Bombshell, Film Four at 9pm, written by Charles Randolph and directed by Jay Roach.

A topical film in the week the moron’s moron and 45th American President mistakes the woman he’s accused of raping as being his ex-wife. And you can’t rape your wife, right?  Here we are in the sleaze pit of Fox News. Donald Trump has put himself forward as a candidate for the Presidency. Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) has primed herself to ask Trump some critical questions about his attitude towards women in the 2016 Republican debate. This was before, of course, he was reported to have admitted he liked to grab a woman by the pussy. What, of course, he meant, was poor women. Poor white women. Who can forget the moron’s moron gushing all over his daughter and admitting that he might have dated her? Kelly nails Trump for his misogynist attitude. But this is Fox News. White is right. Woke is wrong. And Trump is the coming Messiah. Kelly is good for their ratings. But she’s suddenly on the wrong side of the right.   

She asks her boss, Roger Ailes’s (John Lithgow) advice. Aile’s boast is he is Fox News. His news channel made $1.3 billion profit. That’s the kind of leverage that allows him to joke with his staffers that James Murdoch has the kind of mouth that sucks cock. Rupert Murdoch owns Fox, but Ailes is king. Unlike the moron’s moron he doesn’t grab his subjects by the pussy, he invites them into his office. Reminds them who they work for. Asks them to show a bit of loyalty, show more leg, a bit of ass and pussy and suck his cock. That way they might get that promotion they’d hoped for. That way they might not get sacked. Droit du seigneur. And in Fox if you’re not a fox, you don’t get onscreen. You don’t get employed. Ailes makes sure of that. Any complaints go straight to the top.

Megyn Kelly does the right thing and the wrong thing. She bends the knee for the moron’s moron. Plays the game. She needs to keep her job. She’s got children to support.

Gretchen Carlson, (Nicole Kidman)  Fox and Friends, is the eye-candy blonde of yesteryear. A former Miss America. Her looks fading. Her appeal fading. She’s demoted. It’s not called that, of course. Everything she does is wrong. She didn’t question the right of every American from cradle to grave to own and shoot a firearm, but wondered if each citizen needed their very own machine-gun. In a Fox Poll, 80% voted they did. She was out, but she was building a case against Roger Ailes. Her lawyers advised her not to sue Fox as she’d lose, but to bring a case against Ailes, which she’d probably also lose. We know she didn’t. She won $20 million in damages and a public apology from Fox. But that’s jumping ahead.  

Megyn Kelly is treading water. Gretchen Carlson is out. Another beautiful blonde is climbing the corporate ladder to Aile’s private office. Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) is the next big thing or so she hopes. On the first day on The O’Reily Factor she mucks up.  A staffer, Jess Carr (Kate McKinnon) gives her some advice about the permanent outrage factor merged with the cynicism of an Irish beat cop in a brothel. She does more than that. She sleeps with her. Most shocking of all, she admits that she’s a Hilary Clinton fan. But when Kayla wants to ask her advice after she’d been invited into the inner sanctum of Alie’s office, Carr holds her hands up and tells her she doesn’t want to know any details. She needs to keep her job.

We know how this ends. It’ll be interesting to see how the moron’s moron’s rape charges end. In 2016, like Roger Ailes, Trump was untouchable. Can he be President again? No. Will he go to jail? Probably not. Murdoch and Fox will reluctantly fall into line. Profits before personalities. But Facebook gave him leverage. No Meta. No Russian bots. No Russian cash. No Russian rejoicing in the Russian White House when he was elected.  Heart attack. For a man with no heart that should be something. No more Bombshells with the moron’s moron. We already know everything about him. Serial loser.

Tom Phillips & Jonn Elledge (2022) Conspiracy: A History of Bxllocks Theories, and How Not to Fall For Them.

I like to think I’m pretty good contestant at Conspiracy Theories. But any fellow conspirators, I guess, imagine the same thing. A general rule of thumb, whatever the 45th American President believed, I believe the opposite. The great thing about fiction is you can—literally—put words into people’s mouths. In Ugly Puggly, for example, this is exactly what I think, but not so exactly that anyone would believe a real person would think this way.

 “I tapped my pocket for my fag packet, even though I’d been off them for two years. ‘Yeh know yev got a hangover, when you waken up wae three socks—and only one of them is yers.’

Ugly Puggly sighed. ‘There’s a mystery there waiting to be unravelled by future conspiracy theorists, involvin lizards and flyin saucers. But imagine wakin up one mornin and findin oot the Americans, the once-great nation that used ex-Nazis to help land man on the moon, have elected the moron’s moron as President. And he doesn’t believe in anythin apart from his love-in with Putin, who he labelled a “genius” just before he invaded Ukraine for the third time. Certainly, no global warmin. Won’t sign yer Paris Agreement or attend Cop-out, whatever number we ur at. When all the major nations meet and agree to disagree, while the collapse of civilisation and the sixth great global extinction event is noo.’

I finished the dregs of filtered tea. ‘Fuck sake, I just asked for a burnt sausage, no a lecture. It’s too early fer that stuff.’

‘Nah,’ he pulled open the oven door and banged the Dalmuir duck about in its baking tray. ‘It’s too late. And it’s no jist about us.’ He nodded at the ceiling. ‘He’ll no have a future.’

‘Och, he’s no got a future anyway. Maybe he should join the Lib-Democrats. Or handcuff himsel to a petrol tanker. At least one of they hings might be useful.’

‘Maybe he should. Maybe we all should. There’d be worse hings in the word tae dae.’

‘Aye, it’s like eatin broccoli. Yeh know it’s good for yeh, but it tasted shite. But I draw the lines at the Liberal Democrats. Remember no long ago that was the same mob that formed an Alliance wae the worst o the Tory scum.’

Ugly Puggly raised an eyebrow. ‘Well, worst till noo.’

‘When yer scrappin the bottom of the barrel, there’s almost mair barrel tae scrape. It’s like the mystery of the smelly socks. There’s always another Tory cunt appears that’s worse than the last.’”

Phillips and Elledge get right into it with the history of ‘blood libel’. They ask and answer in Chapter 1, ‘What is a Conspiracy Theory?’

Saturday, Holy Week, 1144.

None of us were there. If you were, contact me, I’ll have a theory about that too.

The body of a twelve-year-old boy called William was found in a forest near Norwich.

Twelve-year-old now is boyish. Then it was middle-aged.

He was found at the foot of an oak tree.

Who killed him?

We don’t know, but we’ll blame the Jews, always comes in at one or two in the conspiracy theory top ten. Sometimes they can hold multiple spots at the same time.

Culprits caught. William mother alleged William was last seen going into the house of a Jewish family. But she wasn’t sure if she dreamt that bit. She was sure in the dreams the Jews were attacking her.

Fair cop. All Jews in Norwich murdered and their properties stolen. Heinrich Himmler and the SS did a similar job. But first they registered the Jews as being Jews and had them write down a complete list of all they owned.

Jews were killed for being Jews in the twentieth century. A tautology.

In the tenth century, a reason, however flimsy, had to be found for murdering Jews. Sir Simon de Novers was heavily in debt to a Jew. One of the wealthiest men in Norwich. The knight’s advocate was Bishop William Turbe. He argued that Sir Simon de Novers had not killed to avoid repayment of his debt. His motive was pure. He killed the ringleader of the killer of his nephew Willian of Norwich in a nefarious Jewish ritual and blood sacrifice of a pure Christian child.

Scotland has a Not Proven verdict. Simon de Noever’s case was Not Proven. He walked free. That might have been the end of that.

But his case was taken up by a Welsh monk living and working in Norwich. Thomas of Monmouth was responsible for writing the pamphlet: The Life and Passion of William of Norwich.  

No, I haven’t read it. Thomas of Monmouth cited Turbe (as I’m citing Phillips and Elledge p43) to calm the Jews at Passover routinely sacrificed a Christian child. In this case, William of Norwich. They crowned him with thorns and crucified him. A parody and mockery of The Passion of Christ.

Simple arithmetic, which I’m not very good at. No conspiracy, I’m a bit thick. Jewish Passover happens once a year. This is 2023. This supposedly happened in 1144. SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann, who helped murder six-million Jews, estimated there were eleven million Jews in Europe, including Britain, in 1945. Subtract 11 144 from 2023 and multiply by 11 000 000 to estimate the number of innocent Christian children murdered by Jews since (and before) 1144. Don’t send me the answer. Eat it. The truth sets you free.

For every head, there is a tale. The flipside is the local sheriffs in Norwich had been bribed by the Jews to look the other way.

Comparisons can be made with Pizzagate. I didn’t know what this was until I read a book about QAnon. If you don’t know what QAnon is you’ve not been missing much. Jake Angeli is the face of QAnon. His face and bare chest covered in red, white and blue. A furry hat with horns. Armed with a spear with the Stars and Stripes American flag attached, he also carried a bullhorn, as he stood behind the desk of the United States Senate, 6th January 2021. A leading member of an army of incompetents called to Washington by the moron’s moron in the moral crusade to help unsteal the election.

Naively, I thought, chants at the moron moron’s rallies which called for the jailing of his Democratic rival, Hilary Clinton, had to do with an email account by aide John Podesta hacked by the Russians, and the information fed to Trump, and relayed back to her, in breach of federal law. She didn’t, for example, steal TOP SECRET documents and leave them lying around her house. Instead she ordered pizza. This was code for orgy, murder, cannibalism as innocent children were tortured and  sacrificed in a satanic paedophilic ring in which the Washington elite were party. They might have been lizard people, like former Queen Elizabeth II and Charles III. According to Donald Trump only one man could stop them and that was Donald Trump. There is a danger of repeating yourself, but QAnon concurred. He was the saviour for foot soldiers like Jake Angeli in a moral quest not only to save America, but the world.

One foot soldier, 4th December 2016, took an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and shot up a pizza restaurant named by Alex Jones, Infowars. He demanded captive children be freed from the basement. The restaurant didn’t have a basement. But the online world has many rooms.

The Illuminati feature in many. Also known as International Jewry.  New World Order. I quite liked the story that David Cameron went to the Shetlands to stop Scotland seceding from the Union and taking control of Clair Ridge oilfield. This would have made us like a Tartan Norway. London government could no longer fritter away tax revenues to fund tax cuts for rich people. Our proud nation would have a sovereign wealth fund equivalent to super-rich Norway and allow us to invest in a green future. I might have made that last bit up.

Phillips and Elledge in their Conclusion ask us to interrogate our beliefs with these questions.

Could anything disprove it?

 Yes, global warming and global catastrophe is not inevitable. But we are rushing towards each checkpoint quicker than anticipated.

How does it deal with contradictory evidence?

As a storyteller, I find this interesting. Some of the largest corporations in the world came together and lied, lied, and lied again. They paid for propaganda and politicians and took over the seats of government, penalising those that told the truth. Contradictory evidence was their battlefield. They used it to kill our children’s children.

Does it exist in a bubble?

I’m not a scientist or (as you’ve seen) not good with numbers. But I understand the null hypothesis. Conspiracy theories start the assumption the answer is obvious. Then it works backwards towards the evidence. Putin’s that blue-eyed Vikings were the first Rus in what is known now as Ukraine in the eighth or ninth century, and they helped create a great Russia and the Third Rome of the East. Ukraine therefore doesn’t exist outside Russia, because it is Russian.  

Global warming beings and ends with the data. Man-made or not? Not in terms of yes or no, but probability. The chances of Leicester winning the league were around 1000/1 at the start of the season. They won it. Bookies don’t say they won’t win it again. Scientists don’t say glaziers won’t freeze again, but they give odds of an upset. Over the longer term, bookies never lose. 97% of scientists are backing one winner and us as losers.

Are you applying the same standards to the conspiracy theory as you do to the official narrative?

No, I’m biased. I begin with the assumption that those rich money-grabbing bastards are lying to me, not because I count as anything, but because I count as nothing. Standard conspiracy theorist thinking.

How many people would this conspiracy theory need to involve? And what’s keeping them in line?

Money, power and  status are all interlinked to the product they sell and the lies they sow. How many? I’d guess 1% of 8 billion. Whatever that is, sounds about right? Multiply that number by around 100 for the ‘running dogs’ that do their master’s bidding. Perhaps more.

Does is ascribe a ridiculous level of competence to conspirators?

 Absolutely. It’s not us against them in a life-and-death struggle for the future of the planet and our children. It’s us question ourselves. While we do so, they create facts on the ground and in the air in the form of greenhouse gases that kill us. The sting in the tail is it kills them too. Any victory now will be pyrrhic.  

Does this plan rely on everything going right?

Yes, The Paris Agreement and Cop-22 show a willingness to believe, but not a willingness for rich countries to share their wealth with poor countries. This looks increasingly unlikely.

How has the conspiracy been kept completely secret, apart from a coded clue to the entire plot that the conspirators have deliberately placed in plain sight, like printing it on banknotes or something, as if they’re a serial killer taunting Mr Police?  

Fossil fuel companies did their own research. They placed their findings into departments and downplayed the results. They created an army of spies and hangers on, willing to do the dirty work. Some true believers, that also happened to be among the richest men in the world, such as the Koch Brothers and Charles Koch in particular.

Is it really likely that these people are working together?  

It seems unlikely that Charles Koch, who promulgates a Darwinian form or capitalism with little or no government in the economy and Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator who claimed to invade Ukraine to save it from fascists would have much in common. But their commonwealth and power is largely dependent on fossil fuels. A future without fossil fuels leaves both men like commanders of horse cavalry after the First World War. We still need millions of horses for the Second World War. But it’s the Third World War that worries me.

How does it make you feel?

 This is the big question. It’s not what you think, but how you feel? I’ve a pal that didn’t get the Covid vaccine. He came up with a lot of reasons that are in this book. Conspiracy. They’re out to get you. How do you know? How much are they making? I’ve not got all the answers. I’ve not got many of the answers. And I knew it wouldn’t really have mattered what I said. There’s always another ‘what if’ and get-out clause, if pigs could fly?

I know, or think I know that global warming is real. I think it will kill tens or hundreds of millions, perhaps billions as nations like India and Pakistan fight over fresh water, with China perhaps becoming involved. But emotionally, I don’t feel anything. I don’t really care. Because I’m not there. It’ll only be real when it’s real. A bit like the Jews watching the Nazis come to power and thinking everything will work out. Phoney war for now.

The Secret Genius of Modern Life, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, presenter Professor Hannah Fry, Series Producer, Eileen Inkson and Director James Howard.

1.1 Bank Card.

My dad never owned a bank card. I’m taking it for granted if he didn’t, my mum didn’t either. He got paid in cash, a brown envelope (not so) full of notes and coins. A slip of paper inside with the amount paid and tax deducted. The bank card seen off hard cash. With many banks closing, used mainly by elderly customers, elegies to the bank card is a bit like a fondness for phone boxes. Cash is no longer king. Neither are bank cards. But I love bite-sized programmes like this and would binge watch each episode.

Bank cards keep the score. The old trick in the book for economics – what money was or is? The Gold Standard was easy to understand. A precious metal with scarcity value. Banknotes were issued to ‘pay the bearer on demand’. Shysters who shaved gold or precious metals from coins devalued the common currency and faced the wrath of the state. In those days, you were either hanged or sent to Australia. Most convicts opted for hanging. With all the unrest in the world, it seemed the surer option.

Professor Fry visits Visa’s European Data Centre. They monitor how money flows and look for energy spikes. These show where the shysters are shaving the common currency. Much like when searching for artificial intelligence from other solar systems harvest sunlight, but criminals harvest data. Professor Fry is shown online reviews from the dark net of how good, or indeed bad, the criminal elements are. Five-star reviews paid in cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency doesn’t really exist. It does not have the backing of any one government, it cannot guarantee to pay on demand to the holder, yet it has bled into the money supply. A bit like the moron’s moron, the 52nd President of the United States continually claiming he’d more wealth than he was worth—so he could borrow, or leverage, more—which is zero. A bit like saying he’d more rooms in Trump Tower, because nobody had got round to counting them.

The Bank Card has a lot to answer for. I’ve just loaded it with debt. Went off on a tangent.  I’ll be watching Professor Fry’s next programme. Worth a look.  

Seth Stephens Davidowitz (2017) everybody lies. What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are.

Google announced they would delete data. Algorithms rule the world. And their algorithm made Sergey Brin and Larry Page the richest men in the world. That’s the equivalent of an oil company announcing it would no longer produce petrol. Google would not cooperate with law officials who sought to prosecute women seeking abortion in lieu of Roe versus Wade after searching online, using Google.

Google is a noun and verb. Google trends offer the searcher anonymity. What we type into an internet search engine (Google) tells us who we are. Netflix’s algorithm, for example, offer the films we like based not on our stated preferences—we lie about the type of movies we watch—but on what we’ve actually watched. It’s become a cliché to state that these companies and corporations know us better than ourselves.

Davidowitz, in his introduction, ‘The Outlines of a Revolution’, put this to the test.

‘In the 2016 Republican primaries, polling experts concluded that Donald Trump did not stand a chance.’

We all know how and when the moron’s moron was elected. Google Trends, introduced in 2009, which counts how often a word or phrase is used, but also monitors locations and time.

Conventional wisdom painted the United States a multiracial society with the election of Barack Obama. Race didn’t matter.

‘Nigger,’ ‘Nigga,’ ‘Niggers,’ was typed into the Google search-engine on the night of Obama’s win.

‘There was a darkness and hatred that was hidden from traditional sources, but was quite apparent in the searches people made.’

Google search-engine also showed a different pattern to conventional media wisdom. It was taken as a truism that racism was a problem of the South. Good old boys. Those were white and Republican districts. ‘Nigger’ searches with the highest rates also included upstate New York, rural Illinois, West Virginia, southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Not a North versus South divide, but East versus West.

Data proved, retrospectively, that in states with a high number of racist enquiries about ‘niggers’ Obama did worse.  Davidowitz suggests Obama lost around four percent of the vote for explicitly racist reasons.

His loss was the moron’s moron’s gain. A map of racism mapped out by the term ‘nigger’. The strongest correlation was between Trump and his support was the use of a word we dare not speak its name.

The moron’s moron’s legacy lives on in a number of areas, including misogyny. Overturning Roe versus Wade. Davidowitz also offers a map of what women of child-bearing years and living in the dis-United States can expect.

‘In 2015, in the United States, there were more than 700 000 Google searches looking into self-induced abortion. By comparison, there were some 3.4 million searches for abortion clinics that year. That suggests that a significant percentage of women considering an abortion contemplated doing it themselves.

Search rates for self-induced abortion were fairly steady from 2004 through 2007. They began to rise in late 2008, coinciding with the financial crisis and the recession that followed. They took a big leap in 2011, jumping 40 percent…ninety-two state provisions that restrict access.

Looking by comparison at Canada, which has not seen a crackdown on reproductive rights, there were no comparable increases in searches for self-induced abortions during that time.’    

Google declines to share data. Google destroys data. In Google we trust. The moron’s moron’s legacy lives on. Expect a tsunami of death and dying of young coloured girls. But you don’t need to be coloured. All you need to be is poor. God help us.  We don’t need Google or Davidowitz to tell us that.

Catherine Belton (2020) Putin’s People: How the KGB took back Russia and took on the West.

Over 100 days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Already the West has grown weary of fuel and wheat shortages and high prices. The eighth year of war. Russia occupying Crimea and Donbass regions, and almost twenty per cent of Ukraine since then, creating a land border, including access to the Black Sea. Catherine Belton’s prescient book is early and late. The modus operandi is in the title.

Ryzard Kapuscinski’s Imperium is instructive how it works. He was writing in 1994. Pre-Putin, the Yeltsin era.

‘The fall of communism in the state occurred relatively bloodlessly, and in ethnic Russia, completely bloodlessly. The great Ukraine announced its independence without a single shot being fired. Likewise Belorussia.

…It is interesting that blood flows only when blind nationalism enters the fray, or zoological racism, or religious fundamentalism—in other words the three black clouds that can darken the sky of the twenty-first century.’

In order to understand Russia and the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Ryzard Kapuscinski uses the analogy of another Russian writer, Yuri Borev who compares it to a train journey.

‘The train is speeding into a luminous future. Lenin is at the controls. Suddenly—stop, the tracks come to an end. Lenin calls on the people, for additional, Saturday work, tracks are laid down, and the train moves on. Now, Stalin is driving it. Again the tracks end. Stalin orders half the conductors and passengers shot, and the rest he forces to lay down the tracks. The train starts again. Khrushchev replaces Stalin, and when the train comes to an end, and he orders that the ones over which the train has already passed by dismantled and laid down before the locomotive. Brezhnev takes Khrushchev’s place. When the tracks ends again, Brezhnev decides to pull down the window blinds and rock the cars in such a way that the passengers will think the train is still moving forward.’ 

Boris Yeltsin brings in advisors from The Chicago School. They tell him to sell the train and the track and give everyone an equal share. Winner takes all. A new train with McDonalds and widescreen TV and a new track.

Putin is at the controls—indefinitely. Episode after episode of him wrestling bare-chested with bears and oligarchs is played on widescreen TV. His henchmen make early-morning visits to those that refuse to pay the market price in roubles for a ticket, or want to change the channel.

Catherine Belton tells the reader how Putin, with the help of the KGB, took over Russia, and threatened the world with nuclear annihilation. She offers a synopsis of who’s who in the Russian orbit that circles their supreme leader. He’s President for life. And the President can dismiss the Prime Minister, and any other public appointed body down to street sweeper. His inner circle get first pick on any deal worth around $40 million. State governors, for example, can haggle and war with each other their share, internecine battles that can lead to imprisonment and death, but one of Putin’s favourite sayings is it’s a private matter. Putin is number one, and unless fealty is paid, it becomes a public matter because that’s a private matter. 

The first names on Putin’s inner circle, the siloviki:   

Igor Sechin—Putin’s trusted gatekeeper. Like Putin, a former KGB operative from St Petersburg. He took payment of bribes and kept accounts, of who owed what. As Deputy Head of the Kremlin he helped organize Putin’s takeover of the Russian oil sector on which Russia’s wealth is largely based. Known as ‘Russia’s Darth Vader’ for his ruthless plotting against others. The power behind the throne. You don’t get to see Putin without seeing Sechin.

Nikolai Patrushev, former head of Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB.

Viktor Ivanov, former KGB, served with Putin in Leningrad KGB.

Viktor Cherkesov, former KGB, who ran the St Petersburg FSB.

Sergei Ivanov, former Leningrad KGB, and one of the youngest generals in Russian’s foreign intelligence.

Dmitry Medvedev—a former lawyer. Deputy to Putin when he ran the administration and kickbacks as Mayor of St Petersburg. Deputy head of Putin’s Kremlin administration. Chief of Staff for Putin’s Presidency, then President, with Putin as Prime Minister.  Obama famously thought Medvedev was a man he could work with, in the same way that George W. Bush (junior) looked into Putin’s eyes and said he’d seen his soul.

Putin’s custodians, KGB-connected businessmen. 

Gennady Timachenko, former KGB, worked his way through the ranks of the Soviet trade to become the first traders of oil products.

Yury Kovalchuk, former physicist, who joined with other KGB-connected businessmen to take over Bank Rossiya, which according to the US Treasury, became Putin’s bank.

Arskady Rotenberg, former Putin judo partner, who became a billionaire under Putin’s presidency.

Vladimir Yakunin, former KGB, worked undercover in the UN in New York, then joined Bank Rossiya.

The Family—Yeltsin

Valentin Yumashev, former journalist. He gained Yeltsin’s trust while writing his memoirs. Appointed Kremlin chief of staff in 1997. Married Yeltsin’s daughter, Tatyana in 2002.

Tatyana Dyachenko, Yeltsin’s daughter, but also his gatekeeper.

Boris Berezovsky, former mathematician, who made his fortune running trading schemes for carmaker AvtoVAZ. Wangled his way into Yeltsin’s family. Acquired Sibneft oil.

Alexander Voloshin, former economist. He started working with Berezovsky on privatisation of Russian assets. Transferred to the Kremlin, 1997 to work as Yumashev’s deputy.

Roman Abramovich, oil trader. He became Berezovsky’s protégé, but outmanoeuvred him and took over his business. Banker to the Yeltsin family, bowed to Putin after a period of Siberian exile. Sent to London, poisoned (Polonium?) when tried to intervene at the start of Ukrainian war, possibly out of favour, and therefore in danger.

The Yeltsin-era oligarch who crossed Putin’s men.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former member of the Communist Youth League. He became one of the most successful businessmen of the perestroika era in the 1990s.

Mobsters and footsoldiers for the KGB—St Petersburgh.

Ilya Traber, former Soviet submariner, who became a black-market antique dealer in the perestroika years. A go-between for Putin’s security services and the Tambov organised- crime group controlling St Petersburg’s most strategic and lucrative assets, the sea port and oil terminal.

Vladimir Kumarin, Tambov organised-crime boss (‘night governor’).

Moscow footsoldiers and mobsters.

Semyon Mogilevich, former wrestler, known as ‘the Brainy Don’, who at the end of the eighties became banker to the leaders of Russia’s most powerful and organised crime groups, including the Solntsevskaya, funnelling cash to the West. Set up a criminal empire for drugs and arms trafficking. Recruited in the seventies by the KGB.

Sergei Mikhailov, (alleged) head of Solntsevskaya organised-crime group—Moscow’s most powerful—with close ties to the KGB. Criminal arm of the Russian state.  Cultivated links with Donald Trump in the eighties.

Vyacheslav Ivankov (‘Yaponchik’), dispatched by Mogilvvich to Brighton Rock, New York, to broaden the Solntsevskaya criminal empire.

Yergeny Dvoskin, Brighton Beach mobster. He became a Russian ‘shadow banker’ after moving back to Moscow with his uncle Ivankov. The Russian security services helped them funnel tens of billions of dollars for clearing in the West.

Felix Sater, (Dvoskin’s best friend). A key business partner of The Trump Organisation, developing a string of properties for Trump to cash in and keep the Organisation from bankruptcy, while retaining high-level clearance from Russian intelligence.  

The irony of the moron’s moron getting elected in 2016 is not that there was a cause for celebration in the White House, but jubilation and celebration in the Russian White House. Never had there been such a useful idiot in high office. Nigel Farage and little trumpet, Boris Johnson were also a useful gift. Brexit knocking five to fifteen percent off Britain’s gross domestic product and dividing the country. Scotland, for example, didn’t vote to be poorer.  

Putin, after Chechnya and Syria, invasion of Ukraine was an act of hubris. Oil and gas goes up in price and pay for his imperialistic adventure. As the West withdraws from Russia, there is a return to the old ways of KGB, and a Soviet world protected by wealth and power that Putin knows well. What emerges from Belton’s book is a cowardly man, much like Boris Johnson, promoted for the wrong reasons, but now he’s in power he intends to stay there. He’s already killed many Russians in the false-flag operations that got him elected President with an overwhelming majority after the Yeltsin perestroika experiment. There’s no reason he will suddenly stop killing citizens of his own country and others.

Will Putin’s People use nuclear weapons? Perhaps you may remember at the start of the ‘action’ his official media were talking about such things; speculation. He took on the West and went on a disinformation spending spree that elected a US President and helped through Aaron Banks fund Brexit for Boris. There is a familiar pattern of saying before doing. And blaming someone else like in the Salisbury poisoning debacle of nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Perhaps, a long-range missile, said to have come from Ukraine—and a ‘tactical, nuclear strike’ in reply. I wouldn’t bet against it. Putin’s a gambler with a grudge who thinks he’s owed big time.       

My Name is Why (2019) Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay writes his memoir from a position of power. On the back cover, he lists some of his awards: BAFTA nominated, honorary doctorates, an MBE for services to literature, Chancellor of the University of Manchester. The last line is the killer. ‘He is British and Ethiopian.’

In other words, he’s a black man. He was the illegitimate son of twenty-one-year-old Yemarshet Sissy, a student at a Baptist Bible College in England, and he was born in Wigan. He was taken into care when he was seven weeks old, and placed with foster parents, Mr and Mrs Greenwood. His mother had to return to Ethiopia to care for her dying father. Her attempts to contact Social Services and bring her son home were rebuffed.

Classified as one of ‘the shit countries’, by the moron’s moron and former US President Donald Trump The Conservative Government’s current attempts to redraft what it means to be a British citizen, a stepwise projection in creating a hostile environment, with, ironically, Asian heritage, Priti Patel as cheerleader, which resulted in the Windrush Scandal. In another, less successful life, Lemn Sissay would have deported to Ethiopia as an illegal immigrant. His mother, if she was still alive, would fifty-two years after his birth, finally have had her wish, her son being sent home to the Amhara people. Lemn in the Amharic dialect, the author tells the reader, means ‘Why?’

There’s lots of whys that need answered in this short book. A hero’s journey doesn’t usually begin when they are seven-months old. Mrs Greenwood sung to him, ‘you are my sunshine, my only sunshine’. And it was to this paradise he always wanted to return.  

The Greenwoods were childless and Baptist Christians. They were doing the right thing.  Lemn was given a new identity, Norman and he was their sunshine. But then they had three other children. Christopher born when Lemn was one-year old.  Lemn was no longer their sunshine, his radiance was short-lived.

Child cruelty, or abuse, takes many forms. January 1980. Lemn was around twelve-and-a-half, and his foster parents—the only patients he knew—contacted Wigan Social Services and demanded he be removed from their home. Their cruelties compounded by making Lemn say he didn’t love them, and he wanted to leave.  He’d entered the system.

 ‘At fourteen I tattooed the initials of what I thought was my name into my hand. The tattoo is still there but it wasn’t my name. It’s a reminder that I’ve been somewhere I should never have been. I was not who I thought I was.

The Authority knew it but I didn’t. The Authority had been writing reports about me from the day I was born. My first footsteps were followed by the click clack clack of a typewriter: ‘The boy is walking.’ My first words were recorded, click clack clack: ‘The boy has learned to talk.’ Fingers were poised above a typewriter waiting for whatever happened next: ‘The boy is adapting.’ ’

His memoir is leavened by extracts from Wigan Social Service Reports. Grim reading. But try living it. Woodfield Children’s Home. Gregory Avenue. And the daddy of them all, Wood End. Wood End was notorious among  those in the know, children in care. It was the end of the road, where the bad boys went. It was where Lemn was sent at fifteen when his placement at Gregory Avenue had broken down. Like others he’d committed no criminal offence to morally or legally justify his incarceration. A Dickensian prison run by sadists and child abusers. Many of the residents would graduate to the larger prison system and a life thwarted by drugs and drink.

Miracles do happen. Lemn Sissay escaped from a total institution and flourished. An exception to the rule does not create the rule. Local Authority Care in Crisis, now where have I read that before?

Charles Egan (2017) Cold Is the Dawn

When people talk about literary merit, I wander away to the pub to have a pint. Since the pubs are closed, and I get smashed by a snifter of poitin, or indeed three pints, perhaps slightly more (when I’m watching Celtic) I’ll hang about. Literary merit is just a fancy way of asking if you liked the book. I don’t finish books I don’t like. Cold Is the Dawn is 427 pages. So you do the maths of how much I liked it.

If like me, you have a manuscript (or indeed manuscripts) lying about in various stages of distress then you note who publishes them. Cold Is The Dawn is published by SilverWood Books. I had a look at their business model. They help self-publishing authors publish. Something I’ve been thinking about. I know it’s not meant to be funny, but point 11 of Frequently Asked Questions: I’m publishing my book to make a profit—is that a good idea?

You know when Oliver Hardy pokes Stan Laurel in the eye (you need to be a certain age to remember Laurel and Hardy) and stamps on his toe, then they accidentally bump heads with a knocking sound. And then they sing The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, by the trail of the lonesome pine, because it makes more sense than I’m publishing my book to make a profit—is that a good idea?   

I guess a book deal with SilverWood Books costs an author around £10 000. An Unbound Book costs much the same. That’s the market rate if you’ve got that kind of dosh. So Charles Egan invested his cash, put his money down as an investment in literary merit. What did he get for his money?

The cover of a group of miners (if that’s what they are) staring at the camera, with the superimposed image of an older man in a flat bunnet looking on—passable. The white font of white on black for the author’s name and the title of the novel stands out. The reader is told it’s ‘A novel of Irish Exile and the Great Irish Famine’.

The Irish Holocaust interests me, because I’m part Irish and I’m thinking of writing about it. The current population of Ireland is almost five million, with more citizens living in Dublin, than all of the other areas combined. If we go back to the 1960s the Irish population dipped under three million.

Ian Gibson writes in the foreword The Great Famine, Ireland’s Potato Famine 1845-51, that out of a population of around eight million people, about a million people died, and around another one-and-a-half million emigrated, but there were no exact figures, and this is likely to be an underestimate. Many of the poorest weren’t registered and included in official data. They did not live in Dublin and were wholly dependent on the potato crops.

Charles Egan’s way into carrying the weight of such history is by concentrating on Luke Ryan’s extended family and their fortune in the aftermath of the potato blight. County Mayo, where Michael and Eleanor, Luke’s mum and dad, have a farm and quarry was one of the hardest hit regions in Ireland.

This is home territory, for Luke’s wife Winnie and their son, Liam, before they sail across the Atlantic to join Luke in New York and later Pennsylvania, where the couple starve in the new world.

Luke’s younger brother, Pat, is the bridge to England. Irish farmworkers often made the journey across the water to help harvest crops in England and send money home to pay the rent to rapacious landowners. But Pat returns to Mayo to work compiling reports on the effects of the famine.  This allows the reader to travel with him as he charts the impact of ‘The Exterminator’, Mayo’s largest landlord, Lord Lucan as he cleared the land he owned of tenants.

In the Preface, Egan tells the reader of the Railway’s boom and bust.

‘Of the estimated two hundred thousand navvies working on the railway construction in 1847, one hundred thousand were without work by the middle of 1848. For labour contractors on the railways, many of them Irish, this was an excellent opportunity to exploit hungry Irish workers.’

Egan places his characters in the middle of this moral quagmire. Luke’s aged Uncle Murty Ryan (he’s around my age) works on the construction of the English railroads. But to begin with he works as a clerk. Murty Ryan’s eldest son Danny is a contractor, hiring and firing Irish labour, shipped in directly from the workhouse in Mayo. And shipped back home by Bradford and Liverpool workhouses when they were no longer needed. They regarded Irish people as a pestilence and a plagued nation. But relief efforts were a fraction of the sum spent on The Crimean War.

Egan makes use of news reports to add ballast to his fiction. London, Morning Chronicle in November 1848, for example, reported, as an opinion piece that might  have been written by a Nigel Farage of yesteryear.  ‘We say therefore that we grudge the immense sums which we appear likely that we have to pay this year to Irish Unions very much indeed, because we know that it will be thrown into a bottomless pit, and because we feel that money, thus wasted, would be better in removing them than feeding in idleness the people of Mayo—in getting rid of the burden, than in perpetuating it.’

Murty Ryan’s eldest son, Danny had established a foothold in the railway construction business, before he committed suicide. An Irish man he was an exploiter of his fellow man. Something Murty abhorred. When his youngest son steps into his elder brother’s shoes he proves even more ruthless. He pays them even less than Danny and charges them rent for shacks. He pays them in script that can only be exchanged in company shops. In other words, Murtybeg is a good businessman that exploits needy labour. In modern parlance, he creates jobs for his fellow countrymen.

A subplot involves Murtybeg being played off by Irene, who claimed to be his elder brother’s common-law wife, and therefore in control of the company they created. Murtybeg, being merely a paid employee. He gets an immediate rise in pay of three shillings a week, but his workload increases accordingly. Irish navvies working for the company make do with a shilling a week. Murtybeg is both exploiter and exploited by Irene, but he’s far above the Irish navvy class. He’s almost gentry.  Facing off against Irene to take control of the company Murtybeg seeks legal advice. It’s not Charles Dickens Jarndyce and Jarndyce, (a book I haven’t read) but the way in which it was resolved had me thinking of another novelist. Emile Zola’s La Terre had a woman raped and falling in love with her rapist, which in a different era tied up plot points.

Exploitation takes many forms. Egan’s novel runs on rails and touches on the horrific and short lives that many lived, with children under ten, for example, working in Bradford mills, or pushing coal trucks in the fictional town of Lackan in Pennsylvania, where Luke holes up with Winnie and their child. His novel spans the old world and the new industrial order. It touches on the historical events such as cholera epidemics, fever epidemics, typhus epidemics, repeal of The Corn Laws, the rise in trade union activity, and the search for universal suffrage. The Molly Maguires get a walk on part, as does the less secretive Hibernian associations that tried to the poor Irish, especially those landing in New York harbour and fresh off the boat for exploitation.

Much of the novel relies on conversations between characters to carry the narrative. And like many modern novels can read more like a screenplay. Egan’s problem is characterisation. Luke Ryan, for example, has two lives. One in New York and in Pennsylvania. His backstory about being a gaffer and hated, because he had the power of life and death during an earlier famine, and the rate-funded road-building programme is relevant and stands out. But I couldn’t pick Luke Ryan out in a police line-up. I don’t know what he looks like. His friends and companions, say six in each region are interchangeable doodles. Different clothes, same person. Similarly, major characters such as Pat, Murtybeg, or Murty also carry the weight of another six, sometimes more, minor characters that are also doodles. Egan in going for greater breadth of worlds has given his characters less depth.

Pat, for example, slaps the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle’s eugenic views were on par with ‘The Great Protector’ Oliver Cromwell, who was sure it pleased God that his troops had massacred 3000 men, women and children at Drogheda, with only a handful escaping.  Carlyle may have been in Mayo. Few would argue he needed slapped (add the moron’s moron Donald Trump and Nigel Farage to my list, fling in anyone that identifies as One-NationTory) but Carlyle seems smoke and air, and little of substance.  Where I  overwrite my characters, Egan underwrites.

Charles Egan has tapped into the Irish holocaust and the cultural heritage of The Great Famine at home and abroad. It did change the new worlds. Around 40 million Americans with Irish roots and the current President Joe Biden brings that message home. Capitalism in its rawest form and xenophobia combined. Somehow it seems a familiar tale of rich men and poor men, only one group dying of hunger, labour fodder for the new industrial age. I’m sure with global warming, the worst is yet to come.

Deborah Orr (2019) Motherwell: A Girlhood.

I was shocked—well, that’s the wrong word, but I can’t think of the right one—that Deborah Orr was dead. She’s the same age as me, or would have been— Motherwell: A Girlhood was a message from beyond the grave. She died in 2019. She came from Motherwell. The title is a dead giveaway. And there’s a whole stack of her achievements listed on flyleaf with a picture of her, a haunting picture, in retrospect. Look at the cover image and, in contrast, a picture of Deborah aged around seven or eight, long hair, smiling for the camera, crinoline dress, blue and white pattern, white socks up to the knees and shiny white shoes. A proper little girl.

Deborah Orr’s achievements, including writing and editing for The Guardian, which at the time was as novel as a woman Prime minister, not because of her background, but despite it. One of the commonest tricks played on the working class is to point at the exception to the rule and say there’s one there. There’s a black swan. Upward social mobility is possible for those that work. My message to you and I’m sure Deborah Orr’s would be too is – fuck off. We’ve been moving backward to the dark ages bit by bit since the Thatcher/ Reagan revolution. An era when Deborah Orr escaped to the glory of a London squat, roughly, when this book ends.

Deborah was named after the film star, Debbie Kerr, her mother Win, loved all the glamour and glitter of Hollywood, but the grim reality is here in this joke the author loved (and I do too) about a Yorkshireman on his deathbed.

‘Steven? Are you here?’

‘I’m here, Dad.’   

‘Mary? Are you here?’

‘I’m here, Dad.’

‘Bethany? Are you here?’

‘I’m here, Grandad.’

‘Aaron? Are you here?’

‘I’m here, Grandad.’

‘Then why’s the hall light on?’    

Here’s one of your markers if you want to apply for your passport to poverty. I laughed out loud, while recognising my da skulking in the hallway waiting to pounce because I was on the phone. ‘That’s no a piano,’ Dessy, my da said.

The memoir is structured around  memento mori. ‘The Bureau, Baby’s First Haircut, The Wedding Clippings, The Dolls…The Dope Box, Letter to Crispin, Untitled, The Last Vestiges of John’.

‘I loved Win’s wide black velvet belt, so tiny that she kept for years, a reminder to herself of her lovely curvaceous figure, “before I had children”.’

John was Deborah’s dad, the centre of his world.  He was the baby of a family of five, as was her mum, Win, who was English. Win was under five-foot small, but gorgeous, everybody said so. John was luck to have Win, Win was lucky to have John. They all lived happy ever after isn’t much of a story.

‘John and Win met, and had their miscegenated, cross-border romance because of the war. Without the war, I was always told I wouldn’t have existed.’

When Deborah recalls three increasingly brutal rapes by different men—the playful rape at University, if you don’t squeal, I won’t tell; to the accidental rape, you’re sleeping, so I’ll just fuck you because we talked earlier; to the hands on the throat and you might never live to tell the tale—and her mother’s surprise that sex could be pleasurable and not something done to you, then her mum sides with the rapists. She sides with women jury members that found rapists and murderers such as Peter Manuel not guilty because women shouldn’t have put themselves in such a positon to be bludgeoned.

The natural positon of women was to think of Scotland, or even England in her case, when John, a good man, forced himself on her. Her wee brother David was brought up with different expectations, he’d go on to make his mark on the world.  John and Win were great believers in the natural order of things. No Catholics, no blacks, no dogs as landlords used to mark on the front door even though dogs couldn’t read.

John couldn’t read either, not really. Like many others he’d left school at twelve or thirteen to earn scraps of money. Motherwell was built on steel and coal. Ravenscraig once employed 14 000 men and was the most efficient steel makers in the world.  He became part of the working-class aristocracy when he got a job in Colville, girder makers, prior to nationalisation at the age of fifteen. He even became a heroic figure to many hardened by the noise and daily grind, when he pushed a man aside and away from a red-hot girder that had slipped its chains and would have slipped through his body just as easily. Health and safety was still to be invented.

Deborah believes he suffered from post-traumatic-stress disorder and that’s what led him away from the life mapped out for him—to Essex and Win—and back again. John returned to Motherwell with his beautiful bride to working class life and the hope of a decent council house.

Win had a believe common to most rich folk, in what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine. Her father, John, as protector and saviour, aided her in this belief. His hates were his hates and vice versa. John, for example, had mates whom he thought ‘the sun shone out of their arse’, then it didn’t shine very much. Then it was them that was the arse. He ditched them. And he waged petty hate campaigns against his neighbours.

A conversation I heard today goes something like this, ‘They’ve just moved into the house for five minutes and noo they’re getting everything.’

I’ll translate. My neighbours are getting a new path. The same as other council house tenants. Imagine they were black, or homosexual or even worse English.

Deborah suggests her mum suffered from a narcissistic personality.  She wasn’t a sociopath such as the moron’s moron Trump, or little Trump, Johnson, but she recognised the same self-centredness and hate. As long as Deborah remained a child and under her mother’s thumb, she was a good girl. Nobody hates so much and as well as the Scottish and we’ve got long memories. Win fitted right in. Win-win.  But I couldn’t quite forgive Win and John for voting Tory. Voting for Thatcher. But I guess that makes sense. Deborah’s life ran in a separate trajectory to mine. The same, but different. RIP.  

Storyville: Inside Lehman Brothers, BB4, BBC IPlayer, Director Jennifer Deschamps.

Lehman Brothers was one of the first dominoes to fall in the 2008 crash which brought down the world’s financial systems. Debts for Lehman Brothers were around $630 billion. Take a little time to think about that. It’s like the idea of infinity. Your mind shies away from how much money that is. Physicists like to simplify things. If your typical hospital, such as the one in Glasgow or Edinburgh cost £100 million, how many hospitals could you build? Boris Johnson proposes 26 new hospital, but he wasn’t very good at sums, someone quietly mentioned that he really meant six, which doesn’t have the same oomph, but he did throw in 20 000 new police officers in a great big tax giveaway before the next election.  Think of the Laurel and Hardy of British politics, Cameron and Osborne, forever telling us there was no money, while quietly shifting money from the poor to the rich. The United Kingdom and London, in particular, the money-laundering capital of the world.  Lehman Brothers isn’t the rogue bank, the cautionary tale that taught us a valuable lesson. As the billions of pounds and dollars levelled in fines show, all the banks were at it. Lehman brothers were offered up to the gods of finance because they were small enough to go under.

Winners and losers. Richard S. Fuld Jr, who was essentially Lehman Brothers, in all but corporate name and whose pitiful salary in 2007 was around $22 million and after appearing before a Congressional Committee and declaring it was a bull market and it ‘wasn’t me’. A common cry from uncommonly wealthy men.  Fuld walks away with $406 million in bonuses and is exonerated.

The sheriff’s department in finance, The Security and Exchange Commission, (SEC) which is meant to step in when financial irregularities occur, in theory, self regulates. What that means in practice is a representative from Morgan Stanley, for example, investigates Lehmann Brothers. Whistle blower at executive level, Matthew Lee, for example, informed the SEC that Lehmann Brothers were running a carousel in which they took around $50 billion off the audited books in America and sent them to Lehmann Brothers in London, then brought the money back, after the audit had taken place, to hide the subprime losses they were making. Trading followed a very basic principle if it wasn’t illegal, do it. If it was illegal still do it, as long as you make money, but don’t get caught. Lee had handed the SEC a smoking gun in a file called ‘Repo 105’.

After six months the SEC hadn’t got back to Matthew Lee but he had been fired by Lehman Brothers.

Self-regulation of the SEC was, in essence, like sending Harvey Weinstein to investigate Jeffrey Epstein.   

In 2018, the moron’s moron, Vietnam dodger, multiple bankrupt and other well-known sex pest, who also happens to be President of the United States, repealed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was set up after the financial crash 2008. Like the Glass-Steagall legislation it was seen as being overly bureaucratic, making the United States less competitive than its counterparts. In other words, let’s fill our boots again and don’t worry about consequences because little people don’t count.

Not only are banks and regulatory bodies for sale, as we’ve seen the position of President of the United States is too. Gearing up for the next election, Mark Zuckerberg, who did so much to get Trump elected has changed Facebook policy to allow politicians to publish alternative truth, ‘deceptive, false, or misleading content’.

Donald Trump was of course elected to ‘drain the swamp’. In 2017 there’s another bull market and bonuses once again reach 2007 level, running around $30 billion for traders. Algorithmic trading follow the crowd meaning a Lehman type crash will happen faster with greater fallout.

When we’re talking about money, put a face to it. There’s not all them here, not all of them are buffoons, but all of them are millionaires, some of them billionaires. Can another Lehman Brother’s crash happen?  Absolutely.

Rise of the Nazis, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, directed and produced by Julian Jones

rise of the nazis.jpg

I wasn’t sure about the three-part series Rise of the Nazis. Documentary-dramas rarely rise above mediocrity. I was brought up on the gold standard, World at War series, shown on BBC.  Then, of course, we’ve got Bruno Ganz’s portrayal of Hitler, cut and pasted and ad-libbed on the internet to sell everything from books to 1000 years of the Third Reich. That got me thinking what happened to the other two Reichs? Where they like those buses that come one after the other? Well, it seems, one was the Holy Roman Reich, which at least gets marks for originality. The Second Reich was really the Bismark era, before the First World War (we no longer use capitals for world wars now, downgraded, first world war). You probably remember it from history lessons as the time when the Germans invaded and occupied France, 1872, post- Les Miserables Paris, if my memory serves. Bismark helped unite Germany. He advocated a Kulterkamf against Catholics. Germany had a bit of previous here.

I’m also reading Friedrich Kellner’s Diary, A German against the Third Reich. He pretty much nails it. Hitler’s support was until 1930, largely rural, peasant farmer with a long history of hating Jews. In Laubach, were Kellner was working as justice inspector, for example, Jews often acted as the middle-man in cattle trading, and advanced farmers credit in lieu of goods.   Here we have the beginnings of ideology, the death of German democracy and rise of the Nazi dictatorship. Kellner shows how quickly this happened. ‘Heil Hitler’ became the enforced greeting of 80 million Germans. Discovery of his diary would have meant his death and that of his wife.

In the Rise of the Nazi’s  we look at one of the few who did resist Hitler. I guess that’s to add a bit of lop-sided balance. Josef Hartinger was one of the righteous. A public prosecutor who challenged official versions of death in custody and the legitimacy of the Nazi Party apparatus.

But most Germans were supporters of the ideology of Aryan Supermen and inferior races having little more than use value. That’s what Kellner lived through. He suggests less than one-percent of Germans offered any kind of resistance.  As early as 1941, Kellner also reports it was also common knowledge that Jews and Russians, men, women and children, were being exterminated in the East. The I-didn’t-know, post-war, lie of amnesiac German citizens was fake news, before fake news existed.

Rise of the Nazis isn’t fake news, or revisionist history. Boris Johnston’s attempt to prorogue British Parliament is not Herman Goring giving orders to burn the Reichstag and blame the Brexiter Communists. But it is an attempt to thwart Parliamentary democracy by an unelected British Prime Minister claiming he’s acting on the will of the people.

Paul Von Hindenburg was dismissive of the little Austrian colonel in the same way we can be dismissive of Johnston. President von Hindenberg had been a decorated general during the first world war, Hitler as Chancellor, was a pawn in the great game of state politics, ensuring the right-wing aristocracy and rich businessmen kept the Communists in check. Hitler’s allies put von Hindenberg in checkmate.

Rather than cut through bureaucracy, in Goring and Himmler, we see layer and layer added  and the spoils of German office going to Nazi sympathisers. German Jews were less than one-percent of the population, but in the East, genocide, mass murder and the Final Solution were played out. Dachau, here, is shown as the first of Himmler’s concentration camps. Capacity 5000. Cancerous growths spread quickly.

Watch these programmes and learn how easily it all slips away. A belligerent and successful foreign policy and double-downing on enemies at home sounds familiar.  George Santayana’s quote: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it is beginning to sound more and more relevant. Heil Trump. Heil little-fart Trumpter, Johnston. History is on a loop. Make Germany great again. Remember that old line?