Yesterday’s BogPo tomorrow? Wankers’ corner… GW: Texas engulfed…

Hi. I’m now totally confused as to which Thursday’s BogPo this is, yesterday’s or next week’s? Does it matter, when there’s always a feast of great writing to be guzzled down with wine?

More is being added as we speak! But I’ve only got this far, sorry.

‘So tell me a bit more about how a dictatorship could work.’

“So tomorrow we invade Luxembourg!”

Wankers’ corner…

As millions of schoolchildren and others strike around the world on climate action day, tired Labour “leader” Jeremy Corbyn’s dimly illuminated brother Piers is leading a pathetic counter-march through London, a gaggle of climate-change deniers, most probably balding, retarded internet trolls released from their mothers’ basements, blinking in the unaccustomed sunlight.

From the press photographs it looks like only about nine humanoids have turned out in support, bearing a semi-literate banner reading “Climate policy controls you not climate”, which can be taken several ways but perhaps lacks a little punch in the old persuasion department?

Good on you, Piers, for drawing attention to how stupid, feeble and anachronistic your dying little movement is.

Is there a particular Corbyn gene, I wonder, that turns out crusty and annoying old contrarians?

(But when will climate protesters understand, global heating and plastics pollution are NOT THE SAME ISSUE! From a PR point of view you need to fixate on one or the other or you’ll just confuse people.)

As millions of people came out on the streets following the Dateline across the globe to protest inaction over the climate crisis, the story made the front page splash all day as a running commentary on the BBC News website.

But occupied only 10th place on the Most Read listing!

And unless you went to the Weather page, there was no mention of the terrible floods in Texas from Tropical Storm Imelda, on which Severe-weather.eu commented: “There are truly catastrophic scenes coming out from Houston and Galveston.”

Up to 4 feet of rain has fallen over the Beaumont and Port Arthur area in two days, that saw immense rainfall only two years ago from Hurricane Harvey. Disaster has been declared. Several people have been killed, much property damaged.

It seems the news media is just not interested in real life events anymore.

 

The threewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Whenever Hunzi decides to take me as far as the industrial estate that’s rapidly expanding on the other side of the exurban space that passes for our local park, a land of cycle paths and sports grounds and a particularly fetching sewage works, we have to pass a new industrial unit housing a retail store where the theme is electrically powered cycles.

Now, I’m a touch OCD and I tend to get hooked for months or years on impracticable enthusiasms. For instance, I’m desperate to own a campervan. Every time I see one in the carpark, which at this time of year is many, I will wander over and try to look in, to compare the interior fittings, the decor. Does it have a loo? A shower? Are the benches lined with hideous purple floral moquette? Would there be room for my jazz collection? Could I even lie down?

Two things prevent me from owning a campervan. One, unless I sell my little house I can’t afford one. They are insanely expensive, given that you can buy a secondhand Ford Transit, a mattress and a primus stove for a few hundred quid. DIY camping is not my style. I demand fittings. A satellite dish. Cutlery.

Added to which, there would be running costs. And secondly, I know deep down in my heart that I would almost never use it. I so rarely go anywhere nowadays. Where would I go? On my own?

But I would have a campervan! I could put up guests. And if the world ended, civilization collapsed, warlords roaming the urban canyons, rising sea level inundating the village, I could run for the hills in my second home. Even spend a weekend with Hunzi at the Brecon jazz festival!

Oh, I so want a campervan! I am practically in tears today because a beautiful VW Topaz Autosleeper in midnight blue that was for sale at my local car showroom has gone, and I didn’t win the lottery on Wednesday.

It’s like that with the electrically powered tricycle in black, outside the store. See, it’s got fat tyres!

Electric vehicles are the future. One day, everyone will have one. Why not me, now? I could sell the car, buy one and have change. Look, it has fat tyres and a large pannier on the back for all my shopping needs.

You don’t need to pay road tax or have to have insurance with one of these babes, although it might be wise to insure yourself. It can go for 70 miles at 15.5 mph without pedalling. That’s 35 trips to the supermarket and back, a whole month’s worth!

But. Where would Hunzi sit? There’s nowhere, unless I bought a bike trailer for him. Would he be happy on his own, shut up in a flimsy trailer pod? It sometimes rains here, and there’s no cover. It could get very wet. And would my elderly prostate, the size of an orange, let me sit comfortably on a bike saddle?

A probable clincher, my house is right on a main road. The electric tricycle wouldn’t pass through the front gate into the little garden. There’d be nowhere to securely park it, between trips to the supermarket.

I try to envision myself trundling about town on this somewhat eccentric machine. I can see how useful it will be in more dystopian times, when diesel cars are banned, but now? I’d be practically the only person on the road with one.

Am I sufficiently ready to become a truculent and elderly eccentric, like the safety-unconscious, obstreperous-looking Jeremy Corbyn fans who ride those two-wheelers where you lie on your back and pedal with your legs in the air? Flying a little flag on a stick to beg sleepy Polish lorry drivers please not to ignore your existence.

And then, unbidden, the image creeps into my mind, of me, on my electric tricycle, wearing a Pastafarian colander on my head instead of a safety helmet, and there the dream ends. For, how could you ride an electrically powered three-wheeler with fat tyres without a colander? The two just go naturally together.

Looking closer, I see that in fact, the face of the large man on the electrically powered three-wheeler with a colander on his head and a worried sheepdog in the trailer, trundling bitterly on squelchy fat tyres through the rain at 15.5 mph, shopping bags soggily perched in the pannier at the back, is not actually my face after all.

I’m more of a Bentley and good 3-star hotels with a Michelin-guide restaurant and a comfortable bed man, myself.

 

GW: Texas enGulfed

USA: National Weather Service (NWS) in Houston said unofficial rainfall totals for a 60-hour period to 19 September showed Fannet in Jefferson County, Texas received 43.15 inches (1,096mm) of rain, as Tropical Storm Imelda stalled over southern Texas and Louisiana, Thursday going into Friday, 20 Sept., “firehosing” warm water out of the Gulf in a mini-repeat of Hurricane Harvey, two years ago – from which the states are still recovering.

Rivers are overflowing, parts of the road network around Houston are completely inundated and people are being ordered to stay indoors wherever they are, or to seek higher ground.

3 people have been killed and states of “disaster” declared in 13 counties. It’s already the 7th wettest storm in US history and it’s still raining, Houston reporting rates of 3-4 in. per hour, prompting some weather forecasters to speculate that it could catch up to the wettest, Harvey, that dumped 60.3 inches near Beaumont and Port Arthur in 2017.

(The above from Floodlist/Accuweather.) Severe-weather.eu adds: “There are truly catastrophic scenes coming out from Houston and Galveston.”

Accuweather also reported another familiar story: “Damaging thunderstorms will track through the northern Plains ahead of a push of cooler air at the end of the week. The severe weather is likely to erupt during Friday afternoon (20 Sept.) across the Dakotas and Nebraska before the dangers spread eastward into western Minnesota during the overnight hours.” Tornadoes are expected too.

Oh, and I’m wondering why these horrendous events have gained no traction today in the centrist media? The Guardian website, updated hourly, for instance makes no mention of the real catastrophe unfolding in Texas, affecting real people, but features numerous speculative articles instead about Ms Thunberg’s strike and its political importance.

Atlantic: “The second major hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic season, Humberto roared past Bermuda Wednesday night as a Cat. 3 storm with 120 mph winds. The powerful right-front eyewall battered (the island) with sustained winds well in excess of hurricane force as the eye passed 75 miles to the north, near 8 pm EDT.” (Wunderground)

Meanwhile, forecast weakening Cat 2 to Cat 1 Hurricane Jerry, battling wind shear, is just passing the Leeward Islands, where storm warnings have been issued, on a curving track heading northwestwards away from the US coast towards Bermuda. (Accuweather) Three more tropical depressions are threatening heavy rainfall events for Caribbean islands over the weekend into next week.

Forecasters are getting excited about a somehow “different from usual” tropical wave among several spotted coming out of Africa, that before it has even reached the Cape Verde islands where Atlantic hurricanes generally form, they have got tagged for development as a potential “major hurricane”. No tracking forecasts are as yet available. (Severe-weather.eu)

Singapore: Drivers preparing for the weekend’s F1 Grand Prix are having to contend with some of the worst air pollution the island has experienced, because of forest burning for palm oil in neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia. It happens every year now, that both visibility and air quality are being dangerously reduced. High nighttime temperatures, too, around 30C and reaching 50C in the cars’ cockpits have led to the race becoming known as the Singapore Sauna. (Guardian)

(Your Old Gran opines that, were she the Sultan of Singapore, she would immediately declare war on her neighbors and angrily bomb the bejasus out of them. This annual criminal destruction of habitat for so many threatened species surely can’t be tolerated?)

 

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87 days and still the Eurocrets aren’t getting it!… Is there any point in mentioning, Donald Trump is insane?… GW: let’s execute the BBC for eco-treason… This week’s BogPo risks a peek into the unknown.

“It was clear UK does not have another plan,” a senior EU diplomat said of the meetings with (UK chief “negotiator”, David) Frost. “No intention to negotiate, which would require a plan. A no deal now appears to be the UK government’s central scenario.”

87 days and still the Eurocrets aren’t getting it!

“According to a poll last week, 79% of respondents said the British public don’t know what will happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit. That is an abject failure of all those groups campaigning against no deal.” (Guardian)

Yes, especially as 45% of Tories say they neither know nor care, they just want out.

Although it’s still not clear they know why.

So writes political think-tanker, Ian Warren in The Guardian, 5 August; arguing, with total justification, that the right-wing, Brexit supporting cabal has (as, indeed, has the proto-fascist Trumptard revolution in the USA) been much better at coming up with pithy slogans that hit home with the public than the Remain tendency has ever been, with its convoluted debating points.

Your Boglmeister spent 15 years slaving in the advertising business. He accepts that it’s actually more difficult to defend than attack in this situation, because the reasons for staying in are more nuanced, whereas any tattoed fuckwit can loudly demand to leave and do a runner without paying the bill, but here for what it’s worth are a few headlines, T-shirt slogans, memes, whatever, two-liners that you can use in your last-ditch campaign to end the madness.

 

What happens when we leave the EU without a deal?

You really don’t want to know.

 

Who’s secretly paying for Johnson to be Prime Minister?

You will.

 

Do you know who’s secretly behind Brexit?

That’s because they don’t want you to.

 

Who said selling off the NHS will make him richer?

Clue: he thinks Trump’s a genius too.

 

Privatizing the NHS

Means more unfair shares for the few.

 

Remember BUPA?

Ah, the good old days.

 

The NHS is short of 45 thousand GPs.

Send them back!

 

The NHS is short of 100 thousand nurses.

Send them back!

 

The Tories have blown £4.5 billion preparing for no-deal Brexit.

Project No-Fear. Satisfyingly expensive.

 

Brexit. Leaving is not the end.

Scrap Article 50 now. Begin again.

 

Is your pocket taking a pounding?

Our money is worth 16% less since the referendum. Happy holiday!

 

Brexit-supporting hedge fund managers:

“Heads we win, tails you lose.”

 

Brexit. Good for British farmers, British diet.

How much less food could your family live on? We find out.

 

Take back control?

We never lost it in the first place! (But now we have.)

 

Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Whose sovereignty is it anyway?

 

In 2001, James Dyson was angry. He wanted Gordon Brown to join the Euro. His business would make more money.

In 2014, Sir James Dyson was angry. He wanted to leave the EU. His business would make more money.

Welcome to Singapore-on-Thames.

 

Amazon. Facebook. Google. Should they pay more tax to the government?

Are you going to make them?

 

Northern Powerhouse or Northern Poorhouse.

Do you imagine they know the difference?

 

The car manufacturing industry is rapidly pulling out.

Who’s driving it, Prince Philip?

 

No to a customs union!

Would you mind opening the boot, Sir?

 

A hard border means a return to terrorism.

Oh, why can’t the Irish just behave?

 

“Then we spent four hours queuing behind these Somali refugees…”

Brexit. How to be a second-class citizen.

 

Johnson says he’ll suspend Parliament to get No-Deal.

Well, they all deserve to be hung.

 

Good news on the Brexit front:

Liam Fox has done a trade deal with Papua New Guinea.

 

What will a trade deal with Trump’s America mean?

Why you askin’, boy?

 

How do you get the chlorine off an American chicken?

Wash it in RoundUp.

 

How do you make the British Navy great again?

Plant more oak trees.

 

Experts, Brexperts. What do they know?

 

“And I would walk 500 miles…”

Well soon, you won’t have to.

 

People shouldn’t be allowed to migrate.

Occupy the maternity wards!

 

There’s a crisis in the Eurozone!

Yes. It’s us.

 

How else do we stop the evil German bankers?

Ask “Leave” Chancellor Sajid Javid, he used to be one.

 

Is there any point in mentioning, Donald Trump is insane?

“Since the beginning of the year, Trump has spent more than $8.7m on Facebook advertising, much of it designed to inspire outrage or fear. Other frequent topics include the border wall, ‘fake news’ and ‘socialism’.” (Guardian)

Would that were all.

“We have an INVASION!” he tweeted. “So we are BUILDING THE WALL to STOP IT. Dems will sue us. But we want a SAFE COUNTRY! It’s CRITICAL that we STOP THE INVASION.”

Dems have not sued Trump, Trump has sued Dems. Especially congressman Eijah Cummings, who is formally investigating Trump’s taxes. And since Trump began his virulent campaign against central American refugees, numbers have substantially increased.

How many whatsits does $8.7 million buy on Facebook, and who is paying for it, the taxpayer? The entire 2016 fake news Cambridge Analytica/Wikileaks Russia campaign cost less than $1 million. Donald Trump has used the word ‘invasion’ in over 2,000 Facebook ads since January.

In case anyone should imagine he is serious, “Since Trump’s remarks on Monday morning, the set of approximately 1,000 Facebook ads his campaign is running have focused on selling campaign merchandise, including plastic straws, beer cozies and baseball caps. He is also running 28 ads featuring the slogan ‘Latinos for Trump’.”

Incidentally, you can buy a pack of 10 environmentally unhelpful plastic “Trump” branded drinking straws for only $15.

Yes, people are.

What a dumpster fire this orange slug is.

Yet millions of Americans believe he is the Messiah. He draws on their collective insanity to create hatred and division, before weeping crocodile tears over the bodies of women and children, murdered in his name.

And where was he in the aftermath of the shootings?

On the golf course.

 

GW: let’s execute the BBC for eco-treason

World: July this year was the warmest month ever recorded worldwide (since 2016), satellite data has confirmed. June was the previous hottest June. The assessment was carried out by researchers at the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). Scientists say it’s the latest sign that Earth is experiencing unprecedented warming.” (BBC)

A quarter of the world’s population across 17 countries are living in regions of extremely high water stress, a measure of the level of competition over water resources. Qatar, Israel and Lebanon were ranked as the most water stressed countries in the world. (Guardian)

It’s actually been rather pleasant here in Boglington-on-Sea. Unfortunately that and the plunging value of the pound has brought more impoverished British holidaymakers to our limitless coastal caravan sites, blocking the supermarket checkouts with tattoed bodybuilders in vests, their obese, phone-clutching partners and obese, shaven-headed kids, pushing huge trollies overloaded with sliced white bread and cut-price cider. £160, ker-ching!

Grrrr.

But: What The Fuck is wrong with the BBC? The news of another record hot month – no month in the last 34 years has been colder than the same month the previous year – prompted the following:

“…there is a wide sense among scientists that emissions of carbon dioxide from human activities are altering background temperatures and making new records more likely.”

A “WIDE SENSE”????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????!

Only 99 per cent of scientists in relevant disciplines remain convinced that CO2, aided by CH4, is heating the planet to danger level, while we know that the recalcitrant 1% are being paid by the Koch brothers and Exxon to lie that it isn’t. Still that’s not enough to convince the unpaid interns of W1A that global heating is real, is happening faster than we think, and is caused by us.

What the fuck is the matter with the BBC?

Regardless of any “Grand Solar Minimum”, volcanic eruption, lunar eclipse or passage in the Book of Fucking Revelation, we and we alone are causing the heat-death of the planet, and countless peer-reviewed papers now attest to it.

Taken together with the obscene normalization of the Trump regime and persistent favoratism shown to Brexit politicians, I would like to see the present management of the BBC removed, tried and preferably executed for treason to the human race, as an example to the others.

Piss, as they say, or get off the pot.

India: “Further heavy monsoon rain has caused the flood situation to worsen in the western Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. A total of 53 people have now died in Gujarat and 182 in Maharashtra since the start of this year’s monsoon.” (Floodlist) 17.4 thousand people have been evacuated from rising waters in Andhra Pradesh. A new tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal could bring from 4 to 12 inches more rain to these areas by the weekend. (Accuweather)

Vietnam: “At least 5 people have died and 13 others are reported missing after Tropical Storm Wipha swept across northern Vietnam. Wipha also caused flooding and wind damage in parts of southern China. Haikou, capital of Hainan province, recorded 276.1 mm of rain in 24 hours to 31 July.” (From Floodlist)

Nigeria: “7 people died and dozens of houses were damaged in the city of Yola, the Adamawa state capital. Power supply was also cut in some areas of the city. A government official died 02 August when his car was swept away by flood waters in the capital, Abuja. Further heavy rain has fallen since, worsening the flood situation in the city with several roads blocked and buildings damaged.” (Floodlist)

Turkey: 1 person is missing after flash floods hit Rize Province in the Black Sea region on 04 August. 120mm of rain fell in 4 hours, flooding areas around the city of Rize. (Floodlist)

UK: Problems with flooding continued in the north over the weekend. “Part of a rail route in the west of Scotland will be closed for at least a week after severe flooding swept away part of the West Highland line on Monday. Yellow warnings are out for thunderstorms and heavy rain affecting much of the country until Wednesday.” (BBC) The worst threat of a dam bursting at Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire is over, engineers have lowered the water to beneath the level of the damaged area of the barrage.

USA: Dangerous heat will engulf the western United States this week with temperatures in the hottest deserts reaching or approaching the 120-degrees Fahrenheit mark. Temperatures are expected to climb 5-10 degrees above normal through Tuesday from the deserts of California and Arizona to Idaho and Washington, away from the coast. Each of these states will have widespread highs in the 90s and 100s. (Accuweather)

Western Pacific: Tropical Storm Krosa strengthened over the waters of the West Pacific on Tuesday, and could become one of the most powerful tropical cyclones so far this year in the basin. Typhoon Francisco became just the second typhoon of the year as it strengthened near Japan on Monday. Francisco was the first typhoon since Wutip in February, but weakened after making landfall in southern Japan early Tuesday. Tropical Storm Lekima is forecast to strengthen significantly this week and pose a threat to lives and property across eastern Asia. Lekima organized into a tropical storm after becoming a tropical depression in the Philippine Sea, east of Luzon, on Saturday. (Accuweather)

Hurricane season: While the Atlantic has been strangely quiet, a deep, hot “loop current” in the Gulf of Mexico could be storing up trouble for Gulf Coast hurricanes, according to the guys at Weather Underground (Wunderground). That’s despite last month’s short-lived Hurricane Barry churning up and cooling the waters off the coast of Louisiana.

“When a Loop Current eddy breaks off in the Gulf of Mexico at the height of hurricane season, it can lead to a dangerous situation where a vast reservoir of energy is available to any hurricane that might cross over. This occurred in 2005, when a Loop Current eddy separated in July, just before Katrina passed over and “bombed” into a Category 5 hurricane.”

Have more fun with money… Brexit: Spoiler alert… Miracle in Morrison’s… GW: We’re havin’ a heatwave, a tropical heatwave…… No collision!

Quote of the hour

Jamaica? No, she went of her own accord! Boom, boom!

Ivanka Trump – Orange Daddy’s shoo-in for chair of the World Bank – has tweeted her congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming Prime Minister of “the United Kingston”.

Theresa May watches England v Ireland test match

“Reserved? Who says?” Theresa May puts her hair up at the cricket.

Have more fun with money

A leaked document shows how the Department of Health has been preparing to announce the abandonment of a scheme to cut the number of acute beds in northwest London by reducing the number of hospitals from nine to five and moving patient care into “the community”.

“Shaping a Healthier Future” (SaHF) was a wheeze begun in 2010 under the shameful tenure of the role of Health Secretary by Jeremy Hunt and continued, until the decision was taken to give up, by his successor, Matt Hancock.

According to the report in The Guardian, £76 million was spent on consultants. Otherwise, nobody knows how much public money is going to have to be written off, after it was accepted that the concept of care in the community for patients with acute conditions is a logistical impossibility and medically unsafe.

After nine years, the plan to cut 600 acute care beds had resulted in the loss of just seven beds as the closures failed to keep pace with the rise in demand, which apparently no-one had predicted.

“Cllr Ben Coleman, chair of Hammersmith and Fulham’s health and wellbeing board, said: ‘This leaked document confirms that SaHF was a grotesque waste of time and public money, which threatened life-saving health services.’” (Guardian, 24 July)

So much for the much-vaunted fiscal responsibility of the Conservative party. Just more public money, pissed away in vast quantities by the people who brought us Chris Grayling – the Justice/Transport secretary who has cost the British taxpayer well north of £3 billion in failed project write-offs.

That’s on top of the report we relayed in the last issue, bearing the news that nearly £2 billion in overseas aid is being spent every year on supporting loans made to fossil-fuel industry projects in wealthy countries like Russia and Saudi Barbaria.

And now the not-very conservative Conservatives have foisted on Britain, a new Prime Minister – selected, not elected – with an atrocious record of squandering tens of £millions on fantasy projects and failed implementations while Mayor of London for eight disastrous years.

To quote a senior party member, asked why he preferred Johnson over Hunt, “Because he’s more fun!”

Great stuff, guys.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/24/millions-wasted-in-failed-nhs-hospital-closure-programme

 

Brexit: Spoiler alert

Open Democracy has a report today of an exercise in which a multinational group of academics, journalists, political thinkers and normal people “wargamed” Brexit in minute detail, to see what was the most likely outcome in the Autumn of all the possible scenarios thrown up by our hopeless politicians in Westminster.

It’s another referendum.

(Game not available for purchase. Other games may be afoot…)

 

A Florida insurance company claims to have sold nearly 6 thousand policies to people fearful of being kidnapped by aliens, among nearly 2 million who have signed up to a website urging them to turn up at the military airbase in Nevada known as Area 51, where for years conspiracy theorists have been sure the US government is holding an alien spaceship and the remains of its crew, to demand to see the evidence.

 

Miracle in Morrison’s

Off, all togged-up in the old YSL suit, to sing briefly at the funeral service this morning of my almost-something-more friend and/or colleague from choir, who keeled over last week.

Only 64 and seemingly as fit as anyone seriously proposing to walk from here to visit her daughter in Dubai next year, while watering the guerrilla garden of which she had made her grubby town-center cul-de-sac.

Her sister bravely made it 99% of the way through a charming tribute to her Quixotic life story, while one by one, tiny grandchildren were removed to make it easier for us oldies to hear what was being said.

As John Crace writes in today’s Guardian, of the accession speech to No. 10 of Boris Not-Gudenough, there is nothing more guaranteed to make someone depressed than a delusional narcissist telling you to be happy.

That’s pretty much what I thought when the imposing-looking Canon reminded us, she’d be in Heaven with Jesus for all Eternity.

I’d have made do with five more minutes down here.

The strange thing was, I spoke to many friends who told me, she’d just bumped into them, seemingly at random, over the course of the week before she died. I’m still trying to work out how, as on enquring further, it seems she died two days before I recollect to the best of my failing ability the time I last saw her, and we arranged to meet for tea.

Although intellectually lively, she was deeply religious, which is why I thought we’d ultimately not get on, but she wasn’t walking on water.

Does Morrison’s carpark count as the setting for a Divine apparition, I wonder?

 

GW: We’re havin’ a heatwave, a tropical heatwave…

France: “According to Météo-France, all-time record highs were set Tuesday in western France, including the cities of Brive, Bordeaux and Châteauroux, where temperatures climbed above 105 degrees Fahrenheit (42C). That’s equivalent to the average late-July high in Las Vegas and Phoenix.” Temperatures in some cities did not drop overnight below 25C, the high 70sF. The heat plume is spreading northwards and is expected to produce record highs in Scandinavia by the weekend. (The Weather Channel)

In other hot news, the French energy giant EDF was forced to shutdown two nuclear power plants on the 23rd because the water used for cooling the uranium fuel rods had overheated. Hosepipe bans are in force in 73 of France’s 96 Départements.

Organisers of the Tour de France have had to cancel stages because of the extreme weather. A hailstorm and a landslide forced the race jury and organisers to stop the 19th stage with the extreme weather conditions having damaged other roads.

Boglington-on-Sea: “Heatwave, what heatwave?” A mostly cloudy day, 24 July, with the odd sunny interval, it’s barely made it to 25C here after yesterday’s peak of 32C – as measured digitally in the semi-shade of my front garden. London however is predicted to hit 37.7C, 100F on the 25th, and the Met Office is saying we could see 39C “somewhere in the south of England” – making it the hottest day in recorded history. (Express – didn’t quite make it. Nevertheless at 38.7 a new record.)

A body has been recovered and 2 men are still missing, after jumping into the River Thames to cool off. A 4th person is thought to have drowned at a water park in Gloucestershire.

USA: Intense storms have battered the East Coast, following a brutal but mercifully short heatwave. “A (very rare) EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of 110 mph carved a path of destruction on Cape Cod Tuesday 23rd, the National Weather Service confirmed. At one point nearly 54,000 customers were without power.” (Accuweather) Terrified yachties recorded the sea seeming to boil, and a motel had its entire roof ripped clean off. High winds brought down trees and power lines, and completely trashed a street market in Appleton City, Wisconsin.

Fire crews are battling a major wildfire, named the Museum Fire, north of Flagstaff, Arizona. 5 thousand residents are on alert to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

25 July, Accuweather reports, record LOW temperatures are arriving; states like Colorado, Akansas and Tennessee are looking at 50F to 60F, daytime. It hasn’t been that cold in July since 1905…. But in central California, a new heat anomaly is building, temperatures expected to break records with 110F in Fresno by the weekend.

Uganda: Flash floods have destroyed homes and crops after heavy rain, which is still continuing. Around 2 thousand people were left homeless. There’s especial concern over damage to rudimentary sanitary facilities as a vector for disease; and fears for possible food shortages by the autumn. (Floodlist).

India: “20 people have died and 3 are missing after heavy rain, floods and severe weather in the southern state of Kerala. The fatalities include 7 fishermen who died at sea. In a 24 hour period to 20 July, Kudulu recorded 310mm.” 1,200 people have been evacuated to shelters. (Floodlist)

Bangladesh: “Latest estimates from the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre, over 70 people have died and 5 million have been affected across 21 districts by the monsoon floods that began earlier this month. The death toll includes 56 from drowning, 8 from snake-bites and 7 from lightning strikes (Floodlist).

Cognitive dissonance: Trawling for news of Storm Chantal forming off Florida (it’s fizzled out), I hit on a website that said “Hurricane Chantal” had come ashore in Newfoundland in early August, 2019. WTF? Looking more closely, I see there are “fantasy hurricane” websites. The phrase “hole-in-the-head” springs to mind.

 

Tunnel approaching…

“…over a 10-year timescale, the current global release of methane from all anthropogenic sources exceeds all anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions as agents of global warming; that is, methane emissions are (150 times) more important than carbon dioxide emissions for driving the current rate of global warming. … Self-reinforcing feedback loops further accelerate heating in the Arctic and just one of them, seafloor methane, could suffice to cause runaway heating.”

Arctic News’ “Sam Carana” (an anonymous collective of polar researchers) are trying to get the threat from methane taken more seriously, as activists continue to follow the standard IPCC line in emphasizing carbon dioxide as the principal villain. By “runaway heating”, incidentally, they mean 18C by 2026 and heading on – following the extinction of all life (on Earth – but does life exist anywhere else?) and via the evaporation of the oceans – into a Venus scenario.

No collision!

NASA reports, a 390-ft-wide asteroid first spotted only 3 weeks ago was due to pass between Earth and the moon today, 24 July. At least, I’m assuming it’s passing… it’s still 24 July as I write….

25 July: Phew! This thing parted our hair… missed by just 70,000 km. 150 megatonne impact would have made a hole 2.5 km wide by 500m deep if it had hit without breaking up in the atmosphere (as they usually seem to) On land, take out a whole city. In the sea… devastating tsunami.

Meanwhile, strong drumbeats are being recorded on seismographs at Yellowstone, indicating a pressure-cooker effect from magma upwelling below. Similar seismic notes were recorded shortly before the devastating explosion in 1980 of Mt St Helen’s. (Mary Greeley) Another amateur seismologist, Ben Ferruaiolo reports, aftershocks are continuing to shake Ridgecrest, epicentre two weeks ago of the M7.1 earthquake in California; there’s ground uplift above the China Lake magma chamber (and military nuclear facility), another “supervolcano” lurking beneath the supposedly extinct Coso volcanic field north of the town.

Take cover, it’s Boris!… One of life’s ironies… Pot. Kettle. White?… Shit in that swamp… Where are they then?… GW: Helter, swelter.

Quote of the Week

“What Johnson understood was that in the digital age, voters were behaving more like an audience consuming entertainment than a civically engaged electorate. His shtick was no longer an aspect of his politics. It was his politics.” – Matthew D’Ancona, writing in The Guardian.

And for all Joy-Ann Reid’s handwringing over Trump as the ur-creature of white America’s deep-rooted, historical cultural racism*, isn’t that exactly what brought Donald Trump to power, his TV ratings; and why in Ukraine they have a political party led by a TV comedian going into coalition with another led by a rock singer, and why Italian neofascism is being enabled by another comedian leading a political movement?

What is killing the planet is consumer boredom.

*The Man Who Sold America. Random House, July 2019.

 

Protester ‘Chris’ at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“You never know, it might rain….” Hong Kong protests hot up.

Take cover, it’s Boris!

So it looks like Boris Johnson’s tragic fantasy that he is the reincarnation of Winston Churchill could come true sooner than he was hoping.

Apart from his schoolboy biography of the great man, with whom he shares American citizenship, I first spotted Johnson’s personal homage on these pages when he descended from the notorious red Brexit “battlebus” wearing – instead of his normal, rumpled suit – a light canvas jacket of the type worn by Churchill on his watercolor painting expeditions to the South of France.

Yes, I’m that kind of a detail man.

In retaliation for the Royal Navy seizing an Iranian oil tanker two weeks ago at Gibraltar, at the request of Mike “two lunches in a suit” Pompeo and the US State Department, claiming it was sanctions-busting and bound for Syria, Ayatollah Khameini’s demented Revolutionary Guard has pirated a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, with 23 crew on their way to Saudi Barbaria, and is steering it towards Iran.

(On closer examination, we find that the flag is the only British thing aboard the Stena Impero, actually a Swedish vessel with a motley crue. It was surely only a matter of time before this whole flags of convenience thing would get in a huge muddle.)

The US may very well extend its threat of protection for all its interests in the region against Iranian interference to its occasional closest “ally”, the island known as Golf Course 1. It’s a step nearer to the war for regime-change Pompeo is pushing for – even to the extent of repeating the same old preposterous lie the Bush administration concocted to justify its disastrous invasion, that Sunni Iraq was supporting Shiite Al Qaeda.

Not that many Murikans would have known the difference.

Johnson is expected to move into No. 10 Downing Street with his fun-loving mistress, party-girl Carrie “get off me, get out of my flat!” Symonds, by the end of next week as Britain’s least likely ever Prime Minister: a bumbling, stuttering hoaxer, a domestic abuser, a shameless liar, a spendthrift on vanity projects and an overentitled, shambolic, racist-lite buffoon, funded and promoted by some of the nastiest, greediest and most ambitious men on the planet.

It’s almost as if they’ve realized the game is up and are rushing to have the best time before we go extinct. (And there is a Deep Ecology school of thought that says, the quicker humans fuck off, the more chance the rest of the planet has to recover from us, before it turns into Venus #2.)

Don’t expect a kind of Prince Hal (Henry V) Shakespearian moment, when the prodigal heir to the throne turns, on his promotion to king, into a statesman of gravitas and tells his gross and licentious mentor, Sir John Falstaff, to fall to his prayers.

Johnson IS Falstaff.*

Take cover!

* Note: Your Uncle B. writes this comment on the 19th of July. On 25th July, the celebrated Fintan O’Toole writes in The Guardian:

“They go along with the fiction that Johnson is a Prince Hal who will metamorphose into the hero to lead England to a new Agincourt, while knowing damn well that he will always be a Falstaff for whom honour is just “a word”.

I hope he was well paid. Not as well as Johnson, though.

 

One of life’s ironies

Last Monday, or Tuesday possibly – I have a dreadful memory now for when things happen – a few days ago, I bumped into an old friend from choir in the carpark of my local supermarket. What she was doing there I have no idea – she lives in town and there are half a dozen food stores closer to home.

It seems she’d come to say goodbye.

I hadn’t seen her for many months, but she was in good form. She told me she was working part-time now and planning to retire fully when her pension kicked-in in September. She had plans to travel. Like most people our age she has family scattered globally. Whenever we meet like this we always end up suggesting we should have a proper catch-up over tea someday. It’s become almost a running joke, we’ve never managed it.

It’s about ten years ago now since we went on an entirely platonic walking holiday in Corsica. It just sounded like a nice idea, although no-one in the choir believed the platonic bit. We usually ended up arguing, so (having had two wives already) for me anyway, a relationship was never on the cards. She’s a deeply religious Catholic with profoundly conservative views and I’m a liberal-lefty, throw-it-up-in-the-air kind of atheist. The safe territory between the two was fun, but possibly limited in scope.

After sharing our last comfortable night for a fortnight, insisting on a twin-room – much to the mirth of the two French receptionists – in a three-star hotel, we set off on the train from Bastia to where the mapped hiking trail known to sadistic French tourist-board officials as a randonnée of only moderate difficulty started in the hills inland.

Despite the heat, those first seven kilometers along the metalled road leading gently uphill from the station to the village proved easy, and I made a macho point of outpacing her. The next day, however, the walk proper began, and things changed.

My friend half-joked – and this is the point of the story, I suppose – that as I was some years older than her I would only hold her back, and she didn’t want to be responsible for me when I collapsed and died in the middle of nowhere, being obviously so unsuited to the terrain. We decided to carry on separately by day and just meet up every evening for dinner at the 30-euro-a-night gites marked on the map along the way. She would go on ahead by herself.

I recall emerging each morning from deep, shady chestnut forests, only to spend the rest of the long day stumbling about on high, stony hillsides with far distant sea views, scrabbling up bone-dry creek beds in 90-degree heat, pouring sweat, my fingers and ankles painfully swollen with oedema, raving like a madman and casting aside the contents of my rucksack item by item as I went, to save weight. Once the bottle I carried was empty, by around 11 o’clock, there was not a drop of water anywhere to be had; no human habitation in view.

The stages each day were only seven or eight kilometers as the crow flies, but so mountainous they took hours to negotiate. At one point I was forced to cross a narrow, natural bridge over a ravine between two peaks, with a drop of perhaps a hundred feet on either side. Suffering as I do with acrophobia, it took an hour inching along on hands and knees, gibbering in terror, eyes tightly shut, to get across maybe 15 yards.

Just as well there was no-one around to see me.

My Beau Geste act in the blazing, pitiless sun lasted five days, until we rendezvoused at an agreeable seaside village with two beach bars and a small Napoleonic castle, that was shut. It was inaccessible by road. With many apologies, despite the beach being covered in a thick mat of rotting kelp and the first ten meters of seawater from the shore smelling like neat Ambre Solaire, the next morning I decided to stay there for a few days R&R, swimming off the pier, watching the yachts come and go and drinking ice-cold beer.

But the owner of the gite pointed out, the hostel accommodation was for one or two nights only, I could not live there permanently, so I travelled on to Ajaccio by boat, from where (after paying homage at the Little Emperor’s childhood home) I toured the island by bus and rail for a few days while my enduring and clearly super-fit, erstwhile companion pressed on, intrepidly completing the circuit by herself.

Arriving back in Bastia on the last-but-one day, I took a long walk out of town to try to find a place to eat. Everywhere was closed, it was some kind of holiday. I must have walked miles along the coast road in my bare feet and sandals before eventually finding a beachfront bar. The chargrilled Loup de Mer was so good, I took a photo of it, thus beginning the whole Instagram thing.

We met up again the next morning and flew back together, my feet a mass of painful blisters.

On Friday, I had an email from the secretary of the choir to tell us that, sadly, Libby had passed away from a sudden, unexplained heart attack. No more details were forthcoming; it appeared she had just dropped dead. You run into someone you haven’t seen for ages, say hi and bye, then two days later they die.

Great.

My 70th birthday is in a couple of months’ time. I’m beginning to experience survivor’s guilt.

 

Pot. Kettle. White?

BBC News reports, Scotland Yard’s computers have been hacked. “Scotland Yard confirmed its website had ‘been subject to unauthorised access'” (20 July).

Following the incident, US President Donald Trump renewed his vendetta against Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, once again retweeting the loathsome, self-promoting racist frothover, right-wing provocateuse “Katie Hopkins” as saying the police had lost control of the city’s streets: “With the incompetent Mayor of London, you will never have safe streets!” (Maybe a word with the Chancellor about the police budget might help to improve matters? Just suggestin’, “Katie”.)

Well now. Herr Trump has recently accused three American-born, majority-elected opposition Democrat congresswomen of interfering in America’s politics, hasn’t he, complaining that their color and ethnic origins should prevent them from saying how the country ought to be run, accusing them of “hating” America – i.e. him – and proposing that they should “go home” to their own shithole countries.

The Leader of the Free World then whipped up one of his dumbfuck rallies in North Carolina into a frenzy of racial hatred against a fourth elected Congresswoman, the tiny Muslim, Ilhan Omar, mindlessly chanting “Send her back!”, and after appearing to condemn the crowd for the next 24 hours, doubled-down once more, calling his brainwashed trailer-trash cult, 99% white: “true patriots”.

That bit barely even made the news.

And now, after continually praising our incompetent PM-select, “Minority Johnson” over Prime Minister May, here the Bronzed Blowfish is, at it again, telling us with his little tweety thumbs how to run our country, conducting a clearly religious and racially biased vendetta against the elected mayor of our capital city (not that we think much of him either).

You’re such a fucking hypocrite, Blondie. You’re not even a British citizen.

The BogPo says: Fuck off out of our face, Trump, and do something to unite your own disastrous, racist shithole country (400 thousand opioid deaths, 30 thousand annual gunshot killings, cops out of control, kids in concetration camps, record floods and wildfires, poisonous air and water – 60% of US beaches are polluted – and counting), you incompetent, corrupt, demented old blowhard.

And we don’t mean “unite the whites” either.

 

Shit in that swamp

What would you say if somebody told you, the Trump regime’s attempts to keep Chinese firm Huawei out of the global 5G market – which have included Trump’s verbal assaults on British Prime Minister Theresa May, who defied State Department pressure to refuse Huawei contracts in the UK – were entirely aimed at profiting one small hedge fund, managed by a buddy of a buddy of Donald Trump Jr?

I know. Improbable, ain’t it.

(Brilliant reporting by ProPublica: http://www.propublica.org/article/trump-inc-podcast-tommy-hicks-jr-donald-trump-jr-hunting-buddy?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailynewsletter )

 

Charity begins at home

It’s unbelievable your Granny W. missed this, but in 2015, The Guardian reported, Britain “gave loans to fossil fuel projects around the world despite a pledge to withdraw financial support from such schemes, an analysis of loans made by the UK’s export credit agency has revealed.

“Gazprom in Russia (source of half the country’s oligarchs’ wealth), Brazil’s state-owned oil company (corruption-riddled Petrobras) and petrochemical companies in Saudi Arabia are among the companies benefiting from around £1.7bn in government funding over the course of the parliament, Greenpeace found.”

The latest on our Foreign Aid budget is that we’re still shovelling £0.68 billion of taxpayers’ money at oil- and gas-powered energy projects in third world countries. “Britain allocated more overseas development cash to oil and gas in the two years after signing the 2015 agreement than it had in the previous five.”

Meanwhile, in drought-stricken and war-torn parts of the world….

 

Where are they then?

A week ago, Vanity Fair magazine reported:

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will release almost 2,000 pages of documents that could reveal sexual abuse by “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders,” according to the three-judge panel’s ruling.

“The documents were filed during a civil defamation lawsuit brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a former Mar-a-Lago locker-room attendant, against Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell.  A person involved with litigation against Epstein (said): “It’s going to be staggering, the amount of names. It’s going to be contagion numbers.”

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/07/jeffrey-epstein-case-grows-more-grotesque/ etc.

Er, okay…. And is Trump a racist? Maybe, but he’s also a master of distraction. The “2,000” names – presumably including his – don’t appear to have appeared anywhere.

If they did, nobody noticed.

 

GW: Helter, swelter

USA: A perfectly fit, 32-year-old former NFL football player, Mitch Petrus, dies of heatstroke on Thursday while working outdoors at his family business in Arkansas. It’s a lesson. Temperatures across the whole of the midwest and up the east coast into New York, where Mayor Bill has declared an emergency, are expected to peak in the 90s °F., high 30s °C. this weekend, but with the ground saturated by months of flooding, humidity will bring wetbulb temperatures up into the lethal 110s °F., mid-40s °C.. range. Cooler weather is forecast to return early next week. (BBC/The Weather Channel)

A new storm system is forming in the Gulf, off the coast of Florida, in the wake of Barry, says Accuweather, 23 July. “The system was packing 35-mph sustained winds early Tuesday morning, and if it reaches tropical storm strength, it will be named Chantal.”

Europe: “Most of the models have intensified the severity of the heatwave developing next week, trending into the potential for low 40s °C. peak afternoon temperatures across parts of France. Stronger heat with 30-33°C. seems also increasingly likely across England from Tuesday to Thursday. A 12-15°C. July heat anomaly will extend over France, Benelux, England and western Germany. (Severe-weather.eu) Hundreds of firefighters and planes have been tackling five large fires that broke out on 20 July in a mountainous region of central Portugal around Castelo Branco. 20 people have been injured and villages evacuated.

Turkey: Heavy rain from 17 July caused severe flooding and landslides in northwestern Turkey, with at least 2 dead and 5 still missing. (Floodlist)

Russia: “After a month of warm, dry weather and wildfires, the huge crater nicknamed ‘Mouth of Hell’ is now under direct threat. The fear is that (a 237 Ha. fire burning the tree cover around) the rim of the depression will weaken the permafrost and cause a major enlargement of the Batagaika ‘megaslump’. Reports say the destruction of the tundra is ‘alarming’ in the Verkhoyansk district of Yakutia region.” (Siberian Times)

The Batakaiga megaslump, a thawing crater growing by 30 metres a year.

Note: the Batagaika “megaslump” is a 1km long thermokarst depression, 800m wide and 100m deep, caused by thawing permafrost in a forest area clear-felled in the 1980s by the Soviet administration. The perimeter has been expanding at the rate of 30m a year but there are fears of it speeding up..

On 14 July, Siberian Times reported, the temperature in Irkutsk, “Russia’s coldest city”, reached 32°C, 89°F. Residents sought relief on a nearby glacier. 2 vacationing families, 9 people including 7 children, drowned when their SUV was swept away crossing the snowmelt-swollen Tuva river in southern Siberia.

Zimbabwe: Compounded by gross economic mismanagement in the wake of the coup that overthrew the 94-year-old dictator Mugabe, 4.7 million people are facing food shortages this autumn as a result of a long-running drought. Meanwhile Mozambique, struck by a tropical storm and two major typhoons earlier this year, is also suffering from drought owing to weak monsoon rainfall, while disease has wiped out cereal crops. Nearly 2 million people are suffering acute food shortages. (UN News)

The Pumpkin – Issue 84: The War of the Words… It pours but it never arraigns… Is he insane or just monumentally stupid?… Filthy scumbag politics ##1-4… GW: and the beast goes on.

From humorist Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, 6 May:

Trump Furious That Another Baby Is Getting All the Attention

The President is reportedly “seething with envy” and “furious” that another baby is suddenly getting all the attention, White House aides have confirmed.

“The choice is simple. We can stand up to this President in defence of the country and the constitution and the liberty we love, or we can let the moment pass us by. And we have seen what happens in other countries when they let the moment pass by. I do not know what Attorney-General Barr will choose. I do not know what my Republican colleagues will choose. But I am certain there is no way forward for this country that does not include a reckoning with this clear and present danger.”

 

The War of the Words

Thus, Democratic Representative Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, declaring war on the Trump regime over its refusal to co-operate with House inquiries into the Mueller report, Barr’s lies and Trump’s taxes.

Nadler gave Barr two days in which to comply with requests for further explanation of why he fudged and lied about the report before he had even read it, but Barr failed to show up, saying he had better things to do. Democrats have held him to be in contempt, although no proceedings have been initiated.

A constitutional standoff is ensuing, with deadlines looming for more evidence and disclosure, the refusal of the White House to allow any now or previous staff to comply with Congress’ demands, and mounting numbers of Trump’s favorite distraction, pointless but time-consuming law suits pending.

It’s all a bit like the climate emergency, everyone knows it’s real but no-one really wants to think it so nothing is done. Doing something is an admission of responsibility for an unknown future that most people can’t imagine ever arriving. The Mueller report was utterly damning, but it’s easier to hang on to Barr’s lies than admit America is in the power of international gangster-capitalists, as evidenced by Trump’s hour-long suck-up phone call to Putin on Thursday – and to try to do anything about it by taking decisive legal actions, including arrests.)

So, Trump spokesmouth, Sarah Sanders has described Nadler as “pathetic”, and called for him to resign, while House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi has accused Barr outright of lying to Congress – an impeachable offence. “What could possibly be motivating the attorney-general of the United States to disrespect the constitution of the United States, the separation of powers, the right of Congress to know?” she asked at a press conference on Capitol Hill this week.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, reports The Guardian, has warned that Barr’s theory of Trump’s innocence, that he couldn’t be guilty of obstruction if there was no crime in the first place – a stance repudiated by vast numbers of legal specialists – puts the country on a “road to tyranny”.

And meanwhile, floppy-haired former White House Counsel, Don McGahn, who gave more than 30 hours testimony to the Mueller team, is under subpoena to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on 7 May. Trump has ordered him not to go, which looks to most observers very much like witness tampering as McGahn is no longer a Government employee.

Mueller however still is, technically. Thus Mr Trump is apparently within his rights to silence him. Which he is doing, ordering him not to testify on the grounds that Mueller owes him “two years” of his presidency back; while the Attorney General has declared the investigation is over, leaving 37 per cent of voters convinced of the president’s innocence.  With one bound, he was free.

Whether the war of words between the White House and Capitol Hill will descend into something even uglier this week will have to be seen: Republicans inevitably are accusing Democrats of conspiracy, while Trump, still under 16 other criminal investigations, clings to the Barr view that the Mueller probe was a waste of $34 million (unlike the $100 million bill for his golfing excursions) and just a “hoax”.

 

Carrington event?

Has anyone else been getting interference with their electronic communications recently? Like a lot of intermittent buzzing on the lines of their digital devices? Is it solar flares or just a Chinese conspiracy?

We need more information.

 

It pours but it never arraigns

370 former federal prosecutors have signed a letter saying Trump would be charged with obstruction if he wasn’t president – on the basis of the Mueller report.

While Trump honored his friend, Tiger “Tom” Woods, in the Rose Garden, Treasury Secretary Steve “Stephen” Mnuchkin was telling Congress he had no intention of honoring their legal subpoena to release Trump’s tax records.

And Attorney-General William Barr was refusing to release an unredacted version of the Mueller report even to top-level security-cleared specialists on the Congressional Security committee.

A massive constitutional crisis is brewing.

And all to protect the arch-criminal in the White House. Why would anyone do that?

Absolutely no inference of innocence is surely now possible. He must be arrested immediately.

But of course, no-one has the guts to do it. After all, he is The President!

These pathetic Americans and their worship of authority is repulsive to all free men. They would rather a filthy, lying criminal sat in the White House, continuing to commit treasonous offences, than have to admit to what they elected and drag him out in chains.

PS the “chains” metaphor is not a metaphor. It is a deliberate reference to the accusation that the undocumented migrants Trump uses illegally as cheap labor at his trashy golfing resorts are expected to work overtime for nothing.

Slaves.

 

Is he insane or just monumentally stupid?

Sunday, and Trump’s wee thumbs have been busy announcing three more things:

One, trade talks with China are going “historically” well. Another high-level delegation from Beijing with a caravan of 100 retainers is due in Washington shortly. Two, he is slapping new tariffs on another $200 million worth of Chinese goods, just to teach them a lesson. Three, he believes the tariffs are costing China bigly and are responsible for his great economic figures. (The latest tariffs announcement sent markets plunging again.)

The Washington Post is scratching its head today. Chinese consumers and industry do not pay the tariffs, American consumers and manufacturers do. The higher price is on the American side, not on the Chinese. Tariffs merely make exports less competitive, but in the case of trade with China there are, presumably, fewer American manufacturers competing in the first place as they make all their stuff, like Trump’s MAGA hats and Ivanka’s whatever, ego, in China, where their costs are now 25% higher. That is how tariffs work.

This has been pointed out, I imagine, to Mr Trump time and time again, and he still does not seem to get it.

Others may or may not have pointed out, too, to the Great Mind Without Which, that the Stock Market is not the economy, that job numbers always uptick in the spring, that low unemployment is a curious feature of the generally sluggish global economy currently – we have record employment here in Britain too, despite all those immigrants – that the increase in jobs began under and has continued rising since Obama, and that (doubtless, economists will start to realize) hugely costly extreme weather events in the US, floods and wildfires have contributed mightily to that 3.2% GDP growth, that Trump’s capricious trade and immigration policies have actually cost tens of thousands of blue-collar jobs* and that his fiscal policy has benefited, literally, only the top 1% of the population, taxes having actually increased for the “squeezed middle” majority who may soon also be losing all or much of their entitlement to insured healthcare.

Meanwhile, in another tweet Trump blasted the New York court for initiating an investigation into financial improprieties at the National Rifle Association. The NRA put around $70 million into his and the Republicans’ 2016 campaign and he’s clearly concerned they may not be able to repeat the trick this time.

No-one seems particularly concerned that $30 million of that general political spending came allegedly from donors in Russia, thanks to the efforts of the spy, Maria Butina, who infiltrated the organization and is now serving an 18-month jail sentence. Otherwise, says The Guardian, the NRA has announced financial losses of $64 million. In other words, their political campaigning to ensure that Second Amendment rights keep the dumbfucks buying their beautiful AR-15s has all-but bankrupted them.

The Pumpkin expects, however, that the American people will notice that here is yet another egregious example of Trump’s utter disdain for the rule of law.

It is far from the only time Trump, himself an “unindicted co-conspirator” facing 16 separate criminal investigations, has blasted the Justice Department for licensing police enquiriess in cases of suspected criminal activity, merely on the grounds that he personally doesn’t think the suspects have done anything wrong, that he doesn’t approve of or that doesn’t benefit him.

Five more years!

 

Mueller-heavy

Former CIA man turned author and TV pundit, Malcolm Nance – who says he has read it twice – makes a great point about the Mueller report.

It didn’t even start to look into whether or not Trump is a compromised Russian asset, and what his financial relationships are with Russian banks. It focussed purely on the issue of collusion.

Having previously taken a cavalier attitude to the prospect of Mueller testifying to the House Judiciary Committee, Trump is now panicking and has attempted to order Mueller not to attend.

*ProPublica reports that compared against Trump’s claim that he has created 8.9 million new jobs since taking office, when carefully examined the actual figure (attributable to his policy of interfering in corporate decision-making) is 792.

The Washington Post reports, the cost of ‘new’ jobs in the steel industry thanks to tariffs has been $600,000 – each.

 

Filthy scumbag politics #1

“Former White House chief of staff John Kelly has joined the board of a company that operates the largest facility for unaccompanied migrant children in the US.

“CBS News reported on Friday that Kelly is now a member of the board of directors at Caliburn International, the parent company of Comprehensive Health Services. The latter is the only private company operating migrant shelters. (Yes, Trump has found a way to monetize his filthy crimes against humanity.)

“Kelly previously oversaw the implementation of Donald Trump’s hardline immigration practices while serving as the department of homeland security secretary during the first six months of the administration. He then served as Trump’s chief of staff from July of 2017 until his resignation last December.

“During his time at the White House, Kelly was a forceful advocate of restricting even legal immigration and supported the president’s policy of separating families at the US-Mexico border.”

(The Pumpkin apologizes profusely, he has lost the reference to this extract.)

A 3-star general, supposedly a man of honor, now profiting not only from his former position but from the misery and terror of hundreds of fleeing families, child abuse, General Filthy was imported to the White House as one of the “adults in the room”, a Chief of Staff who would restrain Trump’s wilder and more baseless impulses.

And so it proved, for a while at least.

Within months, however, he went native and, after a shameful public spat with a Florida congresswoman in which he accused her falsely of lying about comments Trump had made to one of her constituents whose husband had been killed in a terrorist ambush in Niger, and seemed instead to traduce the memory of his own son, killed by an IED in Afghanistan, he was reported to have remarked that even very young childen separated from their mothers at the border were being taken “wherever”, as if he really didn’t care.

He subsequently lied on many occasions that he had nothing to do with the policy, which has led to more than 1500 children going untraced, possibly never to be reunited with their families. But that’s okay, because they are, according to Kelly’s master, only animals.

And then he had the gall to joke that working at the White House was the worst job he had ever had.

What a fucking corrupt, lying little monster this decrepit apology for a man has turned out to be. And how true it is, that everything and anyone Trump touches turns to shit.

 

 

Jacob Wohl is an American far-right conspiracy theorist, fraudster, and internet troll. He was formerly an online blogger and a columnist for the website The Gateway Pundit. (Wikipedia)

Born: 12 December 1997 (age 21 years)

Parents: David Wohl

Filthy scumbag politics #2

“Bumbling conservative provocateur Jacob Wohl pitched investors this spring on a scheme to use fraudulent news stories to manipulate political betting markets, according to a fundraising document obtained by The Daily Beast.

“The document indicates that Wohl attempted to raise $1 million to fund the Arlington Center for Political Intelligence, which he claimed would ‘make shit up’ to profit from bets on political races and would suppress Democratic turnout in 2020.”

I feel sure investors seeking a sound home for their hard-earned savings would jump at the opportunity to “make shit up”, it improves the smell of money 100 per cent.

The Beast also reported:

“Last November, Wohl and GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman were involved in a botched attempt to smear Special Counsel Robert Mueller with trumped-up sexual-assault allegations. Their press conference turned comical when the purported victim failed to show up … the woman … later accused them of making it all up.”

To carry the scam out, Wohl created a false-front online organization of made-up former intelligence officers, all of whom turned out to be himself.

Young Mr Wohl’s masterstroke was the conspiracy theory that a Democratic staffer, Seth Rich, who died after a street mugging, was in fact murdered on the orders of Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, to silence him over the other conspiracy theory, that they were operating a pedophile ring out of the (non-existent) basement of the Comet PingPong cafe popular with Democratic staffers in Washington. 40% of Americans polled said they believed it.

Then there was the speech he gave at the CPAC Conservative conference, in which he claimed Democratic Muslim congresswoman, Ilhan Omar was married to her own brother (TYT), and many other scams of the kind, designed to wreck people’s careers and lives and to so muddy the waters that Trump shoots through the sewer into another four years of profitable mayhem.

So, what has this nasty little piece of attention-seeking Trumpian excrement scraped from the bottom of the Golden Bowl been up to now?

Well, the Daily Beast reports, he has been going around, propositioning gay young Republicans to testify falsely that they were sexually assaulted by Pete Buttigeig, the openly gay Democratic candidate hoping to run in the primaries for the 2020 election. But they caught him on tape.

When his first mark refused to co-operate, Wohl wrote a tweet apparently on behalf of another young man, and when that guy tried to recant, he got his dad, David Wohl, to post it on his Twitter account. (Little Jacob is banned from the platform).

The victim, college student Hunter Kelly recorded part of the conversation. He has since had to go on Twitter himself to deny that he made the allegation, but not before it was already widely circulating on alt-right media.

Many people are asking why the little shithead Wohl isn’t in prison, as so much of what he is doing involves making up the same kind of false criminal allegations as almost got TV actor Jussie Smollett banged up last month over inventing a racist attack, although that case was dropped.

In the post-truth era, it’s getting harder and harder to get justice or recantation against the liars. They just make more shit up, and on we all go, in a foul-smelling cloud of unknowing.

The FBI is apparently looking into it, but slowly. Commentators warn, it’s only a matter of time before one or other of Wohl’s vicious conspiracy theories crosses the amplification barrier of Trumpian media like InfoWars, 4chan or Fox & Friends and makes it onto the agenda as a serious discussion on CNN or ABC, where it could achieve devastating credibility.

Prepare however for more of the same. The 2020 election promises to be the filthiest scumbag politics you will ever have witnessed or read about in history books. It’s only just beginning.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/jacob-wohls-business-plan-make-shit-up-to-game-political-betting-sites

 

Postscriptum, or filthy scumbag politics #3

Tweeting out more than 60 times in one day, poor crazy Mr Trump has intervened directly on behalf of his friend, the insane, bellowing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the antisemitic Black Nationalist Islamic leader Louis Farrakhan, the floppy-haired gay homophobe Milo Yannopoulos and other scumbag fascists whose Facebook accounts have been suspended for spreading hate speech and lies. CNN reported:

“The president shared more than a dozen tweets about the subject on Friday night and Saturday morning. And he conveniently avoided the fact that some of the banned users are extremists who make a living by deceiving their fans.

“His posts were a rallying cry, full of resentment toward Big Tech. He said “It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!”

Not once has Mr Trump voluntarily breathed a word of criticism against these self-publicizing neoNazi vermin who have crawled out from under their rocks preaching fear and hatred and violence and lies ever since he got elected. He delights in enabling and promoting extremism and (most) acts of terrorism committed by white supremacists, which he knows excites his Evangelical base as they pray daily for the Final Battle against Islam, Armageddon, and the Rapture.

Oh, but then he bitterly lashed out at the Firefighters’ Union of America, whom he had been hailing as America’s finest only moments earlier, on National Firefighters’ Day, for endorsing the Democrat candidate, Joe Biden. Nazi extremists are many good people, but firefighters aren’t, apparently. In fact, he was pretty insulting. Hopefully they’ll let the White House burn, no-one in it needs rescuing, they’re all Heaven-bound.

Among the storm of his tweets, most of which attacked the Mueller probe, claiming total exoneration and demanding apologies from the “Left Wing Media” for ever doubting him, hailing his wonderful relationships with his friend Putin and the tubby little serial-killer, Kim Jong-un, praising the stunning miracle of “his” economy, that has brought more untold wealth to the top 1%, was this, for National Prayer Day:

“On this day of prayer, we once again place our hopes in the hands of our Creator. We give thanks for this wondrous land of liberty, & we pray that THIS nation – OUR home – these United States – will forever be strengthened by the Goodness and the Grace & the eternal GLORY OF GOD!”

Mad as a box of poisonous jungle frogs, and twice as dangerous.

 

Filthy scumbag politics #4

“A candidate to serve as an MEP for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party once praised a colleague for using a Nazi slogan in the European parliament and has a history of using vulgar and obscene language about women in social media posts.

“John Tennant, who according to polls is expected to win a seat in the European parliament as one of Farage’s three candidates in the north-east, also made references to being intoxicated and suggested that Liverpool fans were criminals.

“In other cases, Tennant made a joke in which he referred to sex acts involving a young girl.”

I’m going to assume for the sake of the rest that the report in The Guardian, based on excavation of Tennant’s fairly recent Facebook pages, is not just Fake Nooze cooked up to discredit this slimeball – one of many nutters Farage has attracted to his absurd single-issue party, for which the fish porters of Sunderland seem more than inclined to vote, imagining that it will soon form a government and raise their standard of living immeasurably, while restoring Britain’s greatness, sticking two fingers up at Froggy and lowering the price of fish.

A spokesthing for the soi-disant “Brexit” party dismissed the report as “low-grade stuff” and “offence archaeology”, which has at least made a welcome-ish contribution to our rapidly accelerating stock of neologistic figures of speech.

Assiduous readers across the media spectrum will of course recall that one of Nigel’s chief preoccupations while serving as three-times leader of the now alt-right, overtly racist fringe UKIP party, whose officers probably outnumber their voters, was kicking out members whose extreme views and insane statements were making the party unelectable.

Such is the calibre of the blowflies that Farage attracts around himself, that several controversial Brexit officers have already been politely asked to seek help elsewhere.

Nevertheless, despite the preponderance of self-seeking publicity whores like the preposterous former Tory MP, Ann Widdecombe, the polls are showing that Brexit has a decent margin and is expected to win – in the sense that in a multinational assembly, any single national party can win – the European Parliament elections at the end of the month.

(You know, the same European Parliament that relies for its existence on a functioning democracy which the well-expensed Farage wants to keep on pretending does not exist in relation to Britain’s interests, which he of course alone represents. How stupid exactly is the British electorate?)

Proving that too many British voters have become as ignorant, crass, self-centred and insensible – and as apparently indifferent to their own fate and happy to be screwed over by the very rich – as any MAGA-hat wearing cretin in the base of Trump’s dumbfucks.

 

GW: and the beast goes on

India: With winds gusting to 205 km/h, Cyclone Fani is officially the strongest storm to hit the Indian Ocean coast since 1999, with widespread flooding. Although weakening, the gigantic cyclone is pushing up to Kalkota and on into the Ganges Delta, in Bangladesh, where over 2 million people have been evacuated. 12 people are known to have died so far. Winds from the huge storm have extended far inland and are being blamed for blowing tents away at Camp 2 on Mount Everest. There’s a warning of heavy rains and snow as far away as Nepal. (Times of India) As Fani stalls only a few miles inland, The Weather Channel adds: “Updated surge guidance Friday shows the potential for around 4 meters (13 feet) of storm surge atop astronomical tides along the concave coast of far northeast Odisha state …”

Prof. Paul Beckwith of Ottawa U. reports, the track of Cyclone Fani (pron. ‘Foni’) was a highly unusual one, being a rare storm that started south of the equator where the northerly east-west Coriolis force falls to zero, and then somehow moved north and east.

Aftermath: The Indian government and the UN have praised the response to Cyclone Fani, the vast evacuation of around 3 million people in total, that kept casualties to a minimum. Even so, Al Jazeera reports, 21 people in India and another 34 in neighbouring Bangladesh were killed, and rescuers have yet to reach outlying communities.

USA: Believe it or not, more “Scattered severe thunderstorms will continue to flare up from Texas into parts of the mid-Atlantic through late week, producing damaging wind gusts, large hail and potentially a few tornadoes. Heavy rainfall from these storms could also trigger flash flooding. Rain and thunderstorms will continue to roll through the southern Plains Friday. A few strong to severe thunderstorms, along with locally heavy rainfall, will also move through the Ohio Valley into parts of the mid-Atlantic Friday.” (The Weather Channel).

Floodlist (Copernicus) reports, 4 May: 2 fatalities were reported in separate incidents in Oklahoma. Quoting the National Weather Service, the Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers are forecast to reach moderate or major flood stage at many locations. Parts of the Mississippi River have already reached record levels. ABC News reports more than 50 tornadoes touched down in 24 hours across Texas and Arkansas, tearing off roofs and bringing down trees. Central Texas also saw torrential rain, just about 10 inches over 24 hours in places near Austin. SkyNews 7 is reporting on rivers flooding as far east as Chicago. And ABC reports, another series of destructive storms is in the forecast for next week.

South America: Rescue teams in Bolivia are searching for 3 people missing in a landslide that occurred in the capital, La Paz on 30 April. Over 400 people were left homeless as houses collapsed. Many parts of Bolivia have seen higher than average rainfall during April. (Floodlist) 30 people died in events involving heavy rainfall in Bolivia between January and March.

Australia: a massive belt of storms pushing up through the SE into Queensland has dumped over 100 mm of rain in places. At the same time – remembering next month is midwinter in the southern hemisphere – temperatures up in the NW corner around Broome are in the high 30s C, high 90s F.

Various news outlets are reporting, a number of Australian cities are facing acute water shortages after years of drought. Many reservoirs are down to 50% of their capacity, close to the levels at which restrictions are applied.

Europe: “A very intense (and historically unprecedented for May) Arctic front is moving south across Europe this weekend (3-5 May) and is expected to bring unusually low temperatures, snow and dangerous frost into some vulnerable areas (as far south as North Africa) on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Some areas could experience morning temperatures well below zero, which would be potentially devastating for vineyards and agriculture. Overall, very cold days are expected across much of the continent through mid-next week, while it remains mild and warm across the Iberian peninsula.” (Severe-weather.eu)

Open letter to the BBC… Don’t impeach him, section him… Game of fucking Thrones…Huawei doing?… Oh, stuff that Gibson! #2… GW:  The rain it raineth, North Africa shivereth.

STOP PRESS: 02 May, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has accused Trump of attempting to override the powers of Congress, naming him as a dictator, and is threatening to have Attorney-General Barr arrested for contempt. “If we don’t stand up to this now, we risk being unable to stand up to any President in the future”, he warned, describing Congress as a separate but coequal branch of government to the White House.

 

29 April, 2019

To: Sir David Clementi, Chairman of the Board of Governors

Cc Ms Fran Unsworth, Head of News

Dear Chairman and Ms Unsworth

In your 7 a.m. main bulletin on Radio 4 this morning you carried an item about the resignation (for the second time, it is getting to be a habit) of Mr Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney-General of the United States.

In that item, your North America correspondent made the astonishing claim that the Mueller report had found there was no collusion or conspiracy on the part of Mr Trump with “Russia”, whatever that means, to interfere with the 2016 election.

That assertion is entirely disingenuous, as well your correspondent knows, being based only on a widely discredited summary opinion published in advance of the full report by the new Attorney-General, Mr William “Bill” Barr, who had been in office less than a month and who has admitted that he and Deputy Rosenstein HAD NOT READ the full report before reaching his conclusions in less than 48 hours. Mr Barr is now under threat of impeachment for contempt of Congress.

Barr was appointed by Donald Trump, his candidacy railroaded through the Senate, having fortuitously published a controversial 19-page “legal opinion” that a sitting President cannot be indicted for federal crimes while in office and that the Mueller investigation was a travesty; and came to the job (for the second time) with a dishonorable record of having exonerated the six convicted conspirators in the murky so-called Iran-Contra Affair, on the order of President Bush senior.

Your reporter explained that Mr Rosenstein had had differences with Mr Trump. The substantive difference, as recorded in the Mueller report, was that absent the recused Attorney-General, Mr Sessions, Trump obstructed justice by ordering Rosenstein to concoct a letter retrospectively giving him grounds for firing the Director of the FBI, James Comey, where no such grounds existed.

In that and many other respects, the Mueller report (available from Amazon, price £8.81) does not exonerate Mr Trump. Nor has Mr Rosenstein as Mueller’s supervisor been obliged to resign because it did, which was your reporter’s imputation.

Published in two parts, the first reveals that there was indeed very clear evidence of communication between officials in the Trump campaign and foreign elements including Russian intelligence operatives and persons close to the Kremlin, but that for reasons of withholding or destruction of further crucial evidence, and for lack of conclusive proof (apart from verbal testimony) that communications took place on the direct order or with the full knowledge of Mr Trump, it was insufficient to pass the high bar required to indict a sitting President.

The report however holds out the prospect of indictments should the President leave office before the expiry of the 5-year statute of limitations.

The second part of the report examines in great detail, ten separate counts of obstruction of justice – a federal felony – with regard to the Russia investigations, and found in each case that there was clear and sufficient evidence for the Justice Department to proceed with the investigation of the President; arguing that the Special Counsel’s office did not have powers to indict Trump on those counts.

In other words, Trump has not been exonerated, as he himself seems to believe and continues to protest. Far from it. While on the counts of obstruction, Barr has argued, he is not willing to prosecute – as if there was no indictable conspiracy the investigation was invalid and therefore there could have been no illegal obstruction of it. He is refusing all further requests from Congress to go back and justify this absurd opinion.

Under the local editorship of Mr Sopel, your news coverage of the Donald Trump presidency has been generally flabby, supine and uncritical; accepting almost routinely, the lies (also identified by Mueller) of the White House press spokespeople and Republican party apologists. None of the above has been reported here, to the best of my knowledge, leaving the British public almost entirely in the dark as to the true nature of the Trump presidency and the outcome of the inquiry.

Thus it is on the basis of healthy prejudice and suspicion alone that the vast majority of people will be demonstrating against his State visit in June, when we should be legally opposing the admission to this country of an indictable criminal. (I comment on this further in a footnote.) The American border force certainly wouldn’t let you or me in with this rap sheet.

Mr Mueller’s somewhat circumlocuitous conclusion was that there were NO evidential grounds for NOT prosecuting the President, whom he directly accuses of abuse of office – one of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” for which the Constitution provides the remedy of impeachment. The Washington Post has also seen a copy of a letter Robert Mueller sent to Barr last month, bitterly criticizing his false conclusions. Lying to the House Judiciary Commttee, Barr stated that he had not been aware of any discontent on the part of Mr Mueller.

I wish you wouldn’t lie to us too, Ms Unsworth.

In passing, I should also like to comment on interviews on the Today programme conducted by presenter Justin Webb and others, demanding (with the usual high-minded hypocrisy of its presenters) some declaration of contrition from organisers of the climate protests in London and elsewhere for the inconvenience caused to the public, before they were to be allowed to put their case.

Inconvenience! If you have grandchildren, you should say goodbye to them now.

There was no acknowledgement that I heard from Mr Webb or anyone, of the frankly disgraceful role the Today programme and BBC News in general have played over many years in helping to obfuscate and deny the gravity of the situation by inviting unqualified paid liars to “balance” the truth of what the scientific community has been trying to tell us for the past fifty years.

It is you who should be expressing contrition, as had your predecessors not adopted this scientifically illiterate, dishonest and disinterested editorial position for so long, there might be no necessity now for disruptive protest.

Only now can one detect a shift towards more open reporting of this globally most pressing issue; although you are still not giving the full picture. There are many scientists who believe the IPCC’s conclusions, on which all of your reporting (and even that of Sir David Attenborough) seem to be based, were seriously watered-down, and that we have already passed the irrelevant “1.5 degrees” target set by the now defunct Paris accord, depending on how you measure it; but we never hear from them.

Together with your preponderant use of ERG and other extreme pro-Brexit contributors, the ubiquitous Farage, and so on, an egregious lack of “balance” in your Brexit coverage that has not gone unnoticed, and because of which we have you to thank in part for the total debacle of the referendum result and its nationally humiliating aftermath, the BBC can no longer be considered a trusted source, certainly as far as this dedicated listener (70 this year) and sometime former News employee is concerned.

My belief is that your growing unhealthy and unnatural bias towards the far-right, or at least your craven obeisance to its spokespersons, is somehow rooted in Lord Hall’s fear of the Corporation being broken up by these people, should they come to power, and the parts sold off to private media companies. It is obviously an undesirable prospect but I wish you would find a more robust way of addressing the problem, than by continually misinforming and otherwise thoroughly confusing your listeners on key issues, through what Messrs Birt and Jay once called the “bias against understanding” which you might call “balance”.

Sincerely, etc.

Footnote:

As you are not reporting, Ms Unsworth, Mr Trump officially remains an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the matter of bribes paid illegally as election expenses to silence inconvenient women with whom he had extramarital affairs.

He is also being investigated by the prosecutors of the Southern District of New York in relation to numerous allegations of fraud, money-laundering and embezzlement. His so-called “inaugural fund” has a $45 million black hole, that is also being investigated. He has openly admitted doing favors for contributors to it. In addition there is a big question mark over why one part of Deutsche Bank continued lending him, in total over 20 years, $2 billion while other parts of the bank had him red-flagged as a serious credit risk and serial defaulter?

There is suspicion of illegal foreign donations to his re-election funds, one being linked to a massive $4.5bn fraud trial involving the former prime minister of Malaysia and a billionaire fugitive from justice whose interests in the USA are represented by lawyers and others linked to Trump, a story you haven’t reported; and of continuing Russian interference he refuses to investigate, insisting instead that there should be aggressive counter-investigations into justice department officials and political opponents. He has refused point blank to co-operate with Congressional subpoenas – itself further grounds for obstruction charges, and is suing to prevent the disclosure of his financial records and dealings with Deutsche Bank and Capital One.

Oh, I wonder why?

Failure to investigate those stories fully amounts in my view to a dereliction of duty on the part of your comfortably embedded Washington layabouts.

His placeman, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is openly hindering efforts by the IRS and the Congressional Oversight Committee to look into his tax affairs, which they are legally charged to do. Plugging his book, the BBC had the former Attorney-General of the SDNY as a guest on Today recently.  Preet Bharara was removed by Trump in one of his very first efforts to hinder or prevent inquiries into his businesses, the fake “Trump University”, by abusing his powers to manipulate juridical appointments, but you failed to ask him about that!

Questions have been raised too over the administration’s dealings with Saudi Arabia, especially over the economic blockade of Qatar led by the Saudis that ended with the investment arm of the Qataris’ sovereign wealth fund agreeing to bail out the loss-making property development at 666 5th Avenue, owned by Mr Trump’s special advisor and middle east envoy, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, to the tune of half a billion dollars; the secret sale of nuclear secrets and supply of nuclear materièl to Riyadh without Congressional oversight; the President;’s refusal to condemn the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the vetoing of a Congressional resolution to cease supporting the criminal war in Yemen.

Indeed, many of the self-styled achievements of his presidency seem designed purely to shelter Mr Trump from the multitude of inquiries and potential prosecutions he is facing, creating an impenetrable thicket of misinformation, misdirection and unprosecutable malfeasance through the alleged illegal shredding of documents and erasure of phone records; the manipulation and bullying of the media; the silencing by intimidation of potential witnesses; the corrupt favoritism towards political appointees and sympathetic jurists; the torrent of evident untruths (over 10,100 recorded to date), and the crude attempts to remove or weaken the constitutional checks and balances on his office by decree, backed by threats of violence from his supporters.

All of it enabled by a small coterie of corrupt Senators; a hollowed-out Executive branch, now led by belligerent avowed neo-conservatives continuing to pursue Cheney’s American Project for the 21st Century, and the shameful silence of the rest of the cowed Republicans in Congress.

This is not the behavior of an honest man; nor even of a tolerably dishonest politician: it shows the worst instincts of a dictator. Nor is your reporting of it (not since John Sweeney’s brave Panorama investigation of Trump’s connections to international crime syndicates) what one had come to expect from the formerly high standards of the BBC.

Do stop grovelling to these gangster-capitalists, whose shady backers have been doing their damnedest to undermine our wavering democracy too.

 

“This is scumbag politics of an altogether different dimension from anything seen since the 1920s.”

Don’t impeach him, section him

There is clearly no bottom to the reeking sewer President Trump’s diseased mind swims in.

At a scandalized, jeering and booing rally of his illiterate dumbfucks in Wisconsin last week, with a beatific smile on his face he accused the Democratic state governor of vetoing legislation that would protect full-term babies from being aborted post-partum in hospitals – something he knows perfectly well is already illegal and never happens.

He described in his slimiest voice, how the little babies would be born alive and the nurses would wrap them in swaddling clothes and care for them while the mothers discussed with the doctors how they were going to “execute” them (yes, he really said that!)…. You can watch it, if you have the stomach, on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2qit9nAOTo&t=99s

It was a further deliberate extension of his almost-as awful and completely untrue smear that President Obama initiated the brutal policy of separating babies and young children from their migrant mothers on the Mexican border, putting them in cages and shipping them to God-knows where, and that it was a policy supported by the Democrats.

This is filthy scumbag politics of an altogether different dimension from anything we have seen since the 1920s. (also see Post #775, today and into next week)

This disgusting, psychotic individual is so sick in the head, he should not be allowed anywhere near the levers of power. The count of the lies he has told while in office has now soared over the 10 thousand mark. Clearly demented, in view of his bizarre behavior and chaotic speech patterns, he needs to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act, whatever is their equivalent, and removed to a secure psychiatric unit for his own protection and that of the planet.

 

Dissimulation Row

Spotting a small reduction in oil prices, Trump tweeted out to his fanbase that he had personally brought the price down by putting in a telephone call to OPEC. OPEC promptly denied receiving any such call, so Trump then tweeted out that he had in fact spoken to Saudi Arabia and told them to increase output.

Saudi Arabia has also denied receiving any such call.

 

Game of fucking Thrones.

Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones,  Game of Thrones,  Game of Thrones,  Game of Thrones,  Game of Thrones … Game of fucking Thrones.

Just how has this meretricious, made-for-TV sword-and-sex bit of nonsense managed to insert itself into every news webpage out there, with some – shame on you, Guardian – running endless commentary on every episode and plot-twitch, while normally sane and culturally high-minded liberal-lefty pundits rarely concerned with what’s on TV specials continually drop the names of the characters, likening them to the current crop of politicians and z-list celebrities, into their political and lifestyle columns, presumably to ingratiate themselves with the millennial market?

I for one am sick of hearing about it. It isn’t news! It isn’t real!

Neither your Uncle Bogler nor his colleague, The Pumpkin – nor, for that matter, your Old Granny Weatherwax – has seen the show, lacking as we do the necessary mental equipment to understand where it is to be found on our catchup media if it isn’t on the BBC’s iPlayer. Thus all references to it are meaningless. (We have been exposed to trailer clips.)

Nevertheless we suspect we should not enjoy it overmuch. Dr Who is about as far as we go in the interdimensional adventure line, we have already been forced to sit through all seven weeks of Lord of The Rings, thank you children, and we have not been brought up in the culture of computer game-playing from where we suspect GOT derives its tiresome and fanciful Dark Age tropes.

Whoever makes it is clearly rich enough to have bought up the entire media establishment, which as we know is desperate for money, cashing in on the general ennuie that nowadays greets every mention of sodding Brexit to fill the spaces between the public’s ears.

The real world is ghastly enough, thank you.

Please go away.

 

Huawei doing?

Readers may yawn and tell me again you’re not interested in American politics.

The reason I go on reporting this stuff is because the British media won’t. And imperious American demands that Britain submit to its rules and regulations are growing daily more strident.

To add to their insistence that we accept their abysmal food standards and reckless abuse of increasingly ineffectual antibiotics (you’ll even find them polluting imported US fruit!) and banned agri-poisons in exchange for a trade agreement that is unlikely to be played as a game of two halves on a flat pitch, there is now a threat to stop co-operating with our intelligence services if the government allows Chinese technology into the 5G mix.

While they’re claiming it will allow Chinese surveillance to flourish, the Yanks seem more relaxed about their own surveillance techniques, the built-in backdoor keys to encrypted communications, whose existence was revealed in the Snowdon document leaks. And, of course, Trump’s protectionist policies are playing in. If we don’t buy from Huawei, who else are we going to buy from? Oh, right, Cisco.

The FBI and the CIA and the NSA are not going to stop relying on our GCHQ global communications intercepts, it’s a bluff. They wouldn’t dare risk another interdepartmental cock-up like 9/11, not now IS’s Abubakar al-Baghdadi has apparently surfaced in the wake of Sri Lanka with a threat to continue the war on more fronts than before.

(Btw, there’s no reason I can see to assume the video is genuine. Analysts are fairly sure it is, although al-Baghdadi was thought to have been killed in a drone strike two years ago and it seems unlikely or deliberate, if he survived, that US intel has been unaware of where he’s been holed up since.)

But this 5G business (whatever 5G is – I feel sure my fridge has no desire to talk to my curtains) seems to be yet another instance of brash and arrogant American exceptionalist bullying that bodes ill for our post-Brexit relationship.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to one.

 

Guitar bore alert

Oh, stuff that Gibson! #2

Gibson are back! trumpets the email that greets me this morning from Peach Guitars, who have been force-fed with a page of email ad-stuff by the soi-disant music business.

Gibson’s reputation as America’s leading guitar brand has suffered dreadfully in recent years through the YouTube videos of guitar bores scornfully addressing their dreadfully patchy quality issues and demoralizing management style.

It’s a page that would, if clicked on, rapidly convert into more pages of web stuff, glossy photos, specs, videos. But I don’t succumb to its blandishments.

“New leadership, new specs, new price points!” Is the headline. Well, Gibsons have long revised their price points every year to dizzyingly unrealistic heights, so we’ll gloss over that. Price points is hardly a positive marketing USP in a world of guitar brands competing to be the most ludicrously expensive. What benefits new leadership will bring, only time will tell. It hasn’t brought many in the past.

As for new specs, well, the collection of images reveals, I’m afraid, just the same two basic designs they’ve been churning out since the 1950s, the Les Paul single cutaway solid, a chunk of twang made of some unearthly heavy substance, and the familiar twin-crescent horns of the SG range. No semihollow jazzboxes are included as yet in the religious revival, but they screwed those up last time, so.

The words “traditional”, “tribute”, “standard” and “classic” feature strongly in the wording of the email, indicating that if any new specs have been introduced, they will not be allowed to get in the way of this venerable company’s familiar patronizing drone.

How one is expected to get excited about this is anybody’s guess.

I turn with a yawn to other things.

 

Crazy Optimism Corner

The Four Seasons care home chain has gone into administration, after two of its backers pulled out.

“Group medical director Dr Claire Royston commented: ‘It marks the latest stage in the group’s restructuring process.'” (BBC News)

I wish I’d thought of calling it that when my business went bust. It seemed more like a human tragedy at the time.

 

GW:  The rain it raineth, North Africa shivereth

Mozambique: Remnant cyclone Kenneth continues to hang around over the north of the country, dumping around 3 inches of rain a day on already flooded parts of the country and on Tanzania to its north. 42 people are known to have died and 20 thousand are in emergency shelters. Thousands of hectares of food crops have been lost, while flooding on three major rivers has yet to peak.

Indonesia: Excessive monsoon rains have caused casualties and flooding over a wide area. Heavy rain from 26 April caused major flooding and landslides in Bengkulu Province on the southwest coast of Sumatra Island. 29 people have died, 13 are missing and 2 seriously injured. Reports indicate heavy livestock losses and widespread property and infrastructure damage. Deadly landslides also occurred in Lampung Province where 6 people were killed on 27 April. Parts of West Kalimantan have also seen heavy rain over the last few days, increasing the likelihood of flooding and landslides. Ketapang recorded 160 mm of rain in 24 hours to 28 April. At least 2 people have died in floods up to 2.5m deep around the capital, Jakarta. (Floodlist)

Canada: Calgary, Alberta experienced a very late Spring blizzard, being blanketed with up to 7 inches of snow over the weekend, and temperatures plunging to -6C. Something of a surprise, for, as Global News reported a little over a month ago, Calgarians were celebrating the return of warm weather and being warned of the flooding danger from rapid snowmelt.

USA: Golfball-sized hailstones interrupted traffic near Wink, Texas yesterday as The Weather Channel forecast: “Severe thunderstorms will flare up in parts of the Plains states through midweek with hail, high winds, tornadoes and flooding rainfall. Showers and thunderstorms will persist in parts of the Plains through Tuesday morning and strong winds and an isolated brief tornado cannot be ruled out.” Flood warnings have been issued across a wide swathe of territory up into Missouri as daily rainfall totals of 3 inches or more on already saturated ground are anticipated. Meanwhile, peak flooding on rivers flowing south from the record spring snowmelt is expected later in the week and on into May.

India: Out in the Bay of Bengal, Tropical Cyclone Fani has the potential to cause trouble in eastern India and perhaps Bangladesh toward the end of this week, reports The Weather Channel. “As of Monday, Fani was a tropical storm with sustained winds of 65 mph. Fani was located about 480 miles southeast of Chennai, India, moving northwest at about 9 mph. An eye was already becoming evident in microwave imagery on Monday morning. Conditions will be nearly ideal for Fani to strengthen over the next couple of days, and a period of rapid intensification is very possible.” There are naturally fears that a deadly storm surge could funnel up into the Ganges delta.

Update: 30 April, coastal Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu provinces are on high alert as Cyclone Fani intensifies, with central windspeeds of over 200 k/h. 800 thousand people have been evacuated from coastal towns (NDTV).

Europe: Severe-weather.eu reports: “A very extreme and rare early May Arctic cold outbreak is shaping up for a large part of Europe this weekend. A potentially dangerous pattern establishes a strong meridional flow of very cold Arctic air far south across western and central Europe towards the deep south Mediterranean and North Africa. Temperatures from May 3rd to 7th will be much lower than normal for this time of the year with a high risk for severe damaging morning frosts across many parts of east, central, western Europe and Balkan peninsula through Sunday to Wednesday.” The potential for large-scale losses of commodities like grapes, citrus fruits and olives seems inevitable, GW adds.

The greenhouse: Arctic News reports, current daily CO2 levels approaching 415 ppm far exceed anything measurable since the previous peak of 285 ppm, 300 thousand years ago. Methane at ground level has increased since 1750 from 720 ppb to around 1870 ppb today (more at altitude) and nitrous oxide is 122% higher than in 1750 (2017 figure), with huge releases currently in Antarctica. As well as being a heat-absorber, N2O is also an ozone-killer.

Yellowstone: The Blessed Mary Greeley reports, USGS scientist Jacob Lowenstein let slip at a convention last week, they’re expecting the Big One. Meantime more earthquake swarms have been detected (but many not reported) in the caldera at reducing depths, ground temperature is still rising, along with the ground itself, and more magma is coming into the upper layers of the chamber, circulating like a lava lamp. A M6 quake should be enough to set it off, says Lowenstein. The area was hit by a M7 in 1973 – ten times more powerful than a M6. The last supereruption was 630 thousand years ago but there have been many smaller incidents since.

 

Killed by irony – an occasional series

The BogPo has a small fascination for people who die in the most ironic of circumstances.

Close to home, then, is a report of the death of one of my local councillors, Mr Paul James, ironically killed in a road accident while out training for the sponsored cycle ride he was organizing, to raise money to thank the local hospital staff for saving his life after a heart attack last year.

 

Credulous medieval cretins corner

Health workers and police have been murdered and mobs have set clinics on fire in Pakistan, after a man posted a video claiming a polio vaccination campaign was making chuldren ill. He is seen in the video ordering schoolchildren to lie down and pretend to be dead.

The week’s BogPo gestating: It’s just something people are born with… Psst, wanna know where the Brexit “dividend” is going?… Call or write… Also in the news… A breath of fresh air #1… A Breath of Fresh Air #2… GW: Drainage problems.

Quote of the Week:

“Trump’s caddy came up to me and said, ‘You know that shot you hit on the par 5? It was about 10ft from the hole. Trump threw it in the bunker. I watched him do it.’”

-sportscaster Mike Tirico, quoted in “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump” by Rick Reilly. Trump also claims in the official record to have a lower handicap than the great Jack Nicklaus. To have won 18 golf championships (all at his own courses – none proven). And to have been fully “exonerated” by Mueller. What a total dumpster!

 

No way out

As Brexit grinds wearily on, there’s been a rapid rise in the number of “escape rooms” – immersive game-playing environments that you are challenged to escape from. There are believed to be around 1500 in the UK currently. That’s despite the deaths of 5 teenagers in Poland in January, trapped when their locked escape room caught fire.

 

Weighty conclusion

According to the latest findings of astronomers, our Milky Way galaxy has a diameter of 358 million light-years and (including dark matter) weighs around 3,000 trillion trillion trillion tonnes.

Yes, but how many Wales’ is that?

 

It’s just something people are born with

Well, six months has gone by in a flash and the good news is, once again the clock on my car’s dashboard is registering the same time as the rest of the country.

For a while at least, I can stop worrying that as the nights draw in, the world will fall an hour behind me once again.

I don’t know why I’m expected to know how to change the time on the car clock. It’s just something people know how to do, apparently. An intuition they were born with, I guess. A comprehensible twiddly knob like on my wristwatch would help, possibly, and not interfere too much with the aesthetic: note to designers.

Personally, I believe that were it not for Indicative Voting, the Commons would now be eating one another’s faces over the results of a far more important referendum, seeking the Will o’ the People to stop buggering about with the clocks.

The rest of the EU is finally putting a stop to the nonsense next year.

Remain, I say!

 

Psst, wanna know where the Brexit “dividend” is going?

Well, apart from the $4 billion the government has allocated to emergency measures in case (as a result of their own incompetence) there’s no deal, vital supplies of bogroll and so on – ferry companies with no ferries, compensating their non-competitors; tanks in the streets, etc….

No, far from spending more on the NHS, this is what idiotic Brexit Leave voters have done with our taxes:

“The government has bought a $15.9m (£12m) seven-bedroom luxury New York apartment for a senior British civil servant charged with signing fresh trade deals in a post-Brexit world, the Guardian can reveal. The foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt oversaw the purchase of a 5,893 sq ft (574 sq metre) apartment as the official residence for Antony Phillipson, the UK trade commissioner for North America and consul general in New York. The apartment occupies the whole of the 38th floor of 50 United Nations Plaza, a 42-storey luxury tower near the UN headquarters in Manhattan.” (Guardian)

I’ve been thinking of buying a campervan, myself. Easier to get around, you know. Besides, you’d never get me up to the 38th floor, I’d be crawling around on my hands and knees, gibbering, too fearful to go near windows or glass elevators. It’s called acrophobia (vertigo is the symptom, not the condition). Campervans run around happily at ground level.

You can of course make the case that putting our senior trade negotiator in a Bell tent on the Manhattan sidewalk would not be very impressive; and if £12 million is what a fancy New York apartment with a view of lots more fancy apartments costs nowadays, it’s a sound investment. But it’s a terrible optic!

For, meanwhile… “between April 2017 and September 2018 … nearly half a million, at least 480,583 relief food parcels were distributed by the Trussell Trust and independent food banks across the UK during the 18-month period.”

Given that we have record low unemployment, that figure must largely be ascribed to the government’s economically debilitating benefit “reforms”, caps and UC, that are rapidly increasing inequality misery.

Those and ever-rising housing and food costs are also partly responsible for a significant increase in children and pensioners living in absolute poverty, defined as household income “below 60% of the 2010-11 median income, adjusted for inflation.

The latest figures show the number of children living in absolute poverty increased by 200 thousand in 2017-18.” (Guardian) That bears out reports from school heads that they are having to feed and clothe their poorer pupils in rising numbers.

Although, let it be said, I’m a pensioner living on less than 60% of the median income and I don’t feel absolutely poor. I note too that benefits are capped at £26 thousand a year, which is only a little less than twice what I live on.

Not doing very well, are they? D-minus. If the government were a school, we’d be looking at exclusions.

Meanwhile for new mothers who have everything, the latest craze is collecting limited-edition designer nappies (diapers). These desirable items of washable reusable infant hygiene aids I am told can be acquired for anything up to £100. Each.

I was going to upload an image here, as a joke, but it seems that used diapers (nappies) is a… well, you know, a THING…??!!*&@//?

Shit! Muh Googly Search will have been logged!

 

Call or write…

So, do you know what a Ponzi scheme looks like when it’s at home?

Investors put their money into an “investment management” company, which instead of investing it, as expected by the mark, uses it instead to attract more investors and have a fun life. The money from the newer investors is used to payout the interest/dividends and if requested, payback the capital of the original investors.

It’s a pyramid selling scam, only with pyramid selling you might be lucky and get the occasional tub of organic vegan face cream, some Viagra or a pair of fake onyx earrings. And it depends on not too many early investors wanting to take their money out all at once – which if you get another 2007 crash is all of them.

Eventually the weight of old debt o’ertops the new investment revenue, the thing unravels and then collapses into a deep, dark black hole. You almost have to feel sorry for the fraudsters running these schemes, so great are their liabilities and lust for yachts that you cannot imagine them sleeping well.

A bloke called Bernie Madoff is serving about three hundred consecutive life sentences in the States, for running a famous Ponzi scheme that defrauded punters of about a $billion. Not only will he die in jail, his bones will turn to dust before they let him out.

But they’re not so common in Britain.

Which is why you’d maybe feel a bit sorry for the small investors who bought into London Capital & Finance with their life savings, and have lost a total of £235 million. Because, also, the regulator should be in jail for not spotting this one a mile off.

Indeed, no-one seems willing to call it for what it is. Reports still show a lot of headscratching and “Oh dear, what went wrong?” “What lessons can we learn? (None, no-one ever does) kind of coverage.

It was a scam, dimwits! A Ponzi scheme. The only thing that went wrong is they got caught.

Claiming to invest in ISAs, which are a copper-bottomed, low-interest, Government-backed investment vehicle for smaller savers, the first £15 thousand of which is tax-free, LC&F developed a brilliant wheeze whereby the money that came in was loaned out to other companies all over the shop, in chunks of £20 million-ish each.

They weren’t even registered ISA brokers. Tsk.

What the punters weren’t told was that all these companies located in small boxes on agreeable desert islands whose growth they were supporting were owned by the four directors of LC&F. As indeed was Surge, the Brighton-based advertising agency that promoted the scheme with huge porky-pies and trousered £60 million in tax-deductible fees.

Now, I’ve owned a small ad agency myself, and generally speaking you go bust waiting for the clients to pay for all that hard work, long hours, expensive people and creative flair. Which we eventually did. If I’d realized you could charge a client £60 million for a coupon ad in the retirement press and some online flannel, well…. I certainly wouldn’t be living here.

What strikes me as weird, however, is that the administrators sent in to try to recover whatever they can for the small investors are working with two of the directors of LC&F, who are supposedly contrite, and don’t appear to have called the police.

Surely Ponzi schemes are illegal here too? Maybe not.

Hey, would you be interested in earning 8 per cent per annum on your savings and retiring in comfort to a timeshare in one of our exclusive desert island destinations?

Call or write….

 

Also in the news…

Two interesting items in the back-end of the news caught your Uncle Bogler’s eye this morning, mainly because they are a Brexit-free zone and your favorite Uncle will take poison if this appalling charade carries on beyond the 12th April, that important date when he has a hospital appointment for another agonizing Trial Without Catheter (TWOC).

Some people burst into the North Korean embassy in Madrid in February. They roughed up the staff and made off with computers and documents. This was just days before Trump’s disastrous “summit” with Kim Jong-un, a tyrannical and murderous dictator whom the insane President has said he admires and, yes, even loves.

The North Koreans appear to have only just picked up the ball with this one, having remained silent for over a month. Now, they are demanding the Spanish police investigate the affair. (The Spanish police ARE investigating, dummies!) And have claimed the Americans were responsible.

That marks the beginning of the end for the rapprochement Trump so fervently hoped would give him a Trump Tower in Pyongyang and some healthy golf developments on the unspoilt northern shoreline, once the mines have been swept. The North is back to blaming Washington for everything that’s wrong with the Paradise state, and has withdrawn its telephone hotline and pop-up consular office in the South.

But apparently a small faction of high-profile exiles from North Korea, based in Mexico – home of the exiled Trotsky – has already claimed responsibility. Clearly then the North is anxious to divert attention from what they must see as a serious threat to the regime. If the dissidents are that organized outside the country, then they almost certainly have backing in Pyongyang.

Watch that space.

Meanwhile, private computer security investigators have tracked down the hackers who released phone texts exchanged between Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos and his mistress, Lauren Sanchez.

Messages that included, for God’s sake, embarrassing “dick pix”. (How old is the world’s second richest man after Vladimir Putin, 15? Does he seriously believe he wasn’t set up?)

And it appears the operation was executed in Saudi Arabia.

Who do we know who is connected with Saudi Arabia at the highest level and hates Jeff Bezos? But also loves the National Enquirer and has frequently, it’s alleged, used the supermarket trash-mag to bury news of his own sexual transgressions or to blackmail his enemies – the same National Enquirer that broke the story of the Bezos texts?

Oh, but everyone is pointing to the fact that Bezos owns the Washington Post, that has continued to blame Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman for the grisly murder of their contributor, Jamal Khashoggi.

So was this spiteful takedown that ended poor Bozos’ marriage directly ordered from Riyadh, really, or was there “collusion”?

I think they need a Special Counsel to investigate….

 

A breath of fresh air #1

In light of various alarming reports about increases in pollution, which on sunny days can sometimes be seen as a brown haze hanging over the town, even here on the breezy west coast; and of the deleterious effects of CO2 and NOx on the aged brain-meat, I had been thinking for some time that the purchase of an air quality monitor might furnish some justification for my fear that I am becoming mentally stunted beyond my years.

A fine layer of gray dust lies o’er every surface of my front room. Within a day or two of my lackadaisical efforts to polish things, the woodwork, the windowsill, this muh li’l laptop, it is back again. It looks suspiciously like asbestos dust, shed from the mighty brakes of the huge supermarket restocking trucks as they slow late into the deceptive bend in the road on which my little cottage was built in all innocence. Or maybe Johnson’s baby powder.

Twice a day, all traffic grinds to a halt outside, backed up from the roundabouts 400 yards up the road, cars just sitting there, bass-bins a’ thumpin’: dump-wump, woof-thump – grime at maximum volume shaking my window, engines idling; grime from exhausts blackening my frontage; a cloud of invisible madness and death enveloping my front garden: its vibrant Photinia, its pop-up restaurant for the quarrelsome little feathery dinosaurs; its stone bench I don’t dare sit out on to enjoy the afternoon sunshine, that ought to be my refuge and my right.

As well as the traffic pollution, I have also the twin matters of pet “dander” and cooking smells. I have no allergies to speak of, I can put up with pretty well any terrible conditions, being privately educated, but my younger relation occasionally stays and moans about Cats, the little spherical cat, and her overfed dander. As we spent a lot of his childhood rushing him to hospital for urgent ventilation, I’m inclined to give way on the subject of allergies, erring on the side of caution.

The lingering smells of cooking, too, I agree, can be unpleasant; especially as I don’t use exotic spices much, to remind you of an intriguing eastern bazaar. Just rancid chip oil. It combines with the revolting smell of rotting catfood waste from the internal black binbag store and the bathroom waste bin, with its tangy medical contents; and the odor of damp or farty dog, to create a distinct impression for visitors on entry.

My new Climatik device duly arrived with ruthless efficiency yesterday, a day early. It’s ever so user-friendly and effective, if a touch obtrusive, sitting there purring like an Airbus 320 in the context of my 12′ by 12′ front room, where I seem to spend all the time I used to spend in my expensive external studio-cum-office.

And within minutes of pressing the on-button, Dear Reader, I began to notice that I was no longer all bunged-up: snotty and muddlesome. A mountain-fresh clarity was lifting me up, making me want to breathe air fruitfully again. My nose cleared, my pulmonary airway eased, my chest stopped producing the aggravating gobbets of phlegm I’ve been hawking into a tissue for weeks – probably years.

And the fog has started to clear from my brain.

“The hills are alive…”

I seldom recommend a product to anyone, having no social media (or life), but if you’re miserable and stuffed-up and you live in a bustling town, try one of these here Climatik filtration systems. Other brands are available. It’s money well spent.

A Breath of Fresh Air #2

Good environmental news, for a change: Renewables now generate more than a third of the UK’s power output; coal just 5%.

“The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 3% in 2018 as pollution from the energy sector continued to decrease, provisional government figures show. Emissions of the gases that drive climate change have fallen for six years in a row, and are 44% below the 1990 baseline for the UK. Emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, are at the lowest level since before the start of the 20th century, when Queen Victoria was still on the throne.” (Guardian Green Light)

Aye, and we all know how much she emitted, the fat old thing!

Speaking of which, Mr Trump has made a well-received speech in which he ridiculed renewable energy, telling his adoring dumbfucks that when the wind doesn’t blow, their TVs don’t stay on. That’s why America has to go all-out for fossil fuels.

We know he was joking, right? Right? But they don’t, they love to suck-up his every slimy lie. Trump is biological opiod.

 

GW: Drainage problems

Intensive rainfall over a huge area of South America has caused flooding and landslides over the past few days. Floodlist reports:

“Around 70,000 people are currently affected by floods in several departments of Paraguay. Flooding and landslides in Peru have damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and prompted evacuations. In Ecuador, flooding in Los Ríos Province has prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency, while in Bolivia, over 2,000 hectares of crops and 109 homes have been destroyed by flooding from the overflowing Parapetí River in Santa Cruz department.”

Afghanistan: Flash floods have killed at least 32 people in western Afghanistan, destroyed homes and swept through makeshift shelters that housed displaced families. Flooding caused by heavy rains started spreading on Thursday and left a trail of devastation across seven provinces. Another 12 people were missing and more than 700 houses were destroyed or severely damaged. (Reuter) At least 5 people have died in flash floods in neighboring Iran. In a 24-hour period to 1 April, Khorramabad, capital of Lorestan Province, recorded 106.9 mm of rain. (Floodlist)

Arctic: on March 31, 2019, the Arctic region was 7.7°C or 13.8°F warmer than the 1979-2000 average for the date, compared with a world that on average was just 0.7°C warmer overall. In places the anomaly was +30°C as warm water has been pushing up through the Bering strait. Sea ice extent at 13.42 million km², was a record low for the time of year. The melt season is just beginning. – Arctic News, reporting on a Climate Reanalyzer satellite image that bizarrely shows a large cold spot hanging over Egypt, Sudan and Chad. The Antarctic, too, is colder than normal, by 2.4°C.

Canada: “Is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, a landmark government report has found, warning that drastic action is the only way to avoid catastrophic outcomes. While global temperatures have increased 0.8C since 1948, Canada has seen an increase of 1.7C – more than double the global average.” More heatwaves, floods, crop losses and forest fires are indicated. (Guardian Green Light)

 

Of historic interest…

No deal
Javid, Barclay, Gove, Grayling, Mordaunt, Leadsom, Truss, Cairns, Fox, Williamson, Lewis, Brokenshire, Cox

Customs union
Rudd, Clark, Lidington, Hammond, Gauke, Mundell, Perry, Nokes, Hinds, Bradley

Undecided
Smith, Hancock, Wright, Hunt