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Welcome back to this week’s installment of the all-new What Just Happened?!, a semi-comical weekly digest of the most important news from the UK, US and the World from Will Marshall, and Alistair Simmonds-Yoo. Look out for us every weekend, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Internet

Equi-fax-me-your-passwords

If you’re one of the 147 million people in the US whom had their Personally Identifiable Information made available when Equifax shat-the-bed in 2017, then you may take precisely no comfort whatsoever in the indicting of Chinese military personnel as the alleged culprits. 

The UK

TRAM-poline

The UK rail network is terrorized by a scourge of flying trampolines during a storm.

A Deck full of Jokers

Ooh the Cabinet reshuffle, ooh the excitement, I can barely contain myself! It’s that time of year when, with bated breath and clenched arses, we await the news of what particular cohort of clowns and misfits will be our new overlords. Will they be a plucky band of independent-minded, courageous public servants working for the good of the people, or will they be a selection of the most snivelling of snivellers who ever did snivel, whose greatest trait is their ability to combine into one colossal, heaving succubus with whom Cummings can distract Boris Johnson? Obviously, the latter.

You know it’s bad when Sajid Javid resigns because “no self-respecting minister” could agree to Jonson’s demands; this is the same Javid who claimed the European single-market is the “greatest-invention”, before insisting we will no longer be a part of it. Arse. He’s replaced by Rishi Sunak, who was terribly excited earlier this week to announce the creation of Freeports, enabled by our departure from the EU (who have 80). Much like the 5 we had until the Conservative government closed them in 2012. Arse.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was sacked and replaced with the inexperienced (and allegedly incompetent) Suella Braverman, which I’m sure had nothing to do with her latest scathing attack on the judiciary published a couple of weeks ago. To get a feel for Braverman, watch this clip from 2019, in which she lambasts the uncertainty presented by a no-deal Brexit (which she was responsible for preparing for in her role at the Department for Exiting the European Union), immediately after seemingly praising a no-deal Brexit by rebranding it a: “clean, global Brexit”, and criticising MPs who tried to stop it. Also, arse.

Worry not though, many of our favorites are still in position. Like Health Secretary Matt Hancock, presumably because kissing Johnson’s arse so much has left him physically attached, and he’s stuck on a waiting list for the decimated NHS to surgically remove him. Remember this grotesque clip of his sycophantic nodding-dog act as he chanted Johnson’s lies? Arse.

The World

Plagues for days

In the midst of the the Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis you would be forgiven for having missed the scant news coverage of a looming disaster across east Africa and Pakistan, as a swarm of locusts approaches plague levels.

The moving, 350 sq km infestation is the worst in Kenya for 70 years, and for 25 in Somalia and Ethiopia. They’re consuming 1.8m tonnes of vegetation per day and currently threaten the food supply of 25 million people. Even more petrifying is the forecast that numbers could be 500 times larger by July.

Revving up for Change

The President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, got so pissed off this week at his parliament’s unwillingness to approve a loan to better equip the country’s military and police, that he sent the army in to secure the votes. The erstwhile Yamaha motorcycle dealer was gracious enough to give politicians a week to approve his plan.

Having been seen as a populist outsider before assuming the role of head honcho, it’s hard to argue with the statistics since Bukele came to power: average daily murders in the country have dropped from 9.2 to 3.8 in under a year.

The US

The McPurge

Those who dare express insolence or disobedience to the beautiful leader shall be fired. Two folks who testified against Trump in the impeachment hearings have lost their positions, demonstrating the extent to which Trump’s ego and power take priority over clear foreign policy and hiring a competent team. Including, in a particularly dictatorial moment, Lt Col Alexander Vindman being escorted out of the white house before the newspapers reading ‘ACQUITTED’ had cooled down from Trump’s frantic flapping them at journalists, or even lost their dusting of orange-face-dandruff. It’s pretty well exactly par for the course: withhold financial assistance to an ally at war with Russia; lie about it; get away with lying about it; fire those with any integrity; go golfing.

Rogering the Stone

The man who near enough coined the term ‘Rat Fucker’ – meaning one who engages in shady behind-the-scenes activities in the hopes of undermining others (people, not rats) – has federal prosecutors thinking he deserves 7 to 9 years in jail. Trump complained (publicly) then the prosecutors resigned (or dropped off the case) as the DOJ recommended a significantly less severe sentence. The Rat-Fucker-extraordinaire is still at large despite being found guilty months ago of: 

“all the counts against him, including obstruction, five counts of false statements, and witness tampering”

Spiritually Walled Off

Trump is ploughing on with the border wall (when it isn’t literally blowing over) by blowing up Native American burial sites, and destroying sacred cacti which the O’odham people believe are the spirits of their ancestors (a thoughtful touch then). There’s a deep, deep irony in Americans being so desperate to stop people coming into their country that they desecrate protected Native American lands, you know… the guys who were there first. Shame they didn’t build a wall.

CumulonimBezos

“Amazon sue Trump over JEDI contract” is now a sensible non-fiction English sentence. The Bezonator and his technology behemoth are alleging political bias in the Pentagon’s decision to award a $10 billion contract (up to $10 billion over 10 years) to Microsoft. 

Virgin(ian) Lovers

Lawmakers in the state of Virginia look set to make the bold move of making ‘fornication’ legal. Yes, that’s right, it may become legal for unwed couples (dirty bastards) to have sex.

Shockingly, fornication is still illegal in Idaho and Mississippi too, whilst in North Carolina it’s illegal to share a bed “lewdly and lasciviously”!

What The Caucus? 

In addition to our summary last week, The New York Times have done a great job covering this shit-show-for-the-ages. Here’s the chair of the Iowa state Democratic Party, Troy Price, talking to one of Sanders’ advisors: 

“You always had to calculate these numbers, all we’re asking is that you report them for the first time,” Jeff Weaver, Mr. Sanders’s closest adviser, said he told Mr. Price on the call. “If you haven’t been calculating these numbers all along, it’s been a fraud for 100 years.”

The NYT’s analysis reckons over 10% of the 1,700 precincts ‘improperly allocated their delegates’. 

Much blame lays with the app produced by a company called Shadow. Shadow’s CEO (Gerard Niemira) worked on the 2016 Clinton campaign, so is (presumably) well versed in hatching schemes for screwing Bernie over… Take a gander at Niemira’s only review on LinkedIn, it reads apparently accurately (almost preminiciently) in places, and significantly less so in others: 

“He knows how to lead a team under pressure and how to handle potentially devastating crises […] Gerard’s track record points to his unquestionable ability to strategize a product roadmap and methodically execute with both a pragmatic perspective and maniacal awareness of details.”

The Cooked Books of Mormon

Of the following two propositions which is more ridiculous? 

  1. The Garden of Eden was in Jackson County Missouri
  2. The Mormons (allegedly) have a treasury larger than Softbank’s Vision Fund (which has invested over $80 billion in tech initiatives, making it the largest such investment fund in the world) which they earn their tax exempt status by donating to hedge funds and traditional investments… 

Obviously it isn’t important which is more ridiculous. If one believes their business interests (and faith?) are more important than well funded and functional states then why don’t you just marry Tom Cruise


Thanks for reading! We’ll be back next week, get in touch with the authors Will Marshall and Alistair Simmonds on Twitter and let us know what you did and didn’t like.

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