New Boggy-thing: The party that delivers… Granny’s World… After Covid: welcome to shithole Britain….

Robert Jenrick

Meet Robert Jenrick, the well-stuffed Face, fuck-you attitude and weak chin of modern Conservatism.

By the time you read this, the erstwhile Housing Minister might have been sent packing to the back-benches and be lost somewhere among the dodgy Zoom thumbnails of shuffling, coughing, technologically-challenged Parliamentary colleagues not privileged to be among the 50 or however many are physically allowed into the chamber at one time.

But I doubt it.

Conservative MPs, by and large, are used to social distancing. They have very little to do with the likes of you and me. It’s said, in London you are never more than six feet away from a rat. It’s the same for the Conservative party.

First, Mr Jenrick was caught breaking the lockdown rules. They didn’t apply to him, for look, he drove just the two-times on mercy missions to deliver desperately needed food parcels and medicine to his humble, starving old parents at their country hovel, beyond the reach of Ocado and the Royal Mail. If posties could go on delivering, why not Tory MPs? It’s the party that delivers.

I seem to recall an old Peter Sellers sketch in which the village squire altruistically has his estate manager take “a basket of rotten apples” to one of his grovelling old, near-feudal tenants. It may have been a few miles further from some posh part of town than the Covid guidelines recommended, but it was understandable.

Baris Johnson duly understood it.

Next, the story emerged that, a little while earlier, before 87% of British working mums agreed that life was better on lockdown (Bright Horizons survey), Mr Jenrick had found himself surprised to be seated at a Tory fundraiser next to the former proprietor of the popular Asian Babes magazine, Mr Richard Desmond, who furtively pulled out his smartphone below the table and muttered “‘ere, ‘ave a butcher’s at this!” Or something like.

To Mr Jenrick’s obvious relief, it was not the background accompaniment to a Thai massage but a 360-degree estate agent’s virtual tour of a putative £1bn housing and shopping development, for which permission had been refused by the local authority as being completely out of scale with the area’s built environment and out of touch with its social values.

Desmond explained, the “Marxists” on the Labour council had succeeded in getting Parliamentary approval to surcharge developers to enable them to compensate cash-strapped authorities for the use of their scarce space to warehouse desperate Yuppies by building much-needed facilities for the local community. Such a charge – forty million large – would fall due imminently unless Mr Jenrick used his veto to overrule the Smellysocks and push the project through instanter.

Which he duly did, only as soon as the possibly compromising nature of the decision was pointed out to him, in a cloud of burning rubber he pulled a handbrake turn. (Actually no, it seems civil servants were imploring him for weeks to reconsider.) All the same, a £12 thousand donation to party funds followed.

Emails later released to exonerate himself of allegations of undue influence reveal that Mr Jenrick employs at least one SPAD who had no idea Desmond was no longer the influential proprietor of Express newspapers and so had urged him to meet. There was also a curious ambiguity in another email where Jenrick makes it clear that he thinks their relationship should remain at arms’ length as it might otherwise seem he was doing favors for the Tory donor.

Indeed, it might.

Photographed at some event with his arm matily around Desmond, Baris had little choice but to immediately understand the situation and once more loyally stood by his minister. He has not yet plumbed the depths of mendacity that would allow him, Trump-style, to brazenly declare that he had no idea who the guy was, many people like to be photographed with him.

Only now, opposition politicians are asking questions about Mr Jenrick having had meetings going even further back in time with a “family friend”, the billionaire Israeli oligarch Idan Ofer, at a time when as a secretary to the Treasury Jenrick was involved in deciding on a funding application for a rival company’s mining project.

“Ofer told the Guardian he had met Jenrick to discuss the ‘post-Brexit business climate’*. He said he could not recall if they had talked about the Sirius Minerals mining project, but that it would have been ‘touched on only briefly’ if so.”

Ofer’s innocent, almost seraphic account differs somewhat from Jenrick’s, who recalled that the meeting had been about electric vehicle charging points, on which Mr Ofer had lots of useful expertise to, er, offer. (Like knowing where one is? Ed.)

In the event, six months after being advised to recuse himself from the matter, although he hadn’t, having left the Treasury, and a meager £10 thousand donation to Party funds from an Ofer subsidiary later, the mining company, Sirius Minerals’ funding application was turned down by Liz Truss, now Business Secretary in charge of trade negotiations with the US, God help us, and the bereft company was bought for a song by the giant Anglo-American Mining conglomerate, many small shareholders losing almost everything.

Shadow Communities Secretary, Steve Reed is hoping to force Jenrick to explain his actions to Parliament, “because the public are now worried that a new era of Tory sleaze has begun in earnest.”

Wot, we worry? Not a chance, mate! We’re off to the beach….

And as for Baris, well, he’s bound to understand.

(Reporting: Guardian)

*(Possibly 3 degrees warmer by 2030? Ed.)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, held a video conference with the Minister of Health and other staff presenting reports on measures taken to combat the spread of coronavirus and new recommendations. Credit: AY-COLLECTION/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock (10583521b)

“And to guard against impure thoughts at night, we wear the mask like so…”

Granny’s World

As expected, May was the hottest May on record globally, and the sunniest ever in the UK. “Oh, but you can’t tell it’s global warming from one event, dribble-wibble” – except that the highest temperature anomalies contributing to the overall increase were at both the North and South poles, where temperatures were on average 10C above normal. The Czech Republic is suffering its worst drought recorded in the past 500 years. (BBC Weather)

Is the mainstream media finally waking up to the horrors unfolding all around us? Today’s WaPo Worldview release is headed “The World’s Climate Catastrophe Worsens Amid the Pandemic” and, while committing the usual journalistic error of conflating atmospheric CO2 with traffic pollution – what do these poorly paid scribblers understand? – Ishaan Tharoor does a pretty good job of drawing together scientists’ increasing alarm over global heating, Arctic wildfires, waves of popular unrest and the crisis of food insecurity affecting millions of people, exacerbated as it is by the emergence of vast swarms of hungry locusts encouraged by warmer, wetter conditions in many parts of the world.

India: Getting on for 1.5 million people are affected by floods in Assam currently, with over 25 thousand displaced to shelters. (Floodlist).

More than 100 people have been killed by dozens of lightning strikes across two northern states in recent days, officials say. The disaster management team in Bihar said 83 were killed, while another 20 were in hospital with injuries. At least 20 more people are reported dead in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. Since 2005, on average, 2 thousand people in India have been killed every year by lightning. The high numbers of outdoor workers and small farmers seems to be the reason. (BBC Weather)

“Rivers are above danger levels in 14 locations across Bangladesh, reports Floodlist, as of 30 June. Local media report thousands of people are marooned or displaced, their homes and land submerged.”

China: “More flooding has affected parts of Sichuan province, southwestern China, leaving over 20 people dead or missing. Over 7 thousand have been evacuated. 3 people have died in flash floods in Yunnan province, 30 June, after 224 mm rain fell in 24 hours.

Brazil: “At least 9 people died after a cyclone swept through parts of southern Brazil on 30 June. Winds of over 120 km/h were reported in the state of Santa Catarina. The states of Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná were also badly affected and rivers are close to flood level. A storm surge has prompted warnings for coastal flooding. Over a million people are without electricity.” (Floodlist)

A satellite detected a single lightning bolt over Brazil more than 700 miles in length during a storm last week – believed to be a world record. In Argentina, a bolt of lightning set another record by persisting for 16.7 seconds. (Severe-weather.eu)

USA: More heat is continuing for the midwest. “100 F heat (46 C) will focus from West Texas to the Nebraska Panhandle on Monday, before shifting slightly eastward toward Wichita, Kansas, and Oklahoma City during Tuesday and Wednesday. This would be the first time either city has hit the century mark this year, and Oklahoma City may even come close to Wednesday’s daily record of 103 F set in 1917.” (AccuWeather)

Residents of Lehi in Utah were evacuated after a firework set off a 200-acre blaze at the weekend. Over 1 million acres in the southwest have burned already this month thanks to hot, dessicating winds. AccuWeather says Sacramento, Cal., topped 100 F (38 C) three times last week, and Phoenix reached at least 110 degrees (42 C) for four days in a row.” Conditions have been described as “dismal”.

  • 1 person died driving into a flooded ditch as flash floods raced through Baldwin, Wisconsin and other parts of St Croix county on 29 June after 9 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. (Floodlist)
  • Miami, Florida had its warmest week ever, with the mean 7-day temperature (both by day and night) averaging 88.1 F, 31.1 C. The previous seven-day record was 87.8 F, set last year also in the final week of June. The high on 30 June was 98 F, 36.6 C, 3 F higher than the previous 30 June record set in 2015 and the 2nd hottest day in the city’s history (100F, 1942). (AccuWeather)

Caribbean: A second wave has been reported. Not Covey, a second “Godzilla” dust cloud is approaching across the Atlantic from the Sahara, over the West Indies. N2.5 particles from the first wave are already affecting air quality in the Gulf, across the southern states of the US and over the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. “(This) weather pattern will persist for a few days, which will lock the dust cloud over the southern states. The dust cloud will finally start moving back out into the Atlantic on Monday, leaving Florida as the last state affected by the dust.” It will then collide with the second wave moving in. (Accuweather)

Spain: temperatures in the south around Cordoba were once again touching 40 deg C, 104 F on 28 June. (Severe-weather.eu)

Poland: “About 400 people were evacuated from their homes in south eastern Poland after flooding that began 27 June during a powerful storm. Jasło in Podkarpackie Voivodeship (province) recorded 100.4 mm of rain in 5 hours.” (Floodlist)

Russia: the widely reported record temperature at Verkhoyansk, north of the Arctic circle, that hit 100 degrees F, 38 C just over a week ago, a 1-in-500 thousand year event, conceals a more disturbing record. The temperature at ground level, where lies the permafrost layer, reached 113 F, 45 C in places the same day.

Severe-weather.eu reports, 2 July, a huge smoke cloud is drifting towards Canada and the northern US as wildfires in Siberia, where the hot weather is continuing, reach 3 million acres (1.2m Ha) in extent. “The average temperature in Siberia was nearly 10 °C above normal for the first five months of 2020.” A satellite scan shows land temperature over the north of Siberia at around 40 deg. C.

Please understand that these measurements are unprecedented and utterly terrifying.

It was reported too that the huge oil spill at Norilsk, caused by the collapse of a bund wall as the frozen ground beneath melted out, has already reached the shallow waters of the East Siberian Arctic shelf. Peat fires in the tundra that had been smoldering all winter have reignited, Siberian fires emitting as much CO2 in just the last 18 months – 14.5 million tonnes this June alone – as the region has produced over the last 16 years (citing tweet from climatologist Dr Thomas Smith).

Tunnel….

Economy: Warming to his theme of the incipient collapse of capitalism, Prof Richard Wolff reports, almost 50 per cent of all US commercial enterprises were unable to meet their rental payments in April and May, triggering a cascade of litigation. “This is the kind of thing that happens when empires fall apart,” he told Thom Hartmann.

Democracy: “Hundreds of thousands” of postal voters in Georgia, according to journalist Greg Palast, are in danger of losing their vote as the prepaid mail-in envelopes they’ve been sent have glued themselves down in the mail under hot, humid weather conditions. Opening – tampering with – the envelope to put in your ballot or substituting it with an unauthorized envelope is a federal offense.

Globalism in action: Listeners tuning Monday to the inaugural broadcast of Rupert Murdoch’s new all-speech station, Times Radio, with its Baris Johnson feature interview, were misdirected all over the place by their little Alexa devices. Some to a station called “X Radio” – times, geddit? – but many more to Times Radio in Malawi, which sounds much more interesting, free of Brexit propaganda, and also has bouncy music.

 

After Covid…

Hundreds of tonnes of single-use plastics containers; “thousands” of empty nitrous oxide canisters; piles of human excrement were among the leftovers of the great end-of-lockdown stampedes that have left Britain’s parks and beaches a testament to the disgusting British public at their selfish and self-indulgent, abusive worst.

Local authority essential workers are dreading 4 July, reports the Guardian Green Light, “Super Saturday”, when, encouraged by that oafish troll, Baris Johnson, pubs will reopen and alfresco drinkers spill out into the world anew, adding their careless detritus to the burden of those tasked with cleaning up after them.

With no mention of any ‘Green New Deal’, or restoration of the near-dead public sector, Johnson has announced a fatuous post-Covid recovery policy to build, build, build more hospitals, schools and roads. No mention either of spending the money instead on securing the jobs people are already losing by the hundreds of thousands.

People with no construction industry experience.

Does he seriously believe that what the public will thank him for are more hospitals with unused beds we can’t staff, more schools that won’t have enough pupils to pay for the teachers, and more roads to spaff brain-damaging, climate-baking carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere? When our existing road network is falling apart?

Has catching Covid mulched his brain? This is not the early 1960s! We have ‘had it so good’, but seemingly not any longer. And he ain’t Franklin Roosevelt, the president he seemed to be suggesting he is emulating by proposing all this wasteful public spending on unrealistic and unneeded pipe dreams.

Pundits are already shredding his proposals, as the tiny £5 billion he is offering for all these recycled presents is already budgeted for. It’s history repeating as farce.

Welcome to the new, greener world that awaits us as the tide of the pandemic recedes (not that, at this rate, it ever will). Welcome to shithole Britain.

And pray for rain.

Granny’s World… What will a post-Covid world look like?… Corona v. Us… Korruption Korner… Tailpipe.

People enjoy the hot weather by Three Shires Head on the River Dane, where Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet

“It’s nicer than I thought, being dead.” (PA)

24 June, the UK enjoys its closest day of the year so far, at a humid 33 C, 91 F. At the behest of the pub trade, the Government reduces the “safe” distancing limit to “1 metre – plus”, whatever that means. Big thunderstorms will bubble up on Thursday. (BBC)

QotW

“Many of us are frequent fliers, we drive long distances in big cars, buy a lot of equipment, have fridge-freezers the size of a small terrace house – every facet of our lives, although normalised by us, is central to our nation’s high emissions. But the models are unwilling to accept this – preferring to pass the buck onto our children in the form of future technical silver bullets.”

Professor Kevin Anderson, highly-paid academic and world-leading climate scientist beginning to despair, on why the UK’s Committee on Climate Change is going to miss its 2050 target for carbon reduction as it is too pally with politicians and not listening to scientists; while the overconsuming wealthy responsible for 1/3rd of emissions are blaming the rest of us.

Granny’s World

Caribbean: An enormous plume of dust 3 km deep now stretches 4,000 miles from the Sahara desert of North Africa across the Atlantic to Florida, blackening the skies over barely visible Caribbean island paradises where the pollution is posing a serious health risk and people with asthma and other conditions are being urged to remain indoors, possibly for many days.

Although such dust storms are not uncommon, whipped up by storms over the desert region, often moving northwards over Europe, this year’s Saharan Air Layer heading westwards has been dubbed the “Godzilla dust cloud”, described by one AccuWeather meteorologist as “possibly the most significant extreme weather event of the past 50 years”.

The bad news for Florida, apart from the enormous spike in Covid cases governor Ron de Santis has admitted was his mistake in opening up too soon, is that the reddish color of the dust indicates the amount of iron contained in it. When this iron is deposited over a large body of warm water, it promotes the growth of algal blooms, such as have been plaguing the sunshine state’s coast and decimating marine life in recent years.

The cloud is in two main parts, one affecting the Caribbean islands and Puerto Rico, the other moving further south across the Gulf of Mexico towards Yucatan. Sadly, it’s not just a matter of colorful sunsets: the cloud is so thick you can’t even see the sun. “The (northerly) system is forecast to lift out to the northeast between Thursday and Friday, opening the door for more concentrated dust to fill the skies over East Texas Friday or Friday night into Saturday. Like it has in the Caribbean, the dust is expected to bring reduced visibility and poor air quality from eastern Texas to Louisiana.”

Only, more of that persistent Gulf rain is expected to come to the aid of Texans for a time midweek. There, Accuweather comments, hospitals are already at breaking point with respiratory cases.

China: “The flood situation has worsened in Guijou, southwest China, with 74,000 people now affected in 12 counties or cities. 3 fatalities were previously reported. Heavy rain in the area has increased river levels: on 22 June, the Qijiang river in Jiangjin  jumped more than 5 meters above flood level. Between 40,000 and 100,000 people have been displaced across Chongqing.” (Floodlist)

Ukraine: Floodllst reports, 3 people have died in flooding. Overflowing rivers have caused severe damage in western areas after heavy rain over the last few days, destroying bridges and roads. Power lines have been damaged, as have hundreds of homes.

Turkey: At least 1 person was killed and 8 others injured after severe weather in Istanbul on 23 June. Torrential rain caused flash flooding in the city, inundating streets and causing traffic problems. Strong winds including a rare tornado also damaged roofs of buildings and brought down trees and power lines, interrupting power supply in some areas. (Floodlist)

Bolivia: “Hours of heavy rain from 21 June caused flooding in Santa Cruz City. 2 people have died, as at least 175mm of rain fell in 11 hours. Other reports suggested over 300 mm of rain fell in localized areas. Emergency teams were called in to evacuate residents. Some areas were under 2 meters of water. The local government has provided medical and food assistance to affected families.” (Floodlist)

Uruguay: “Heavy rain 22 to 24 June caused flash floods, cutting roads and prompting evacuations. Strong winds downed power lines leaving hundreds without electricity. The town of José Batlle y Ordóñez recorded 105 mm of rain in 24 hrs. Around 360 people were evacuated in the capital, Montevideo, where wind damage left 1,800 people without power.” (Floodlist)

Côte d’Ivoire: “At least 5 people have died and one is missing after flash flooding in Abidjan District, 25 June, after 240mm of rain fell in a few hours. More heavy rain is forecast over the next 2 days. (Floodlist)

UK: More temperature records are falling. 25 June, the area along the Welsh border could see temperatures of 34C “very locally” making it the hottest June day on record for Wales, at least. “The hot weather is expected to turn from 4pm on Thursday as thunderstorms form. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert warning of disruption due to flooding, lightning strikes, hail and wind. Between 30mm to 40mm of (“torrential”) rain could fall in less than two hours.” (BBC)

Tunnel…

12 thousand people called in to the USGS to report a M5.8 earthquake centered near Lone Pine in eastern California, Wednesday (24th), just a day after a M7.4 struck in the Mexican province of Oaxaca. No injuries or significant damage were reported but the shallow quake produced a public warning to duck and cover, 100 miles away in Los Angeles. “More than 35 aftershocks were recorded in the area ranging from M1.6 to M4.6”, reported AccuWeather. Veteran Yellowstone watcher, Mary Greeley places the quake on the same fault line that produced a M7.1 at Ridgecrest two years ago.

Bournemouth beach revisited, 25 June. (AP)

What will a post-Covid world look like?

Well, the answer to that may be that Covid will never go away, but will recede into the background. The herd immunity idea makes no sense in its first season, indeed the virus doesn’t appear to be seasonal at all, but by the time 70% or 80% have had it and survived it will remain with us like the common cold, picking off the weakest every winter – assuming it’s not like chickenpox and hits you a second time years later.

The question is, how long will people put up with social restrictions? The answer appears to be, not long.

The police and local authority in Dorsetshire declared a major incident on 25 June and were pleading with people to stay away; the local MP called for government help, as England’s southern beaches were once again rammed with thousands of suicidal lunatics who, in the sporting phrase, “think it’s all over”. It will be, sadly, for many of them.

There’s a school of thought operating in the ruins of the sensible media, that Covid-19 will have given us a chance to start anew, to reset the clock on consumer capitalism, homelessness, exploitation in the workplace, racism, driving and flying everywhere. We can all be nicer and kinder and leaner and greener and work from home and reopen the libraries and scrap tuition fees and bake artisanal bread and vote Lib-Dem while the CO2 drains gently down out of blue skies and fluffy bunnies play in the meadows.

No-one looking at the photo above could possibly give the liberal ideal of the post-Covid Utopia, with a Green New Deal at its heart, any credibility. This is anarchy, raw and simple. Mostly polite, mostly permissive, but anarchy, British-style. We can co-operate with authority in an emergency, but not when it becomes an imposition, we can’t really see the enemy and we suspect our leaders are taking the piss.

There are three months of summer to go and already we’ve had three spells this year of record temperatures in the UK and several instances of bad tempered confrontations with police in the streets. Stifling city nights are the perfect breeding ground for truculent resistance, especially when – not if – the government has to reimpose lockdowns as defiant contiguity produces huge rolling spikes in infections through the autumn and winter.

Some random act, perhaps of police violence against a person of color – as with the Mark Duggan riots of August, 2011 – could spark something we’re not equipped to understand or control without military intervention. While, the full effects of the depression: mass unemployment, bankruptcies, debt defaults and evictions have yet to kick in. Around 7 million people are reported to have gone without enough to eat in the first months of the lockdown.

Just one looming problem among many: you’ve probably wondered how your neighbors can manage to afford to buy and run that big, shiny new SUV? Nine out of 10 – 6.5m vehicles in the UK, a market worth £75 billion – are owned on domestic leasing deals with expensive back-end residuals and monthly payments that are “already proving unaffordable” for some laid-off as a result of the coronavirus. (Guardian).

The post-Covid landscape this summer could well come to resemble Los Angeles, 1992 – with added middle-class economic zombies.

 

Nominative determinism corner…

“Francine Prose is a novelist and the former president of PEN America…” (Guardian)

 

Corona v. Us

A couple of “What the ???s” from the Washingon Post today:

The US Treasury Department has sent more than 1 million stimulus payments to dead people, totaling nearly $1.4 billion.

Trump keeps saying Obama left him ‘no ventilators.’ The true number is 16,660. (You may recall he also complained that Obama had left the army with no bullets. Funny man.)

Fearing a second Covid wave in the autumn clashing with annual ‘flu, the CDC has ordered an extra 7 million ‘flu vaccine doses. “This is a big move,” said Redfield, the CDC director. It is, given they probably don’t yet know which strain of ‘flu to vaccinate against.

The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) — a move that would wipe out health insurance cover for as many as 23 million Americans in the middle of a pandemic. (NYT)

A White House staffer has been awarded a $2.4 million contract to supply PPE to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The individal concerned has no experience of supplying PPE and has registered a new company to fulfil the contract. (NYT)

70-year-old Michael Flor, from Seattle, was a “miracle patient” who spent 62 days on a ventilator unexpectedly surviving Covid-19.  Apart from getting his life back, his reward was to receive a bill from the hospital for $1.1 million dollars.

A clever sequence of graphics in the New York Times (“How the virus won”) shows how the pandemic spread and re-spread throughout the USA, where it’s now out of control. It’s like a compilation buildup of scenes from a disaster movie. The most telling point is contained in the footnotes explaining how the data were arrived at: “There are no comprehensive, official counts of cases, deaths or tests throughout the United States.”

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-spread.html?campaign_id=57&emc=edit_ne_20200625&instance_id=19757&nl=evening-briefing&regi_id=93094685&segment_id=31874&te=1&user_id=57c84490f6448f9cceff76e9e5000e64

In a staged Fox News ‘Town Hall’ q&a with real people, under intensive grilling from his best friend Sean Hannity, Trump solemnly let it be known that if he didn’t do testing there would be no cases of coronavirus. It also appeared from what he was saying that he thinks the -19 in SARS-CoV-19 stands for the number of different names the virus goes by.

Australia: The Woolworths chain of supermarkets has reimposed rationing of toilet paper and other, less essential food items as panic buying has broken out again after a fresh surge of cases in Victoria state began running into double digits daily. (Guardian Australia) The Morrison government has decided to tough it out – no new lockdowns will be ordered.

 

Korruption Korner…

A federal appeals court has ordered a judge to dismiss the criminal charges against retired 3-star general, Michael T Flynn. “A three-judge panel of the DC circuit court of appeals issued a 2-1 decision overruling judge Emmet Sullivan and ordering him to dismiss the entire case against Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser. The ruling comes a month after the justice department filed a motion to dismiss the case, prompting allegations of political bias.” (Guardian)

The reversal of a court finding on the basis of a guilty plea by the defendant is probably unprecedented in the murky annals of American jurisprudence. But whatever Donny wants, Donny gets. Anyway, it seems the case isn’t over as it now goes to the full Appellate court and maybe thence to the Supreme Court, by which time Trump will have been thrown out on his waxy old ear – or he won’t.

Let’s remind ourselves, folks, Flynn pleaded guilty to two charges of lying to the FBI and to Vice President Pence about his Russian contacts, including famously having dinner with Putin, and holding talks about lifting sanctions with former Ambassador Kislyak, as part of a plea bargain to obtain reduced charges in exchange for helping the Mueller investigation, which it seems he didn’t, much. (Not squealing to the Feds earns you extra points in Trump’s book.)

He had previously been dismissed by the Obama administration in 2015 as a security risk, being paid both by the Russians and by Turkey; but Trump hired him anyway – on whose rekomendatsiya we can only guess – firing the acting Attorney-General, Sally Yates when she tried to warn White House counsel, Don McGahn about Flynn’s nixed security clearance – a turd now being polished by Trump as evidence of Obama’s “treason”.

He also failed to declare the earnings from his PR consultancy as a foreign agent, and should (if he wasn’t) have been indicted for breaching the Logan Acts, intended to prevent non-governmental actors from corruptly attempting to negotiate State policy with foreign governments.

The chair of the Appelate Court bench in DC who wrote the opinion that passed 2-1 is a Trump appointee, Neomi Rao. “Circuit Judge Karen L. Henderson (a Reagan-era veteran) who was appointed to the appeals court seat by George H. W. Bush,” notes website Law & Crime, “joined Rao on the majority.” The third judge, Robert L Wilkins penned a legally crystalline dissenting opinion but was outgunned, although a motion to dismiss Judge Sullivan was overruled.

On 7 May, CNBC quoted the president as saying: “He (Flynn) was targeted by the Obama administration and he was targeted in order to try and take down a president. And I hope a lot of people are going to pay a big price, because they’re dishonest crooked people, they’re scum, and I say it a lot, they’re scum, they’re human scum. This should never have happened in this country.”

Quite. It’s not normally the President’s job to attempt to influence the outcomes of trials of his criminal associates. Also, few presidents have publicly referred to their honorable predecessor as “human scum”.

As his polling nosedives, a febrile and increasingly sweaty-looking Trump has been trying to establish the theory he calls Obamagate, that his predecessor was somehow committing treason against the Republic by plotting against him personally. That is, before Trump was even elected as president, when he was still a superannuated playboy grifter, tax-dodging “billionaire”, serial bankrupt and tacky reality-show TV front. And long after Flynn was disgraced the first time for, er, what Judge Sullivan described as “selling-out” his country. That is, treason.

You did it! No, you did it!

Trump is absolutely blatant in his wild inventions. But the dumbfucks, struggling for one last breath on their ventilators, will buy it. After all, flawed as he is, he was sent by God to redeem America from normal people.

Tailpipe….

Republicans in Kentucky are so terrified of moderates winning the party’s primaries against pro-Trump candidates that they’ve closed 95 per cent of the polling stations, leaving only one open in the capital, Louisville, making it almost impossible for anyone to vote unless they have paid time off work and a car, preferably with SatNav. (Democracy Now!)

Faced with losing our GPS cover from the European Galileo satellite project in the wake of Brexit next year, the UK government has patriotically contracted a UK-registered company called OneWeb to supply the necessary network. OneWeb recently declared bankruptcy in the USA, where it was mainly trading, and, say space experts, has the wrong type of satellites to reliably provide the vital service. (Guardian)

Baris Johnson has proposed that former minister, Chris Grayling should chair the security committee responsible for publishing the long-delayed, almost completely redacted report on Russian influence in British politics. Grayling is famous for his lack of competence, having, it’s been calculated, cost the country £3.4 billion in failed project implementations – including contracting a pizza delivery firm with no ferries to operate an emergency ferry service in case of a No Deal Brexit interrupting cross-channel trade.

На здоровье!

Eye Test #4: Giving justice the bathtub treatment… Tailpiece: No going back.

Start here….

A piece in The Atlantic today, 23 June, 2020 by legal correspondents Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, waffles speculatively about the possible reasons behind Trump and Barr’s botched attempt to fire the Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, last Friday night. One being that some investigation or other into Trump’s murky affairs – there have been many ongoing – might be getting a little too close to the bone.

Of course, Trump’s years on The Apprentice have habituated him to arbitrarily firing two or three people a week, to keep his ratings up. Publicly ruining other people’s lives is one of those activities that gives his existence meaning: as will be explained, I call it the ‘bathtub’ treatment.

One of his first ‘ousters’ after taking office in January 2017 was that of a previous attorney for the SDNY, Preet Bharara – another act that appeared to have no obvious reason other than to lever his own man into the job, while diverting the interest of the court and the public away from allegations of bank fraud and money-laundering. He’s been at it ever since.

The Power!

This piece below appeared in The Pumpkin in 2018 and points to a coherent campaign behind the firings of several key FBI officers, whose only purpose can have been to pervert the course of justice, scotching the Mueller inqury and forestalling what later became impeachment proceedings, that ultimately failed for lack of first-hand evidence of malfeasance and gross abuses of power in the White House.

On the other hand, the “Russia thing” could have provided darker motives for conducting a clean sweep on the upper levels of the J Edgar Hoover building; starting with Director Comey.

 

From The Pumpkin, 29 August, 2018:

“It is surely a fair question to ask what the hell is going on?”

Giving justice the bathtub treatment

As The Pumpkin wrote on 13 Aug last:

More interesting developments in the Trump obstruction of justice inquiry:

“Rachel Maddow shows the prevalence of classified intelligence in the Trump Russia investigation and notes that the people Donald Trump is threatening with having their security clearance revoked are those who would need that clearance to testify for the investigation.” – MSNBC TV “blurb”, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXTy99W8jsw

The process of witness tampering appears to be continuing, but with more sinister undertones. Maddow was reporting then on the ouster (as the Americans succinctly call it) of Peter Strzok, the FBI’s point man on Russian agents operating within the USA, earlier in the month.

Strzok was fired after a long series of abusive tweets from beneath the tiny thumbs of the President, who seems to delight in these ad hominem attacks on individual citizens, in much the same way as my cat likes to confine live rodents in the bathtub, up whose smooth sides they cannot escape, and playfully torture them to death.

The official reason for Strzok’s firing was a series of emails he had exchanged in early 2016 with a woman colleague he was having an extramarital affair with, mildly criticizing – satirizing might be a better description – the crop of candidates vying for nomination in the presidential election race – among them, the thin-skinned and vindictive child-dotard, Donald J Trump.

Mr Strzok had already accepted a disciplinary penalty for the unprofessional conduct, and had acquitted himself well at a Congressional hearing that descended into pantomime when elderly Republican senators with closets no doubt rattling with skeletons started pushing him to apologize to his wronged wife; but we recall the earlier firing at the insistence of Trump of Andrew McCabe, the Deputy Director of the FBI, just one day before he would have qualified for his long-service pension. Hell hath no fury like Trump scorned.

Especially when he is terrified of being indicted on conspiracy charges.

And as Maddow and others pointed out, Strzok had unrivalled knowledge of the activities of the Russian intelligence community and their US agents; while McCabe was potentially a material witness in any future court hearing over former FBI Director, James Comey’s insistence that Trump ordered him to drop the inquiry into his national security advisor, General Mike T Flynn – now widely disregarded as having been a Russian “asset”.

White House counsel Don McGahn (note: the title is precise: he is NOT one of Trump’s personal clown-car legal team but is the senior lawyer responsible for matters to do with the building, staff, contractors, etc.) was fired at the weekend, in a tweet announcing his “resignation”, seemingly because Trump was pissed-off by the revelation that, unknown to him, although he pretended otherwise, McGahn (almost the last of the original “grown-ups”) had been co-operating extensively with the Mueller inquiry. As reported in The Guardian:

“Trump said in a tweet that McGahn would depart in the autumn, by which time the administration hopes to have installed Brett Kavanaugh on the supreme court. McGahn has taken a leading role in handling Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!” Trump said (delivering the coup de grace, or the old heave-ho).

As in fact he should: McGahn has performed sterling service in assisting Trump to pack lower US courts with conservative judges who might be sympathetic to him and his cronies; and in leveraging the corporate shill, Neil Gorsuch onto the bench of the Supreme Court. Despite grave doubts as to the circumstances surrounding Mr Justice Kennedy’s unexpected decision to retire, Kavanaugh’s appointment looks likely to go through on the nod, as no-one seems to have the stomach for a fight before the November mid-term elections.*

And the lawyer had been instrumental in the firing of Acting Attorney-General, Sally Yates, after she tried to warn the new President via McGahn that Flynn was a known security risk, and was ignored: presumably, the turn of events that the Mueller team were most interested in finding out more about. Again, his “ouster” by tweet could be seen as a warning to other White House staff to clam up or find themselves stacking shelves in Walmart.

The short-odds betting is that next to go will be the poison dwarf, Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, whom Trump has never forgiven for recusing himself from the Russia investigations as a consequence of having had meetings he lied to Congress about, with the Russian ambassador, over the vexed question of maintaining sanctions on certain aggrieved oligarchs.

(After NBC’s Lester Holt**, Mr Kysliak was, of course, the second person Trump bragged to about having lifted the threat of the Russia investigation by firing Comey.)

Trump has spared no microdigital effort in abusing and belittling Sessions, and has frequently been reported screaming and wailing in fury about him; since Sessions, whose departure few will mourn, is mostly what stands in the way of his firing the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller; something McGahn allegedly warned him against trying.

With the barely noticed departure of the White House’s ethics lawyer, Stefan Passantino, the very next day, that advice clearly hasn’t gone down well either, adding to the impression that Trump is clearing the decks of all the annoying liferafts on what may soon prove to be the RMS Titanic.

Thus, Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr appears to be only one more name among the latest victims of a Trump-inspired witch hunt aimed at removing anyone who knows anything about Russian intelligence operations possibly touching on Trump’s election. As Wikipedia describes him:

“Bruce Genesoke Ohr (born March 16, 1962) is a United States Department of Justice official. A former associate deputy attorney general and former director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), as of February 2018 Ohr was working in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. He is an expert on transnational organized crime and has spent most of his career overseeing gang- and racketeering-related prosecutions, including Russian organized crime.”

In a slightly odd bit of Wiki editorializing, that has come from who-knows where, we also learn that:

“Ohr was little-known until 2018, when he became a subject of conservative conspiracy theories (that would be the sewer pipe of invention gushing from Trump’s pal, Sean Hannity, nightly on Fox News, then. Ed.) and Republican scrutiny over his purported involvement in starting the probe on Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was criticized by President Donald Trump. There is no evidence that Ohr was involved in the start of the Russia probe. According to a comprehensive review by ABC News, Ohr ‘had little impact on the FBI’s growing probe into Trump and his associates.'”

Those associates presumably include Mr Felix Sater, a former business partner and denizen of Trump Tower, from whom Trump has previously been keen to distance himself, despite what appears to be ample evidence of “collusion” between the two men. Sater has long been fingered by media sources as a soldier in the powerful Russian mafia clan of Semyon Mogilevitch, the FBI’s “world’s most wanted man”, widely believed to have been a white-knight investor in Trump’s failing Atlantic City casinos and properties in New York in the 1990s.

And it was Ohr who several years ago indicted Mogilevitch in his absence, on charges of murder, racketeering, money laundering, people trafficking… oh, you know, bad stuff.

It is surely a fair question to ask what the hell is going on?

“If you turn up for tea unannounced, don’t expect cake.”

  • How does initiating a perfectly legal inquiry into possible criminal malfeasance qualify an official for the Trump bathtub treatment, of personal intimidation and ultimately the loss of their career?
  • Why would Trump apparently rather risk impeachment for obstructing justice than allow the Justice Department to pursue allegations of which he asserts he will be fully exonerated – claiming fatuously that the investigation itself is illegal?
  • What primary loyalties does the President have, and to whom, that appear to be overriding his oath of loyalty to the American people?

The Wiki article has been smartly updated: only two days ago, Ohr was dragged into a closed session of the Congressional intelligence committee – the one chaired by the increasingly haunted-looking Senator Devin Nunes, who for more than a year has been desperately rushing around, inventing all sorts of fantastic reports and other “evidence” of Trump’s innocence and trying to get his own inquiry shut down.

The line of questioning seemed to revolve around Ohr’s – as far as anyone knows, non-existent – “collusion” with British former MI6 Russia specialist and private security consultant, Christopher Steele.

To that end, Sen. Nunes was reportedly to be found in London recently, pushing on doorbells at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, hoping to get some dirt on Steele, whose 35-page “dossier” on Trump and his multifarious connections to Russia continues to exercise the President’s fertile imaginings as to the source of the FBI and Mueller enquiries, that in fact began long before a concerned Steele sent his research to the FBI and it then somehow leaked to the Buzzfeed news website.

Needless to say, the febrile Nunes was sent away with a very British flea in his ear. If you turn up for tea unannounced, don’t expect cake.

Back in Washington, in the gruelling late-summer heat the stench of corruption, lies, intimidation, suspicions of treason and cover-up must be becoming unbearable.

But the Republicans continue to press wilting nosegays to their faces and, with downcast looks, scurry by.

*In the event the Kavanaugh hearing has dragged on, with more and more evidence emerging as to his past dubious decisions and possible background as a protector of a judge accused of serial sexual harrassment of staffers.§

Postscriptum:

§ “3 June, 2020: On re-reading, I hardly need add that the Kavanaugh hearing eventually turned into an adult cabaret with credible accusations of alcoholism and decidedly inappropriate behavior, barely short of attempted rape, in Kavanaugh’s student days. Accusations that required the shutting down of enquiries and the browbeating of women witnesses, including disturbing attacks on the character of chief witness, Dr Christine Blasey Ford by the President, who has long experience of blackguarding women he himself has assaulted.

Perhaps more to the point, over a thousand serving and former attorneys wrote to Chief Justice Roberts, alluding to Kavanaugh’s professional unfitness for such a high office, but were ignored. Roberts himself attempted to characterise Kavanaugh as wholly unsuitabe, but was overruled by Senate leader, Mitch McConnell.

**Trump is now accusing NBC of editing (“fudging”) the self-incriminating Lester Holt interview, seen by millions, in much the same way he has pretended the “pussy-grabbing” tape was a fake and it isn’t him seen climbing into and out of the bus. What Trump said about firing Comey because of the Russia investigation is quite clearly visible and audible in one take in the interview, which is still available online. It’s another desperate lie that will only be believed by the Cult of the True Dumbfucks. He’s totally delusional.

 

Tailpiece….

No going back

(23 June, 2020)

Likers, Spammers etc. of this, muh bogl, will know, I have an irritating habit of returning to my Posts time and again to add new content, new facts I have just discovered that alter what I may have written a few months ago; for clarification, and to correct my pitaible record of typos – there’s another one – that I put down to my failing eyesight.

I justify the practise on grounds that a) it’s more honest and geninely informative, b) because I can, this being a dynamic medium in which no words need be set in stone, and c) I have little else to do and enjoy re-reading my old stuff. And I invariably admit that things I write may be additions or amendments to an earlier opinion. History does not stand still for a second take.

I hadn’t realized, however, that altering things on your blog to make them more current, cogent or correct can get you six years in jail.

Beneath each post on Blogspot there is a complete record of all the changes you make, once you have Publlshed. So you’re not going to get away with what Dominic Cummings, the crackpot advisor to fatso Johnson, did when he announced to the public that he had cleverly predicted the Covid pandemic when in proof of it he had gone back and changed an earlier Post to make it look like he was Nostrafuckin’damus. (Cosa Nostradamus, more like! Ed.)

Even that level of dishonesty got him no jail time. It isn’t illegal in Britain, it just accords with today’s low level of morality in public life.

But imagine, you had Posted an article way back in 2012. Years later, reading back over it you spot an error: a date is incorrect. Instinctively, you change the date.

In the meantime, what you originally published has exposed you to prosecution under a revised law of libel, that protects the well-connected criminal. Your defense is, what you originally published was not libellous at the time. But the prosecution argues, the very act of editing that incorrect date means you have effectively re-published the entire document.

Corrupt judges agree, and you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment in a rat-infested shithole crawling with insane lesbians and SARS-Cov-19 for a term of between six months and six years, at the pleasure of El Presidente.

That has just happened in the Philippines to the editor of an online political blog, Rappler – Maria Ressler, who had not even written the original piece, which exposed allegations against a corrupt businessman involved in drug trafficking. That’s a crime that in Duterte’s Philippines should result in an extrajudicial death sentence carried out by his murder squads on anyone except his filthy rich, corrupt friends.

They never turn up on garbage dumps with their eyes gouged out.

The concern is that when Trump swaps pleasantries with China’s Xi Jinping about arresting and even executing journalists, given his master, Putin’s record, the day may be not too far off in America.

I think I’ll leave this piece alone, then.

The Pumpkin – Issue 129: “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Trumpi”… The Room Where It Happened: a magnificent irony… TGIF – Trump Gets Investigator Fired… The madness… Granny’s World.

QotW

“Trump has promised a ‘wild evening’ for his supporters in Tulsa and used Twitter to threaten ‘protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes’ in the city that they would ‘not be treated’ in the same way they have been in other parts of the country.”Guardian.

This is the fifth-rate, second-amendment president of the Disunited States of America actually threatening violent suppression of citizens exercising their first-amendment right of protest.

You filthy, demented old motherfucker. And, as it happened, despite having booked 40 thousand seats of overflow accommodation, Trump is spitting tacks as, in the event, only 6,200 Tulsans turned up, and almost no protestors.

That’s karma. Or dharma, I forget which.

 

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Trumpi

“the familiar totalitarian process of “denunciation'” of any administrative body or persons not beholden to the Greatest Leader since Abraham Lincoln has seemingly become the standard modus operandi of a lethally incompetent, Stalinist regime.”

Two senior journalists at the supposedly independent US Government-sponsored global broadcaster, Voice of America, including the former Director, have been “resigned”, just two weeks after the Senate confirmed the appointment of a rightwing Trump loyalist as head of its editorial management agency.

New York Times reported:

“President Trump has in recent months placed extraordinary pressure on Voice of America by personally denouncing its work and pushing Republicans in the Senate to confirm filmmaker Michael Pack. Mr. Pack, who is a close ally of Stephen K. Bannon, the former campaign strategist and White House adviser for Mr. Trump, was confirmed on June 4 by the Republican-controlled Senate. Democratic leaders had opposed Mr. Pack’s confirmation.”

Trump has on various occasions absurdly accused VoA of being a mouthpiece for the “Soviet Union”, curiously also for the Chinese government, and was said to have been pressuring Senate leader McConnell to confirm Pack, who has been under investigation by the DC justice department for illegal diversion of $1.6 million of funds from a non-profit he owns, a situation no doubt familiar to the president.

He just hates that old-timey editorial balance.

VoA was “founded in 1942 to combat Nazi propaganda”, it says. Good luck with that: the Nazis are inside the walls. But how interesting that Steve Bannon seems once again to be the power behind the throne; while the familiar totalitarian process of “denunciation'” of any administrative body or persons not beholden to the Greatest Leader since Abraham Lincoln has seemingly become the standard modus operandi of a lethally incompetent, Stalinist regime.

This effective coup against the traditional media arm of the government can be seen as a further attempt to impose a strongly neo-conservative, alt-right, white Christian supremacist agenda on the widest possible swath of the independent media sector, building on a dark propaganda network: Breitbart, Fox, Sinclair and AONN, to maximise the Trump appeal to dumbfucks nationwide.

If it were in Trump’s gift to appoint the editorial management of the privately owned Times, the Post, NBC – even CNN – and other centrist news outlets, no doubt he and his heel-clicking junta would be denouncing away to their black hearts’ content. Denouncing costs nothing and sometimes mud sticks.

It wouldn’t be the first time he’s wished their independence away, the “Fake News” media, the “Enemies of the People”, on which he’s been totally reliant for public admiration and prurient interest all his shitty life – until his Arturo Ui-like promotion from pussy-grabbing, coke-snorting, C-list New York mini-celebrity and human brand, to Crackpot-in-Chief. According to Bolton’s new book, Trump once discussed the possibilities of murdering journalists with China’s Chairman Xi.

 

The Room Where It Happened: a magnificent irony

The one senior Trump regime insider to come out with a 600-page book cataloguing the president’s actual crimes while in office in meticulous and unsparing detail is precisely the one nobody wants to listen to, on account of his refusal to testify at the impeachment hearings in the House – and, of course, being he is a terrible man with a filthy Irish temper who wants to start wars everywhere.

By the time he offered to testify about Ukraine-gate at the abortive post-impeachment Senate hearing, it was too late. Republican senators would have voted with equanimity for Moloch to enjoy a constant diet of fresh, plump American babies, and had no interest in hearing from actual witnesses in that awful travesty of a trial, for which Chief Justice Roberts will go down in infamy.

Bill Barr doesn’t need to waste 48 hours writing up an imaginative three-and-a-half-page summary, exonerating the President of any imputation of licking the boots of bestial foreign dictators to secure re-election and plotting a third term in office with the practised aid of the St Petersburg troll farm.

The White House lie factory doesn’t need to go into overdrive to smear the author, former National Security advisor John Bolton, as a pathetic weeping libtard pedophile who only carried the coffee. Why would Trump have hired Bolton at all if that was the case? Out of pity? All Trump’s senior officials have been that at one time or another – those he recalls ever having met.

Trump does not need to declare even the title of the book to be a monstrous breach of national security, after the Ms had trundled twice around the security vetting establishment and been approved. All conversations involving the President, Trump claims falsely, are Classified. He doesn’t need to get the Supreme Court to overturn the 1st Amendment and ban the book from sale. He doesn’t need to sue, although he will. (A circuit judge has thrown the case out.)

Silly hashtag JohnBolton has done it all to himself, the contemptuous tweets and comments from those refusing to buy the book because they mistrust the Iran-hawk Bolton almost more than they hate his stupid mustache are piling up sky-high, and Trump gets a free pass yet again.

What the fuck does it take to nail this orange slug, once and for all?

Bolton’s account, according to those who have seen pre-publication copies, is pretty devastating and comes from the most senior official yet to spill the beans in a directly attributable format. Bolton quotes Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s private opinion that the President is “full of shit”, adding to his predecessor Rex Tillerson’s view that Trump is “a fuckin’ moron” and his great friend, Rupert Murdoch’s observation that he’s “a fucking idiot”; and adds to it by describing in graphic detail, more impeachable attempts by Trump to bribe foreign leaders to smear the Bidens; his vocal approval of Xi’s concentration camps, of Duterte’s extrajudicial killing squads, and his Putin asslicking.

Of course, Trump doesn’t see it quite like that, the poor stable genius. But Mr Bolton, your catastrophic error in not speaking up back in January, but making it seem like your principal motive was to sell your book, teasing the national prick, as it were, will cost you – and the nation – dear. There are only 138 days to go before an election that could nudge this unruly monster back into the despotic power he so desperately craves, and then the shit will really hit the fan.

Let’s hope the advance was a generous one. $2 million? With 40 million unemployed, mate, you’re going to need it.

“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations.” John Bolton

Published by Simon and Schuster, “The Room Where It Happened” may be available to pre-book online, price about $30 – Stg £22.

Or not.

 

TGIF – Trump Gets Investigator Fired

Another quiet Friday evening, another career assassination.

The weekly purge by stealth of any official having oversight of the skulduggery of this administration continued last night, 19 June, with the “resignation”, announced by Trump’s private Justice satrap, Attorney-General Bill Barr, of the lead prosecuting attorney at the Southern District of New York court, Geoffrey Berman.

The announcement came as news to Berman, who immediately let it be known that he had expressed no intention of resigning. Barr, it seems, has no powers to fire the attorney, who was appointed on the say-so of a panel of judges, so he changed the ‘resignation’ story to claim that Trump in fact had fired him, on his say-so. Not true either.

Pundits are now puzzling over what, exactly, Mr Berman has done to incur Trump’s wrath, which of the many investigations he is overseeing: several long-running probes into Trump’s filthy family financial affairs, his abuse of election campaign funds, bank fraud, the murky operations of his friend and ‘lawyer’ Rudy Giuliani and his dirty duo of ex-Soviet era fixers, Parnas and Frumin, might have led to Barr’s somewhat clumsy attempt to remove him?

The move will no doubt be protested by the thousands of prosecuting attorneys around the country who have previously called Barr out as a slippery Trump partisan with no loyalty to the office, the country, its legal community or the constitution.

Leading the chase, is the theory that it is connected with Bolton’s book and a passage revealing the President’s corrupt role in attempting to curry favor with President Erdogan by agreeing to smother an SDNY investigation into a state-owned Turkish bank for money-laundering and (Iran) sanctions-busting, to the tune of about $30 million.

That cat is out of the bag, the bank has already been fined, so “resigning” the guy in charge of the inquiry seems a bit… well, vindictive. Chuck Schumer, impotent leader of the minority Senate Democrats, commented laconically: “This late Friday night dismissal reeks of potential corruption of the legal process.”

Ya don’t say?

And already, another ‘acting’ attorney has been lined up, a Trump cypher with no prosecutorial experience.*

Hiring only the best.

*The protest paid off: Barr has backed off and promoted Berman’s highly qualified deputy as acting A-G.

Here’s another take on this theme from BuzzFlash, 29 June:

buzzflash.com/articles/william-barr-hasnt-just-destroyed-the-purpose-of-the-doj-hes-eaten-the-departments-soul

 

The madness…

In the midst of an interview with Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, the subject came up of Trump moving his Tulsa coronafest so as not to coincide with ‘Juneteenth’, the name for some reason given to the anniversary of the abolition of slavery. In 1921 the town was the site of an infamous massacre of black citizens. At first, Trump said, he had no idea what ‘Juneteenth’ meant. But a black staffer had prompted him: the White House puts out a statement commemorating the event every year. Oh yes! brightened the President:

“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump said of the controversy. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”

In reality, Juneteenth has been celebrated since the year after the Civil War concluded in 1865, and Texas became the first state to make it an official holiday in 1979. (Guardian)

Also in the interview, he opined that testing for Covid-19 is “overrated” and Americans who wear facemasks are only doing it to show their disapproval of him.

Trump has issued a new barrage of tweets, this time railing against the Supreme Court. He has been trying to overturn an Obama program known as DACA, granting residency rights (but with no path to citizenship) to the children of undocumented immigrants. On a narrow point of law, by 5-4 (with a dissenting opinion from the brewers’ friend, Kavanaugh) the Justices sent the case back to a lower court.*

It was the second case in a week to go against He Who Will Stamp His Little Foot If Not Obeyed. Monday, the court had ruled in favor of LGBT rights. Trump, who already has two conservative loyalists appointed to the court and is ghoulishly waiting for the 86-year-old liberal, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to fall off the bench so McConnell can put in another stooge, tweeted maniacally:

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020”

What was that about “politically charged”?

*Writing in The Atlantic, former Solicitor-General Neil Katyal explains that Trump continually loses cases in the Supreme Court because they are based purely on his own expectations and prejudices, not in actual law, about which he refuses to take advice.

 

Corona v. us

Bullshit: The UK government’s Daily Briefings have been revealed to be a pack of lies. While successively more flustered and incompetent junior ministers were being shoved into the line of anodyne questioning from a supine media, and the government was continually rejigging the counting method, for 22 straight days in April contrary to ‘official’ figures the death rate was more than a thousand a day, three times the numbers admitted to.

Former Chief Scientist, Sir John King has described it as “the most disastrous handling of any serious challenge to a government for 100 years.” In just over three weeks between 2 and 23 April, reports The Guardian, 26,566 people died – more than half the total death toll of 52,161 deaths to 5 June.

V. mysterioso: Routine sewage samples taken in both Milan and Turin on 18 December, 2019 have tested positive for SARS-COV-19, the earliest known manifestation of the virus in Italy. Not until 20 February was the first community-transmitted case diagnosed in the Lombardy region. (Guardian, 19 June)

What was the virus doing all that time, given the number of people it must have infected before even the Chinese knew about it, to show up in the sewage system? How did it spread across two populous cities without anyone noticing? And is it safe for me to walk li’l Hunzi in the woods around our town sewage treatment plant, with its open-air maceration ponds?

What’s mine is yours: Chinese researchers sequencing the genome of the coronavirus that’s reappeared out of a wet market in Beijing, leading to draconian new lockdowns in parts of the city, say it’s probably re-entered the country from Europe – but is an older strain than that currently circulating in Europe, so it must have gone right around the world. Imported frozen fish may be the carrier. I always suspected it was the fish that was off.

ProPublica reports on a theme familiar to British fans of the long-running TV shitcom, the Daily Briefing:

“Since May, the Trump administration has paid a fledgling Texas company $7.3 million for test tubes. … Instead of the standard vials, Fillakit LLC has supplied plastic tubes (thermoforming bottle preforms) made for bottling soda, which State health officials say are unusable (non-sterile, and don’t fit the racks designed to hold the tests). The business owner had previously settled a case of fraud and other misdemeanors out of court.

‘We are still trying to identify an alternative use,’ said Janelle Fleming, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Health.

Bottling fizzy drinks, maybe?

It’s quite a story, and one to perhaps make the hapless UK Health Secretary, ‘Mutt’ Hancock feel better:

http://www.propublica.org/article/the-trump-administration-paid-millions-for-test-tubes-and-got-unusable-mini-soda-bottles?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailynewsletter&utm_content=feature

 

Granny’s World

China: “Over 8 million people have been affected by floods in the country since late May. Homes, roads and crops have been damaged. (Floodlist) In his new blog, Dr Jeff Masters, formerly of Wunderground, updates the story to include a death toll by 19 June of 63, with half a million people evacuated – at a cost (cf Aon Insurance) of ‘at least’ $2.9 billion. Another 12 inches or more of monsoon rain is forecast for the central region before the end of the month.

USA: “The Bush Fire in southern Arizona morphed from one of many blazes in the region to one of the largest in state history, seemingly overnight. As of Thursday morning, 18 June, the blaze (near Phoenix) had swelled to nearly 115,000 acres and was only 5% contained.” (Accuweather) Flames were visible from space. A second fire, known as the Magnum, has burned 60 thousand acres on the edge of the Grand Canyon, closing roads to visitors.

“By early next week, temperatures will generally be around 5 to 10 degrees F above normal for late June across the West”, notes the website, that also recorded blistering temperatures reaching 96 F, 35.5 C in the far northeastern state of Maine.

Up to 2 feet of ‘Junuary’ snow fell overnight at high altitude in the states of Montana and Idaho, 18 June. “Snow was also reported in Wyoming. A webcam from Yellowstone National Park showed light snow falling amid the park’s steamy geysers.” (Accuweather) As long as it isn’t ash….

Canada: tennis-ball sized hailstones punched holes in people’s roofs and stripped the cladding off the sides of buildings in the town of Calgary, Alberta during a powerful storm last week, leaving a layer of ice in the streets several inches deep. $millions in damage was done to farm crops and vehicles. (Various sources)

Caribbean: a huge cloud of dust blown across the Atlantic from the Sahara is said to be the worst in 50 years. People with existing pulmonary conditions are being urged to stay indoors as the sky turns yellow. “Hazy conditions and limited visibility were reported from Antigua down to Trinidad & Tobago, with the event expected to last until late Tuesday. Some people posted pictures of themselves on social media wearing double masks to ward off the coronavirus and the dust”, which is expected to blanket Florida and the Gulf states later in the week. (Guardian)

Sweden: Severe-weather.eu reports: “There have been three towns in northern Sweden (Lapland) where temperatures have exceeded 29 °C, 84 °F today, Sunday, June 14th. The city of Boden hit +29.8 °C, just shy of the ‘hot day’ threshold. It was +28.8 °C in Ylitornio Meltosjarvi, Finland, and +28.1 °C in Meraker-Egge, Norway today as well.”

Côte d’Ivoire: At least 13 people have died, buried in a landslide after days of heavy rain. Rescue workers are searching for survivors. At least 1 person died last week in floods in and around the capital, Abidjan, with several others injured. Flooding also caused damage in the city, including buildings. Roads have been blocked and transport disrupted. Abidjan recorded over 260mm of rain in 48 hours to 15 June. (Floodlist)

Nigeria: a child is missing, believed drowned and a woman was killed when her house collapsed, after heavy rains in the area of the capital, Lagos. The usual flooding followed as the drainage system was unable to cope. (Floodlist)

Honduras: 2 people have died after heavy rain triggered a landslide in western Honduras, causing a house to collapse. 4 thousand people have been affected by flooding in neighboring Guatemala. (Floodlist)

Turkey:  “At least 2 people have died in flash floods after heavy rain in Bursa, in the northwest of the country. 4 people are missing. Images shared on social media showed cars piled on top of each other in streets swamped in mud and debris.” (Floodlist)

Russia: temperatures hit 38C (100F) in Verkhoyansk, Siberia, north of the Arctic Circle, on Saturday. 18C higher than the maximum average temperature for June. (BBC)

Wales: Residents of Pentre in the Rhondda Cynon Taff region were flooded out for the third time this year, after thunderstorms that produced spectacular aerial effects moved across the south and midlands of Britain. Already desperate people on lockdown were piling furniture in the street and demanding to know why hundreds of homes in one of the poorest parts of the country were uninhabitable yet again. (BBC) UK temperatures are expected to be in the low-30s C by Wednesday as hot air moves north out of Africa..

Tunnel….

Calling Time: “The world has only six months in which to change the course of the climate crisis and prevent a post-lockdown rebound in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts to stave off climate catastrophe, one of the world’s foremost energy experts has warned. ‘This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,’ said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.” – Guardian, 18 June.

‘Fanny’ May: No surprise, May qualified as either the joint hottest (NOAA) or the hottest (NASA) May on record globally, with a departure from the average of plus 1.02 C. 2016 still remains the outlier to beat, but meteorologists are “99.9%” certain 2020 will be another Top 5 year, even without an El Niño, and there’s a 49% chance it could yet become the hottest. The year-to-date period of January-May ranks as the second hottest such period on record, just 0.06°C behind the record set in 2016.

Endless pleading by GW: Please, please, editors will you for God’s sake stop your groaning baboons from continually writing that we have record warmth “despite the slowdown in carbon emissions due to Covid-19”!!! The slowdown relates to the rate of increase, i.e. what is being added (about 17% less, but catching up again) – not to what is already in the atmosphere, which is again at record levels and responsible for current warming. Get a fucking grip.

In Other News….

Treasure island: Diego, the 175-pound, 100-year-old giant Galapagos tortoise who single… er, handedly rescued his species from probable extinction by siring 800 offspring bred in captivity on the main island of Santa Cruz, has finally been put out to grass with 25 companions on remote, uninhabited Española, where he was probably born. Quite a journey via the years in San Diego Zoo. (Guardian Green Light)

Grim Reaper: RIP, Dame Vera Lynn, the Forces’ Sweetheart, at her home on Capri, 17 June. Age 103. Six weeks ago the upcoming D-Day anniversary saw her last album in the Top 40, the oldest living artiste ever to chart. RIP too, brilliantly inventive pianist and inspiring all-round British jazz legend, Keith Tippett, 72. Lovely actor, Sir Ian Holm, 88, (Alien, Time Bandits, Lord of the Rings). from Parkinson’s.

Also, farewell Maurice the Rooster, age 6. Maurice came to public attention when urban incomers to a French village complained about his crowing but lost the subsequent court battle on a ruling that crowing is, basically, what cockerels do. “Maurice was an emblem, a symbol of rural life and a hero,” said his owner, Corinne Fesseau. (Guardian)

 

Eye Test #3: One More Heave

The third in a locked-down series of Covid-era repeats of clever things wot we wrote ages ago.

 

Well, here we are, Day one million, juneteen hundred of the Trump “administration” and the vain old bastard is still there, complaining about the extreme slope and wetness of the ramp at West Point military academy, that he was observed having difficulty negotiating in his power-lift shoes.

That’s after he’s forced 1100 young graduate officers to return from leave, spend 14 days in quarantine and sit perilously within inches of one another just to listen to his self-approving bullshit for an hour or so, while the Draft-Dodger-in-Chief primps and preens and makes the most of the photo opportunity, and another thousand or so Americans perish from the coronavirus he swore would go away all by itself two months ago.

That’s now infected 2.2 million cases, and killed 120 thousand as of just now, thanks to his incompetent dismissal of every government-funded pandemic control organization to fund tax cuts for the already obscenely wealthy – who aren’t black, or affected by global pandemics.

He is one sick fucker, and getting sicker as his poll ratings slide.

Anyway, in November, 2017, we wrote the following piece:

One more heave…

I’m delighted to say that my latest purchase of a £11.95 (plus £1.64 postage) jazz CD, The World According to Andy Bey – by the eponymous, strangely unsung bass-baritone vocalist and self-accompanying piano player (you have to be nowadays), of whose impressive talent I became aware only last Monday – has temporarily elevated Mr Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and hence its UK offshoot, Amazing.uk, to the coveted position of Firstmost Wealthiest American.

Following a 10% rise in Amazon stock this week, occasioned no doubt by my recklessly self-indulgent purchasing habits, Mr Bezos’ personal fortune has been swollen to $95 billion, meaning he has almost caught up with the part-owner of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, the non-American President Vladimir Putin, believed to be secretly the world’s richest man; as, of course, he owns Russia.

If we keep buying stuff online, we can get Jeff there, guys! One more heave!

The top three wealthiest men in America have profited mightily from very different business models.

Mr Bezos invented nothing, but started Amazon as an online bookstore, to the ultimate detriment of the trade. He has merely applied IT in a farsighted way, combining rapid distribution systems and algorithmic demand-drivers, to what used to be known as “mail order” retailing. Soon, your orders will arrive before you have thought of ordering them. His global emporium has since expanded to cover almost anything you can buy; however, to put it in perspective, despite my best efforts it ships four times fewer packages daily than its upstart competitor, the Chinese-owned Alibaba.

Bill Gates invented or encouraged the invention and development of the Windows operating system, which with clever marketing and ruthless business tactics he successfully turned into a giant Silicon Valley software monopoly known and pretty much universally loathed as Microsoft.

The third of the triumvirate, Mr Warren Buffet of the Hathaway Group used other people’s money and a certain flair for predicting the movements of stocks and shares to make lots of money out of nothing more substantial than money itself. Where other businessmen breed sheep, or cattle, Mr Buffet breeds hundred dollar bills by the cartload.

Galloping up on the rails behind these three is the youthful social media entrepreneur, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebookistan, constructor of a highly leveraged online chatroom for students meeting students, that (thanks to a $million investment from Mr Putin) has burgeoned in a few years into a multi-billion-dollar global information exchange with over 2 billion subscribers of all ages (your Uncle Bogler is not one of them).

The key to his vast wealth being that the Zuck has successfully monetized the personal data volunteered in cosmic quantities by Facebook’s unsuspecting and enthusiastic uptakers, selling it on without moral question to just about anyone who can pay for it and employ it in whatever cause, commerce, sex, politics – even that of bringing down the Western democracies that produced Facebook in the first place.

This jostling for position among the richest men in America, though not the world, makes no difference, however, to the disturbing statistic that just those three top white men alone now command as much money between them as the entire populations of Canada and Mexico together; or, to put it another way, the poorest 160 MILLION Americans; many of whom despite being in employment are trapped in negative wealth and falling ever further behind, unable to maintain even the most basic standard of living.

Those are the people whom Trump despises as ‘losers’, whose already inadequate wages and healthcare and environmental protections he has plotted to take away and give to his wealthy backers; yet for whom he retains immense appeal as someone who seemingly flipped the finger at the political establishment. He has successfully played on their fears of ‘Others’ seeming to do better than themselves, despite or perhaps because of their imagined inferiority defined by skin colour as members of one or other sub-species of human; President Obama being the epitome of the principle Trump espouses, that n-words belong below-stairs, or out in the stable; while Muslims and Mexicans don’t belong at all.

Despite his bullish manner and florid tastes, Mr Trump certainly is not one of the richest men in America, or anything like. A six-times bankrupt, owing possibly as much as $2 billion dollars to foreign banks (US banks have downgraded his creditworthiness to zero after learning painful lessons) it is probable that he too is a net debtor,  but with assets of a few hundred million dollars only (only!). How much is liquid and how much tied up in volatile property leases we have no idea as he refuses to publish his tax returns.

(People who naturally find that suspicious should consider it may only be because they prove he doesn’t really have the ten billion dollars he boasts of.)

Mr Trump’s business model, his ‘recipe for success’ has, it seems, simply been to muddle his business income up inextricably with his personal affairs; he has gotten where he is today, wherever that is, on other people’s backs, by constantly lying, prevaricating, boasting, forging, fantasizing, fiddling, fudging and muddling – and when those fail, threatening and bullying.

He clearly knows very little about business: he just told a meeting of Japanese business leaders that Japan should stop exporting more cars to the USA than US manufacturers export to Japan, build its cars in the USA and create jobs for Americans.

They already do:

“According to the 2013 report of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), which represents Japan’s major automakers worldwide, 70% of all Japanese cars and trucks sold in the US in 2012 were made at US plants. In that year, these Japanese-owned “transplants” produced 3.3 million vehicles, over a third of total US auto production.” – asiamattersforamerica.org

In fact, Japan imports more American-made cars than native US auto manufacturers export. That’s possibly because they make better cars. The leading Japanese makers also have productive manufacturing plant in the UK and Europe.

You see what an insulting asshole your president is, how embarrassing, how utterly foolish and ignorant of the business world and how he will say absolutely anything, any lie he thinks will endear him to the dumbfucks back in Plainsville who will vote for him ’til the day they die – which shouldn’t be long now?

Despite speculation that he stands to make a lot of money from his tenure of the White House, considered at least in small part to have been his motivation in running for office (the others being his irrepressibly selfish ego, his neurotic craving for approbation and the useful power the President has of self-pardon) and despite his disdain for the emoluments rules, the constitution and the rule of law, it appears that his obnoxious business tactics and sinking global reputation have knocked about $600 million off the value of his and his daughter’s ‘Trump Brands’ businesses; while his Russian-funded golf courses continue to haemorrhage money.

Incoherence is not a good quality in a CEO.

Where he appears to have miscalculated is in failing to realize the intense scrutiny he would come under as the ‘leader of the free world’, and just how bad he looks in the full glare of the lights. The media over which he had some control as a TV performer and the Federal law agency he insulted are now fully in control of his life, he has ‘advisors’ who naturally like to advise, rules of good conduct, and he doesn’t like that a bit. He blames the media for his failing condition, but some of us have noticed that whenever he succeeds in reading out a coherent speech and sticking to Steven Miller’s script, the lying press and the fake news cable shows rush to treat his words with deference, imagining that the Word has at last become flesh.

It illustrates perhaps that screwing the banks and investing Russian mob money in failed casinos and grandiose speculative property developments while maintaining mid-20th-century business methods and a certain lazy thuggishness in a very different 21st-century climate of stringent oversight of corporate governance coupled with demands for fiscal responsibility and personal and environmental sensitivity, attributes he does not and never will possess, are not the way to gain untold riches, however much you might scream and shout and blame everyone around you for your failings.

This sad old sack of shit is trapped in the past. Unfortunately, it’s a fantasy past based on his failing memory of how great America was, in days when it was exporting megadeath to little yellow people, turning battleships back into domestic appliances – chains for housewives – sticking fins on huge wallowy gas-guzzlers, lynching n-words and hoovering up the remains of the British empire.

Add Parker and Dizz to the list, add Miles and ‘Trane and Monk, and he might have a point….

The Pumpkin – Issue 128: Attorney-Special… More madness… Granny’s World, etc.

President Donald Trump holds a Bible outside St. John’s Church

“Gentlemen (and lady), how much am I bid for this handsome bound volume, decorated with gold tooling, many possibly useful old words inside, and with an interesting cross motif upside down on the back? Do I hear four more years?”

Before you go any further, you absolutely must watch this, the latest masterpiece of musical satire from the great Randy Rainbow who, methinks, deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor and certainly a Grammy from whomever is left to pick up the pieces after November:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VBevEYELQ0

 

Attorney-Special

“The US government has reason to doubt the honesty of the ICC. The Department of Justice has received substantial credible information that raises serious concerns about a long history of financial corruption and malfeasance at the highest levels of the office of the prosecutor,” Barr said.

He referred to the ICC as “little more than a political tool employed by unaccountable international elites”.

Did we just witness the Attorney-General of the United States of America launching an antisemitic attack on the International Criminal Court in The Hague? Is any elite more unaccountable than the government of the United States? Or was it another QAnon conspiracy in the making?

This filthy Barr character, a corrupt fixer for the corrupt president, described by a former schoolmate as a vicious, psychopathic bully in his youth, has been covering up crimes at the highest level for decades. He was instrumental in averting an impeachment inquiry into the so-called Iran-Contra affair, arranging hasty pardons for Col Oliver North, Casper Weinberger and other conspirators to avoid it coming out that President George HW Bush had overseen the dirty deals on Candidate Reagan’s behalf while Director of the CIA.

More recently he successfully squashed the overwhelming evidence in the Mueller report of collusion between members of the Trump election campaign team and the Kremlin, followed over two years by egregious attempts by Trump himself to bully and discredit the FBI and Mueller investigators, bury evidence and intimidate witnesses in a blatant campaign of obstruction of justice, by the simple expedient of putting out a much shorter summary that falsely claimed Trump had been exonerated, knowing that if he sat on the actual report for long enough the American public would get bored and move on.

To Barr can be ascribed the untested opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted for federal crimes, as he effectively embodies the law. A strategy that saw Trump escape censure in the Senate after being impeached in the lower house for crimes amounting to abuse of office. A number of investigations into Trump’s financial skulduggery appear to have gone away, after Barr paid a visit to the prosecuting attorneys’ office in the Southern District Court of New York. Mueller was never allowed to finish the part of his inquiry that focused on Trump’s financial dealings with Russian bankers with known affiliations to Putin.

Barr has also attempted to intervene in the criminal cases against two of Trump’s lieutenants, Roger Stone and Gen. Mike Flynn, to have their sentences reduced or quashed. Rushing out a verdict of “suicide” even before the inquest had completed, he was very probably complicit in the death in one of his own department’s custody facilities of Trump’s former friend, the socialite sex-trafficker and abuser Jeffrey Epstein; or at least knows how or by whom it was arranged, and why. Given the postmortem evidence, according to former Washington DC attorney, Glenn Kirschner, there is no possibility that Epstein hanged himself.

He has set up oppressive internal Justice Department “investigations” against individuals whom Trump perceives as potentially revealing sources, or “enemies” as he likes to call them; and is suspected of having effectively raised the private army of unmarked “little green men”, peripheral Justice Department goons from, say, the Department of Corrections, Homeland Security and other outliers, to act illegally in suppressing the George Floyd demonstrations in Washington.

But let’s not give him too good a rapsheet.

This man is dangerous, a loose cannon rampaging way outside the normal powers and activities of the role of Attorney- General; like Pompeo, a gauleiter deeply committed to the establishment of an authoritarian corporate/religious military state owing no duty to uphold the Constitution and loyal only – up to a point – to Trump.

The phraseology of “substantial credible information” followed by a vague smear about corruption and malfeasance is standard fascist playbook stuff, that was used only days ago by Secretary of State Pompeo and Trump himself claiming there was “good evidence” of Chinese conspiracy to hide the fact that the coronavirus had been engineered in a military laboratory. They refused to release the evidence, of course, because there isn’t any.

Perhaps, by the way, we should return briefly to why Barr has apparently branded the ICC a Zionist conspiracy. That august body has incurred the wrath of the president by insisting on including American military personnel in its inquest into war crimes in Afghanistan, and on separately investigating Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian population. Mr Trump has responded in his usual vindictive, lazy, infantile fashion by placing an immediate travel ban to the USA of senior court officials and their families.

Frankly, who the hell would want to go there now anyway?

But then he has never liked international institutions having any legislative powers or co-operative oversight that might rein-in US/Israeli corporate-military excesses and his own dictatorial ambitions. It’s not putting “America First!”, is it.

Not really re-election material.

 

The madness….

As US CV-19 cases pass the 2 million mark, with 115 thousand dead and more than a dozen states spiking in the wake of forced reopenings of high-risk businesses and venues, Trump has announced that he is to resume his mass rallies of the dumbfucks. That should get rid of a few of them.

To prove he’s not racist, he’s chosen the first venue – Tulsa, Oklahoma, site in 1921 of the worst pogrom against black residents and shopowners in US history, nights of rioting in which 300 were killed and over 800 injured. Oh, and on the anniversary date of the abolition of slavery, too. The violence followed 31 lynchings in 13 years (2 of whites!) and was seemingly sparked over a false accusation of an assault on a white woman, against a background of increasing prosperity in a thriving middle-class neighborhood known as Black Wall Street, that was burned to the ground.

Everyone attending the rally – now moved to a less contentious following day – is being obliged to sign a pre-nup agreeing not to sue Donald J Trump for President Inc. if they get the virus or take it home afterwards and give it to Grammy and Gramps.

So rattled is Trump by the protests and his own inability to get on top of the pandemic, his draining support, so impotent is he in the face of real life intruding on the fantasy of his presidency, that he reportedly set a new record for tweets and retweets last week, sending out 200 on Friday alone – 74 in just one hour.

One tweet thanked the “96%” of Republicans he says still support him – citing no actual polling. A CNN poll gives his opponent Joe Biden a 14-point lead. Biden hasn’t even yet been formally adopted as the Democratic candidate. Trump then threatened to sue CNN for reporting his bad poll numbers.

Later, he advanced a conspiracy theory that 75-year-old Martin Gugino, seen being pushed to the ground and injured by police in Buffalo, NY was basically faking it and had been a member of Antifa, an imaginary terror organization he blames for starting the riots (it’s actually just a loose coalition worldwide of anti-fascist groups), equipped with a device to jam police radios (a cellphone). He’d worn a blood bag on his head to add realism to his actual brain injury. He fell, opined Trump, “harder than he was pushed.” Trump apparently got the facts from out-there news service, OANN.

Two miles of additional security fencing now surrounds his White House eyrie, where he was reportedly rushed with his family to the underground safe room last week as mostly peaceful protests continued outside, earning him the new viral nickname of “Bunker Boy”. He claimed it was only a brief visit to ‘inspect’ the facility. Echoes of the last days of the Third Reich are purely fanciful.  Protestors have turned parts of the fence into a tribute to George Floyd.

To make himself feel better, Trump has signed an Executive Order canceling a 5-thousand square mile marine reserve off the coast of New England, an Obama-era project, opening it up to every kind of commercial exploitation. Conservation groups are warning of possibly ‘hundreds’ of species extinctions.

Controls ensuring humane hunting methods in Alaska have also been lifted, apparently in retaliation for Senator Lisa Murkowski’s criticism of his response to the protests.

It’s been revealed that Donald Trump Jr billed the US taxpayer $76 thousand to take a government security detail on a trip to Mongolia last year, where he was given special permission by President Baattulga to kill a rare member of an endangered species of mountain sheep. After he’d already shot it.

The White House has announced that Trump aide, Stephen Miller is to compose a special Presidential address on race relations. Miller, whose background is Jewish, gained notoriety at college as a virulent racist opposed to Mexican immigration in particular, and later as a political editor on Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News website, where he reportedly promoted alt-right, white supremacist causes. He’s been the prime mover of Trump’s Muslim bans, the ICE deportation snatch squads and the policy of separating families at the Mexican border.

“According to a source close to the White House, Trump has mulled taking oversight of the (re-election) campaign away from his son-in-law Jared Kushner. ‘Trump is malignantly crazy about the bad poll numbers,’ a former West Wing official said. ‘He’s going to broom Kushner and [digital campaign manager Brad] Parscale—the numbers are not getting better,’ a Republican close to the campaign said.” – The Ballot.

Meanwhile, Baris Johnson has defended Trump’s increasingly rancorous and divided USA as “a bastion of peace and freedom”.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, donating Covid-19 antibodies in London on 5 June.

“Yes, but surely these lie detector tests were discredited years ago?”

Granny’s World

China: At least 1 person has died and 4 are missing after floods in central and southern China. Over 800,000 people have been affected by flooding in Hunan, Jiangxi and Guangxi. Flooding and landslides were also reported in Hong Kong, where emergency services carried out several flood rescues. (Floodlist)

Update, 10 June: “The flood situation has worsened in southern and central China, with authorities reporting over 20 people dead or missing. China’s Ministry of Emergency Management, said flooding has now affected a total of over 2.6 million people across three provinces, with 228,000 displaced and 1,300 homes destroyed since 2 June”. (Floodllst)

Nepal: days of heavy rain has caused floods and landslides in which up to 8 people have died. In Pakistan, at least 7 people have died in flooding and landslides during a week of heavy rain in the NE of the country. Buildings and infrastructure have been damaged too in Kashmir and northern provinces of India. (Floodlist)

Hungary: A “massive storm” caused wind damage and flash flooding from 13 to 15 June. 1 person has died . Emergency crews in Budapest carried out over 400 rescues. In the neighboring Czech Republic, police report 1 person died, another is missing after flash flooding in Olomouc in the east of the country. Oskava recorded 85mm of rain in 24 hours. Dozens of people were rescued from meter-deep water. (Floodlist)

France: The equivalent of 2 months’ worth of rain fell in just a few hours on 11 June, causing severe flash flooding on the island of Corsica. Flood waters swept through Ajaccio, the capital city. Vehicles and debris were dragged through the streets and firemen carried out more than 80 rescues. (Floodlist)

USA: 8 June, Accuweather is looking for some record temperatures in the midwest this week and extremely high humidity owing to exceptionally long-lasting Storm Cristobal as it moves northwards up the Mississippi. The storm dumped up to 11-in of rain causing local flooding and some property damage as it made landfall near Biloxi, Ms. Pittsburg, Pa. could hit the mid-90sF by the weekend.

Intense thunderstorms with 80 mph winds across Ohio, Indiana and Michigan have deprived 650,000 homes of power, 10 June. Hundreds of residents were forced to flee as the 5,500-acre Bighorn fire raged out of control near Tucson, Az. Several other fires are burning and a huge area has been declared at severe risk. As of 16 June the midwest is set to get hit with yet more severe thunderstorms, while Arizona burns. Fanned by hot winds, the Bighorn fire north of Tucson is up to 15 thousand acres. North Dakota was pelted with baseball-size hail, Monday. (Accuweather)

In full dress uniform, twice-wounded Marine veteran Todd Winn staged a ‘taking the knee’ protest against the killing of George Floyd and others in Salt Lake City, Ut. on Tuesday. After standing and kneeling for three hours in record-breaking 100-degree heat, it was noticed that his shoes had melted onto the sidewalk.

Ghana: Parts of the capital, Accra were a sea of water and floating garbage after heavy rain on 8 June left 1 dead and 2 missing. Lack of maintenance of the city’s drainage system is usually blamed. In Nigeria, a downpour lasting around 9 hours on 14 June triggered flooding in in the coastal southern part of the country, leaving 300 people homeless. 15 June, 1 person died and at least 2 are missing after flooding caused a bridge to collapse in the west of the country. (Floodlist)

Indonesia: At least 1 person has died after a landslide struck in South Sulawesi, 12 June. 3 houses were buried and 6 others severely damaged. Rescue teams are still looking for 3 people missing. In the neighbouring Bantaeng Regency, floods have affected almost 12,000 people. A young person was reportedly swept away and is still missing. (Floodlist)

Tunnel....

Arctic: “9 June, station Nizhnyaya Pesha (Russia), located at 66.7 °N (6.7 deg. above the Arctic circle), hit 30.3 °C. A ‘hot day’ was reported. Numerous other stations inland further south reported (temperatures) up to 32 °C.” (Severe-weather.eu)

Russia: Siberian Times reports, owing to the unusual spring heatwave rare Red Book (endangered) wild orchids have been flowering two weeks early, only nature lovers can’t get to see them because the heatwave has been rapidly replaced by heavy June snowfalls that have blocked roads. Bemused villagers have been harvesting strawberries and wild mushrooms a month early. In Krasnoyarsk, 3 days of heavy rain have triggered a state of emergency.

We can’t breathe: May being the peak month for CO2 before you get a reduction as the northern hemisphere spring flora starts to take it out of the atmosphere, is the point at which the NOAA arrives at its annual number for global CO2. Despite the Covid lockdown, this year hasn’t disappointed: May 2020, monthly average 417.2 ppm. May 2019, 414.28 ppm. Chinese industrial air pollution is reportedly almost back to normal.

Guardian Green Light also reports a new meta-study into the effects of clouds on global warming. Clouds can both heat and cool the atmosphere and climatologists have been divided over what the long-term consequences of changing cloud cover might be. Supercomputers however are modeling an alarming extinction-level 5 deg C increase in global temperature based on CO2 reaching 560 ppm – twice pre-industrial. CO2 ‘equivalent’, i.e. factoring in all other GHGs, is already approaching 500 ppm.

Net benefit: A calculation could be arrived at, for the reduced global warming potential from cancelling tennis tournaments because of Covid-19 transmission. It seems that one of some 40 greenhouse gases, “sulphur hexafluoride is used to fill tennis balls. The … release of 1 kg of this gas is equivalent to 22,800 kg or 22.8 tonnes of CO2. Releasing 1kg of sulphur hexafluoride is about equivalent to driving 5 cars for a year”. (climatechangeconnection.org) Wimbledon alone uses up 54 thousand tennis balls in two weeks. (Poor Hunzi usually loses one whenever we go out!)

The ‘mite stuff: Makers of the controversial toast spread, Marmite, are having to cut back on production of larger jar sizes owing to a shortage of yeast created by brewing companies having to cut back in turn to adjust to reduced demand for live beer owing to the closure of pubs because of coronavirus measures. Thus demonstrating the fragile interconnectedness of modern food production systems.

The Pumpkin – Issue 126, I think, or 127: Mr Trump’s silver lining… Overentitled, nasty piece of work (45) takes piss… Fun vs Fun… Who’s who in da House…Granny’s World.

Ikea store

“And when we get to London, I’ll be going through the Ayes lobby…” (Reuter)

MPs observing social distancing queued around the Westminster block for 90 minutes to vote for Jacob Rees-Mogg’s motion making it impossible for around 100 vulnerable and ‘shielding’ MPs and those still barred from travelling long-distance to vote using the internet on government business. Several Tories were apparently unable to tell which was the Ayes and which the Noes line, leading to some confusion. Good to know the intellectual elite is in charge.

 

It had to happen eventually

A BBC News bulletin this morning, 7 June, reported that a mounted policewoman had been hurt during a BLM demonstration when her horse bolted and she was hit in the head by a protruding traffic light. The officer, the reader noted, “is in a stable condition”.

 

“Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing happening for our country,” Trump said of Floyd, who died in police custody last week. “A great day for him, a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody.”

Mr Trump’s silver lining

After weeks of dire predictions about the depressing effect of coronavirus on the US jobs market, and despite new unemployment registrations running into the tens of millions, an unexpected increase of 2.5 million jobs in May leaving the unemployment rate at only 13.3% has sent the credulous men who bet on flies into paroxysms of profitable resurgence on the markets, Trumpeting hope and optimism that we can now all get back to normal, killing ourselves more slowly and less spectacularly while CEOs enjoy the fruits of their labors, heavily compensated with $trillions of Congressional bailout cash.

And this, despite a Covid-19 caseload pushing two million, with 110 thousand Americans dead and a second wave of infections virtually inevitable owing to poor crowd control during premature releases from lockdown, and after 11 nights of popular street demonstrations, riots and looting over ever-increasing police violence, the teargassing of unarmed demonstrators to clear a churchyard where the Antichrist had himself photographed holding an upside-down bible and told his sourpuss wife to smile for the cameras, and the deployment in Washington DC of an unidentified paramilitary force belonging, apparently, to Attorney-General Bill Barr; with a revolt brewing in the Pentagon over the C-in-C’s proposed misuse of army tanks to quell peaceful protests he regards expediently as the work of left-wing anti-fascist agitators he has branded ‘terrorists’….

God forbid anyone should oppose fascism.

After all that’s happened in the past two weeks, Trump is apparently “ecstatic” about everything today, this miraculous number of mostly MacJobs blossoming in the summer seasonal leisure sector, regardless of the fact that some large Red states have stopped submitting their unemployment numbers to the Department of Labor, just as they’re also not submitting their Covid-19 numbers, and is going on TV this morning to boast of his magnificent achievements in halting the pandemic and saving the economy.

All another Big Fat Lie.

It’s always possible, I suppose, that this ‘2.5 million’ surge in jobs consists of some that were furloughed during the shutdown in March, like, unfurling again? Because more than 26 million extra Americans are still out of work than before March, and experts are agreeing, the numbers make no sense.  They haven’t really dropped at all, and this may just be the ‘CO2’ trick again, it’s the rate of increase that’s fallen back, not the rising base number.

Meanwhile the middle-America white backlash against the urban protests is building among the dumbfucks, with senior Texas republicans quoted as claiming the police murder of George Floyd was a staged event that never happened.

They might be harder pressed to explain how exactly, and why would you persuade four policemen to exchange their careers for long gaol sentences by pretending to murder a man who is clearly now dead?

In the meantime, among the liberal elites horror and outrage have greeted Trump’s bizarre and poisonous joke, delivered on the White House lawn to reporters barred from asking questions, that poor Mr Floyd would be looking down on him and thinking a minor correction in the terrible job numbers was “a great day for everybody”.

He is truly a freak, this malformed Trump creature: a hollow man, entirely lacking a human soul and with barely a brain, but with a nasty, reptilian sense of humor and a pathological inability to apologize for anything.

 

Overentitled, nasty piece of work (45) takes piss

Oakeshott said: “I work on the Isle of Wight all year round. It is where I go to write. I have stayed alert, washed my hands regularly and, as always, enjoyed my time on this paradise isle. Now and again I’ve also tested my eyesight, which seems to be in good order. Along with the rest of the nation, I am delighted at the recent decriminalisation of barbecues.”

Fucking hell.

This discredited journalist woman, one of the founding propagandists of Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and an assistant editor of the Spectator magazine, Baris Johnson’s old stomping ground and a refuge for insentient socialites in need of the modest fees, was being asked by The Guardian to comment on a barbecue party she and Spectator deputy editor Freddy Gray and Brexit party chairman Richard Tice, had thrown in the garden of flats owned by Gray’s mother-in-law on the Isle of Wight in direct contravention of the lockdown rules – at which IoW Tory MP Bob Seely and his girlfriend were also just briefly visiting to discuss the coverage of the “test and tracing” app, of course – although Mr Seely “did not have anything to drink”, so that’s okay then.

Oakeshott is believed to have been staying at her second home on the island – also in contravention of a government order that people should remain locked-down in their main homes and not travel to other properties.

Of course, none of this applies to really important people.

Some 17 thousand ordinary Joes have been fined by police for breaking lockdown restrictions. And with over 55 thousand funny little people now “sadly” dead from the coronavirus in Britain under the disastrously inept regime of her pal Johnson and his cabal of useless mediocrities, she takes the piss.

It’s way past time for a revolution in this fucking country.

Such fun.

 

Fun vs Fun

Mad magazine’s leading contributor for 56 years, Al Jaffee has just hung up his airbrush and retired at the astonishing age of 99. Had the management board not decided to rely in future on recycled content and commission no new work, I guess he might have gone on forever.

He began working as a cartoonist with Joker Comics far back in 1942. The Washington Post describes an impoverished childhood in his maternal Lithuania, where he learned to impress the village boys by drawing with a stick in the dirt. His mother most probably perished at the hands of the invading Nazis – after travelling to join his father in America, he never heard from her again.

Despite the sometimes heavy American humor and mysterious cultural references, my weekly copy of Mad was one of the few things that kept me sane in dreary 1960s Britain – a world of school uniform, Greek verbs, shameful divorces, one TV channel and no shopping on Sundays.

He won many awards, plaudits and a place in the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. In 2016, New York’s mayor, Bill De Blasio nominated the cartoonist’s birthday, 30 March, “Al Jaffee Day”.

But I have to admit to a sneaking preference for the late Don Martin. Now, he really was Mad.

 

Who’s who in da House

Labour MP, Florence Eshalomi has complained that she has twice been mistaken for other black women members in the past six months, and that others have suffered the same indignity even at the hands of broadcasters.

If it weren’t for the current mood of ‘enough’, the fact that our expanding coterie of black and asian women MPs are constantly being mistaken for one another in the world of casual racism and boys’ prep-school bantz that is the House of Commons would actually be quite funny.  Mistaken identity is the standard plot, the bedrock of British farce, that unique institution that reminds us we are all pompous idiots under the skin, and mostly harmless. The possibilities for comedic misunderstandings seem attractive to writers, but I’ll stay shtum.

Any normal institution would, of course, have long ago adopted the practice of wearing name badges, even if just to make security less of a nightmare. I don’t suppose when elected, I should recognize anyone in the chamber by name, and how 650 MPs manage to honor the ceremonious obligation of referring to one another courteously in debates by their constituency, as in: ‘I take issue with the Honorable Member for Here-or-There’, rather than by name, or by epithet (‘fucking liar’) I have no idea.

I should indeed be terrified to speak at all.

 

Granny’s World

Yemen: is flooded again. “At least 9 people died and houses and livestock were damaged or destroyed. Local media said around 130 people have been displaced. Heavy rain had been falling in the Hadramaut area for the past few days.” (Floodlist) Since March, the UN reports, over 150 thousand people have been affected by widespread flooding across the wartorn country, with many more casualties.

Indonesia: Floodlist reports, “High tides have caused flooding in parts of Central Java over the past few days, damaging hundreds of homes. Meanwhile heavy rainfall has triggered flash flooding in West Papua Province on New Guinea Island in the far east of the country.”

Russia: in a second major incident of its kind in a month, 27 May, hurricane-force winds apparently arising out of nowhere killed two people and damaged around 150 houses and residential blocks, ripping off roofs, damaging cars and bringing down hundreds of trees. In the village of Konstantinovka, Kemerova region, more than half the houses were destroyed. The city of Chita was extensively damaged on 13 May and there have been a number of casualties in similar extreme weather incidents recently, when winds gusting to 87 mph, heavy rain and hailstorms have caused a trail of damage “from the Urals to the Pacific”. (Siberian Times)

USA: Tropical Storm Cristobal is regaining strength and moisture over the Gulf after dawdling around for days, bringing several feet of rain to southern Mexico, and is heading plumb center for the Louisiana coast Sunday night, 7 June – although the system is so wide it’s affecting everywhere from southern Texas across to Florida. Governor Edwards has requested Trump declare a state of emergency in advance of the storm, when flooding rainfall and a tidal surge are anticipated. (Accuweather)

Weathermen are excited as Cristobal is one of only a very few storms observed to have crossed intact over Central America from the Pacific to the Gulf. Wind shear may prevent it qualifying as a proper hurricane, maybe a low-end 1, but weirdly it looks as though it will maintain its systemic integrity, albeit as a weakening Tropical Depression, dumping up to 15-in. of rain all the way up the Mississippi valley, up into the Great Lakes and on into Canada.

Tunnel…

Warming: Also in Siberia, authorities are battling to control a devastating leak of 21 thousand tonnes of light crude oil from an industrial storage pond at Russia’s largest nickel mine near Norilsk, into the Ambarnaya river, which feeds Lake Pyasino in the Arctic. Experts are concerned that the bund wall may have ruptured owing to subsidence as a result of thawing permafrost. (Siberian Times)

 

Eye Test #2: A fresh plea to the BBC Board to get its fucking ducks in a row (August 2017).

Riot police points weapons as they move through a cloud of teargas at a Black Lives Matter protest in Denver.

“Mr President, I think we just proved flavored vaping isn’t good for kids.”

August 27, 2017

As Hurricane Harvey was dumping 5 feet of rain over Houston, Tx., your Granny Weatherwax was fulminating over the supine BBC’s refusal to get off the fence over climate change. Their mimsy performance ever since has hardly improved our mood, GW writes. especially as the general fence-sitting had extended to the Trump administration and its seeming intention to strike down any previous environmental legislation threatening the profits of the already obscenely profitable.

 

“When will you get it through your silly heads: there is no more ‘debate’ worth having?

A fresh plea to the BBC Board to get its fucking ducks in a row

Dear BBC

I’m starting to believe that there is something seriously amiss within BBC News and current affairs editorial.

A month ago, I felt obliged to protest at the inclusion of a studio guest on the R4 Today programme, who was not as you announced him. Mr Myron Ebell was introduced as a White House energy spokesman and ‘climate-change skeptic’. In order to be a science ‘skeptic’ one has to have some scientific credentials, which Mr Ebell does not: he is a longtime Washington lobbyist with known connections to Exxon Mobil and other energy sector clients.

I had to point out too that in 2005 he was the subject of a Parliamentary early-day motion after a previous appearance on Today in which he made slanderous remarks about the UK’s chief scientist, Dr King. Your researcher ought to have been aware of it, as the information is clearly presented in Ebell’s pretty damning Wikipedia entry.

This morning, yet again, you carried a disingenuous interview with one ‘Dr’ Sebastian L v. Gorka, White House ‘deputy assistant advisor’ (very junior rank!) on Middle East security, who was said to have ‘resigned’ his position in the Trump administration, and who came on to claim that Trump is being ‘undermined’ by elements in the White House – who can only be General Kelly, Trump’s relatively sane new chief policy advisor; daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the very few people who have been trying to hold the administration together and check the President’s wilder and more tantrum-throwing impulses.

An Orthodox Jew with connections, Kushner has, of course, been tasked (among many other things) with finding a solution to the Palestinian question. I imagine he would have found it somewhat difficult to have to share the ear of the President with a notorious anti-Semitic and Islamophobic, ultra-conservative Christian white nationalist.

It is therefore not thought likely that Gorka ‘resigned’. Indeed, the Huffington Post today offers five very good reasons for firing him – principally that he is, as one reader tweeted, a “fuckin’ lunatic”.

British-born, of Hungarian extraction, educated BA in religious studies at a Jesuit college in London (scraped a 2.2), he was brought on board by Steve Bannon, who also ‘resigned’ last week; the man most widely believed to be the architect of what Gorka calls ‘Trumpism’ (i.e. more tax breaks for the wealthiest; disenfranchisement of Democrat-voting minorities, suppression of Muslims and immigrants, increasing police unaccountability, denial of science, hiking of medical insurance premiums, lowering of the nuclear threshold, dismantling the State apparatus, etc.)

Gorka was most probably removed from office by General Kelly in his ongoing purge of the Bannon faction, that has now retreated to the offices of Breitbart News from where it is sniping at the disorientated President for having gone soft on the alt-right agenda and surrendered to the Pentagon’s demand for a troop surge in Afghanistan.

Knowingly or unknowingly, you give voice to their campaign.

His appearance on Today earlier this month, in which he doubled-down on Trump’s hardline stance on North Korea and told Secretary of State Tillerson to, effectively, stop sticking his nose in, came in for much criticism and ridicule. You also carried a lengthy and uncritical interview with this relatively low-level figure by Emily Maitlis in Washington on Newsnight last month, also with Evan Davies back in February.

Why? You might just as well interview a taxi-driver, a coalminer or a fish-porter.

I fail to understand – unless there are neoliberal ‘disruptors’ working covertly within the BBC – what your fascination is with certain toxic individuals, Mr Nigel Farage being a case in point, who seem never not to be on the air?

‘Mr Gorka’, as you politely call him, is widely disparaged in the US security community as a charlatan. Senior and respected figures in the defence establishment have publicly stated that he has no standing whatever as a security consultant. His ‘advice’ on Islamic terrorism is, they say, no more than humdrum.

He has no field experience or intelligence service background; only a dubious PhD whose rigour has been questioned by US academics specializing in the subject. He has frequently been called “a clown” by genuine intelligence personnel.

A self-proclaimed former advisor to the hardline Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, Gorka has also been associated with László Toroczkai, the hardline anti-Islam mayor of Assothalom, the town where (the BBC reported) the road traffic signs say No Muslims. He came to the transition team only via an association as a contributing editor to Steve Bannon’s fake news Breitbart website, and as the husband of transition-team security ‘consultant’, New York steel heiress Katherine Cornell; another veteran of rightwing think tanks whose websites are inexplicably suspended.

Since your programme researchers appear not to have done their homework, let me explain that in January, Gorka was the subject of a Congressional enquiry (still ongoing) over his immigration status, as the ‘v.’ initial he retains in the way he prefers his full name to be presented stands for ‘Vitez’.

That’s a coded reference to his well-attested (but denied) membership of a far-right nationalist group in Hungary with a wartime history of collaboration with the Nazis in the extermination of 800 thousand Jews, the Vitezi Rend; whose pin-badge he sports in public. Gorka failed to declare this on his immigration form, a federal offence for which his deportation was being called.

Is it the BBC’s policy to present paid liars and neo-Nazi-sympathising nonentities, apparently uncritically and without reservation, as credible spokesmen for the failing Trump administration? You are playing with fire. As with your Brexit coverage, the critical voices of moderate opposition to the neoconservative agenda are barely detectable; in your unfailing politeness towards this despicable President we only ever seem to hear from lobbyists, conspirators, fantasists, old neocons from the Strauss/Wolfowitz era, and fellow-travellers.

Second complaint

A propos, in the interests of ‘balance’, which is no balance at all, against former Vice-President Al Gore, who had a movie to plug, you exhumed Nigel, Lord Lawson last weekend on Today to put forward his indefensible, inexpert and well-remunerated views on the climate crisis. When will you get it through your silly heads: there is no more ‘debate’ worth having. The matter is settled: climate change is man-made, the warming is speeding up dangerously, tipping-points are being reached.

No-one argues about it now, other than those with vested interests and dimwitted internet trolls. Oh, and BBC programme editors.

In view of the fact that his paymasters at Exxon Mobil have been comprehensively outed in the Los Angeles Times, who commissioned a serious, peer-reviewed academic analysis proving conclusively that the oil giant whose $100k a day CEO is now the US Secretary of State has been lying about its own research for the past 40 years, your editors need now to stop this frankly evil pretence that paid climate-change deniers have anything more to say.

I am concerned that the worldwide crisis is being treated in such a piecemeal fashion. Were the listeners and viewers to rely solely on your output, we might know for instance that there have been ‘monsoon floods’ in India, as if the displacement of over 40 million people, with 1,200 deaths, the loss of crops, the lack of drinking water, over a three-month period (including a month preceding the monsoon season) were a normal event – when vast areas of Myanmar, Thailand, the United States and especially China have also been underwater, and where river flooding, landslides, flash-floods, droughts, wildfires and heatwaves have been breaking records once again, in countries all around the world.

We have indeed heard from you that there has been an epochal hurricane in Texas, a landslide in Sierra Leone (possibly a thousand dead after 80 cm of rain fell in a night) or that ten thousand tourists were evacuated from a wildfire in the South of France, or that 64 people were burned to death in Portugal, or that it’s a bit hot in southern Europe. But would we have learned that these extreme events are part of a much wider, increasingly random pattern?

No, because your half-witted, uninformed broadcasters continually cut to the BBC weather presenter and ask if this weather event or that is a sign of climate change, like annoying children in cars, ‘are we there yet?’, and invariably the cautious experts have to reply ‘We can’t tell from just one event’. Of course they bloody can’t! But it’s not just one event, is it?

We would probably not know from your coverage of this existentially important story that, in some cases for the third year in a row:

  • California and the SW states have suffered six weeks of 100 deg-plus temperatures;
  • Las Vegas, Kansas City, Houston and New Orleans have all been badly flooded already this summer (before Hurricane Harvey);
  • there has been a succession of powerful storms over New England and the East Coast, causing major flooding events;
  • over a million acres of British Columbia have been burning for months, with tens of thousands of homes evacuated;
  • extensive uncontained wildfires in Siberia and even Greenland have been depositing a layer of soot across the Arctic where sea ice is again at a record low and wave heights increasing, to break up what is left;
  • people have been dying from a heatwave in Korea; from powerful storms in Russia, in Mexico; from unseasonal tornadoes;
  • 3,000 acres of the ancestral Bielowicza forest in Poland, a World Heritage site at the centre of an EU row over illegal logging has been flattened in violent storms;
  • there is famine in Somalia, millions affected, but flooding in neighbouring Sudan;
  • drought in South Africa but devastating floods and landslides in Sierra Leone and Niger;
  • daytime temperatures in Baghdad and Riyadh have exceeded 42C, 120F over the past two weeks;
  • a temperature of 34C (94F) was recorded in Canada on the Mackenzie River, north of the Arctic circle, last month; 56C (132F) in Iran in June.
  • We would not have seen the satellite data on the weakening jetstreams, that have become fragmented and chaotic as never before.
  • We would not know that atmospheric CO2 levels as high as 840 ppm have been recorded in, for instance, Kazakhstan; or that methane emissions from melting permafrost are at danger levels.

Because you don’t cover the story in any coherent way.

The pattern is consistent and worsening from year to year. Fifteen of the warmest years in at least the past ten thousand have been recorded since 2001. No month in the past thirty years has been colder than its previous year’s equivalent.

Climate change has real geopolitical effects – for instance, backgrounding the North Korea crisis, that country is on the verge of starvation again after a three-year-long drought, with implications for the effectiveness of the military –  and raises serious concerns for our own food security.

All this information can be sourced, if you take the time; the dots connected – but it is beginning to look as if the mainstream media and politicians are either a bunch of ignorant, tax-eating wastrels, or they are deliberately suppressing the gravity of the situation so as not to panic people.

And all we get on the BBC is non-scientists and energy business shills denying that any of this is happening, to a wider background of well-funded denial within the US administration, censorship of research and the hobbling or dismantling of relevant agencies.

Do you perhaps need to find out who is driving your internal editorial policy and ask them some searching questions? Or are they acting on your instruction?

(Postscriptum: this Post appeared two days before a piece in The Guardian by environmental campaigner George Monbiot, making similar points about media coverage. In reproducing my Post, an errant pounds sign has been replaced with the correct dollar sign and the name of the New York Times as the originator of research into ExxonMobil has been corrected to the Los Angeles Times although both ran the story.)

Stop press… The times are out of joint… The madness grows… Granny’s World… Tunnel… Scienceballs.

 

STOP PRESS: Donald Trump invades America, says “I’ve discovered it’s nearer than Iran”.

IOPC: evidence of relationship between Boris Johnson and Jennifer ...

“My model’s poleing better than yours…”

The times are out of joint

This is becoming unbearable.

After all those Atlantic cyclones and extensive floods a few warm, sunny days around Easter were welcome, of course. My max-min thermometer gave me an unlikely high of 28.1C on Good Friday, that remained unbeaten until yesterday when the climate added another 1.9 degrees to touch 30C in the deep shade of my little front garden. Today has seen a tiny bit of relief as a cooling breeze drifted down the valley, enhancing the risk of a catastrophic wildfire (we don’t have a lot else to worry about these days). But out here in the suntrap, it’s hot.

Too hot.

As day after unlikely day goes on with blazing sunshine beating down unrelentingly from an uncannily blue sky, I’ve had to self-isolate from my self-isolation, dashing out for a few minutes to eat lunch Mediterranean-style on the little terrace and then back to the cool of my stone-built cottage cave, where I sleep the afternoon away between agonizing visits to the bathroom. I celebrate now the many unexplained barriers that prevented me from selling up and retiring to Portugal 10 years ago, as an extra 5 or 6 degrees on top of this would finish me. So much for my Aegean heritage.

The sun goes from being our kindly, smiling friend, to being our implacable foe. Pot plants and green fruits shrivel. Flies arrive, some heavily pregnant. Countryside dries, sports fields and distant hills turning brown. The river shrinks to a trickle. Dust devils puff up from the footpath. The very air becomes unbreathable, even the coffee tastes dry. Neighbors furtively switch on their sprinklers after dark. Trainers and T-shirts start to smell worse, sooner. Walks shorten; pace slows. Exhaustion starts to set in, together with a craving for at least two bottles of well-chilled Semillon-Chardonnay washed down with a liter of ice-cream before dinner, only it’s still lunchtime. Etiquette goes by the board, standards of grammar sag.

It seems so bizarre a coincidence that Britain should ‘enjoy’ its hottest, sunniest ever Spring months precisely in step with its panicky pandemic measures. Who wants to be locked in on a day like this? (Me!) Since ‘records began in 1929’ – a highly doubtful assertion, as people have been keeping weather records since the 17th century, implying that the Met Office just can’t be bothered to research them – and its warmest, driest ‘ever’, whatever.

Months are purely arbitrary constructs and it might be more helpful to quote a timeline that actually covers the event, since April was also the warmest and sunniest, driest, etcetera – as probably were the last two weeks of March, and, as is expected, may yet be June and even July. Putting May in parenthesis doesn’t do justice to the length and depth of the drought. When the monsoon season normally arrives during Wimbledon fortnight, although we recall players dropping like flies two years ago, this year we could be into hosepipe bans and crops frazzling in the fields or equally, torrents of rain. The latter seeming unlikely as Wimbledon is off and the Gods are clearly taking the piss.

Except that no-one is taking much notice of our extremely weird weather.

The BBC, as always, whatever the context, makes a point of arguing that climate change cannot yet be considered to be responsible. It’s always ‘too soon’ to tell from ‘one event’. They are the masters of fence-sitting, ‘balance’ as they call it. Olympic medallists. “Toosoonitis”, a disingenuous philosophy designed to balance out the “Toolateitis” of the scientific community, has infected them with caution to the point of insanity.

But the President of the Meteorological Society has said the current weather is “concerning”. We had record rainfall in February, but since then we’re in drought, with only a few mm of rain over most of the country. A strange phenomenon, the weather maps show a band of very hot air moving slowly north out of Africa over western Europe, all the way up into the Arctic – the south of France hit 36.5 yesterday – while just a few hundred miles to our right, a band of very cold air is sliding down from the Arctic through eastern Europe. A ‘blocking pattern’, such as are becoming more common with the changes observed in the climate.

And it’s not yet official summer.

The pattern makes no more sense elsewhere. After a record warm spell, frosts are forecast this weekend in the northeastern United States, extreme thunderstorms and tornadoes are continuing in the southlands, Florida and the Carolinas have been drowning while temperatures in southern California have been pushing 45C and the drought is back. Only by next week, the new 90s will be the old 60s again, California will shiver while the Great Plains sizzle.

But the weather chaos doesn’t stop there. Here is a sequence of headlines just from one day, today, 29 May, on the not normally sensationalist Accuweather website:

  • Arabian Sea depression may bring 2 years’ worth of rain
  • Historic swarm of locusts descends upon India, destroying crops (Your Old Granny adds: Iran, Pakistan and all of the northern half of East Africa are also being munched to the ground as floods alternate with droughts, providing perfect breeding conditions. A ‘cicada’ plague is also forecast for parts of the USA anyday now. Is this what’s meant by ‘insectaggeddon’?)
  • Tropical threat to raise flood risk in Central America
  • Record highs in jeopardy as sizzling heat wave stifles West
  • As heat wave intensifies, mercury soars to 121F in India (49.4C)
  • ‘Unusual’ storm to bring cool, wet weather to Northwest
  • New tropical hotspot may emerge in Atlantic
  • More than 30 million Americans face severe weather risks
  • Dramatic temp drop to bring frost risk to parts of Northeast
  • Developing system could be earliest 3rd tropical storm on record.

We’re reminded also by the Accuweather team that 2020 is likely to be a record hurricane season in the North Atlantic sector. Thus, the BBC forecaster signs off with a cheery: “And there’ll be lots more good weather to come tomorrow”. Great. Let him lug water around my garden, the wanker.

The times, as Hamlet said, are out of joint.

 

40 million: the number of unemployed signing-on currently in the USA as a result of the pandemic, many of whom may never get their jobs back.

54 million: People across the US who could go hungry without help from food banks, food stamps and other aid, according to the national food bank network.

$24 billion: the amount by which Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ personal wealth is reported to have grown in the 6 weeks to 12 April, 2020 as a result of the closures of physical retail stores, forcing consumers to shop online.

 

The madness grows…

As Trump frowns and fumes and bullies and whines and threatens violence over Twitter sensibly advising their subscribers to fact-check his neurotic electioneering lies, rants, insults and baseless accusations against his perceived enemies, doubling-down on the conspiracy theories while praising himself to the skies, second and dimmest son Eric (The ‘Little Nazi’, as Mike Malloy engagingly dubbed him) has joined in, telling demented Fox News anchor and conservative airhead ‘Judge’ Jeannine Pirro that the Covid-19 virus will go away after 3 November, election day, as it’s really all just a plot by the Democrats and the media to stop his dad holding his popular rallies around the country.

Pirro’s reply was a model of stunned inarticulacy. (CNN report)

That was on the night the official death toll in the country from Covid-19 under his father’s inspired leadership climbed over 102 thousand.

Meanwhile, Orange Dad was busy insulting the mayor of Minneapolis and threatening to ‘sort it out’ by sending the National Guard to shoot the protestors, whom he called ‘thugs’; unlike the armed thugs who’ve been protesting lockdowns in Michigan, Maryland and Kentucky, where they lynched the governor in effigy, many good people, which got him another warning on Twitter. His new war on the social media that has provided him with a constituency of tens of millions since Day One and arguably got him elected prevented him from sparing a single thought for the family of the murdered American, George Floyd. (I refuse to join in this media game of calling Floyd merely “a Black Man”, he had a name and, presumably, a personality, a life, and people who loved him.)

His police killer caught on camera kneeling for eight minutes on the handcuffed Mr Floyd’s neck while taunting him to ‘get up, get in the car’, Derek Chauvin, was at that time still walking free – a brutal, slab-faced officer with, we learn, 18 previous complaints for violent racist behavior. But not a thug, obviously. He was this evening charged with third-degree murder, his three accomplices clearly identifiable hovering nervously on the citizen video are being exhaustively ‘investigated’, while retired Democratic presidential runner, Amy Klobuchar, former attorney-general of Minnesota, has been left struggling to explain why Chauvin – great name for a racist – was never prosecuted before, despite having been involved in the previous shooting of another unarmed black ‘suspect’.

“He wears the armor of God”

Evangelicals were enthralled to see their Chosen One elevating a rapidly purloined Holy Bible outside St John’s Church, across from the White House, where rioters had started a fire a couple of days earlier. Never mind that police had used teargas and baton rounds to evict even the staff from the precinct so the Holy Fraud could posture in safety, one lunatic – the leader of a motorcycle gang who’s running for Congress – was quoted as saying:

“My mother started crying. She comes from a Pentecostal background, and she started speaking in tongues. I haven’t heard her speak in tongues in years,” he said. “I thought, look at my president! He’s establishing the Lord’s kingdom in the world.”

The Trump family is inarguably genetically damaged, but we knew that. Nothing that happens in America, no tragedy remains unturned to benefit their despotic cravings for power, recognition and obscene wealth over all democratic institutions and social decencies; their obscure self-exceptionalism paramount; no vile act goes unrepresented to their mentally stunted, emotionally crippled support base as mere common justice. But religious revival is a new one for them.

What “He” is establishing is a criminal state free from tiresome law enforcement, where certain people are elevated above the rule of law to enable a new Kingdom on Earth, that of Donald John Trump. his bank account, his family. Few Evangelicals I suspect would have noticed, he started his bizarre photo session by holding the holy book upside-down and back-to-front: a clear sign that he is the Antichrist.

What better outcome could the Russians have wished for, than this rerun – a mirror image – of 1989, when an entire state based on an antithetical view of social development and economy comes crashing to the ground?

 

Unmasking his antisemitism

While on his notorious trip to the Ford plant at Ypsilanti, Michigan, where despite polite requests from the managemen and the State’s governor he refused to wear a mask for the cameras but privately wore one offstage, as he wanted to seem more ‘manly’, “in an apparent ad-lib”, according to BuzzFlash, “Trump looked up from his prepared remarks — which praised the firm for teaming up with General Electric to produce ventilators and face shields for medical workers — to observe that Henry Ford’s descendants, like the current chairman, Bill Ford, who had introduced the president, have ‘good bloodlines. Good bloodlines.’”

The proud bearer of the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, personally awarded to him by Adolf Hitler, Henry Ford, the founder of modern slavery,  claimed that Jews, not Hitler, had started the Second World War. “Ford was such a rabid anti-Semite that he was the only American praised in Mein Kampf, and was lavishly praised as an inspiration in ‘exposing’ Jews as part of a pernicious conspiracy theory, ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ which claimed that Jewish bankers controlled the world”, writes BuzzFlash editor, Mark Karlin.

One wonders what his convert daughter Ivanka and her Orthodox Jewish husband, Kushner and their kids would have made of the Orange Nightmare’s little ad-lib, aimed directly at the well-armed human detritus that constitutes a substantial part of his base? How are their ‘bloodlines’ doing? D’you think they might replace us?

I suspect that as long as he offers them the keys to the Kingdom, they will shrug and say, that’s just Orange Daddy, he doesn’t actually believe in anything except himself. It’s all up for grabs.

 

QotW

From the Washington Post, Style section, 30 May:

“We’re Over It. The masks, the kids, the Lysol. Over it. The tragic hair, the diminished hygiene, the endless construction next door, the Zoom meetings from hell, the mind games with the unemployment office, the celibacy, the short tempers and long evenings, the looking forward to the mail, the feeling guilty about the mail carrier working double time, the corporate compassion pushing products we didn’t need even before the world went funky and febrile. The now-more-than-everness, the president-said-whatness. Over it.” But here’s the catch: The virus isn’t over with us.

 

Granny’s World

Guatemala: “Tropical Storm Amanda in the East Pacific is poised to unleash feet of rain across portions of Mexico and Central America early this week.” (Accuweather) Repeated rapid rainfall events of 4-in or more could lead to flooding, but at higher altitudes, up to 3 ft of rain could produce landslides and catastrophic flash floods. The government in El Salvador has declared a state of emergency after Tropical Storm Amanda caused devastation and at least 14 fatalities.

“Further heavy rainfall is expected in the wake of the storm, threatening flash flooding and landslides across Central America. The NWS National Hurricane Center (NHC) said isolated maximum amounts of 20 to 25 inches (500mm to 635 mm) are possible in El Salvador, southern Guatemala, Tabasco, and Veracruz. This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.” (Floodlist) 3 people have died in flooding in Honduras.

Ethiopia: “At least 10 people have been killed in a landslide caused by heavy rainfall on 28 May in the south of the country. The landslide buried a two-storey house killing at least 10 people Several other homes were damaged or destroyed in the area and it is feared the death toll may increase. Search and rescue operations are being hampered by rain and difficult conditions.” (Floodlist)

India: At least 5 people have died and 16,000 are displaced by flooding and heavy rain in north eastern India over the last few days. In Assam, heavy rain in the wake of Cyclone Amphan caused rivers to rise last week. The Brahmaputra and others are above flood stage and continuing to rise as a result of further heavy rain. As of 24 May, around 10,000 people were affected. State authorities report, over a quarter of a million people are affected.

Latest: At least 21 people died on 02 June after heavy rain caused landslides in Assam state. Several landslides struck in the state’s Barak valley region. Around 420 mm of rain fell in 48 hours to 03 June in Silchar, headquarters of Cachar district. (From Floodlist)

Following Typhoon Amphan in the Bay of Bengal, on the other side of the subcontinent an area of low pressure over the Arabian Sea has strengthened to cyclone force in just 48 hours. The tropical system was given the name Nisarga. Warm water and light wind shear will favor Nisarga holding on to cyclone strength until it makes landfall in the state of Gujarat. (Accuweather)

Latest: “Cyclone Nisarga began making landfall Wednesday about 100km (60 miles) south of Mumbai. Tens of thousands of people along the coast have been moved to higher ground. It’s the first major cyclone in decades to threaten the financial capital”, which has been hard-hit by the Covid pandemic. (BBC News)

United Arab Emirates: Flash floods in Sharjah have left 4 dead and several injured. Several people are missing after vehicles were swept away. (Floodlist) Once again, the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula comprising parts of Oman and Yemen is threatened: “Meteorologists are monitoring an area of low pressure in the Arabian Sea located just north of Socotra, Yemen, for tropical development through the end of the week. The low developed into a depression late in the day on Friday as it approached the coast of the peninsula.” (Accuweather) “380 mm (15 in.) is possible in this area including Salalah, Oman. This amount of rain would be about two years’ worth of rain for the city in just a few days.”

USA: “Large hail, damaging wind gusts, torrential downpours and even an isolated tornado or two.” Yes, it’s the Midwest’s turn again as 90F temperatures meet a cooler, wetter front to power ‘explosive’ new thunderstorms, says Accuweather. Should put a dampener on a few riots. In the Gulf, following Amanda’s devastating hit on the west coasts of Central America, forecasters are keeping an eye on what could intensify to become Hurricane Cristobal, forming off the Yucatan peninsula and already bearing up to 18-in of rain for southeastern Mexico and Belize.

Latest: slow-moving Cristobal continues to organize and could take a turn towards the US coast early next week with New Orleans favorite for landfall. (Severe-weather.eu)

The tunnel….

The cost of Trumpism: “Beginning with Hurricane Matthew in 2016, through Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019, a siege of eight destructive storms over four hurricane seasons was responsible for just under $346 billion damage in the U.S., according to estimates compiled by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This is more than the gross domestic product of Ireland.” (Which of course rarely gets hurricanes.) (The Weather Channel) “Total damage and economic loss caused by the flooding of the Tittabawassee River and the damage to the Sanford and Edenville dams in Michigan last week will total an estimated $640 million” (Accuweather)

The wealthiest US fossil fuel companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Koch Industries are set to benefit from the shareout among corporations of a $750 billion coronavirus bond buyback relief program through the Federal Reserve. (Guardian, et al.)

At $13.5 billion, the estimated cost of Cyclone Anphan last month makes it the third most expensive weather event in history, outside of the East Atlantic/Gulf hurricane belt. Cases of Covid-19 are also increasing as a result of crowding of those fleeing the storm.

Children in iron lungs during a polio outbreak in the US in the 1950s.

Vax for life: From 1952 until four years later a mass outbreak of viral poliomiolitis killed tens of thousands. Hospitals were overwhelmed. Children here are seen supported on ventilators known as iron lungs. Most did not survive. By a miracle, I was vaccinated in 1955 and am still here. If you’re an anti-vaxxer, claiming the coronavirus is a hoax, I would like to meet you, you dumb piece of shit, when I will take personal delight in depriving you with my bare hands of the last molecule of oxygen you will ever breathe on Earth. “Because I still can.” (Photo borrowed from Alamy, via Guardian)

Artificial Stupidity: “Dozens of journalists have been sacked after Microsoft decided to replace them with artificial intelligence software. Staff who maintain the news homepages on Microsoft’s MSN website and its Edge browser – used by millions of Britons every day – have been told that they will no longer be required because robots can now do their jobs.” (Guardian) A Microsoft spokesweasel said: “Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic.”

No, they are the result of your total disregard for human life, decency, and your obsession with shiny toys, you money-breathing technofascist beanbags.

Yellowstone: another swarm of earthquakes yesterday included a shallow M3.1 and several upper M2s. Ground pulsing. All indications are of magma on the move. (Mary Greeley) Following up today, it appears that mainstream media outlets are waking up to concerns about the state of the famous supervolcano owing to what seems actually like a relatively insignificant earthquake swarm. Some days you can get between 70 and 150. Here we’re talking barely a dozen.

India: fears are growing of a major seismic event occurring in the area of the capital, New Delhi, after weeks of ‘low to moderate’ signifiers. (Express)

Scienceballs

To understand how the media often reacts excitedly and with crappy syntax to predictions of sciency things that haven’t actually happened, here’s an edit of a piece in the Express:

“Climate researchers believe we are heading towards a reversal of the planet’s magnetic field, which some fear will lead to the end of the human race and even have wiped out the neanderthals. Doommongers have predicted that a swap of the magnetic poles from north to south would shift the continents so fiercely it would trigger mass earthquakes, rapid climate change, extinctions and global destruction. Geologists have said this event has happened a number of times in Earth’s history – with the last one 780,000 years ago during the stone age. Alan Thompson, head of geomagnetism at the British Geological Survey, said during previous flips: “no worldwide shifting of continents or other planet-wide disasters occurred, as geoscientists can testify to from fossil and other records.”

The ‘stone age’ actually occupied a few thousand years between 3000 and 12000 BCE. (Before that, there were of course advanced civilizations run by lizards.) There were no modern humans, let alone Neanderthals, 780 thousand years ago. Modern man (Sapiens sapiens) coincided with Neanderthals, so would have been ‘wiped out’ along with them. Geomagnetism is not normally the preserve of ‘climate researchers’. Join the BBC on the fuckwit step.

For the most unscientific explanation of why we are all doomed sometime in the next 100 thousand years, since my (failed) O-Level science paper, see:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/597607/Sunrise-WEST-Scientists-warn-magnetic-poles-SWITCHING-North-become-south

Eye Test #1: He’s not a bad dream that is going to go away. (April 2018)

Trump with bible

“And this little black book contains all your names and the stuff you’ve done…”

With the claim by Dominic Cummings that he broke his own lockdown restrictions by making a 60-mile round trip by car to Barnard’s Castle while recovering from Covid-19 to “test his eyesight” before driving the 260 miles back to London, the BogPo has realized that, for today at least, reality itself is on lockdown and there is nothing more to be said about it, that was not said by the 34 thousand Comments on the Guardian website yesterday, on one page, following Cummings’ bizarre self-exoneration in the Number 10 rose garden.

So here’s the first in an occasional series of repeats of past articles from muh li’l bogl, to keep up with the fashion for recycling old material: You’ve seen it before, but here’s Eye Test #1.

Enjoy.

 

April 27, 2018

“It’s not the word “fake” in Trump’s all-disparaging worldview that grates, sometimes it’s the idea that any of this is “news”…

He’s not a bad dream that is going to go away

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the effects of PTSD – Persistent Trump Shock Disorder, a profound kind of neurasthenia hardening into fatalism, resignation and hopelessness in face of a continual barrage of negative stories playing out across the water.

Stories that make not the blindest bit of difference to the new and darker emerging world order, presentiments of impending disaster swirling around this singularly repugnant and amoral individual and his criminal cabal of cronies and horseshit-artists.

The best you can say of him is that he hasn’t actually murdered anyone. So far as we know. That’s because, like his Great Negotiator,  like his Billionaire Business Tycoon, his Mafia Don persona is all an act too. The danger lies in what his creepy-crawly lieutenants like Cohen and Stone are prepared to do for him.

Many times, The Pumpkin has felt like giving up the argument as the realization dawns that this is now, and for the foreseeable future. Resistance is futile, the monster thrives on it. Never in my remaining years is it likely that I shall again see even a modicum of patience and good intention restored to the management of world affairs.

The drink isn’t helping, either.

The calamity that is this presidency has played out in the media day after day, week after week, for 15 months now, revelation and scandal and tangible evidence of Trump’s total unfitness for office piling atop one another like Peleon on Mount Ossa – yet he is STILL THERE.

Apparently there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to shift him, no way to stem the base order of reality his malign presence is creating around him, reaching out to touch the whole nation with the stench of sleaze, corruption, incompetence, a new brutalism and the celebration of heartless stupidity.

One gets, for instance, a sense of dèjá vu about the “news” that his former personal physician, the eccentric Dr. Bornstein, has admitted he did not write the mandatory pre-election statement lauding the rude health of Candidate Trump. But it’s not dèjá vu, in the sense that we have heard it all before: MSNBC reported in – I forget exactly when, lies and lies ago – that Bornstein had merely amended and signed a piece of paper he believes was written by Candidate Trump himself. We knew it was all another Big Lie, that’s now confirmed, but he still got elected.

There was a historic inevitability about the process by which that happened, a candidacy built on the kinds of huge lies that simple folks can really get behind; great lies that just kept coming. While the good Dr. Bornstein says he felt “raped” when Trump’s goons invaded his office and took away the president’s medical records without his consent, an action that Trump’s flabby prostate, Huckabee Sanders, has told the press is “normal” with every new presidency, another lie, you feel not only for him, but for every well-meaning person this deranged old sack of composting fishburger has ever shat on.

Another insult there, I notice. They do no good.

And in the “news” – it’s not the word “fake” in Trump’s all-disparaging worldview that grates, sometimes it’s the idea that any of this is “news” – today, his unlikely new legal appointee, Rudy Giuliani, another superannuated, adulterous monster, has apparently blurted out on Fox & Friends that yes, Trump did pay Stormy Daniels off – at least, he reimbursed Michael Cohen, although he claimed to have not known why. Another multiply-repeated lie is nailed.

And in the real world, a bleak analysis in the Washington Post today of the never-ending war in Afghanistan, where secret numbers of US troops are fighting, who were in kindergarten when it started, shows up Trump’s utter inadequacy in being able to deal with the world in any terms other than impatient and ultimately futile displays of hard power against enemies of America’s own creating:

“So long as the Taliban believes it is winning, it is unlikely to agree to peace talks, no matter how generous the offer. And let’s be clear — the Taliban very much thinks it is winning. … That’s an unfortunate conclusion in the best of times. Under President Trump, who has shown little interest in the hard diplomacy needed to stabilize the country, it sounds even worse.”

– s2.washingtonpost.com/camp-rw/?e=cGRpbmdyYW1zQGdtYWlsLmNvbQ%3D%3D&s=5aea975afe1ff64f25122493

Now too, we are watching the train wreck of his dogmatic and ill-considered repudiation of the Iran ‘deal’ approaching, there is apparently nothing anyone sensible can do to warn him of the grave consequences of such an action.

It is a ridiculous course he seems to have set himself on one day, out of sheer ignorance of international affairs and a perfervid ambition to scrub every last taint of the black man from the White House, as the dumbfucks in a stadium somewhere screamed their delight at each new wilder and more casual brutality he proposed to make government policy, to Make America Great Again.

It sounded like a policy – hadn’t W Bush included Iran in his “Axis of Evil speech? Weren’t the evil Iranians arming the Houthi rebels in Yemen and carving a path across Syria to connect with their militia in the Lebanon, threatening Israel? Never mind that the Hezbollah were fighting against ISIS while maintaining the uneasy peace in Beirut, never mind that Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia was committing daily war crimes with billions of dollars’ worth of American weaponry, while exporting Wahhabist terrorism to all corners of the globe. So long as they continue buying from us.

(It’s all about the money, who pays most.)

Never mind too, that a nuclear-armed Israel led by an aggressively racist party in the pockets of religious extremists and a corrupt coterie of billionaire Russian-connected mafiosi still has a doctrinaire belief that it can do anything, anywhere it likes, even bomb other countries and carry out extrajudicial killings, to maintain its muscular cultural security through post-Holocaust moral blackmail and censorship – a position wearing increasingly thin.

Never mind that Trump was proposing to tear up this “terrible deal” as he calls it – he won’t have actually read it, he doesn’t read – by which, after years of painstaking negotiations involving the US’s key allies, Iran had agreed not to pursue WMD in exchange for readmission to the economic community of nations. Allies he has no hesitation in pissing-off at every turn, because – to put it bluntly – he has no idea who they are, May, Merkel, Macron. They’re just more losers getting in his way.

Like his friend Netanyahu, Trump is a creature of total belief in his own mythology: in his case, however, it’s a bogus mythology. Trump the Reality TV Show Host, the caricature of a thrusting and successful, all-knowing businessman invented by the backroom writers at NBC.

That Trump doesn’t exist and never has, never will. But he’s too deluded, spoilt and vain to know it.

The Washington Post reports, Mr Netanyahu has cunningly shown him the little pictures, the colored maps and diagrams, the idiot-grade “see Jane run” captions he barely reads, explaining that Israel has found proof that Iran has a program to build weapons of mass destruction – “proof” that experts say is several years old, already discounted, and predates the agreement which, says the atomic weapons inspections commission, is holding just fine.

He won’t believe it. He’s seen a picture of Bibi’s impressive folders containing 100 thousand documents and shiny CDs proving that Rouhani is a lying sonofabitch, he respects Israel as a tough-guy that hits enemies with force, another country run by crooks, racists and religious charlatans, so it must be true.

Meanwhile, his two new armchair warriors, Bolton and Pompeo are whispering to him in stereo that Iran needs a healthy dose of regime change, a bit of that good old US “shock and awe”; the tiny faces that yammer at him incessantly from his TV screens and in his cheeseburger dreams are echoing their demands for more war.

And this really is it now, the “new normal”.

Hunker down. Get used to it. He’s not a bad dream that is going to go away when you wake up.

Trump is now, forever.