Wednesday, January 10, 2018

May's UK junta needs to fall

 
A "bitter" future indeed, as the UK's first dictator leads the nation to doom. She even has the Third Reich salute going on.


Did you know that you were living, in the UK, in a banana republic? Sure, you might laugh about Yanks living in one under the Orange-utan Donald J. Trump and his cabinet of howler monkeys. 

But you are no better off in the UK. Why? Simply because you no longer have a government serving you, a government that can be dissolved when the population loses confidence in it. 

Confidence has already been lost. Theresa May's snap election provided proof that she is no longer the leader of the majority of the UK's voters; she had to make a deal with the devil, the DUP, a right-wing splinter party founded by evangelical Northern Ireland rabble-rouser Dr. Ian Paisley in 1971, to continue in power.

Paisley single-handedly inflamed the rancour between NI Protestants and Roman Catholics that became the modern day "troubles," but were recently reversed through the actions of Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, and some prescient members of both the Irish and UK governments. Adams has stated that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) is "finished." Its rest is, however, being disturbed by Chairman May's  pathetic attempts to hold onto power she has not earned.

May dug her fingers into power illictly not to serve the population of the United Kingdom, but to continue in power for her own purposes, those being reduced by her deeds and actions to a single purpose: Ramming Brexit, which is increasingly unpopular as citizens realize UKIP and the Tories lied to them about its effects, through as a matter of law.

May no longer heads a government; she controls a junta, defined as "a council or committee for political or governmental purposes; especially: a group of persons controlling a government especially after a revolutionary seizure of power." (Merriam Webster online dictionary) 

Governments, legally constituted ones, are dissolved in parliamentary settings, or voted out in other democratic systems. In neither case do governments fall; a government falls only when the leader of that government has attained leadership and obtained power by means other than the ballot box. 

That certainly describes the position of May at the moment. She has retained power by means of strong-arming others to support her, and by surrounding herself with a roomful of toadying sycophants who are no threat to her, but who she thinks make her appear to be "strong and stable" by their simpering for her favours. Like Trump, she seems to think nominal stability is what the people want, while the nation self-destructs at the hands of an incompetent leader. This is not 1920s Germany, and inflation isn't running at three gazillion percent; we are not, yet, taking money in wheelbarrows to buy a loaf of bread. It is democratic western Europe in 2018, and it is opportunity we want; stability is inherent, because of the EU, as it has never been before.

What May failed to achieve via the ballot box, she could not achieve through a coalition of the two two leading parties--as is usual in parliamentary governments--either. But she was determined to see her vision of a lonely, impoverished UK, its wealthy members still able to off-shore their loot and play in the noonday sun, its middle-class reduced to the penury of the British middle class circa 1958, and its poor flung again onto a dung heap of shoddy housing, inadequate nutrition and early death circa 1932.

May retained power by making a deal with a virulently protectionist, anti-Ireland, anti-Catholic Party, the DUP. The DUP is a party with little representation in populations on either side of the Irish Sea, but just sufficient MPs to pad May's bank of toadies to help force Brexit into being.  

So is May the colonel of a junta imposed by a small group of fanatics for a specific purpose? Or the leader of a properly elected   government? You decide. 

I already have.
 
The May government has got to fall. I use the term fall advisedly, for it is no longer a legally constituted government for the welfare and protection of British citizens and legal immigrants; it is a junta dedicated to lining further the pockets of its members and their hangers-on. 

Governments are dissolved by the voters or agreement of elected members.  

Juntas fall.

###
Copyright 2018, Laura Harrison McBride




Tuesday, January 2, 2018

There's a word for you, Mrs. May

Trump told May that Brexit will be a wonderful thing for the UK at his first meeting with her. NO, it will mean delivering western Europe to Putin before it's all over. (Is Demento staring down her cleavage? Looks like it. And she's clueless.)

The word is scoundrel.

There is no other word to describe a woman so deluded that she thinks the phrase "Brexit means Brexit" has any meaning at all, but yet promotes it as if it were a concept guaranteed to wipe out cancer.

There is no other word to describe a woman who presides over tragedies like the Grenfell Towers disaster without so much as inquiring, in person, after the welfare of those who lived through the result of her party's negligence, nor eulogizing those who died on her watch.

There is no other word to describe a woman who is so callous toward the population she supposedly leads that she would sell off their health care to the highest bidders among US Big Pharma and managed care companies, so she and her cronies can buy stock and get even richer off the suffering of Britons.

There is no other word for a woman who would ram the disastrous Brexit down citizens' throats so her husband can make them richer before EU rules on off-shoring money and investments kick in two years from now.

There is no other word for a woman who would entrust any part of any government program to mental deficients like Mr. Davis and Mr. Johnson and Mr. Gove and Mr. Hunt.

There is no other word for a woman who would bowdlerize the resignation letter of a member of her own government, Lord Adonis, to gloss over his on-target indictment of her cockamamie policies and disastrous plans for the people of the UK. I'm sorry; I didn't mean bowdlerize. That's too soft a word for what she did. She altered it to give it a different meaning. In short, she made it appear that Lord Adonis had said the opposite of what he did say to protect her own pitiful ass. I can think of no more despicable form of lying than changing another's words to suit yourself. Chicanery, pure and simple.

There is no other word for a woman who would allow the traitor Nigel Farage within spitting distance of the UK government, never mind send that forlorn little weaselly Putin-tate to Ireland to see what misery he can get started there. To be in the same room with Nigel Farage, especially as the putative leader of a nation he and his handler, Putin, have single-handedly put through any number of wringers, bespeaks either complete imbecility or collusion with Putin. It can be nothing else. You are either an imbecile or a traitor, Mrs. May, and sooner or later, we will know which.

There is no other word to describe a woman who lied about calling for a snap election and then, when she was shown in no uncertain terms that her plans were unacceptable to the population, sought other ways to cram her wicked plans through Parliament.


There is no other word to describe a woman who holds on to power with her talons by making a deal with devils like the DUP and other throwbacks/fascists in modern politics.


There is no other word for a woman who, in realizing her poker face about Brexit hasn't helped her win it yet, decides to appoint ringers to hand her the straight flush; she intends to add 59 pro-Brexit Tory wankers to the House of Lords. There's no honour among thieves, it is true, so she's stacking the deck.


In short, Mrs. May has decided that she will become the first dictator in British history.

OK. Perhaps scoundrel is too soft a word.
 ###

Copyright 2018 by Laura Harrison McBride

Monday, January 1, 2018

Stop with the false concern for his family...Cheeto is killing your kids



Recently, on Facebook, I noted that Melania had probably delivered more than Putin wanted; getting Demento into the White House was doubtless her main task--telling the defective moronic son-of-a-fascist how great he was over and over, perhaps, or running her fingers through his plastic hair to make him feel as sexy as he thinks he is.  Imagine how much greater her reward will be for giving Demento another disastrous child to add to his brood of DNA-defective progeny.

A woman claiming to be a writer, but who has nothing published that I could find, called me a bevy of names for including Barron, the supposedly impaired child of Melania, in the category of disastrous children. (For all I know, Demento has children by some of the women whose pussies he grabbed. Who  knows how much of his degraded sperm has invaded the human gene pool.)

If I included Barron, it was only as one of a set, not as a feature; we have no idea whether he has a malady, or simply a father named Donald Trump, which--granted--would be enough to impair anyone. But that is, and was, totally beside the point.

The point was this: Any offspring of Donald Trump--like any offspring of vicious demented grandpa Frederick Trump--is a priori disastrous.

It was not a comment on Barron, nor individually on any of the deplorable offspring of the pretender to the US presidency. It was a categorical comment. But she had trouble understanding that; I suspect she watches a lot of celebrity/daytime TV, probably Fox, and is all atwitter about the seldom-seen youngest son of Demento.)

The so-called writer suggested I would be annoyed if someone called my kids disastrous. Sure I would, if they were not disastrous. But if they were disastrous, I could either live in Lala Land or tackle the issues. How can mankind move forward into humanity if it spends a great deal of time denying the facts because someone might be upset? Indeed, this habit, an unfortunate one in the extreme, is how liberals have come to be known by the right wing as snowflakes; such liberals literally melt in the fact of difficult truths. And so, being inhumane, the right wing just beats us up.

Conclusion: We liberals cannot afford, not for a second, to wilt in the face of hard truths, whether they concern the offspring of a demented president, or our own kids. Truth is truth. Deal with it, or suffer.

We will have to act to save our own kids, and more


Liberals/humanists are going to lose the fight against the deplorable and wicked plans of Donald J. Trump and his band of howler monkeys in Congress unless we, all of us, stop claiming the high ground through false concern. I have no concern for any of Donald Trump's kids, not for any of them. Even Barron. Why? Because Barron will have the best management (if he has indeed an issue to manage) available on earth. Your kid? Not so much. It is nonsense to pretend concern for the children of a demented and delusional man whose wickedness against us knows no bounds.

Indeed, if your kid has a problem in Demento's America, he or she is going to suffer, and suffer without a scintilla of help. Donald J. Trump and his howler monkey band have destroyed US health care just when it was beginning--after 30 years of Hillary Clinton battering the issue and bringing it to public attention at last and Mr. Obama finally forcing a pale imitation of universal health care through. The howler monkeys, after significant chattering by their simian leader, have refused to fund CHIPs (Children's Health Insurance Program). This program no more than minimally helped children whose parents did not have health insurance from a job but were too well off (please wait while I laugh) for Medicaid. In short, it helped millions of kids who might be described as having fallen through the cracks.

Howler Monkey Republican subcommittee

To Demento, the howler monkeys and the One Percent, you are a worm

Let me repeat: The people you elected to take care of your business--including your children's health and education--have destroyed both health care and education. Your kids' teachers cannot deduct from taxes money they spend on materials when the schools fail to provide. Donald J. Trump and his howler monkeys and the One Percent can: a) Afford any health care they like and, b) deduct the cost of sending their children to private schools.

You are, as of a couple of weeks ago, an underclass being farmed for the benefit of Donald J. Trump, his howler monkey followers, and the One Percent. Your increased taxes ensure your kids will potentially die of a strep throat or an infected splinter, and end up as educated as Beavis and Butthead while Donald J. Trump's kids, and all the scions of the howler monkeys and the One Percent, will happily dance on your kids' graves.

Is that graphic enough for you? If you continue to offer them the sickening faux-humane concern of the moronic woman who got weepy for poor rich little Barron, heir to insanity and a fortune, and called me names because I mentioned that Donald J. Trump sires disastrous kids--WITHOUT NAMING ANY OF THEM--you deserve what you get.

No one, and especially not Donald J. Trump's horde of over-privileged, under-humanized progeny, deserves better treatment than your kids. Your kids--and mine if I had any--are worth infinitely more than Trump's horde of DNA-compromised offspring, regardless of how his defective DNA expresses itself.  Trump--and his Birther horde--insulted the entire Obama family day in and day out in the most reprehensible ways for eight solid years. Do you recall the monkey insults? Do you recall the flap about Michelle's upper arms being exposed, when every First Lady for a century bared her arms in evening wear and sports wear, just like Michelle Obama. Do you recall Demento's insistence that Barack Obama was not an American? (Aside from anything else, his mother was American, making him American regardless.*)

Do you think decency demands that you faux-cry over whatever may be happening inside the family of a demented moron who will happily kill your kids to give his rich cronies ten percent of your yearly income and all of your kids' education and health care? 

If you do, you are as big a moron as Demento. And as delusional. 

So stop already. Man up. Woman up. Turning the other cheek does not, as so many think, mean offering the other one for a smack. It means turning and walking away from the source of pain, and refusing to accept it anymore.

And sometimes, you have to give as good as you got just to keep the trained monkeys from coming after you, or better, to banish them from the environment.

Capisce?

Howler Monkey Republican oversight committee.

###


* "For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, the U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for 10 years prior to the person’s birth, at least five of which were after the age of 14 for the person to acquire U.S. citizenship at birth." (Click here for reference.)

Copyright 2018 by Laura Harrison McBride

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The saddest thing I ever saw: A caution to liberals


Alexander Litvinenko, Russian defector whom British courts adjudged had been murdered by two Putin operatives in London in 2006

Back in the good old days, when the USSR still existed and so did the USA, my husband and I traveled frequently between Ireland and New York because of our work; we were writers, providing US magazines with lots and lots of copy about Ireland's burgeoning economic powerhouse and its continuing attraction for tourists.

On one of those trips, we flew from Shannon to NY rather than from Dublin. We had often been through Shannon, so we knew it well. As we waited for our Aer Lingus flight, an Aeroflot plane landed and, astonishingly to us, the passengers were allowed to disembark and enter the terminal, including the Duty Free shop.

We amused ourselves for a while trying to pick out the KGB agents, but it was too easy. They were all bearlike, wearing ill-fitting blue suits and black, rubber-soled shoes. So we returned to our books and our coffee.

And then we heard the crash of ceramics and glass. We turned around to look through the glass windows into the Duty Free shop, and saw a lot of people milling around. Shortly, two of the KGB agents escorted a young man out of the shop and, double time, back to the Aeroflot plane.

We knew his fate, I think. But what we wanted to know is how he managed to get caught seeking asylum at Shannon, something that should have been relatively easy at the time. But he was not a westerner, and did not know how truly easy it was to go where you wanted in a western  airport back then.


We asked the staff in the shop, and they told us what they knew. It turned out that the feckless fellow thought he would hide in a dressing room until the plane had departed and then would be free in Ireland. I have always wondered why he thought the plane would leave without him; I doubt it would have, at least not without leaving people behind to search for him and apprehend him.

He could actually have just walked out the doors from the departure lounge to the stairs and escalator to the arrivals hall downstairs. At that time, no one would have checked at any door short of the boarding door. Then if he exited through the front doors, and made a decent sprint down the main access road to Shannon Town, he could easily have walked into the Garda station and claimed asylum. Sure, he would have had to do so before the KBG goons saw him at the head of the stairs, so timing would have been important. But still, it could have worked; the dressing room could not.

The wannabe defector would also have to have known the layout of the place, and that security, so called, was very lax back then in the west. Even in Ireland, despite the continuing Troubles that sometimes spilled across the border, you pretty much did what you wanted, went where you wanted and no one inquired. It was entirely possible, back then, to just walk down the stairs from the departures lounge--where, unaccountably, the Russian passengers were led--and right down the stairs and out without passing a single person asking for ID. Passengers were not checked in for departure at the entrance to the lounge, but only at the gate itself. He would have had to know enough English to ask where the police were located, too. And he would have had to wipe the furtive look off his face as westerners didn't look haunted--back then. All of this was knowledge that, at the time, Russian citizens were prevented from acquiring.

Mikhail Baryshnikov, internationally renowned ballet dancer and Russian defector, who got away because he had travelled in the west and could figure out how it was done. Plus, he's probably too famous to kill on a dictator's whim.

It was so sad. The man wanted freedom, had no clue how to get it because of the isolation that was the main feature of Russian lives back then. He probably ended up in a gulag for god knows how long.

I can't recall ever being sadder in an airport, ever. I am still sad thinking about it. 

But now I'm also sad because the governments of both the US and the UK are hard at work turning the two major bastions of constitutional freedom and democracy in the world into the same sort of locked down, repressive society the USSR was. And is. 

USSR-style repression has not gone underground; it has been ground under Putin's thumb, with freedoms curtailed as much as in former times if in different ways. Putin is using the might of the still-extant (under another name) KGB to intimidate and worse; he is using prisons to destroy (remember Pussy Riot?); he is using his own immense wealth--wealth of a sort that only a dictator with no opposition can amass--to bring the western world down to his despicable level. He has willing flunkeys to do it in the form of Donald J. Trump and Theresa May.

And if we permit it--if we allow the Republicans in the US and the Brexiteers in the UK to turn kind and decent societies into pits of infamy and ignominy, especially with the collusion of a faux-reformed Russian oligarchy--then we deserve what we get.

We will deserve to be prevented from going where we like when we like...because it hinders the "dear leader's" ability to control us, to make us grateful for every crumb of ease and decency they allow us. 

They have already begun turning decent people into slavering xenophobes, people who are at the lower end of the education ladder and therefore unaware of what their knee-jerk hatred of those they are told to hate (A-rabs, furriners, Poles, etc.) is doing not only to those they hate but to those they love. How many grandmothers were aghast when they realized their son's job, due to Brexit, was now in jeopardy, and forget university for the grand-daughter. How many miners and steelworkers in the US have finally figured out that Trump cannot (and would not if he could) bring back their industries? How many, in both countries, will die because of Tory and Republican cutbacks in healthcare?

This is no time to let the Brexiteers and Trumpanzees intimidate us by objecting when we tell them what they are: morons. It is time to explain their moronicity to them. Over and over, as loudly as required. If they fail to understand, then isolate them. They are noisy, as any empty barrel is, and so it seems there are more of them than there are. In fact, there are a lot fewer than we think. They are just loud, and we allow them to batter us with their mewling of "unfair" and other ludicrous words they throw at the left, forgetting the relentless battering they gave Mr. Obama and Mr. Brown.

No more. The year 2018 must be the one in which the humane left puts on its fatigues and does battle in the trenches with the dunderheads. Why? Because the trenches--the gutter--is where they lurk. It will do us no good to fight on the high ground; that's not where they live. They live in the darkness and slime of unexamined thought...and that's exactly where we must fight them.

And we dare not lose, or all is lost.

  ###

Copyright 2017 by Laura Harrison McBride

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Dorries' own beanstalk of lies


Shouldn't the story about the young person who tells whoppers be renamed Jacqueline and the Beanstalk, and performed by Parliament? After all, Parliament has one MP who admits that 70 percent of what she says is not true, because she wants people to know who she is. We do, dearie, we do.

MP Nadine Dorries has decided that liberals in the UK are dumbing down the culture. She has apparently decided this because some universities refuse to invite some fascist--and often terminally culturally disadvantaged--speakers like Dorries and Farage and other denizens of the dark drive toward UK ruination to their hallowed halls as speaker.

Frankly, if the universities are denying a platform to hate-mongering rabble-rousers, it can only be
a good thing, what with the low-life media of Murdoch and Dacre shoving xenophobia, economic suicide and assorted other undesirable concepts down UK throats with impunity.

The thing is, the universities say her claim is wildly exaggerated.


Of course it is. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't hers the party that said by withdrawing from the European Union, the UK would have 350 million quid a week extra for the National Health Service? That same party that is selling off the NHS bit by bit and diminishing its service to the population by leaps and bounds as foreign-born doctors and nurses flee the sceptred isle currently run by stupid ignoramuses known as Tories.

As for Dorries herself, she might be the poster girl for grasping, greedy Tories, and liars as well. She has employed her daughter as her office manager at a substantial salary--reportedly the highest paid to an MP's family member; the daughter lives 96 miles from the office. There are a few possible conclusions: a) the daughter has a really loud voice, b) the daughter relishes spending 8 hours a day in traffic, or, c) it's an imaginary job. I choose C for two reasons. (Click here for reference.)

First, Dorries writes romance novels, tons and tons of them, all available on amazon. They get tons and tons of reviews, something even full-time writers of good repute fail to get. Dorries is busy working as an MP and running her mouth in favour of ruining the UK by leaving the EU. So I wonder who actually writes them. If her daughter's job is fiction--as clearly it must be--then is her fiction also fiction, as it were?

Second, she has, indeed, admitted to being more hot air than reality. (She was once removed from her MP post for a while for appearing on a "reality" show, which by now everyone knows are actually fake-ality shows.) In 2010, Dorries admitted in The Guardian (online) "My blog is 70% fiction and 30% fact. It is written as a tool to enable my constituents to know me better and to reassure them of my commitment to Mid-Bedfordshire. I rely heavily on poetic licence and frequently replace one place name/event/fact with another."  

Dorries trained as a nurse; I am rather happy she doesn't practice as one. It might be inconvenient if a doctor told her to replace a pressure bandage with a large-bore shunt because she thought it was fun....or something. But then, is it any less deadly when she replaces the truth about the EU with lies, the truth about money for the NHS with lies....the truth about who is ruining UK culture with lies and damn lies?

Do you really need to know any more about Dorries' credibility? About her relationship with truth and lies? About how far she's willing to go to aggrandize herself and fatten her wallet?


I don't.

So Nadine, STFU. Thanks.

###

Copyright 2017 by Laura Harrison McBride

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Belgian fart grenades and other Christmas treats



British turkey dinner.


Christmas dinner in my parents' house was a fairly simple affair: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sometimes also mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, and the jelly kind of cranberry jelly, not the kind that's all lumpy with orange segments and walnuts. This was always followed by a store-bought pumpkin pie.

No wonder we were all skinny. No temptation whatsoever to overeat.

In my adopted country, the UK, on Christmas--and for several weeks leading up to the day--the food portion of the holiday is far, far different. There are all sorts of special Christmas menus offered at pubs and restaurants; the grocery stores overflow with ready-made treats and pre-stuffed turkeys and monkeyed-with whole ducks or duck breasts, or beef roasts, pork roasts, leg of lamb....and on and on.

The traditional dinner itself, on the day, usually features a turkey and dressing (no one stuffs anymore, since it became known that a turkey's cavity harbors and passes on all sorts of nasty intestinal thingies), roasted potatoes, some sort of sweet potatoes (optional), pigs in blankets, possibly another green vegetable such as green beans, bread sauce and Brussels sprouts. Also known, apparently, as Belgian fart grenades.

It is with these last two that I wish to take issue.

Belgian fart grenades


Belgian fart grenades prepared with chestnuts.
OK, Belgian fart grenades are a vegetable. They might be made slightly more palatable, although no less flatulence-producing, by being slathered in a thick cheese sauce. I have never seen them served this way at a Christmas dinner.  They can also be chopped and wokked with walnuts and sprinkled with soy sauce to attempt to make them into human food. This, too, has escaped notice by Christmas cooks, although it doesn't work anyway. 

Or, one can boil the shit out of them, drain them, and toss them into a hot skillet with duck fat and about half as many prepared chestnuts as there are Belgian fart grenades and serve them. This I have heard of being done at Christmas dinners, although none I've been a part of; at those, the grenades are always simply simmered in water, drained and served.

There is one advantage to this; then, when one is doubled over in pain that evening, one need only look to the turkey stuffing or the sprouts--or possibly the dessert, on which more shortly--to identify the culprit.
Add your own caption for this mucilaginous mess; it's too tempting for me to be rude. 

Bread....sauce?

But I mustn't forget the bread sauce.

No American on earth has probably eaten such a thing. Well, OK, maybe a few. But why would one eat it? 

One answer is that it's cheap and easy. You just take a couple of cups of milk, a lot of withering white bread, an onion and a bunch of whole cloves and salt and pepper. You stud the onion with the cloves and plunk it into the milk. Heat the milk for awhile until it has acquired some oniony-clovey flavour. Then mush in some bits of bread until it reaches the consistency you like. Plunk in a little butter. Serve warm with the Belgian grenades and the food.

I found this comment on a recipe for bread sauce: "A classic sauce, one of the trimmings Christmas dinner would be unthinkable without! I learned this recipe 20 years ago and it never fails. My whole family love it and know it must be Christmas if I make it!" (Itself a rather oxymoronic concept, I think.)


That recipe and remark was on allrecipes.co.uk; I couldn't find a single reference to bread sauce on allrecipes.com, the site that serves the US market.

BTW, the same lady said she uses leftover bread sauce on turkey sandwiches, the typical lunch during the week after Christmas. 



New York Deli sandwich
British turkey sandwich









Question: Why would you put bread sauce on bread? Of course, in much of the UK, sandwiches are denied so much as a smattering of mayonnaise or other substance to moisten the scanty meat provided (no overstuffed New York deli sandwiches here!), it might be a good thing. A bit less choking on the "sammich" for a few days. 

And now, onward to dessert.

The proverbial, and very useful, Christmas pudding


A Christmas pudding has a little flour, a lot of sugar, tons of dried fruits and weekly bastings of booze for as many weeks as you make it before the big day. You can make it a year ahead if you like, as long as you keep it covered, in the dark, and well supplied with booze; this also works with crabby Uncle Nigel.  

It is boiled for four hours when first made; it is reboiled for an hour and a half on Christmas, presumably while one is busy with the pre-dinner Buck's Fizz (alcoholic cider, or in upscale homes, champagne or at least Prosecco, with orange juice) and the meal. One pours booze over it before serving it, lights same, then serves it drowned in brandy cream. Frankly, it really doesn't matter what's IN the pudding; whatever it is will have been driven out by a surfeit of alcohol, either in the food or in the bellies of those eating the meal. Better still if, between Buck's Fizz and dessert, wine is served, making the post-prandial miasmas of digested food aromas less noticeable.

It has to be that way...because all UK Christmas dinners come complete with both Belgian fart grenades and bread sauce. And Christmas pud.

You have been warned.

Copyright 2017 by Laura Harrison McBride






Thursday, December 21, 2017

Melania's letter to Putin

It isn't often that a retired journalist will score a major coup, but it happens.

Just now, a deep-pockets Republican defector sneaked me this letter he had purloined from the desk of HO-Tus, Melania Knauss Trump. I'm not sure if it's genuine, although I suspect from the miasma of $1000-an-ounce perfume wafting off it, it might be.

Anyway, for what it's worth, it offers a little insight into the life of the matriarch of America's Worst Family: Iskanka, Sca-red, Junior, Ricky and that other kid, the one you never see. Oh, and the other one that you never see, the one named after a New York jewelry store. Anyway, the five exemplars of degraded Trump DNA.

 



 Copyright 2017, Laura Harrison McBride

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Eating your cake and having it, too: Bootle's Brexit

 
The dusty hills of the north coast of Cyprus and the Mediterranean. (Photo by the author)


I read a lot on Kindle. A lot. I probably download a book every single day. I like the Daily Deals for 99 cents, needless to say, so I check them every morning. This morning, there was a book listed called Making a Success of Brexit and Reforming the EU: The Brexit edition of The Trouble with Europe by Roger Bootle.

It shouldn't take anyone with even two working brain cells long to figure out what's wrong with the above. First on the list is this self-evident oxymoron: leaving the EU and fixing it. Indeed, it is either impossible to do that, or a case could be made that the addlepated author is attempting to say that the EU will be reformed as soon as the UK is out of it. There might be some truth to the latter stretch of a concept; there is none to the former. Indeed, the EU probably will be better off with the UK gone; the infighting will end, and there will be no 'gimme' state demanding concessions as Cameron did--and got--right before he shafted the EU that had succored him by conducting his scurrilous and specious so-called referendum. Howver, to repeat, the UK can not FIX the EU if it is no longer a member.

However, Bootle's readers seem to be as logic challenged as he, and as selfish and narcissistic as America's answer to Adolph Hitler, Donald Trump. One of those readers/critics who claims the book is great admits that he had spent his career living and working in several EU nations and now lives in Cyprus, and by gad, the EU is a dreadful thing and needs to be abandoned without delay.

Really? I wonder how he thinks he was able to freely work all over Europe. I wonder if he realises that only because Cyprus--GREEK Cyprus--is a member of the EU can he enjoy his retirement in the sun in a country where most people speak at least some English. And which is peaceful. And offers decent public services. And where he can collect his pension and spend it where it won't do the native land he claims to love so much one particle of good.

As you ponder this ingrate's retirement in Cyprus while feeling leave to consign his (former) native land to the trash heap of history, please recall that Great Britain had subjugated Cypress--both Turks and Greeks--for a long time, only relinquishing it when the Turks and Greeks began killing each other, at which point Great Britain left them to their fate. 

What was their fate? Ultimately, a divided island, with about 37 percent of it now claiming not to be Turkish Cyprus, but is actually Turkey, since the invasion by Turkey in 1974. Turkey-on-Cyprus   STILL requires a UN peacekeeping presence. 

Greek Cyprus is The Republic of Cyprus, and a member of the EU. It could not be a member of the EU unless it had met reasonable standards of life for its citizens and conduct for its politicians, something as likely in Turkey (and Turkey-Cyprus) as is Vladimir Putin giving all his ill-gotten wealth away to the nations his greed and malice and just plain viciousness have destroyed. 

In short, it ain't gonna happen.



But there it is; morons are claiming in print, which legitimizes it, that the UK leaving the EU can be successful (despite the fact that all but the most navel-contemplating Leavers are beginning to suspect they were sold a pup) and ALSO reform the EU. No, not possible 

Of all of this, one might ask Mr. Bootle, why should you care, once the UK has left, whether the EU reforms itself or not? Indeed, it might be more effective for the UK's post-withdrawal comfort if the EU were to fail, leaving the UK some better global financial pickings than it is in line for at the moment.

Bootle claims fame for predicting the economic crisis when the inflated real estate market crashed. Mr. Bootle, if my cat could read and pay bills, he could have predicted it. Most adult humans who can read and pay bills DID predict it.

Bootle writes for The Daily Telegraph, and owns a financial firm. Enough said. If you read this piece of trash, be aware that claims equality of treatment for both Leave and Remain, but is actually a rather clever polemic, designed to attract the uneducated and the jealous, to the idea that once the UK stops participating in the EU--the single entity that has kept Europe war-free for 70 odd years--they will be rich, happy, live in a big, overdone oligarchichal home like Trump's penthouse, and rule the world once again.

Ain't gonna happen. The opposite, in fact.


But Mr. Bootle? He and the monkey-brained xenophobes and greedsters he serves will.

###

 Copyright 2017, Laura Harrison McBride

Friday, December 8, 2017

RE: Al Franken, and how Congressional Democrats have sealed our doom


Al Franken, in happier times, before his basic decency was sacrificed on the altar of "bimbo ethics."
So....here's a question: Why didn't the Democrats refuse to work with Bill Clinton when he was accused of fooling around with an intern?

Answer: Because a) they still had individual and collective brains,  b) Putin had not suborned them, and, c) they still had some vestiges of understanding that their job is not to be saints but to craft the best government they can for the people they represent.

The Democrats who apparently have refused to work with Al Franken, after the most recent accusation of a politician by a bimbo, have--more than Donnie Dumbshit himself--ensured the dissolution of the United States as we know it.

Putin now knows any US politician can be had for a nickel or less. Trump's ego has grown another fifteen yards and his hubris (it means, sort of, self-importance, Mr. Dumbshit) is spilling out all over the airwaves. The Democrats? Right. Like they have a model's chance in Cheeto's bedroom of coming out unscathed.

They have hung themselves out to dry, and the rest of us along with them. Blowing in the wind would be a vast improvement to the pounding and slicing we--by which I mean decent people and the Democrats we elected because we thought they would work for us--are going to get from the Evil Cadre known still as the Republicans. (As opposed to what they are and should be known by, the Phalanx of Satan.)

How did this happen? Reagan, addlepated old B-actor has-been puppet that he was, wrecked education, any semblance of honor among Washington's thieves, and the desire of the elected classes to actually serve those who were paying them, us. I won't go into chapter and verse; you can read most of it in my book, under the pen name Bryce Webster, A Nation of Serfs.
Reagan's depredations were later partly mitigated by Mr. Clinton, and something resembling a society attempting to take care of its people happened. Then Bush ruined it. Then Obama partly saved it again.


And now we have the end times, possibly not of the world if somehow Donnie Dumbshit doesn't blow it up in his "my daddy's is bigger than your daddy's" fight with Kim Jong Moron. But certainly of a decent life for the majority of US citizens, the ones who aren't outright murdered by the sudden, and even more profound, absences of medical care after Dumbshit disposes of Medicare and Medicaid, having made all medical expenses non-deductible and thereby shoving the middle-class down several rungs to the near-starvation currently enjoyed by much of the US working class and virtually all of its poor and disadvantaged.

And Democrats in the House and Senate, you are equally to blame. You sold out--for what?-- a decent man, and a good politician, over unproved allegations for which he apologized ANYWAY.

Frankly, Democrat politicians, you are truly too stupid to live.

Unfortunately, it is the rest of us who will die in droves for your perfidy.

###

Copyright 2017 by Laura Harrison McBride

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The wisdom of cats

 
There are cat lovers and cat haters. Few people are neutral about cats. But consider: The Egyptians worshipped them....and so does Facebook.

That's not why Rachel Burch and I wrote The Ancient Wisdom of Cats: Affirmations for life, inspired by the ancient wisdom of felines and the historic Dartmoor landscape.

Nope. We did it because we like cats and we had something to say. Something to say about Dartmoor, a mystical ancient landscape, and about living life like a cat, with a certain amount of certainty and wisdom. Knowing most people doubt their own wisdom--as a cat NEVER will--we provided some helpful affirmations.

But also...there are the pictures. Rachel's fine art photos festooned with cut-out cats. Imagine an artist DOING that to her own work? Pasting cat cutouts on it? For that matter, imagine an author writing affirmations based on the antics of cats....

It isn't to be thought about, unless you see the book, look at the pictures and read the affirmations.

BTW, we both own or owned cats, one of us is a druid and the other a devotee of the Science of Mind, in which affirmations are essential to life.

We know whereof we speak. 

So, right, this is mostly promotional. But we read the book over again recently and realized it has a lot of value, especially now in the current climate of upheaval. Cats calm you down. Exotic landscapes tug at your senses. Affirmations can help get you through. What's not to like?

So, here is just one of the affirmations, gratis:

Affirmation for Protection Calling on the Mountain Lion of the Tamar Valley

As fellow walkers through the earth forest, we share with the Mountain Lion of the Tamar Valley and all cats intelligence, sensitivity, bravery and self-knowledge. These are powerful tools for our protection in any circumstances: mental, emotional, or physical.

We affirm our power of the mountain lion to keep all harm at bay, and, when needed, to retreat into our own powers to regroup and reassert our sovereign power to walk through the world unharmed. We call upon intelligence to assess any dangers recognized. We call upon sensitivity to detect any dangers to ourselves, or those we have under our care. We call upon bravery in confronting dangers. We call upon knowledge of self so that we always confront danger from a place of peace and power, using the least power to ensure that the danger is vanquished.

We also call on the wisdom of the cat, whether moggie* or Mountain Lion, to know when it is time to stand our ground, or to retreat and gather our strength to us again...or simply to hide and let the current threat pass us by.

So mote it be.

* For US readers: In common usage in the UK, moggie means ordinary house cat.

###

Copyright 2017, Laura Harrison McBride

To order a copy of the book, click here.

To see more of the photography of Rachel Burch, click here.

To see more of Laura Harrison McBride's work, click here.



Monday, December 4, 2017

OMG It's the dreaded UK driving test again!


WHY? Just tell me why.  When you could drive forward, and have a 360 view of everything coming at you from anywhere, you would back around a corner why? Nuts. Effin' nuts.

Shelf  Barker may have to give up his new job as a Private Investigator and return to his old one--well, one of his old ones--as a UK driving instructor.

You may recall that, after doing battle with the UK driving test several years ago, I had decided to write a novel killing off a DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) examiner in Launceston, UK. It didn't turn out that way simply because of the man who actually got me through the bloody test, Andy Davies, the world's best driving instructor (who works and lives in Norwich, UK). Just driving with him mitigated my loathing for everything about UK driving.

After being failed in Launceston....but wait.  I didn't fail in Launceston; rather, the examiner made excuses to fail me by giving me garbled instructions and at one point even mouthing off at me in his attempt to prove that an American woman who had a totally clean driving record on two continents for 48 years of driving 20K miles a year in cars and pickup trucks with horse trailers attached and moving vans with cars attached could not drive in the UK. I decided to cut through the crap and go to Norwich where, a company promised, I'd pass the next time or there would be no charge for their tutelage.

I got in the car with Andy the first day and, after a wee turn around the neighbourhood and a perfect parallel park (if you're from NYC and you can't parallel anything anywhere, you're brain dead), he said, "So why are you here, exactly?" First, I told him I had a need to spend over a thousand quid, between tuition and lodging, to prove to some DVSA dork that a perfect driving record in the US means one might at least be capable of driving well enough in the UK, at least as well as the OAPs (Old Age Pensioners) whose top speed is 38 mph and their Driveheimer's has apparently stolen their knowledge of directional signals. Then, I told him and showed him the test from Launceston and he cackled. So I had a great week just driving around Norwich for three hours a day and chatting with Andy, who's a really fine person as well as instructor.
 Just for fun.....

I wouldn't have put it past Andy, though, to have mentioned to the examiner for my test that I was a New Yorker, and New Yorkers' DNA is fundamentally incapable of reversing around a corner, one of the possible manoeuvres they could ask a driving license candidate to perform. The Launceston creep had asked for it, and naturally I did it badly, what my DNA and all. But not badly enough to fail.

You must understand, it's fucking nuts to back around a corner, aside from being totally superfluous to requirements. In now 53 years of driving, I have NEVER had an occasion to do such a thing, nor have I ever seen anyone do such a thing. It's a perfect storm of chances to get whacked from behind, in front or the side. Even if one had to turn around to avoid a big road blockage or something, why would one not make a three-point turn? (It's called, in the UK, a turn-in-the-road: aren't all turns in the road? But I digress again.) If you were caught up in a blockage, it's likely drivers behind you are, too, and you wouldn't be able to back around the corner to leave the scene. Common sense is notably lacking in the design of a one-hour-long driving test that fails most new drivers three times before they pass, and still puts both boy racers and addlepated old farts on the road, both populations that ignore fire, flood, other traffic, pedestrians, sheep....

Anyway, as of today, new UK drivers will no longer have to worry about the dreaded reversing around a corner requirement. But they also won't have to worry about a turn-in-the-road. To repeat an earlier comment, nuts. Just fucking nuts.

A turn-in-the-road is useful quite often, especially on tiny UK lanes suitable for only one car with "passing places" and sheep. Of course, it might take five points or seven to get a decent-sized car turned around on those; that's probably why they don't call it a three-point turn but a turn in the road. U-turn also works, but that's not sufficiently abstruse for UK government-speak.

Just in case you want to see for yourself what the UK driving test changes are about, click here

Or better yet (shameless self-promotion coming up), bag yourself a pre-holiday treat, the first Shelf Barker DI turned PI mystery novel, or one of the two novelettes about his PI exploits, both in the UK and New Yawk. Click here, here and here.


Copyright 2017, Laura Harrison McBride




May's UK junta needs to fall

  A "bitter" future indeed, as the UK's first dictator leads the nation to doom. She even has the Third Reich salute going o...