4th August

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

At the funeral of Congressman John Lewis three former Presidents spoke about his commitment to truth, integrity and equity – Clinton, Bush and Obama. Because these were the key themes, Trump did not show up. He was busy lying in the White House about Florida and claiming that World War 1 ended in 1917 – all part of him showing what a stable genius looks like. Also, he was trying to break the world record for the number of days a President of the US played golf rather than doing things like reading, making decisions, talking with sane people. He was also planning a real first: banning the media from covering the GOP convention. The media is both disappointed not to be able to cover a rally of the deplorables but also pleased that it doesn’t have to.

Herman Cain (74), who ran for President 2012 and had run the Godfather’s Pizza chain, died of C-19 following his attendance at a Trump rally in Tulsa some weeks ago – he didn’t social distance, didn’t wear a mask, shook hands with people and was generally behaving (alongside many others) like someone who didn’t think this viscous killer virus would infect them. It did. Now he is no longer with us.

Emirates Airlines (wonderful airline) is offering free funerals for any passengers who die as a result of C-19 “caught” on one of their flights to a limit of US$1,756, which wouldn’t get you much of a burial (a wicker burial basket costs $800 and then there’s the choir, priest, jazz band, photographers, dancers..). They will also pay up to US$175,000 in medical costs – in the US that is about 4 days on a ventilator. This kind of loyalty program makes sure you’re looked after in this world and the next.

Dubai has trained dogs to “sniff out” arriving passengers who are carrying COVID-19. The dogs at the airport are one part of UAE’s strategy to reduce the threat of C-19. All passengers traveling to UAE must have had a C-19 test before traveling and the test must be negative. The dogs are a second level of protection – they have a 92% accuracy rate (91% more than Trump).

Former King Juan Carlos of Spain has been forced into living in exile following the disclosure of various financial shenanigans, including US$100 million bank account in Switzerland. He is currently in the Dominican Republic. His restoration as King following the death of Franco enabled Spain to “move on” from a repressive regime. He was quite the lad – mistresses, children with mistresses, bribery and a love of art and the finer things of life. His disgrace threatens the future of the monarchy. Speaking of which, Queen Elizabeth sent birthday greetings to Meghan on her 39th birthday, as did Kate and William. The Queen and Prince Phillip are leaving Windsor for  Balmoral – preferring to chat with Nicola Sturgeon more often than with Boris full of de Pfeffel Johnson.

One of the sons of Rupert Murdoch (88) has quit the NewsCorp empire leadership team. James Murdoch (47) quit over “editorial” differences with various news outlets, notably Fox News. His brother Lachlan, whose views are closer to his father and Mussolini, continues to steer this right-wing ship alongside his father and other members of the non-woke. Rupert married Jerry Hall on 2016 following a bitter divorce from his third wife, Wendy Deng who he thought was having an affair with Tony Blair. Rupert “the Bear” remains the driving force in the companies he owns. He is supporting Trump over Biden in the US election.

A former Minister in the British conservative party has been arrested over allegations of rape and sexual assault in the House of Commons and elsewhere between the summer of 2019 and January of this year. No names yet, but the speculative list is long. The victim is a former researcher in the British parliament. Despite this matter being reported to the Chief Whip and to the Leader of the House, no action was taken at the time. The gentleman involved was briefly held in custody. The follows the successful prosecution of Charlie Elphicke, former MP for Dover, for similar offences – the first MP to be convicted of a crime since 1962. He was replaced as MP by his wife, Natalie.

There are thirty-six new members of the House of Lords in Britain taking it to over 825 members. They include: Claire Fox, founder of the Institute of Ideas (she will not be that welcome – ideas are the last thing parliament seems to be interested in); Charles Moore journalist and Thatcher biographer; Sir Ian Botham jock, Brexiteer and cricket player; Frank Field social innovator and activist; Jo Johnson, de Pfeffel’s brother and a former Minister; and the very smart and funny Ruth Davidson, former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party and LGTBQ2+ champion. These appointments confirm Britain’s place as the second largest parliament in the world, after the National People’s Congress of China and the title (currently at least) of among the most useless. Even the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, thinks that the UK parliament needs serious reform.

Britain is looking to prevent a second wave of C-19 and is talking of requiring some over 50 who are “deemed” to be at risk to self-isolate for a considerable period. This is likely to impact 2.2 million people. People over 75 may be legally required to be under “house arrest”. I am telling people that, while I may look 70, I am in fact 29 – I am just following the Keith Richards diet.

Mask wearing is now mandatory in various cities and towns in Alberta but not everywhere (e.g. schools). Our beloved Fuhrer, sorry Premier (it is easy to get confused), refuses to mandate masks wearing Province wide on the basis that he can’t  find one that will cover his massive claptrap, especially when he so busy practicing his work as a Wexit Whisperer. On the first day, compliance seemed high, except for the odd person who either wore their mask inappropriately or did not wear one at all. One woman was seen wearing a mask with a hole cut in the middle to expose her mouth, suggesting that our science education curriculum needs some review and revision.

Alberta’s back to school prayers, sorry plan (it is easy to get confused) seem to be falling apart as it becomes clear: (a)  that children can carry the virus and pass it to others, including adults; (b) the discovery that children find mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing and sanitizing more difficult than their parents who also find it difficult; and (c) that infected children and teachers cause lock-downs and school closures. Attempts to fully re-open schools are a primary reason Melbourne and the State of Israel are back to square one. When the first student dies and the first teacher dies in Alberta of C-19, someone should offer free legal services to prosecute the government for negligence. Parents are likely to boycott the plan and teachers, reluctant to strike (this is precisely what the Reichsführer, sorry Premier (it is easy to get confused) wants to happen so he can further privatize and de-unionize education), will likely manage for a week or so until the whole kit and kaboodle collapses. Using children as lab rats and teachers as pawns is not smart. The so-called plan is bullshit. Worse, Adriane le Grange who claims to be the Minister of Education knows it.

7th August

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

In an audition for a new comedy TV series to begin next year, Donald J Trump was interviewed by Jonathan Swan on Axios. Comedy gold ensued, with many lines the writers of VEEP and West Wing would have loved to have written. For example, on the virus and people dying “it is what it is and we’re doing everything we can. It’s under control, as much as you can control it”.  He also wishes Ghislaine Maxwell well as she sits in prison charged with sex trafficking.  He suggested the Joe Biden was so extreme that he is “against the bible, God and guns”. He explained that he didn’t attend Congressman John Lewis’s funeral because John Lewis didn’t attend his inauguration – no grudge too small for this stable genius with a brain the size of a turnip. Trump’s team was confident he would get the part of the idiot President in the upcoming series to be called “The Greatest President Ever!”.  Melania is auditioning for the part of his ex.

The Rolling Stones (average age 110) are suing the Trump Campaign to stop them using their music in his re-election campaign advertising and at rallies. Trump has accused them of being un-American.  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were born in Dartford, Charlie Watts is Islington, Ronnie Wood in London and Bill Wyman is from Lewisham. All totally un-American.

In a bold move, the NY DA has moved to shut down the US National Rifle Association over issues of fraud, deception and significant breeches of trust – she is demanding that its leaders repay the  $68 million funds they have used for their own personal benefit over the last three years. She is also seeking to ban the leaders of this organization from ever serving on a non-profit board in the State of New York ever again. In response, hundreds of American’s have sent the NRA thoughts and prayers. The DA is also pursuing the Trump organization for bank fraud.

In Beirut, which used to be a paradise city, a building housing 2,750 tons of dangerous ammonium nitrate blew up. Negligence, corruption and ineptitude led to the deaths of at least 137 people, the maiming of 5,000 and the destruction of a significant part of this old and wonderful city, leaving 300,000 homeless and 800 missing. The chemical had been sitting in a warehouse since 2014 following its seizure from an abandoned Russian ship. This was not a terrorist attack, but an attack on Lebanese citizens due to the corruption endemic in Lebanon. One headline in a local paper said “we are done with being resilient, now we want real change!”.

Joe Biden is yet to announce his Vice Presidential pick. He has suddenly realized that he is both unlikely to serve two full terms and that his pick will likely be the real next President of the United States. Oprah is back in the running, along with Michelle Obama and Ellen DeGeneres. Meanwhile, Biden has announced he will not go to Milwaukee to accept the DNC nomination – he has been to Milwaukee before. He said (quoting W C Fields tombstone) “on the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia”.

Bob and Doug are back on earth. The two astronauts safely landed back in the water on August 2nd and are now walking around and eating pizza, having being in space since 30th May. They are the first commercial astronauts to be hired by NASA – they work for Elon Musk’s SpaceX. More crews are being prepared for more flights. Musk is a Canadian and South African citizen and also runs Tesla and Neuralink. This latter company is developing a bio-chip which will be implanted in the brain to enable thought-based computing enabled by AI. Apparently, Trump is his first test case. Not going well.

In Alberta, our claptrapocracy kakistocracy government is also auditioning for a new film: Crazy Old Men. It dug up a former school superintendent – Angus McBeath – who last taught just after Boudicca ruled Britain well before the Romans arrived. He outlined the “new” (sic) thinking about the school curriculum. Given that the government wants to develop the skills “of honest car salesman” and sees literacy and numeracy as core to learning (duh), we saw a glimpse of the nothingness that counts for policy and ideas for this government. Our ageing superintendent shambled off, but is unlikely to get the part in the film – the hunt is on for a new stooge.  Our Minister, Adriana LaGrange, said that she wanted ideology out of the curriculum – things like critical thinking, being able to look at both sides of an argument – she doesn’t want any of that nonsense. Nor does she want children to learn by exploring, doing, creating. We know where that leads to – a world class education system – the last thing she wants.  She wants more testing, more learning by rote so that we can deny children the opportunity to learn and instead just get them to remember things. She was auditioning for a different film: The Lonely Lady.

10th August

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Given the inability of the US Congress to do what they are elected to do, Donald J (the J is for “always jealous”) Trump used his executive powers to “solve” some immediate problems – unemployment support for 30 million Americans, an eviction moratorium, more bailout money for his friends. The negotiations in congress focused on a $2.5 trillion proposal from democrats versus a $1 trillion proposal from republicans all being blocked by the White House. Now that Trump has used his claimed authority over “new funds” (historically the exclusive right of congress), it is now clear that the US does not have a democratic government and has, all along, been pretending that it is some sort of superpower. Trump has revealed, by this action, the nature of a modern dictatorship. He is claiming new powers were granted to him by the Supreme Court (not true).

Meantime, Trump’s staff are trying to get a deal to carve an image of The Donald into Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. As a federal monument, and insult to the Dakota First Nation, it is a federal government decision as to whose face appears or is removed. It would be a fitting reminder to everyone who ever visits: do not ever do this again to our country.

Jerry Falwell, President of Liberty University, has been required to take a leave of absence following his posting of a picture of him and a young lady with their pants unzipped. Liberty is a Christian evangelical university – the largest of its kind in the US – and wandering around with your zip undone is seen to be inappropriate. In the past Falwell has been accused of shady real estate deals, using university funds for personal benefit, visiting Miami strip clubs and has written that some of the students at Liberty are “physically retarded” and “social misfits”. Just the kind of President any university would buy a decent pair of pants for.

Tucker Carlson, attention seeking deplorable and Fox News opinionate, has suggested that a Biden pick of a black female Vice President would “probably be illegal”. He is also praising Kanye West as a powerful voice against abortion and has suggested that the US is becoming more like China in the way it is governed – requiring masks, locking people down, seeking to control public behaviour. He wants Fauci fired and congress dismissed so that Don J Dim can get back to doing such a good job of becoming a dictator.

The anti-vaxxers are getting geared up to ensure that COVID-19 persists long after a vaccine becomes available. Using fake science, nonsensical arguments and idiotic memes, they are already making sure that between 20% and 40% of US and UK citizens will refuse to be vaccinated. Preferring to get their “science” from Tik-Tok, YouTube and the back of toilet doors than from peer reviewed scientific journals, these covidiots claim that the vaccine could kill you. This despite the fact that there isn’t a vaccine and that the whole idea of one is to reduce deaths from C-19 not increase them. They also suggest that various vaccines now in use are the causes of all sorts of things – the Oilers losing the Stanley Cup, bad coffee at Tim Horton’s or the leading cause of people playing of one of the four instruments of the apocalypse (Banjo, Accordion, Bagpipes, Djembe). We are already seeing the gradual return of previously “prevented” (by vaccine) diseases like measles and whooping cough. If we mix the eventual C-19 vaccine with CBD gummies and give all who take it a free assault rifle they might be persuaded.

Some of these same people who are anti-vaxxers are also anti-maskers. Wearing a mask in public is a signal that you are committed to the health and wellbeing of other people and that you are responsible citizen. Not wearing one when it is required is a sign that you are both selfish and committed to destroying freedoms. The anti-maskers think freedom is about “me” as opposed to “us”. They walk into shops which require masks and then are surprised when they are denied service. They get on aircraft and refuse to wear masks and then are surprised when they are banned from air travel by all airlines.  Some anti-maskers and so convinced of their “rights” that they have shot people dead who challenge them. This demonstrates just how they misunderstand the nature of social engagement and “society”.

The next season of I’m A Celebrity Get me Out of Here will not, as hoped, be filmed in November at the White House and star Donald J Trump. Instead the British TV show will be filmed near Abergele in Wales at Gwrych Castle. This weird building was built by Lord Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh in the early 1800’s as a folly and has been empty since it was last occupied in the 1980’s. The crew and show hosts will be based in Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch, which the locals call Llanfair P-G.

As New Zealand celebrates the milestone of 100 days with no new C-19 cases, the US passes the milestone of 5 million cases and 163,000 dead. 1 million of these cases occurred just in the last 17 days with 5 US States contributing 40% of these cases. The situation seems hopeless, leaderless and increasingly desperate, which is why Trump is playing more golf.

13th August

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening….

Jim Baker, religious fruitcake and bullshit artist, asks whether God can hear people’s prayers through a mask. He is about as bright as a bat’s cave mollusc. It is no wonder Jim Baker, Jerry Falwell (with or without pants), Ken Eldred, Robert Jeffress and other evangelicals like Trump. They are all cut from the same cloth – deceivers who don’t deliver but will take your money.

Joe Biden, who is not hiding in an eldercare facility as has been suggested by several Fox News opinionates, has named Senator Kamala Harris as his Vice-Presidential running mate. One smart move and one smart lady. She will be (de facto) the next President. A black, South Asian and former Attorney General of California, she is the first black woman to be named a Vice Presidential candidate. Meanwhile Don Dim Huh (the new Donald) has suggested that, if Biden and Harris win, everyone in the US will have to learn to speak Chinese. “He’s so soft on China, China will own us all”. This is about as sensible as suggesting that, if the Donald wins, everyone will have to learn to lie like Trump. After the VP pick, donations to Biden’s campaign were boosted by $26million in two days.

In Hong Kong, quickly becoming the oppressive capital of Asia, Jimmy Li and his two sons together with several of his media executives from Apple Daily News were arrested and later released on bail. The accusation – colluding with a foreign government and criticizing the Communist Party of China (CPC). Li is a significant media player in Hong Kong. In addition, the CPC imposed sanctions on a variety of US citizens, including Senator Marco Rubio for his criticism of China. I am rather hoping that I make the list.

Belarus elected a thug for the sixth time as its President. They didn’t really, but you know thugs. Alexander Lukashenko claims to have won a landslide victory with more than 80% of voters supporting his vision of oppression and thuggery. He also claims that “foreigners” are behind the work of the opposition and were backing his opponent – Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. She is contesting the outcome, though has had to flee the country in fear of arrest and being “disappeared” (she is in Lithuania), and there are growing protests in the streets. The President blames Russia for his troubles and “layabouts and the unemployed”. Always difficult to look in the mirror.

After 102 days of being COVID free, New Zealand has 4 new cases and the Prime Minister immediately locked down Auckland. Two days later 13 new cases “popped up”, suggesting that C-19 may have been in circulation for some time. This bold response stands in stark contrast to the hesitant and inept responses elsewhere in the world. As schools return, cases spike and little is done to prevent the spread of the virus. It makes Sweden’s response – it didn’t lock down – look more interesting. Sweden has had fewer deaths per capita than several European countries (though more than its Scandinavian neighbours), including the UK.

De Pfeffel’s England has found a new mess due to government flip-flop decision making. 280,000 A level results (think High School Diploma) were downgraded by an AI algorithm. Downgraded were both teacher assessments and the grades students secured on actual assignments (exams were cancelled due to COVID-19). Now every English school will appeal the results on behalf of some or all of their students, despite the fact that the OFQUAL appeals process has yet to be announced. A levels determine if a student can go to university and which one university take them. The downgrades disproportionally affect students from poor and working-class backgrounds (of course). University terms start three weeks from now. This new form of government by chaos treats citizens as lab rats. Experience suggests that rats bite back.

When this same thing happened in Scotland, the Minister had a quick fried Mars bar and reversed the downgrade. He felt a lot better.

Someone bought a villa in the 7th District of Paris. Abandoned since the mid-18th century, the lavish building sold for 35.1 million euros (about US$41.2 million) in January 2020. In February builders found a skeleton which had been buried for 30 years in a cellar. While some thought it might be a famous Marquis, a former Nazi sympathizer or a Barry Manilow look-alike, police are now investigating. Donald Trump is considering asking the skeleton to run as his Vice-Presidential pick – he’s becoming growingly dissatisfied with the increasingly invisible Mike Pence.

Let’s hope no skeletons are found in the $14.65 million home that Harry and Meghan have bought in Montecito, California. The 14,563 square foot home sits on 5.4 acres of land. It has nine bedrooms, sixteen washrooms and a large pool. It was last owned by Russian oligarch Sergey Grishin – a self-confessed bank fraudster. Meghan is thinking of using one of the bedrooms as panic room and another as a punching room where she can go to reduce her anger. Harry got his dad to lend him the money, as the couple are still paying back the UK for its renovations of their now abandoned UK home. He may be taking a short course on personal financial management shortly – after he finishes his new Netflix documentary on the Paralympics.

14th August

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Books about Trump and his White House are pouring down on us like a torrent of ash from a forest fire. We had John Bolton’s and Mary L Trump’s books and now about to hit the shelves are Michael Cohen’s book Disloyal and Bob Woodward’s Rage! – a sequel to his 2018 book Fear! Both are due out before the election. Both will present Trump as a complete moron with about as much intellectual capacity as a button on a golf shirt. Both will make no real difference to anything, except the authors and publishers bank accounts. There will be scandal and amazement and then everyone will shrug their shoulders and get back to eating bananas and sucking jellybeans. Je désespère.

Trump gave an interview to Fox news during which he said “Joe Biden doesn’t even know he’s alive!” and that “Nancy Pelosi is stone-cold-crazy”. Sen. Kamala Harris is a  “mean, nasty and angry” woman and he doubts that she is actually an American – triggering a new racist and nonsense “birther” conspiracy. Speaking of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez he said that she was a “poor student” who didn’t go to a “good school”. (She went to Boston University where she doubled majored in international relations and minored in economics, graduating cum laude in 2011). He, for the third time, wished Ghislaine Maxwell, in detention accused of sex trafficking, well. He also said that he thinks the GOP will keep the Senate and win back the house. He may not be talking about winning the Senate and House in the US – perhaps Russia or Belarus, who knows? As he gets more and more desperate, he gets more outrageous, trying to keep his “base” fired up and ready to vote. Early voting begins in just over one month on 20th September  – the Trump’s have already asked for a mail-in ballot.

Herman Cain, who died 16 days ago, posted a tweet condemning Biden for choosing Kamala Harris on August 13th. Robin Williams tweeted his support for Biden and the late Princess Margaret tik-tok’d a video where she danced her support for the Biden-Harris ticket. The world gets weirder every day.

The UAE and Israel agreed to full diplomatic relations this week, following a call with President Donald J (the J is for “I am all for the Jews”) Trump. Israel agreed to suspend its planned extension of sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria so as to make this deal possible, though Netanyahu made clear that the West Bank was still land Israel claimed. Jared Kushner claimed that his “peace plan” (sic) was working. Except the Palestinian’s were not involved.  Just as C-19 will “disappear”.

In China, the bubonic plague continues to ravage parts of Mongolia. While antibiotics can stop the disease, getting the right antibiotic fast is a challenge. Lock-downs are now taking place.

In Canada, Andrew Scheer appeared in his last performance in Prime Ministers Questions (PMQ) in the House of Commons. He was under the impression that he led the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), which they were surprised to hear. They thought he just used the CPC as a bank to fund his lifestyle and children’s education, confusing it with RBC. Amongst the most ineffective leaders of any political party since Screaming Lord Such led the British Monster Raving Looney Party in the 1980’s, Andrew will soon be replaced by another stooge. The new leader will be elected on 21st August 2020 and Peter MacKay (dead on arrival), Erin O’Toole (aka as Atilla), Leslyn Lewis (aka the Mad Hatter) or Derek Sloan (aka as The Pastor in Law) could be coming to an empty hall near you. The election has been as exciting as changing a duvet cover or counting rice cakes.

In Alberta, our kakistocracy government is so busy upsetting doctors and making health care increasingly impossible to deliver to really pay attention to what it is also doing in education. It has appointed a panel of academics, hangers on and a lawyer to design the new school curriculum. No women on the panel – what would they know? No teachers on the panel – what would they know? No expert students on the panel – what would they know? No one who actually works in schools – what would they know? No one with an indigenous background. No recent immigrants. This all white male advisory panel – which will soon be called The Stringfellows – are tasked with imagining the next curriculum. Our own version of Betsy de Vos, Adriana LeVeryStrange, is excited by the panel, one of whom (Chris Champion) is a former advisor to Jason Kenney. But then she was excited about sending children and teachers back to school without a credible plan during a pandemic. LeVeryStrange also suggest that the panel will ensure there is only “good bias” in the curriculum (capitalism, class, anti-immigrant, anti-federalism) and that “bad bias” (socialism, equity, justice, climate justice) is kept out.  Such a good catholic. The curriculum will be “written” by some 358 teachers seconded to do this work, under the supervision of the Stringfellows.

Alberta’s education shambles is but nothing when compared to what is going on in England. Each year 300,000+ 18 year old’s sit examinations called A levels – a complicated version of the high school diploma. The exams in 2020 were cancelled due to C-19 so teachers provided assessments based on student completed work and assignments. These assessments were then submitted to OFQUAL who evaluated them. The grades are important – they determine if a student can be accepted by a university and which university they will go to – term starts in just three weeks. Here’s the scoop: 280,000 had their teacher assessments downgraded by an algorithm.  In fact, the statistical model downgraded some 40% of all grades. Some of the downgrades are dramatic (from A’s to D’s) – 24,000 were by more than one grade. Almost all will appeal. How the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, can avoided by downgraded is unclear.

Julian Bream (87), one of the gentlest of men and an outstanding classical guitarist, has died. He first played at 13 in a concert in Cheltenham and soared thereafter. He loved the way Django Reinhardt played the instrument – he even named his dog Django. A great many composers wrote music for guitar so that Bream could play them. RIP.

18th August

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Christian TV evangelist and conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles has suggested that meatless burgers are being used to alter human DNA so that we can no longer be classified as human and therefore we will become ineligible to be saved by Christ. “It’s all part of Lucifer’s plot”, he said, which came as a surprise to the manufacturers who didn’t’ even know that Lucifer was a shareholder. Let’s hope his congregation buy him a lifetime supply of Meatless Burgers. This whacky weirdo is a strong supporter of The Donald, who is Lucifer’s right hand man on earth.

Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert (71), died following brain bleeds related to a fall. He had been unwell for some time. Donald will attend the funeral – after all Robert did attend his inaugural. Robert last caught the public eye when he went to court to stop Mary Trump from publishing her best-selling account of Donald’s psychological state of mind. Donald called Robert “his best friend”.

The Donald has been chatting with God. He asked him for guidance about managing C-19 (he was not wearing a mask (or trousers), so God could hear him clearly. God said he was testing him (so many tests, so many cases, so many unnecessary deaths). Donald explained that he had “built” the world’s greatest economy, but it had all gone to “shit”. What could God suggest. Forty days and forty nights later (around November 3rd), God will give his answer.

New Zealand has postponed its election given a new outbreak of C-19. Let’s hope the Donald does not get any ideas. NZ had 12 new cases over 5 days – the US has 12 new cases every 11.2 minutes. There have been over 170,000 deaths in the US and 5.4 million cases. NZ had 1,631 cases and 22 deaths. It also went over 100 days virus free.

De Pfeffel has Johnson flip-flopped again. This time it’s over exam results for English schools. 40% of A level results were adjusted downwards by an algorithm so that students who thought they had won a university place lost it. Now the government has reversed itself, cancelled the algorithm results and returned results to teacher-based assessments. Because this took close to a week, many universities had given places away to others, so now the scramble is on. It means that a generation will not vote for Borish Johnson – a vote they have just earned the right to exercise. All so unnecessary. This is on top of “yes you can vacation in France, no you can’t” – soon to be followed by yes/no for Greece and Croatia.  De Pfeffel is losing it.

Some mild excitement in Canada. Bill Morneau, Federal Finance Minister, resigned both as a Minister and as an MP. The suggestion is that he had lost the confidence of the Prime Minister and was too much of a political distraction – the so called (and really dull) “scandal” of a charity deal that got all screwed up. The reality is that he was nota shining star – though he did manage to retain Canada’s bond rating (alongside Germany) while other nations were downgraded and wore nice suits (he is worth north of $50 million and his wife is worth more). He will now bid to become head of the OECD. The new finance Minister will be Chrystia Freeland – a steady pair of hands and one smart woman. The Prime Minister has also prorogued parliament until September 23rd 2020.

20th August

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Mike Lindell, inventor and CEO of My Pillow, is promoting the plant extract oleandrin as a treatment for C-19. He is lobbying the CDC to approve it quickly, despite the fact that, if taken in excess, it is a deadly poison. In an interview with CNN, Anderson Cooper asked him “how do you sleep at night”, suggesting that he was a snake oil salesman. He sleeps well, thanks to My Pillow.

Joe Biden is now officially the democratic nominee for President of the United States. This was his third attempt to win the nomination. If he wins, he will be 78 when he takes office. Kamala Harris, his Vice Presidential nominee, will be de facto his successor. She is fifty-five. C-19 made the democrat convention a made for TV production – with set pieces to camera, some smart productions and the use of the big Zoom squares. This is aligned with Donald Trump’s understanding that politics at this level is in fact just a reality TV show. He spends two hours each day in hair and make-up before starting his live show called Lying to the People.

Many think that Biden is a “shoe-in” to win in November. But it is still too soon to tell. Trump is leading in four states that will determine the outcome (Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina and Texas) but only “just”. Biden is leading in ten other swing states, including Arizona, Florida and Michigan. A week is a long time in politics and Trump demonstrated in 2016 that, whatever you think about him, he can get his voters to vote. Most serious punters give Trump a one in three chance of winning, about the same odds as he had at this time in 2016. Trump’s polling is improving. He could still win.

The UK’s “examgate” scandal just got worse. BTec exam results – another route out of high school – have been pulled at the last minute by Pearson, who administers the exams. Pearson said it needs a “re-do” given what happened to A level results and GCSEs. This shambles affects 450,000 young people on top of the 280,000 impacted by the A level fiasco. Gavin Williamson, Minister of Incompetence and Poor Planning, remains in office (for now).

In Russia a major opponent of Vladimir (“I Own Trump”) Putin, Alexey Navalny, has been poisoned – he is unconscious and on life support in a hospital in Siberia. He drank some black tea at an airport and collapsed in agony. Putin wished him a speedy recovery (right). I never liked black tea.

750 million genetically modified mosquitoes are to be released in Florida. The idea is to kill off a great many of the mosquito population with these modified ones, which only produce offspring that die in the larval stage. Mosquitos can carry a variety of diseases and this approach involves less cost that spraying and other methods. No one has a clue what impact the release of these insects will have on other species, such as birds and mammals. Donald Trump is officially a resident of Florida and will soon be a resident of Moscow.

Speaking of insects, Steve Bannon – one of Trump’s former senior advisors and co-leader of the 2016 campaign with Kellyanne Conway – was arrested for fraud alongside a number of his camp followers. He used over $350,000 of money donated to help build a border wall for his personal use. He got the idea from the leaders of the National Rifle Association who have also been indicted for fraud – in their case $65 million. Bannon never did understand scale or possibility. He will be in court next week. Best place for him.

Also in New York, a Federal judge has sided with prosecutors and granted them access to Trump’s financial records needed as part of an ongoing and substantial criminal investigation into the working of the Trump organization. Cyrus Vance  Jr. – the Manhattan District Attorney – has been relentless in his pursuit of crime syndicates. Ivanka is so worried, she has bought new shoes and a handbag. Melania is adding a new chapter to her book, still called “I Write Book” and tall of he Trump children are busy creating trust funds.

21st August

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

The US Senate, in a bipartisan report, agrees that the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia to help Donald J Trump (the J is for getting ready to be jailbait) secure his election as President. The architect was Paul Manafort, aided and abetted by (the now free) Roger Stone. This is not a “witch hunt” Mueller report. This is not CNN. This is the US Senate. If Trump loses and pardons all who have been found guilty, including himself and his family, the end-game will become clear. Trump is an asset to Russia – maybe not knowingly, but many of the things he is doing support Putin’s agenda of disrupting democracies and NATO. The Trump Dacha Tower is, no doubt, under construction in Minsk.

Meantime, Trump is laying the groundwork for his final task for Putin: organizing a rebellion in the US. He is planting the idea that the only way he can lose in November is if the vote is rigged by “the deep state” and there is massive voter fraud – enabled by mail in voting. It is nonsense, of course, but his loyal deluded deplorables will buy it. Some are bonkers enough to arm-up and take to the streets and fight. Trump may spend a long time in the courts fighting the results. Given how fragile Ruth Bader Ginsberg is, he may also get a chance to appoint another Supreme Court Judge (going against all conventions). Even if Biden wins big time and wins both houses of congress, Trump may not go. Putin is busy planting fake news supporting this bonkers scheme.

Jo Biden gave an excellent speech at the end of the DNC convention – demonstrating what Trump cannot: an articulate vision for the future, empathy and compassion. What unites the DNC is their fear of a Trump second term. If they win the White House and Congress, we can expect some breakdown of the coalition. Kamala Harris will be the key to keeping the gang together.

The EU-UK trade talks are, according to the EU, “going backwards”. Sounds right. No progress on key issues – especially fishing and post December exit legal arrangements. A no-deal exit is now certain. It would mean that trade between the EU and the UK would be governed by WTO rules which are generally unenforceable. Wild western Europe, he-ha!

In Russia, men who claim to be doctors and surgeons say that they found no trace of poison in Alexei Navalny’s bloodstream despite evidence to the contrary. This same team are still trying to revive Stalin and think Khrushchev could be discharged shortly. They were trained in a KGB medical school, mainly using YouTube and a disinformation kit.

A mortuary released the wrong body to an undertaker. Jimmy MacDonald (90) was replaced by John Hetford (89) and was duly buried with the wrong family and other mourners in attendance. After an exhumation, the right body was cremated with the right people in the chapel. You would think that the body of a former headmaster of a high school would be easily identified by their exasperated expressions and handful of reports to be filed with their superintendent.

The excitement is building in a barn somewhere in Ontario where all eighteen of the ballots for the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada are being counted – the results will be announced on Sunday (they are having a barn dance on Saturday). The winner will replace…no don’t tell me, I’ll remember eventually. The party is headed for yet another defeat whoever is elected as Justin Trudeau stage-manages the political environment like a former high school drama teacher. The conservative media condemn Prime Minister Trudeau for his proroguing of parliament, forgetting for a moment that Stephen Harper did it four times (it became his signature move).

Lori Laughlin, an actress, and her husband are going to jail for paying for their daughters to be admitted to the University of Southern California – photographs were staged suggesting that they were school champion rowers. She gets two months jail time and her husband, a fashion designer, five months. They will also pay a total of $400,000 in fines and be on probation for two years and must do community service. They now both have criminal records. This is all on top of the $500,000 they “lost” in the payments they made in the scam. They can afford it – their combined net worth is in excess of $70 million. For that kind of money, they could have just bought a university outright.

24th August

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

The GOP Goon Show starts this week with a parade of deplorables and wannabe’s.  We will have several games – Biggest Liar, Let’s Tell a Whopper, I Just Made This Up, QAnon Conspiracy of the Week, Let’s Make a Dopey Deal and (my favourite) Family Crime . There will be appearances by some of the brightest people on the planet, like Ivanka Trump and Melania (whose book is coming along well…its now called “I Write Big Book”). We can expect some surprises – a complete sentence, for example. There is also a mystery guest. Apparently, Adolf Hitler has been found alive and well living in Arkansas and he’s coming along to support his protégé as is Alexander Lukasheko, who claims to be President of Belarus. We can also be certain that the President’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, will not be speaking.

Kanye West is having a tough time getting on the ballot. He’s been refused in five states on the grounds that many names on his list of supporters were forged or fictitious and has been denied in twelve other states for a variety of other reasons. He has also missed key deadlines for the Federal Election Commission. He is on the ballot in four states  – Arkansas, Colorado, Vermont and Oklahoma. Current projections suggest that he could secure 1% of the ballot, with his voters otherwise being Trump supporters (Trumpets). 

When Donald Trump refuses to accept the results of the November election and uses his role as Commander in Chief to deploy troops and law enforcement to “protect” the Presidency and then uses the legal system to challenge the results in every precinct, we could see what is happening in Belarus happen in the US. I hope the Generals are ready to mount a coup – they have done it before all over the world, so they know how to make this work.

David Pecker (68) of the National Enquirer, one of the most aptly named executives, has had to step down as its publisher following a recent merger with A360 Media. Pecker secured an immunity deal from prosecutors pursuing Michael Cohen and Donald Trump over the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal pay off’s. There are twenty-five pending sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump so far, none of which have been features in the Enquirer.

Stormy Daniels won a court judgement against Donald Trump last week. Trump was ordered to pay her $44,100 to cover legal fees she incurred in seeking to enforce a previous judgement against him. Stormy continues to work in the adult entertainment industry, as does Donald Trump. The just provide very different forms of adult entertainment.

The new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada is Erin O’Toole. Not that anyone really cares who is leading it; it is more important to know what they intend to do. Many in the party didn’t bother to vote and public excitement over the election was as electrifying as watching a fruit fly devour a peach. There are 270,000 members of the party eligible to vote (90,000 more than are members of the UK’s Conservative and Unionist Party), with Alberta leading with the largest riding membership numbers. 64.8% voted. Shows you how committed the party is to a focused future. The results were delayed by automatic voting machines that almost destroyed some ballots – just a practice run in case the Tories win power. Erin won on the third ballot, Peter MacKay came second and (the smart choice) Leslyn Lewis third.

A friend, colleague and very smart and funny man has died. Sir Ken Robinson, champion of the creative and performing arts and their place in education, died of cancer at the age of 70. His TED talk, animated by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), became “must see” viewing by all engaged in education. He and I presented together in the UK, Canada and the US. We were both Fellows of the RSA and championed its education strategy. I was also external examiner at Warwick University’s education program when he was Professor of Arts Education. All who care about creative arts and design will miss him.

A sincere thanks to all who wished Lynne and I a wonderful golden wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful day with family and friends, took in a chamber concert at the local church and went for a walk. Sadly, the letter from Pope Francis declaring Lynne a Saint for living with me for all this time has not yet arrived. So many thanks to all who understand that this is quite a milestone.