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

British Values

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

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

 

American Carnage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

But wait half a mo!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good news.

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

 

“What an utterly unspeakable atrocity this man is”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Trump crooked? Surely not.

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

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

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

To his wife’s best friend.

$26 million.

 

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

A war not on poverty, but on the poor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was it meted in their 1948 Charter to have to declare their internal disciplinary proceedings to the Daily Express? ‘Transparency’ is not something that bothers most large corporations, why should Oxfam be bound by different standards invented on the spur of the moment by hypocritical tabloid editors and their Tory shills?

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

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

Kneejerk patsies like Bishop Desmond Tutu, who has pompously withdrawn his support for Oxfam, could look at the devastation wrought on the global Catholic church by successive abuse scandals and see a pattern. What Oxfam is essentially being accused of is weak supervisory management, that has allowed a tiny number of abusive individuals out of thousands to get away with their behavior.

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

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

It’s all part of the “War on the poor” being enthusiastically prosecuted by the US Republicans and their disruptive billionaire pals in Russia and around the world.

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

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

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

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

Something more is going on here than meets the eye.

 

A detached view

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

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

GW

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

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

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

CEWN #95 also out 20 Feb.

 

 

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No title, no views… GW: world weather (‘there is no more normal’) and refugees (sadly, there is normal).

Hi y’all

Still partially sighted after the op., your Uncle Bogler is finding lengthy screeds hard to type as I’m seeing different realities with either eye, one side in wobbly sepia. Not to mention that damned keyboard shortcut I still can’t identify, easy to miskey when you can see, let alone now, that accidentally causes the entire screed to vanish and you have to try to get it back from Drafts.

Spud-u-look.

The Pumpkin, too, is taking a break from Donald Trump’s endless fantasies about his own greatness. He’s really not at all great: basically, a narcissistic bigoted poorly informed fucking moron, a has-been 1980s publicity-vulture misogynistic TV creampuff; cheating racist grifter, dated bidness con-man in the pockets of billionaires and the Russian Mafia, with a stupid orange fake-Mussolini piss-on-you face and fascist obsession with military might, a pissed-off wife and three vampire sons, he’s getting really boring now. As are we, talking about him. Just ignore him, he’ll go away.

So here’s a bit more weather-related stuff, and then I’ll go on to talk about refugee children, as I’m playing a character in a play about the ‘Kindertransport’ lifeline that rescued hundreds of Jewish kids from the Germans in the nick of time before the Holocaust, so I was interested in this story. But first….

“…as of late January 2018, the global total of sea ice was close to the lowest level measured since satellite observations began in 1978.”

If Granny Weatherwax weren’t buried up to her turkey wattles in an avalanche, I’m sure she’d be telling you about Paris – Seine overflows, 1,000 people and the basement at the Louvre evacuated – the Rhône has also flooded at Lyon – torrential rainstorms (again) in Argentina and Guatemala, large parts of Mexico and Bolivia (new rainfall records set and beaten) underwater, tens of thousands evacuated from rising rivers – floods in Scotland, etcetera.

Postscripta: 1: the supposed-to-be minus 40C winter temperature at the North Pole is about to go 1.5C POSITIVE over the next 24 hours. 2: there is a massive low pressure (957 mb) area equivalent to a Cat 3 hurricane moving northwards in mid-Atlantic pushing warm air up into the arctic.

In the USA the east has been experiencing record WARM winter temperatures again after the horrendously cold start to the year and a winter hurricane, however the polar vortex is expected to return by the weekend and to stretch down right into Florida. Meanwhile a huge area of the midwestern USA: Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and especially Kansas and part of Missouri is under a wildfire advisory warning today, with sustained, very dry wind of 25 mph and a lot of dead, dry prairie grass to burn.

And with the jetstreams completely fucked, polar air is expected to descend over northern Europe into next week, followed by another warm spell. Meanwhile Morocco has had a record cold spell, with a six-inch snowfall at altitude. It’s also been snowing heavily in Tehran, with roads blocked… and in Saudi Arabia. However, a winter heatwave is forecast to engulf the Arabian peninsula by 7 Feb. Northern Malawi in Africa is underwater again, 1 death reported. The extreme cold affecting Siberia has relocated to China, Japan, Korea and as far south as Vietnam. Minus 30C in Harbin City reflects the lowest-ever cold alert that’s gone out for most of northern China. (Sad image: Adelie penguins in Harbin zoo, shivering!) 05 Feb, major flooding in western Java, Indonesia, 4 dead.

While in Australia, the 108F-plus heatwave that roasted tennis players in Melbourne at the weekend gave way to ‘freezing’ (54F) temperatures yesterday as a mass of antarctic air settled over much of the country – remember, it’s high summer there. But the forecast is for blistering heat to return next week. And when is a cyclone not a cyclone? When it’s a tropical “low”, according to defensive weathermen in Western Australia, where: “the tropical low has brought near record rainfall across the west Kimberley, dumping more than 639mm in four days over the Broome region — just shy of the four-day total record of 653.8mm in 1978. (After another day it beat the 5-day record since ever.) Winds reached 100 kilometres per hour — with gusts of up to 125kph.” (ABC News). (A cyclone apparently needs to form over the sea. This one just happened, causing widespread flooding.)

A postscript, 01 Feb Floodlist reported: “After causing severe flooding in New Caledonia (43 cm of rain dumped in 24 hrs), the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Fehi brought severe weather including thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds to parts of the South Island of New Zealand from 31 Jan, 2018. Thousands of homes left without power, local states of emergency declared in Buller and Dunedin…” Add this to the busy earthquake swarm yesterday all along the east coasts of the two islands. Is NZ really the safest place for climate-refugee billionaires to buy their boltholes, we wonder?

As the Understanding Climate Change website writes: There is no more normal.

Also GW (that’s right, it also stands for Global Warming!) might write about Donald Trump’s amazing assertions, completely unchallenged – on dimwitted bumsucker Piers Morgan’s low-rated, failing ITV breakfast show – that the world (that experienced its hottest year on record in 2017 on El Niño-adjusted figures), has been cooling for decades and polar sea ice is at a record extent (it is. Record low…).

Those are what are called LIES, Donald. I know, you can’t tell the difference. You need psychiatric nursing, but you’re too fucked-up to know it.

Another lie he told, was that the phrase Global Warming had to be substituted by the more obscure Climate Change because of all the cooling going on. For a clearer exposition of what those terms mean and when they came into use, see today’s Weather Underground article from senior meteorologist Bob Henson:

http://www.wunderground.com/cat6/how-did-climate-change-and-global-warming-turn-misleading-trump-talking-point

Interestingly, Wunderground’s local weather report ‘where you are’ appears to have moved me back to Grangemouth, an old northern coaling port on the freezing North Sea coast. I don’t like it here, guys, it’s too cold! And I don’t speak Viking… Please, put me back in palmy West Wales.**

So, I’ll try to keep up maybe later in the week, adding a bit at a time. Anyway, my viewing figures have fallen off a cliff this month, nobody at all viewed yesterday and WordPress have had to recalibrate the graph to show sub-10 values, so it probably doesn’t matter.

What the hell does ‘hangry’ mean, btw? They’ve just put it in the dictionary, I read.

UB

I Got Algorithm #2

**OMG. They’re reading this, muh bogl, the little Wunders! They’ve put me back overnight in Boglington-on-Sea! How do they do that?

 

EU must be kidding

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42821084

Anyone who still thinks leaving the EU is a great idea and that they’re really intelligent people to think so should look at the bar graph halfway down this BBC story about our wonderful new trading partner, China, and consider what that faux-posh jackass, Mogg thinks it would be funny to throw away.x

x

“We shall not forgive this pusillanimous bunch of despicable, self-centred Tory cunts. Even Thatcher would be revolted by them.”

Rumble out of the Jungle

“Britain currently leads the EU in resettling refugees” – Lying HM Government spokesmouth on being questioned by the BBC, following a petition to Downing Street by WW2 Kindertransport survivors concerned about our appalling record on Syrian children in particular.

It’s difficult to find figures from later than June last year, old ones even then, since when I imagine we have been too exercised about Brexit to have kept an account of anything or anyone else, but the following is a pretty good indication of how seriously we in Britain take our humanitarian responsibilities:

“In 2016 there were 39,000 (total) applications for asylum in the UK, among the estimated 600,000 immigrants who came to work or study. 21,000 of the 39,000 applicants for asylum were turned down by the Home Office. Of the 4.9 million Syrian refugees there are around 1.9 million in Turkey, 1.2 million in Lebanon, 650,000 in Jordan, 250,000 in Iraq and 130,000 in Egypt.”

(Red Cross, June 2017)

“According to the latest Immigration Statistics, 5,453 Syrians were resettled to the UK under the VPRP (Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme) in the year ending March 2017. Separate to those granted humanitarian protection under the VPRP, there were 1,507 grants of asylum (or an alternative form of protection) to Syrian applicants at initial decision in the year ending March 2017.”

(www.parliament.uk, June 2017. That’s as against a Cameron target of 20 thousand by 2020 – he assumed the crisis would go on for another four years, presumably.)

158,215: Number of child asylum-seekers in Europe between January and November 2017″  (Eurostat, 10 January 2018)

In February 2017, following what looked suspiciously like an orchestrated media furore over ‘too old’ children among the first to step off the boat, the Home Office tried to cap the number of vulnerable children admitted to the UK provided they had relatives settled here at just 350, but later were forced to add a further 150 to account for local authority offers of homes. That is against a Cameron-government target of 3000 children by 2020. Out of 158 thousand.

Meanwhile an uncounted number of Syrian refugees have frozen to death in the harsh winter conditions of southern Lebanon.

It is a shameful disgrace, for which ghastly May, the suburban vicar’s daughter, and her xenophobic wrecking-crew of Daily-Mail-hostage Little Englanders should be slung out on their ears, preferably exiled to the ruins of Mosul or Aleppo. Let’s remember, shall we, the 27 thousand Hungarians we managed to take in in 1956, despite having no culture in common, and the similar number of Ugandan Asian families in 1972.

We shall not forgive or forget this wretched bunch of despicable, pusillanimous, self-hating Tory cunts. Even Margaret Thatcher would have found them quite revoltingly incompetent, pathetic.

(I would have posted this information on the BBC News website as they don’t appear to have Google, but Comments were disinvited, no doubt in anticipation of a spray of liquid diarrhoeia from the piss-stained, pay-nothing-now sofa brigade.)

x

A wealth of music

The “world’s richest man”, Jeff Bezos of Amazon owes me a drink.

It’s uncanny, but every time I go off on a buying spree, his share price surges. I’ve had four of the six new CDs delivered, that I bought while mildly drunk the other night after selling my saxophone, and already his share price has surged 4% on the news, bringing his personal net worth to $119 billion. He apparently got $20 billion richer just in the last year, making him possibly the world’s highest paid store manager*. And my stats are showing, I made more than 50 purchases last year. No coincidence.

Well done me. (You owe me a drink, Jeff!)

Of course, we don’t really know who is the world’s richest man. President Putin owns Russia, so maybe he is, and I’ve had very little influence on his success, it must be admitted.

Then again, looking at my CD collection, you might want to consider the possibility that I might be.

I own lots and lots of wonderful notes!

 

United we stand

On the subject of workers’ wages, various local dignitaries including the MP have written to the board of Manchester United football club to point out that while their latest signing, Sanchez, is being paid £400 thousand a week, many of the people who clean and tidy the ground and the toilet and stuff, and look after the public, aren’t even getting the minimum wage (£7.25/hr).

It is just so typical of the BBC and their dimwitted addiction to “balance” in the news, that we then read that the club spokesmouth has simply retorted that they pay everyone better than minimum wage, in fact all the support staff are on the higher, “living wage” of £8-something.

So which is true? It cannot be both. The BBC dare not say. Either they cannot be arsed to find out, or they fear the Curse of Fergie will fall on them again and Mourinho will refuse to speak to them for months on end if they show lack of respect for these overpriced ninnies, not one of whom has any connection with Manchester.

It must be about 50 years since Peter Jay and John Birt came up with the phrase: “A bias against understanding”, to describe BBC News policy. Nothing changes.

x

xPassed partout…

“A flight was forced to turn back to Oslo Airport because the on-board toilet facilities were out of order – despite the presence of 60 qualified plumbers on board.

“The sanitation technicians were travelling as part of a work trip, according to the report.” – ‘The Local’ (Norwegian newslog)

The Pumpkin – Issue 41: Shitholegate… Should Trump be invited to the wedding?… What is that thing Trump has about Sweden?… What a whopper!… F U-2? No(r)way!… GW: throwing snowballs at the sun… Goodnight, Irene.

My security blanket and I will make the Shithole great again!

“…yet he already knows the answer: they’re shitholes.”

Shitholegate

It never ceases to amaze me, how puritanical many Americans still are. Or, are perceived to be by their moral guardians. Little old ladies in lace, fanning themselves on the porch: “Why, ah do declare, Mistah Butler! Hortense, please fetch ahr guest some julep tea…”

After decades of hearing words like ‘motherfucker’ in films starring, mainly, foulmouthed black Americans, ABC News, for instance, is still totally unable to stomach even the word ‘ bullshit’, despite the fact that ABC News, its editors and journalists, many of its viewers and their political masters need to use the word daily. Oh, they’re so COARSE!

“Did you just grab my ass, motherfucker?” The cast of the West Wing portray the reality of life in Burbank.

Dialogue on the West Wing consists almost entirely of profanities, as we have known since the release of the Nixon tapes. Your political and moral masters have mouths like the gazunder beneath your bed when it needs emptying. You probably do too, in private. Yet the quaint old mainstream media cannot bring itself even to quote in reported speech, the salty language of everyday parlance.

The word “fuck” is never heard on the BBC’s Radio 4 documentary and drama channel, for instance, other than under strictly medical circumstances. In drama productions, with due caution, only after-hours; in case we offend the tender sensibilities of our potty-mouthed children, who aren’t listening anyway. But never on news shows.

And it is just about acceptable in BBC TV dramas, provided the show is preceded by a man with a red flag warning about “strong language”. Who the hell cares? Well, it seems there are still these sensitive souls in old folks’ homes, ear trumpets glued to the BBC for any signs of moral slippage, who probably take a secret delight in linguistic indiscretion but still feel the need to take umbrage. What else have they got to live for?

The Guardian newspaper decided a few years ago that even the word “cunt”,  elsewhere known as “the C-word”, was acceptable to print, provided somebody else had said it, and it was context-specific. Where is there left for our moral guardians to go, when a coarse term for the female mons veneris goes public? Especially when it has been borrowed as a pretty harmless loanword to describe someone as a bit of a thoughtless idiot?

The benefit of these words, often incorrectly described as Anglo-Saxon, is that they are short, pithy, plosive – to the point. That’s all.

One could imagine that a new word might be invented: “squip”, for instance, that would be given some blasphemous or sexually explicit meaning: I don’t know, it could technically mean buggering choirboys on the altar, or something, so that a ‘squip’ would be an unholy person willing to take risks…. “Squip” would be banned everywhere, on radio, on TV. Imams, rabbis and vicars would denounce the Sq*** word from the pulpit, Pakistani politicians demand execution for bloggers emitting the word.

But it’s just a sound! It has no meaning other than the one we ascribe to it. We have those other words for what we mean to say. We know them already. We don’t need new ones.

When you print “F***” we already know what it means. We know it means “Fuck”. So where’s the point in printing “F***”? We already fucking know what it means! What, are our eyes to be blinded by the redacted letters of a word we thoughtlessly use a hundred times a day, and probably at the moment of our death?

THIS IS ABSURD!

Across the pond, things are no different. It’s as if some corporation has cornered the market in asterisks.

And here we have a President, for want of a better word, describing certain countries from which, after a few centuries of east-west traffic, re-exported slaves keep turning up with their damned PhDs, asking for a better life, as “shitholes”, and the majority of the US media dare not, are terrified of what will happen if they, repeat even the word so sanctified by their precious panjandrum; while the nellies of the United Nations rise as one country to protest his racism over a word the BBC will describe only as: “a foul-mouthed Oval Office outburst”.

Face it, Haiti, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Congo, South Sudan, Libya, Syria, Chechnya, Somalia, Uzbekistan – those countries ARE mostly shitholes. They’re fucking horrible!

Do they pass the “Would you live there?” test?

Let us not beat about the bush, there are dozens of barren, underdeveloped countries around the world run by gruesome, brutal kleptocrats in the pockets of giant global corporations, most of them US-based, remitting their bribes to Swiss banks while the people go hungry, where life expectancy is less than 40 years, where child mortality rates are horrific, where the water is foul, sanitation non-existent, hospitals just UN-funded shacks, kids are starving, they don’t go to school, women don’t exist (especially when they’re menstruating) and militias go about raping and slaughtering people – where all the money goes to the army and the ruling elite, where there are no trees and grass and lakes and birdsong – only dust and potholes and shit everywhere; where opponents of the government and honest journalists go missing on a daily basis… .

Trump is absolutely right about that.

In fact, he could quiz his soon-to-be former Secretary of State, the smarmy Tex-Rex Tillexxon, about why countries producing billions of dollars’ worth of oil from holes in the ground, much of it extracted by Tillerson’s former employees, are still – after decades of exploitation – among the poorest countries on earth?

But he already knows the answer: they’re just shitholes. That’s why he does bidness with so many of them.

Trump refuses to acknowledge the responsibility of his own country, home to over 40 million people struggling below the poverty line, to do a damned thing about it. And you know what, he’s doing exactly the same as their leaders, lining his pockets and those of his rich friends at the expense of the poor and needy, turning the US into one giant shithole, and he’s cutting the overseas aid budget to pay for it. He just doesn’t see the connection between US corporate hegemony and third-world debt. He’s the asshole from which the shithole is filled.

For, among the improving economic statistics for which Trump is greedily taking credit, although the recovery and the rising global economy began years ago and he can’t even get a temporary spending budget through Congress, is the telling one: homelessness in the USA has been rapidly rising since he took office.

Pardon me for saying so. Here’s an asterisk kit, little furry balls of print. Stick them wherever the f*** you like. ************************

x

Should Trump be invited to the wedding?

I’m not sure he should, no.

Not to punish him, or because he might start grabbing the bridesmaids’ pussies, or launch cruise missiles over the chocolate cake.

Harry is only what they call a “minor royal”, in other words after Kate has stopped throwing up and they’ve christened another Windsor he’ll be only sixth in line to the throne. Is that senior enough to warrant automatic invitations to heads of state?

“Did you just grab my royal ass?” When Meghan met Harry. (Photo: Dianalegacy.com)

It’s a small, relatively discreet affair, in St George’s Chapel rather than Westminster Abbey, as Markle is a divorcée, a foreigner – and the Church of England still doesn’t fully approve of divorce and remarriage, although they’ll go through the motions, especially for a royal. Windsor is a bit of a shithole, I’m afraid, Donald.

Harry has no personal relationship with Trump as he might have bonded, say, with the Obamas over their mutual philanthropy. Trump is from a different era and culture. He claims to have handed out millions to charity, though no-one has ever been able to trace the amounts claimed, while the supposed recipients all agree, they’ve never seen a cent. Besides, we’ve seen him dancing. The Saudis made damned sure to humiliate him with that.

If any Trumps are to attend it ought perhaps to be the Kushners. I have no idea if the couples know one another, but they are of the same age and Jared sees himself very much as a player among the rising generation of global leaders; while, according to Michael Wolff, Ivanka has plans to inherit the Presidency someday. Besides, they’re quite shiny.

And it’ll be great to see if Jared gets slapped with any legal injunctions while he’s out in the open.  He’ll be good with the homeless of Windsor town, too, his family firm likes to make people homeless.

And, of course, Markle has the tainted Creole blood Trump so despises. He might start cracking jokes with Philip about their kids turning out chocolate ginger cookies….

So maybe, all in all, it’s better he should sit it out at Mar-a-Lago.

I plan to.

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‘Sweden’s economy has surged over the past years, helped by a record inflow of migrants, all-time low interest rates and a recovering global economy,’ Bloomberg reports.(Thepaneuropean.eu)

What is that thing Trump has about Sweden?

Sweden now has a budgetary surplus running at twice the size of the country’s debts. US debt at $19 trillion is slightly larger than its GDP of $18.5 trillion, but Mr Trump’s tax bill will increase the debt to $21 trillion. He is gambling on the super-rich beneficiaries of tax cuts to push up GDP through added investment and spending leading to higher taxable employment.

Good luck with that.

Sweden. Not a vegetable.

He does not recognize the contribution migrants make to his or any economy, especially with an ageing and underskilled native population. Except when he brings in Polish workers on his building projects and fails to pay them, threatening them instead with deportation when they’ve finished their contracts. That’s the kind of shit he is: a liar, a fraudster, a bunco artist. He has frequently alluded to a high crime rate among refugees and southern migrants to Sweden – a statistic the Swedish government and police say is just not borne out by the facts.

We feel sure he will not be alluding to Swedish migrants as an asset to the economy, whatever Bloomberg reports. His ideas about other countries and races are as fixed as the moon and stars in their orbits.

The “fucking idiot” (as Rupert Murdoch calls him), Trump has just announced, anyone hailing from El Salvador who is not a naturalized citizen (many were allowed to settle as refugees under the Bush regime after a series of devastating earthquakes) has 18 months to leave the USA, as part of his campaign to rid the country of 11 million ‘undocumented’ migrants, many of whom have settled, got families with US-born children and started businesses employing Americans.

That’s 200 thousand people he’s talking about. But Mr Trump’s stated view is they are all drug gangsters, rapists and benefit fraudsters, so the spics have to go.

Then, as we have said time and again, Mr Trump is a witless, cruel oaf; a bombastic troll with no understanding of economics, socio-politics, geopolitics or industrial management. And certainly no understanding of human beings, other than as resources to be exploited. He is just a monstrous, self-promoting creature of appetite and instinct: a manifestation of all that’s worst in humanity.

A genius ‘TV star’ whose ratings have fallen like a meteor to earth.

 

What a whopper!

Glenn Kessler and his Fact Checker team at The Washington Post report as of 11 January that Trump has made 1,950 false or misleading claims while in office.

Most recently, he observed that he had been “very tough” on commercial aviation safety, and as a result there had been no fatal crashes involving a civil airliner in 2017: the “best and safest year on record!”

Actually, there have been no fatal crashes in the US commercial aviation sector since 2009. Like, eight years before he became President. A timeline curiously coincident with his hated predecessor’s term of office.

Not only was he being prolix with the facts, he also appears to be delusional. As far as anyone knows, he has nothing to do with commercial airline safety.

He has also boasted on no fewer than 85 separate occasions that he is personally responsible for the continuing boom in the Stock Market – disregarding the resultant collapse in the value of the dollar (Stg £1.22 in January 2017, £1.35 in January 2018, despite the weakness of Sterling post-Brexit.) In fact Trump was on record many times as claiming that the long bull market that began in Obama’s final two years was “artificial” and just “a bubble”. Clearly, he can’t have it both ways. (Does he still imagine it has “halved” the national debt – with which it has no actual connection?)

Both the above examples are referenced from Washington Post opinion writer, Dana Millbank, in an article criticizing President Trump’s “Fake News awards” he proposed to make last week, to add to a year of assiduously undermining the credibility of the mainstream media, accusing all journalists of being liars.

Awards that were in themselves ‘fake news’ – he has not made any awards. There aren’t any.*

And today (12 Jan) it’s reported, he’s stamped his foot and is refusing to go to London to cut the ribbon on the new US embassy, relocated from swanky Grosvenor Square to a gigantic £750m barn in darkest Nine Elms, appositely the site of an old fruit market and on the wrong side of the river. An American on a high horse, US correspondent Charles Wolffe complained about British ingratitude, yadda yadda, treacherous disrespect for the great office of the Leader of the Free World, slurp slurp, on the Today programme, but Trump’s tweet makes it fairly plain: it’s not because he wouldn’t get to see the Queen, it’s because of the O-word: Obama, who of course cut another lousy deal over the lease.

Except it wasn’t Obama who did the deal, it was W Bush.

Verdict: it’s not impossible for a person to be a) stupid, b) insane, c) criminal d) a habitual liar, e)  vindictive-obsessive, f) pig-ignorant and g) senile, all at the same time.

(Image: Zeltzer.com)

If The Pumpkin has a criticism of his critics, it is that they all try to isolate some one defining characteristic of Donald Trump and then debate the merits and demerits of the theory, generally concluding that obtaining more expert testimony is advisable before leaping to conclusions on the basis of what most of us would consider to be ample evidence, without ever once considering him in the round: the possibility that this utterly bewildering individual could have many character flaws and imbalances, all seemingly bad. (The Pumpkin will award a prize to any Reader who can point to even one redeeming quality in this President.)

You need to judge him by his horrible deeds, not by his mental state. What man would deliberately rollback an order protecting she-bears with cubs from being hunted from helicopters, who is not profoundly mentally damaged?

The Pumpkin has tried arguing that anyone as sick as this demented old sack of rotting fishburgers must be in pain and in need of humanitarian aid. But the more he slashes the US’s contributions to UN programs, the less he does for hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico, now in its fourth month without substantial infrastructure rebuilding, electricity and food aid, the more he continues to support the genocidal scumbag regime in Saudi Arabia (does Bin-bag Salman seriously imagine humanity is impressed with his ordinance permitting segregated women to watch football is going to make up for the millions of Yemenis starving, repeatedly bombed and infected with cholera?), the more folk he bullies and demeans, the more pleased I am that he continues to burn in a hellfire of his own making and hope that the heat only intensifies until he cries out to his money-God to save his fat ass.

Sadly, there are no more pejoratives. I have run out.

*He has since. By tweet.

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F U-2? No(r)way!

“In November we started delivering the first F-52s and F-35 fighter jets,” Trump said. “We have a total of 52 and they’ve delivered a number of them already a little ahead of schedule.” Trump was reading from a statement, and it appears he combined the figure of 52 planes with the “F” designation assigned to fighter jets in the U.S. inventory, such as the F-35 Lightning II.” – from a Washington Post report, 12 Jan.

No sooner has the laughter died down over Mr Trump’s idiotic bragging in December about the USAF possessing “invisible planes” – F-35s with so-called Stealth paint jobs – that are very hard for the enemy (ISIS?) to combat because “you literally can’t see them”, but that will “make their souls tremble when they hear them overhead”, than he has done it again, inventing – or rather, referencing – a non-existent aircraft he called the “F-52”.

The invisible F-35.

The trillion-dollar F-35 program is the most expensive aircraft the Pentagon has ever ordered and its development has been dogged with design problems. The F-52 on the other hand is a fully-functional, fictional aircraft featured in the computer game, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. It doesn’t exist anywhere else, except in Donald Trump’s World of Clusterfuck.

According to a report in the Washington Post, he simply got his numbers muddled up. It was 52 planes they had sold, not “F-52″s. Another senior moment to add to all the rest; and was there a shlight shlurr as he shaid it?

A different theory proposed by The Pumpkin is that he confused them with the B-52, the so-called Flying Fortress used in the saturation bombing of North Korea between 1950 and 1953, when the USAF killed over three million civilians to no very useful end. It was perhaps a case of wistful thinking…

But he still took the credit for having delivered them “a little ahead of schedule”, as if he had personal responsibility for the contract and probably also for actually designing, building and flying the planes. He’s a very strange individual, it must be said.

Furthermore, the speech marked a turning-point. The planes were being delivered, not to Sweden, but to Norway, for defense against his friends, the Russians.

The Pumpkin suspects he’s gone off the boil as regards Sweden, because they told him he was being stupid over a thing he said about refugees and crime; although an incident two nights later involving some migrants in Stockholm throwing stones at police cars does seem to have been manufactured to make his crass and inaccurate remarks look a bit more prescient.

No, it’s Sweden’s neighbour and rival, Norway that is now Mr Trump’s favourite Scandinavian country: pure, white and free. The land of fjords, Grieg and Anders Behring Breivik.

Where the trollfolk come from…

After meeting Erna Solberg, the jolly-looking Norwegian Prime Minister earlier this week, overlooking the 200-year-history of slavery, Trump reportedly made some pretty scathing off-the-record remarks about immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti and Africa, complaining that he would much rather people immigrated from… Norway!

Why would they want to do that, one wonders? Despite the cold and perpetual darkness, the famed taciturnity of its alcoholic fisherfolk and reindeer herders struggling to survive in the face of the climate change Mr Trump so assiduously promotes on behalf of his funders, Norway is one of the best, the wealthiest per-capita, cleanest and most egalitarian countries in the world to live in, according to numerous polls.

Why, it even has socialized medicine, advanced education and cares for its poor. It’d be like importing Communism!

Nothing to see there, Donald. Move on.

Finland?

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GW: throwing snowballs at the sun

USA:  At least 17 people have died in mudslides and flooding in California after a powerful coastal storm followed weeks of unseasonal Santa Ana wind-driven heat and wildfires to drench hillsides scarred by the huge Thomas fire and denuded of tree cover. More than 30 miles (48km) of the main coastal road have been closed and police said the scene “looked like a World War One battlefield”. A group of 300 people are reportedly trapped in Romero Canyon neighbourhood east of Santa Barbara. 163 people have been hospitalized. The death toll is expected to rise.

Africa: 48 people have died in floods and landslides around the capital of the DR of Congo, Kinshasa. Powerful storms with hail have pounded South Africa after several days of 40 deg C (104F-plus) temperatures. Namibia is basking in 100F-plus temperatures. For the second year running, it has snowed in the Sahara. Cat 2 cyclone Ava killed 49 in Madagascar, now threatened by strengthening Tropical Storm Six.

A child arrives at school in China after walking three miles to class. (BBC)

China: at least 21 people have died in heavy early winter snowfall in the eastern part of the country. Up to 30cm fell in Henan province.

Australia: the Weather Network reports roads melting in the Canberra region of Western Australia as temperatures exceeded 40C for the fifth day. Sydney hit 47.3C, almost but not quite the record (1939). Fires broke out around Melbourne on 6 and 7 Jan. Now the northwest is experiencing Tropical Cyclone Joyce, a cat 1 storm with 95 mph gusts.

S America: wildfires around Mendoza, Argentina consumed more than 200 thousand hectares (490 thousand acres) in the space of three days. Santa Cruz in Bolivia and Colon in Panama were underwater on 2 Jan after torrential rainstorms

Europe: Avalanches have blocked the railway line out of Zermatt, where 13,000 tourists have been stranded for several days by 7ft deep snow. A British snowboarder is feared dead. “Switzerland’s WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research said Tuesday afternoon that at least 80 centimeters (31.5 inches) of snow had dropped on the Zermatt area over the last 24 hours, raising the avalanche risk to a maximum level of (‘almost unheard-of’) five on an avalanche-warning scale.” There’s been heavy snowfall too in northern Italy. New wildfires have broken out on Corsica, while Poland and Hungary have been experiencing a record warm ‘early spring’ – here in my part of the UK, daffodils are flowering a month early. In France, the river Seine flooded parts of Paris, in Germany the Rhine was closed to shipping.

World: despite talk of a new mini ice-age, the latest global temperature anomalies map from the University of Maine’s climate change unit shows that while the north and east of Canada and the USA are looking like the arctic, the arctic is looking more like California… outside the USA the world is still warming up fast. It’s frankly chaos!

BBC News/ Wunderground/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #89, citing China’s the World Today, Euronews, et al/ The Sun/ Pattaya Mail/

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Goodnight, Irene…

Spectrograms show the lines of ‘melt’ (molten rock) on the Yellowstone charts are continuing to rise as more and more magma is flooding into the chamber. The ground uplift charts for all areas are no longer reading normally, but thanks to some deft recalibration now appear almost completely flat where last week they were showing a chaotic pattern of continuous upward movement over the previous 30 days. You can no longer tell anything from them. Yesterday there were more than 20 small earthquakes in one hour. The seismographs are showing constant vibration and ‘drumbeats’ – regular pulses believed to indicate an imminent eruption. Despite an air temperature of only 24F, snow is melting on the ground. Local people have gotten so used to the deep rumblings under their feet that they no longer report quakes. The USGS is not reporting many quakes that are visible on the charts.

Thus on 12 Jan spake the Blessed Mary – Greeley, whose almost daily updates from her home in S Dakota on what the official monitors are saying and doing is about the only serious-sounding coverage this slightly worrying story is getting, although she’s not a qualified geologist and, frankly, her contributors are a bunch of prayerful religious nutters. Annoyingly, she is building up a kind of Fortean news service of strange happenings alongside her Yellowstone monitoring, that only serves to detract from the authority of her reporting on the main event. Plus, she’s been forecasting an imminent eruption for the last five years. But no-one else is really reporting the evidence with the same apparent objectivity and obvious affinity with the Beast, independently of the muted and scarily reassuring official sources – which is in itself strange, dontchathink?

And she’s worried now, so I’m quietly buying up cans of tuna and beans and dried pulses, assuming there will still be water. Given what hasn’t happened with the relatively small Puerto Rico hurricane disaster, like a proper relief effort, what use are Trump and the FEMA gang going to be when this monstrosity blows?

Delicious moment though it will be when he has to beg the Mexican president to allow millions of US refugees in through the wall….

 

 

 

The BogPo: No magic money tree – unless you’re a Grenfell survivor… Rather than ‘austerity’, I prefer the words ‘national sacrifice’… V for Vainglorious… GW: basting the Xmas turkey in her wellies… PLUS BogPo Extra: Long Essay – They just don’t care who they kill.

“I hear Disney just bought Fox News…”

“Yeah, they’re planning on remaking Fantasia…”

Walt Disney has agreed to buy the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets (but not Fux Knows, sadly) for a total of $52.4bn (£39bn).

See what Britain could have got for £39bn, if we weren’t paying it over to the EU for the next eight years!

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“121,360 children are living in temporary accommodation – a rise of 70% since the (Conservative) party took power in 2010. Soaring private rental costs, wages freezes and benefits cuts are being blamed for the shocking increase. The children are among 79,190 households living a fragile existence in dingy rooms and B&Bs.” – Daily Mirror, 15 Dec.

…the media has made them victims thrice over: victims of the fire, victims of society’s ills – victims of the divisive politics of the media.”

No magic money tree – unless you’re a Grenfell survivor

Please, Sir, may I have some?

That’s 79 thousand households, not numbers of people, including many children. And only the ones who were lucky enough to be housed by local authorities. Nor does it include nine thousand rough sleepers and many more ‘sofa-surfers’, or generational families in overcrowding who don’t bother applying for housing because they know they won’t get it.

 About half as many households again are routinely refused accommodation on grounds disqualifying them from rising through the lengthening waiting lists. Though without a home, they are not classed as homeless, often – it is ruled – because they have moved out voluntarily, come from out of or have temporarily left the area; even if they were forced to leave. The high proportion of children in temporary accommodation is of course due to their families receiving priority.

The reasons for the homelessness of these people range from summary evictions by rent-raising landlords to mental illness and addictions, domestic violence, having been raised in care, been in prison, or discharged from the military. Let’s not leave out the ones whose benefits have been capped by the present government at a level where they can no longer pay the rent; the ones waiting vainly for weeks to get their first ‘Universal Credit’ payment; the ones waiting months and years for asylum.

Many are profoundly damaged, traumatized. Only yesterday, we were reading of a family burned out of their home, apparently in a vendetta with the neighbours, or as a result of some domestic dispute – four children died.

That’s the reality of life in Britain for so many today.

Sometimes crammed four to a room in grotty bed and breakfast hostels across the nation, these near-destitute people, many who may just have lost their insecure, low-paid jobs owing to austerity cuts imposed through no fault of their own, must all be getting pretty fed up with the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Some with TV sets might have been escorted last night around the brand-new, spacious, three-bedroomed show-flat featured on BBC 2’s Newsnight, lovely fitted kitchen and all (not just an elderly microwave and a can-opener) that has been acquired for £8oo thousand for one lucky Grenfell household.

Theirs seems to be a position of unique privilege, the special entitlement of a grief that was shamelessly taken up by The Guardian newspaper and others, even while the tower block was still ablaze, and exploited for political reasons, as exemplars of shameful inequality – as if the rich can’t burn to death. The BogPo has seen few people interviewed on TV having survived the Grenfell Tower fire who appear genuinely to be of the migrant underclass the media immediately assigned them to, merely because of their address (posh people owning big houses just down the road, etc.).

They became immediately symbolic of the widening gap (actually – apart from the top 1% – it’s starting to narrow) between ‘rich and poor’, the propertied and the unpropertied, of west London. Grenfell housed a generous mix of income-brackets, occupations and ethnicities, some were even buying their flats and had jobs and food. Yet the media has made them victims thrice over: victims of the fire, victims of society’s ills – victims of the divisive politics of the media.

True, there’s a problem confined mostly to our top three cities: wealthy foreign investors, many anonymously laundering ill-gotten gains, have been buying up properties, leaving them empty and pushing prices to fantastical heights.

True, too, that this and other problems on the housing front, including the extra pressures caused by immigration, regional economic disparities, low wages and divorce, are simply not being tackled by a government obsessed with delivering Brexit at any cost.

And then, while only about six per cent of the land area is built-over, many of those mostly unplanned, nineteenth-century urbanizing industrial developments still concentrate too many people in too small a space, with inadequate facilities and opportunities for employment, making for overcrowding and creating transportation bottlenecks. Housing policy in Britain has been a disaster.

But most people, I imagine, are happy not to live in the Stalinist utopia apparently advocated by well-heeled newspaper pundits wringing their manicured hands over the plight of this one, apparently uniquely deserving group of homeless people who could, like the rest of us, take at least some responsibility for their own salvation, were they not constantly being assured by the leftwing press, politicians, agitators and grandstanding lawyers that they’re entitled to demand a level of support which no-one else is.

Guilt-tripped by the media and politicians, Kensington and Chelsea council is spending £135 million acquiring many such £800 thousand properties; London is a fabulously expensive city. Yet still the survivors are complaining that the council is failing to meet their needs, not listening attentively enough to their stories, moving too slowly and showing too little empathy, while they’re still turning down the accommodation being offered to them; while the number of properties required to house them all has almost doubled as the families atomize, making the Council’s task of finding them anywhere permanent to live even more difficult.

There is just no precedent for forcing a whittled-down housing department to operate in this way. (The BogPo’s Uncle Bogler has previously written of his difficulty in getting his aged, disabled mother, stranded on the top floor of her building, rehoused in Kensington and can vouch for the inadequacy of the system he had to deal with.)

Normally when a family becomes homeless, they have no choice as to where they are put. Just anywhere there’s a space for them. How many Grenfell survivors tragically spending Christmas in a warm hotel room have already said no to a flat that’s not in a convenient part of town, or is on a higher floor than they feel safe with? How many have complained that their council-taxpayer funded hotel rooms are too far apart along the corridor?

A homeless family in Rotherham might have choked on their one-meal-a-day, food-bank dinner to hear one Grenfell survivor yesterday (it’s the sixth monthly-versary of the fire, there was a memorial service, hence the flare-up of media interest) earnestly explain that he had been living in the block with his grownup son, but they each now required separate housing and why’s the council taking so long about finding it?

The BogPo would not wish it to be thought that he is in any way minimising the trauma and grief of those former residents who lost friends and relatives, the injured for whom the incident has left an open wound, or who barely escaped the flames in time and lost everything.

He does not ignore the dispossession and the sheer inconvenience, the loss of work and school time – suffered by the denizens of the tower and their low-rise neighbours, forced to leave their homes as the common heating system was put out of action by the fire, and who don’t now wish to return because of the awful thing that happened next door and the charred stump reminding them daily of the 71 who died.

But anywhere else in Britain, refusing an offer of accommodation would count as voluntary homelessness and immediately send the applicant to the back of the queue for rehousing, whether in a brand-new £800-thousand flat in Kensington or a B&B in Oldham with a shared bathroom, mould on the walls, Spice abusers roaming the corridors and a broken lock on the door.

There is a desperate shortage of both affordable private and social housing in Britain, a crisis of thousands of families needing whatever shelter there is to be found. Why are these Grenfell people so special, when almost 80 thousand other families, many equally traumatized, are having to take whatever they are given – and it won’t be much – while as many others get nothing at all?

Perhaps it’s because of the media attention? The ‘disaster porn’ of those horrifying images?

A reminder to the authorities to get a move on

We wonder, too, why it seems to be taking forever to put up scaffolding and clad the tower in plastic; although such a powerful metaphor suggesting cover-up might not be so appropriate. The persistence on the skyline of that blackened memorial to the 71 (including 18 children) should act as a spur to the authorities to get on and heed the many warnings they’ve been given about other, similar properties in their charge, and not wait years for the inquiry findings to come out, or for another tower block to go up like a Roman candle.

Most of those senior people presumed responsible for allowing the Grenfell Tower fire to happen on their watch through cost-cutting official indifference have already quit their jobs, disappeared into the scenery. They know what they should have done, but didn’t do it.

As the public inquiry grinds ponderously into action – even that has been delayed by the endless mistrust, complaints and demands of the survivors, egged on by lawyers and local politicians – we can be sure “lessons will be learned”, and conveniently forgotten. The next Grenfell Tower fire will bring its own unique set of circumstances to be investigated all over again.

If the Grenfell Tower story is to have any meaning, any effect at all, it must surely be to force the government to improve the lot of ALL homeless families in Britain.

Sadly, that ain’t happening either.

There’s no magic money tree, other than for the already wealthy.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/15/homelessness-report-working-families-stable-jobs-local-government-ombudsman

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“Rather than ‘austerity’, I prefer the words ‘national sacrifice’.”

Boarded-up Britain.

On the subject of society’s ills, the BogPo is reading Robert Peston’s somewhat anodyne and hastily compiled new book, “WTF”. He’s too nice!

I’m struck by his analysis that sometimes the richer a country gets, the worse-off the majority of people seem to be. And that the deterioration in our social economy is precisely parallelled by that in the USA. As if to bear this out, The Guardian carries a report today on one of the contracted-in canteen assistants at Facebook, who can barely pay the rent and feed her kids and is slipping further into debt, while feeding the well-paid workers directly employed by one of the richest companies in one of the richest regions of the richest nation in the world.

“One in four people in Silicon Valley are at risk of hunger, researchers have found. Using hundreds of community interviews and data modeling, a new study suggests that 26.8% of the population – almost 720,000 people – qualify as “food insecure” based on risk factors such as missing meals, relying on food banks or food stamps, borrowing money for food, or neglecting bills and rent in order to buy groceries. Nearly a quarter are families with children.”

Meanwhile, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who may well have appropriated the idea for his business model in the first place, he’s been accused of it, has just deposited his 74 billionth dollar in the bank and hints at his ambition to run for President (at 33!) because he wants to spread social equality and happiness around the globe.

Thanks to entrepreneurs like him, and their airy new business models, the West has become a slave society, a coolie culture; college graduates cycling hither and yon, strapped to monstrous blue boxes, paid bare minimum wage and no sick-pay or guaranteed hours to schlepp stuff out to lazy “time-poor” arses with marginally higher disposable income.

So, Zuck, you could start by forcing your contractor agencies to pay their employees properly, or even take them on as direct labor? What’s that going to cost, compared with the billions you make from purloining unsuspecting dimwits’ personal data and selling it on to the Russians? Would you even notice if you sacrificed just 5 per cent more of your profits to investing in people?

Part of the problem is, the richer the executives of the burgeoning tech corps get, the higher the local prices climb.

“…this study is putting light on the non-traditional homeless: people living in their car or a garage, working people who have to choose between rent and food, people without access to a kitchen.” – Steve Brennan, Second Harvest Food Bank

And, sickest of all, the article is part of a series on “Outside in America”, sponsored by…. Silicon Valley originals, Bill & Melinda Gates.

 

“…it’s not going to get better”

One book I’m not reading (but have read about) is Peter Dench’s “Britain on the Verge”.

The photographer took a car journey up Britain’s longest, and in parts oldest, highway, the A1: Roman ‘Watling Street’, but a far older Brythonic trade route connecting with prehistoric trans-European networks, capturing mundane scenes of life in the nation today.

Boarded-up Britain. (Photo: Daily Mirror)

The one thing that strikes you constantly looking at these photographs is how threadbare so much of this wealthy country seems to be, shabby people doing not very much in shabby surroundings, struggling to make the best of it. Possibly renewable housing, whole streets abandoned to the times.

Boarded-up Britain. Nothing seems to have changed since the 1970s. And with inflation at 3.1 per cent, average savings of less than £100, ever-rising housing and energy costs and wages for most stagnant or falling, despite the burgeoning of employment, jobs that bring no economic benefit to those forced into them; with expensive post-Brexit trade agreements to look forward to on ripoff terms from the USA, China, India, subordinate to their court rulings, ruled by the WTO and no let-up in non-EU immigration to cool the natives, it’s not going to get better.

A journey through the lush Thames Valley from, say, Theresa May’s Maidenhead to David Cameron’s Witney constituency might give a very different impression, though.

Some people are doing okay at our expense. Like Mr Jeff Fairburn, CEO of publicly-quoted downmarket homebuilders Persimmon, who has successfully converted taxpayer-funded government loans for first-time buyers into a £110 million “bonus” for himself this Christmas.

Rather than ‘austerity’, I prefer the words ‘national sacrifice’.

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Hell hath no fury…

The BBC has announced the first appointment of a woman, Fran Unsworth, as Head of News, on £350k a year, replacing the less than dynamic James Harding, who is going off to start some kind of online service of his own. Ms Unsworth formerly headed the World Service.

For a hugely amusing read, I recommend the news report on her appointment, penned by the BBC’s media editor, Amol Rajan, which just oozes acidic disappointment, enumerating all the incredibly difficult hoops Ms Unsworth, (“who turns 60 in a fortnight … It would have been hard for her to stick around had another candidate got the job…”) will have to jump through, in her “hellish” new role.

For among the shortlisted candidates, albeit an outsider, according to Private Eye magazine, was one Amol Rajan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42365957

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“Would I give up my seat on the bus?”

They also serve…

To take everyone’s mind off the calamitous efforts of David Davis and his team of comic inadequates to battle their way out of the EU paper bag, and to defy reports that the Conservatives are still the ‘Nasty party’ (as Theresa May once dubbed them), in the wake of unspeakable cuts to working and disabled people’s welfare safety net, an array of suspiciously ‘nice’ initiatives is being dreamed up in the corridors of Whitehall and pushed out to a media and a voting public desperate for some Christmas cheer.

Not only has the ambitious Environment Secretary, the speccy little swot Michael Gove, announced half a dozen heartwarming new measures he wants to pass, obliging us all to be kinder to fish and other animals before we slaughter them; now, the brattish new Defence Secretary, the previously unheard-of Gavin Williamson, already being spoken of as our next Prime Minister, who fatuously proposes, Trump-like, casually to murder any British citizen thinking of returning from Syria rather than waste time on due process, knowing that true Brits care not a fig for the international laws we’re signed up to, has suggested adding the letter ‘V’ to the driving licenses of British forces veterans, as a mark of respect for their great sacrifice in the national interest.

Sorry ma’am, you’ll have to move – we’re v-veterans. (photo: Huffington Post)

The designation to come into effect, ooh, sometime possibly in the next decade, pick a year, after lengthy consultations with the licensing authority and 58 feasibility impact studies, should entitle the vets to special recognition: discounts on stuff, seats on public transport, cinema tickets, air miles – more considerate treatment than the rest of us expect from the police (regardless of color), immigration officials, JobCentres and the health services.

Anyone who imagines this is not just a PR stunt dreamed up in the cabinet office by Conservative interns desperate to re-engage with the disillusioned readership of the Daily Mail after the disaster of the last election and the unfolding horror of the failing hard Brexit elderly readers once dreamed of is living in another universe.

While no-one is disparaging the sterling work and the bravery and cameraderie of our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women, often in pointless and futile wars, nevertheless I should possibly mention that the laziest, most duplicitous, useless and cowardly man I ever met was serving out his cushy number until he claimed his officer’s pension at taxpayers’ expense as the fundraising director (appointed on Buggins’ Turn) of a services charity, after a career spent far from the frontline bravely managing a military stores unit.

I won’t go into why I developed this impression of him, I will merely pose the question: Does this royal asshole deserve a ‘V’ on his license, merely by ‘v’irtue of having spent 40 years probably selling stuff illicitly under the counter while pushing a bunch of badly-fitting uniforms, boots and other kit over it? And then funking the opportunity to raise a very large sum of money for the welfare of service veterans because as an outside agency we were being so successful (where he wasn’t) that to raise any more “would make too much work” for his volunteers?

I feel sure there must be many, many veterans of the services who have never done (perhaps never been given the opportunity to do) a single brave or difficult or self-sacrificing thing in their entire careers; never even got their boots wet. Fine, they joined up, did a bit, whatever. “They also serve, who only stand and wait” (Milton, on His Blindness). Would I give up my seat on the bus for them? Do you really want them passing themselves off as one of you?

I’m sure the stuff combat veterans are so clearly made of would see them through without this fawning treatment from politicians desperate to plaster themselves with the reflex public approval and Jingoistic tabloid newspaper cliches reserved for ‘our heroes’ in the military.

Maybe getting a grip on defense procurement and budgets so that our serving forces aren’t continually let down by malfunctioning equipment, inadequate back-up services and undermanning – a leaking £3 billion aircraft carrier with no aircraft – would be a better use of the minister’s time, rather than cheap gesture politics?

 

GW: basting the Xmas turkey in her wellies

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

Now fuck off, you deniers. It’s over. Okay?

Australia: monster hailstones, some 6-in. across, precipitate over Grafton, New South Wales, continuing a summer-long tendency towards extreme hailstorms seen from Turkey to South America. And a years-long tradition of hailstorms at Grafton, it seems, where in 2015 a racehorse at the local track had to be euthanased after being startled by hailstones and trying to negotiate a gate in panic. To reassure readers who may have feared global cooling had arrived, temperatures up in the top left corner of the big island – the northwest – are back up in the 100s F.

Severe thunderstorms, strong cyclonic winds, 100 mm rain per hour and “thousands” of lightning strikes batter SE Queensland around Brisbane (10 Dec), causing widespread damage.

Italy: “The River Enza in the town of Lentigione burst its banks on Tuesday 12 December, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate. Severe weather including snow, rain and freezing temperatures has affected much of Italy since Monday. Schools have been closed and road, rail and air travel all adversely affected. … Local security assessor Paola Gazzolo said: ‘We are in the presence of floods of historical significance.'” The county of Emilia Romagna was severely affected by flooding. Further north, heavy snow (up to 3 ft in places) has caused major disruption.

Red storm warnings were out for SE France, in the Grenoble area as Storm Ana moved eastwards.

Thomas: by 15 Dec. the third largest fire in Cal. history.

USA: “As of Monday morning, CalFire reported that the Thomas fire had consumed 230,000 acres and at least 790 structures, making it the fifth largest and tenth most destructive wildfire in (California) state history. … none of the previous top 20 fires in terms of acreage occurred any later than October—much less in December, well beyond the typical tail end of wildfire season. It’s entirely possible this fire will burn till Christmas and beyond, and not out of the question it will roll past the Cedar Fire of 2003 (273,246 acres) to become California’s largest fire on record.”

Meanwhile the entire east coast of the US is locked-in from Florida to Maine with feet of snow and subzero temperatures.

Meanwhile… in Alaska, “The National Weather Service thermometer at Juneau International Airport on Friday hit 54 deg. F, tying the highest temperature recorded in December there, the Juneau Empire reported. It was warmer Friday in Juneau than it was in Houston Tx, Jacksonville, Fla or Monterrey, Mexico.”

Chile: “Heavy rain triggered a major landslide on 16 December leaving at least 5 dead, 18 missing and 12 injured. The landslide occurred in the town of Villa Santa Lucia in Chaitén commune, Los Lagos Region. Over 200 personnel from fire, police, military and civil defence are working in the area, searching for survivors.”

Philippines: 27 people have been killed as  “Remnant Tropical Cyclone Kai-Tek (Urduja) passed over the islands Friday (15/16 Dec) at 2 knots before dissipating over colder waters. Several towns, including Calbiga, Samar province were left underwater. As of 18 Dec., over 230,000 people had evacuated their homes with 190,247 housed in evacuation centres, and a further 46,081 displaced.” NASA satellite data showed rainfall of up to 5.6 inches PER HOUR. “Several of the powerful storms in the area were found by GPM’s radar to reach altitudes greater than 16 km (9.92 miles).”

Indonesia: capital Jakarta yet again underwater (11 Dec).

S Africa: 50 injured and many very expensive-looking homes destroyed when a huge tornado struck Vaal Marina, in Midvaal.

Malawi: “At least 6 people have died in flooding that struck areas of Lilongwe District in the Central Region late on 16 December, 2017. According to a statement by the Government of Malawi, over 1,000 people from 200 households were affected by the floods. Two people have been reported injured.”

Arctic: temperature anomalies persist well above the past 50-year mean to 2002. Ice extent, volume, thickness third/second lowest on record after 2012. Ahlstrom, Peterson et al (GEUS) report that a sudden and unprecedented acceleration in melt runoff from the SW Greenland ice sheet is affecting the atmospheric temperature gradient at the Arctic circle.

Independent/ Floodlist/ Wunderground/ Accuweather/ EurekAlert/ US News/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #86, citing Metro TV News (Indonesia); credit Katrina Finnson/9 News

 

End of…

Veteran Yellowstone watcher, Mary Greeley broadcast a curious discovery yesterday (12 Dec.) about the official monitoring services. Not only were the usual small earthquakes and other grumblings being captured on some USGS seismographs but not on others nearby, and many quakes not being reported at all (you get this info from other international monitoring organizations), but the University of Utah monitors were apparently logging data on the seismograph sheets about 2 hours in advance of the actual time of day.

Are they faking the feeds, using old data sheets? Or, as Mary wonders, have they learned to predict earthquakes now? (blogger, ‘Dutchsinse’ – Michael Janitch of St Louis – has a better than 80 per cent record of doing just that, for both location and magnitude.) Or, as the BogPo suspects (and hopes), the paper rolls have slipped, the time-logging printer forgot it wasn’t summer time, or the pens have got somehow bent. All of them.

We should be told.

(PS – the earthquake swarm at Yellowstone and the much less usual swarms around Lincoln in neighbouring Montana and Soda Springs in Idaho have now been going on since 12th June, six months, with thousands of tremors and small quakes recorded up to M4.2.

Swarms are normal, but not over such a long period, over such a wide area and in such numbers. Greeley insists the data are clearly showing that the magma chamber is recharging from several sources over hundreds of miles. (NASA reported recently that the volume of magma would fill the Grand Canyon seven times over…) Many more conspiratorial bloggers are also reporting mysterious long-wave tremors, strange noises, volcanic gas escapes and huge bursts of energy showing up on ground and satellite monitors over a thousand-mile radius of the supervolcano. The fear is, it’s bigger than anyone thought.

If this thing blows on Christmas Day, I’ll eat my Atheists for Jesus T-shirt… principally because there may be nothing else to eat!)

x

Long Essay

“What day is this, boy? What day of the year is it?” (Scrooge: A Christmas Carol)

I just discovered the following, previously unPosted article saved as a Draft on 08 October last. Has anything changed since then? We seem to be living the same day over and over again.

“…if that results in sending the entire country and its millions of hapless civilians who want nothing to do with it back to the Stone Age, well, that’s freedom and democracy for you.”

They just don’t care who they kill, do they

This is a note to remind everyone who hasn’t already grasped it, that the USA is possibly the most malign force in history.

Not only is it now led by a career criminal, the very embodiment of the worst of its voracious greed, pig-ignorance, frontier violence, racism, bigotry and bogus high-minded patriotism, but it continues on its merry way, failing to distinguish friend from foe, simply hoping to bomb and blast its way to success with indiscriminate use of force as the hatred of the people around the world towards it grows.

If anyone over there thinks we are laughing over here at a USA reeling under the childishly inept, divisive, lying and vindictive Trump regime, its corrupt, pantomime-villain placemen and its out of control law enforcement, a bunch of gun-toting, flag-worshipping, militaristic boobies, I’m sorry to disillusion you. You’re not funny, you’re not yet pitiable, nor even deplorable. You’re lost somewhere between repugnant and morally bankrupt.

This week we have been reminded in several ways of your frontier justice, your instinctive, undiscriminating barbarity, your unremitting stupidity. The Republican voters of Alabama have chosen to run for Congress, a 70-year-old pork-barrel politician, a rabid Christian fundamentalist who pretends to be a cowboy, riding a horse to the polls and waving a pistol*.

It seems then that even Mr Trump and his shit-on-you philosophy is not enough for the voters of Alabama. No, they want someone even more loathsome, vicious, hogswill ignorant and moronic to represent them on the world stage. Someone supported, for instance, by Steve Bannon.

And then there is the conflict in the Middle East, into which your Commander-in-Chief has pitched US forces with no better policy in mind than simply to bomb a ‘terrorist’ organization out of existence, keeping Americans safe on the streets of Duluth, and if that results in sending an entire country and its millions of helpless serfs who want nothing to do with it back to the Stone Age, well, that’s freedom and democracy for you.

Two

Ken Burns’ documentary series, ‘Vietnam’ reminds us that America has never managed to do foreign policy very well.

There were two schools of thought in 1960: one, resist the onward march of Communistic nationalism at all costs by obliterating the entire population of the north, while supporting the murderous and corrupt Diem regime in Saigon; or two, support the people’s legitimate demands for freedom and independence from the notoriously reactive French colonials by assassinating Diem, his psychotic brother Dinh, and installing a puppet government friendly to the USA.

One of the many good reasons why someone like Vice-President Lyndon B Johnson might have wanted to bump off President Kennedy was his tentative support for the latter course: having opposed it, he was killed within days of the overthrow of Diem and his appalling wife, ‘Madame Nu’ – who was happily abroad on a shopping trip and thus survived the coup, and at the instigation of Henry Kissinger America massively ramped up its presence in Vietnam to ‘protect’ the good people against the bad guys, whichever side they were on.

Cowboy matinée diplomacy prevailed.

Between the two conflicting strategies, with a manic belief in success as measured by body-count/dollar and not (as might have been more sensible) in the growing hatred towards them of the ordinary people of both north and south, in intervening in support of the failing French instead of working with the local culture in seeking consensus, America managed to get trapped in a vicious postcolonial war against an implacable and largely invisible jungle enemy that ultimately cost it 58 thousand young servicemen and women’s lives; although not that of the unabashed draft-dodger, Trump, whose gung-ho militaristic patriotic pieties must surely stick in the craw of every veteran and decent human being watching this series.

Estimates of the civilian casualties of Macnamara’s and Kissinger’s failed policies in SE Asia between 1961 and 1974 run from two to three million human lives. Has no-one the slightest idea of the destructive power of the United States, its corrupt, murderous black heart?

As the last helicopters hauled the remaining US diplomats and military ‘advisors’ and corrupt local officials out of Saigon, the streets filling behind them with small but determined, Kalashnikov-toting men and women in black pajamas and flip-flop sandals cut from rubber tires, it must surely have occurred to someone, even the bullnosed, crop-headed, flag-salutin’ dinosaurs in the Pentagon, that you can’t win an asymmetrical war by turning your allies against yourself.

And yet here we are, still in Afghanistan, seemingly forever.

The lesson should have been, but wasn’t, learned 20 years earlier on the Korean peninsula, when it’s estimated the Americans killed one in five of the civilian population of the North, basically just peasants in wooden houses, women and children, under a massive aerial bombardment lasting for months, that used up 120 per cent of all the munitions expended on both the German and the Japanese in World War Two – except, of course, for the two A-bombs. And still they couldn’t win the war against Communism, which ground to a halt with an armistice that remains at the core of the problem today.

And now Mr Trump is threatening to complete the mission, to remedy the nuclear deficit and kill 100 per cent of the population of the North, and probably a very high percentage of the people of South Korea and Japan, southeast China, US allies, and US troops along with them, because his opposite number, the braggadocious and youthful but calculating and shrewd Kim Jong-un, has built his own A-bomb and taunts the US with insults the spoilt child Trump can’t rise above replying to with yet more (hopefully empty) threats to commit a genocidal war crime against a peasant population weakened by hunger and privations.

Anyone not an American can see, it is not an ideal situation but scarcely worth the kind of embarrassing exchange of playground ya-boos and threats we are witnessing between a 70-year-old bloviating ignoramus refusing to listen to wiser counsel, and a cunning little psychopath desperate to burnish his domestic image and reinforce his power base by reminding his people and the world of the genocidal depths America can sink to in pursuit of its muddled policy objectives.

Meanwhile in Raqqa, Syria, despairing survivors are watching on in horror as the American airforce daily reduces their city to uninhabitable rubble, in an ideologically motivated display of brutal and indiscriminate force against perhaps just 400 remaining ISIS fighters holding thousands of civilians hostage; heedless of the lives of the hostages: a kind of Waco on steroids. Casualties said to be in the ‘low hundreds’ (Britain has flown 1,500 sorties against ISIS positions and does not accept responsibility for even one civilian death, so precise are our precision-guided munitions) will in the course of time no doubt turn into thousands.

Mr Trump has reportedly again given US forces carte blanche to do whatever it takes; which means the deaths of many more ‘beautiful babies’ and others whose lives the shitocrat Trump sets at nought, as he pursues his amoral, selfish ‘America First’ policies (which essentially reduces to ‘my dumbfuck supporters and my bank balance first’, while – beyond their limited ability to know what is going on – he continues to machinate against them with his bestial tax breaks for the wealthiest because they are poor and losers) and to hell with the human race.

They just don’t care who they kill, these Americans, to impose freedom on the rest.

I hate to agree with Mr Kim, but they will surely one day answer to history.

*Roy Moore, a retired hanging judge. Mr Trump is now supporting Mr Moore in the Senate race, a senile Evangelical rectitudinarian as unhinged as he is, despite – or perhaps because of – numerous accusations of sexual impropriety, some with underage girls.

Birds of a feather, as they say.

Postscriptum

One internet news channel of fairly predictable reliability is carrying a story today, that Moore’s former army buddy gave a speech at which he let slip they’d visited a child brothel together in Saigon… but no matter, for the better news is that he’s lost the Alabama Senate race by a disputed but clear margin to an apparently normal man, a lawyer with a successful history of prosecuting race-hate crimes, despite securing a 53 per cent majority among white WOMEN.

Given that middle-class white women also voted pretty solidly for Trump, another alleged and entirely unproven rapist, wife-beater and self-confessed pussy-grabber, questions arise.

Do they not?

 

 

The BogPo – this week’s Post in the melting pot: One law for the movers and shakers… GW: gaily coloured sails out to sea, tacking to and fro… They think it’s all over…Who is Andrew Wheeler?

Great Gerald Ratner moments #27…

“I can’t control them,” Palihapitaya said of his former employer. “I can control my decision, which is that I don’t use that shit. I can control my kids’ decisions, which is that they’re not allowed to use that shit.” – Guardian, 12 Dec.

Chamath Palihapitiya, former vice-president for user growth (trans: marketing? Ed.) at Facebook, on social media.

 

One law for the movers and shakers

We read that Mr Paul Dacre has been awarded a 56% payrise… Or to put it another way, he has neatly sidestepped not receiving anything at all. The Guardian reports:

“Dacre was moved from DMGT’s annual bonus scheme to the LTIP in 2015 to make his remuneration “more directly linked to the overall success of the business”. His total remuneration of £2.37m – up 56% on £1.5m in 2016 when he had yet to receive his first LTIP payout – follows a 20% slump in DMGT’s share price after the company reported a sharp drop in annual profits and warned of a tough year ahead. … Overall, DMGT posted a 13% fall in adjusted profits before tax to £226m for the year to the end of September. Revenues were also down 13%,to £1.66bn.” – The Guardian

The abrasive Mail editor, 69, is also sitting on a £700 thousand annual pension entitlement. For comparison, your hardworking Uncle Bogler (68) receives roughly £14,000 a year before tax from his expansive pension pot; whilst nevertheless enjoying life to the full.

Meanwhile, the Mail continues its relentless campaign of outing greedy university Vice-Chancellors and their outrageous, unjustifiable salaries…

“A former university vice-chancellor was given £230,000 for his last month in the job after stepping down amid protests over outsourcing staff. Professor Michael Farthing was handed the golden payout by the University of Sussex ‘in lieu of notice’ after leaving his post in August 2016. … But the former boss only worked for the first month of that period, according to the records (sic) published by the Times (sic) Higher Education (THE).”

(btw, the ‘sic’s are just me feeling sick that some subeditor at the Mail is actually being paid for making these basic errors…)

“A university has been criticised for increasing the salary of its vice-chancellor by 55 per cent over six years, taking it £352,000 to a year (sic). Southampton University, currently led by Sir Christopher Snowden, was singled out by universities minister Jo Johnson as an example of the ‘endless upward ratchet’ of fat cat pay since tuition fees started.”

“Oxford University spent more than £100,000 on a makeover for its vice-chancellor’s luxury grace-and-favour home before she moved in last year. … Professor Louise Richardson moved into the Victorian mansion after an extensive refurbishment and building project. Despite earning £410,000 a year, including pension, she now lives there free and uses its rooms to hold events and host guests of the university. The home, bought by the university for £2 million in 2001, has a large period-style conservatory and an extensive walled and well-tended garden.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4783670/University-spends-100-000-vice-chancellor-s-home.html#ixzz50yQw9lLQ

But not perhaps so extensive or well-tended as Mr Dacre’s seventeen-thousand-acre country estate, Langwell, near Ullapool, in the wilds of Scotland. The difference being, it’s Prof. Richardson’s company house, which she has to open to guests, and give up when she leaves the job – Dacre owns his sprawling, grouse-rich latifundia outright, and any peasants cottaged thereon. We presume a park bench is also provided while he is working in London.

Not bad, for a man whose father sat out the war in New York as the ‘showbiz’ correspondent of Lord Beaverbrook’s formerly fascist-supporting Daily Express, yet who lambasts politicians’ fathers amongst many others for their lack of patriotism.

The seafront at Marseilles, Monday, as Ana whips up a storm across the whole of continental Europe with winds of hurricane force. (Aljazeera)

GW: gaily coloured sails out to sea, tacking to and fro

The weather chaos continues around the world…

USA: 11 Dec, after record snowfall – at 10 inches PER HOUR for a while – a low-pressure system moving rapidly off the North Pacific brings winds of up to 160 mph in the region of Fairbanks, Alaska – equivalent to a Cat 5 hurricane.

Temperatures north of the Canadian border continue at record highs for December, while in the southwestern US the hot, dry Santa Ana winds continue to flail Southern California, fanning the now enormous ‘Thomas’ fire, burning over an area near Los Angeles bigger than New York City. To the east, a chain of storms has brought heavy snowfall up from southern Texas all the way northward into New England.

Europe: High winds from Storm Ana have raised mountainous seas off of Portugal and into the Mediterranean; also through central Europe with winds gusting potentially to 2o0 mph over Austria, up into Poland (MrMBB333). Snow warnings are out in large areas of Spain. Heavy snowfalls were reported in northern Italy, northeastern France, Germany and Scandinavia.

The Mediano reservoir in the Pyrenees, on 19 November. Months without rain have resulted in widespread drought in Spain, with national reservoirs at only 37.3% of capacity, their lowest level in 22 years. (EPA/Javier Basco/BBC Weather). Now, it’s snowing…

UK: looking at the Accuweather map, 19.00 11 Dec, what the fuck is that out in the Atlantic? A massive storm system on the radar, barrelling eastwards toward the British Isles, yet not a word in the forecasts. This low was spotted on the map over the shoulder of a BBC weather forecaster leaving New England the night before last, but nothing was said.

The BogPo wonders conspiratorially, if the BBC weather service is constraining its forecasters to maintain seasonal good cheer and pretend that everything is normal? Except that bringing up the Wikipedia entry for ‘List of European windstorms’ over the centuries shows that we’re really getting off lightly these days: in 1362, a storm killed 25 thousand people in Britain and northern Europe.

Africa: President Kiir of South Sudan has declared a state of emergency and ordered the army to disarm cattle farmers involved in local grazing wars, as fighting spreads after years of drought.

 

They think it’s all over…

Earthquake monitor ‘Dutchsinse’ (Michael Janich) has identified from satellite imagery that among the wildfires affecting the state into this week, the extensive oil pumping operations in the hills north of Ventura, SoCal, may be on fire. Pressure to the wells may have increased as a result of an earthquake swarm currently, and a suspicion that at least two undersea volcanoes may be erupting simultaneously off the coast parallel with the pumping operations onland.

Anyone who thinks fracking is a strategically vital activity to develop independent UK gas supplies for the future and should automatically be permitted needs to watch the early-mid part of this little video clip from Janich, and you will understand what the geological threat is. They have dozens of earthquakes in the fracking zones of Colorado and Oklahoma and they very rarely happened before Harold Hamm and others started drilling the shit out of the bedrock 30 years ago. These thousands of drill-sites are also spewing out massive amounts of climate-altering methane, since Trump helpfully removed an Obama cap on emissions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHP26Nhaii0

 

Who is Andrew Wheeler?

Andrew Wheeler is a top executive at Washington lobbying firm, Faegre Baker Daniels (FBD). The account director working on the case of an American mining company, he has been lobbying the Trump administration to extend uranium mining and processing rights on public lands.

Bears Ears national monument lands, ripe for the taking.

The administration recently announced that it was scaling back protections to two public monuments by hundreds of thousands of acres, one of which is known for a geographical feature called Bears Ears. It’s territory sacred to the Navajo, some of whose famous surviving ‘Code talkers’ were glad-handed at the White House two weeks ago, a reception at which Trump embarrassed himself and the entire country by referring to his Congressional critic, Senator Elizabeth Warren, as ‘Pocohontas’.

But that’s just because he’s a casual racist orange slug, incapable of either empathy or, indeed, rational thought. He’s just learning on the job and will, the New York Times promises us, become more Presidential in time.

In a statement, Trump confusingly argued that by privatizing public lands, he was somehow making them more public. “Public lands”, he trumpeted, “will once again be for public use.” But nobody had said they weren’t!

President Obama’s extension of public rights to more monument lands had meant people were being denied their traditional rights over them, the President claimed, through undefined “abuses of the Antiquities Act”, in perhaps the most Orwellian example of Doublespeak that has yet dribbled like liquid shit from his demented old brain.

His internal affairs secretary, the much-travelled (privately, at taxpayers’ expense) Ryan Zinke backed him up: no, he lied brazenly, there are no mining interests at Bears Ears.

Like hell there aren’t. FBD was hired by a company called Energy Fuels Resources to get this deal stitched up. As they say on their website:

“Energy Fuels is the only conventional uranium producer in America. We take great pride in owning and operating facilities that produce 11.5 million pounds of uranium per year – and we have the capability to scale-up those operations as uranium prices rise in the coming years.”

Mr Zinke does have a point: Energy Fuels is having to scale-back production at present, owing to the low world price of uranium. However there are obvious advantages in holding land concessions for future exploitation; while Mr Trump’s hell-for-leather, pointless willy-bragging expansion policy for nuclear weapons will no doubt benefit the share price of the Energy Fuels monopoly.

His beneficent attitude towards the company no doubt also played into his recent bizarre and spurious attacks on Hillary Clinton over the so-called ‘Uraniumgate’ affair, when she was accused of betraying the US uranium industry to… the Russians. Which the facts suggest she really didn’t.

So who made up the story?

Mr Wheeler’s persuasive lobbying style obviously appealed to Trump, as he has nominated him to the post of Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, working to the profoundly corrupt energy corporations shill and unqualified climate-change denier, Scott Pruitt. His nomination is awaiting Senate confirmation.

Yet another example of Trump ‘draining the swamp’, no doubt. Better have these dreadful people inside the tent after all, is the logic.

As long as they bring their money.

Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3W78oocRjc, and The Washington Post.

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

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

 

When thieves fall out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A “kill the pigs” fantasia

I’ve just watched the most horrifying video.

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

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

And the policeman shoots him five times. Dead.

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

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

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

Try explaining that to the suspect’s two children.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deep breath.

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

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

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

Greatness is as greatness does.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, Maggie, fuck that.

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

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

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

Tell it to Daniel Shaver’s kids.

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

x

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wunderground/ Meteoalarm/ Boglington Post

 

Snookerballs

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

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

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

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

The BogPo: Dreamtime… The New Minister and the Daily Mail… Privilege… Insanity… Peace on Earth, from an unlikely quarter… GW: chestnuts nipping at your nose

Dreamtime…

“Dear Donald,

“Thank you so much for your helpful Tweet, which I eventually received via some poor lady in Ramsgate with the same name.

“You probably can’t remember who I am, it’s been several months after all, but before I was dragged from a cupboard at the Home Office and universally hailed as the new Prime Minister by a somewhat more constitutional process, I might remark, than your own, I did spend six years in charge of anti-terrorist operations in the UK. I do know something about it.

“For instance, I brought in some of the most oppressive surveillance laws, deradicalization programs, border controls and onerous immigration rules anywhere in the Western world, that make yours look like a MacDonald’s drive-thru.

“As a clergyman’s daughter, I even tried to deport a 92-year-old, insufficiently well-documented blind woman to South Africa, a country where she didn’t know anyone at all. Sadly, she was saved on the runway by a 300,000-signature petition… It’s true, we’re going soft. Perhaps we could find a job for your friend, Mr Arpaio?

And, of course, I authorized GCHQ surveillance on several of your campaign team and their friends in the Kremlin. Tsk, tsk, Donald. What were you thinking?

“Anyway, apart from getting your stupid Muslim ban overturned three times, a few pathetic tweets, what have you ever done to combat terrorism? Apart from making things a lot worse bombing innocent people with your invisible planes, and imagining Jerusalem is the capital of Israel? How many Nazi mass-shootings have you celebrated since yesterday, you ignorant old sack of composting cheeseburger?

“Fuck you.

“Regards, Theresa (you remember, the lady with the shoes…? And no, I don’t love you, Donald. I never did.)

(PS, the visit’s off. Security… Buy your own sodding carriage!)”

 

The New Minister and the Daily Mail

“Britons who have fought for Islamic State abroad should be hunted down and killed to ensure they never return to the UK, the (recently appointed) defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said. In the strongest remarks yet from a senior cabinet minister, Williamson suggested there was deliberate targeting of British jihadists by the armed forces fighting Isis as the group retreats in Syria and Iraq. (He) told the Daily Mail: “A dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain.”

Welcome to the post-Trump world. Nasty, brutish and short, hopefully.

IF … the BogPo were to suggest that Conservative ministers should be hunted down and killed to ensure half a million more British children aren’t plunged into poverty next year and their parents driven to suicide or starved out of their homes by heartless benefit cuts and punitive outsourced agency regimes, and disabled workers deprived of additional help to get to work because, as the Conservative chancellor Mr Hammond believes, they are a drag on productivity; to provide adequate resources to many vital services such as the police, and to ensure that the elderly aren’t turfed out of their closing or unaffordable care homes; to repair the pointless rift with the EU that – as negotiations wear on fruitlessly and the Irish panic and senior Conservative ministers reveal themselves to be incompetent, clueless lunatics, plotters and traitors – will only worsen economic prospects for millions over the next twenty years…

If the BogPo were to advocate stringing those Conservative ministers up on lamp-posts all along Whitehall, which he doesn’t, because he is a believer in non-violence, I guess the security forces would be beating down his door anyday soon, so he won’t be suggesting that at all. He merely uses it as an illustration, a comparative allegory to highlight the enormity of the new Defence Secretary ‘s jéjune remarks to the Daily Mail, where he will no doubt have found a willing and agreeable readership of senescent, atavistic baboons to cheer him on, without even trying.

I don’t suppose he’d say the same to The Guardian, so it’s just cheap tricks and if he’s going to be a proper, responsible politician when he grows up, he’ll hopefully know better.

Instead, the BogPo will try to point out that extrajudicial killing, whoever it is done by and whyever it is done, is a crime in international law, and this little proto-fascist shitbrains, this grossly irresponsible, stupid Williamson office pot-plant, this security risk should be fired forthwith lest he incur an embarrassing prosecution in the International Court as an accessory during, before and after the fact of what is, technically, and regardless of who it is done to, or what the individual may have done, murder.

Just sayin’.

That, as British citizens, even ISIS dumbfucks have a right to a fair trial, to show we are better than they are, okay?

Oh, and by the way, this Williamson bloke needs to have a word with whoever it was, it may have been us or perhaps the Americans, who negotiated the free passage to safety in and beyond Idlib of 400 ISIS jihadis and their families observed leaving Raqqa in convoy as the city fell to the Syrian army and other helpful allied groups.

I mean, murdering them after that would be the equivalent of a country-house grouse shoot, no?

x

Privilege

“British novelist”, Zia Haider Rahman has published just the one novel, In the Light of What We Know. He is said currently to be working on a second, modestly entitled “Creation”. Yet since his only book appeared to critical acclaim in 2014 he has been laden with international honours:

In August 2015, Rahman was awarded the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Britain’s oldest literary prize. In 2016 he was the recipient of the inaugural International Ranald McDonald prize.

Rahman has been appointed to a Radcliffe Fellowship for 2017-18 at Harvard University, and to a 2018 Director’s Visitorship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Rahman is also an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow 2017 at New America, Washington DC.

He was awarded the Michael & Nina Sundell and the James Silberman & Selma Shapiro Fellowships at Yaddo in 2017. (Where that? Ed.) Rahman is also a Senior Fellow at the Bruno Kreisky Forum, Vienna.

Rahman joined Maureen Freely and Antonia Fraser, Vicky Featherstone and Peter Stothard as a judge of the 2016 PEN Pinter Prize which was established in 2009 by English PEN in memory of Nobel Laureate playwright and poet Harold Pinter.

His Wikipedia entry continues with a brief but nonetheless remarkable biography of a pathos to rival that of Jesus of Nazareth:

Rahman was born in rural Bangladesh. … His family moved to the UK when Rahman was small, where they were squatters in a derelict building before being moved to a council estate. His father was a bus conductor and waiter and his mother a seamstress. Rahman attended a comprehensive school. In an interview with Guernica, he remarked that he “grew up in poverty, in some of the worst conditions in a developed economy.”

So far, so unpromising. Until, somehow….

Rahman took a first class honours degree from Balliol College, Oxford, with further studies at the Maximilianeum and Munich, Cambridge and Yale universities. He worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs in New York before practising as a corporate lawyer and then as an international human rights lawyer focusing on corruption. He has also worked as an anti-corruption activist for Transparency International. – Wikipedia

Rahman appeared on BBC Radio 4’s A Point of View this morning, giving a ten-minute talk bemoaning the dreadful lack of diversity in British institutions.

You say it, I won’t.

 

“The music industry is perhaps more prone than most to cultural stereotyping, as it makes its profits from inventing cultural stereotypes.”

Insanity…

BBC music presenter Reggie Yates, a person hitherto unknown to the BogPo, has reportedly been forced to step down from his job presenting this year’s Top of the Pops “holiday special” shows because he hasn’t caused enormous offence to the entire J(can’t say it) community, at least not until the story was publicized via the BBC’s own news services, thus causing the previously unnoticed offence of which he has been accused.

Interviewed in an online podcast of a specialized nature, he gave an opinion, the wrong one apparently, in defence of Independent recording artists preferring to retain their artistic integrity, that music industry management is too dominated by “fat J***** guys” and that black musicians were insufficiently represented at the highest administrative levels, where decisions are made regarding promotions and recording contracts and that sort of thing.

He was, in short, criticising the music business’ lack of cultural DIVERSITY – diversity these days being, as we know, a major management preoccupation and absorber of much licence-payer money currently of… the BBC. And, possibly, drawing attention to the limited musical compass and innate conservatism of the small group of powerful individuals he mentioned, who undoubtedly exist.

(Several years ago I applied for a very casual, very lowly part-time job as the guy who goes round to unlock our local automated BBC studio for programme guests arriving to be interviewed on breakfast shows around the country, settles them in and makes them a cup of coffee. One of the first questions I was asked was, what would I do to maintain diversity within the BBC? I replied that it probably depended on who showed up… I didn’t get the job.)

In that sense, he is no more antisemitic or fattist than, say, Sir Lenny Henry, the honoured actor and comedian who most loudly protests minority underrepresentation in the media, despite the enormous, obvious and welcome influx of minority broadcasters, writers, actors and producers in recent years, and the fact that his entire successful career has been based on his acceptance as a minority performer; or similarly, as mentioned above, the much-feted single-novelist and Balliol graduate, Mr Zia Rahman.

Both have been critical of middle-class, middle-aged white men and their dominance of our cultural institutions. As a middle-class, middle-aged white man, your Uncle Bogler is deeply offended. Honestly. These wicked stereotypers must resign their influential positions immediately!

Now, the BogPo is not certain if Mr Yates was stereotyping the music industry, fat people or J-words. Probably all three, or none. The music industry is perhaps more prone than most to cultural stereotyping, as it makes its profits from inventing cultural stereotypes. Perhaps he was just making a valid observation, albeit in rather loose terms he thought his eclectic audience might readily understand.

The point of stereotypes being that they can be useful shorthand when promoting understanding. People can find them endearing: we may recall Beattie, the overfond J***** mother in the BT ads, played by Maureen Lipman. I don’t recall anyone being fired?

All we can say is, Mr Yates seems to know the music business inside-out, it’s his job, and he has a perfect right to make observations on it, in what was once a free country but is fast becoming an authoritarian dictatorship of whingeing special-interest groups seeking to empower themselves exclusively through subordinating the common language to their special causes.

Where genuine discrimination exists, let it be stamped out. If what Yates says is not true, then let the muscular Scottish Presbyterians of music industry management, the flaky Buddhists, the Yoga-mat housewives, the grouchy, anorexic teenagers, the venal, fat-cat politicians and the morose, alcoholic detectives of the music business come forth and put their case for less stereotypical representation of their roles in the media. Let the fat J***** guys – statistically, there must be some – step up to defend their position, if they can. They are welcome to do so.

The hypocrisy of the BBC is breathtaking. It never ceases to take the breath of the BogPo, anyway. Their desperate need not to cause anyone offence, to offer up such anodyne content as to leave the viewers and listeners in a state of suburban catatonia, borders on institutional insanity as it so clearly conflicts with the desire of their contributors to shake things up a bit. It must be becoming an impossible content platform for creatives to work in.

There is, as far as we can see, frankly, no more ‘stereotyping’ involved in what might be a perfectly accurate and not very offensive or, indeed, original observation on the management of the music business than in a thousand and one dramatic characters created for BBC dramas, bit-parts of what you might describe as the ‘black’ variety, Afro-Caribbean or Indian Subcontinental; or represented in the news: gangsters, baristas, indigents, migrants, losers, DJs, drug-addicts, rapists, rappers, car-thieves, famine victims… piccaninnies with watermelon smiles (©B. deF. Johnson, 2015).

Mr Yates is, we can be sure of it, perfectly accustomed to feeling himself pigeonholed by the BBC and other producers in any one or all of a painfully limited list of stereotypes, on account of the colour of his skin. We might wonder what instant conclusions the J***** community might jump to, when confronted with a shwartze on their TV screen? We all discriminate, we all rush to judgement, draw immediate conclusions based on first impressions. It’s human nature; there are no special cases.

We all carry around in our heads, simple ideas and images enabling us to make more rapid sense of the world; many based on prior cultural assumptions and influences. For instance, we haven’t yet stopped excoriating the stereotypical sexual incontinence of fat J***** Hollywood moguls, as exemplified by Mr Harvey Weinstein.

In the opinion of the BogPo this is, sadly, yet another instance of the flabby-faced moral cowards at the BBC cravenly submitting to the powerful J***** lobby, even before the I****** ambassador has personally weighed in yet again to protest the disgraceful antisemitism of British institutions, as is his wont; usually in defence, let it be said, of the indefensible.

(To whom, in passing, the BogPo would like to wish a Merry Christmas, and a just fuckoff New Year, Mr Regev.)

 

Peace on Earth… from an unlikely quarter

“We want peace, and we will not follow government orders – we’re tired of this,” said the spokesman outside the national police headquarters. “We aren’t with a political ideology. We can’t keep confronting people, and we don’t want to repress and violate the rights of the Honduran people.” – Guardian, 5 Dec.

Thank God, at last!

The BogPo has been asking for some time in the light of the troubles in Venezuela, why it is that national police forces are always so willing to act against their own personal and family interests by putting on menacing protective gear looking like extras from a Star Wars movie and going on the streets to beat up, roughly detain for torture, or even kill mostly peaceful protestors.

Why it never seems to occur to them that those people like themselves are only there marching because they want a better life for everyone – including, presumably, the police and their families.

Why they seem so happy to prop-up corrupt and incompetent dictators, enact repressive measures and clamp down on reporting as the currency inflates and the supermarket shelves empty of food and toilet rolls; knowing, surely, that all such regimes are ultimately doomed to fail?

‘Twas ever thus.

We have seen it happen right across South America, the Arab world, at the grotesque G20 summits – and even in North America, where labor unionists, civil rights protestors and others exercising their First Amendment right to protest the government of the day have met with unceasingly enthusiastic, mindless brutality over the years at the hands and billy-clubs and teargas and guns of thuggish government agents and private business armies of hired goons.

And now the police in Tegucigalpa are refusing to leave barracks as the businessmen’s government of Juan Orlando Hernandez, backed of course by the US State department and the CIA, struggles to enforce its blatantly rigged election victory over the mildly leftwing opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla, whose majority share of the vote mysteriously disappeared before the final count.

While “Hernandez is a close ally of the United States and his government has closely co-operated with Washington on border security, counternarcotics operations and migration policy” – to the extent that Washington chucks millions of dollars at him, it is widely reported that the Hernandez government is profiting greatly from the drugs trade. There is no reason, either, to suspect that a Nasralla government would not continue co-operation with the US on security and border issues.

“…a member of the Cobras anti-riot squad said: “This is not a strike, this not about salaries or money. It’s that we have family. We are tired. And our job is to give peace and security to the Honduran people, not repress them. We want all Hondurans to be safe.”

Alleluja, someone has finally seen the light.

Of course, it won’t stay shining for long, the vile Trump regime will see to that. But what if rebellion were to spread this Christmas to become a worldwide movement against the thugs, the charlatans and the drug-money-fuelled criminal scum, to make security forces just that – security forces, protective of the people, rather than mere instruments of corrupt, self-interested repression?

Just askin’.

 

Fascism corner:

“The Israeli military reported that at least three projectiles were fired at its territory Thursday from Gaza but that two fell short and the third caused no damage. In response, Israeli jets and tanks struck two Hamas military sites in Gaza, the Israeli army said in a statement. The army ‘holds Hamas responsible for hostile activity . . . against Israel from the Gaza Strip,’ the statement said.” – Guardian

The BogPo holds the witless orange pig Trump responsible for destabilizing the peace process in the Middle East merely to appease his more rabid religious dumbfucks. The BogPo holds the corrupt Binyamin Netanyahu responsible for crimes against humanity and the illegal detention and wilful mistreatment of 1.2 million Palestinians.

Impeach them both, now.

x

GW: chestnuts nipping at your nose

USA: “A swath of high-impact snowfall—in some places, among the heaviest ever observed—made its way from South Texas to Atlanta on Friday, en route to the big cities of the Northeast U.S. (see below). Meanwhile, massive wildfires continued to scorch the landscape of Southern California, raging at unprecedented scope for December. … With no sign of any meaningful rains for Southern California over the next two weeks, it is quite possible that some of this week’s wildfires will burn until Christmas and beyond. … (Hurricane) Harvey’s 60 inches of rain near Port Arthur were the greatest on record for any storm in U.S. recorded history. Despite this unprecedented deluge, portions of the (Texas) region that received 20+ inches of rain are now in drought.” – Wunderground

“California’s coastal cities and mountains are on high alert this week, as an unusually (late) prolonged bout of (bone-dry) Santa Ana winds blowing toward the coast will lead to a multi-day period of extremely dangerous fire weather.” Rain in SoCal has been almost non-existent this autumn, with 30-year record low rainfall around San Diego of just 0.2mm since 1 October.

An entire neighborhood was destroyed in Santa Rosa on October 20. 40 died.
( Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

“27,000 residents forced to flee (5 Dec) the cities of Ventura and Santa Paula, 70 miles (115 km) north of Los Angeles. Firefighters warned the fire was moving so fast they were unable to contain it. Fanned by 70 mph winds, the fire swept through 31,000 acres (12,500 hectares) in a matter of hours.” An elderly woman was found dead in her car. (edited from reports).

Early winter blizzards closed schools and delayed flights in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Extensive heavy snow warnings are out in the midwest. Winter Storm Benji threatens to blanket the entire east coast with 4-in or more snow.

Canada: Daytime temperatures in Edmonton, Alberta have been up to 10 deg. C (50F) above normal for the time of year.

Taiwan: experts are consulting the record books over a rainbow that hung over the city of Taipei for 9 hours.

Solomon Islands: “Hundreds of people have been forced to leave their homes on Guadalcanal after rivers overflowed on 05 Dec. Heavy rain has affected the country over the last few days. In a 24 hour period between 04 and 05 December, 97 mm of rain fell in Honiara, the capital.”

Brazil: Rio Casca underwater (Dec 4).

Panama: Panama City underwater (Dec 2).

UK: Storm Caroline hit the north of Britain this week, with forecast winds of up to 90mph (135kph) prompting a severe Amber weather warning for northern Scotland. Oil rigs were being evacuated in advance of 15m (48ft) waves, and schools and bridges closed. A gust of 116 mph was recorded in the Cairngorms. It’s only the third named storm of the autumn so far. Snow and plummeting temperatures were forecast to affect the northwest of the country  by Friday.

France: heavy snowfall blocks roads in the south-east of the country.

Albania: five days after torrential rain caused extensive flooding, the country’s government has called for international aid, “Damage assessments suggest that more than 15,000 hectares have been flooded and the current assessment indicates the following damage: 4,715 buildings, 41 businesses, 127 road sections, 177 schools, 78 bridges, 30 water supply stations, 11 dams, 26 electrical stations, 29 dikes and one water pumping station.” Quite a Christmas list….

BBC News/ Wunderground/ Floodlist/Neven1 Arctic Sea Ice blog, PIOMAS/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #85