ignorance are representing you and your best interests, who are going to put right all the terrible things their predecessors did to make you poorer and denied you more iPhones and health insurance and 32-ounce steaks and fucking 50-inch TFT TV sets with endless garbage gameshows and tacky car-showroom ads, these treacherous but engagingly incompetent inhuman succubi from Hell’s inner circle, along with your criminal President and his ‘policy’ cunts: the life-sucking wife-beater Bannon, the teenage college werewolf Miller, they too deserve no better fate than to allow Scott Pruitt to experiment on their writhing animate corpses with fucking useless chemicals from Amazon.us, to try to exterminate them before the warders go on overtime.

Watch this film, and get your pitchforks out and sharpened, because YOU’RE BEING EXPERTLY LIED TO:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTlYYlRN0LY

Thank you.