2016 saw two of the biggest catastrophes the world has seen in a long time. Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump as POTUS.
There has been a collective movement of denial over Trump. To some of us, he was a f—ing w–nker in 2016, he has remained a f—ing w–nker all the time since 2016, and he has just shown how much of a f—ing w–nker he really is by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Within minutes of his announcement, Iran said it is going to start enriching uranium again, and Israel has begun bigging itself up ready to go to war with Syria because it reckons Iran is supplying it with arms with which to attack Jerusalem. Russia reckons the action will jeopardise the Korean pact, which means the North will restart its nuclear trials. If Israel attacks any Muslim country, other Muslim countries are likely to join in. Every f—ing lunatic hardcore Islamist who isn’t in Syria will start trying to get at Trump by blowing up whatever country they are currently residing in. And the price of oil is likely to skyrocket. Every civilised country has condemned Trump’s decision.
Britain is in a bit of a cleft stick, because we’re in the middle of trying to spit on Europe, whilst simultaneously being in the middle of shaping up to have Trump’s babies (along with lots of chlorinated chicken) to make up for what we’re about to lose. And thanks to the Brexit effect on the pound – which, in spite of the Brexiter rhetoric a few weeks ago, is now back down the what it was the day after the Referendum versus the dollar – everything is costing more. Fuel prices are already creeping up again (5p in the last three weeks) even before the effects of Trump’s latest folly kick in. In other words, we’re trying to go it alone at what has become the worst imaginable time in which to do so.
I pointed out in 2016 that by leaving the EU we could not foresee what was around the corner, and that a war with someone was possible. Trump has made that even more possible – almost likely.
The problem is that the Iran deal was actually working. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than what Trump has now condemned the world to. He has pretty much proved what the less civilised countries already believed: that America can’t be trusted.
Ironically, America can be trusted. Just not with Trump as POTUS.
The thought occurs to me that I hope I wake up tomorrow (ambiguity in that comment deliberate).
After the recent tragedy in Florida, and yet another mass shooting spree in a school, with multiple fatalities, it seemed like the time had finally come for America to realise that virtually unrestricted gun ownership had to be curtailed.
Donald Trump looked like he was about to make a decision that would finally make him come across as a proper POTUS. No, he really did.
It would appear that the solution he is now suggesting involves allowing teachers to carry guns so they can get into shootouts with lunatics like Nikolas Cruz.
Cruz, you might recall, was carrying an AR-15 – a semi-automatic version of the M16 used by the US Military – which he used to kill 17 people. He had a total of 10 weapons, though the identity of these is being kept secret for some reason (no need to guess why, since American gun laws wouldn’t put ownership of a small thermonuclear device outside the reach of the average citizen, purely on “constitutional” grounds). It is known that he purchased a shotgun and an AK-47, and the owner of the shop which sold them to him appears to have done so willingly and with no fuss whatsoever.
This is made so much worse by the fact that Cruz appears to have been a certified head case (if anyone had bothered to check) – certainly enough of one for any sensible person not to sell him a blunt stick, let alone military-grade weaponry (and lots of it).
Trump’s idea is that teachers would carry “concealed” weapons. You don’t need to be an expert to realise that it would be extremely difficult to conceal an AR-15 unless you had very long legs, since it is almost a metre long and weighs about 3.5kg. Therefore, a teacher would have something much smaller and much less accurate except at close range. In short, a hand gun. So Trump’s idea is for teachers to put their lives in guaranteed danger by confronting people like Cruz who, it must be said, could also be carrying grenades (I believe that these can be obtained legally, though with difficulty), explosives (more easily obtained or manufactured), or any number of noxious substances. Of course, where control is so lax to start with, obtaining such materials illegally is even simpler.
I don’t want to make light of a very serious issue, but if this is what Donald Trump thinks will solve the problem, there is every likelihood that his next idea will be for helicopters to drop gasoline on wildfires in order to extinguish them.
Last month, I mentioned an email I’d received which informed me that I’d got $950,000 waiting in a Zimbabwean bank. All I had to do was send $95 for delivery of the ATM card which would unlock these untold riches.
I just received another one. Apparently, I have $12,000,000 now – $24,000,000 if you allow for the fact I got two copies, one to each of two of the various email addresses I use:
This is to inform all contractors and business owners whom have done any business in Africa without been paid that, they are free to contact the office of the WORLD BANK COMPENSATION COMMISSION for immediate payment considerations.
The function of the Commission, is to verify and evaluate claims, and in so doing, to determine whether the applicant is entitle to any compensation in the amount not less that $12,000,000:00 (Twelve Million Dollars).
The Commissioners assess the type of compensation due to the claimants and recommended compensation to the Governing Council and intelligible claimant/s is paid within four (4) working days.
This Compensation Commission is headed by the Executive Secretary who is appointed by the board of the World Bank after consultation with the Governing Council. Since the establishment of the Commission in 2014, the staff of the Secretariat comes from approximately 32 different countries and at the height of claims processing, the Secretariat is made up of approximately 30 lawyers, accountants, loss adjusters and information technology specialists.
To begin with the process of this compensation, all eligible persons or come any is require to to send the following to the office of the Commission
A. FULL NAME/ COMPANY NAME
B. CONTACT ADDRESS
C. TELEPHONE/ FAX NUMBER
All information should be sent to:-
Not very bright, are they? Mind you, some of the people they send these to aren’t, either.
Some questions in life just don’t have a viable answer to them.
North Korea is a pariah state. Every other country on the face of the earth hates it. It has acquired big boys toys – nuclear weapons – primarily because it is run by a Big Boy. Well, a fat, retarded specimen with the mind of a very backward child, anyway, who has spent the better part of two years dividing his time between threatening to destroy America (and a few other people), and firing missiles. He’s also allegedly managed to kill a few dozen of his close associates, some of whom were family, and assassinated a defector (also family). He also allegedly has executions carried out using anti-aircraft guns. I’m sure he went and had one off the wrist after watching that.
The thing is, if he did start any sort of war – nuclear or conventional – although there would obviously be a lot of damage, North Korea would quickly be blown off the face of the planet. Kim Jong Un appears to be too stupid to realise that, as well as being too stupid to understand that you don’t win friends and influence people the way he’s going about it. I’m sure he’s also too stupid to realise he’s gone so far down that path, he’ll NEVER have any friends. HIs people don’t like him. They hate him – but they’re afraid of him.
The man simply has to be insane not to realise what a complete tosser he actually is. No nation is ever inherently evil – only individual people are. Like Kim Jong Un.
I just caught this story on the BBC website.
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (TGTBATU) is the best film of all time. I should say that that’s just my opinion, but I don’t want to water it down. It just is.
It has sentimental value to me as well. An uncle, who died many years ago, was going to take me to see it when it was on at the cinema. I had been captivated by the music, which was being played a lot on the radio, and he said he’d take me. It never came to pass, because about five minutes after he’d said it, my auntie pointed out that it had an ‘X’ rating and they wouldn’t let a 7-year old in.
I digress. A while back, I was playing around with Google Earth, and since TGTBATU was on one of the satellite channels again I looked up the location of Sad Hill cemetery – the setting for the iconic final scene in the movie. The scenery in the film had always impressed me, but the location in Northern Spain turned out to be overgrown. It was an unofficial off-the-beaten-track tourist target, but it was just an overgrown valley – albeit still with great scenery. I’d made a mental note to visit the place if I ever got the chance.
Anyway, it appears from this story that a group of volunteers has renovated the site and put it back to the condition it was in when the movie was shot.
Time to start planning the trip.
You have to smile sometimes. I just received this email. It’s just a hunch, but it might be a scam.
From: Charles Koch <email address removed>
Subject: CONTACT ME URGENT
How are you today, I hope all is well .Be informed that due to your delay ,YOUR FUND worth of (USD$950,000.00) was converted into ATM-Card which you can use to withdraw in any ATM Cash Point Machine Worldwide and have been programmed by the issuing bank .Note that the issuing bank has packaged the ATM CARD with the secret code and registered it with DHL courier service. Also you can withdraw the sum of US$5,000.00 per day.Therefore, quickly contact DHL COMPANY with below
Your full name……..
Your age …………
Your Phone number……
Director :Mr Charles Koch
Email address: (Zimbabwe email address removed)
The only money you have to send to DHL COMPANY is only US$95 only,according to the director of the issuing bank for the smooth delivery of your package to your door step. Also you should reaffirm your full NAME, ADDRESS,TELEPHONE NUMBER AND DRIVER’S LICENSE OR PASSPORT to them to avoid wrong delivery.
Funds Remittance Department
The really frightening thing is that there will be some prat who responds to him.
Some berk who has a real problem separating home life from work breastfed a baby whilst putting forward a motion to the Australian Parliament. If that wasn’t bad enough, the baby also took a dump in its nappy. No one seems to see any wrong in this (not officially, anyway).
Look at the stupid smiles on the faces of those looking on. It’s in Parliament, for God’s sake, and they’re all sitting around going “aaaaaah!”
I’ve told this story before, but years ago I was on a skiing holiday in France (or it might have been Switzerland). We had gone into a fairly smart restaurant one night for a meal, and at the table next to us was a family who were having a raclette (a big block of cheese that is melted and into which you dip chunks of bread or meat). They had a baby with them in a high chair.
We’d just had our main course delivered when I sniffed and said to one of my companions “I think that baby has crapped itself”. And it had. The woman took it to the lavatory and the stench of baby crap remained in the restaurant while we ate our meal. At the time, a small beer cost about three times more than a pint did in the UK, and that meal was similarly priced. If I remember correctly, the proprietor of the restaurant was feeding us free schnapps after our meal – and it didn’t occur to me until now that it might have been his way of apologising. To be honest, even if he’d have given us the meal for free, it still ballsed up an entire evening, the purpose of which was to eat after a hard day’s skiing, not to experience in this way.
I can state – as an absolute fact, with no worries whatsoever about being wrong – I should not have been subjected to that, and the family who’d taken the bloody baby in was a prime example of irresponsible parenting.
People with babies should not be allowed to take them to work, unless work is at Mothercare or some other place where hormone-addled people work. Breastfeeding in public is gross – the only people who like it are the same hormone-addled specimens, or (if they’re male) perverts trying to pretend they’re not. Anyone normal who says they’re cool with it is just lying, because a part of the body which is overtly sexual for about 95-99% of the time does not become OK to flash about in a restaurant (or in Parliament) just because it means its owner is “making a statement”.
If you have kids, you’re supposed to change what you do to help them grow up properly. You don’t carry on normally, force everyone around you to change, and have your kids grow up in spite of you. Which is what this Australian woman is doing.
I read about this a while back, but it seems the trial has come to an end. The BBC’s story title is misleading, because it certainly doesn’t answer the question “what really happened when Swedes tried six-hour days?”
The only detail that matters is that those who had their working day cut to six hours were still taking home the same money. I seem to be the only one who sees that for what it is: an effective salary increase of about 25%, which means an increase in wage costs of the same amount for any company who has to foot the bill, or the taxpayer if the government subsidises it.
I mean, how can you trust the comments of people who have been part of the trial to give objective or meaningful feedback? They got a huge pay rise and lots of extra free time – who wouldn’t like that? It would have meant a hell of a lot more to find out what they said if they’d had to take a 25% pay cut. I’m sure they wouldn’t have liked that anywhere near as much.
Of course, the story contains the ubiquitous tale of a mummy able to spend more time with her child (sorry, her daughter – got to keep the old feminine wheel turning full on, haven’t we?)
Unless companies (or government) are prepared – or able – to increase wages by this amount, the numbers just don’t stack up. Less hours per person on the same pay means wage bills go up. Less hours per person also means less output, requiring more jobs, so wage bills go up. Less hours per person and no extra jobs means reduced output, so profits fall. Government subsidies to fund it means higher taxes, so take home wages go down. Increased costs will (and I mean ‘will’) result in companies going bankrupt, so more unemployment. And so it goes on.
But, hey. At least women will get more time at home with their daughters, eh?
Also funny are some of the comments left by frequenters of the BBC forums. One comedian, who goes by the name “bbchateukip”, which clearly defines both the mentality and the political leanings of the user in question, says:
My managers are obsessed with input rather than output – they are quite happy for someone to sit there doing rubbish work but see them as good because they spend 12 hours a day – I am considered lazy as I do the bear [sic] minimum hours but because I know how to use a computer I actually achieve more! this is not noticed though – but least I get to spend time with friends and family
I’m sure his employer doesn’t quite see him enveloped by the same radiant glow, and is probably quite accurate in their assessment. I’m also pretty sure that his implication that everyone other than him is doing a piss poor job is also less than true. And I’m certain that the 24 likes he has acquired are also made by equally misguided people.
Life – and the standard of work you produce – is a little more complicated than just being the result of the number of hours you work. Business success, on the other hand, is pretty much directly connected with it, and could not be sustained following a 25% reduction in hours worked.
The comments above are my own, based on the earlier stories and the latest one from the BBC. However, I have since discovered that quite a few other sources have reached similar conclusions. All of the stories make the point that it is too expensive. Even the articles with misleadingly positive headlines say the same thing. The other stories all appear to be based on this Bloomberg one.
If you have the mental capacity to push the feminist claptrap to one side and look into the guts of the matter, the trial could never have been successful for the simple reason that workers got to work fewer hours for no loss in pay. That detail prevented the results from ever having any scientific value. The only way the trial could have had scientific value would have been if those taking part earned 25% less for doing 25% fewer hours, because if it ever became the norm then – one way or another – that, or rather the cost of that, would have to have been absorbed either by the companies who did it, or the government if it subsidised it.
But even that is a red herring, since there is no way on God’s Green Earth that someone is going to perform 25% (or more, which was the hope) better for a 25% reduction in hours – even less so if they also take a 25% drop in salary. And you don’t need a stupid, very expensive experiment to try and prove otherwise. It just isn’t going to happen.
As it turns out, absence due to sickness (one of the goals) did not improve. In some cases it actually increased significantly. It also appears that a trial which ran between 1989 and 2005 was stopped because there were insufficient data to support the supposed benefits. In other words, it did not work.
Reading between the lines, the trials were carried out at places where the staff are probably about 95% female (retirement homes). And another trial is due to begin amongst Sweden’s social services shortly (also gender-skewed if they’re anything like in the UK), with the complicating factor that there is a shortage of social service staff anyway, and this “experiment” is partly intended to drive recruitment in that area.
Truly scientific experiments attempt to alter as few variables as possible, then look for effects of changes to those that are. If you want to prove that working fewer hours is better, you can’t ignore the costs of doing it, and you can’t tack a recruitment drive on to the end. The results would be absolutely meaningless, no matter what the outcome.
This article makes interesting reading. The heads of more than half of the top 500 companies in the UK say Brexit has already had a negative impact business, and two-thirds believe it will worsen over the next 12 months. The only people who have benefited so far are those who export, where the weaker pound has helped them – which makes me wonder what my arsehole of an ex-company’s directors said, since they don’t export very much, and yet were vocal supporters of Brexit prior to the referendum.
What really pisses me off is how every negative story ends with something along the lines of:
Despite ongoing uncertainty, the majority of business leaders – 96 percent – were confident their company can adapt to life outside the EU.
Idiots. It’s just like that asteroid that apparently slammed into earth 66 million years ago – life on Earth may have survived, but the dominant dinosaurs were wiped out. By comparison, managing to survive Brexit would not mean that Brexit is a good idea!
It’s funny, but all you have to do is look at a map of the world (above). Then consider what the world is like in the 21st Century.
We are not going to f***ing survive on our own – even less so if we move in with America just to try to alleviate the inevitable effects of Brexit. And it is unbelievable that anyone should believe otherwise, and especially not the leaders of large companies.
With Trump in the White House, another World War is looking increasingly likely. Trump has talked complete bollocks since the moment he was inaugurated, and yet Theresa May has already given him the key to her flat, which pretty much confirms whose side we’d have to be on once any war started. Europe, on the other hand, looks as if it would be more likely to tell Trump to shove it.
The USA might be the largest economic power in the world, but it is far from being the dominant military one. It is also shackled by being entrenched firmly in a particular moral foxhole, whereas those it might end up in conflict with have no such restrictions, and would happily adopt any moral position (and war tactic) that suited them in order to come out on top militarily. Furthermore, America is now managed by a complete asshole, and any war would be a disaster – both for America, and anyone else who had placed themselves in that same foxhole.
Theresa May is incapable of realising that Brexit is not as simple or as narrowly defined as David Cameron’s idiotic referendum question last June implied. The extremely narrow winning vote to leave the EU was wrong last year. It’s even more wrong now.
The UK’s size versus the rest of the world is currently the inverse of the size of its ego.
The UK should be a part of Europe. Geographically it is. But it should also be part of it both economically and politically.
Theresa May has spent the whole time since she became PM absolutely refusing to give details of her plans for Brexit, and refusing equally absolutely to involve parliament in the whole affair.
UK Courts previously ruled that Parliament must be involved. Theresa May appealed that decision, and after yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the original decision, she is now quoted as saying:
I recognise that there is an appetite in this House to see that plan set out in a White Paper. I can confirm to the House that our plan will be set out in a White Paper published in this House.
The words ‘cow’ and ‘two-faced’ spring instantly to mind. This is precisely the opposite of what she has been saying since last summer, and which she went to court to try to maintain.
Furthermore, when Theresa May came to power, the likelihood of Donald Trump becoming president of the USA was seen as being as likely as Hell freezing over. I do not think – for even a second – that Theresa May wanted Trump in the White House, and I am equally certain that behind closed doors she made the same comments that the rest of the world was making. If nothing else, we can be absolutely certain that, given the choice, she would not have wanted Trump.
But Hell froze over twice in 2016 – once with Brexit, and then with Trump – and will go down in history as a turning point, in much the same way that 1914 and 1939 were turning points. Therefore, it is sickening that May is now kissing up to Trump.
Every single thing Donald Trump said or did during his election campaign went against the morals of huge swathes of people. Indeed, the only people in America who he didn’t insult were the same sorts of people who voted to leave the EU in the UK (with the exception of women, who he insulted every time he opened his mouth). American Redneck males love him. And that’s all, folks.
Trump has more recently claimed that “water-boarding” – a type of torture used on people to make them confess to anything you want them to confess to, and which is similar to drowning them slowly – works. Torture is illegal under both US and International Law. He intends to build a wall between Mexico and the US, in a chilling echo of Berlin in 1961. He has already started moving on controversial oil pipelines through Native American territory – still more chilling echoes, this time of the White Man’s advance through the Americas in the 1700s and 1800s. Trump is also a climate change denier, and has recently ordered the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delete all data relating to climate change from its website (he has previously claimed that climate change is a Chinese hoax).
Then we come to Trump’s comments relating to women (well, anyone who isn’t heterosexual and male, really). To be sure, some of his quips would be innocuous on their own. However, every single one of them takes on a whole new meaning when you consider them all together, and especially when you remember that they have come repeatedly from the mouth of a man who is now President of the USA.
Just as you don’t need to be a genius to know with absolute certainty what Theresa May thought of Trump as a prospective White House candidate, or her reaction when he won, you also don’t need to guess very hard to imagine Trump’s view of Theresa May – past or present.
Theresa May broadcasting that she wants to cosy up to Trump in spite of all of this is simply an example of two desperate people looking for support. May is trying to screw the UK, and Trump is trying to screw the US. Neither realises it – but the shocking thing is that the public as a whole doesn’t realise it, either. That’s why we have May and Brexit this side of the pond, and Trump and… well, you can’t really put him into words… on the other.
Brexit is wrong. Trump is wrong. And God help us all.