The Pumpkin – Issue 65: Did we really think it was going to be so easy?… Bar, bar, black sheep… Own gooaaaalll!… I was President of the United States (no, not that one!)… Daddy, I can’t breathe… GW: Meteorological meltdown

Quote of a while ago

“Allowing the fossil fuel industry to dictate our relationship to the environment is a form of collective insanity.” – Chris Hedges, US public intellectual, 2013

 

“Don’t be in such bad mood, comrade! Take silly box off head! We see highest cathedral spire in Europe, maybe throw scumbag off, what’s not to like?” Expelled GRU agents from Amsterdam arrive at Heathrow….

 

“History seems to have found a way of repeating itself in the sense that we have a “leader of the free world” who is profoundly uninterested in what you or I have to say on the subject of freedom…”

Did we really think it was going to be so easy?

We no longer recall what was the first appalling thing Trump did after he became president. A rash of articles and podcasts soon appeared, confidently predicting his imminent impeachment.

Possibly it was his transgressive inauguration speech: bitter and vengeful, no thanks to anyone, projecting a bleak view of a broken America, burning and crime ridden, a home to immigrant murderers and rapists, an economic basket-case humbled on the world stage – pictures which few in Washington recognized; promising nothing but the tough approach to everything, the ominous slogan Make America Great Again! holding out hopes of advancement for the white man, but nothing but more years of misery and abuse for the rest. The first US President to make a policy plank out of an ambition to jail his political opponents for imaginary crimes.

Twenty-two months – 600 weird and disruptive days – later, he’s still there, worse than ever.

Did we really think that you and we could bravely call ourselves The Resistance and, wielding the weapons of reason and logic, learning and tolerance, through our sheer niceness, disarm with mere words the lowering forces of the new brutocracy?

That our wit and sarcasm and aphorism-rich dinner-party conversations and books and essays and late night satire shows and blog posts by the million would soon remove the threat of a cunning and degenerate, criminal monster, a feral clown bent on absolute power, the naked horror of the unbridled neoliberal world he represents?

I’m sorry to keep harking back to Germany in 1932; but I can find no closer parallel in history, other perhaps than Don Siegel’s 1952 anti-Communist motion picture, “Invasion of the Bodysnatchers”; a Sci-Fi allegory of the panic then sweeping the USA, that “They” were coming – They being The Pod People!

At first nobody believes it; but gradually, as the pods duplicate themselves as everyone’s next-door neighbor, and co-opt the townsfolk into handing out more pods, the whole town is taken over, nobody heeds the warnings, nobody cares anymore; until, finally, just when you think he’s managed to escape to a better world of domestic appliances and cars with fins, Matthew, the still-battling hero is revealed in the final shot to have become one of Them… The only hope is eternal vigilance!

There’s an excellent plot summary on Wikipedia. Attempting to warn the citizenry:

“Matthew and Elizabeth are chased across San Francisco. They hide out in a Health Department building, and witness pods being distributed to people gathered in the square outside. They are eventually trapped by Jack and Kibner, who tell them that the alien species simply wants to survive and it is beneficial for humans.”

Is this starting to remind you of anything?

Do you still have a Health Department to hide in? Probably not.

Possibly the last two holdouts in the Republican Senate, Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, “Matthew and Elizabeth”, opted at the last minute to vote for the last judge on earth any sane administrator would want to put in the Supreme Court, approving Kavanaugh only because it hadn’t been decisively shown by an incomplete investigation everyone agrees was derisory, that he is the bad person they previously imagined him to be; while the sidelined naysayers who actually knew the man are still trying to warn everyone that he is?

Yes, Jeff and Susan joined the Pod People.

As I keep a’boglin’, I’ve just been reading a most excellent book, The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis (although it rambles off-topic at times and I found the ending rushed and inconclusive. Sorry.) Of the six – well, five-and-a-half, I gave up on the execrable “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff – books I have so far read about the Trump administration, this one is the most chilling.

Cleverly, Lewis sets up the argument that the average US voter fears and loathes their own government more than the Devil, and is profoundly mistrustful even of the efforts of the dedicated and highly qualified men and women working for poor wages in the great agencies of State to try to make life better for them. This is the constituency to which the Orange Candidate appealed.

But Trump’s careless gutting of the budgets and personnel of these useful institutions he doesn’t understand and despises, merely to please the worst instincts of those untutored deplorables who hate Big Government but do not realize that it’s made up of lots of useful Small Government, is counterproductive and will damage your health.

Here, for instance, is Kathy Sullivan, feted as the first woman astronaut to walk in space, a hugely qualified scientist with degrees in both oceanography and astrophysics, who out of a sense of public duty becomes a senior government official – Assistant Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the NOAA.

Kathy is both puzzled and saddened in 2011 when 158 people are killed unnecessarily in the town of Joplin, Mi., and hundreds more injured, having perversely ignored an urgent tornado warning from her department because they don’t believe in the government weather service.

Yet it was the NOAA – part of the Commerce Department – that pioneered the science behind tornado warnings, and set up the National Hurricane Center, another useful institution under threat, that also puzzles over why so many Americans would rather drown than listen to government safety advice.

Worse was to come, however, when the Trump maladministration took over, driven by the “small government = more money for us” doctrine of the Republican party, that Steve Bannon advised Trump to take to nihilistic extremes.

A corrupt financier and “friend” of the Trump family, Wilbur Ross was put in charge at Commerce. He turned up on his own, without any staffers appointed to manage the huge and multifaceted department, having no idea what the functions of the department were, and unprepared to listen. Lewis writes: “Dozens of civil servants sat all day waiting to deliver briefings that would, in the end, never be heard.”

(This is precisely why in Britain we don’t make Civil Service appointments renewable on the basis of which party is in government. It’s a ridiculous waste of talent, energy and experience to have to start again every time you have an election. How they vote is up to them. Ridiculous Americans.)

The elderly satrap, Ross (80) was unimpressed to hear that an important part of Commerce was doing atmospheric and ocean science. He had no interest whatever in science, and said so, good and loud. He had until that point been the co-vice chair of Bank of Cyprus, a notorious money-laundering vehicle dominated by Putin oligarchs. He was interested only in gains, however gotten.

It was not until the following October that anyone was appointed to run the NOAA. In the end, the pick turned out to be the CEO of AccuWeather – the private company with a paywall, that gets its weather data free from the NOAA; yet which had lobbied hard in 2005 for a law denying the National Weather Service the right to broadcast free weather forecasts; and made substantial contributions to party funds.

Barry Myers’ primary interest, one assumes, is to shut down government scientific weather forecasting that competes with his commercial service. This hidden privatization, says Lewis, is the philosophy running now through government: if there’s a commercial competitor that could be making more money, departments are being defunded, gutted or closed.

As with Trump, it eventually came out that Ross, though wealthy, is not a billionaire, as he claimed. He’d lied to Forbes Magazine, that keeps track of the personal net worth of wealthy individuals, that he had $3.7 billion in the bank when, in fact, his wealth was at best $700 million. A miserable man, there were stories of him pocketing sweeteners from restaurant tables rather than having his cook buy them in a store.

It’s also been alleged that he recently pilfered $120 million by systematically cheating a business partner. The case was settled out of court, so we can’t know for sure. Stung, Forbes wrote:

“If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.”

Not, perhaps, as big as one Donald John Trump, who has been outed in the New York Times this past week for tax frauds totalling over $500 million; dating back even to infancy when, at the age of 3, his father Fred had “employed” him in the family firm on a salary of $200,000 a year, to avoid taxes.

People like the Pulitzer prizewinning financial journalist and inveterate Trumphound, David Cay Johnson, have been bobbing up and down for years like the character in the movie, played by Kevin McCarthy, shouting about this stuff: “They’re coming!” (His body is later found around the corner…)

And no-one listened to him. They thought he was mad – until approximately half the country’s 120 million active voters had put into the White House, a Pod Person who has spent almost two years now sucking out their souls and recasting them in his own disaffected, mean and greedy likeness.

Who, guided by über-Podperson, Adolf Hitler’s best-selling self-help manual, “Fascist Dictating for Dummies”, is someone who poisons everyone he comes in contact with, subverting their moral universe and bending them to his selfish and endlessly demanding will: a blackmailer, a gaslighter, a taker, a briber – a psychopath, with the mind of a wilful four-year-old.

HR disaster

One of the so-called “adults in the room”, General HR McMaster, was a highly regarded, highly decorated 3-star general, said to be possessed of advanced intellectual capacities, extensive scholarship and great sagacity. Equipped with a curious, high-domed cranium, he surely has room in it for at least three normal human brains.

Yet, appointed as National Security Advisor to steady the ship in the wake of the departure of the suspected Russian agent and all-round weasel, General Flynn, he soon found himself profoundly morally compromised in the service of a cunning and degenerate criminal, a practised deceiver; himself suspected of fidelity to a foreign power.

“There is nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people. The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of the State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh anonymous sources. I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”

“It” was the widely reported meeting in the Oval Office between the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov; the Russian Ambassador and reputed FSB spymaster, Sergei Kislyak, and Donald Trump, recently installed President of the United States of America; the three of them alone, save for a “photographer” from the Russian state news outlet, Tass. Trump had requested McMaster and his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, leave the room. So yes, they were present – until they weren’t.

The Washington Post later reported, they had confirmed sources that at that meeting in May, 2017, Trump had boasted to the Russians about a top-secret Israeli intelligence operation he knew about, to infiltrate the ISIS high command, that had resulted in a worldwide ban on passengers taking laptops openly on aircraft, after a specific warning about a bomb plot.

So furious were the Israelis at this gross betrayal, reported the Post, that for a time they ceased sharing intelligence with the CIA. Who in turn, stopped sharing intelligence with Trump.

To calm the furore – people still made a fuss about Trump’s cavalier approach in those faroff days – Gen. McMaster had been sent out to face reporters on the White House lawn, and what he said to them was a lie; a statement concocted by the spinmeisters, Conway, Hicks and Spicer, to protect the loose-mouthed Trump; a fatuous, bombastic oaf who could never resist showing off his self-assumed superiority in all matters, and could not be trusted with State secrets.

Once you have told your first lie in Trumpworld, it gets easier, and you enjoy the love. Soon, however, you will find yourself employed without choice to gnaw the heads off little puppies….

A year later, the profoundly compromised McMaster was fired by Trump, and resigned from the army without promotion; a national disgrace, who had nevertheless dared to stand up in some measure to Trump’s infantile caprice, and may have bought us a little time. The more compliant John Bolton – an inflammatory Iran hawk with no military background, to avoid the Vietnam draft (like W Bush) he’d joined the National Guard – was brought in at Security to ramp up the sense that all would now be chaos, orchestrated like a Boulez symphony by the increasingly bullish (but no more intelligent or well-intentioned) president.

The economy was booming!

Trump by the beginning of 2018 was consolidating his reputation as a highly unpresidential and unpredictable, autocratic thug, given to making vicious ad hominem Twitter attacks in the middle of the night on his perceived enemies, his day-to-day policy-making dictated by whatever the little faces were yammering at him on the screens everywhere tuned to the Fox News channel; still with no apparent interest in the levers of government or the advice of advisors, contemptuous of international allies and treaties; whose mental state was giving serious concern.

Yet the economy was booming, thanks to rising interest rates that were driving the markets to dizzying new heights; and a resurgent dollar, that he would surely, eventually come to regret, along with his tariff wars. No-one imagined he was responsible, the boom had begun under Obama. Thanks to his insane tax cuts for the wealthy (and himself, if he paid any) the national debt had climbed to over $22.5 trillion, social programs were being defunded, but at least the economy hadn’t collapsed. Yet.

Led by the amoral southern plutocrat, “Mitch” McConnell, the Republican party was beginning to realize, they too were profoundly compromised by their association with this senescent, bullying old sex-pest; a serial liar, financial criminal and business fraud with highly dangerous connections; a degenerate, narcissistic sociopath without empathy, compassion or decent instincts toward anyone; a self-invented Mafia boss it would be dangerous to cross. Who wants to be murdered by Tweet?

Yet, lured by the fanatical support of his “base” in the Red states heartland of America, and by his appeal to the evangelical Christian right, whose high-minded hypocrisies they all espoused, the Republican-controlled Congress chose the path of least resistance and most moral hazard, and are now so deeply enmired in Trump’s gluey web of deceit and corruption that they can’t see a way out; but must go all the way with him into the deepest shit any American can remember.

You can maybe now understand why, earlier, I raised my graying head above the sandbags and mentioned the shade of Adolf Hitler. There are of course no similarities to justify a direct comparison, we have in many senses moved on and – though there are, what, faint reflections, echoes? – ours is a very different world, in which consumer-capitalist techno-economics has largely replaced militarism as a tool of power projection. Also, Hitler was 38 when he came to power: Trump is 72 and has less time to kill.

Nevertheless, in 1930s Germany many perfectly wise and responsible men and women living in an unstable social compact next to a disaffected working-class did allow themselves to be co-opted into a state of complicity – silence at best – with what they must have realized was a truly evil world vision projected by a nasty clique of moral degenerates; yet which excitingly allowed them to express a darker side of themselves that had been long suppressed by social norms and conventions. Many took to wearing cool uniforms and summarily executing inconvenient or noncompliant people and those they persuaded themselves were not fully human. Until the Red Army arrived in Berlin, there were no comebacks on that.

History seems to have found a way of repeating itself in the sense that we have a “leader of the free world” who is profoundly uninterested in what you or I have to say on the subject of freedom, tolerance, intellectual endeavor – justice, but who seeks to draw us in to his demonic powerplay; to share in  the thrilling wickedness of the scheme he proposes, to tear up the existing order, the useless constitution, whatever it says, to expel the “Other”; with, at the end of it all, the promise of “People like us” – white and in debt – ending up on top of the heap. And to make him rich in the process, what’s not to like?

With Senate approval of the appointment of another conservative judge who will license whatever mischief Mr Trump may get up to: then, now or in future, we move a step closer to a New American dictatorship; a thrilling scenario in which anything might be possible, where all your enemies, the people you hate, the clever ones with the money, the schooling and the entitlement, the ones keeping you down, the black and the brown ones, the Jews and the Muslims can all be made to go away – with no need to ask where.

I predict that the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh will be taken as a further sign the new world order is open for business. Monkey business.

With all our cleverness, our educated ability to see through the lies, to mock and gibe and question the authority of the President – as Stephen Miller, Trump’s pet college vampire once percipiently warned us never to do – to apply all our elitist techniques of rational thought and articulacy to make the monster go back under the bed – did we really think it would be so easy?

To turn back the cyclical tide of history with our words?

Our ever-so elegant, inadequate, powerless words?

God help us.

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Bar, bar, black sheep

The hearing to elevate the controversial Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, an appointment for life, is approaching its end with a Congressional Judiciary Committee review behind closed doors of the really thorough FBI report on his dodgy moral background, that the Feds’ve had all of three working days to investigate and write up.

The two or three un-proof-checked paragraphs of testimoy bh a limited group of non-witnesses will be spun into a full exoneration, nothin’ to see here folks, the big clunkin’ rubber stamp will be wielded, Trump will make a great victory speech to the dumbfucks, and the US Supreme Court will become even more of a disgrace than it already is.

By the time you read this, there seems little doubt the nomination will have been waved through, thanks to the appalling Senator McConnell, a rich old polecat who will say and do anything to make the Republican Party richer. “Fine young man, perfect judge material” to gerrymander the court’s decisions in favor of wealthy appellants and swivel-eyed pro-lifers for the next 30 years. Dozens of potential witnesses, victims all clearly lying, paid by the Democrats, Soros…. hashtag disgraceful.

Forty witnesses all queuing to talk to the FBI about the thuggish and emotionally damaged fratboy, Kavanaugh were resolutely ignored in the whitewashing of this redfaced individual, screaming his innocence to a sympathetic audience of Republicans, mostly men, who are now so besmirched with the shit spewing from the White House that they can never be washed clean, not even by the blood of Christ.

And then the psychopath, Trump, will humblebrag and whine and boast to his pet dumbfucks in some barren hangar in Nowheresville, Arkansas that, yet again, he has achieved a momentous triumph of policymaking to make America great again – remembering, as we no doubt shall, that the only reason he pushed this sanctimonious, drunken, overemotional wreck forward in the first place and spent the next two weeks personally calumniating anyone who criticized his lousy choice, including sexual assault victims – hateful women – was because Kavanaugh had assured him the President couldn’t be prosecuted for federal crimes while in office; and Trump has started his 2020 run for re-election already.

We are reminded now, however, that this is not the first wholly inappropriate appointment Trump has tried to foist on a judiciary already groaning with conservative white men.

Commenting on the trend, Michael Wolff writing in The Guardian last December examined the notorious case of Matthew Peterson, a hapless Trump nominee for a District Court judgeship in Washington, who couldn’t answer a single legal question put to him at his Senate hearing and admitted that he had never tried a case before in any court, anywhere. Wolff went on:

“The ABA (American Bar Association) unanimously rated another of Trump’s nominees as ‘not qualified’ because he was a 36-year-old blogger with a strong ideological bent and no trial experience: Brett Talley. He was the fourth Trump nominee the ABA found to be devoid of judicial merit. Talley is married to a White House lawyer, by some strange coincidence.

“On the other hand, Talley did blog about his total support – ‘financially, politically and intellectually’ – for the National Rifle Association, just one month after the massacre of elementary schoolchildren at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut.” So much for judicial impartiality.

“Last month (November, 2017) the Republican-led Senate judiciary committee confirmed him to a lifetime job as a judge in Alabama.” (His nomination was later withdrawn.)

In the words of Michelle Obama: “What is the matter with you people?”

Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment is clearly too much, even for the ABA, representing thousands of lawyers, who have given him the thumbs-down principally on the basis that he’s not considered sufficiently competent AS A JUDGE…. In addition, he has refused to allow scrutiny of his previous record in court. Why is that?

But it’s no longer a legal matter: his appointment is now purely a partisan political fight to the death; no shred of decency or modesty will motivate this horrible man to recuse himself altogether, so as not to bring the Supreme Court of the United States into further disrepute.

“…many months into the Trump administration, thousands of officially required positions have still not been filled.”

We recall, perhaps, that it was a principal policy plank of one unmentionable German chancellor in 1933 to pack the judicial benches with party supporters, before starting on the show trials and brutal executions of his opponents. A similar policy fuelled his Soviet near-neighbour’s justice system for many years. Unfortunately, human society is adequately furnished with individuals awaiting only official sanction to pull the lever on their fellow men and women and watch them swinging.

But Trump was merely continuing with his nihilistic Bannonite policy of, it seems – we must conclude, mustn’t we, and not be tempted to assume, that he is just a total ignoramus, or a paid agent of the Kremlin – of undermining and ultimately bringing low, all the revered traditional institutions of governance in the USA.

In other words, the stuff going on in the background, while no-one is looking.

As previously mentioned, a new book, The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis (Allen-Lane/Penguin Books) cleverly sets up the numerous vital functions and formerly principled management of the great federal agencies as serious-sounding Aunt Sallies, creating value and delivering forward motion, before laconically – and without resorting to in-house gossip or the usual expletives and pejorative insults – pointing out that, many months into the Trump administration, thousands of officially required positions have still not been filled; or are occupied by Trump loyalists and chancers with no special knowledge or experience of the job whatever, who have set about defunding key environmental, medical and social programs to profit private corporations.

So, while packing the courts with unqualified placemen who will do the President’s bidding and keep him out of jail, where in most people’s view he belongs*, Trump is using the same ploy to insert his version of the Brownshirts at all levels and in all areas of responsibility for national government, to quietly and surreptitiously push through some of the most repressive, socially damaging and retrograde policies ever attempted, far away from Congressional scrutiny.

Only the latest of these, former conservative prosecutor Caren Harp – a graduate of a “Christian law school”, was put in to run the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and has quietly set about dismantling all its Obama-era attempts to put rehabilitation and education at the forefront of its policy statements. The Guardian writes:

“Under the agency’s old vision statement, the office expressed a desire for America to be ‘a nation where our children are healthy, educated, and free from violence’.

“After Donald Trump entered the White House in January 2017, the phrase was changed – without any public notice or consultation – to ‘a nation where our children are free from crime and violence’.

“Other changes to the agency’s websites included removing guidance … to stop putting children into solitary confinement, avoid placing girls behind bars and address the disproportionate impact of courts and prisons on black and other minority kids.”

This new policy is surely at odds with Mr Trump’s professed views on gang violence, since it is clear that harsh reformatory regimes breed and do not deter crime. The defunding of youth projects in the inner cities, too, can only increase the propensity of young people to join drug gangs, being the only remaining source of income for families seeing savage cuts in social supports, such as food stamps.

On the other hand, the private companies that profit from contracts to run the prison catering, the work programs (inmates sewing McDonalds’ uniforms on 20c an hour), the laundries, the education, such as it is – the transportation and maintenance, will be straight in there, making their fortunes out of detaining as many inmates for as long, and as often, as they can. Rehabilitation is nowhere on the list

The Pumpkin therefore asks the questions again: Is all this being done for doctrinaire political reasons, implying at least that there is some philosophy, however maleficent, behind it? Is it just the hatred of the marginalized underclass which Trump sweats from every permatanned pore at his weekly Nuremberg-style rallies?

Or is it a deliberate attempt to start a class war in America; a real, shooting war to, as it were, restore the Confederacy, or at least to violently rehabilitate its white supremacist, rural Christian aims and values, tearing the country and its fragile social compacts; its paper constitution, apart?

Is that what Trump’s Russian creditors have said they want him to do?

*Oh yes, he does!

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Own gooaaaalll!

Despite a hearty school upbringing, The Pumpkin knows little of the art of football; principally because he has never known the heartache and the joy of supporting a particular club, that he might associate with his ancestral community.

Frankly, he sees, but does not fully get, the point. Dragged by his well-connected father to a tedious west London fixture in the rain at the age of 9, that ended in a low-scoring draw, he was further traumatised by being introduced after the match to a famous footballer who had just stepped out of the team bath. Traumatized, in the ensuing 60 years he has attended out of paternal obligation, only one, equally tedious fixture ever since.

At least he kept his children away from the dressing rooms.

Nevertheless he is not unaware of the general demeanor of the sport in the UK: the recent years in which leading clubs have been purloined from their underperforming local boards, answerable only to the fans, by big global business; often by foreign billionaires with dubious sources of income, cashing in on hugely lucrative TV deals while their whiter-than-white money spins in the tumble-dryer.

The Pumpkin recalls, he once occupied an apartment in West London above an elderly couple, the husband of which had been a professional footballer in the pre- and post-war years, interrupted by service in the army.

Tommy Law had played for Chelsea and, as an international, for Scotland. He was paid £5 for turning up to a match, £3.10s if not required to play. He had one or other of his legs broken six times by hard-man defenders, eventually forcing his retirement. The £1,100 raised at his benefit match was his pension.

Portugal and Juventus star, Christiano Ronaldo is paid €30 million a year, and still can’t avoid accusations of tax cheating and sexual assault. But, by God, he produced one of the greatest goals in history at the last World Cup… sorry, where was I?, oh yes.

Manchester United.

For some reason, the most famous football club in the world. Any 9-year-old kid kicking a ball around on a dirt patch in a favela in Rio or Lagos knows at least two English words. And yet, it seems, the iconic club is in deep shit. Its vastly overpaid players under their temperamental manager Mourinho have barely mustered a goal so far this season. A profound air of gloom hangs over Old Trafford ground. Why?

Because it is owned by Americans, possibly.

“The six Glazer siblings who collectively own 97% of United’s voting shares were paid approximately $23m (£18m) in dividends, the third year dividends have been paid. The total paid to them and the other financial investors was £22m, following £23m in 2016-17 and £20m the previous year, a total of £65m out of the club. The salary packages paid to directors and senior executives, which includes the six Glazers, was £13m, following £12m in 2016-17 and £11m the year before. A year ago, the Glazers’ holding company, Red Football, sold 4.3m shares in Cayman Islands-registered United, for $17 per share. That is a further $73m (£56m) made by the Glazers from their heavily leveraged acquisition of a football institution.” – David Conn, The Guardian.

What the fuck has any of this devious business shit got to do with football?

It’s not even the money. United is a huge global franchise awash with money, it can afford to pay the Glazers $100 million a year for doing what appears to be fuck-all. The point is not the money: it’s that they are in it ONLY for the money. The game, the tradition, the history of the community means nothing to them.

Why is there a single ripped-off, traduced and disappointed United fan who still supports this incredible profit-making exercise for a foreign entity that is only in it for the money, a corpse with a capitalist face, that cannot manage to produce either success on the pitch, or entertainment for the fans?

Just go! Walk out! Don’t turn up! Don’t buy the overpriced season tickets, the merchandise, the hype. Find a park, get a ball and start again. Support another local club – I know, City, but. The Glazers don’t give a fuck about you, mate. They would if you weren’t there, even for a month.

There’s not a single homegrown player in the United squad, just a bunch of spectacularly overrewarded haircuts imported from all over the world, spending nine tenths of their time on the bench, listlessly buying Italian sports cars; while the superstar manager known as “The Special One”, who has barely managed this season to persuade his players that the aim is to kick the ball into the net at the other end, moans that he’s not allowed to spend £millions more buying up more no-hopers he won’t “get on with”; because interpersonal relationships are apparently everything, and earning the money by winning matches isn’t.

Everyone can see, the whole fucking shemozzle is completely corrupt, blown wholly out of proportion and so far removed from the working class community roots that spawned “The Beautiful Game” (some of us poshos find Rugby Union aesthetically more pleasing and a damned sight more exciting) that it barely still deserves to be called football.

It’s just a game of Monopoly played on a Subbuteo table.

 

I was President of the United States (no, not that one!)

Look, I see nothing wrong with Trump appointing Lorna Marks, his wife’s fave handbag designer, as US ambassador to South Africa. It’s a job, somebody has to do it.

And at least Pretoria gets an ambassador. Many more important and strategic capitals around the world are still awaiting the Orange One’s pleasure.

That Marks was born and lived in South Africa at all, even for a short time, seems a vast improvement on the relevant connections between other ambassadors and their host nations.

Of course, she’s not very black and may need some coaching to appreciate the complexities of life in a vibrant multicultural environment, a “Rainbow nation” nonetheless afflicted with extremes of poverty, wealth, crime, racism and corruption, and in the grip of a narrow clique of old reactionaries. (No, not the USA!)

Being a fashion designer is no more an indication of incompetence than any other trade experience, and if you can get away with charging $400 thousand for one bag, you’re no slouch when it comes to persuading women, at least, that it’s a great idea to respect your brand – which, as Ambassador, would be brand Trump.

Sure she’d be absolutely fine.

I wonder if we ought to draw the line, however, at misrepresentation; although the diplomatic community, especially, is rife with fantasists.

Marks has repeatedly described her friendship with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, although there is no evidence of it. She has also claimed to have played tennis at Wimbledon. As indeed might have any member of the All England Club and their guests on the 350 days when the famous WTA tournament is not in progress.

Not THE Royal Ballet, as it turns out; the Royal Ballet’s local affiliate in her home town of East London, “in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality of the Eastern Cape province.”

By the same token, I can claim to be a performing member who has had various leading roles with the National Theatre of Wales.

Local affiliate, naturally.

More of a community theatre sort of thing, really. But quite good.

While, many years ago, it says on my CV, I was a BBC newsreader.

Local radio, only for eight months, but it was still London.

Not East London, mind.

Fairly central, in fact.

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Daddy, I can’t breathe

A heartbreaking story emerged this past week, from the inquest into a bright, attractive young girl who was done to death in 2016 by the food industry.

15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died in hospital after a traumatic flight to Nice, aboard which she had suffered an extreme reaction to a Prêt-á-Manger baguette she had eaten in Heathrow Departures, that contained sesame seeds that were not declared on the label.

The details are fairly harrowing, as her father fought to save her and the cabin crew ran around like headless chickens.

It later emerged that six other nonfatal cases of extreme allergic reactions to Prêt baguettes had previously been reported. That fact alone, and the lack of a warning notice, could cost the company dearly; as we all hope it does.

Being as I am, the thought did cross your Uncle B.’s mind that it must have been the moment the parents were dreading, and hoped would never come. Because from the age of 8 Natasha seems to have been allergic to pretty much everything added to food. As she grew up and became more independent, the likelihood was that, sooner or later, something would get her.

The idea that the fast-food industry could ever achieve total purity is a fantasy; the rule should be, if something you eat might kill you, eat at home.

My girlfriend had a condition called coeliac disease, which involves severe reaction to wheat gluten. She was always being laid low by some careless inaction or other in the catering trade. I recall one incident when she ate some French biscuits we thought were safe, that included ‘farine de Blé’, translated in the dictionary as cornflour. It subsequently turned out that Blé can mean pretty much any grain, including wheat.

Prêt, it seems, benefits from a rule that says food prepared centrally and distributed to outlets must display full information on the packaging, but food such as sandwiches prepared locally in its small shops needn’t. The loophole being, that ‘prepared’ doesn’t necessarily mean all the ingredients are locally sourced – like the baguette with the tempting filling.

“Responding to (the health inspector’s) evidence, Dr Sean Cummings, the acting senior coroner for west London, said: ‘It seems on the face of it a bit strange that a local sandwich shop can benefit from that regulation … but that an organisation that sold … 218m items (a year) could also benefit from that regulation … A cynic might think it was almost a device to get round regulation relating to information on food allergens.’” – Guardian

Happily, I’m not allergic to anything I’ve eaten so far in my life, but a sort of nagging, possibly cynical  doubt persists.

Given the huge increase in compensation awards there has been over the past twenty years, why do food manufacturers run the risk of killing their customers, when a few simple precautions might prevent tragedies occurring?

I’ve just tucked in to a plate of Chilli con Carne, prepared for reheating by The Authentic Curry Company, of Aberdare (just add rice). It’s actually quite good; although obviously not as good as the version I make, when I can be arsed to cook for myself.

And at the end of a comprehensive list of really quite natural and normal, healthy ingredients, we find the following:

ALLERGY ADVICE: Produced in a factory or made with ingredients from suppliers that use Nuts, Gluten, Crustaceans, Fish, Eggs, Peanuts, Soya, Milk, Celery, Mustard, Sesame Seeds, Sulphur Dioxide & Molluscs.

Now, that list would kill just about anyone. Any Orthodox Jewish consumer would be instantly struck dead. The Authentic Curry Company of Aberdare might as well lace their perfectly healthy and natural minced Welsh beef, onion and beans product with novichok.

What is wrong with you? Why in God’s name risk using a supplier that can’t guarantee their production lines are so clean, your consumers can safely eat off of them? Why would you ever want to use a supplier who clearly doesn’t gve a fuck if your consumers live or die?

Who would ever suspect your microwavable (3-minutes) ersatz Tex-Mex-style evening meal for 2 (big enough, indeed, for one), would be such a minefield of common allergens?

Are you sure you’ve left nothing out? Penicillin, maybe? Emulsion paint? Nigel Farage’s toenail clippings?

Or is it you? Are YOU also the factory processor who adds nuts, egg and oyster shells will-ye, nill-ye to your Chilli con Carne, in the course of an evening’s shift?

Because my girlfriend could have a reaction to just one slice of gluten-free cake coming into contact with a cake-slice that had previously been used on another cake containing wheat flour. I witnessed it. I saw it happen – the rash, the swollen and painful joints, the bleeding. Great, for a professional musician. In severe cases it takes only homeopathic concentrations of gluten to have an effect.

The food industry really has to get its act together.

Then, you can say that about pretty well anyone these days.

Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Ednan-Laperouse have had to bury their pretty, vivacious and endlessly helpful daughter, age 15, her only crime being to have an immune system too sensitive to survive in the modern world of adulterated processed foods and inadequate supervision.

 

Sorry it’s so long.

GW:

Hurricane watch: “A tropical storm warning was in effect for Pinar del Rio and Isle of Youth, Cuba, and a tropical storm watch is in effect for the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula from Tulum to Cabo Catoche. The National Hurricane Center now predicts that PTC 14 will approach the northern U.S. Gulf Coast at close to hurricane strength on Wednesday. The next name in the Atlantic storm list is Michael.”

Wunderground tracking data has Michael proceeding up through Alabama and Florida into the east coast states in the coming days. Something I’m sure they will welcome after ten months of storms. It’s already been part of a larger system causing havoc in central America, that:

“…will continue to bring heavy rains to portions of the Pacific coasts of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras through Monday, (with) dangerous flash flooding and mudslides. Over 2700 people were in shelters in Costa Rica due to flooding, and over 1000 in Nicaragua”.

In the eastern Pacific, 1000 miles west of the Mexican coast, “Hurricane Sergio is proving resilient as a major hurricane. As of 11 am EDT Saturday, Sergio’s top sustained winds were 125 mph, keeping it in the Category 3 range. Global models agree that Sergio will carry out a sharp U-turn from Sunday into Monday, then accelerate toward an expected landfall on the west coast of Baja California around Thursday”, and on into Arizona in the wake of last week’s Hurricane Rosa. (Wunderground)

Meanwhile another hurricane is forming in the Arabian sea. Tropical cyclone Invest 99A could strengthen and arrive later in the week, either in Yemen, or in Oman, in the wake of July’s Hurricane Mekenu, which killed over 30 people. Hurricanes are not uncommon occurrences in the region, but seldom at this time of year: “On average, storms strike Oman once every three years, and usually before June or after October” (Wikipedia).

Post-tropical storm Leslie is still stuck in mid-Atlantic, with no agreement as to where it might go next: east, certainly, but to the Canary Islands, or further north to the Azores? Place your bets. Update: Wunderground map has it strengthening now (Monday 8 Oct) and tracking as a Cat 1 hurricane towards northern Portugal and Galicia in the footsteps of last year’s Hurricane Isobel. It’s certainly pushing hot air up as far as my town, where it’s getting on for 17C.)

(From Wunderground)

 

Update Friday 12th Oct: An interesting possibility has arisen. Severe-weather.eu sugests, Leslie has not done the anticipated U-turn into the open ocean, but is instead about to become the first hurricane in recorded history to hit Madeira. It may then move north, to clobber Portugal in the southern corner, the Algarve – still as an actual hurricane. Meanwhile remnant hurricane Michael, originally expected to whizz over to the Bitish Isles, is forecast on a new track as a post-tropical storm, bending southwards of the British Isles towards the Bay of Biscay, and may even arrive in northern Portugal the day after Leslie…. Making Portugal, one suspects, one of the few countries ever to have been hit by two different storms in the space of two days, that have both previously been graded as hurricanes.

Comment:

Meteorological meltdown

It was reported separately in the news today (Monday, 8th Oct) that US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, was visiting Seoul after “successful” talks with officials in Pyongyang. Meanwhile in nearby Incheon, the IPCC was launching its latest report on climate change, the last for a while, prior to the next round of talks in Poland.

Neither report mentioned anywhere that the Korean peninsula has been trashed in the past two days by former Cat 5 Typhoon Kong-Rey, now downgraded to TS but still packing strong winds and heavy rain, causing at least two deaths, widespread damage and cancelled flights. Kong-Rey was one of two top-level (160 mph sustained winds) Cat 5 typhoons in the Pacific simultaneously last week; a highly unusual concurrence.

Does this omission not seem bizarre to you? That the BBC’s point-man on Environment, Roger Harrabin, should deliver a 30-seconds voicepiece about climate change from a live hurricane zone without once even ironically mentioning the extreme weather event occurring outside the hotel bar?

The IPCC conclusions are both alarming but also comforting, in that they still offer the world’s governments twenty years in which to reduce emissions (at a time when many countries are complacently proposing to increase them) into the mid-century, before we have to start worrying next about “2 degrees”; with a (frankly unachievable) target of zero by 2050. And again, sea-level rise and “1-in-10 years heatwaves” are presented as the main consequences of failure. (We have had three heatwave years running here in Europe, and certainly six since 70,000 people died in 2003. 2018 was the hottest summer ever in California too.)

This is insanity. Two reasons:

1 the “pre-industrial” baseline, from whence temperatures are said to have risen by “1 degree”, appears to have no definition, but was said on the BBC to be “the past 100 years”. By 1918, the industrial era had already been in train for over 150 years. Taking 1750 as the baseline, roughly when Watt and Newcomen were building steam engines heated by coal, based on tree-ring and ice-core data the global mean temperature has already increased by 1.8 per cent, according to the world-renowned climate scientists posting under the collective pseudonym “Sam Carana”, on Arctic-news.blogspot.com.

2 “Sam Carana” further point out, the IPCC data is based on a flawed methodology, measuring global temperature at sea-level over both land and sea. Measured on the more standard 2-meter land contour, where most of us live, you get a higher number – 2.3 degrees. In addition, the global mean temperature is not the number we most need to fear: it obviously includes both the lowest and the highest temperatures measured everywhere, summer and winter, by day and night. But it’s not the mean that kills you! The average hottest temperature, i.e. the average of temperatures recorded at midday, in summer, may have already risen by as much as 4 degrees. That, too, is the increase in the average annual temperature in the Arctic region, where anomalies of up to 35 degrees were being observed last winter.

There are still Posts on Arctic News offering us 10.2 degrees of warming by 2026; an obvious rapid extinction-level event unprecedented in the history of life on earth.

Nor does the IPCC report – yet again – take much cognizance of the perhaps 60 different “feedback loops”, mechanisms for more abrupt warming that are already being triggered, or are on the verge. Arctic methane is obviously one, with the recent discovery that the permafrost layer, rapidly thawing, and a source of methane in itself, may be capping huge reserves underground, to add to the 100 Gt in the ocean. News that 1.5 degrees would allow us to save some coral reefs might comfort spear-fishers, but the fish will be long gone by 2050.

And in a peculiar statement, the arch-prophet of global warming, James Hanson, is quoted as saying:

“1.5C gives young people and the next generation a fighting chance of getting back to the Holocene or close to it. That is probably necessary if we want to keep shorelines where they are and preserve our coastal cities.”

“Probably”? But our shorelines are already being inundated! Miami, San Francisco, the Carolinas… Dakar, the Maldive Islands, Fiji… many, many places are already experiencing sea-level rise due mainly to water expanding as it warms, bringing flooding misery to urban areas at high tide. Desalination is weakening the Gulf Stream. Warmer water is being pushed into the Arctic ocean. The circumpolar jetstream wind is becoming chaotic. The icefields are melting at an alarming rate, and will go on melting even if we bring industrial civilization to a grinding halt by 2050, as unless we can rapidly remove the carbon from the atmosphere and find somewhere to put it, that 1.75 degrees is already baked-in!

Probably.

Except for another of those little feedbacks, the loss of the global dimming effect produced by pollution from all our industrial output would lead to runaway warming, starting within days.

We should be preparing, not for a long battle with the energy producers and citizens outraged by limits on their consumption, but for social and economic, meteorological chaos. Perhaps we already are, as States appear to be adopting more and more repressive models of governance.

But, as with the reporting from South Korea this morning, no-one is even noticing that it’s raining outside.

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 63. Review: The Good Book… Robbing Peter to pay Donald… He’s not one for the birds… GW: rememberin’ to take my Medicane…

“Is that a solution to the Irish border question in your pocket, Donald, or are you just pleased to see me?”

 

“…more than any book I have yet read on the subject, this one is the dog’s bollocks.” – Uncle Bogler

This is not the world you imagine you are living in

The Good Book Reviewed

For those interested in ‘The Russia Thing’, it might be an idea to read “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump“, by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.

It’s a tangled web, but to understand the Russia links between Paul Manafort, his former campaign chair; assorted oligarchs, and President Trump; the nefarious hacking or phishing attacks and disinformation campaigns of the different Russian intelligence services – why nobody took any notice of them until it was too late – the dodgy roles of Flynn, Page and Stone, and those notorious Clinton emails, this, more than any book I have yet read on the subject, is the dog’s bollocks.

I wish I had read it two years ago, had it been written then; it would have saved me making a fool of myself on too many occasions when I have Bogld or Commented on US politics, which I struggle to understand; so much is sui generis. Some of the details that seemed so clear are obviously not as I imagined them to be; unlike the book authors, my sources are at best third-hand, biased media (maybe unintentionally, their sources feed them with stories they think the audience is going to like), in a schema where everyone has an agenda. What, for instance, is so secret about what the political parties, their staffers and pet pollsters get up to, that so much intrigue has to be gone into?

Anyone familiar with a British election will know, it’s just making a few speeches about ‘strong and stable government; slagging-off your opponents’ economic incompetence; writing an almost convincing manifesto, hiring a tour bus covered in lies, pushing it to the voters on the doormat and spinning the poll numbers without overspending a legally enforceable budget the average US politician wouldn’t even notice gone from his pocket-change.

Isn’t it?

I mean, what made Manafort so valuable, he could get a $10 million a year contract to promote a ruthless Putin thug for President of a foreign country, the Ukraine, where he probably didn’t even speak the language? All he did was persuade the guy to wear sharper suits – and promise to lock his attractive blonde opponent, Yulia Timoshenko, up for crimes he said she’d committed. Which he did.

Ring any bells?

Manafort had been doing this shit for years, his firm handling PR for some of the most horrible tyrants on the planet: brutal torturers, killers, rapists, kleptocrats and even reputed cannibals. Corrupt and squalid African dictators were his specialty: no wonder when he ran out of money to buy more ostrich-skin jackets and New York apartments, he and his sidekick Gates gravitated to the Trump campaign.

And why didn’t Putin crony and suspect mafioso Oleg Deripaska (a yachty friend of our own Lord Peter Mandelson’s) simply have him rubbed-out, if he’d run off with $19 million of the dodgy oligarch’s money, hidden it offshore and wouldn’t pay it back? Why bother suing him, when you’ve been sanctioned anyway. It seems he was dissuaded, once Paulie was on the inside of the campaign and in a position to persuade the Orange Candidate, if he won, to lift the sanctions.

No, what you have to worry about is why Americans are so friggin’ dim. Why, for instance, did a middle ranking FBI officer continue fruitlessly for months sending emails warning about an actual, ongoing Russian cyber attack to the same junior IT beanbag at the Democratic National Committee, who took it no higher because he didn’t believe he was really dealing with the FBI, and couldn’t in any case find any evidence of Russian interference until he realized their malware was cunningly blocking his searches? Thus enabling Trump to claim the whole Russia thing was a Democratic put-up job.

Okay, I can talk – I just had to reconstruct this bit from an Autosave after I hit the wrong keys. But it’s worth a read if you want to make sense of a complex story and cut through the many lies and obfuscations of the Trump team and Putin’s predictable denials.

Of course Trump had business dealings with the Russians, and had had for three decades, right up until a couple of months after he was elected, maybe even now! Spoiler alert, but (apart from his cosmic ego) his entire motivation in running for the White House – he didn’t at first plan on getting in – seems to have been to raise his profile with Putin and get that prestigious Trump World Tower Moscow built, regardless of rumors of his behavior with Russia’s best prostitutes!

What he didn’t realize was that Putin was planning on getting him in; a nice double-game that would leave the Kremlin in charge of US foreign policy, especially towards the hated NATO, put one over on Clinton, also hated – get sanctions off his neck and open up devastating divisions in American society.

Isikoff and Corn have cited multiple sources for their blow-by-blow analysis of the events of the past five years, albeit with a few inevitable gaps in the narrative. (Some diagrams would have been helpful.) Many figures in the New York, Washington, Moscow and Kiev landscape are too mercurial to trace in their entirety, shadowy players flitting in and out trading a bit of gossip here, some deeper knowledge there; possibly the odd bit of misdirection and obfuscation. Many have since pled guilty to charges and are “flipping” on Trump.

And hanging over it all, the terrifying thought that there could be an even higher level of cyberwarfare only governments can command, even filthier malware that can bring your country’s entire infrastructure crashing down for months: no transportation, no power, no hospitals, no military, no industry, no internet – no food supplies…. Brexit!

Or is that just something governments want everyone to believe?

In the main, “Russian Roulette” creates a convincing narrative of warfare by other means, the Gerasimov doctrine, directed from the highest levels; both on the international stage, meddling with the electoral processes of Western countries and democracy itself, a concept anathema to Putin; and on a personal level, as the characters’ petty vendettas, overweening self-importance, endless greed and lawless mentalities play out. And the higher they rise, the scummier they get.

This is not the world you imagine you are living in.

£16.99 in paperback, or less.

 

Trumpocrisy corner

He’s not one for the birds

Swaggering Emperor-like in front of the gurning, hooting, semi-human wallpaper without which no American political rally would be complete, Trump recently made up some rambling nonsequiturs about how wind farms are killing “thousands and thousands” of birds, that crash into the sails he claims never to have seen going round owing to there being no wind. See their pathetic little corpses heaped about the bases of the masts!

The iconography of the great American outdoors clashes with the totally urban, Philistinic outlook of a President who hates the natural world.

He hates wind farms on behalf of the redundant coalminers of Virginia, imagining if he continues his frenzied assault on the renewable energy industry they will vote for him in droves; although many are more intelligent than he gives them credit for. They know it’s over and just wish the government would do more to help their communities adapt to the new reality.

But of course he does nothing, the fat liar. (This is the moron who believes “clean coal” means you wash it before you burn it…)

So concerned is Trump for our little feathery friends, his fellow dinosaurs, that his Environmental Protection Agency meanwhile is busily trying to get rid of protections for wild birds. The Guardian reports:

“In a striking new stance on a longstanding law protecting migrating birds, the federal government will essentially allow the incidental killing of birds via buildings, energy production (also lead pollution) and other developments that act as avian death traps.

‘Sadly, migratory birds have not faced this many dangers in any of our lifetimes,’ said David O’Neill, chief conservation officer at the campaign and conservancy group Audubon. ‘The pressures of climate change coupled with the federal government pulling back on protections are threatening the songbirds, the seabirds and the raptors that Americans really cherish.'” (Guardian, 21 Sept.)

Yes, the American Bald Eagle is in danger of vanishing from a landscape newly made fit only for heavily polluting fossil-energy predators; the frackers of lands, removers of mountains. Go on, Make America Great Again! Trump, you miserable bastard.

PS

If you haven’t seen The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert taking the PS out of Trump’s consoling visit to the stunned survivors wandering about the ruins of New Bern, the North Carolina coastal town that was under ten feet of storm surge last week during Hurricane Florence, where he handed out hot dogs with apple sauce with the advice to the homeless to “have a good time”, then here it is.

It’s hilarious – also a bit shocking. The Leader of the Free World is … well, you decide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFj4vOc4GIY’ 

 

“…if you’re going to slash Medicaid and Medicare for 30 million people, you don’t need cancer research, do you?”

Robbing Peter to pay Donald

The administration was faced with a dilemma. Who was going to pay for the program of separating children as young as ten months old from their desperate mothers at the Mexican border? They needed $266 million to build detention centers, expand the courts (rubber stamps cost) and hire more very fine guards.

Unfortunately, no-one in Congress had thought to include a contingency of $266 million in this year’s budget for important things like stealing children and locking them away, or selling them on to foster parents deprived by the Magnitsky Act of their source of Russian babies.

You may have thought back in March, Trump signed an order revoking the program after the huge outcry it caused? I mean, we saw him do it, right? And blame the Democrats? Well, there were about 1,400 kids in custody at that time – including about 300 they’ve lost, who were never reunited with their families.

Now, there’s more than 13 THOUSAND.

If ever a policy of deterrence wasn’t working, this is clearly it. And if ever a President was a bigger fraud and a liar, we have yet to see one.

We heard that to pad the ICE budget, they took $10 million away from the Emergencies Management Administration, FEMA, just a few weeks before Hurricane Florence trashed the Carolinas; and more from the US Coastguard. But Yahoo! News has found, there’s a long list of Federal programs that are being gutted to pay for this obscenity.

$80 million is coming from money they’re not spending on resettling refugees they’re not letting in. That’s a no-brainer; make the migrants pay to have their own children disappeared.

Then there’s the Ryan White AIDS foundation, set up in the name of a kid who died. That’s out, obviously, fuckin’ faggots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health – well, that’s ironic, as the department responsible for overseeing the child snatching is the Department of Health and Human Services; but as that’s just code for the Department for Shafting the Losers, it’s to be expected.

$16m is being diverted from Head Start, a program to help poor kids get an education; I expect they’ll get their education with MS13 now, nowhere else to go. More still from pointless social programs like women’s refuges, mental heath and addiction clinics -and another $13 million from the National Cancer Institute.

So, if you’re going to slash Medicaid and Medicare for 30 million people, you don’t need cancer research, do you? Because they won’t be able to afford the drugs!

We recall that Trump billed his son Eric half a million bucks for the use of his resorts to hold annual fundraisers for a hospice for dying children; and how the young Trump Sr went to law and cancelled a provision in his father’s will leaving money for the care of his handicapped cousin so he would get more.

We recall too, how Trump inserted a special clause in the Tax Reform Bill, his $1.4 trillion Christmas present to the very rich, giving a special extra tax break to certain kinds of property developers, of whom he just happens to be one. Kerching!

But you still voted for this sick criminal bastard, the bloated imago of a psychotic kid with ADHD, who likes to pull the wings off flies to watch them crawl, because he was going to make America great again.

Oh, but he’s such a refreshing change from the crooks on the Hill. He’s draining the Swamp! He says what we think!

Yeah, right. Now we know what you think.

You sad, pathetic dumbfucks, you don’t think.

You’re so addled with opioids, fatburgers and cretinous TV shows, you don’t know how to think. You just think what Orange Daddy tells you to think. That’s kind of comforting.

And you expect us to feel sorry for you?

(Thanks to TYT for much of the foregoing, citing Yahoo! News.)

 

DUPocrisy corner:

Responding to the EU’s eagerly anticipated trashing of May’s cherished Chequers Brexit plan, which until last night’s “ambush in Strasbourg” was opposed by absolutely everyone on both sides of the Tory party divide, Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP (the Northern Ireland “Democratic” Unionists, the minority party who prop up May’s minority government), complained that there was: “utter inflexibility and bullying tactics” from the EU.

“Utter inflexibility and bullying tactics”…. Tell that to the women of Northern Ireland whose human rights your nasty little clique of retrograde, homophobic, patriarchal miseryguts is unilaterally witholding from them.

Fuck you, Prodnose.

 

GW: rememberin’ to take my Medicane…

Omigod… “Zombie Florence”??? Bob Henson at Wunderground is reporting that supposedly dead hurricane, Florence may be regenerating as remnant parts of the system are moving back out to sea in areas where the temperatures are warm enough to spawn new cyclones.

“At least two low-pressure systems are expected to develop from Florence’s remnants, with one portion potentially transitioning to a tropical or subtropical storm by the middle of next week.”

Preliminary tracking suggests that after visiting Bermuda, it might want to have another bite at the east coast of the USA.

“A tropical wave dubbed 99L that emerged from the coast of Africa on Thursday night became Tropical Storm Kirk on Saturday morning, and may pose a danger to the Lesser Antilles Islands as early as Wednesday night. The Atlantic does not typically get its 11th named storm until November 23.” (Wunderground)

Meanwhile a hurricane is forming in the Mediterranean, between Sardinia and Italy – although you’re not allowed to call it that. “A Medicane can bear many of the hallmarks of a tropical storm, including a warm core, a distinct eye, and spiral banding.” Hottest European summer since records etc. (1880) means that “much of the Mediterranean is running 1.5°C to 2.5°C (2.7 – 4.5°F) warmer than average, resulting in SSTs high enough to support tropical cyclone development.” (Wunderground, 21 Sept.)

Japan: “Typhoon Trami is rapidly gathering strength in the Northwest Pacific. Trami intensified on Sunday even more quickly than models had predicted. There is every chance Trami will reach Cat 5 super typhoon status (1-minute sustained winds of 150 mph) as soon as Monday … The typhoon may linger across Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, then carry out a northeastward sweep across or near central Japan about a week from now. By the time it reaches Taiwan or Japan, it’s unlikely Trami would be a super typhoon, but could still be a formidable storm.” (edited from Wunderground)

Philippines: “A landslide in Cebu province in the Philippines has killed more than 20 people, reducing hillside homes to rubble. The landslide comes days after Typhoon Mangkhut caused destruction and more than 80 deaths.” (BBC News)

Another weather-related horror story:

Two female mental health patients detained for medical transport drowned Tuesday night when a sheriff’s department van was swept away in rising South Carolina floodwaters, as it crossed a bridge and was swept through a guard rail, according to authorities. (from Mary Greeley website)

We assume the driver and guard got out safely, alright. Glad to see they’re still “detaining” mental health patients down South. Can’t trust those Never Trumpers!

Mexico: Culiacan, Sinaloa. “Extremely severe flooding” on 20 Sept. PS – why do American cars seem to sink, while everyone else’s float?

China: residual flooding from Mangkhut. Guangdong, many trapped by rising waters.

Thailand: “Many” killed in floods and landslides in Mae Hong Song province in the north. About 13 thousand Rohingya refugees from neighboring Myanmar displaced.

Spain, Portugal: heatwave conditions set to return, with temperatures in the upper 30s, low 40sC – up to 98F. Meanwhile, 135 Km/hr winds pushing into Denmark and Norway, possibly the same front as Storm Ali that blasted Scotland, are pulling intensely cold weather down from the arctic, with temperatures in eastern Europe and the Balkans rapidly falling below freezing over the weekend (22 Sept). Warnings have been issued for SE Belgium, ENE France, south-central Germany, N Austria and SSW Czech Republic for storms capable of producing severe to extremely severe winds, tornados, hail and torrential rainfall. Severe-weather.eu website suggests however that the Iberian heatwave will move north and east later in the week and squeeze the cold air down into northern Italy, across to Greece and Turkey and into the Middle East…. Exciting times!

UK: With gusts to 115 mph, Storm Ali trashes Highland Games at Tullaghmore, interrupts traffic, schools. 200 thousand without power. 2 dead in Ireland. Storm Bronagh hits Wales the next day, 21st, causing localized flooding. Another storm front expected on Sunday didn’t happen.

Globe: Although we’ve experienced record heat in Europe, especially northern Europe and Scandinavia, and in the US far west and midwest, plus a record warm Australian winter, it’s been only the 5th hottest August globally on record. The Atlantic hurricane season kicked off late owing to lower sea temperatures. Arctic sea ice extent increased – although thickness continues to reduce dramatically – rainfall totals have continued to get heavier, and there have been signs of an emerging El Niño, but all in all if you were expecting the end to come in 2018, you’ll probably be disappointed.

NASA has launched a satellite into a bipolar orbit, equipped with a laser able to measure ice thickness to a fraction of a millimetre. No more arguments, then. (Deniers are still taking comfort from mainstream media reports that 2018 ice cover is ‘only’ the 8th lowest on record… at the risk of howling into the wind, ‘extent’ is not ‘volume’… which is lower than ever and about 2/3rds of the 1980 estimates.)

CEWN #137/ severe-weather.eu/ others

Yellowstone: More cracks opening up, more magma entering the chambers, ground rising and falling, more boardwalks/areas closed to visitors, more dormant geysers spouting unexpectedly, ‘superheated water’ (?steam @265F) emerging from new springs…. Congress Pool erupts for the first time in 44 years.  (Mary Greeley)

 

Bird feeder news

Huh. A skittish flock of plump gray pigeons has just spotted I put feed out on the bird table. There’s about a dozen of ’em, all a’ squabblin’ and a’ scrabblin’, trying to squeeze in under the little roof together, looking like a tasty pie. They’ll leave nothing for the equally large flock of hedge sparrows who’ve turned up late and I’ll need to buy more feed.

It’s another beastly day out, anyway. Wellie weather.

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 62: Salmond phishing in Scotland… Painting the skeletons pink… Phooarh!…GW: Wash me down and blow me!

Amen Corner

“We get climate change wrong too often… Manmade climate change exists: if the science proves it we should report it. To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage.”

– Long overdue memo from Head of News, Fran Unsworth to all BBC producers.

Ghoul’s out for ever. (Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

The Pumpkin says: Two hurrahs for Auntie Fran! Fuck off, Lawson, you moneygrubbing ecocidal old ghoul. Back in your grave. And clear up the soil and maggots after you. (See Posts passim)

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/07/bbc-we-get-climate-change-coverage-wrong-too-often

 

“Is sexual kompromat not precisely the tactic Trump and his cohort have been using for years to crush their enemies?”

Salmond phishing in Scotland

Along with many sources, The Pumpkin has previously speculated about the provenance of the variously named Trump International Golf Links project, also known as Trump Aberdeen, or Trump Balmedie; where its $120 million startup funding may have come from, since it certainly did not come from the near-bankrupt Trump Organization in the USA or any cautious British or US banks; and through whom it was channeled.

There are and were numerous other concerns about the development, of course. How Trump railroaded through planning consent over the objections of the community and properly concerned environmentalists; what role the then SNP leader, Alex Salmond played in swinging the decision; how Trump opposed the siting of an offshore wind farm – he hates wind farms – a project supported by Salmond; his bullying and harassment of local resisters – his attempts to massively increase the size of the development, despite the fact that it’s been making heavy losses, partly thanks to the retreat of the North Sea oil industry and the winding-down of Aberdeen as its capital.

And then there was the well-reported instance of Trump’s dimmest son, Eric bragging to a golf journalist that they got $100 million from some golf-mad Russians for course developments. At the time, according to Wikipedia, there were only 9 functioning golf courses in the whole of Russia, and only 4 PGA-registered professionals. The boast was backed up by Donald Jr, who told another journalist that “they were always in and out of Russia”, where the development funding was virtually limitless.

This seemed to contradict Trump Sr’s frequent forceful assertions that he had no business with Russia. None.

Anyway, that’s not what The Pumpkin has been thinking about this morning. Another well-sourced piece by Adam Davidson in The New Yorker this week, entitled “Where will the Trump investigations go next?” (a question on many people’s minds as elections approach and some kind of denouement in the Mueller enquiry is eagerly anticipated) has revived our curiosity, to the point where he lazily dialled “Salmond/Sorial” into the Googlebox and sat back, waiting for any nugget to fall into his lap.

And, unlikely though it may seem, numerous reports have popped up, linking the two names.

Still an Executive Vice-President at Trump Organization, George Sorial was Trump’s point man on Aberdeen: the guy who did all the negotiating, the railroading, the project management and the harassment of the natives (including cutting off their water supplies and throwing high ramparts around their properties) – as well as the relationship-building with Salmond, who somehow became convinced overnight that the development on a Site of Special Scientific Interest would after all be A Good Thing for Scotland, despite all evidence to the contrary.

It seems that part of the relationship-building involved a Salmond scheme whereby Trump, Sorial – and, by extension, Donald Trump Jr – were flattered to be added to a list of international business movers and shakers named as “Global Scots”, honorary nationals who would commit to promoting Scottish business interests worldwide – presumably in anticipation of a Yes vote in the 2014 Independence referendum, a vote that never arrived.

The newly adopted Republican candidate, Trump Sr was swiftly dumped in early 2016, ostensibly because of the multiculturalist SNP’s objections to his campaign promise to introduce a ban on Muslims entering the USA. Donald Jr’s delisting came soon afterwards because, as any fule might have expected, he simply hadn’t fulfilled any of his commitments to promote Scottish business, being too busy chasing tail, pomading his hair (I bet he’s a Dapper Dan man!) and slaughtering endangered animals for their body parts.

There then came attempts to drop Sorial.

Buzzfeed reported (November 30, 2016 – 3 weeks after Trump was elected President)

“According to a freedom of information request from the Scottish government, Salmond gave Sorial the role on the basis that he was “responsible for the Trump developments in Scotland”, he would be an “advocate” for the country, and his parents were from the Scottish island of Lewis.

“However, after being told Sorial was still a Global Scot, Salmond told BuzzFeed News that Sorial should step down from the role. The former first minister has been a vocal critic of Trump since relations between the Scottish government and the tycoon soured over the construction of a wind farm near his golf course.”

The Pumpkin has been wondering about poor Mr Salmond, who has just last week had to resign his seat in the Scottish Assembly and crowdfund an appeal for his legal fees, in order to fight accusations of sexual impropriety made against him quite out of the blue by “two women”.

Is sexual kompromat not precisely the tactic Trump and his cohort have been using for years to crush their enemies and punish or silence their disloyal “friends”, bringing them back into line? One thinks of Charlie Kushner, father of Trump’s son-in-law Jared, part of whose 5-years sentence of imprisonment was for witness tampering – insomuch as he tried to silence his brother-in-law with a DVD of an encounter with a prostitute in a motel room, which Kushner Sr then sent to his own sister, to put a little more pressure on her husband.

And we have heard Trump protege and quasi-legal bagman, Michael Cohen not only pleading guilty to financial violations, but fingering Trump as having ordered him to payoff a porn star and a glamour model out of a special slush-fund created for the purpose, using corporate donations fraudulently elicited to buy access to the White House; while speculation surrounds another Trump associate who may or may not have been involved in silencing a woman who is claiming to have spawned an illegitimate child by Trump.

No wonder he so admires Boris Johnson.

We then have the lurid details of what may or may not have happened in a Moscow hotel room in 2013, as listed in the notorious so-called “Steele dossier” among other instances of compromising information the Russians may or may not have on the President.

So there’s a lot of this sort of thing going around. Were the women put up to “hashtag Metoo” Salmond? Most probably no, but allegations of groping and worse are the kind of “black information” Trump has reportedly stored up for years against individuals he encounters, to secure lasting loyalty; silence (Omerta), and to use against his victims later as necessary.

Could we suppose, taking things to their extreme, that Salmond’s about-face on his apparent loyalty to Trump Org., the defiance of Trump’s thwarted Islamophobic program, the row over the wind farm and the perceived slight of the Leader of the Free World no longer being considered to be an honorary Scotsman have penetrated the notoriously thin skin of the President, and earned poor Alex the dubious distinction of becoming the victim of a Mafia-style vendetta to destroy the career of the ebullient former cruise-ship entertainer?

Betrayal being the number one crime in the Trump playbook? And when Trump Org. has announced it plans further leisure developments in Scotland?

As Davidson writes:

“Some have argued that Trump didn’t knowingly break the law—that he was just impulsive and unfocussed and would, accidentally and without proper due diligence, end up working with crooks. My source told me that this was nonsense: of course Trump knew when he was breaking the law. “Come on. He was trained by fucking Roy Cohn.* Seriously.”

http://www.newyorker.com/news-desk/swamp-chronicles/where-will-the-trump-investigations-go-next?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamieross/donald-trumps-right-hand-man-is-still-an-ambassador-for-scot

*By all accounts, Cohn was an absolute swine, acting as an implacable and cunning prosecutor in the notorious Joseph McCarthy anti-Communist “witch-hunt” hearings; an attorney for the brutal Gambino crime family, and a friend of Trump’s dodgy property developer father, Fred.

In a related earlier piece, however, Davidson recounts how he attended functions at Cohn’s grand mansion, that were almost royal garden parties; and where, like Trump, Cohn would insist on holding open sessions at which rich and influential men – policemen and judges among them – would step up to offer him effusive public praise, adulation that he wallowed in.

The extraordinary thing, Davidson says, is that unlike Trump’s Imperatorial cabinet meetings at which everyone is mercilessly forced to grovel and praise God for his existence and their jobs, Cohn’s guests genuinely seemed to mean it. For those who weren’t his victims, he seemed to offer loyal friendship and a likeable side.

And that’s the secret of success.

Something the thin-skinned and vindictive tinpot dictator, Trump never learned.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/where-trump-learned-to-love-ritualized-flattery

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“Instead of producing a potboiler one would have hoped Woodward might have credibly pursued the paths trodden by veteran Trumphunters, following the money to expose the dark underbelly of America’s worst ever President.”

Painting the skeletons pink

All America is agog at the publication in the failing New York Times of an op-ed piece by an anonymous contributor, described as “A senior member of the Trump administration”, calling the President out as an erratic and incompetent lunatic, whose wilder policy initiatives have to be buried by his staffers before they can do any harm.

The situation is being made very much worse by an incandescent Trump demanding the miscreant’s head on a platter, to be charged with “treason” (the irony escapes him). If he would only shut up and stop reacting like a child to these provocations, The Pumpkin opines, it might look a lot less like the accusations are true.

Nor is it helping, that the piece has come out only a day after the official publication date of “Fear”, the new “piss-and-tell” book about the churning guts of Trump’s White House by legendary investigative journalist, Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame). No collusion? Possibly not.

On Thursday, the supine BBC managed to find a queue of three Trump apologists, including the discreditable neofascist missing-link, Gorka (“why, oh why?” etc. – BBC listener), who all spouted the same incredible lines about what a great job the President is doing and this is all sour grapes from the lyin’ Democrats in cahoots with da fake nooze media.

Meanwhile Trump was saying pretty much the same thing, boasting about his historically high poll ratings. (He recently told one of his flashmob rallies that he didn’t know if they had polls in Abraham Lincoln’s time (they didn’t. Ed.), but if they did Trump’s ratings would be beating them….) He is insane, in case it hadn’t already occurred to you.

The latest WAPO/ABC polling puts him down at 36% national approval, by the way, with 52% thinking he’s a total trainwreck and 49% calling for his impeachment.

Anyone who knows anything about the workings of great newspapers like the NYT knows they don’t print unverified gossip from anonymized sources without very careful checking. They certainly don’t fake-up op-ed pieces of this seriousness themselves and then source them to non-existent senior members of the administration. Trump isn’t calling for them to be shut down because they tell lies about him.

Trump has now embarked on what one can only describe as a “witch hunt” to out the witch who wrote the piece, sparking fevered speculation as to the true identity of his critic – who, as a staunch Republican, hypocritically went out of his or her way to applaud some of the shittier “achievements” of the administration, such as the utterly cretinous trade policies, the wreckage of the public health insurance system, the vainglorious superfunding of the already bloated military, the rollback of consumer and environmental protections and the budget-busting $1.4 trillion giveaway to the party’s funders; none of which has added a jot of happiness to the lives of the vast majority of Americans.

So, for the past few days his closest advisors, a group known as “the adults in the room” have been rushing to deny responsibility. Many commentators are pointing at Vice-President Pence, on the basis of various clues, such as the use of the world “lodestar”, a metaphor Pence is constantly using; and the fact that he has gone off somewhere at this rather crucial time and had to send his fridge to a press conference*.

The Pumpkin’s betting is on Trump’s public defender, Rudy Giuliani – with help over the more difficult spellings. Trump is alleged to have said very terrible, almost shockingly terrible things to poor Rudy in the past, totally emasculating him, whenever the former mayor of New York’s TV performances have not defended the President sufficiently robustly.

Is this Rudy’s Revenge?

Whoever it is, Sessions, Kelly, whoever, given the reluctance of the debutant to step forward, doesn’t this look like a case of painting the skeletons pink? Should Trump go down any time soon, this individual will be able to step forth from the shadows, this ersatz Deep Throat, and proudly proclaim their patriotic instincts and innocence of the Trump stain. Look, my skeletons are still alive!

There is also, of course, the possibility that Trump himself commissioned the piece from a ghost writer, to take the wind out of Woodward’s sails – and sales. It wouldn’t be the first time he has misled the “enemies of the people” in this way; and none of the allegations of his bizarre behavior is original, they’ve all appeared in print before.

It’s a handy distraction, too, from the Congressional hearings on his pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh – who, when quizzed about any previous connections he may have had with anyone on Trump’s legal team, prevaricated that “he couldn’t remember” and asked his inquisitor, the forensic Senator Susan Harris, to suggest some legal names because he didn’t know any. So that’s a rubber stamp, then.

But who knows? It’s bound to come out soon enough.

In The Pumpkin’s view, it’s a shame Woodward’s book is being filleted by the media for the more lurid tales of life in the Trump White House, until it appears that they might be the major or possibly the only theme. I hadn’t budgeted for another Trump tome this month, I’m still pondering ordering Craig Unger’s House of Putin, House of Trump. At least it’s not just more in-house tittle-tattle, of which I have four volumes already.

We can all see from his forgetful behavior and manner of speaking that the President is senescent, almost certainly in the early stages of dementia. We sense too that he is annoyingly inept as an administrator, ignorant of foreign affairs, industry and economics; a vain, crass, incurious and demanding bully, a whining, childish, foul-mouthed solipsist with no regard for anyone other than himself and his own fatuous saloon-bar theories; that he has succeeded in life only through mendacity, extreme venality, adroit publicity and affecting the threatening posture of a Mafia chieftain. He has also revealed a surprising capacity for cowardice.

We know all that.

We already have a raft of books and articles based on the testimony of dozens of leaky insiders describing Trump’s manic outbursts, his “senior moments”, his impulsive policy-making and his horrible dietary habits. So I guess we shall just have to see what Mueller can do, while Trump furiously tries to undermine the credibility of the Russia investigation, brutalizes the Justice Department, slags-off the media and packs the courts with unqualified placemen.

Whatever finally comes out from Mueller may gain no traction at all among the Republican voters.

As the much-decorated doyen of investigative journalists, instead of producing a sensationalist potboiler one would have hoped Woodward might have credibly pursued the paths trodden by veteran Trumphunters like David Cay Johnson, Craig Unger and Adam Davidson, following the money to expose the dark underbelly of America’s worst and most corrupt ever President.

Because the real question few dare to ask is, what terrible secret is it, that he is apparently willing to destroy the presidency to protect?

Shall we ever be allowed to know?

*Younger readers, if any, might not recognise the reference to a Monty Python sketch. Carry on.)

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Phooarh! Trump strikes out

“Never mind, Mr President, it can happen to anyone. Let’s get you all cleaned up…” (photo: Empirenews.net)

Despite his insistent promises to the adoring dumbfucks on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t have time to play golf because he’d be permanently in the Oval Office, “working my ass off for you” (massive cheer!), and a virulent campaign of Fox poo claiming his predecessor, Obama, was never off the golf course even during national crises (“he plays more even than a member of the PGA”) the website Trumpgolfcount reports that after just 590 days in office, the Fat Fibber has spent 349 days at his own golf resorts, while Obama managed only 328 days golfing in 8 years.

Total cost to the US taxpayer so far: $77 million. (Cost to local businesses forced by the security service to shut up shop while he plays, incalculable.)

But he works so hard – at least four hours a day including an hour for lunch, according to White House insiders – he surely deserves the time off. How else would his tacky resorts make any money?

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GW: Wash me down and blow me!

Hawaii: “Back up to Category 3 strength on Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Olivia remains on a long-term course that looks increasingly likely to take it across the Hawaiian Islands. Located about 1200 miles west of Cabo San Lucas—and was heading west-northwest at 14 mph. Update (11:30 pm EDT Thursday): Olivia has now attained Category 4 strength, with top sustained winds of 130 mph.” (Wunderground) Weaker Hurricane Norman passed well to the north of the islands this week. Hawaii was battered last week by 135 mph Hurricane Lane bearing up to 53 cm of rain, the most powerful storm in a quarter of a century.

Guam: “Though it was just a minimum-strength tropical storm with 40 mph winds on Friday, Mangkhut promises to become a ferocious typhoon over the next few days. The system is surrounded by a large envelope of very moist air and it will be traveling over very warm SSTs of 29 – 30°C (84 – 86°F). …The Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts that Manghut will rocket to typhoon strength by Sunday local time and will be a Category 4 typhoon by the time it nears Guam on Tuesday.” (Wunderground)

Bermuda: Hurricane Florence, which had strengthened into the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season, weakened to a Category 1 storm Thursday as it moved on a path toward Bermuda. As of 5 p.m. ET Thursday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph but was expected to reintensify Friday, the National Hurricane Center said. Large swells from Florence are expected to hit Bermuda starting Friday. Life-threatening surf and rip tides are possible.” (CBS News)

Mexico: “Flooding in the city of Piedras Negras in Coahuila state, (on the Texas border) on 04 Sept. affected more than 10,000 residents. Around 20 people were forced to evacuate and stay in temporary accommodation. Roads in the area also suffered damage. No injuries or fatalities were reported. Local Civil Protection said that more than 150mm of rain fell from late Monday 03 Sept. to early Tuesday 04 Sept.” (Floodlist)

USA: “Kansas Governor, Jeff Colyer issued a state of disaster emergency declaration for five Kansas counties affected by flooding from 02 to 04 Sept. An estimated 300 people were displaced, with areas around Manhattan worst affected.” Over 9 inches of rain fell during the storm. (Floodlist) The east coast may feel the force of Hurricane Florence later in the week.

India: “At least 19 people have died in flood-related incidents in Uttar Pradesh since 01 Sept. Nearly 300 villages have been affected. Many of the deaths were a result of collapsing buildings or lightning strikes. Over 220 houses have been damaged or destroyed in the heavy rain and flooding over the last 4 days.

“The flood-hit south Indian state of Kerala has declared a health alert after 11 people died of leptospirosis or rat fever in the last two days (to 04 Sept.). Health officials in the state said there was no immediate cause for alarm and the situation was under control (! Ed.). Flooding has killed around 400 people in Kerala since June.” (BBC Weather)

Australia: Has been accused by Pacific nations of trying to water down the Boe Declaration on emissions reduction. “Dr Bill Hare, a lead author on the IPCC fourth assessment report, told Guardian Australia that Pacific leaders were growing increasingly disenchanted with Australia’s refusal to commit to cutting carbon emissions, even as their nations faced massive economic, physical and social disruption, even existential threat.”

UK: The Met Office has confirmed, 2018 was the hottest summer they’ve ever recorded in England, and the joint-hottest for the British Isles as a whole. The 10-day forecast from 08 Sept. is completely chaotic, although not extreme, as the huge loops currently in the jet stream break apart into separate segments and go spinning off over the course of the next week. Watch the BBC weatherman struggle to explain!

 

Scary corner

“Roundworms from two areas of (the Siberian permafrost) came back to life in Petri dishes, says a new scientific study. Some 300 prehistoric worms were analysed – and two ‘were shown to contain viable nematodes’.

“‘After being defrosted, the (possibly 42 thousand year-old) nematodes showed signs of life,’ said a report today from Yakutia, the area where the worms were found. ‘They started moving and eating.’

“Both are thought to be female.”

Siberian Times

 

Americans in Britain, you have nothing to fear but Trump himself… Kicking the immigration ball out of the park… Daylight Raabery: kenneling the Brexit Bulldog… GW: bemoaning again the shortage of paper towels… The Living End: God damn Microsoft and their lousy enterprise.

Essential reading

“Nationalism, tribalism, dislocation, fear of social change and the hatred of outsiders are on the rise again as people, locked in their partisan silos and filter bubbles, are losing a sense of shared reality and the ability to communicate across social and sectarian lines.” – Michiko Kakutani, writing in The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/14/the-death-of-truth-how-we-gave-up-on-facts-and-ended-up-with-trump

“The President should be above the law, Sir.”
“What law is that, Brett?”
Trump welcomes his pre-pick to the Supreme Court gravy train.

 

“By all means, wear your tartan trews and carry a man-bag”

You have nothing to fear but Trump himself

Americans living in Britain also have to worry about Trump’s visit to Britain, according to the U.S. embassy there. The U.S. State Department has warned Americans in Britain to “keep a low profile” and “be aware of your surroundings” this week due to demonstrations being planned against the president. – Washington Post

American officialdom at its most paranoid. “Be aware of your surroundings”, what, are innocent tourists from Omaha once more going to wake up in foggy Limehouse Reach with sore heads and a metallic taste, trussed and rolled, asking of the concerned copper bending over them: “Officer, where am I?”

Look up to the sky, guys. Does a humorous protest involving a large orange effigy of your infantile President wearing a nappy flying as a blimp above London look like evidence of a wicked conspiracy to threaten the lives of your citizens on the streets – many of whom will undoubtedly be keen to share in the general revulsion here at the demented baby-snatcher’s furtive visit to your special relations?

Or is it an example of that unfathomable British irony you just don’t get? (I particularly liked the protestor bearing a placard: “We shall over-comb”)

The general mood in Britain at the moment will more likely see Americans embraced on the streets, if they dare to emerge from their air-conditioned hotels and bank offices, along with everyone else from wherever in the world they hail, as fellow victims of the global conspiracy to screw the common people.

By all means, wear your tartan trews and carry a man-bag, if it so pleases you. We have never been so united in our inclusivity as we are the morning after our multi-ethnic young footballers somehow carved a triumph out of a predictably dreary defeat in Moscow.

If you don’t want to read this bit, look away now:

Alfred, Lord… tennis on!

Your Uncle B was otherwise glued to the second of two totally incredible, historic quarter-final men’s tennis matches in one gloriously hot and sweaty afternoon at Wimbledon – on TV, but nevertheless – and saw almost nothing of the football.

Singles tennis is like one wall-to-wall penalty shootout lasting four hours, a duel to the death with a passion and intensity and an athleticism rarely seen on the dank soccer pitches of the North.

After his fascination with the early rounds, Bogler decided he never wanted to watch another football match in his life: just a lot of expensive haircuts strolling around, kicking the ball back and forth to the goalkeeper, hacking at one another’s shins, tugging pathetically at one another’s shirts, harrassing their opponents pestilentially like annoying sand-flies, wrestling strikers to the ground, falling over and rolling about in feigned agony, hamming it up like Sir Henry Irving playing Romeo, making sickening appeals of childhood innocence and loss, wheedling to the referee with much eye-rolling, gesticulation and gibbering supplications to Heaven, none of it with any apparent intention of ever scoring goals, being the whole purpose of the game; but occasionally taking wild swings and hoofing the ball over the stand – having, in England’s case, seemingly no knowledge of how to do it, other than through the determined application of professional techniques for the obtaining of setpiece free kicks….

Did Gareth Southgate never tell Raheem Sterling it is absolutely within the rules of the game to take the odd power-shot from the edge of the box, or pass to an unmarked shirt alongside him, rather than run around in circles waiting for the fullbacks to arrive and dispossess him of the ball?

Ugh. Boring, boring. VAR? Humbug! And I won’t even start on the awful mateyness of the commentators, or the curious fact that neither the BBC nor ITV, who were sharing the coverage alternately, would ever deign to mention that a match was being televised on the other’s channels. Fucking childish, if you ask me.)

Get over yourselves, teenage State Department baboons barricaded in your hideous new (“Such a bad deal”) embassy.

You have nothing to fear but Trump himself.

 

“…the lesson would have been salutary to those who still imagine that a white face and calf-length shorts are a mark of national greatness.”

Kicking the immigration ball out of the park

The WaPo also comments boldly today on the multi-ethnic nature of European teams and the fringe debate going on between French intellectuals as to whether we should allow ourselves to remark openly that 85 per cent of the French squad comes from African minority backgrounds, or simply accept that we are all citizens of La République now, regardless of hue and culinary differences.

(We should all gang up against Croatia for the final, however, recalling their wartime support for the Nazis and the exclusive whiteness of their players, also for bringing their domestic politics so blatantly into the European Championship in 2016.)

It’s a pity in a way that England didn’t get through to a final against France, a team we might have beaten, as half the England squad also consists of ethnic minority players native to Britain. I fear we run the risk of being labelled racist for even observing it, but the combined effect would have been salutary to those who still imagine that a white face and calf-length shorts are a mark of national greatness.

I’ve been noticing something different, which is that the further east and north you go in European football, the fewer black and brown faces you see in their squads.

This chimes with the BogPo’s frequently Posted opinion that there is a religious-right, white-nativist movement lurking behind the disruptive and – as we are finding out too late – illegally financed campaigns to bring down the EU, the US constitution and other democratic institutions, largely emanating from the East, where a new Soviet bloc is emerging*, where klepitalism is the new collectivism.

A more rational explanation for the anomaly is, of course, the post-colonial movement of former native subjects to the ‘mother countries’, that has been going on since the 1950s. Nor Croatia, nor Poland, nor Iceland, nor Sweden, nor Russia have ever made colonies of African nations and consequently have no obligations to their past imperial connections.

In fact you can tie the two together. It is a curious phenomenon noticed by researchers following the EU referendum, that the fewer immigrants there are living in any part of the country, the greater is the local hostility to immigration.

Wikipedia recorded not long ago that the entire Muslim population of profoundly Islamophobic, virulently racist Hungary, busily erecting fences to keep out the brown tide of Syrian refugees against all norms of civilized compassion, not to mention UN and EU rules, was less than 5,500; most of them ethnic Hungarians.

Incidentally, what happened to Hungary as a once-great footballing nation? Ferenc Puskas, and that lot?

Maybe they could use a few limber young Africans to pep-up the squad?

*To illustrate this alarming assertion, a convoluted situation is emerging in the Czech Republic, one half of the divided former Soviet satellite state of Czechoslovakia, where a far-right, libertarian, anti-immigration government led by a wealthy oligarch Prime Minister under investigation for corruption has had to go into coalition with a regional bloc of hardline, old-style Communist politicians linked to Moscow in order to stay in power.

Watch that space, if you can!

Postscriptum

Lest anyone be under any illusion that Britain is still a free and welcoming country by comparison with, say, Hungary or, now, Italy, this article in The Guardian, 01 August, will finally disabuse you of any notion that we are immune to the tide of modern fascism sweeping Europe and America. Regretfully, I cannot say it disabuses many other people targeted by the repellent Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ policies:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/aug/01/hostile-environment-immigrants-crept-into-schools-hospitals-homes-border-guards

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“By appointing him to purportedly “negotiate” Britain’s inevitable no-deal exit from the EU, Mrs May has guaranteed her own departure.”

Daylight Raabery: kenneling the Brexit Bulldog

In the wake of the resignation of the hapless David Davis, Britain’s so-called “Brexit Bulldog”; who is, one imagines, relieved to have found a way out of the firing line, new Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab gave a fairly shoddy account of himself on the BBC’s Today show this morning.

The poor chap has been dumped in the unenviable position of having to promote St Theresa’s waffly agenda for Brexit, supposedly agreed unanimously by her fractious cabinet at a meeting last week, when he obviously doesn’t believe a single idea in it can or should be allowed to work.

Despite his reputation as an up-and-coming Tory high-flier with half a brain, his answers to some fairly light grilling by Mishal Husein consisted almost entirely of dredging up the good old Vote.Leave slogans.

The May compromise deal will absolutely allow us to “regain control” of our laws, our sovereignty, our borders, our courts, our senses, our women and our knife criminals;  guarantee jobs, allow us to trade freely with the rest of the world (i.e. the USA) with no customs tariffs or hard borders, and to rebuild the empire while curbing unwanted immigration – except, obviously, for where our shitty trade deals with the rest of the world (i.e. the USA) might oblige us to take in more of their citizens….

It’s heartbreaking, how stupid these Brexit moral imbeciles think we 48 per cent – nearly 17 million – Remainers are. It’s all lies, they know it, flying-unicorns land, but they won by a tiny margin, so we have nothing to say about it. And the pity is, the triumphalist Leave tendency in the minor shires and the abandoned wasteland of the north is still painfully unaware of what really underlies their misplaced vote.

That’s because Raab is at heart more of a Brexiteer than any of the ambitious plotters in – or now out of – the cabinet.

Revealed by Open Democracy yesterday, is the probably well-known fact that Mr Raab is deeply involved with and influenced by the ideology of the Institute for Economic Affairs, a messianic neo-Thatcherite libertarian think-tank masquerading as an educational charity, which has quietly insinuated itself into the heart of the Tory party over the past few years, calling itself the Free Enterprise Group.

The IEA is linked with a number of conservative Christian lobbying and funding institutions in the US, on whose web pages butter would not melt, but which are clearly engaged in the experiment to cleanse the Union of its heretical multicultural socialist-democratic elements and unsavory permissivist tendencies.

Just taking one as a for-instance, the Templeton Foundation funds university projects in such esoteric areas as research on the biological basis of Atheism.

Reading between the disarming lines on their tasteful website one senses the only reason for funding research to discover a scientific basis for disbelief in the improbable (it’s called rationalism) would be to reassure believers they can use anti-science to counter those unbelievers who are opposed to their set of improbable dogmas.

In other words, to convert the heathen.

Open Democracy finds that the IEA is reluctant to reveal the sources of its funding, however the Templeton Foundation is said to have donated more than half a million dollars to the IEA through the American Friends of the IEA, which was originally set up with tobacco money to fight the campaign against smoking.

Are we draining the Swamp? You bet! Right into your living room.

The IEA invites speakers like Raab, who are on published record as arguing that the British worker is a lazy fellow, and that for his own good, among other things, the abolition of workers’ rights, environmental and consumer protections, the total privatization of the NHS, pensions and State welfare fallbacks, combined with tax cuts for corporations, are necessary components of the New World Order.

Do you see the parallels between Raab’s intentions and those of, say, Steve Bannon, whose poisonous libertarian ideology based on the snivellings of Ayn Rand still infects the befuddled old brain of the US President?

Do you see how this plot against consensus liberal democracy, “The Thing”, is unfolding?

With just those few hints of an agenda that obviously demands the dismantling of the EU as our protector of civil liberties and the “caring State” in favour of an ultra-capitalist free-for-all, one sees immediately the nature of the enemy, the true aim behind Brexit being to deregulate the economy in favour of the wealthy and the exploiter class.

One of a clutch of new Tory MPs elected in 2010 who are believed to form the core membership of this so-called Free Enterprise Group, Raab is now the fox in the chicken-coop.

By appointing him to purportedly “negotiate” Britain’s inevitable no-deal exit from the EU, Mrs May has guaranteed her own departure.

And an eternity of spin and misery in corporate servitude for the rest.

 

GW: bemoaning again the shortage of paper towels

Afghanistan: at least 10 people are known to have died and many others are missing after a landslide brought on by rapid ice melt on the 11th and 12th caused a dam to burst in the northeastern province of Panjshir, sweeping away a village, Floodlist reports. Rescue teams have been sent to the area.

Puerto Rico: “The remnants of Hurricane Beryl brought heavy rain and wind to (the US protectorate) from 09 July, causing flooding, and (to the) Dominican Republic from 10 July, where almost 8,000 people (were) evacuated. The National Hurricane Center said Beryl had weakened to a tropical storm on 7 July, as it approached islands in the eastern Caribbean.”

Mexico: severe flash floods have again affected several states and cities, including Monterrey, causing widespread damage.

India: “Authorities have rescued hundreds of people stranded in the state of Maharashtra after heavy rainfall and flooding. 1,500 passengers were evacuated from a stranded train about 40 km north of Mumbai. 3 locations recorded more than 200 mm of rain in 24 hrs on 10 July.”

Japan: death toll in the Hiroshima floods now 179. “A heatwave in southern Japan has killed at least eight people, dealing another blow to a country still recovering from the worst flooding in decades. Six people died on Saturday, and two people on Sunday, Kyodo News reported, as thousands sought medical treatment for heatstroke and heat exhaustion.” – CNN

Russia: prolonged heavy rainfall caused the river Chita in Eastern Russia to burst its banks, flooding the city of Chita, 8 July.

USA: A newborn baby was killed and several people injured when a sudden storm struck Watford City oil town in N Dakota on 11 July. A 127 mph EF-2 tornado ripped through a trailer park. Phoenix Az. experienced 70 mph winds, torrential rain AND a blackout dust storm on the 10th, almost 100k residents were left without power.

UK: The longest, driest heatwave in 40 years continues, with many areas defying forecasts of storms, and temperatures are set to rise again at the weekend. Salad crops have failed and supermarkets are relying on imports.

Meanwhile, the country has racked up its first thousand hours in a year when no electricity needed to be generated by coal. “Renewables provided record amounts of electricity, with more than 7.4% coming from solar over the past four weeks. In 2012 (coal) supplied 40% of electricity – this year so far it has provided less than 6%.” – edited from BBC News, 13 July

Northern Hemisphere: “The first six months of the year have made it the hottest La Niña year to date on record,” said Clare Nullis of the World Meteorological Organization.

“Taiwan is the most recent place to report a new high with a temperature of 40.3C in Tianxiang on Monday. This followed a flurry of other anomalies. Last week, a weather station in Algeria reported a maximum 51.3C on 5 July, the highest temperature reliably recorded in Africa. In California, daytime records were also set last week at Chino (48.9C), Burbank airport (45.6C) and Van Nuys airport (47.2C). In Canada, at least 54 deaths have been attributed to the prolonged heatwave and high humidity in Quebec. Montreal saw a new record high temperature of 36.6C on 2 July. In Europe, the WMO has warned of droughts, wildfires and harvest losses after the second hottest June on record. Over the past two weeks, records have been set in Tbilisi (40.5C), Shannon (32C), and Belfast (29.5C)” – edited from Guardian report, 13 July

Edited from Floodlist/ CEWN #128/ BBC News/ Guardian Green Light/ CNN

 

The living end

God damn Microsoft and their lousy enterprise.

For days, the BogPo has been persistently dogged by a message from the beanbags of Microsoft, politely requesting an urgent appointment to upgrade my system.

The messages became more insistent, until yesterday I was offered the opportunity to set a time, or else. I dialled through to 23.30, by when I expected there would be no more tennis on. (In the event, thanks to the marathon semi-final between two enormously tall men, Anderson (RSA, 6’8″) and Isner (USA, 6’10”), that ended 26-24 in the fifth set, there almost was.)

Microsoft immediately concluded that I must have meant 16.15 and pursued me every 20 minutes throughout the afternoon’s viewing with a button asking them either to get on with it, or please to wait just another hour as I was busy.

Eventually I took the dog out and left them to it.

When I returned, I found a series of pages on the screen, one after another offering me choices to setup this or that feature. I chose what I hoped would be the least invasive options of my personal space, that wouldn’t allow them to track my every fart and scratch, and toddled up to bed.

This morning, lifting the lid I find the computer is stuck in Sleep mode, where I definitely did not leave it. Pressing keys and wiggling the mouse fails to wake it. Turning it off and on again finally works, until a message comes up, asking me to restart again as it needs to diagnose and repair a C-drive error.

What have these incompetent lunatics at Microsoft done now? To my brand-new, barely affordable laptop, shiny-silver and thin as a biscuit, that I have had only a month?

And now I find that their slime-trail over my computer has terminated a number of my regular accounts: The Washington Post no longer recognizes me as a subscriber, The Guardian  and BBC iPlayer want me to sign in… I don’t know what my fucking passwords were three years ago, do I? Does anyone?

And then I notice that, for some unknown reason, the control bar of the WordPress WP program is no longer offering me the Underline option. The icon has just vanished.

Why do I have a feeling that nothing is ever going to be the same?

God damn them and their lousy enterprise.

Fucking Microsoft.

 

 

A New World Order… The Presidency racket… GW: Still blowin’ hot and cold.

“Today’s historic event is attributed to the vision, courage, and moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous and eternal debt of gratitude: President Donald J Trump.” Washington’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, kissing furry golden ass on the occasion of the repurposing of the US consulate in Jerusalem as a monstrous standing provocation to the stalled Middle East peace effort.

“Welcome to England, Mr President…”

A New World Order

“Re-imposing sanctions on Iran will create the greatest division between Europe and the U.S. since the Iraq War, Mark Fitzpatrick, the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies office in Washington, told me. “Only this time it will be worse, since not a single European state sides with the U.S. on this matter.” Beyond Europe, American credibility worldwide “will go down the tubes,” he said. “Who will ever want to strike a deal with a country that, without cause, pulls out of a deal that everyone else knows has been working well?” – Robin Wright, in The New Yorker magazine, 10 May.

Perhaps somebody could make the same point to Theresa May and the treacherous little shits and Russian-cash-soaked millionaires behind the Brexit plot?

That blithely tearing up 45 years’ worth of carefully negotiated and complex multinational manufacturing, trade and customs agreements, safety standards, environmental controls and workers’ and consumers’ rights with our European partners – and hence, the wider trade networks with 60 countries more easily accessed through the EU – sent a signal to every country in the world that “perfidious Albion” is just a bunch of embittered fantasists and amoral hooligans who cannot be trusted to stick to our agreements and stand by our allies, ever again.

Sadly, it seems to be symptomatic of a new world order in which greed, caprice, emotion and whimsy rule in an atmosphere of celebratory ignorance and anti-intellectualism, encouraged and funded by a new, largely hidden elite of unelected data capitalists and money-movers whose interests lie mainly in breaking apart the democratic consensus and pulling down its institutions. Those – and attempting through amassing vast personal wealth to escape the lethal consequences of the self-interest of previous generations of capitalists.

Much of what we do see is sleight-of-hand: distraction and deflection, setting up straw targets manufactured from the tropes of past conflicts: class warfare is back on the agenda, with a leavening of stirred-up racial tensions; as now with Israeli dissembling over their actions in Syria – the old, childish game of “Oh, but THEY started it!” – is the prospect of a genuine war we seem too apathetic and bored to stop.

And who benefits? Yawn… just watch the price of oil.

 

“… he doesn’t like them earning money at his expense”

The Presidency racket

The Cohen affair in the USA has gone way beyond the Stormy Daniels payment.

Allegations are swirling around the possible creation of a secret $5 million slush fund run by Cohen, the President’s closest legal advisor, built up from payments by industrialists buying access to the White House and sanctioned Russian oligarchs seeking relief and a safe haven for their dirty money.

Outed by the media (which Mr Trump has again been vigorously trolling in the past few days, he publicly admits in order to discredit any real news inimical to his interests), companies found to be paying into the fund have given only shifty reasons, claiming for instance to have been employing Cohen as a consultant in a variety of capacities in which he hasn’t the slightest qualification.

It’s beyond satire. The corporations implicated are huge and do not require the services of an averagely incompetent legal consultant, having thousands of their own and access to the best. But they are terrified of the effect the wayward President and his sloppy, intemperate tweets might have on their share prices. And they think that through Cohen they can get closer to the Orange Effulgence.

The discovery of this hitherto unsuspected funnel of cash pouring into a decidedly gray, unaccounted area of the Trump 2020 re-election campaign through what appears to be little more than a barely legal climate of extortion and patronage has highlighted the incredible number of former and current corporate lobbyists now employed inside the Trump administration, said to be approaching two hundred.

Far from “draining The Swamp” of corporate lobbying in Washington – one of his big campaign promises to the screaming dumbfucks, who will never be disillusioned no matter what – Trump is seemingly determined to fill it up with placemen loyal to him, at least financially, while – it is suggested – benefiting personally like a mafia boss from a steady stream of kickbacks and commissions bubbling up through the mire from lobbying fees paid by corporations to government employees – of whom Trump, did he but realize it, is one.

As is being said, in the same way he doesn’t like his people getting more media attention than he does, he doesn’t like them making loads of money at his expense.

Due tribute must be paid.

Accordingly, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell have proposed a startling theory about many of Trump’s seemingly deranged, out-of-the-blue attacks and dire threats he tweets against companies – like Ford Motors – and even other countries, pointing out that the first thing his “victims” always do is employ more lobbyists to try to avert his wrath; who in turn may be paying a chunk of their enhanced fee income into the Cohen piggybank, which has been used, among other things, to buy off embarrassing people like Stephanie Clifford (Daniels).

What else might it be being used for? We assume that releasing his tax returns, which he stubbornly refuses to do, might indeed raise questions as to the sources of much of his income.

Even major foreign policy decisions such as the controversial withdrawal from the Iran nuclear nonproliferation treaty, that threatens to widen the conflict in the Middle East, could benefit Trump personally through the enhanced lobbying activity it will undoubtedly cause in The Swamp, as well as use of his hotels by official State delegations, from which – despite the emoluments clause – he continues to profit.

By “draining The Swamp”, few perhaps suspected Trump meant “bleeding it dry”….

Yet few took seriously his repeated assertions on the campaign trail that he was always greedy for more money. They thought he was making a self-effacing joke. Only he doesn’t do those. He rarely self-effaces – he frequently self-incriminates. He knows he can get away with anything, always has, always will, so it doesn’t matter – a sort of reverse fifth amendment.

If this bears out – and much of the speculation started with Daniels’ canny lawyer, Michael Avenatti – it would surely be evidence of staggering top-level corruption, extortion and conspiracy to add to the litany of Trump’s calumnies: collusion with Russia, damaging foreign and domestic policy initiatives, bullying, aiding and abetting money-laundering, endless lies and incompetence that has attached to this extraordinary “made-for-TV” individual since he was doubtfully elected by just three heavily gerrymandered constituencies only 16 months ago.

No doubt the Special Counsel, Bob Mueller will be keen to get to the truth of these assertions, if he hasn’t already; just one more reason for Trump to be desperately angling for ways to make his inquiry go away.

To get a flavor of what is now being discussed, go to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3IbcvpeGCw

Oh, wait, there’s more…

I turn this morning to the delightful Joy Reid, MSNBC’s weekend breakfast show gal, for further news.

So, you remember last month the FBI raided the files of Michael Cohen, Trump’s “fixer”? Now at his team’s request the Southern District court has appointed a Special Master to go through the files to see what can be used as evidence and what is protected by attorney-client privilege.

And she’s received a letter this week from a lawyer called Gleason, requesting that letters he exchanged with Cohen in 2013 be protected on grounds that their release would infringe his own clients’ rights to privacy.

Who were his clients? Why, two “women”, alleging sexual harassment by Eric Schneiderman, who resigned just last Monday from his position as New York’s Attorney-General over similar allegations by four other women who have just come forward.

Why is this relevant? Because, so Vanity Fair magazine suggests, instead of bringing a case against Schneiderman through the normal legal channels, Gleason apparently took the story to the National Enquirer magazine, a scandal sheet owned by Trump’s friend David Pecker (no, seriously), who in turn seems to have passed it on to Cohen in his capacity as Trump’s attorney.

Why he do dat?

What had the matter to do with Trump? Well, Schneiderman was at the time looking into Trump’s phony “Trump University” scam, over which Trump would later have to settle $25 million to compensate his many victims. Remember, this was back in 2013, long before Trump launched his bid to steal the presidency.

Trump then tweeted out that Schneiderman (with the usual dismissive insults about his capabilities) was linked with Anthony Weiner, who would three years later have his emails hacked as part of the attempt to discredit Hillary Clinton and get a gaol sentence for sexually harrassing a teenage Democratic party staffer. No kidding, he texted her sexts of his Wiener. These people are beyond satire.)

How did Trump know about Weiner’s behavior at that stage? He could only have known if he was running an operation through Cohen to dig and retain “dirt” on various possibly useful individuals who, like him, had been accused of sexual impropriety; a kind of boys’ club for serial pussy-grabbers.

Cohen, as we now know, was operating a fund to buy off and/or threaten women complainants, and revelatresses like Stormy Daniels. So it now seems plausible from what various media outlets are reporting that Trump’s strategy was to use sexual blackmail against people he wanted to shut up, or to do bad stuff for him.

Where it gets really messy, however, is – as reported above – that some very large and respectable (supposedly) corporations, including an investment fund whose largest shareholder is a Russian oligarch close to Putin, have been paying very large sums into the fund, supposedly to employ the inept but brusque Cohen as a consultant; but in practice, to gain access to the White House.

Or was it for murkier purposes?

And it’s being suggested the money sitting in a Delaware-registered shell company owned by Cohen – who has reportedly paid himself over a million dollars out of it – might also be available for his boss’s personal use.

Watch various spaces – this one could run and run.

x

GW: Still blowin’ hot and cold.

Arctic: Weather.com reports that temperatures in the Arctic are hovering around the zero deg. C  mark yet again, 35C above the 1981-2010 average for the time of year. Wunderground makes the point that it has been colder in some northerly US states during April than it’s been at the North Pole. The Norway Ice Service reports the loss of 32,000 sq miles of ice in just three days last week. NOAA concludes that the multi-year trend to a hot Arctic could not be happening without a rapid rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia: “Storms in Tasmania have caused severe flash flooding in the capital Hobart and south eastern areas of the state. (The) Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said that 129 mm of rain fell in Hobart in 24 hours to early 11 May, 2018 (local time). Mount Wellington recorded 236 mm of rain during the same period.” Over 1 thousand lightning strokes were recorded.

“Scientists in New Zealand have documented what they believe is the largest wave ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. The 23.8m (78ft) wave was measured by a buoy on New Zealand’s Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean on 08 May.”

Canada: around 3000 people have been told to evacuate their homes in British Columbia as rivers peak half a meter above records going back 200 years, due to a heatwave producing rapid snowmelt. “The flood water in British Colombia rivers has made its way downriver and into Washington state, USA, where the governor has declared a state of emergency.”

Kenya: “A dam has burst overnight 09 May, after heavy rain, causing “huge destruction” and killing at least 44 people. The breach happened in the town of Solai, 190km (120 miles) north-west of the capital, Nairobi. The Kenyan Red Cross says it has rescued 39 people so far. Hundreds are said to have been left homeless.” 150 people are known to have died in widespread floods this year.

Ecuador: 70 mm of rain in 24 hours causes local flooding in El Oro province.

Colombia: Baranquila underwater. If you want to know what mother nature thinks of cars, watch 9 minutes of citizen journalism on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmd7K-k6Duo from 04′.42″.

China: Quangjou, Fujian province underwater. 3 dead, 2 missing. Luchuan, Gianxi province underwater. 72,000 people affected, 4,500 Ha crops lost.

Sri Lanka: The start of the monsoon season (as last year) has brought immediate flooding with some 8000 people so far affected. “As much as 166 mm of rain was recorded in Galle in 24 hours to 12 May.”

Iraq; 4 killed in Duhok floods, Kurdistan.

Italy: “Homes and businesses were flooded in San Polo, Tuscany after an intense storm dumped over 50 mm of rain in about 3 hours. The storm hit d “uring the afternoon of 08 May, 2018, flooding areas near Sinalunga (Siena province), San Polo in Chianti (Florence) and Volterra (Pisa).” Legnano, Northern Italy, massive hailstorm, rivers of ice, etc.

Germany: “Severe thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain affected parts of Germany on10 May, 2018. Flash flooding was reported in Hamburg and areas of Schleswig-Holstein, where emergency services received over 2,000 calls for help. The Schleswig-Holstein town of Quickborn, north west of Oststeinbek, recorded 58.7 mm of rain in 24 hours to early 11 May. 42 mm fell in just 30 minutes.”

Elsewhere in Germany a severe hailstorm affected Rhön-Grabfeld in Bavaria

Greece: Flash-flooding in Thessaloniki after torrential rainstorm.

UK: Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade and climate spokesman, said: “2018 is the year when countries have been asked by the UN to ratchet up their commitments on climate change. Instead our government is actually proposing to count emissions savings made from as far back as 2010 towards fulfilling their obligations in the next decade from 2021-2030.”

Hurricanes: The Eastern Pacific hurricane season officially starts on May 15. “… for the second year in a row, we have the potential to see a record-early start to the season. A concentrated area of heavy thunderstorms … 1200 miles southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, had acquired plenty of spin, but was not yet organized enough to be labeled a tropical depression. Conditions were favorable for development (NHC: 70%), with … sea surface temperatures … 28°C (82°F), about 1°C above average. The first name on the Eastern Pacific list of storm names in 2018 is Aletta.”

Anyway, it’s not on track to make landfall anywhere. Meanwhile, on the other side of the isthmus:

“The peak season for Atlantic storms, which officially starts on 1 June, is set to spur as many as 18 named storms, with up to five of them developing into major hurricanes, according to separate forecasts from North Carolina State University and Colorado State University.” – Guardian

However, Bob Henson at Wunderground speculates that while rising sea temperatures may provide additional energy and precipitation to storm systems, rising air temperatures in future may inhibit the formation of defined hurricanes.

Weather.com/ BBC News/ Wunderground/ CEWN #117

 

British values… American carnage… Meanwhile, back at the OK Corral… The War on the Poor… It looks like Issue 43 of The Pumpkin (Maybe the last for a while)

British Values

Shortly before this bus exploded, as the fire took hold detainees were forced to remain inside to be handcuffed by Capita goons, who ought now to be put on trial and receive long prison sentences along with their lying, conniving managers, and the Home fucking Secretary, crooked financier Tony’s daughter, Amber Rudd. Decent British people are sickened by this growing abuse of migrants.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/21/home-office-contractors-cuffed-detained-migrants-inside-coach-on-fire

 

American Carnage

“It’s amazing the amount of carnage that one individual can carry out in such a short period of time.”

Thus Florida’s Junior Senator Marco Rubio, marvelling at the power of the AR-15 semi-automatic military-grade assault weapon to tear apart a young human body at close range in the wake of the St Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in idyllic Parkland, Fla.

Little Marco, as the fatuous oaf Trump famously (and seemingly accurately) dubbed him, apparently has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association. It means he’s all for it, and they’re all for him, laundered Russian dark-money an’ all.

But he still wants to reserve judgement on the killings until all the facts are in as to how amazing it was.

Like, that the 19 year-old killer, Nikolas Cruz, was legally able under Federal law to purchase a military assault weapon at 18 – but not a small handgun, or a beer. You have to be 21 for those.

Like, that the FBI had already recorded the miserable little dork posting on Twitter that he wanted to become ‘a professional school shooter’, but somehow couldn’t trace him even though they knew his name. (How does that level of competence play out when trying to trace the President’s money-laundering operation?)

Like, that the BBC is reporting, social media reveals Cruz to be a paid-up member of a white supremacist gang. (The gang leader has claimed him, the police say the evidence is inconclusive. This being America, others will no doubt link him with Hillary Clinton.)

Like, that he went for a post-spree McDonalds, and had been photographed wearing a Trump: MAGA hat. A true patriot.

So, nothing to see there folks, no Muslims, move on…

It was the eighth school shooting in the US in the last six weeks. Don’t hold your breath for Trump to actually do anything more than wish everyone concerned a happier Valentine’s Day next year and blame the victims for failing to report that Cruz  – fostered after his mother died in 2016 – was depressed and angry.

Trump’s promise to look in on the folks of wherever it was will no doubt coincide conveniently with yet another golfing weekend at Mar-a-Lago, just down the road.

Maybe chuck them some paper towels, mop up the mess.

 

Meanwhile, back at the OK Corral

Addressing a roomful of bloodstained Conservative murder accessories,

“The head of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) has broken his silence more than a week after the Florida school shooting with a vituperative attack on gun control advocates, accusing them of exploiting the tragedy to push their agenda. “They care more about control, and more of it. Their goal is to eliminate the second amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms… They hate the NRA, they hate the second amendment, they hate individual freedom.” – Guardian

If the insane, whining little bitch, gun industry shill Wayne La Pierre has any grandchildren, please God the next school shooting does away with them, the lousy, sick motherfucker. And that the cancer that kills him should be slow and painful.

Thank you.

(PS The Pumpkin has patiently explained before about the Supreme Court ‘Scalia’ ruling on the 2nd Amendment, that it does not prevent controls on the buying, keeping and carrying of guns. Prior rulings on the 2nd have also interpreted ‘militia’ as meaning just that, not some phantom freaking bunch of 21st-century neoNazi redneck zombie psychopaths self-identifying as survivalists in the face of nonexistent threats to their precious fucking liberty. Nor does the 2nd say anything about permitting people on terror watch lists, convicted felons and the mentally ill being encouraged to carry a concealed weapon, as has happened in certain states.)

Twice in the past week The Pumpkin has dreamed of terrible omens. He is ushered into a big room with hundreds of people and invited to take a seat. He looks around at the faces. They are all dead. In another dream he is in a car, in a place with thick walls. A nuclear bomb is exploded alongside them. He is with a group of people. They are dying from radiation sickness. His hair is falling out.

 

But wait half a mo!

“After a golden era of sales under Barack Obama, America’s gun manufacturers are in trouble. Sales have tumbled, leaving the companies with too much stock on their hands and falling revenues. The crunch claimed its biggest victim this week when Remington filed for bankruptcy.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/13/remington-bankruptcy-guns-trump-slump-sales

Yes, welcome to ‘The Trump Slump’ – a bizarre effect of Trump’s presidency being that gun sales have fallen off a cliff in the past year. Apparently, the dumbfucks don’t need no mo’ hardware when they think they’ve got a Prezudent in the White House who is not going to take away their 2nd Amendment ‘rights’.

Gun sales actually rocketed during the Obama years as drooling rednecks fantasized about the coming war with Washington.

Overall, gun ownership has been declining since the 1970s and there are now fewer gun owners than ever, according to New York Prof. Robert Spitzer, author of five books on guns (so he should know).

“The US has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world with 88 guns for every 100 people. But just 3% of the population owns an average of 17 guns each, with an estimated 7.7 million super-owners in possession of between eight and 140 guns apiece.”

And apparently it’s these crazies who buy most of the guns, and now America is Great once more, they’re just not interested. Either that, or they’ve noticed that prices of a whole range of day to day household necessities, like food, are already shooting up in the wake of the Trump “bust the budget” tax reforms.

Good news.

Great. And the High School massacre might have come just in time to save Remington and the others. For, every such incident produces a flurry of talk of gun control, and that sends the dumbfucks crazy to the gun store again, clutching their grimy dollars.

 

“What an utterly unspeakable atrocity this man is”

Proof if proof were needed that Donald Trump is in character a thing less than the dirt under the fingernails of humanity has come in his latest Sunday morning tweet.

Not only has the balding sex pest launched another of his pathetic teenage tweets blaming the FBI for the killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, he has again made it all about Donald J Trump and his persecution mania.

Because, he says, the FBI have been too busy trying to prove he colluded with Russia, which everyone knows is a Democrat hoax, to police the safety of the nation’s children.

What an utterly unspeakable atrocity this man is, to turn this horrible tragedy into political point-scoring and a desperate bleat for sympathy, not for the bereaved families, or for the wounded (facing horrific medical bills) but for his loathsome self.

No blame of course attaches to him for ratcheting up the level of rightwing violence in his benighted country. The killer at times sported a Make American Great Again baseball hat, of the kind that Trump’s dumbfuck fans like to wear in their moments of maximum inanity.

Of the kind the President of the United States sells (made in China?) and personally promotes in order to profit from his office.

No blame attaches to him for taking $50 million in Russian ‘dark’ money channeled via the National Rifle Association to support his election campaign, the latest allegation to come from Hillary Clinton, the failed Democrats and their puppets in the lying fake-news media.

He is just like some unpleasant residue you can’t shake off your shoe .

And still the Republican Congress wallows in shame, their corrupt, lying faces firmly jammed up his furry old rectum, smelling heavily of cheeseburger.

 

Trump crooked? Surely not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a54UVDf7ZaA

This Rachel Maddow story will prove to you as if it needed proving, that this President is a complete crook.

Basically, the NYT has hold of a report as to where the spare change from Trump’s inaugural went.

To his wife’s best friend.

$26 million.

 

“…thanks to the idiotic #metoo and other pro-women campaigns, no-one now dares to challenge the narrative agenda, to see this for what it is.”

A war not on poverty, but on the poor

Another inadvertent hostage to fortune in the campaign against NGOs has been offered by Brendan Cox, the widower of the Labour MP murdered for supporting Remain in the EU referendum by a former member of Britain First!, the deeply patriotic Mosque-burning organization supported in his infinite witlessness by President Donald J Trump.

Since the brutal slaying of his highly-regarded wife, hacked down and shot outside her office by a delusionary neoNazi, the not-unpleasant-looking Mr Cox, caring for their two young children, has been a favorite target of the unspeakable Trump knobgobbler, Nigel Farage and mercilessly trolled with threats of kidnap and murder by the toxic alt-right, claiming absurdly that his charities are “supporting Islamic terrorism”.

Now he’s been outed by the gruesome Mail on Sunday, purportedly a newspaper, as an office Lothario, and he’s had to resign from the charities he set up in his wife’s memory, although the allegations refer to his previous position with the megacharity Save the Children, where the media has been trying for the last fortnight to link them with the Oxfam abuse story.

Now they have all the proof they need that all charities are evil sinkholes of vice and a waste of public money. Well done, Brendan. What did you do, invite a pretty girl out for a drink? Pay an intern a compliment? You monster.

The business of a certain section of the British press is to demonize minorities, and this month it’s the turn of the charity sector, that has seemingly ignored too many of the complaints of its women staffers and volunteers that they’re being propositioned by randy men. No stone has been left unturned in what appears to be an orchestrated campaign from the right to undermine public trust in the sector, which has long been perceived on the international political stage to be inimical to the interests of corrupt oligarchs.

And thanks to the idiotic pop-up #metoo and other pro-women campaigns, no-one now dares to challenge the narrative agenda, to see this for what it is. Yet how quickly the Conservative right has moved to announce that it plans to defund the lefties of Oxfam over the bad behavior of one of its Belgian staffers and a handful of others in the field.

Was it meted in their 1948 Charter to have to declare their internal disciplinary proceedings to the Daily Express? ‘Transparency’ is not something that bothers most large corporations, why should Oxfam be bound by different standards invented on the spur of the moment by hypocritical tabloid editors and their Tory shills? Does anyone seriously imagine low-level sexual harrassment does not go on in newspaper offices and Conservative party offices? It’s why the world goes round.

The giant Medecins Sans Frontières has since come clean. Of its 20 thousand staff and volunteers globally, it has received 24 complaints of sexual harassment in six years, resulting in the firing of 19 people. Perhaps the Conservatives would like to close them down too, withdraw their doctors and nurses from the hellish underground hospitals of Syria and just let the bomb victims and the amputated children bleed out?

Wake up, women. Your noble crusade against Hollywood scumbags has been rapidly misappropriated by disruptors to undermine social organizations of which the right disapproves, believing them to be anti-globalizing forces of the socialist left, opposed to profitable corporate corruption and exploitation. Have they not been moaning for years that Oxfam and others had become too political? Well, now they have their comeuppance, thanks to you. This could have been handled better, no?

Kneejerk patsies like Bishop Desmond Tutu, who has pompously withdrawn his support for Oxfam, could look at the devastation wrought on the global Catholic church by successive abuse scandals and see a pattern. What Oxfam is essentially being accused of is weak supervisory management, that has allowed a tiny number of abusive individuals out of thousands to get away with their behavior. No-one is making the point: you don’t have the same controls over volunteers as you do over employees. You don’t have an economic sanction with which to govern their behavior. Volunteering is about trust.

From that one instance, the rightwing politicians and media have seized on whatever other historic criticisms they can find to build a picture of malevolence, waste and incompetence to bring down a movement that has intended to do only good since their founding 70 years ago. Tutu should be on the side of the weak and use the power of Christian forgiveness to help realign the organization’s values if need be. Instead he has walked into the trap of helping the wealthy and powerful to destroy it. What will be the outcome of that for the weak, the hungry and dispossessed of the world, I wonder?

Then, Tutu always was a bit of a self-promoting idiot.

It’s all part of the “War on the poor” being enthusiastically prosecuted by the US Republicans and their disruptive billionaire pals in Russia and around the world. Defunding the NGOs will kill more poor people, without a doubt. Is that what #metoo and others want? There are real consequences to gender politics.

No-one is advocating sexual violence or harassment or the exercise of male dominance in the workplace. The Pumpkin ought however in the interest of balance to mention that he met both his wives through work, there being nowhere else for driven work-obsessives in the pre-Tinder age to meet potential partners – and that in both cases after a suitable period of observing his behavior at close range and finding him charmingly diffident it was the women who took the initiative (and did the proposing!).

In addition, the Pumpkin modestly but also proudly asserts that he was once voted Rear of the Year by the women in an otherwise all-female editorial office where he worked, and put up with the same lousy wage. While at college, he was made an “honorary lesbian” by the feminist couple who ran the canteen…

Despite a small number of instances at other times of no-doubt inappropriate conduct, boy-on-girl things for which he apologizes, although most of the time he has been rigorously abstemious to the point of cowardice, he explains that it was not an exercise in male dominance, it was just hoping we could have pleasurable sex.

He therefore feels no guilt at saying, women cannot at one and the same time insist that they are strong, yet demand compensation for their relative weakness.

Something more is going on here than meets the eye.

 

A detached view

Speaking of which, things have gone awr-eye. Just as he was seemingly recovering from the last one, the Pumpkin has had to have another operation to reattach the retina and is finding it hard to gaze at this screen for long, being once again totally blind in the shorter-sighted orb.

With tears streaming down his face, he announces what he hopes will be only a temporary suspension of bogling activities. (NB some minor editing may still occur from time to time.)

GW an update

Just to mention, Granny W says episode #94 of Climate and Extreme Weather News is online at YouTube, you can go watch it now. The enhanced seismic activity around the globe is continuing unabated, see the Dutchsinse website, with another M7.1 in Mexico and even a M4.4 in the Bristol Channel; while the Yellowstone swarm and magma intrusions are continuing into their record-breaking 9th month.

Christchurch and two other districts on New Zealand‘s South Island have declared a state of emergency as former cyclone Gita hit the country. Dozens of schools have been shut and roads closed on the South Island as the storm made landfall on Tuesday. Broome in farthest NW Australia has too been hit by yet another cyclone and the town is underwater again – BBC

Temperatures at the North Pole have again gone Celsius-positive, the Bering Straight is ice-free and another hurricane-force system is pushing warm water up into the Arctic.

Yellowstone: 200 more earthquakes have been recorded in the last 10 days.

Pack a bag. Stock up on canned tuna. Read a bible.

CEWN #95 also out 20 Feb. and #96 on 23rd.

 

 

The Pumpkin – New Year Edition: Happy New Year from Granny Weatherwax (fuckin’ moron)… The BogPo InHuman Awards, 2018.

Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump

In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!

“For President Trump to be the principal spokesman for a now totally discredited campaign to deny these facts and to refuse to take action to mitigate them for the safety and security of the American public is, or should be, a criminal act for which he most certainly ought to be impeached.”

Happy New Year, fuckin’ moron (From your old Granny)

President Troll proved himself to be the ultimate internet Chump with a teatime tweet, 28 Dec., boasting that the record cold spell that’s seen parts of Minnesota buried under five feet of snow and temperatures plunge as low as minus 37C in International Falls, Mn. (“America’s Coldest Town”) proves that global warming is a hoax, as he has frequently said, and that by pulling out of the Paris accord he has successfully saved America from having to pay “trillions of dollars” to combat something that doesn’t exist.

“And if you think these hugest ever hands are small, you should see the size of my intelligence!”

I honestly don’t know where to start unpicking the lies, dangerous ignorance and confusion of this demented old sack of composting fishburgers. Especially as there seemed to be some sly tongue-in-cheek humor in back of his tweet. Does he really ever fully tweet with conviction, or are his tweets just little hoaxes he likes to perpetrate, little teasers to annoy decent, liberal-minded internationalists like the staff at The Pumpkin; to keep himself in the nooze?

He must know, surely, that global climate is not the same as local weather. And according to NOAA, the US weather bureau, despite the big freeze this has still been the third warmest year across the US since their records began in 1895 – the top two being 2016 and 2015. Parts have seen their hottest temperatures ever. (And by the way, fish-breath, this is already costing you hundreds of billions in damage.)

I’m only a visual arts graduate, I failed Physics-with-Chemistry, my only O-level flunk, although I got 100% in Geometry! Nevertheless by reading what scientists write and watching their podcasts over the past year I feel I’ve gained quite a useful impression of what meteorology has discovered, and must thank my Committee of Discarnate Entities for not engineering a life for me in which I need to make uncomfortable field trips to measure things for myself. It’s bad enough out today just walking the dog.

It makes you wonder why Trump cannot be bothered to do the same? He doesn’t need to read, there’s a lot on YouTube.

America (will go) First

Temperature, pressure, windspeed and precipitation are recorded at frequent intervals at thousands of points all around the globe, not only in the USA, simultaneously at the equator and the poles and all points inbetween, on mountaintops and in the oceans, and monitored by internationally accredited scientific bodies from satellites with instruments so sensitive they can register a 1 mm change in sea-level. These data are not simply conjecture.

Heading for Florida – Hurricane Irma. Rising sea temperatures are making hurricanes more violent.

All the data are then plugged-in to big computers – machines – that apply them to various models that are insistently telling us things are going haywire, although there are hairs’ breadth differences in the trends and trajectories. That’s the point of computer models, unlike politicians they don’t conspire against the US economy. And they show the planet is warming, without any doubt. They don’t explain why, but that it is mostly caused by human activity, as we shall see, is really no longer a matter for debate.

(It’s completely illogical to believe we’re not having an effect.)

Any increase in global average temperature naturally perturbs cold regions as well as hot. But the knock-on effects are not evenly distributed: global climate is the overall condition, local climate variations are sets of lesser conditions, and “the weather” is a product of local climate when acted on by other variables: wind, ocean currents, solar energy, the rotation of the globe – air and sea temperature, and barometric (air) pressure.

When the delusionary old man in the White House calls for ‘America First’, a slogan he borrowed from the good old-timey brownshirts in the 1930s, and thereby imagines that the only things that have any meaning are American things, like the weather in Minnesota, he imagines there is no rest of the world to bother knowing about! But the area of the US and Canada currently affected by the Arctic plume is just 1% of the world’s land mass.

1.7 degrees of industrial-era warming, where we roughly are now, is interfering with the seasons and creating many problems, but it does not yet mean there can be no winter and that we shall all bask forevermore in eternal summer. Of course there are still winters. When it is winter in the northern hemisphere, it is summer in the southern – and Australia, which is in the southern hemisphere, Donald, has already set new records for heatwaves this summer. It’s a matter of balance, and the marginal 1.7 degree tipping of the scale over the whole globe has more complex effects than just causing the fundamental differences between summer and winter in Minnesota.

Your primary-school way of looking at the science is not how it works, Chump.

The sudden arrival of global cooling in the US set tongues wagging…

Climate change is visible mostly at the extremes of normal weather events. Without 1.7 deg. of warming, a minus 37C winter’s night in Minnesota could have been a chilly minus-38.7C. We don’t know! Next year, perhaps, the record 56C (133F) experienced in Iran last summer will be 57.7C, who knows? Generally, like boiling frogs we mostly experience more gradual effects somewhere in the middle, where it’s easier not to notice.

The cold air mass has penetrated so far south this winter because warming oceans are weakening the jetstreams, which are broken and loopy and no longer function to keep cold air penned up in the Arctic. This winter in the northern hemisphere too we have a strengthening La Niña effect, for the second year running, moving the warmer waters northwards, prolonging the ice melt season and displacing the colder, fresher water.

At the same time as the cold has penetrated far southwards, Alaska, to the far north of both America and Canada, is experiencing record warmth, with temperatures up to 20C above normal for the time of year. Unusual dry heat and wind are continuing to create a risk of wildfires in California, long beyond the usual season. The Arctic ocean, too, is showing around 8 deg. C of warming.

These anomalies are a cause for alarm, rather than for lamebrained internet trolling about snow in December.

The fatuous oaf, Trump does not mention that; or that it is unusually hot in parts of Australia – again. Nor does he understand that his well-funded lies have an effect on gullible Americans and will undoubtedly lead them to catastrophe if he doesn’t stop.

(Of course, many Americans are fervently praying for the end of the world, as they are longing to meet Jesus. The Rapture can’t come soon enough for them. The Pumpkin however doesn’t see why my children should suffer to encourage the suicidal delusions of credulous backwoods baboons in Arkansas. I’ll back my Enlightenment over theirs anyday.)

They already know the truth so why are you lying?

There is ample evidence that the earth’s temperature is warming faster than any effect of natural background heating can explain. Even the powerful oil and gas conglomerate, Exxon-Mobil, accepts this and urges – unenthusiastically – governments to take action.

Exxon has known for over forty years that there was a problem with continuing to burn its products, but tried to keep a lid on it, as an academic research project paid for by the Los Angeles Times comparing Exxon’s internal and external communications revealed back in July.

Here is what Exxon now say on their own corporate website:

“The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. There is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken…” – Exxon-Mobil website

Suck on that, Trump.

And if you want further reassurance:

“Significant temperature changes are almost certain to occur by the year 2000, and these could bring about climatic changes. […] there seems to be no doubt that the potential damage to our environment could be severe. […] pollutants which we generally ignore because they have little local effect, CO2 and submicron particles, may be the cause of serious world-wide environmental changes.”

That’s from an American Petroleum Institute report, commissioned in 1968. While astonishingly, physicist Edward Teller, the ‘father of the atomic bomb’, had lectured the Institute’s 100th plenary 9 years earlier on the problem with CO2, saying presciently:

“At present the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 2 per cent over normal. By 1970, it will be perhaps 4 per cent, by 1980, 8 per cent, by 1990, 16 per cent [about 360 parts per million by his reckoning – it’s now 405 and counting). …if we keep on with our exponential rise in the use of purely conventional fuels … our planet will get a little warmer. It is hard to say whether it will be 2 degrees Fahrenheit or only one or 5”

That, he calculated, would be enough to start melting the polar ice caps, with the ultimate effect of drowning New York. Read the full story of the release of papers:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jan/01/on-its-hundredth-birthday-in-1959-edward-teller-warned-the-oil-industry-about-global-warming

For President Trump to be the principal spokesman for a now totally discredited campaign to deny these facts and to refuse to take action to mitigate them for the safety and security of the American public is, or should be, a criminal act for which he most certainly ought to be impeached.

Is persistently lying to the American people about a major threat facing the country not sufficient of an impeachable ‘Misdemeanour’ at least?

A Chinese hoax? Don’t think so!

The risk of global warming as a result of human industry releasing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) and other ‘greenhouse’ gases was known about even before the API report, certainly in the 1890s. Much of the CO2 released from burning billions of tonnes of coal each year during the early C20th is still in the atmosphere. It can persist for a thousand years, transferring heat to land and sea. Does Trump really see sense in putting out more, while lying that to do so is creating “millions of jobs”?

2017 wildfires in the US destroyed entire communities and burned 10 million acres. 44 people died. Trump has yet to visit the devastated areas: California did not vote for him.

It would have to be some hoax to have run on this long without apparent purpose or outcome, and to have convinced so many tens of thousands of unsuspecting scientists with PhDs over all that time of something that cannot be demonstrated experimentally to be true, namely that greenhouse gas emissions are not warming the planet.

(It is not logical to believe you can fill a bath and then piss in it without the water turning yellow, even if some does go down the overflow pipe.)

Founded only in 1947, modern China did not begin to industrialize until the 1970s, so the idea that Chinese “scientists” created a hoax at the height of the Boxer rebellions for the purpose of gaining global economic dominance is clearly absurd. Trump fails to explain how pretending the world is warming dangerously would help to achieve China’s foreign policy objectives in the 1890s?

In any case, being so dependent on coal for so long, China has suffered more than most from the problems of global warming and is doing more than most at greater cost and speed than most to try to mitigate the effects.

Mr Chump conveniently ignores that the credit for discovering in 1889 that CO2 is a greenhouse gas – i.e. it stores heat over and above the background temperature of the other atmospheric gases, oxygen and nitrogen – has already gone to a Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius.

So it’s a Swedish hoax to rule the world?

Saving you $trillions? No, but costing you $billions

“2017 has been the joint-costliest year for extreme weather events in US history”

No-one is asking the USA to pay anything!

  • The Paris Accord does not place financial targets or obligations on signatory nations, who following the accession of Syria to the treaty last July now include every country in the world – except Trump’s laughably isolated America.
  • The evidence is that the move to renewables can be equally profitable for the energy industry, employment and the economy.

“They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round…” It appears the moron-in-chief couldn’t be bothered to read or understand the Paris document, which is only 30-odd pages, before making a pariah state of his country.

Alternative energy sources to coal, oil and gas – wind and solar power generation – are now demonstrably cheaper even than nuclear, and require much smaller federal subsidies. To promote fossil fuels as Trump does is unnecessarily costing the nation, if not trillions of dollars, certainly billions. But it does inflate the profits of global corporations to whom he is beholden for the coup that brought him to power. Nor does Trump appear to understand that going hell-for-leather to pump American energy into the world market is depressing the price and hence, causing jobs in the energy sector to vanish like leaves in the Fall. He’s an idiot, but you voted for him! (Well, probably not you personally.)

As for the price of mitigating their environmental and climatic impacts, 2017 has been the joint-costliest year for extreme weather events in US history (the tie being 2011 – Katrina). It has been the third hottest year in the record-book, according to NASA, by about one-twelfth of a degree behind 2016, but the hottest ever to occur in a year without an El Niño event (they’re warmer) – and despite the cold weather this week in the eastern US may still catch up to it. Fifteen of the hottest years in recorded history have occurred in the last 17 years. It’s not coincidence.

And every degree increase in temperature increases the energy of storm systems, the height clouds reach (precipitating hail) and the amount of water they can hold (by about 7%). Stalled by rogue jetstream winds over Texas, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than five feet of rain on Nederland, near Port Arthur, in 72 hours last August. Later in October, five feet of hail fell on the city of Cordoba, in Argentina, reportedly in just 15 minutes…

In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, the death toll in the US territory of Puerto Rico may have risen to more than 1,000. The authorities admit they don’t know how properly to count the victims. Three months after, despite Chump crowing about his great success tackling the aftermath: notoriously chucking paper towels at the survivors, blaming the victims for being lazy and praising the turnout on his arrival, 36% of homes were still without power at Christmas and many survivors still homeless. Several Caribbean islands were devastated in 2017, Barbuda being rendered possibly permanently uninhabitable.

This scene in Jamaica in November was repeated endlessly around the world in 2017.

Many new records were set in 2017 for rainfall, snowfall, floods, heat, drought and wildfires. Even Greenland suffered a wildfire in August that burned for two weeks over 3 thousand acres. Prolonged dry, hot conditions promoted record wildfires over millions of acres in Canada and Siberia, and in West Africa. In September, 1,050 people died in a landslide in Sierra Leone after torrential rain fell over several days. Up until December, 187 records had been broken in the USA for hottest cities, while only 17 had been set for the coldest.

The UK’s Meteorological Office survey recorded that the six winter months of 2016-17 had been 2 deg C above the 1981-2011 winter average. Disappointingly, however, 2017 was only Britain’s 5th hottest year since 1910; possibly owing to the weakening of the Gulf Stream current. The Boglington Post reported in April on a visible CO2-induced increase in biomass in the local area. The Arctic News survey announced that daily surface temperatures off the coast of Svalbard island, the northernmost settlement in the world, measured during the month of October/November 2017 had continuously exceeded the October/November average for all the years between 1981 and 2011 by 13.9 deg. C.

These changes have consequences, not least that they promote through what are known as positive feedback loops, greater and faster warming. Just one example, it was explained this year that warmer soils create a more conducive environment for bacteria to speed up their breeding cycles. The increase in bacterial population produces a greater quantity of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, further warming the soil.

Dozens of these feedbacks are known about, and many are already irreversible; such as the increase of methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas with up to 100-times more latency than CO2, from warming Arctic permafrost; the lowered albedo (hence increased heat absorption) of Arctic and Antarctic melt-ponds; the release of CO2 and the inhibition of further uptake caused by wildfires – not to mention the depositing of heat-absorbing soot particles from fires on distant sea-ice and glaciers.

Ottawa University’s Paul Beckwith identified the fragmentation, and the unprecedented crossing of the equator by broken segments of the northern jetstreams (upper-atmospheric winds) last July, merging with the broader southern jetstreams, bringing unpredictable chaos to the world’s weather systems. Abnormal was becoming the new normal. A kick in the tail, a fairly normal SW Pacific typhoon season ended unexpectedly with a blow that killed 25o people in the Philippines. “A-68”, a trillion-tonne iceberg the size of Cyprus, tantalizingly broke off from the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica and floated away, spawning “small bergy bits” – some up to 10 sq km in area.

Take a breather

“Your bogus, braggadocious and bought opinions are not worth a fart in a candle-flame.”

After a recession-induced pause, CO2 emissions started to climb again in 2017, showing a 2% increase over 2016. Global CO2 is now concentrated at 405-410 parts per million – pre-industrial (mid-C18th) CO2 has been estimated as 285 ppm. Regions affected by wildfires such as Southern California in December registered as high as 922 ppm. At about 570 ppm, we can expect a geopolitically destabilizing and potentially unsurvivable 5 deg. of warming not seen in the fossil record. While most predictions push the extinction event away to 2050 and beyond, ‘the turn of the century’, some climate scientists are predicting we could be there in as little as eight years from now.

In 2017, the Trump administration made strenuous attempts to censor the science, removing advice on climate change from their websites. All of the federal agencies responsible for environmental research and management, parks and agriculture were headed by climate-change deniers without scientific qualifications. Around 700 government scientists left their posts and were not replaced. Protections capping emissions and protecting waterways were removed. In June, Trump announced the US’s intention to pull out of the Paris accord, the only country now not signed up to it. The US delegation to the Bonn climate conference consisted entirely of executives from the energy industries, who gave a presentation on the benefits of “clean coal”.

In a speech in West Virginia, Trump made it evident that he thinks “clean coal” is coal that has been washed before burning.

Fanned by unseasonal Santa Ana desert winds, the flames of the Thomas fire in Ventura County, the biggest in California’s history, were visible mid-December from the international space station. 1800 homes were destroyed, tens of thousands driven from their homes. Tragically, many horses did not survive. A month earlier, the vineyards of the Napa Valley were decimated and over 40 people killed as wildfires swept through parts of northern California, destroying whole suburbs of the city of Santa Rosa. Cities all up and down the west coast became smokelogged. Rainy Seattle enjoyed a record drought, chilly Portland posted record heat, while over the border fires destroyed over 2 million acres of British Columbia.

Fox59’s graphic explaining what Trump doesn’t know. Climatologist Paul Beckwith identified the unusual turbulence of the northern jetstreams last summer.

Cereal production in the US was down 15% in 2017. 25% of the country is officially in drought conditions. Agricultural production is failing all over the globe – crops in Southern Europe were reduced by drought and record heat this year by around 60%, winter floods led to a Europe-wide shortage of Spanish salad vegetables; while millions of acres of crops were destroyed by excessive monsoon flooding in India and China. Hundreds of people drowned or were buried in mudslides; millions displaced.

While other areas may be brought into cultivation, the amount of new land available for growing crops is shrinking fast, in competition with non-food agricultural production imposed by multinational corporations. The onward march of deforestation in the Amazon was resumed. Meanwhile, overexploited and undernourished, soils around the world are rapidly degrading and becoming less productive. Several papers reported finding that key food crops have a limit to their tolerance of CO2, after which their nutritional content rapidly declines.

There is a growing threat to the food security of all of us as a result of a warming climate changing weather patterns and intensities.

In October, 14 elderly people were drowned in the suburbs of Athens as a ‘Med-icane’ hit Greece. Most of southern Europe endured a gruelling, 110 deg. F. heatwave that even earned a name: Lucifer. Temperatures in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan regularly topped 120 deg. F. By November, the Arabian peninsula was hit by widespread flooding. Massive ice storms bombarded Spain, Turkey, Russia, South Africa, central America, Australia. The Iberian peninsula was ravaged by drought and wildfires; in June, 64 people burned to death in central Portugal; in September, another 49 died in the north. By November, it was snowing. Lingering high-pressure systems allowed vast smogs to build up, over China in January, in India in November. Thousands died from respiratory complaints: the World Bank estimates as many as 2 million extra deaths worldwide. In New Delhi, toxic particulates exceeded WHO limits by a factor of 18.

But you carry on, O Great Orange Asshole. Carry on lying to yourself, deceiving your people, encouraging a climate of blissful ignorance and brute stupidity for the enrichment of your party’s corrupt and greedy corporate backers. It won’t last.

Your bogus, braggadocious and bought opinions are not worth a fart in a candle-flame, Trump. At 32% approval (AP, Qinnipiac) you’re already considered by Americans to be the worst President in polling history: 52% think your embarrassingly inept first year in office has been bad for the nation, making it less great. Your staff turnover rate is running at 34%… even the people who work for you, hate you; your former confidant, Mr Bannon, whom you now lie (as your former Chief Strategy Adviser) had nothing whatever to do with your government or your election ‘success’, has turned against you.

Unofficially, it’s been said, even your Secretary of State thinks you’re a “fuckin’ moron”; while your friend, Rupert Murdoch thinks you’re a “fuckin’ idiot”. Which is it?

Happy New Year, fuckin’ moron.

For a disturbing analysis of his foreign policy, such as it is (“a wrecking ball”) I can offer no better opinion than that of Susan Glasser, senior foreign policy analysis at Politico. Read it and be slightly more afraid:

@www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/02/donald-trump-foreign-policy-analysis-dangerous-216202?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_todayworld

Happy New Year, everyone. (Photo: Gideon Mendel)

USA/Canada: Storm Jonas brings even worse wintery conditions to east-coast states on New Year’s Eve, stretching from Florida (and even the Bahamas) to Labrador, with up to another 2 ft of snow on top of already record falls and a ‘brutally cold’ storm-force wind. 2018 is shaping up to be the worst winter experienced in the east for more than 50 years; maybe in 100. A ‘cyclone-bomb’ followed – Storm Grayson was one of the fastest-intensifying cyclones ever measured. ? 20 dead (5 Jan). Ireland and Britain are hit by 85 mph Storm Eleanor, gusting up to 100 mph, disrupting transport, closing bridges and bringing power outages across the country and on into northern Europe, where 3 people have been killed.  The video has probably gone viral, but in Newfoundland an exhausted wild moose had to be dug out of the snow, buried up to its head.

Material drawn from various sources of weather news previously credited. For a more credible scientific overview of 2017 visit:

http://www.wunderground.com/cat6/new-years-freeze-out-it-can-still-get-cold-even-warming-climate

 

Prof Simon Bell, Professor of Innovation and Methodology:

“The end of Project Fear. 2017 has seen a wave of populist responses to threat and anxiety – often promulgated and reinforced by social media manipulation. In 2018 there will be a push back against this … with empowering messages of holism and rational response to unstructured worry.”

Prof Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences:

“Maybe a big meteorite will fall and rock civilisation to its foundations? Maybe the interstellar comet will come back and we’ll find that it is a spaceship full of aliens.”

From: BBC – Tomorrow’s World scientific predictions for 2018.

Good to see scientists in agreement for once…

 

May God strike them down and all their works

The BogPo InHuman Awards, 2018:

 

5 Mark Regev, Israeli ambassador to Britain

At the risk of being branded an antisemite, which if he reads this I shall be, since he does it to everyone who criticizes his paymasters, Regev has been the chief apologist for the worst crimes of the apartheid Likud regime in Tel Aviv (now renamed Jerusalem) and after threatening and bullying the BBC for years was rewarded in 2016 with the ambassadorship. Whereupon this Aussie migrant, who changed his name from Freiberg, abused his position in 2017 to bully the authorities into, essentially, no-platforming a Holocaust survivor invited to speak at Manchester university, on the grounds that she supports the rights of Palestinians to equal treatment and likens Likud to the Nazis; while demanding total editorial control of the conference. Arrogant little fascist, basically.

4 Nigel Farage, architect of Brexit ( a wobbly edifice)

Late in 2017, Farage confirmed he would be accepting his £70 thousand a year pension from the European Parliament, where he has been a UK MEP for a number of years, whilst sworn to destroy the very institution that employs him on a handsome salary and glamorous expenses. Employed too as a gobby rightwing talkshow host on a local radio station mainly for elderly London cabbies, Farage is for some reason almost a permanent BBC panellist who continues through sheer force of his obnoxious personality to dominate the fractious debate over how Britain is to leave the EU, a problem the combined forces of the government and the civil service have no solution to, other than to walk away and destroy the British economy for a generation. Yarp, yarp, yarp, could he shut the fuck up for once?

3 Global capitalism, a cancer on the face of the earth

Global capitalism has delivered unparallelled, not to say obscene wealth for the few, short-term relief from absolute poverty for the many, nothing for the hated middle-class and an iPhone or Google Android spy device in every pocket. It has taken political power through subverting democracy and the primacy of the individual. It is about to deliver the unprecedented miracle of universal redundancy conferred on people by AI, 3D printing and robotics, but has no answers to the socio-economic implications of its technological developments. One interesting example of the operation of global capitalism: we have known for two decades that antibiotic resistance will soon be killing millions, yet the pharmaceutical companies obeying the dictates of shareholder greed see no financial benefit in researching new drugs to combat infectious disease ahead of diet pills and antidepressants, so none exist. Amoral genocide.

2 Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America

No human being in the history of the world has been so criticized, analyzed, abused, insulted and dismissed, with good reason – yet Trump is so thick-skinned, it’s all been water off a duck’s back… Seriously, he doesn’t know it! There he sits, putting on his Mussolini face for the cameras, guzzling Diet Coke and MacDonalds’ fishburgers, the least popular President in the history of polling, under investigation by the FBI for multiple crimes, glued to admiring cable news reports and screaming abuse at his acolytes, having to be fed predigested cartoon security briefings, firing off childishly vindictive tweets at 4 a.m., golfing in Florida three days a week; believing he is the greatest US President in history because he orders his kow-towing minions constantly to tell him so… What a dick!

A senile tyrant with untreated Attention Deficit Disorder, a spoilt and profoundly ignorant, narcissistic old thug to whom no-one has ever dared to say no – a climate-change-denying threat to the planet, armed with nuclear weapons, that he has publicly wondered why we don’t use more often? Where to start? By voting him only second worst InHuman of the year!

1 Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Chief Counsellor of Myanmar

BogPo InHuman Award, 2018 WINNER

Suu Kyi – British-educated, Nobel peace prizewinning daughter of the great liberator of Burma (from British rule) – was once the darling of the Oxford set. How we libtards all wept when, a prisoner of the military regime, after years of house arrest, smuggling out messages of hope, laden with honors, her British husband Michael Aris was dying of cancer and she wasn’t allowed to visit him or go to his funeral. Known as ‘The Lady’, this fragrant, aristocratic midget has presided in 2017 without a qualm over the ‘final solution’ genocide of her country’s persecuted and disinstated Muslim minority: mass rape, child murder, arbitrary executions, village-burnings, mass expulsions (through minefields) and more; nothing the military is doing has been too awful to touch her hardened little Buddhist soul – added to which, she refuses to acknowledge that it is happening, or that those poor bastards ever existed.

Wizened, hypocritical, lying old racist cunt, the BogPo says she goes down in ’18. Lock her up (again)!

The Pumpkin – Issue 40: When thieves fall out… A “kill the pigs” fantasia… Greatness is as greatness does… GW: your old gal on the back of a snowmobile, going 200 mph…

“The United States will not be lectured to by countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly” – Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN.

 

When thieves fall out

There’s increasing speculation in US media that the put-upon Vice-President, the snow-capped walking advert for Anusol, God’s best friend Mike Pence is only hanging around because he wants the top job and is hoping someone, anyone, will invoke the 25th Amendment to have Trump declared mentally incompetent. His biggest fear being that the crazed plotter, the nodding-dog Sen. Ryan will have him out of a job too.

Surely, it’s his Christian doody to remove the demented old man to a place of safety? Mike ‘Dense’ as his schoolmates knew him, has no other function in history than to rid us of that repellent, self-regarding orange slug with the slimy voice. Yet he won’t do it. He doesn’t understand his place in history.

Mr Trump has described the Pences as ‘Low-class yokels’, for keeping pets at home. (A notorious germophobe, Trump has never had so much as a puppy for the kids. He’d probably have eaten it anyway. Or sued it.) Maybe he’s not wrong? It takes a certain nobility to earn your place in history. “There is a tide in the affairs of men…” and so forth.

Mrs Pence, Karen is reported in a new book as describing President Trump as ‘Totally vile’ in reaction to the Access Hollywood “pussy-grabbing” tape, for which he apologized last March and now thinks it maybe wasn’t him on the tape after all, despite the video evidence and the testimony of poor Billy Bush, the reporter snarfing along with Trump on the bus, who’s been out of work ever since the story came out. And she’s not wrong eithegr.

Mr Bush responded the other day to Trump’s demented denial by calling him a liar. When thieves fall out, it’s bad. When Christian thieves fall out, there’s… well, fallout!

Anyway, having momentarily forgotten Senator Bob Corker’s name, although I remembered Senator Jeff Flake’s name, I just now Googled ‘Senator, Trump not Fit’ in search of their relevant comments.

And you know what? There are dozens of current and former Senators on all sides who’ve gone on record saying this dumb orange asshole isn’t fit to be the President of the United States! Try it!

And then listen to them. Get rid of the crazy fucker.

 

A “kill the pigs” fantasia

I’ve just watched the most horrifying video.

Sometime in January last year, a policeman points an AR-15 assault rifle at an unarmed man kneeling in a hotel hallway, a man pleading for his life. The man’s name is Daniel Shaver. He is a pest-control officer, armed for work with a pellet gun, an air rifle which he was not holding at the time; but which has been reported to the police as a possible weapon. (In America!)

The policeman has no fear of the suspect. Sensing his power of life-or-death, the policeman screams with a curious lack of emotion at the helpless man on the floor in front of him: do this, do that, orders him to cross his left leg over his right, put his hands on his head, shut up, put them up, shut up, put his hands on the floor, shut up, I’m giving the orders, Simon says…. The man obeys every instruction but is so terrified that he instinctively moves to pull up his pants.

And the policeman shoots him five times. Dead.

And is acquitted of “second degree” murder by an Arizona jury of dumbfucks stoned on opioids and their own hateful, innate cowpoke cretinism, as the defendant so clearly fired in self-defense. I mean, why else would a cop arbitrarily kill an unarmed tradesman crouching on the floor with his empty hands outstretched, pleading for his life while a semi-automatic, military-grade weapon is pointing at him, except in exculpatory circumstances?

The execution was captured in horrifying detail on a police GoPro camera.

The policeman could not understand why he was even on trial: he had only done what his training told him to do. Kill the suspect if he moves.

Try explaining that to the suspect’s two children.

I am now traumatized. If you too would like to be traumatized by the naked power these indescribable bullies and psychopaths in black wield over you, increasingly throughout the world, even in your own country, go to

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

And then tell me, “oh, but, if you’re innocent you have nothing to fear”. And I will punch you, very hard, in the face. In fact you can spend the evening in A&E having your teeth picked out of your arsehole by an exhausted junior doctor. Make my day.

Oh, by the way, the victim was a WHITE MAN. Not that it makes it any easier or worse or morally anything. But, you know. You probably wondered.

This is America, where No Lives Matter. It’s what America does. Kills people for no reason, just because it can. It’s a way of life, death. You Americans are all guilty of this repellent act of murderous barbarity, this brutal and psychopathic display of naked power that on a macro-geopolitical scale you display to other nations small enough to bully, who don’t eat your shit. You all bear responsibility for this act of unpardonable horror because you all salute the same fucking flag that licences it. The star-spangled banner of tyranny.

There are no exceptions to this, no innocents. This is your fucking horrible nation, your mess, someone’s innocent blood on your hands, your corrupt and out of control, authoritarian, insensible, brutal-maniacal police, given carte-blanche to express themselves by that little Southern racist shitbrains in the Justice department, the seemingly unsackable liar, Sessions.

You’re all fucking mad, a lethally destructive, psychopathic nation. Suck it up. Put down your weapons, paranoid morons scared of your own shadows. Embrace rationality. You have a fucking vote, use it. Resist this toxic sludge.

And this is the babyfaced innocent little psychopath, Brailsford. Cleaned up for the jury and without his Iron Cross and his AR-15 penis extension. Be very afraid.

And to doxx the little power-crazed murdering sonofabitch, his name is Former Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford, his lovely wife’s name is Laney Sweet, they live or lived in Maricopa County and if he and Mrs Brailsford and any little Brailsfords should show up at your B&B this summer, I recommend rat poison.

Deep breath.

Anyway, for an excellent Christmassy overview of the State of the Union, The Pumpkin recommends BBC reporter Nick Bryant’s lengthy new piece, When America Stopped Being Great:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41826022

Although I would argue that his wide-eyed belief in the greatness of America, that he held at 15.43 pm on Sat, Aug 3rd, 19-whenever he decided it was at its greatest, is probably a little tendentious.

Greatness is as greatness does.

I offer only a lukewarm introduction to Maggie Heberman’s pretty anodyne essay on the Trump presidency in today’s New York Times, R. Murdoch prop., however.

I don’t for instance see how she can recall his ‘softer tone’ with children, when he spent the afternoon of the Halloween party she cites, hectoring the invited and bemused, very young children of the White House press corps about the ‘fake news media’ their parents worked for, and how they were always criticizing him unfairly. Or his extraordinary speech to the Boy Scouts of America, referring to orgies on his billionaire friends’ yachts.

Nor do I quite understand Heberman’s gibe that concern for his mental health should be the sole preserve of ‘experts’ – those he is too sick to understand he needs to consult? It must be perfectly obvious to anyone watching and listening to him, his rambling inconsistencies and frequent losses of concentration, his tendency to wander off and having to be brought back, his often delusional take on reality, his obsession with rerunning the past, that he belongs in a seniors’ home.

Ms Heberman’s innocent reference to Trump’s early business mentor, Roy Cohn, somewhat understates the sheer ruthlessness and brutality of the notorious Mafia lawyer, consigliere both to the Gambino crime family and to the Witchfinder-General, Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

In fact, I am still scouring her piece looking for any mention of Trump’s bloody business career: his many defaulted loans, his complete untrustworthiness in matters of contract, his massive indebtedness to overseas banks, his endless entanglements in civil suits, his blurring of the lines between business and private finance, his abuse of his tax-exempt Foundation, his complex tax avoidance strategies, his employment of undocumented labor and the outright scam of his grubby “Trump University” wheeze.

Her references to him relaxing on the golf course entirely fail to mention the cost to the nation – not to mention local businesses closed to traffic for security reasons – of these weekly three-day jamborees promoting membership of his tacky resorts at the taxpayers’ expense – well north of $50 million this year already. His bankrupting of the Secret Service protection program, which he has extended to 42 family members, their properties and businesses at an estimated cost of a billion dollars.

Indeed, there is no mention anywhere of his blatant breaches of both the domestic and foreign Emoluments clauses in the Constitution as he continues to profit from office by flogging his name to money-laundering developers in corrupt criminal fiefdoms around the globe. and hosts government officials and state events in his hotels.

You see, the man she is describing is not very intelligent to begin with. Anyone knows it is not necessary to use a ‘state-of-the-art TiVo’ recorder to timeshift cable news as every damned word is available forever on the internet, on YouTube or catch-up services. In any case they repeat through 24-hour cycles. Nor do I see how he manages to eat well-done steaks for dinner, slathered in ketchup, with those loose and sloppy dentures that sho often letsh him down.

The one word missing from her extensively promoted piece, in the opinion of The Pumpkin, is ‘asshole’.

Even the worst aspects of his assholery are presented as being only curious character traits, minor glitches in the ongoing reformation of an otherwise rational man who took on the job almost by accident when completely out of his depth and still can’t stop rerunning his election campaign, or trying to make decisions in a fog of ignorance about so many subjects; economically illiterate, able to comprehend only comic-strip briefings and given to irrational outbursts, malignant personal vendettas and wilfully destructive orders, he is nevertheless an endearing anomaly…

No, Maggie, fuck that.

This is the man with four thousand nuclear weapons at his disposal, and he can’t understand why if we’ve got them, we don’t use them more often?

This is the man of whom Sen. Bob Corker opined that he occupies a White House that in view of the number of aides whose job it is to mollify the thin-skinned tyrant, this bizarre channeling of the Emperor Nero, is more like an adult day-care centre than a place of wise governance.

Tell the people who have been dying in droves as a result of his crass insensitivity and brute nativist instincts that he is still learning on the job, and will get it right eventually.

Tell it to Daniel Shaver’s kids.

https://www.nytimes.com/ “Inside Trump’s Hour-by-Hour Battle for Self-Preservation”.

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GW: your old gal on the back of a snowmobile, going 200 mph…

USA: “A swath of high-impact snowfall—in some places, among the heaviest ever observed—made its way from South Texas to Atlanta on Friday (8 Dec), en route to the big cities of the Northeast U.S.

“Meanwhile, massive wildfires continued to scorch the landscape of Southern California, raging at unprecedented scope for December. … With no sign of any meaningful rains for Southern California over the next two weeks, it is quite possible that some of this week’s wildfires will burn until Christmas and beyond. …

“(Hurricane) Harvey’s 64 inches of rain near Port Arthur were the greatest on record for any storm in U.S. recorded history. Despite this unprecedented deluge, portions of the (Texas) region that received 20+ inches of rain are now in drought.” – Wunderground.

Europe: Snow and ice warnings out (9 Dec) for virtually the whole of northern continental Europe and Scandinavia; meanwhile, fierce thunderstorms are affecting virtually all of Greece, with severe gales in Portugal, Spain and running up the Bay of Biscay into the Channel. Meteoalarm is warning of an extraordinary combination of high winds, big waves, local flash-flooding and ‘summer thunderstorms’ off the coast of southern France (11/12 Dec). Waves up to 10 metres (33 ft) are pounding the coast of Portugal.

While the following is predicted in Slaskie province and other parts of southern Poland: “It is expected strong wind with average speed up to 80 kmph, with gusts up to 140 kmph, south. TAKE ACTION to protect yourself. Risk to personal safety from uprooted trees and flying debris. Widespread structural damage, road closures and power outages are expected. Protect yourself and act on advice given by emergency services.”

UK: 10 Dec, and 38 cm (15-in) of snow has been dumped in a day on the small Welsh town of Sennybridge, near Cilmeri – scene in 1282 of the final battle of the rebellious Welsh prince Llewelyn ap Gruffudd, ‘Llewelyn the Last’, tricked by Earl Mortimer into leaving his army under truce and then murdered in a wood. The Met Office is warning of temperatures plummeting to -15C overnight.

Monday, and it’s a glorious, sunny winter’s day here on the west coast, with almost no wind….

Wunderground/ Meteoalarm/ Boglington Post

 

Snookerballs

Stephen Hendry: “The thing with Ronnie (O’Sullivan – 5 times World Champion) that makes him so hard to play is, he never plays a wrong shot…” (Ronnie immediately pots the cue ball by mistake…) Five minutes later:

Hendry: “He’d like to be a little bit closer to that red but I don’t expect him to miss it…” (Ronnie promptly misses it.)

Then Hendry, weirdly, on Ronnie’s opponent: “No room for margin now, he’s just got to not miss.”

Sound advice, Stephen (7 times World Champion). (Ronnie wins.)

To @Tweety-pie, terrorism is as terrorism does… Goodnight, Keith Olbermann… Fuck off, Trevor Kavanagh… Mr Trump is demented (as if we didn’t know)… GW: On the Prom with the global emergency sandwich-board.

“With Tweety-pie on our team, how can we lose?” Jim Dowson and friends hold back the Muslim hordes at the gates of Vienna. (Photo: Searchlight Magazine)

To @Tweety-pie, terrorism is as terrorism does

“Andreas Hollstein, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union, was at a kebab shop in the west German town of Altena when a man asked whether he was the mayor, then shouted criticism of his asylum policies and lunged at Hollstein with a foot-long blade … Hollstein was badly wounded, but saved after the kebab shop’s owner — a man of Turkish origin — and his son overpowered the attacker.”  – Washington Post, 29 Nov.

Over to you, Herr Trump. Oh, nothing to say? Righto, carry on.

And he has…

“Donald Trump’s Twitter account has retweeted three inflammatory videos from a British far-right group. The first tweet from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, claims to show a Muslim migrant attacking a man on crutches. This was followed by two more videos of people Ms Fransen claims to be Muslim. Britain First was founded in 2011 by former members of the far-right British National Party (BNP).” – BBC, 29 Nov.

Further proof, if proof were needed, that this man is a succubus in vaguely human form: a criminal imbecile, a proto-fascist and a danger to life. He may also have committed an offence in British law and must be refused entry or arrested at our border.

Nevertheless, to safeguard British trade with our biggest market (after the whole of Europe) and to ensure a receptive environment for more US health company carpetbaggers to come in and rob the NHS blind, Mrs May says the orange Nazi pig is still welcome to his crappy state visit.

The Brexit bunch have no shame, no decency, no perspective on history, no morals. Only greed and a lust for power.

Russia, Russia, Russia

‘Tweety-pie’ ought to be made aware that Britain First was originally the spiritual home, among others, of Scottish-born ‘millionaire’ (how? Ed.) Jim Dowson, until he left after questions were asked about his management of the organization’s funds. According to the anti-fascist Searchlight Magazine, Dowson is a self-averred Brexit ‘disruptor’ and virulent Islamophobe with an office in Hungary funded by oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, a ‘mysterious billionaire’ (HuffPo) with connections to the resurgent Russian Orthodox church, and to Putin’s ‘spiritual advisor’ Aleksandr Dugin. Dowson is also the progenitor of the fake-news, hate-news filled US Patriot News website (see Posts, passim).

“Dowson is active in Loyalist circles and helped launch the Protestant Coalition, who have links to Britain First. He is also an ex-Calvinist minister and anti-abortionist (he charmingly posts the names and addresses of clinicians) and set up a BNP call centre in Northern Ireland.” – Searchlight Magazine.

US readers might care to note that Britain is just waking up to the extent of ‘dark money’-funded ops that preceded the Brexit vote. Questions are being asked (though not answered) about the (Scottish) origin of one half-million dollar donation funneled to Leave.EU, an unofficial pressure group, via the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland – where donations are not required to be registered – into anti-European media advertising, and who paid for it.

Appealing to US supporters for money and volunteers to combat the Islamic invasion of Europe, Mr Dowson said this:

“This is not political, this is a fight between good and evil, black and white, a fight of the cross, a fight of Christ.”

And Mr Dowson has been caught on video, supplying support materièl to an armed vigilante group hunting Syrian refugees on the Bulgarian border.

This is the man whose repellent ideology Tweety-pie, the President of the United States of America is supporting with his little thumbs:

searchlightmagazine.com/2016/10/britain-first-extremist-filmed-joining-hate-filled-vigilante-group-hunting-down-asylum-seekers-in-bulgaria/

FOR GOD’S SAKE, REPUBLICAN DIMWITS, GET HIM OUT NOW!!!

x

Goodnight, Keith Olbermann

In a shock announcement last night, Keith Olbermann announced his retirement from active criticism of one Donald J Trump.

Who? You may ask. I offer the following heavily redacted biography from the invaluable Wikipedia:

“Olbermann was a sports correspondent for CNN in the 1980s, winning a Best Sportscaster award three times. From 1998 to 2001 he was a producer and anchor for Fox Sports Net.

(We have to forgive him that…)

“From March 2003 to January 2011 Olbermann hosted the weeknight political commentary program Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. He received attention for his pointed criticism of right-wing politicians and public figures. He has tried to resist being labelled politically, stating, “I’m not a liberal. I’m an American.”

And this has been… The Resistance (photo: hollywoodreporter.com)

Olbermann’s four times weekly articulate and erudite anti-Trump rants on the GQ Magazine YouTube channel have been a welcome and entertaining antidote to all the nasty garbage, the flattery, the fawning, the hatred, the fake news, the distractions and diversions and the outright lies spewed by Fox News and the rest of the putrid, alt-right establishment pond-media.

Keith’s new book, Trump is F*cking Crazy, a collection of his broadcasts has been my bedside companion for a couple of weeks now, so if I may be permitted one criticism of Olbermann both as an author and broadcaster, judging by his output it is that he does have rather a mighty opinion of himself at times.

We can forgive him that too. As a former broadcaster myself, I have been awestruck by his professional technique.

Last night on the show, before announcing that his theme has run its course – that he was not being given the bum’s rush (it wouldn’t be the first time), giving up in despair, being threatened or bribed to stop, as far as anyone knows, all four could be true – but simply had nothing left to offer, he identified seven strands of Fate that are fast closing in on Herr Clusterfuck, any one of which he believes will be enough imminently to end this disastrous chapter in the short but turbulent life of American democracy.

I trust we may see Olbermann again in the not-too distant future. For if there is one thing Trump knows very well how to do, it is to slip the noose.

If, however, we don’t, then I recommend the YouTube podcasts of Mike Malloy, a more emotive and scatological commentator altogether, and a disgraceful (but poignantly truthful) old renegade perhaps more after my own heart and style of polemicising than the urbane and well-tailored Mr Olbermann.

x

(Warning: the following article contains very strong language, extreme opinion, profound personal animus and probably fake news. But no nuts.)

Fuck off, Trevor Kavanagh

  1. The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) ruled Trevor Kavanagh’s column was “capable of causing serious offence” but did not breach the Editors’ Code.
  2. Mr Kavanagh said it was “acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem”.
  3. The Sun said he had already apologised.
  4. The regulator said the comment could be compared to language used at the time of the Holocaust.
  5. But a spokesman for The Sun said: “[He] didn’t realise that his words could be compared to the phrase ‘the Jewish Problem’. – BBC News

Jesus fuckin’ H Christ.

What, the ‘Editor’s Code’ sanctions articles supporting racial and religious violence? Incitement to genocide? Hate speech?

The “capability of causing serious offence” is not an infringement of the Editors’ Code?

Then what the fuck is?

God knows, I enjoy causing offence. But this?

What the hell is a “specific problem” applied to Muslims in general? Mr Kavanagh is, in the opinion of the BogPo, and has been for many years, representative of a repulsive lying bucket of putrefying dog-vomit known as the Murdoch press.

But never mind, the “senior political correspondent” of The Sun fake-newspaper, an ageing lamprey fastened to the arsehole of organized corporatist disruption, “didn’t realize” that he might have been behaving like a racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic old cunt?

(The BogPo would like to apologize to Mr Kavanagh, deeply and with maximum contrition, for any offence caused. In fact I said sorry last night while brushing my teeth in the bathroom mirror, so no need to bother again now.)

Oh no, of course anyone wouldn’t realize, who had just arrogantly dismissed 1.2 billion people as “a specific problem rather than a cultural problem”. Who the fuck does this fortunate fellow, this postcolonial “thing”, this hitman from the 4th Estate (that’s the one the Council flogged off) think he is? Donald Fucking Trump?

And the IPSO had little option but to vindicate the lying little fascist bullyboy, as – mirabile dictu – he’s on the fucking board!

Does corruption have any clearer a face than that?

Miqdaad Versi, assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the decision was “deeply disappointing, albeit not unexpected. What is truly astonishing is that regardless of the specifics of the Code, IPSO does not seem to have any concern that one of its board members used this Nazi-like phrase about Muslims.”

Though the BogPo regards all religion as a basket of deplorable superstitions, genuflections to the Invisible Man, and feels that self-identifying special interest groups are whingeing and whining a sight too much about their tragic sensitivities these days, we sympathise with Mr Versi.

The thing the comparatively well-paid Kavanagh-troll fails to understand is that his words have weight. Glib propagandistic generalizations are not journalism; they are a provocation to violence. To steal the clothes of Steve Bannon, Roy Moore and David Duke, to promote a white supremacist, post-colonial agenda in circumstances where the far-right is on the rise in Europe is naive, risky and, frankly, lazy and unprofessional.

If it is none of those things, then Mr Kavanagh is surely a traitor in search of a fascist dictator to validate his very bad-smelling excreta and he must resign his overprivileged position.

Kavanagh, fuck off. Just retire, you decrepit old whore. You and that tendentious old humbug, John Hymnphrys. Your time is over, you’ve had your quota, your world has passed you by, you understand nothing now.

Just fuck off and die, will you?

(Uncle Bogler is 68.)

x

Mr Trump is demented (as if we didn’t know)

“Trump first startled reporters with talk of an invisible plane in October, when he discussed the F-35 at a military briefing in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico. “Amazing job,” Trump said then. “So amazing we are ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of new airplanes for the air force*, especially the F-35. You like the F-35? … You can’t see it. You literally can’t see it. It’s hard to fight a plane you can’t see.” – Guardian

To see this image literally, you will need a special pair of orange-tinted glasses. (jetairlinezz. blogspot)

He was particularly excited about the Lockheed-Martin F-35 fighter; an aircraft he believes is “invisible” and therefore hard to find, I should imagine.

It isn’t. Look! (Luckily none have been assigned to coastguard duty, otherwise distressed mariners might have trouble noticing they were being rescued.)

It nearly was invisible, because its development has been so afflicted with problems – for instance, test pilots were blacking-out when the oxygen failed, and the plane had a distressing tendency to stall in a climb – that the project risked cancellation. The breathing problem still hasn’t been solved:

“A team of engineers, test pilots, medics and others experts are ‘digging into this problem 24 hours a day,’ to try to identify the cause, an Air Force spokesman said. ‘It could be lack of oxygen. It could be too much oxygen, too much carbon dioxide.’ ” – Mail Online

Not that there could ever be too much carbon dioxide for Trump, who has evolved gills.

Pound for pound, it’s also about the most expensive military project in history, after the invasion of Iraq. But Mr Trump was prepared for that, too – informing the bewildered hardy seafarers in his customarily boastful and self-congratulatory fashion that he had managed to negotiate a deal with his buddies at Lockheed to cut the price, which no other President in history would have been willing or able to do, especially his favourite genocide, Gen. Andrew H Jackson; killer of many Pocahontases.

He hasn’t. Not according to military sources.

But just in case anyone thought the military was spending too much on the F-35, Mr Trump then divagated into the subject of the rest of his wonderful weaponry and how he has INCREASED spending to $700 billion, making it the greatest military in the world.

He lives in a fantasy world, a Wonderland of his own imagining, in which a heroic individual called Trump is at the centre of everything, a General controlling fast-moving, complicated events with skill and wisdom.

He isn’t.

He is completely fucking demented.

And now he is once again returning to the theme of That Tape, the Hollywood Access ‘pussy-grabber’, claiming it was all faked-up by CNN or whoever – although he admitted its authenticity only a few months ago, saying it was just ‘locker room’ bantz. Now in his diseased mind, it was a fake after all. He wasn’t there, whoever he was.

He is clearly rattled that his stout defence of the cretinous Republican candidate to replace Jeff Sessions in Alabama, ‘Judge’ Roy Moore, against whom the accusations of molestation of underage girls have been stacking up, has blown up in his face as the even-more women Trump has allegedly assaulted over the years have become emboldened against his efforts to silence them.

He really has no barriers, does he? He just doesn’t know when to keep his stupid trap shut.

Get him out!

*To date, Congress has voted less than 10% of the money needed to restore vital services to the 3.5 million stricken Americans in the hurricane-ravaged US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; but $54 billion more to the military, whose already obscenely bloated budget the compulsive liar Trump yet again has falsely claimed was being eroded by his predecessor.

x

“For some time, it has been warmer than the 1.5°C guardrail that the Paris Agreement promised should not be crossed.”

GW. On the Prom with the global emergency sandwich-board and a soggy packet of chips

Bit by bit we are being washed away… Jamaica last week. (Daily Mail)

Caribbean: Four hours of torrential rain – a ‘month’s worth’ for November – creates impressive flash flood in coastal resort of Montego Bay, Jamaica. overwhelming drainage defences.

Indonesia: Sidoharjo, East Java trashed by slow-moving tornadoes. Idiots shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ stand out in the street gawking and videoing and are pelted with debris as trees, roofs, scaffolding and anything not nailed down fly off… 35 hospitalized, whole buildings destroyed. City then battered by heavy rain, 380mm falling in 24 hours.

“7 deaths were reported when a landslide struck in Klesem village in the Kebonagung Sub-district of Pacitan Regency. 2 further fatalities occurred in a separate landslide in Sidomulyo village,  also in the Pacitan district in East Java. 2 other victims reportedly drowned in flood water in the same area where rivers have overflowed.”

Thailand: Phetchaburi river overflows after heavy rain, floods – city under 3ft of water. Hundreds evacuated. 2 more die in renewed flooding in Vietnam as Tropical Depression Kirogi crosses the country.

New Zealand: “a slow moving storm that began around 15:00 on Sunday 26 November caused flash flooding in the small town of Roxburgh in the Central Otago District. Local media said 42.2 mm of rain fell in just a few hours.”

Australia: there’s concern for electricity supplies as an unprecedented November heatwave over Melbourne continues into its second week and air conditioner sales boom. Records were broken too in Hobart, Tasmania, where a peak of 31.5C last Friday (24 Nov) was 13 deg. C. above average for the time of year.

USA: record November temperatures ‘from the west coast to the plains’ are running 15 to 20 deg. C. above normal as strong winds, more cold and snow affect more northerly and eastern states; SW states continue to be plagued by tornadoes. Anaheim, Ca. recorded a temperature of 100F on 22 Nov. “According to climatologist Guy Walton: November will be the 36th month in a row where U.S. daily record highs outnumbered record lows.”

UK: After a run of unusually warm winters, this year’s La Niña, a weak jetstream and colder air displaced from the Arctic have brought endless rain, gales and temperatures now falling into low single-figures (and forecast to continue downward in places to -10C (14F) to much of the British Isles, with night frost and disruptive snow in the north. Nevertheless as GW reported a few months back, average winter temperature in the UK has increased by 2 deg. C. since 1981.

Two rivers burst their banks at Mountmellick, Ireland, flooding homes. Elderly residents couldn’t recall anything like it in their lifetime.

World: “Warming is accelerating. For some time, it has been warmer than the 1.5°C guardrail that the Paris Agreement promised should not be crossed. This conclusion follows from analysis of NASA land+ocean data 1880-October 2017, adjusted by 0.59°C to cater for the rise from preindustrial and with a trend added that also indicates that the global temperature looks set to cross the 2°C guardrail soon, with 2021 falling within the margins of the trend line.

This, warns Arctic News, does not take account of sub-surface ocean warming (93% of total warming has gone into the seas) and feedbacks that might speed up the process.

Arctic: From 1981 until 2011, averaged over the year ocean temperature off Svalbard island remained stable – even showing a slight cooling trend. Measurements this year (2017) however show that the Arctic ocean has warmed at the surface during this two-month early winter period since 2011 by an average of 13.9 deg. C. The blue line on the graph shows 1981 to 2011 (30-year) average sea surface temperature in Oct/Nov. The red line plots daily temperatures during Oct/Nov this year. (Graph: Arctic News/Sam Carana)

 

 

 

 

Arctic News/ Floodlist/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #83/ Wunderground

The Pumpkin – Issue 32: Trump or jump?…The land of smoke and mirrors… Granny W. – a sense of déjà vu… The value of experience? No-platform for the victims.

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“Thank God, at least we haven’t run out of kitchen-towels…” Dominica after the storm. (Photo: Guardian/Global Development)

 

“No wonder two hundred thousand people volunteered for a one-way mission to Mars.”

Trump or jump?

I’m not sure what’s making me angrier: Trump’s heartless response to the desperate pleas of the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Cruz, for additional aid and leadership in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which was basically to tell her to stop whining and criticizing HIM all the time, because everyone says he’s doing a really great job and she obviously isn’t?

Perhaps the Great Solipsist has been stung by polls showing that over 50 per cent of Americans think he’s doing a really terrible job overall. The wonder is, 100 per cent of Americans don’t seem to know or care that he is turning your country into a global pariah. But it’s quite clear he sees emergency aid to 3.5 million stricken American citizens in purely economic, transactional terms and has no concept of, or concern for, human suffering; especially among Americans that don’t have a vote on the mainland; or among Gold Star families.

It must surely be evident to all Americans that Donald J Trump is a reeking bag of semi-composted shit? The most horrible excuse for a human being, not just to occupy the White House, but of all time? Even Adolf Hitler loved his dog.

The Guardian reported: “Trump suggested the mayor had been told “to be nasty to Trump” by his Democratic opposition.” Everything is always about Liddle Donny, isn’t it? He has literally no conception of anything existing outside his own fucking Thomas Pink suit. Hopefully this astonishing behavior by the President, making George W Bush’s indifferent response to Katrina look like Mother Teresa, will be the death sentence of his presidency.

But no. There is no stinking, slimy turd a Republican politician won’t swallow for breakfast, lunch and tea to cling on to a tiny slice of ‘power’.

Yesterday, Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke announced she was “very satisfied” with progress on the island, following the Trump lie that: “it was: ‘a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people'”. That was hours before she arrived on the island for the first time and actually reached some people; following which, there was a complete turnaround in her attitude. Visibly shocked, she admitted that more could be done.

Trump, however, has his own unique way of doing things. After moaning for several days that his friends in the shipping industry would lose money, he finally caved-in and agreed to a temporary suspension of the Jones Act – punitive 1920s legislation protecting American trade with Puerto Rico, that has been preventing any shipping under other flags from docking with emergency supplies.

If you really need more evidence that the 45th incumbent is certifiably a psychopath, consider the argument he has been putting forward in his ridiculous childish tweets the past few days: that Puerto Rico was already a poor country, a drain on the US economy and Wall Street, so any aid given should be proportionate only to immediate need and no infrastructure that was in disrepair before the two hurricanes should be replaced at US taxpayer expense until the island authorities pay what they owe.

Again, he appears completely unaware of the irony that the Act imposed crippling tariffs on exports to Puerto Rico, which has since become a US dependancy. If Puerto Rico is an unacceptably dependent nation economically, it is principally the fault of successive US governments and Trump does actually have an opportunity to do something about it; although Puerto Rico’s $75 billion debt is 100% owned by US hedge funds who are milking it for all it’s worth. He appeared to be unaware, too, that the US Virgin Islands are US territory, announcing that he had “met with the President” of the devastated Caribbean islands of which he is, nominally, the President.

As for the deadly California wildfires, well, he lost the popular vote in California by 4 million so he’s not going there in a hurry, however many Americans get burned to death. Fuck ’em, losers.

Promoting special interests

Mr Trump makes these statements completely oblivious to the fact that he himself owes approximately $1.9 billion to up to 70 banks around the world, and despite the weight of potential compromise this presents to national security, has no intention of ever paying them back (he sues them when they ask for their money).

While defending the taxpayers, he boasts of having personally paid no income tax for almost 20 years. Despite ongoing investigations, he continues to profit from official use of facilities he owns at the public expense, and from licensing the use of his personal brand as President on properties co-developed with known foreign racketeers and money-launderers.

Despite promising to ‘drain the swamp’ of Washington lobbyists, he has promoted special interests in finance, the private medical, energy and chemical industries to the highest offices of State while attempting to amend or repeal any and all laws they perceive as restrictions on their business activities.

He mentors his son-in-law Jared Kushner in his policy of thieving money from banks: himself placed in high office, despite his complete lack of experience in government or politics, Kushner has been going cap-in-hand to wealthy ‘friends’ in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, scrabbling for sofa-change to repay the more than $1 billion dollars HE owes to 20 banks after a disastrous New York property speculation: yet has meanwhile had a fair number of his family’s property management company’s poorest tenants arrested and imprisoned for late payment of rent.

There has been a constant swirl of media speculation for many years over the extent of Mr Trump’s possible criminality, never proven. One instance of this may have been betrayed by Trump himself.

During the transition period, it emerged that a 35-page dossier detailing what might be described as compromising material held over Mr Trump by Russian intelligence agencies was being reviewed by the CIA and FBI. Part of it referred to a bizarre sex session in a Moscow hotel room. Mr Trump defended this allegation in a curious way, saying that as someone who owned many hotels, he knew all about covert filming.

The inference was not drawn at the time, but it happened to be the case that Kushner’s father was serving a five-year prison term. His offence of business fraud had been exacerbated by further charges relating to his attempts to pervert the course of justice by, in this case, blackmailing his brother-in-law, who had been called as a material witness. Kushner Senior sent a videotape to his own sister, showing her husband in a compromising situation with a prostitute in a hotel room.

There is no imputation of course that Mr Trump had any involvement whatever, but it suggests a degree of sleaze within the circles he moves in that might call in question his fitness to hold the highest office.

Mr Trump has been accused by at least one prominent Senator in his own party of failing to respect the rule of law. That’s over the Justice Department’s special investigation into what appeared to be crude attempts by the President to divert or halt an FBI investigation into possible links between his election campaign and Russian intelligence, that might amount to obstruction of justice.

Senator John McCain has stood out against Trump’s cynical health ‘reform’ bill that will see 30 million poorer Americans deprived of health care: Trump’s response has been to issue dire threats by tweet against the dying McCain, who has incurable brain cancer but is lucid enough in seeing through the fatuous, vain, incompetent blowhard in the White House.

I repeat: Donald J Trump is an orange-coloured sack of congealed, putrid greed: the sickest, nastiest, most vindictive, most infantile, poisonous, deranged, incompetent and ignorant reptile to assume office since the Emperor Caligula.

For all that, 37% of his supporters who identify as ‘marginalized’ by Washington say they would never abandon their loyalty to Trump under any circumstances.

This is surely a serious state of affairs.

It’s been calculated that Mr Trump’s ‘beautiful’ $5 trillion tax reforms, which – he lies – will benefit the lower-paid and the middle-class most, will in fact leave him personally $1 billion richer, millions poorer, and the Treasury bankrupt. Oh, and by the way, the tax rate for the lowest-paid will rise from 10 to 12 per cent…. but the top tax rates for high-earners and corporations will fall considerably, while the heirs of wealthy property owners not unlike Mr Trump will no longer have to pay inheritance tax on their $billions of assets, which thus become more negotiable in the heretofore.

Mr Trump has also fallen out with numerous senior Republican colleagues over their failure to steer through Congress, a bill replacing Obama’s Affordable Care Act with a new health insurance system that would have the effect of stripping 32 million people of their entitlements to healthcare. He appears to be entirely ignorant of or indifferent to the inevitable effects of his sop to the criminally greedy pharmaceuticals industry, many of whose leaders are either on trial or under Congressional investigation for hiking drug prices beyond reason.

On foreign relations, Mr Trump already has a disastrous record of upsetting the US’s allies while encouraging its enemies; he has raised the level of violence in US engagement in foreign conflicts, resulting in a massive increase in ‘collateral’ civilian deaths without providing any clear policy direction to end conflict.

Though pushing Congress to vote an additional $85 billion for the military appropriations budget, claiming falsely that Obama had run it down, he has nevertheless caused great concern among the generals with his tweeted attacks on LGBQ and Transgender service personnel and insults to dead or wounded veterans and their families. His response to that is to call for a tenfold increase in nuclear warheads, while already possessing more than are needed to extinguish life on earth. He is clearly insane, but we can have little confidence that his military aides will put a bullet through his diseased brain the moment he calls for the nuclear football to obliterate North Korea, Iran, or whoever incurs his wrath that morning.

He has effectively gutted international diplomatic expertise within the State Department, marginalized and demeaned his bovine Secretary of State, and is blundering ever-deeper into dangerous and childish tit-for-tat brinkmanship with at least two nations on the verge of becoming nuclear powers. For much of his presidency he has been under the malign influence of Steve Bannon, a calculating and nihilistic Svengali bankrolled by crazed ultra-rightwing Christian billionaires.

I’m really not sure what it will take to see this greedy, thuggish, ignorant, poorly self-managed and profoundly corrupt individual, a squeezer of the pips so appalling even God Himself could not wash him clean, strung up on piano wire in the public square like Mussolini, whose more presidential facial expressions he likes to imitate. But something must surely be done.

Or am I angrier that Britain is becoming, if possible, an even more divided and horrible nation than Trump’s America?

 

“An investigation is currently underway into the circumstances surrounding a 28-year-old Polish man who recently died after an attempt to kill himself at Harmondsworth detention centre in London. A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have toughened our response to foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality.” – The Guardian, 30 September.

“Please, can anyone afford a can-opener?” Three-quarters of a million people rely on food banks as poverty and homelessness rise sharply after seven and a half years of Tory government. (Photo: itv.com).

That’s right. Oh, but we haven’t left the European Union yet, have we. Our hardworking Polish friends have an absolute right to live and find employment in Britain. Many have done so since World War Two, when they were rewarded for their heroism at fighting Nazis on our behalf and bred a new generation of Anglo-Polish professionals. I was forgetting.

‘Anything you can do, I can do worse’, surely goes the Tory party song. For we read this morning an article in The Guardian by a woman who writes that she has colleagues at work like herself, who are having to use food banks and payday loans to get their families through to the end of the week – and she’s a Benefits Advisor working in a job centre, turning desperate people away every day.

Public-sector pay in Britain is an international scandal. In order to bailout the banks in 2008, pay increases for the police, fire service, teachers, nurses and hospital ancillaries, ambulance crew, cleaners, home-carers, local government workers have been capped at 1 per cent for the past eight years, and local authority service budgets cut to the marrow, while ‘inflation’ has been running at between 1.9 and 2.9 per cent a year, on the official indices, leaving millions of working people in the real world far behind. Working families so poor, they cannot send their children to school with breakfast inside them. Thus, Mrs May proposed before the election that it would be a good idea to scrap the provision of school breakfasts.

Thus too, a woman interviewed on the BBC this morning, a working mother of two who has literally no money, not even fourpence in her purse – yet is theoretically entitled like the rest of us to some State support. Why then has she no money to buy food or pay rent? Because of Iain Duncan Smith’s devastatingly cruel and incompetent mishandling of the switch from multiple benefits to a single-provider scheme that his successor, a servile, fuckwitted party hack named David Gauke, proposes to continue with despite massive public opprobrium.

This Duncan-Cunt (Conservative and Unionist Neo-Thatcherite) has left thousands of claimants in suspension, waiting many weeks to receive the first grant of less money than they were previously getting, unable to buy food or pay rent. He is, like Trump, a sociopath, completely oblivious to the suffering of others. Many of them are in work, but thanks to Cunt’s Universal Credit wheeze, the new cap on housing benefit that makes living in London impossible for the low-paid, the abolition of child benefit for any more than two children and the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ – filching money from social housing tenants who might be left with what the authorities consider to be a ‘spare room’ in their unit – they are falling ever deeper into poverty, debt and homelessness.

But the aforesaid Gauke thinks it’s all going swimmingly.

And that’s not even starting on people with disabilities, whose Independent Living Allowance (extra money enabling them to, for instance, afford a mobility scooter to get to work) has been scrapped; a blind man with multiple health issues was told by a judge two weeks ago, his local authority had a legal right to take away even the meagre support services they provided for him. That’s a legal right conferred by the Tories, may they rot in Hell.

While for years their private-sector proxies have been denying sick and disabled people the benefits they need on the basis of inept, medically irrelevant, inadequate, often abusive and mismanaged ‘assessments’, that they are blaming on the previous ‘Labour’ government.

Oh, said the junior minister on the radio yesterday (the senior minister refused to go on), but things are getting better! If anyone isn’t getting their benefit entitlement in good time, it’s probably because they’ve filled in the endless forms incorrectly; not submitted enough ‘evidence’ of desert. Not everyone has a computer with access to Broadband (the only way to claim… or pay 55p a minute to be kept hanging on the helpline for an hour), nor has everyone an A-level in English language, and may have to travel miles to find a library or a Citizens’ Advice Bureau still open. They can always apply for interim loan payments – yes, of course, they have to pay those back at 63 per cent, and they’re not available in every case, but …

These smug, lousy Tory shit-spewers can out-Trump Trump in cruelty anyday.

At the same time, CEO pay in the top 100 companies has been rising exponentially. The average is now £4.3 million – and that’s just the basic. Yet successive reports by economists have shown that company profits and productivity lag far behind executive rewards. Three Tesco executives went on trial yesterday, charged with cooking the books – share-price manipulation is the name of the game in the City today, but not enough end up in court. Millions of private pension owners have been told they’ll be lucky to get half what they’ve been paying-in for. Where’s the money gone? Nobody seems to know, although like the burghers of Londonderry, the investment management community, people like Mrs May’s husband Phil and Home Secretary, Amber Rudd and her noxious family business grow suspiciously ever fatter.

Billions are squandered on vanity projects, consultants and government maladministration. Our military contracting is disastrous: the latest scandal is the issue of the Foxhound, a transport vehicle purpose-designed to replace the lethal ‘Snatch Land-Rover’, to protect troops against roadside IEDs in hot countries, that cost £1 million each and are constantly breaking down through overheating; while the Navy’s new Type 45 destroyers are laid up in dock having new power plant fitted as the original engines didn’t produce enough electricity to power the weapons control systems. Artificers have had to cut holes in the sides of the ships to get the engines out, as they weren’t designed to be removed for servicing. (Postscriptum: and the rumor now is that two amphibious assault landing-craft support ships – one of which is currently providing emergency aid to the British Virgin Islands – are to be scrapped, effectively removing any role for the Royal Marines.)

Are the Russians running the Defence Ministry?

Thousands of doctors and nurses are fleeing the National Health Service because the government cannot bring itself to upset the editor of the Daily Mail, a small-minded Jingoistic bully called Paul Dacre, and offer them long-term security of residence. Incompetent baboons at the Home Office are sending out daily letters threatening to deport professional people who have lived here for thirty years, are married to British citizens and have children with them, born in the UK. Sound familiar, American reader? Schools are having to pass the begging bowl around parents to scrape together enough money, not to – I don’t know, run a sports day, take a party to Paris for the day or fix the gym roof – but to BUY TEACHERS.

The Three Brexiteers: Davis, ‘The Doctor’ and Doris (r)

Despite the many challenges, at this critical juncture British politics has come down to a contest of inanities between ambitious little shits and Empire-loyalist throwbacks, overentitled ‘populist’ publicity junkies like Johnson, Farage and, God forbid, the vapid neo-medievalist Rees-Mogg. Our Brexit ‘negotiating team’ is looking everyday more like the Marx Brothers of Brussels. As was shown by the Brexit vote, the majority of British voters are vacuous and poorly-informed middle-Englanders closeted in their own filter-bubbles, plugged into their little headsets, forever texting one another, mind-numbed by ‘reality’ TV shows and cheap talent contests, reliant more on personal ‘feelings’ than facts to guide them and living in a permanent Groundhog Day, divorced from memory and rapidly losing the capacity to process real-world issues. (I am working with a group of young people currently who have no idea whatever about contemporary politics or history.)

Is it any wonder the number of Britons frantically searching their family tree for connections and applying for foreign citizenship is rising by the day? Just like the Republican government in America, the rich have declared war on the poorest, who are blaming us, the sentient ones in the middle. Who would want to be part of this shameful farrago if they could find somewhere decent, clean and competently managed to live? No wonder two hundred thousand people volunteered for a one-way mission to Mars.

Get these amoral, clueless, self-serving fucking Tories; those devious, smarmy Republican cunts and Magic Christians out of office.

Just get them out.

x

“It’s classic psy-ops warfare. And the most devilish part of it is, now we know what’s going on we can’t trust anyone or anything we see and hear!”

The land of smoke and mirrors

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

I urge anyone interested in learning about the extent of Russia’s disruptive use of social media to watch the first part of this 27 September issue of Rachel Maddow’s top-rated MSNBC cable news show.

As she reports, it has become clear from investigations by serious news media in the USA that the abuse of social media sites Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and blogs such as Breitbart News and InfoWars by a coordinated campaign using hundreds of botnets and fake accounts to create false-front organizations putting out micro-targeted propaganda designed to create and exploit social division throughout the West has gone far further than previously thought.

Russian interference has not been confined to meddling with the elections in the USA and, as the BogPo has frequently commented, Great Britain’s disastrous EU referendum.

Maybe he thought the voters wanted him to be President because he’s so accomplished, tactful and charming?

Prior to the invasion of Crimea and SE Ukraine, for instance, thousands of Ukrainian Twitter accounts were deliberately shut down by a concerted ‘Report abuse’ attack falsely claiming tweets were pornographic; this increased the ‘space’ for a campaign of pro-Russian tweets from fake accounts blaming neo-Nazis for mounting a coup. Last weekend’s general election in Germany produced a stunning advance for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland party, gaining 90 seats to make them the third largest group in the Bundestag. With the financial and online support of Russian hackers, bloggers and botnets their campaign may have been aided by fake news reports against migrants and refugees.

And we know all about Kremlin funding for Marine le Pen’s failed presidential bid in France; and can see how the Macron presidency is being persistently undermined and attacked so that his popularity rating is already lower after only six weeks than that of his hapless predecessor, François Hollande, on leaving office. How much of what is going on in our increasingly divided and divisive politics in the UK is real, and how much engineered online?

In a seminal report by Alastair Sloan and Ian Campbell writing in Open Democracy UK, we are challenged to explain how Mr Arron Banks spent £9 million funding Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party and the Brexit ‘Leave.UK’ campaign, whose officers included long-term colleagues of his, on a business valuation putting his personal fortune at less than £22 million, which in itself is a dubious figure? Where did the money come from, to support a man whose many low-rent ‘motorcycle insurance’ companies were kept from bankruptcy only by virtue of a system of internal sales and loans? And who put him up to it?

http://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/brexitinc/adam-ramsay/how-did-arron-banks-afford-brexit

The point being, it doesn’t matter whether or not the outliers whom the Russians promote succeed, as long as the process itself causes more useful bitterness and division the damage is done. Putin didn’t really care whether Trump got elected or not, just as long as the election resulted in the maximum chaos and further undermined America’s already pretty tenuous grasp on democracy. As Maddow reports, Russians have even infiltrated lunatic fringe organizations seeking independence for Texas and California.

Mr Putin and his clever cronies do not just want power at home, they have found ingenious ways to project it abroad, offering financial and logistical support to just about anyone who expresses a desire and some capability to upset the prevailing order.

Maddow cites a NYT report today that a false-front Muslim League of America lobbying organization was created to spread fake news favorable to the pro-Trump conspiracy, for instance linking the Clintons and Sen. John McCain with ISIS; and how an entire community was set against itself when a small-town news story was blown out of proportion to target Syrian refugees implicated in a child-rape scandal that never happened; nor were there even any Syrian refugees in the town – yet the story gained traction and ran for several weeks in the rightwing media until the damage was done.

It’s classic psy-ops warfare. And the worst of it is, now we know what’s going on we can’t trust anyone or anything we see and hear! It means too that we can’t either believe or disbelieve stories about the extent of Russian interference in our democratic processes….

Twitter executives are shortly to be questioned by the Congressional committee investigating Russian interference in the US election. That news in itself will further undermine public confidence. President Zuckerberg of ‘Facebookistan’ last week executed a remarkable turnaround when he finally admitted after months of blanket denials that his 2-billion-strong social media site had effectively been taken hostage by Russian military intelligence back in 2015, and that fake campaign advertising had been paid for through Russian bank accounts.

Again, many people now realize they can’t trust what even their friends are telling them on Facebook; while others won’t believe it’s false news, whatever you try to tell them.

It seems clear, as the BogPo has previously reported, that the Russians are also relying on third-party actors in Western countries having whatever degree of media ownership, data analysis skills or penetration and intrusion capabilities, even bona fide agencies who may be borrowed or hired or otherwise recruited to the cause, wittingly or unwittingly, to assist with targeting and the creation of fake messages.

The (disputed) use of Bob Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica company to micro-message voters, and of companies involved with voter registration to gerrymander constituencies and rig voting machines, has been widely reported on, if not yet proven; many more small tech businesses may have been used in the same way; but it raises the possibility at least that Trump may not have had much clue what was going on as all this would have been happening in the background to his campaign and he is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

Maybe he thought the voters of America really wanted him to be President because he’s so accomplished, tactful and charming?

In today’s world of ubiquitous, highly personalized media creating instantly disinformative echo-chambers, or what people of my generation used to call the rumour mill, you cannot trust any source even when it seems to have been verified by many other sources.

That’s a considerable victory for Mr Putin, as it’s rapidly turning the rest of the world into a facsimile of Russia: the land of smoke and mirrors.

x

Granny W. – a sense of déjà vu

“Researchers found that forest areas in South America, Africa and Asia – which have until recently played a key role in absorbing greenhouse gases – are now releasing 425 teragrams of carbon annually, which is more than all the traffic in the United States.” – The Guardian, 28 Sept., from a report in Science magazine.

Scientists combined 12 years of satellite data with field studies. They found a net carbon loss on every continent due to degradation of forest not normally visible from satellites, below canopy level, where clearance has been taking place. The world’s forests, they say, are no longer working as a ‘carbon sink’ and recommend an emergency replanting program. 

In the last week:

Uganda: 16 dead, 14 injured, ‘scores’ missing after ‘abnormal’ heavy rains cause landslides in Rubanda, in the west of the country.

China: at least 8 dead, 4 missing in floods and heavy rainfall in central areas of the country over the last few days. “Flooding has affected 116,000 people in the provinces of Hubei, Chongqing and Shaanxi. Around 2,400 homes have been damaged and over 20,000 people evacuated to emergency shelters… Hanzhong in Shaanxi province recorded 55 mm of rain per hour.”

Indonesia: people reported trapped in floods that inundated much of the city of 14 million people (28 Sept.). “The floods were the most widespread to hit Jakarta in recent memory. Authorities said at least four people were killed and 20,000 evacuated.”

Philippines:  “Flash floods triggered by heavy rain that began on Friday, 22 September. The city of Bacolod in Negros Occidental province was the worst hit, officials say over 8,000 people were affected.  Flood water was waist deep in some areas.”

Australia: large parts of New South Wales and Queensland sweltered in 42 deg C. (107.6 F) heat over the weekend and the ‘unusual’ early spring heatwave is forecast to continue on and off, possibly into the even hotter summer. A huge 12 deg. C. seasonal temperature anomaly was recorded over much of the SE region.

Iceland: “Several rivers have overflowed in parts of south east and east Iceland after a period of heavy rain from 26 September. Levels of the Skaftá river at Sveinstindur and the Ölfusá at Selfoss, among others, increased dramatically. Levels have fallen over the last few hours as the rain has eased, although more rain is forecast and further flooding could be expected.” Roads and bridges washed out.

USA: a tropical weather ‘disturbance’, 99L is bringing up to 5 inches of rain to Florida and Louisiana over the weekend, after a record-setting September hurricane season (40 days of cyclones at hurricane strength). Heavy rainfall is also forecast over Puerto Rico and other islands already hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria. 64.58 inches of rain observed at the Texas town of Nederland during Hurricane Harvey is confirmed as the new rainfall record during a tropical cyclone at any U.S. location.

California: whipped by 25 mph ‘Santa Ana’ wind, the 2,600-acre Corona Canyon fire on the edge of LA is 75% controlled (01 Oct.) after hundreds of residents of Orange County were evacuated. Nearly two thousand firefighters attended the blaze. As snow comes early to Montana and Idaho, racked by earth tremors from the Yellowstone magma chamber recharging beneath, there are still some 23 large fires burning in western states, including 11 in Oregon.

Town of Lynn in Massachusetts underwater after heavy rain. Chicago and midwest bask in 30 deg. C+ record late-September heatwave.

Florida: Army engineers battling to reinforce barrage at Lake Okeechobee before the next hurricane brings more torrential rain. “The lake level stood at 16.3’ above sea level on Thursday, well above the maximum 15.5’ level the Army Corps of Engineers tries to maintain in order to relieve pressure on the aging Herbert Hoover Dike that surrounds the lake.” See Wikipedia entry for story of the ecological disaster the lake has been over the years, including 1928 when 2,500 people drowned in a partial dam-burst.

Mexico: Nuevo Laredo floods and thousands of acres underwater as the Rio Bravo bursts its banks after torrential rainstorm. Nueva Leon including Juarez and Monterrey similarly underwater after intense rainfall.

Colombia: Baranquilla underwater as torrential rains bring flash flooding; streets turn to boiling rivers, etc.

Nicaragua: Managua underwater, etc. Morons still driving through 3ft of water and stalling. Understand: once your exhaust pipe is blocked by water a petrol engine will stall and you could drown.

Honduras: San Pedro, ditto.

Guatemala: 5 people killed in landslide caused by heavy rain as village washed away near Verapaz. Getting a sense of déjà vu watching this footage.

Trinidad: extensive flooding in Santa Cruz. Expensive homes damaged.

British Columbia: things are starting to calm down, only seven ‘fires of note’ are still burning, and only four new large fires have been reported in the last two days. Many smaller fires are still not out, but forest trails are being reopened.

Europe: the Copernicus EFFIS fire survey shows that areas at extreme danger of fires have reduced to just a small part of Turkey, but large areas of Spain, the northeastern Mediterranean and around the Black Sea are still at high risk and there are numerous fire sites indicated that have been burning over the past 7 days up until 27 September.

Greece: “Over 270 mm (10 in.) of rain in 3 hours fell on the northern Aegean Sea island of Samothraki, Greece, causing severe damage to roads, cars and buildings, including a health centre. Images showed streets buried in mud and flood debris over 1 metre deep. Power and drinking water supply has been cut and schools closed.”

Italy: Syracuse, Sicily, underwater due to intensive rainstorm.

Turkey: Istanbul hit by extreme rainstorm for the fourth time this summer. Parts of the city under 3ft of water. Apocalyptic flash-flood hits Çayeli in SE Turkey.

UK: Remnants of both Hurricane Lee and Hurricane Maria are expected to combine to bring storm force winds and heavy rain to most of the British Isles by the beginning of next week.

End of days…

Ring of Fire: as ‘experts’ announce that the flurry of seismic activity, with new M6+ earthquakes and volcanoes popping off all around the Pacific rim in recent days and weeks, including three M6 quakes or greater in Mexico in just over a week is ‘coincidence’ (these idiots are SCIENTISTS?), all 11,000 people on the island of Ambae to the north of Vanuatu are being evacuated as a massive volcano continues to erupt. Most of Ambae’s population is already sheltering in evacuation centres on the island after the Manaro Voui volcano rained rocks and ash on their villages, but they’re running out of food and water.

Meanwhile, ‘experts’ are continuing to keep watch on Mt Angung, the precarious sacred volcano on the tourist paradise island of Bali that has led to 75,000 people being evacuated beyond a 7 km exclusion zone, mindful of the 1963 eruption that killed 1,500 people. There’s been seismic activity too at Krakatoa, the Indonesian volcano that blew itself to pieces in 1883, which has been steadily rebuilding its cone. But Yellowstone looks a little quieter – not necessarily a good sign.

Floodlist/ D Mail/ ABC/ SBS.com/ Telegraph/ The Press Enterprise/ BC wildfire service/ Wunderground/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #70


The value of experience? No-platform for the victims.

“Both of these events will to [sic] cause Jewish students to feel uncomfortable on campus and that they are being targeted and harassed for their identity as a people and connection to the Jewish state of Israel,” Freeman told Westlake. “I would be grateful if you could look into these events and take the appropriate action.” – The Guardian, 29 September.

Of course it is dreadful that young people should be made to feel uncomfortable – especially Jewish students who already feel, well, uncomfortable, as the media continues to report on the rise of right-wing movements throughout Europe.

And it is clearly wrong that Jewish students, or indeed any students, should be targeted and harrassed for their identity as a people.

The Westlake in the pull-quote is Michael, Head of Student Experience (W1A is alive and well) at the venerable and renowned Manchester University, and the Freeman is something or other, a ‘cultural attaché’ – for which, presumably, read ‘Mossad agent’ – at the Israeli embassy in London.

Freeman was writing to Westlake essentially to thank him in advance for no-platforming a speaker whose talk was to be entitled: ‘You are doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to me’.

You might by now be imagining that the University was preparing to host an official torchlight rally of brownshirts or Trump supporters and the ceremonial burning of synagogues. But no. It may come as a surprise to know that the speaker, Marika Sherwood is herself a Holocaust survivor.

It is a fact, uncomfortable to the despicable Netanyahu regime, that many Jews like Sherwood are horrified and shamed by the State’s hardline approach to the stalled settlement talks and the continuing illegal settlement of the West Bank, mainly by fanatical American religionists, crazies who argue with the support of the government and the packed courts that God promised them the land.

It should be remembered that the Palestinians, whom even Israeli historians are slowly beginning to understand on the basis of archaeological evidence are the same people as the Jews, were ruthlessly expelled or slaughtered in their hundreds of thousands – targeted and harassed, in the modern parlance – during the ethnic cleansing that accompanied the founding of the Israeli state in 1947/8; many have been languishing, even unto the third generation, in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan ever since. The history is of course buried and denied by the corrupt Zionist mafia that runs the Israeli state today.

However, following the intervention of the Israeli ambassador, Mr Mark Regev, formerly a notorious media apologist for every sickening act of brutality against the remaining Palestinian population of Israel and Gaza, a slimy PR shill for successive Israeli governments attempting to shut down the mildest questioning of policy, who throws around disgusting accusations of ‘antisemitism’ against any objectors, who personally travelled to Manchester to bully the Senate into backing off the talk due to be held in ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ – itself a dreadful calumny against the junta of self-righteous bigots in Tel Aviv – the university caved-in.

The next day, reports the Guardian:

“a university official emailed Huda Ammori, the event’s (Jewish) organiser, with conditions. Academics chosen to chair the meetings were replaced by university appointees, publicity was limited to students and staff, and the organisers were told talks would be recorded. Ammori was told: “For ‘A Holocaust survivor’s story and the Balfour declaration’ the use of the title or subheading, ‘You’re doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to me’ is not to be permitted, because of its unduly provocative nature.”

Just who the hell does this pompous little sonofabitch Australian migrant, Regev, think he is, and what right does he imagine he has to go around flaunting his self-conferred authority – which is, I venture to suggest, derived solely from the experience of Jews in the Holocaust, survivors like Marika Sherwood, whom he denies and dishonours – to control whatever is said about his unpleasant country – I’ve been there, believe me it’s pretty ghastly – in a free society?

‘The appropriate action’…? ‘Academics replaced’…? ‘Talks would be recorded‘…? ‘Is not to be permitted’…?

I’ll leave you to decide who the fucking Nazis are.

And while we’re at it, I should point out, technically Israel is a secular, not an Orthodox, Jewish state. In 1948, the founder, David Ben-Gurion, speaking at the United Nations, declared it to be such, going on to say:

“The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Nothing in those soaring words about censorship, oppression, constant breach of UN resolutions, bullying and ethnic cleansing? It’s only rabid neo-Zionists like Regev who’ve made it into an authoritarian religious state, in defiance of Ben-Gurion’s pledge; and taken it upon themselves to monitor, censor and control whatever is said about it, anywhere in the world. Why should our institutions accede to his impertinent demands, his blackmail?

This is not about Judaism, Semitism – it is entirely and cynically political.

Let’s recall how in 2014, Regev and the British-Jewish establishment put intolerable pressure on the BBC to censor a combined charities appeal for aid for the people of Gaza, a walled ghetto created by the state of Israel to contain one and a half million Palestinians, men, women and children, which they had mercilessly and indiscriminately bombed and shelled with illegal phosphorus munitions for many days, just like the Nazis did, killing and maiming thousands, in reprisal for acts of defiance by hopeless, under-employed and under-equipped young Hamas fighters.

It really is time to stand up to these self-appointed arbiters of truth and justice, the hypocritical rewriters of history, and say, look, we’re not going to be told what we can and cannot say by you. You’ve got enough concessions from us on free speech already, we’re not going to be guilt-tripped any longer and if you want our respect you’ll stop this nonsense and grow up.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/sep/29/manchester-university-censors-title-holocaust-survivor-speech-criticising-israel

x

No fair, lady!

The late Hugh Hefner of Playboy is to be interred at Forrest Lawn, LA, in a catafalque next to Marilyn Monroe. It’s said the old lecher paid $75 thousand in 1992 for the plot adjacent to America’s second most potent sex symbol.

I wonder what she’ll make of that.

boo boop de doo?