November 3rd – US Election Day
Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…
A major earthquake devasted part of Turkey’s Izmir Province as well as well as parts of Greece. Some buildings have collapsed and there are over one hundred dead and many injuries. A 90 year old woman and a small child were rescued after five days by crews hand-picking through rubble of an eight story apartment building.
Islamic terrorist continue to execute innocent people in France, Austria and Quebec – demonstrating clearly that there are threats from Isis and other extremist groups in many country around the world. Give a thought to the intelligence agencies who are tasked with trying to anticipate who, when and where such attacks will take place – tough to do. We each need to be alert and be prepared to help others. As terror unfolded on the streets near the Wiener Staatsoper House in Vienna, the Vienna Philharmonic played an extended concert for its patrons who were in the socially distanced audience, locked-in for their safety. Four were killed and seventeen injured nearby. Armed police stood at all entrances to ensure the safety of the orchestra and it’s patrons.
It is election chaos day in the US with Trump intent on causing mayhem and confusion, supported by militias and wherewithal’s (aka as “deplorables”). Shops are boarded up in many US cities and police leave is cancelled. The TV networks are being cautious – it is unlikely that the final outcome will be known this evening (if ever). The vote will be contested and it is possible that the outcome will be decided by the Supreme Court not the people. Amy Coney Barrett began her time on SCOTUS on Monday – just in time to hear the cases that will likely flood the court.
Eric Trump, showing that the acorns don’t fall far from the tree, said last week on Fox radio that “my father literally saved Christianity. It was illegal to even say “merry Christmas” and now you can say it year round, anywhere you want. I hear it every day”. You can’t make this stuff up. Eric looks like he is lining himself up for the Supreme Court as its resident jester. Earlier he had claimed that his father’s speedy recovery from C-10 was due to the vaccine they administered at Walter Reed. Given that there isn’t one, unless your Russian, which Trump isn’t yet, this was also a pretty wild claim.
Even wilder is was his brother’s claim. Don Jnr said yesterday that “COVID-19 cases are down to almost nothing!”. On the same day there were 90,000 new cases and over 1,000 deaths in the US. In all, close to 230,000 US citizens are dead from the virus so far. “Almost nothing” if you mean no one in my immediate circle within QAnon.
Trump himself managed to get a large crowd to chant “fire Fauci!”, which he then promised to do after the election. It is worth keeping in mind that, if he doesn’t win, he is still President for 90 days – he can do a great deal of damage on each and every one of these days. He will no doubt pardon himself, or resign on day 80 and Pence will pardon him, Ivanka, Jared and Melania.
More people have already voted in Texas before election day than voted in the 2016 election and turnout across the US is massive – approaching 100 million. The worry now is whether all the ballots cast will be counted. In its ongoing battle against the US becoming a democracy, the GOP is seeking ways to prevent mail-in ballots being counted. Trump is also challenging SCOTUS to get “on side”, presumably with the Trump-Putin (aka as Pence) ticket.
Kayne West is preparing his victory speech when he, not Biden, unseats Trump. We can expect a full gangsta-rap with dancing girls. If Trump wins it will just be full-on gangster with Melania as his paid-for moll. If Biden wins he will sing the Whiffenpoof Song (Bing Crosby) which he remembers well and Kamala Harris will get ready to govern alongside Jill Biden.
In the UK, the former leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended by the party and the whip withdrawn in the House. This is over comments he made in response to a damning report on antisemitism within the party during his time as leader. Corbyn claimed that the report exaggerated the issues and was fueled by a campaign against him (a.k.a. “fake news”). He now faces expulsion from the party.
Johnny Depp lost his libel case against The Sun newspaper in the UK – the judge found that the term “wife beater” was an appropriate phrase, given his behaviour towards his then wife, Amber Heard. The case cost Depp $9 million. Depp, still a capable actor, seems to have generally lost the plot called “life” and is intent on living his life as a character in a film. Let’s hope this judgement helps him sort his life out.
Tom-Tom GPS are soon to release a seniors GPS. Not only does it get you to your destination, it reminds you why you wanted to go there in the first place. Samsung are reported to working on an AI enabled fridge that reminds you what you were looking for when you opened the fridge door. The market for such products is growing quickly.
Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…
In the US, where “math is hard”, record case counts for C-19 (126,000 in a single day) were recorded – the pandemic is winning. One who managed to contract C-19 is Mark Meadows, Trump’s Chief of Staff and covidiot. He has been seen for weeks not social distancing and not wearing a mask. He has been in close contact not only with the President and Vice President but with many others in the Trump bucket of lard, also known as his inner circle. Four others among those working closely with the President have also tested positive.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s C-19 vaccine looks to be 90% effective and will be available in just a few weeks. The vaccine is not yet licensed for use. Other vaccines will follow.
It took a long time, but Joe Biden is now President Elect, Kamala Harris is the first ever women Vice President and Donald Trump looks increasingly like a gooney-tune. (As an aside, given what happens in Nevada – the sharpest casinos in the US – you would think that they would be able to count faster). But what difference will a Biden Presidency make? The Senate looks to be deadlocked, the GOP gained five House seats and the Supreme Court is stacked in the GOP’s favour. Biden will face gridlock and many of his more creative policies are “dead on arrival”. Kamala Harris, whose election as a woman of colour as Vice President is a shining star feature of this election, will be full time on the Senate floor casting deciding votes. Moscow Mitch and Lindsay Graham have said that they will challenge cabinet nominees. It will be a tough two years. The democrats failure to gain control of the Senate and the loss of momentum in the House are worrying for the mid-terms in 2023.
Trump, wearing diapers and sucking on a soother, is throwing hissy-fits on Twitter and lying at a higher rate than his normal rate of one lie every two sentences. He is showing not only that he has no understanding of how voting works in the US but also a deep disdain for the very idea of democracy and a desire to strengthen the GOPs forty year campaign of voter suppression. He is more than worried. He may well be insolvent, as most of his hotels and golf courses are losing money due to COVID-19 and he faces lawsuits in US state cases (which are not covered by any Presidential pardon) and criminal rape charges as soon as he leaves office. He also has significant debts due to his bankers and may well owe the IRS a large amount of money. No wonder he is upset – reality is about to hit him on the head hard.
Trump has some 70+ days to do damage. He is likely to purge government of people who he think did not show loyalty, like Anthony Fauci and his Defense Secretary, Mark Esper. He is also likely to issue pardons for all of his jailed or guilty associates except for Michael Cohen – possibly including himself and his family. He will issue a slew of executive orders which will deal with his “pet” issues – the wall, immigration, crime – and spend as much time as he can playing golf. What he will not do is tackle the pandemic, the economy or the decline of the US’s standing in the world. He will also not concede to Biden.
Melania is delighted. Her biography has some new materials and her divorce lawyers are salivating. Jared and Ivanka are really concerned that they will have to return to their previous lives as spoiled brats with debts (Jared). Various cabinet members are closing book deals “The Living with Trump” series will be born.
The GOP set up a voter fraud hotline and asked the public to call in with cases of fraud. The first eight hundred calls all reported Donald J Trump for seeking to defraud the American people of their right to have their votes counted and their decisions respected. A judge hearing a lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign threw it out saying it was “hearsay about hearsay within a hearsay”.
To promote its anti-democracy campaign, Rudi Giuliani and other Trumpers held a press conference at a parking lot at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping business between a crematorium and an adult bookstore called Fantasy Island, which also sells sex toys. The landscaping business confirmed that it sells grave digging equipment and the adult bookstore has a full set of Stormy Daniels titles. Rudi asked the crowd “do you think we’re stupid? Do you think we’re fools?”. No one knew where to look. He also said “networks do not get to decide elections, courts do” showing his complete ignorance of how the world actually works.
Brexit talks rumble on. Borish Johnson had a phone call with the President of the Commission, Ursula van der Leyen, in an attempt to secure a trade deal after talks with officials stalled this last week. The issues are the same as they have been for the last three years – the Irish question, fishing rights, and the ways in which governments can / cannot offer subsidies and grants – no progress is seriously expected by anyone who can read, think or walk in a straight line.
Alex Trebek, Canadian who became a TV star because of Jeopardy, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and died at the age of 80. Cuban legendary percussionist Cándido Camero has died aged 99. A wonderful musician and very funny man – just listen to Thousand Finger Man to hear him play. Howie Meeker, legendary Canadian hockey player and TV commentator on Hockey Night in Canada has died aged 97. RIP all.
Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…
The attempted coup in the US continues. A group of angry white men are using lies, befuddlement and deceit to stir up antagonism and hatred which is pouring onto the streets. Their claim, based on fiction, is that they won the election and that their “man’ Donald J Trump (the J is for “I prefer a juror trial”) is the legitimate winner and the next President of the United States. All who support the coup attempt are demonstrating just what collective conspiracy of dunces looks like. It is a sight to behold. Thomas Paine said that “to argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead”. Apt.
Trump’s team overspent on their election bid by $1.6 billion and are now asking supporters to pay off this debt. They are also asking for funds to mount legal challenges, which are becoming both more bizarre and desperate. Almost as soon as a judge reviews the claims they are thrown out. Trump hasn’t won one. Trump’s legal team are to the law what the New York Jets are to the NFL. He’s done.
The White House Gift Shop is already selling Joe Biden 46th President mugs, plates and other merchandise. Melania bought a complete set to give to Donald for Xmas.
COVID-19 in many parts of the US is out of control. More than 140,000 new cases a day and deaths steadily on the rise – soon to reach 245,000 rising at app. 1,400 a day. The President is too busy tweeting, golfing and lying to pay attention and Mike Pence, chair of the C-19 Task Force, is on vacation. In Britain, cases are on the rise and the death toll has surpassed 50,000. Here is Alberta, where our Premier can’t play golf but can match Trump for nonsense and bull, we hit a new record of 800 new cases, with nine hospitals experiencing an outbreak as well as 430 schools. Health experts are calling for a two week “circuit breaker” lock-down. Best of luck with that. Our Premier is busy looking for the $1.5 billion he managed to spend and not account for to pay attention to the wellbeing of Albertan’s.
Hong Kong’s democrats resigned en masse from the legislature as China removed four people from their roles as representatives. They used Tony Benn’s line when he did not seek re-election to parliament after fifty years of serving in 2001: “I am leaving parliament so as to spend more time engaged in politics”.
A bad week for the Vatican. A report on child abuse in the UK suggests that Cardinal Nichols is responsible for a massive cover up of abusive priests. The Pope has stripped the 97 year old Polish Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz of all of his rights, including the right to be buried in the cathedral for his part in the coverup of abuse. The investigation into former Cardinal Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Washington, who resigned as a Cardinal in 2018 and has since been stripped of all priestly rights, also indicate that not only did he cover up the activities of priests and some nuns, but that he himself was involved in inappropriate conduct. A sexual assault trial against Archbishop Luigi Ventura began Tuesday in Paris, despite the absence of the Archbishop, who was apostolic nuncio to France, due to illness. He lives in Rome.
Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…
Dmitry Fedotkin, the CEO of Aeroflot the Russian State airline has been arrested in Moscow and charged with treason. He is accused of spying for Britain. One wonders what secrets he disclosed? Moscow owns Trump’s debts via money lent to Deutsche Bank by Gazprombank? Putin has Parkinson’s disease? Trump did stay in a hotel and arrange a golden shower on the bed the Obama’s slept in? Aeroflot is amongst the worst airlines to fly on?
Dominic Cummings, soon to be Lord of Barnard’s Castle, has left 10 Downing Street where he was a special advisor to Borish Johnson. He has been ousted in a coup managed by Carrie Symonds, Borish’s lady of the moment. It is rumoured that he will be asked to head up a new agency which intends to stimulate research and innovation by means of defense spending. Never, in the history of special advisors, has so many celebrated the departure of one man. Borish may be the next to go. Rumours of a cabinet shuffle have already begun and there is new optimism about a Brexit deal in our lifetime.
The White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, was asked whether the Trump administration would give President Elect Biden access to security briefings, as is expected, during the transition process. Her response: “this is a matter for the White House”. She is the spokesperson for the White House, as far as we know. She may of course be in Wonderland.
Speaking of wonderland, Donald Trump is working on pardons for several people (Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Yogi Bear, The Road Runner, everyone at Fox News) but has been advised that he cannot pardon himself. He is likely to resign, give Pence a few days as President on condition that Pence pardons the Donald. He is also talking of running again in 2024, but he will not risk a second defeat. He’s going back to being a bizarre TV character – a job he never actually left.
Trump’s lawyers are deserting his doomed legal challenges over the election in both Arizona and Pennsylvania. So bizarre are some of the lawsuits (no one was whistling “Come Fly with Me” during the count in Georgia!”, “one of the counters in Arizona has on blue pants”) that Trump has had to put space cadet Rudi Giuliani in charge – he is so far off the wall to be able to imagine the most bizarre things. Just ask Borat.
So too is the White House’s Coronavirus Task Farce – a stunt aimed at suggesting that the White House is doing something when in fact they are doing nothing. 181,000 cases in a single day, hospital admissions through the roof and deaths at 1,400/day (4 full Boeing 747’s a day). Mike Pence Chairs this, he is in hiding. Doctors and virologists across the US are begging for concerted action and they get sugar and spice and all things nice, but nothing. An absolute failure of leadership.
Peter Sutcliffe was an evil man. He killed thirteen women in and around my home town of Bradford and nearby Leeds between 1975 and 1980 in the most brutal of ways. Known as the Yorkshire Ripper, he died of COVID-19 aged 74. He was serving twenty life sentences in a prison in County Durham, England. The police bungled the investigation – Sutcliffe was taken in for questioning nine times and released each time. He was caught in a routine traffic stop with a woman in his car and the “tools of his trade” in the glove compartment. He eventually confessed to the murders and six other attempted murders. He terrified a community, especially women and their friends and families with daughters across West Yorkshire – I know, some of those terrified about going out were my relatives. Pure evil.
Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…
Since March, 600 full 747 passenger planes have crashed killing all on board in the US and having consequences for 10.8 million people on the ground – for some permanent disability. That is 17 flights a week. The number of planes crashing is now rising to 3 flights a day. Many hospitals across the US are overwhelmed with injured and very sick people impacted by flying debris and burns. The US government’s response is “see if you can do better”, perhaps “fasten your seat belt, but don’t feel you have to – you have personal rights after all. In any case, I have my own problems!0”. Michigan is planning to ban flights and require seat belts in cars, but the White House response is to defy the rules and “fly if you want to and forget the belt”. This isn’t true of course, but it is another way of presenting the C-19 data for the US.
The cummings and goings in Downing Street suggest some chaos at the heart of government, now that the Svengali of British politics – Borish’s very own Rasputin – has gone. Various factions within the Tory party are briefing against each other and chaos seems to be the basis of Borish Johnson’s government amidst the worst health and economic crisis since WWII. Borish is now self-isolating along with several others due to his hosting a meeting at which one of the guests had C-19.
Brexit talks are going nowhere with just six weeks to go. The changes in Downing Street may “unlock” some opportunities, but the issues that remain are exactly those that were big two years ago. The big block is fishing. The EU wants 50% of the catch from UK waters and the UK is sticking with 20%. There are also big issues over the “level playing field” – the rules for competition and subsidy. No deal is more likely than some kind of deal.
SpaceX launched a full crew of four into space from NASA’s Cape Canaveral, Florida – the first time a private company has launched people into space in a privately built and owned space capsule. That is unless you recognize that the White House and GOP has had a whole battalion of space cadets for some time – alien to democracy and wandering earth speaking in tongues and offering an alternative universe. Donald J Trump, Mike Pompeo, Lindsay Graham, Rudi Giuliani, William Barr, Donald Trump Jnr, Eric Trump, Kayleigh McEnany – these space cadets are experts at speaking Zard and worship of the leader. It’s no wonder that Trump created the US Space Force.
Lewis Hamilton won his 7th F1 title matching Michael Schumacher’s record and making it possible for him to surpass the record next year. Remarkable driving. Mercedes had already won the constructor’s championship. A black, British man leading the world in a fast, dynamic sport. Time for Sir Lewis Hamilton.
Prince Charles made it to 72, despite having C-19 earlier this year. An interesting character, who occasionally gets distracted by odd causes (homeopathy being the most ridiculous) and makes friends with storytellers who lead him down the garden path (Sir Laurens van der Post being one). His saving grace: his love of The Goons. Rumour is that the Queen will abdicate next year on her 95th birthday giving him the chance to become King and Camilla Queen. We’ll see.
Des O’Connor, singer and entertainer who I grew up with on the TV screen, has died aged 88. He was a decent man. He wrote wonderful self-deprecating jokes for his appearances on Morecambe and Wise. My favourite; “he was a self-made man .. nice to see he is willing to take the blame!”. RIP a funny man.
Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening..
Boeing’s 737 Max is now cleared for flying by the US FAA. Its construction and launch is widely seen as the biggest self-inflicted disaster by any corporation in history – profit before safety is never a good plan for an airline. Boeing’s leadership has been replaced and the company faces legal challenges all over the world from the relatives of passengers. Boeing also lost orders, had to compensate airlines and lost the trust of the market. Not sure how passengers will react.
Trump has fired Chris Krebs, the official in charge of reviewing election security, due to his “lack of loyalty” – he documented the truth and confirmed that what Trump and the $20,000 a day Giuliani have been saying is total “bullshit”. Krebs is one of the leading authorities on cybersecurity in the world. Trump is a leading fabricator and con-artist. Rudi Giuliani is in training for the role of clown in an upcoming movie. In a court in Pennsylvania, Rudi asked for help from the court in filing evidence (so out of practice is he in actually finding any), adding “in case I need a job after all this”.
He’s not likely to get hired after a bizarre, off the wall press conference he gave on Thursday. He accused both George Soros and Venezuela for widespread fraud which, just the day before he said in court, he was not claiming actually occurred. Indeed, in the ninety minute blast of hot air, not a single fact was provided to support his fabrications, nonsense and bull. It was the theatre of the absurd, which included a hair melt-down (his hair dye began to flow and, sadly, resembled something that leaks from a place lower on the body), all sponsored by QAnon. When Rudi wakes up in the morning, his pillow resembles a Rorschach test!
Trump has quit as President, though he has not resigned. He is not attending COVID-19 meetings, not engaged in many of the key issues facing the US and the world, and is disabling the work of his own administration. He is unlikely to show up to the virtual G-20 which begins on Sunday.
C-19 continues to rage out of control in the US with over 1,700 deaths in a single day (4x Boeing 747 Max equivalents). The US has now experienced 253,000+ deaths since the pandemic began and could well be at 400,000 by the time Biden replaces Trump. Several US States have no ICU beds left. The US strategy for the pandemic is non-existent, with each State and county improvising a response. Trump meanwhile is fighting castles in the sky and singing Dixie.
The Brexit negotiations have been suspended as a member of the EU team has tested positive for C-19. The deadline for the talks and any agreement is fast approaching, with no real movement on the key issues that have been debated now for three years. Despite known challenges, EU officials are sounding optimistic – but then they were convinced that the British people would never vote to leave.
Staying in the UK, well known high street retailers Peacocks and Jaeger have collapsed, risking 4,700 jobs. The owner – Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group – failed to find buyers for the two clothing chains. Shopping at Peacock’s was one of the things we students did in Cardiff, where the company was based. Overall, some 14% of all businesses in the UK are already certain they will not be around after COVID-19 and only 40% have a high confidence of survival. Worst impacted is the hospitality sector, which has lost over 660,000 jobs so far this year – 20% of those who were employed in the sector in the UK at the start of the year.
The Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, is leading the new inquisition within the Catholic Church. Using Pope Francis 2019 Vos Estis Lux Mundi law, bishops who covered up sexual abuse by priests or nuns are now being investigated. The latest is Bishop Oscar Cantu, who was Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico at the time of the cases under review.
The Queen (94) and Prince Phillip (99) marked their 73rd wedding anniversary at a private gathering in Windsor Castle. I thought we were doing well with our celebration of 50 years!
“Infamy, Infamy – They Have All Got in In For Me!”
Donald Trump is desperate and flailing. He is pushing Michigan GOP’ers to go against the will of the people and refuse to certify the result of the election which Biden clearly won by over 154,000 votes. They told him “no!”. He claimed fraud and malfeasance in Georgia. They certified the vote.
He is working to plant “bombs” in terms of loyal republicans in key positions across government – in the Pentagon, Homeland security and other departments – as well as in courts and the Federal Reserve. He is weakening US troop positions in the Middle East. He is making allies around the world nervous, especially in relation to Iran.
He is tweeting that his election victory is clear. He lost. He is retweeting videos of one of the most bizarre press conferences ever held on US soil starring Rudy Giuliani and the melting hair dye. He is trying to subvert the election certification process in across the country. He is tweeting lies and fantasy, supported by his Press Secretary, Secretary of State and others. He is on high delusion, high dudgeon and high bullshit.
He cannot accept reality so doesn’t, preferring instead to occupy a fantasyland. He is able to do so because his immediate family (Donald Jnr and Eric) live there too as do many of his aides and some in the media (not just those on Fox News). The fact that Biden has close to a lead of 6 million in the popular vote or that he won Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan is irrelevant. They claim deliberate, planned fraud (and blame Hilary Clinton, George Sorors and Hugo Chavez). They claim intervention by all sorts of players, now including Big Pharma. It is all nonsense. Non sense.
We know that this will end on December 14th when the electoral college meets and votes, unless Trump and his team suddenly start winning law suits. So far they are 32 losses to 2 wins and one of those wins relates to how far poll-watchers (not pole-watchers, as the Trump legal documents stated – that’s a whole different thing!) can stand from the ballot counters (6 feet instead of 10 feet) in future elections in a particular state. They have not changed votes anywhere on a scale that would lead to a change in the outcome of the election.
Biden won by the same “landslide” (306 electoral college votes) that propelled Trump to the White House in 2016. Nothing. Repeat: nothing will change this.
Yet 70% of GOP’ers – app. 50 million Americans – believe that Trump won. What Trump is knowingly doing is disrupting and destabilizing the United States – a classic achievement of a Russian operatives dream. He is also lining his pocket – creating the momentum for whatever he does next. He is also trying to make it more difficult for democrats to govern.
It is sad to see.
Donald Trump clearly does not like the work expected of a President of the United States. He just likes the title and the attention. In his time as President, he has played over 145 rounds of golf at one or other of his own golf courses at a cost in excess of $145 million. He prefers golf to a meeting of the G20 focused on a global response to COVID-19 and golf over democracy. He prefers golf over tackling the urgent issues facing the USA.
Since the election of November 3rd he has spent his time largely out of the public eye watching television, tweeting nonsense. Michael Woolf reports that he is in bed by 6.30pm with a Cheeseburger, which is not his nickname for Melania. His twitter storms present conspiracy theories based on some of the most bizarre bullshit, clownlike baby talk. He even retweets nonsense.
He is pursuing every nonsensical conspiracy theory about the election in the hope of retaining a job he is clearly not enjoying or willing to do (or is good at). He is pursuing revenge – dismissing those not demonstrating loyalty to him but showing their commitment to the constitution.
On Monday, Joe Biden will secure enough certified election results to make him President Elect. No court decision will overturn the will of the people. Trump has had 34 lawsuits heard in court and won two – neither of which change a damned thing. Some of the judges have made judgements “with prejudice” – essentially making it exceptionally clear that the lawsuit wasted court time, was an abuse of the law and that those who were defendants were entitled to compensation.
The most remarkable thing here – amongst many remarkable things – is the way senior and experienced Republicans are enabling Trump to practice voodoo politics and promote nonsensical conspiracy theories. They are the real guilty ones and should be held accountable. A few Senators, a few Republican governors and some members of congress have accepted reality, but key figures have not. They are irresponsible, guilty of ridiculousness at a level of stupidity not seen in the most illiberal governments anywhere in the world.
The problem is that we are in an era of “truth decay”, which cannot be easily treated by facts or education. Millions think the election was “stolen” and blame anyone from George Soros, Hugo Chavez (who died in 2013), Mark Zuckerberg or even Mr. Bean. As the untruths are believed, the danger is that governance by anyone in the US becomes close to impossible.
Joe Biden is a nice enough guy – a good Catholic – with good intentions. But he is not the man to change the dynamics which have so divided the US, not just in terms of politics but in terms of “sense making”. Kamala Harris, the Vice President Elect, has her work cut out just getting legislation and position approvals through the Senate. Biden needs a second team of social influencers, not necessarily in government, who can change the dynamics of truth and understanding. I do not mean Hollywood elites or the standard bearers of the Democratic party. I mean people whose voices are respected – there are so few. I don’t envy the incoming administrations work on its biggest task: restoring social trust and a faith in facts.
Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…
Lupo, an English cocker-spaniel, has died. He had been part of the Prince William and Duchess Katherine family since they wed in 2012 – a present from James Middleton, younger brother to the Duchess. Lupo had his own Twitter account (350,000 messages of condolence so far) and had been on the cover of Hello! Magazine twice. He will be missed more than Prince Andrew, who remains in hiding near the Pizza Express in Woking.
One the “mad” lawyers working on the Trump Coup attempt – Sidney Powell – has been fired by the Trump team. “She wasn’t off the wall – she was never anywhere near the wall!” was one observers comment. She had claimed that the Georgia vote count was done by machines based in Germany, but managed by Venezuela and George Sorors. She made other bizarre statements – and confused Michigan and Minnesota counts in affidavits filed in court. She is about as smart as a dying Aspidistra. She is also keen Q-Anon supporter. Not that Rudi is any better – the damning judgement in Pennsylvania on Rudi’s court case can be summarized simply: “plain nuts”.
Joe Biden is about to announce key members of his cabinet. They will include Tony Blinken (Secretary of State) and Linda Thomas-Greenfield (UN Ambassador). He has decided not to choose Kanye West in his team – he was keen to be in charge of the US drug administration (would save him a tonne of money on his meds).
Donald J Trump (the J is for “jumping-jack-flash”) played two rounds of golf over the week-end while pretending to be the President of the United States. His script writers have run out of story-lines for the reality show that has run every day since he announced his run for the Presidency. As both Michigan and Pennsylvania have now declared Biden the winner, it is really game over for his attempted coup. The GSA’s Emily Murphy has certified the resources for transition and Trump has not fired her. A few law cases here and there will keep the shit-show going, but the Trump team have now lost thirty-five cases (three with prejudice) and won one (The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rescinded a previous win). Trump reiterated that he would “never concede” and that he won even after the formal transition approval. Trump needs to start packing and lawyering up. He’s about to enter Schitt’s Creek.
Fox News, in its long break-up with Donald J Trump, is struggling with the post-divorce experience. Geraldo Rivera suggested a solution. Name the C-19 vaccine “The Trump Vaccine”. His business case? It would help Trump feel better about leaving the White House – having a long-lasting legacy. This is about as likely to happen as naming the Rose Garden after Melania’s name for it: “The F***ing Planting Place”.
England is cracking down on “rubbish” degrees. The regulator – The Office for Students – is seeking to put an end to what the former Prime Ministers senior advisor on higher education called “a pointless Ponzi scheme” in which students pay $16.500 a year for degrees which may not have any “market or intellectual value”. Degrees in Football Studies, Mass Communication and Documentation, Packing Science, Puppetry, Hairdressing History may soon be a thing of the past. Expect cries of academic freedom and dumbing-up.
Alberta’s C-19 strategy is about as smart as wearing a mask on your foot. Alberta has a higher number of daily cases than Ontario (1,549 on Monday last), despite having just one third of the population. One Edmonton hospital currently has 174 cases and 33 have died. Our government, largely absent and some Ministers saying “off the wall” things, is busy do nothing, nothing all day long – something they are expert at. Other Provinces are in lock-down, mandate masks and enforce social distancing. Our strategy: thoughts and prayers, based on the advice of a medical profiteer and conspiracy theorist. An Amber Alert was issued for Premier Jason Kenney (52) who has not been seen for several days. Whatever happened to “follow the science”?
Three vaccines have now been developed in record time for C-19 – all three show 90% or higher efficacy, which is remarkable. Now the race is on to get approvals and to start to administer the vaccine. The challenge: who should get it first. Taylor Swift will obviously be first in line, followed by The Queen, Prince Phillip, Judi Dench and George Clooney. But after that…
Elon Musk (49), a Canadian, US and South African citizen, has become the second richest man in the world. He is said to be worth US$127.9 bn – just a tad more than Bill Gates. His wealth has risen alongside the valuation of Tesla – said to have a market cap of US$500 billion. Jeff Bezos of Amazon / Washington Post remains the world’s richest man.
It is widely reported that Britain’s greatest F1 driver of all time – Lewis Hamilton – will be receive a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list, thanks to the personal intervention of the Prime Minister. Lewis, who lives in Monaco, will be the fourth Brit F1 driver to be honoured in this way – Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart were all awarded the honour after they retired. Lewis is still racing and is determined to win the drivers title again, beating Michael Schumacher’s seven wins.
What’s Next in Washington?
What’s Next in Washington?
Donald J Trump (the J is for jailbird) is developing plans for his Presidential Library. His big exhibit – the 175 golf scorecards from all the games he played (and some he claims to have played but didn’t) – will be the centrepiece. There will be a Rudi Giuliani room, where you can try different hair dyes. A prison cell, with life-size images of the fourteen Trump team members who have been indicted and/or imprisoned over the last four years. A Melania Room, which will be a small room with white walls and nothing in it. As you walk through the space, samples of Tweets sent over the last four years will be displayed on the ceiling. Each visitor will get a MEGA hat and a pardon.
The library is likely to be housed in what is currently the Trump International Hotel in DC, which is defaulting on its rent and its loan repayments (Trump Co borrowed $100 million from Deutsche Bank to pay for it). The Trump organization put it up for sale two years ago (the year after it opened), but it has not attracted buyers willing to pay the asking price of $500 million. The building is owned by the US Government.
The other venue being explored is the store next to Four Seasons Total Landscaping Centre (“Let’s Make America Rake Again!”) in Philadelphia. It is next to a sex shop, near a crematorium and on the road to a prison. The Presidential Library would be in the back room of the sex shop – Stormy Daniels has been asked to oversee the potential development.
Melania, so relived not to be First Lady, is preparing to be the Last Wife. Rumours are that she is intending to file for divorce at some time shortly after the couple leave the White House. She re-negotiated her pre-nup before agreeing to move into the White House some six months after her husband took office, focused mainly on ensuring a trust fund for her fourteen year old son Barron. The fact that her husband is unlikely to be able to fund the pre-nup and will be spending so much time huddled with lawyers fighting off lawsuits and challenges doesn’t seem to daunt her. She is working on her book “I Write F***ing Book” – she is now on page seven, after three months of writing.
Ivanka and Jared are looking forward to returning to the social scene in New York. She hopes to renew her friendship with Chelsea Clinton and display her democrat credentials – Manhattan voted 84% for Biden/Harris after all. Jared will work his way back into the Kushner debt-laden companies, which owns eighteen properties in various parts of the US. The couple took out significant loans while working at the White House – loans which become due in 2022. Ivanka is also subject to a New York DA investigation into the Trump organization being pursued by Cyrus Vance Jnr.
One feature that will not be present in any of the Presidential libraries, memoirs or rewrites of history we can now expect (the seven volume Ivanka Trump Memoir, each volume accompanied by a new handbag and vial of perfume) will be a true account of how the Trump administration handled C-19. With a million new cases each week and deaths now exceeding 2,200 a day (6 long haul passenger jets), claims will be made about how quick Trump was to close the border to flights from China (he really didn’t) and how he fast tracked vaccines (yes he did) and how he really did exceptionally well in unprecedented circumstances (no he didn’t). The pandemic revealed just how broken governance is in the US.
As pardons fly around Washington (1 pardon for $300,000 2 for $500,000) and various players move to position themselves for 2024 (Pompeo, Pence, Kanye) attention will soon shift to Joe Biden and his team. He has already made clear his administration will not be Obama III. He is looking for a new Attorney General who will de-politicize the DOJ and to create a whole new “vibe” in Washington.
What he needs is a theme song, to be played just before each major announcement. Jill Biden’s chosen her theme song – Deana Carter’s “Did I Shave My Legs for This?”. Candidates for the President Biden’s song include Elvis Costello’s “Put Your Big Toe in the Milk of Human Kindness” or TMBG’s “Minimum Wage”. My suggestion: Wilco’s “Nothing’severgonnastandinmyway (again)”.
Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…
Following some confusion in the Rose Garden surrounding the traditional pardoning of the Turkey, President Donald J Trump (the J is for jerrymander) pardoned two turkey’s on the same day – Michael Flynn and another turkey called Corn. Both had lied to the FBI. Corn had pretended to be a Goose. Trump himself has gotten all polite. He went around saying to anyone who would talk to him “pardon ME”.
Trump continues to claim massive voter fraud – calling into a hearing in Pennsylvania to claim that he won the election “by a lot” (perhaps referring to the parking lot outside the Four Seasons Landscaping and Garden Centre). Karl Rove, well known GOP lawyer, has made clear that there is no evidence of widespread voter irregularity or fraud – accepting that Biden is the 46th President of the United States. Only Rudi Giuliani, being paid a reported $20,000 a day, continues to claim fraud supported by a few deplorables and the President. Even Melania has started packing.
Trump signed off on new rules for death-penalty executions in the US. Now firing squads can be used, not just lethal injections or gassing or the continuous playing of Barry Manilow songs. Five executions are scheduled before Trump leaves office.
Borish Johnson’s approach to C-19 is about as smart as a donkey trying to run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Coming out of total lockdown, England is now going into near total lockdown. There are three tiers: Tier 1 = you can drink pints; Tier 2 = you can drink pints, but have to have pie and chips; Tier 3 = no pints, no pie, no chips. 34 million are Tier 3. Rather than accept that a total lockdown is needed for longer, he is doing a Canute. Tiers for fears is what it is.
Alberta made clear that it could not participate in the test of the Canadian national crisis alert system due to the C-19 crisis. After the crisis is over and there is no crisis, we will be able to test the crisis alert. You can’t make this stuff up.
The Oxford – Cambridge Boat Race – the most exciting of all sporting events – will move from the River Thames to the Great River Ouse. In part this is due to C-19 restrictions still anticipated to be in place in April 2021. But it is mainly due to safety concerns related to Hammersmith Bridge, which has been closed for over eighteen months. Built in 1887, massive repairs are needed following years of neglect – it could fall down at any time. It may open again in 2027 at a cost of over $250 million. The Great Ouse last hosted the boat race in 1944.
Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist and global guru, published a book called 12 Rules for Life in 2018. Not satisfied with rules like “pet a cat when you meet one in the street”, he wanted to add twelve new rules and thinking regimens. The trouble is that staff at Penguin Random House went ape and wanted the publisher to withdraw the book – they didn’t (quite right). Just don’t buy it. I doubt that the new rules include ones suggested to me recently: “never eat a pork pie when you could have a tourtiere” 00or “never wear a mask when you’re eating”.
Diego Maradona, footballing legend touched by “the hand of God”, died of a heart attack aged 60. He told his nephew, “I am not feeling well”. He was right. The President of Argentina immediately declared three days of national mourning and footballers around the world stood in silence to honour one of the greatest players of all time. He is being given a State funeral. Off the pitch his life was a shambles, but he did produce rare moments of football glory and magnificence. RIP Diego. He leaves a total of eleven children – a full team.
Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, an Iranian nuclear scientist, was assassinated near Tehran. It is widely thought that Mossad was behind the killing. The escalation of tensions between the US and Iran, which could trigger some kind of military response, is worrying the incoming Biden administration. USS Nimitz and other US warships have been moved to the Persian Gulf in recent days, purportedly to provide cover for soldiers withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel’s intentions, it seems clear, is to make it more difficult for an incoming Biden team to return to the Iran Nuclear deal which Trump withdrew from.
Australia is experiencing record temperatures – 40C in Sydney and closer to 45C in Victoria. The danger of extreme fire events is again evident. Australia is the earth’s petri dish exploring the impact of climate change.
A new symptom of COVID-19 is being revealed in the US. It increases stupidity and destroys the myth of American exceptionalism. With over one million new cases a week and daily deaths in excess of 1,100 and many hospitals reaching breaking point, just over three million decided to get on a flight to go to spread the virus to other members of their families. We will see the impact in 10-14 days. But it will not be good. The US is running out of trained professionals able to treat C-19 in intensive care units. It will not have a vaccine for the population as a whole until Easter, though many will not be willing to be injected showing further evidence of the spread of stupid.
A donor to the Trump stolen election fund – Fred Eshelman – is suing to get his $2.5 million back on the grounds of fraud. He claims that the suggestion that the election was “rigged” and that millions of people not eligible to vote did so is a fraud aimed at duping people to hand over money. One piece of evidence he might use: when a hand recount was done at the request of the Trump campaign in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County, which cost the Trump team $3 million, Biden gained 132 votes. Another is the decision of the Appeals Court in Pennsylvania which threw out the Trump claims on the basis that there was no coherent legal argument and even less evidence. As Mary Trump has said about her brother, “he’s the only person I’ve ever met who can gaslight himself”.
After four years and billions of appropriated funds, the Trump team has managed to add exactly 9 new miles of wall to the border between the US and Mexico. While a lot more construction has occurred, most of it was to repair or replace the existing wall built by the Bush and Obama administrations. Mexico also did not pay for it – taxpayers in Michigan, Florida and Wisconsin did. Average cost – $36 million per mile – built largely by Mexican labour.
Britain’s high street is about to look very empty. The Arcadia Group (Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss. Selfridge, Wallis, Evans, Outfit) is entering bankruptcy. Owned by Sir Phillip Green, who has failed to let the business adapt and thrive in a growingly online retail world, the companies employ around 14,000 people. Also vulnerable is the entire hospitality sector – restaurants, fast food chains, sandwich bars, hotels, B&B. Devasted by the C-19 tiers and lock-downs and lack of financial support, many will simply not be able to survive. And then there is the Brexit deal / no-deal – whatever happens, it will not be good news.
The final week of Brexit talks – they have been ongoing for over 135 weeks – is stuck on the same issue with which they began: fishing. The EU position is that the UK fishing fleet will only be able to keep 15-18% of the fish in British sovereign waters. Put another way – “sovereign” means nothing much, which was the very reason why so many voted to leave the EU in the first place.
The big edible hit of 2020 in the UK is Marks and Spencer’s chicken donut dipper with a dipping sauce. Exactly. Say no more. As if things couldn’t get weirder in 2020 they just did: Mike Tyson (54) boxed against Roy Jones Jnr (51) on Saturday. The fight was an eight round draw. Don’t ask why hey bothered. Two old men earning big money for a fight seems a fitting summary of the year to date.