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Martin Lewis Is Suing Facebook – Good Luck With That

Martin Lewis we all know as the money saving expert who set up – and made a fortune from – MoneySavingExpert. Which is why various people trying to flog scam cryptocurrencies have been using him to push their wares in Facebook ads. We know of Lewis as being pretty savvy about money so why not try to co-opt his image?

Well, one reason why not is that it will obviously piss him off:

The founder of MoneySavingExpert and well known money saving expert Martin Lewis is to began a lawsuit against Facebook in London’s High Court on Monday.

Lewis said he had taken the decision “to try and stop all the disgusting repeated fake adverts from scammers it refuses to stop publishing with my picture, name and reputation.”

There’s a problem here of course. One such being that people who saw the ads might well have been mislead into investing into entire and complete duds:

He claims Facebook has published more than 50 fake posts bearing his name in the last year, causing vulnerable people to hand over thousands of pounds to criminals.

Mr Lewis told the Press Association the legal action was the result of months of frustration with scammers piggybacking on his reputation and preying on Facebook users with outlandish get-rich-quick scams.

He said people have handed over money in good faith, only to find the advert has nothing to do with Mr Lewis or his company.

That’s a significant problem, of course it is. But there’s another one here as well:

Today (Monday 23 April), I will issue High Court proceedings against Facebook, to try and stop all the disgusting repeated fake adverts from scammers it refuses to stop publishing with my picture, name and reputation. To explain it, below is the official press release announcing the action.

You see, in law, Facebook isn’t the publisher. Therefore a claim of defamation doesn’t work. The actual publisher, the person responsible in law, is the person who wrote the post, or made the ad. Not Facebook itself. The situation here is akin to the telephone company or Royal Mail. Sure, both systems of communication can be used to do illegal things. And the people who do so are guilty of using them to do illegal things. But the systems themselves aren’t guilty. They have a legal status called “common carrier.” They’re responsible for what they do themselves which is illegal but not for what other people use the system to do.

And at least as far as we know the internet giants like Facebook are given this common carrier status.

A suit against those posting or making ads would almost certainly succeed. One against Facebook not so much. And you shouldn’t be buying cryptocurrencies because of Facebook ads anyway, no matter whose face appears in them.

Posted: 23rd, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Technology | Comment


Martin Lewis sues Facebook over scam ads; but who watches MoneySupermarket?

The added benefits of ‘money saving expert’ Martin Lewis suing Facebook for allowing fraudsters to use his name to trick money from people who trust him is that Facebook gets another kicking – good news for publishers jealous and wary of its power – and media-savy Lewis gets to be relevant. Lewis has built a very lucrative career advising people how to save cash. In 2012, he sold MoneySavingExert.com for £87m to MoneySupermarket.com, which runs an online price comparison service.

As the BBC reported at the time:

In the 12 months to the end of last October, MoneySavingExpert generated revenues of nearly £16m from 39 million users. Of this income, about 59% was earned from referral fees paid by MoneySupermarket.

It’s no mere tip-sheet.

In 2017, MoneySavingExpert reported:

Comparison site MoneySupermarket has been fined £80,000 after it sent an email to millions of customers who had opted out of marketing messages.

The story on MoneySavingExpert.com makes no mention of the site’s relationship to MoneySupermarket. Is that fair?

 

martin lewis

Martin Lewis at the top of a story that makes no reference to the fact MoneySavingExpert is owned by MoneySupermarket.

 

moneysavingexpert martin lewis

No mention of the sites’ relationship in the story

 

Promoting financial products is a lucrative business.

Lewis says Facebook earns money from the fake ads, making it is responsible for them. What’s odd and troubling is that Facebook, having taken the villains’ money, seems less bothered about punishing the crooks. How many of them just book another ad?

“It’s so distressing, when all my life I have campaigned against this kind of thing,” says Mr Lewis, whose face has appeared on over 50 different ads on Facebook, reports the Times. The social network does take them down – but as Lewis says: “It can take a couple of weeks and another one just pops up again. Why should I have to police this? Enough is enough. I’ve been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues. I feel sick each time I hear of another victim being conned because of trust they wrongly thought they were placing in me. One lady had over £100,000 taken from her.”

Someone invested £100,000 in a financial product they first saw on Facebook because it featured a photo of a bloke from the telly? What madness. No wonder conmen feel it’s worth having a go.

 

matin lewis fake ads facebook

An example of a Facebook ad using Lewis’s face – and his response

 

“I’ve told Facebook that,” adds Lewis. “Any ad with my picture or name in is without my permission. I’ve asked it not to publish them, or at least to check their legitimacy with me before publishing. This shouldn’t be difficult – after all, it’s a leader in face and text recognition. Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.”

That seems fair. Why should the victim have to report the crime to the company promoting the scam and earning money from it? And what does Facebook do with money earned from these ads?

“It’s time Facebook was made to take responsibility,”Lewis continues. “It claims to be a platform, not a publisher, yet this isn’t just a post on a web forum, it is being paid to publish, promote what are often fraudulent enterprises. My hope is this lawsuit will force it to change its system. Nothing else has worked. People need protection. And of course, on a personal note, as well as the huge amount of time, stress and effort it takes to continually combat these scams, this whole episode has been extremely depressing – to see my reputation besmirched by such a big company, out of an unending greed to keep raking in its ad cash.”

Mark Lewis, a solicitor with Seddons law firm who is bringing the case, outlines the case:

“Facebook is not above the law – it cannot hide outside the UK and think that it is untouchable. Exemplary damages are being sought. This means we will ask the court to ensure they are substantial enough that Facebook can’t simply see paying out damages as just the ‘cost of business’ and carry on regardless. It needs to be shown that the price of causing misery is very high.”

A Facebook spokesman replies:

“We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights and they will be removed. We are in direct contact with his team, offering to help and promptly investigating their requests, and only last week confirmed that several adverts and accounts that violated our advertising policies had been taken down.”

Buyer beware.

Posted: 23rd, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


When Joe Strummer ran the London Marathon?

Did Joe Strummer run the London Marathon in 1983 and the Paris Marathon a year earlier?

 

trummerParisMarathonrace1982theclash

 

As a boarding school lad, The Clash front man was a talented and enthusiastic runner. So maybe he did…

In the documentary Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, we get to see and hear Joe talking about athletic pursuits in Paris before the release of The Clash’s Combat Rock (1982). Legend has it that Bernie Rhodes, the band’s manager, wanted to create intrigue to boost interest and thus ticket sales by having Strummer vanish for a while. The plan was for Strummer to get lost in Austin, Texas. Strummer was warm to the idea but instead of Austin went to Paris, without telling anyone. And whilst there he ran the Paris Marathon in just under three and a half hours. His keep-fit regime for success: “Drink 10 pints of beer the night before the race. Ya got that? And don’t run a single step at least four weeks before the race.”

 

 

The Paris story remains unsubstantiated. But Strummer did run the London Marathon, completing the course in 4hours 13minutes.

 

Joe strummer London marathon

 

 

Chris Salewicz (Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer) quotes Gaby Salter revealing: “He hadn’t trained. He just bought some shorts and said, ‘Let’s run a marathon.”‘.Antony Genn, who worked with Strummer in the Mescaleros, recalls the runner telling him: “I didn’t fuckin’ train. Not once. Just turned up and did it.”

Spotter: Reddit, Flashbak, OpenCulture

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Music, Sports, Strange But True | Comment


Corbyn exposed and isolated by Labour’s anti-Semitism problem

David Lammy told us that “when you lie down with dogs, you get fleas”. The Labour MP was talking about the ordeal faced by the Windrush children, transformed from British citizens into criminals by a lazy and callous immigration policy. Lammy was linking that story to what he sees as Tories pandering to racist right-wingers and Brexit. What, then, does he think of his own party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has called Jew-haters his “friends” and presided over a Labour Party rife with anti-Semitism? Ever the nuanced and slippery figure, nothing really stuck to Corbyn, not even the fleas. Until something did.

When Corbyn made a Facebook comment about a hideous mural in East London, the story shifted from being about his Jew-hating “friends” to his own prejudices. Corbyn offered his support to the mural’s artist, which many of us consider to be anti-Semitic in tone and subject. The then Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfar Rahman, ordered council officials to “do everything possible” to remove the mural, arguing that “the images of the bankers perpetuate anti-Semitic propaganda about conspiratorial Jewish domination of financial institutions”. But Corbyn liked it and wanted it to remain on view.

That was 2012.

 

Corbyn mural east london

Corbyn and who could be his fellow former Press TV presenter Yvonne Ridley both like the mural.

 

In 2018, Corbyn said he should have looked “more closely” at the massive mural that covered the entire end of a building – the mural he now finds to be “deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic”. Corbyn said “sorry” for not having studied the content of the mural more closely”. Tom Watson, Corbyn’s deputy, called the artwork a “horrible anti-Semitic mural”.

 

 

Hugo Rifkind adds:

Corbyn is also reported to have been a member of two Facebook groups, and perhaps a third, where such things were widespread. Did he never look closely? Above his comment is one by Yvonne Ridley. This, presumably, would be the journalist Yvonne Ridley, who once wrote that David Miliband was “a gutless little weasel who lost more than his foreskin when he was circumcised”. She also used to host a show on the Iranian PressTV on which Corbyn was a guest. Did they never speak? When Corbyn speaks of the “pockets within the Labour Party” in which antisemitism has occurred, what he leaves out is that, for the first 30 years of his career, these were the pockets he was in.

Yesterday, Labour’s antisemitism problem was debated in the Commons. Dame Margaret Hodge, 73, the Labour MP for Barking and the daughter of Jewish refugees, told her peers that she felt like “an outsider in the party I have been a member of for 50 years… I have never felt as nervous and frightened as I feel today at being a Jew. It feels that my party has given permission for antisemitism to go unchallenged.”

 

 

Luciana Berger, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said: “I have no words for the people who purport to be both members and supporters of our party, who use that hashtag JC4PM [Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister], who attacked me in recent weeks for my comments; they attacked me for speaking at the rally against antisemitism… who say I should be deselected.”

Ruth Smeeth, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, read out a message she’d received:”First job for Jeremy Corbyn tomorrow, expel the Zionist hag bitch Ruth Smeeth.”

Tom Watson was not sat by Corbyn at the front – he moved from his usual spot in the Commons to sit between Berger and Smeeth. He sees the problem. Do you?

Here’s Labour MP John Mann. He gets it. People are scared. Anti-semitism is rife. If you acquiesce to it, if you make anti-Jewish comments, if you don’t speak out when you hear it, if you turn a deaf ear to it, if you don’t think it’s worth bothering about, you’re wrong. It’s dangerous:

 

Posted: 18th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Windrush children only became visible when they became criminals

At what point do you realise that the country thinks you’re worthless? Asking for a friend who came over to the UK on the Windrush on June 22 1948. The British government of the day invited her family to work in the country. They accepted the invite, and came across the Atlantic Ocean in search of better lives. In 1971, Commonwealth migrants were given indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

 

windrush rudd may

 

My friend and many like her are now being offered the chance to return from whence they came decades ago and have never returned to since – or else. The British government has been rounding up these workers from the Commonwealth.

Michael Braithwaite is 66. He’s lived in the UK since he was nine. If time spent in the country is a measure of citizenship, Mr Braithwaite is more British than Prince Harry and Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary. Last year. Mr Braithwaite, who worked as a special needs teaching assistant, lost his job. He was branded an illegal immigrant. ‘Albert Thompson’ (not his real name; he wants no publicity) has lived in Britain for 44 years. He was offered the chance to produce a British passport or pay £54,000 for his cancer treatment. He didn’t have the money nor the passport. So he went without. He was evicted from his home and spent three weeks homeless. Paulette Wilson left Jamaica when she was 10. She’s lived in the UK for more than 50 years. She was employed at the House of Commons, where she served food to MPs. Aged 61, the State threw her into Yarl’s Wood detention centre for a week and told she’d be deported. At the last moment, someone finally listened to her and she won a reprieve.

These people’s crime was to have never applied for a British passport. In its haste to clamp down on immigration, the Government decreed that all  migrants in search of work, housing or benefit must provide documents. But the Windrush children who arrived here on their parents’ passport and never applied for their own. This presented them with a hideous problem. From being British citizens they were are the stroke of a pen turned into criminals. Guilt is assumed. They have to prove their innocence. They must do this by showing official documents for each year of their stay in the UK.

Amber Rudd has now apologised for this horror. After much asking, Theresa May has finally has only just agreed to meet with Commonwealth leaders to discuss the matter. Until last Friday, the Government’s advice was for anyone worried about deportation to speak with a lawyer, placing the onus on the innocent to find the time and money to make right the Home Office’s egregious error and demeaning oversight. Hiring lawyers is often stressful and expensive – the cost becomes prohibitive when you can’t earn money.

But now Amber Rudd says she’s sorry. She says her department “sometimes loses sight of the individual”. Nonsense. They only do that when the individual doesn’t matter. They didn’t lose sight. They never saw them to begin with.

Rudd’s set up a task force of 20 Home Office wonks to help her notice people who have lived and worked in the UK for decades. That’s how valued my friend is  – Rudd needs 20 people to notice her contribution to the country. She only became visible when the State wanted to make an example of her and send her ‘home’.

Posted: 17th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


How Bon Jovi created that Slippery When Wet album cover

Mark Weiss was Bon Jovi’s tour photographer during their 1980s pomp.  “I was 13 years old when he got my first camera. I was a kid growing up in Matawan, New Jersey, a suburb an hour outside of New York City,” he tells me. “We were a middle-class family – my mother worked in public relations and my father was a door-to-door salesman selling aluminum siding. It was my dad’s experience that helped me in my lawn-mowing business. He taught me: ‘Make them like you. If they open the door you have a chance. Connect with their eyes, then introduce yourself and be sincere. Always let them think you’re there to help make their lives better.’ And that’s just what I did.”

 

Jon Bon Jovi and Mark Weiss, July 1986 in Red Bank New Jersey

Jon Bon Jovi and Mark Weiss, July 1986 in Red Bank New Jersey

 

It gave him an introduction to photography:

“Soon I had a steady list of five customers a week. Still, I was always looking for more. One day I knocked on the door of a neighbor with a seriously unkempt lawn: ‘Hi, my name is Mark. I live down the street. I noticed your lawn is a bit long, can I help you by cutting it?’ The man told me that he cut his own lawn. I quickly responded, with a smirk, “It doesn’t look like it. Is your mower not working?” He gave me a smirk back and told me if I mowed his yard for the whole season, he’d give me a camera. Then he went back inside and came out holding a Bell & Howell Canon FP. It looked to me like it was worth a million bucks. I said, ‘Sure,’ and after a few cuts, he gave me the camera.

Now that I had it, I wanted to learn as much as I could about how to use it. My 8th grade year was ending. There was a photography class with a darkroom at my school and I asked the teacher if he could give me a crash course in developing and printing film. Everything looked so cool to me in that darkroom—entering through the magical, cylinder-like door, it felt like I was being transported into another dimension amid red lights, trays filled with chemicals and glow-in-the-dark timers. I watched in disbelief as a piece of blank paper transformed into an image before my eyes. The whole process was magical.

“Once the school year ended I was bummed that I wouldn’t have a place to develop and print photos anymore. Then on my 14th birthday – June 15, 1973 – my dad took me to Fishkin Bros. in Perth Amboy, the coolest photo store in the area. It was half hobby shop and half camera store—I used to go there to buy model cars and rocket ships. This time I was looking at studio strobe lights and cameras displayed in the glass cabinets. It felt like Fort Knox to me. My dad bought me an enlarger, and with the money I saved from cutting lawns I bought the trays, chemicals and paper. At home I used the bathroom as a darkroom. I had a new hobby!”

 

 

Fast forward to the 1980s. Mark is with Bon Jovi. The band’s album Slippery When Wet needed a cover:

“The album was done. Three-hundred-thousand copies, with Angela in her provocatively cut wet t-shirt clinging to her 34DD breasts, had already been released in Japan. Everything was ready to go in the US. But this was 1986, and the PMRC was in full swing. Record stores were telling the labels to ease up on the explicit content and imagery or they wouldn’t sell the products. Polygram knew they had a smash album on their hands, and they didn’t want to jeopardize that success. They also knew the music stood on its own, so we went back to the drawing board to come up with another cover. Mercury destroyed nearly 500,000 copies before they ever left the warehouse to be distributed in the U.S.

“Jon Bon Jovi had issues with the Angela cover as well. Only in his mind, it was more about the color of the border around the photo than the actual photo itself.

“Recently he told Howard Stern that his thinking was, ‘My career is over if we put out a hot pink album cover.’ But if the pink border was the problem, why not just take it out?

“I asked him what we were going to do and he replied: ‘I don’t know, but this is our last chance or the album gets held up.’ Jon arrived at my studio, walked inside and didn’t even say hello. ‘Garbage bag. Spray bottle,’ was all he said. I followed orders. I propped up the black bag and sprayed it with an oil and water mixture. Then Jon wrote the words SLIPPERY WHEN WET. As he was leaving he said, ‘That’s it. That’s their cover.’ He didn’t even wait to see the Polaroid. The next day I delivered the photo, and the rest is history.”

.

 

Posted: 15th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, Music, News | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn’s free bus pass takes youth for a ride

If Jeremy Corbyn is to be the country’s Donald Trump – and by that I mean win the popular vote – he needs to work on that message of democratic aspiration. Trump turned desire for success into a cult. Corbyn promises us free bus travel for everyone under the age of 25. Trump gave us The Art of the Deal, his 11-step formula for business success and riches. Corbyn’s handing us a bus timetable, a little yellow book detailing how to get around for no money, featuring lots of waiting and scheduled stops. And someone else is driving.

In Corbyn’s world people over 60 – i.e. people like him – will be joined on public transport by the under-25s on free bus rides. Everyone in the middle will be made to pay to make the same journeys. Let’s call that group ‘the workers’. The 54-year-old office cleaner will pay to get to and from work by bus. The 52-year-old supermarket butcher with two children will pay to ride the bus. But the young, able-bodied man goes free.

Corbyn’s free rides will have the added bonuses of turning bus journeys into extensions of Labour Party clinics. It’s Glastonbury on wheels, where the old get to mingle with the youth. They can chat about stuff. The elderly man can tell the kidults about when he left school at 16, went to work and saved hard to buy his first house and car; the 23-year-old can show him their new iPhone and that meme about Corbyn sticking it to the – irony of ironies – privately-educated, well-paid, pale, stale and male home owner.

And what of cars, once the surest symbols of independence for the young and thrusting? Under Corbyn, the future is about bus travel. But he quite likes cars. After all, drivers will fund his £1.4 billion project. Sod the drivers, then. Those planet-mashers in their hatch-backs, vans and trucks aren’t worth the bother of trying to persuade to vote Labour. Tory scum.

This is, of course, Corbyn’s latest attempt to seduce the youth he wants to coset through life, or at least until the next General Election when they will all vote for him. Free university education and now free buses for them. But what of the elderly woman who’s paid into the system her whole life and is only using her bus pass because she no longer feels safe to drive? Why is something she earned through hard work and longevity given for free to a healthy 24-year-old who’s never worked? Why must a hard-working driver on their way to the building site be made to pay for other forms of travel that won’t help them in their working day?

Why does Corbyn view younger voters as more desirable than older ones? And why does he seek to get them through handing out freebies?

This is about trust. Corbyn doesn’t trust the young to see the bigger picture, consider the family unit and make reasoned choices. He views them with suspicion and derision – a feckless group of persistently needy juveniles who can be wooed to vote for him with free stuff. Sod opportunity, the economy, war, pensions, society, autonomy and all that aspiration. Just slide a voting slip in amongst the freebies. Corbyn’s economics is the stuff of hucksters, marketeers and looters. And he’s banking on an infantilised youth voting for it.

Posted: 13th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Facebook data harveting is no worse than the Guardian’s

Anyone who has ever written an email to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should check their inbox. A report on  Techcrunch claims Zuckenburg’s messages have vanished. Their own replies and missives were intact – but all of his words had gone. Erased down the memory hole?

Did it happen? It seems so. Reports says Facebook has been secretly deleting Zuckenberg’s personal messages since 2014, at around the time Sony Pictures was hacked.

So will Facebook extend the same courtesy to you? Don’t bet on it. Apparently, when Facebook claimed any private videos uploaded by users would vanish on the users’ request, instead Facebook “permanently retained these videos”. Who owns your photos and videos?

Is it all matter of, if you think Big Tech is taking you for  fool, it’s taking you for  fool? Facebook is a bit of fun, a distraction from the stress and joys of real like.  You can tun it off of ignore it. Many are.

Techcrunch reports:

Facebook now says that it plans to launch an “unsend” feature for Facebook messages to all users in the next several months, and won’t let Mark Zuckerberg use that feature any more until it launches for everyone. One option Facebook is considering for the Unsend feature is an expiration timer users could set. But it’s alarming that Facebook didn’t disclose the retractions or plans for a Unsend button until forced, and scrambling to give everyone the feature seems like an effort to quiet users’ anger over the situation

Facebook is mired. But let’s not be hypocritical.

Around its story “‘Utterly horrifying’: ex-Facebook insider says covert data harvesting as routine”, the Guardian is operating not one but three trackers, including Doubleclick (it gathers data for Google ads to target you with stuff), Scorecard Research Beacon. What it does you can read about on the Guardian:

…it has “approximately two million worldwide consumers under continuous measurement”…

the cookie may be used to observe certain types of browsing behaviours, which are then combined with other browser data to give a picture of what people are likely to do when they surf the web. The data obtained through ScorecardResearch cookies is kept for up to 90 days. When it is aggregated to observe trends, it may be used for analytical purposes indefinitely.

And – get this – the Guardian story also uses Facebook Custom Audience, which once all the user data has been harvested and stored can:

  1. Create an ad using the ads create tool. You can set it to show in News Feed or the right-hand column and on any device.
  2. Choose your Custom Audience and select targeting options like location, age, gender and interests
  3. Set a budget and place your order. Your ad will be served to the audience you’ve chosen to target.

Do all Guardian readers know?

Spotter: Techcrunch

Posted: 8th, April 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool and the Moses Simon rumour

The BBC gossip page continues to be a haven for fake news and transfer balls. Today the BBC tells us: “Liverpool are considering a move for Gent’s £13m-rated Moses Simon, 22, with Newcastle and Brighton also interested in the Nigeria winger.” Who is Mosses Simon? And why would Liverpool want him?

The source for the Beeb’s story is “HLN – in Dutch”.  I don’t speak Dutch – not even as badly as him – so this is the story put though the Google Translate mincer:

 

moses simon liverpool ball

 

 

Newcastle is interested in Simon

Newcastle has Moses Simon on his wish list. The ‘Magpies’ sent scouts to Nigeria-Serbia, but in that game Simon only started after 77 minutes. On Sunday, Newcastle was present at the Astridpark, where Simon impressed for the rest. Newcastle seems to be cut to size for the 22-year-old Nigerian winger, who last week in an interview with this newspaper said he wants to go to a Premier League club where he is more or less certain that he will play. Simon is aware of the interest. AA Gent is prepared to work on a transfer this summer “at the right price”. (RN / NP)

Mentions of Liverpool: none.

 

liverpool balls

 

Undeterred by the nonsense, the Mirror repeats the story:

Liverpool are said to be considering a move for Nigerian star Moses Simon.

Who says?

Simon is thought to be on the radar of Newcastle and Brighton but Liverpool have now entered the running. Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws claim the Premier League trio are all monitoring the winger, who could make Nigeria’s World Cup squad.

Simon is likely to cost around £13million, should he move on.

Nope. The Mirror links to the story on HLN – the same story we can see above. HLN makes no such claim.

Total balls, then.

 

Moses Simon balls

 

But here it is again in the Sun. The paper’s source? The same HLN article that makes no mention of Liverpool.

And the nonsense spins and spins. Website HITC notes:

Why Moses Simon would benefit from choosing Newcastle over Liverpool

He’s wanted by Liverpool? Says who?

Although, after claims made by the Sun, this could happen anyway. Because it is understood that Liverpool are also very interested in a player who could provide a test of Mike Ashley’s ambition due to his £13 million price-tag.

A link directs readers to the Sun’s article – the one based on the non-existent story on HLN.

And here’s the same balls on ESPN:

 

Moses SImon transfer liverpool

On ESPN

 

 

And apart from the bit about the report on Het Laatste Niews linking Moses to Liverpool, it’s all true.

And here’s the same balls on teamTalk:

 

liverpool trasnfers

 

And website The Sport Review adds:

Belgian outfit Het Laatste Nieuws, as quoted by the Daily Mirror, is reporting that Liverpool FC are one of a number of Premier League clubs interested in Simon.

But HLN never said anything about Moses Simon joining Liverpool. The Mirror’s story is bogus.

But never minds the facts – get a load of the clicks.

Posted: 5th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Raheem Sterling v The Sun: Manchester City and England star attacked

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling is “obscene”. Well, so the Sun told us. The same paper wants us to know: “RAHEEM STERLING has urged England fans to ‘give love’ and cut out the negativity.” England fans, like, the Sun?

The plea for unity continues: “The Manchester City star was battered by Three Lions fans at Euro 2016 – there was even an internet hate campaign to bring him home early from the tournament.” And it wasn’t just on the Internet where the former Liverpool player was getting attacked.

 

obscene-raheem-the-sun sterling

 

To the Sun, Raheem Sterling was a”hate figure”. The paper went studs up on the young athlete. “England failure steps off plane and insults fans by showing off blinging house,” thundered the paper.” Leave House & Garden and Hello! stuff for the newspaper editors end media barons, Sterling. Know thy place! And unnamed “source” opined: “Any normal person would hang their heads in shame after how they performed in France but these guys come home and show off about how rich they are.” He’s abnormal.

A “friend of Sterling” told the MEN newspaper:

“Raheem and his family are really upset that the fact he’s bought a nice house for his mum is being used to hammer him by the media and make him the scapegoat for England’s failure… He bought her the house as a thank you for all her support and help. Now to have his mum’s private life and house being mocked and thrown into the public spotlight has left him furious and frustrated.”

Law-abiding, tough, resilient, hard-working, talented athlete buys mum hard times who knew house. The basta…

And it got worse. Much worse. In 2016, the Sun – yep – told readers:

FOOTIE DRUG DEALER Semi-professional footballer turned to drug dealing so he could match the salaries of Prem stars

Which Premier League star do you think the Sun used to illustrate the story of an idiot, who lives in Bristol? We’ll give you a clue: the player is not mentioned once in the story. Yep, it’s Raheem Sterling.

 

Sterling-Social-Media-drugs

Spot the obscenity

 

What is it about Raheem Sterling that annoys them so?

Here’s what Sterling told BBC Radio 5 Live:

“I feel sometimes there is too much negativity. I’d love to hear some positive notes coming in, just to let the boys know everyone is behind them. Make the boys go off to the World Cup with a clear head knowing everyone is behind them and, trust me, you would see a better England. If we get behind those players, give them love, you wouldn’t know how much that would boost their confidence. It’s disappointing when you put on a shirt and get negative feedback but it’s what the fans want — to see you perform well.”

He’s right.

Posted: 3rd, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Labour MP calls for 17.4m Brexit voters to apologise for nasty ‘anti-Semitism’ tweet about Muslims

Labour MP David Lammy wants an apology from everyone who voted for Brexit. He’s collecting names. He’s going to be busy, what with there being 17.4million of us who voted Leave to process. But Twitter, where Lammy made his reasoned request, can handle some of the admin.  And he can ask fellow Labour MP Naz Shah to help. She’s also outraged by a nasty tweet from a Brexit-supporting group. Like Lammy and Jeremy Corbyn, Shah is highly sensitive to racism following a cathartic “journey”. The adult woman voted into the Commons by the good people of Bradford West discovered that advocating for the mass deportation of Jews to the American mid-West was a bit, you know, akin to Nazi and Stalinist methods for dealing with the ‘Jewish problem’. She apologised and is now on the side of the knowing.

The trigger for Lammy and Shah’s ire was this tweet from the account @leave.eu.

Is it any wonder that Labour can’t be bothered to deal with the disgusting antisemitism in their party when they are so reliant on the votes of Britain’s exploding Muslim population? It’s a question of maths for these people, not justice!

To blame Muslims for creating Labour’s cesspit of anti-Semitism is wholly wrong. To pick the word “exploding” to describe Muslim families is pathetic, nasty, divisive and anti-human. To claim all Muslims vote as a block demeans their autonomy. The tweet stinks.

Although that’s not to say Labour with its commitment to identity politics doesn’t use craven means to shore up its vote. Perhaps the party believes taking on any anti-Semitic Muslims not worth the effort if it affects the polls? Perhaps Labour is not all that in to individuality, equality and free will. Perhaps Labour doesn’t trust voters, preferring to package us into boxes according to our race, religion, age and gender, before proposing policies that appease each ‘community’ by pandering to what they perceive our prejudices to be?

But why is Corbyn’s Labour not so bothered about speaking up for Jews, being more blind to anti-Semitism than other forms of racism? Does the Labour Party need and value Jewish support? In 2012 former Labour London mayor Ken Livingstone told BBC’s Newsnight programme:

“People vote according to their income. Now that can change – it might be a generation before people catch up. If we were talking 50 years ago, the Roman Catholic community, the Irish community in Britain, the Jewish community was solidly Labour. Still the Irish Catholic community is pretty still solidly Labour because it is not terribly rich. As the Jewish community got richer, it moved over to voting for Mrs Thatcher as they did in Finchley.”

 

April 29 2016: Mr Livingstone was suspended for a year in April 2016 over his claim that Adolf Hitler had supported Zionism in the 1930s.

 

So much for the politics. Lammy’s upset by the tweet. And he wants you – all 17.4m of you deplorables who voted Brexit – to apologise for one bellend’s sad message. He has not called for every Labour Party member and voter to apologise for anti-Semitism in the ranks. But surely that will come.

 

 

 

Hello @metpoliceuk I would like to report this crime. Please investigate. This tweet is a crime under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006: “Use of threatening words or behaviour, or any written material which is threatening or intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.”

He followed that with:

 

 

Hate speech is a crime. I am reporting you to the police. @BorisJohnson @michaelgove @Nigel_Farage and all people that voted to Leave on June 23rd 2016 must condemn this immediately and unequivocally. This is absolutely disgusting.

All 17.4 million of you “must” condemn this tweet now. Or..? Be arrested? Be named and shamed? Be forever branded a racist? Be disgusting?

PS: The problem is, if course, that Lammy has nailed it. He’s correctly reasoned that Brexit only won because the 17.4 million of us who usually vote for the BNP would not be denied. Of course, had we known how racist Labour was*, we’d most likely have gone with them. But their official position was unclear during the EU Referendum vote, as nuanced and slippery as their leader, so Brexit was the chance for every racist – all 17.4 million us – to win the day. Finally.

* Labour’s gonna walk the next election if it keeps the anti-Semitism thriving. The BNP never stood enough candidates to make us believe bigots could form a Government. But with Labour’s anti-Semitism being well advertised, it’s all vote now and vote often.

First they came for the EU… Raus!

Posted: 29th, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


The racist Left, ‘Jews for Jez’ and Jeremy Corbyn’s inability to spot anti-Semitism

Only around a thousand people turned up on Parliament Square to protest against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. The polite request was that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn works to expose and confront the hatred of Jewish in his party’s membership – and that he stops acquiescing to anti-Semitism. Some Labour MPs did attend. And that’s great. But only about a dozen of them bothered to make the shot walk from the Commons to the grassy roundabout.

 

Jews for Jez

 

Accompanied by chants of “enough is enough”, the crowd heard from Haringey Council leader Claire Kober, and Labour MPs John Mann, Louise Ellman and Wes Streeting, Ian Austin, Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger, who said antisemitism is “very real” and “alive in the Labour Party”. Some Conservative MPs also turned up, including Priti Sushil Patel, and cabinet ministers Sajid Javid and Penny Mordaunt.

Mr Streeting told the throng: “To those Jewish members who felt enough is enough and cut up their membership cards and walked away, our commitment to you is to work with every ounce of strength to drain the cesspit of antisemitism in the Labour Party so you can come back. We know what needs to be done. We don’t need any more mealy-mouthed statements from the leader of the Labour Party, we need actions. The actions are very simple: Ken Livingstone should not be in the Labour Party. Antisemites need to be drummed out of the Labour Party. And that whitewash of a report – the Chakrabarti Report – can we at least implement every one of those recommendations. We had a wishy-washy report, it got someone a place in the House of Lords, but let’s at least make sure its delivers a genuine fight against antisemitism in our party.”

Slippery and nuanced Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t there, of course. He never is. But he did address the Jews via a letter:

“I recognise that antisemitism has surfaced within the Labour Party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples. This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused, and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end. I must make clear that I will never be anything other than a militant opponent of antisemitism.”

Not a single world on how he has contributed greatly to that “pain”. Not a single word from his supporters, those intolerant people who if this were a Tory or anyone else they did not like giving a big thumbs up to anti-Semitism would be demanding their resignation. They screamed in outrage when Conservative MP Anne Marie Morris said “nigger in the woodpile”. They howled for Toby Young’s removal because he’d tweeted about women’s looks and described wheelchair ramps as part of “ghastly” inclusivity in schools. They pilloried Tim Farron for his views on homosexuality (he called it a “sin”) – ubiquitous Corbyn fan Owen Jones called Farron’s comments “an absolute disgrace”.

To his supporters, Corbyn can do no wrong.

Some Corbyn fans are Jews. A small number arrived carrying signs that said “Jews for Jez”, the words written on a yellow star. If Brass Eye did protests:

 

"Jews for Jez" - with a yellow star, to boot. Some people, eh.

“Jews for Jez” – with a yellow star, to boot. Some people, eh.

 

Instead of being upset by Corbyn’s links to anti-Semitism, his supporters tasked themselves with getting the hashtag #PredictTheNextCorbynSmear to trend on Twitter. Blessedly, not everyone thinks anti-Semitism is no big deal:

 

 

 

 

Corbyn did have more to say. And it, as ever, vague:

“Sometimes this evil takes familiar forms – the east London mural which has caused such understandable controversy is an example. The idea of Jewish bankers and capitalists exploiting the workers of the world is an old antisemitic conspiracy theory. This was long ago, and rightly, described as ‘the socialism of fools’. I am sorry for not having studied the content of the mural more closely before wrongly questioning its removal in 2012.”

 

Corbyn racist art

 

Amazing, no, how Corbyn, a man who presents himself in public as highly sensitive to anti-Semitism can looks at the picture above and not realise its might be even a tad anti-Jewish without “study”. Is he blind to anti-Semitism or does he think it’s ok?

As Brendan O’Neill puts it: “Corbyn is in essence saying: ‘Ah, I didn’t notice the anti-Semitism.’ And that is precisely the problem. This section of the left never notices anti-Semitism. It always seems to pass them by. Or worse, they acquiesce to it in the belief that objecting to it might lose them support among some of their key bases, in particular the old left and young Muslims. I didn’t see it, they say, not realising that their failure to see anti-Semitism is the crux of the problem. It is a wilful blindness to hatred that they would treat as unforgivable in relation to any other racial or religious group.”

Anti-Semitism is a sickness. It’s been excused time and time again under Corbyn’s watch. You can look at Corbyn and his fans and ask yourself: if it looks like a duck, quack likes a duck and talks like a duck, what is it? And you can vote in the election.

Posted: 27th, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn: Jews and your racist ‘friends’ know what you are

Corbyn racist art

 

If you’re still unsure whether or not the mural painted on an east London wall (see above) was anti-Semitic, you are either:

a) possibly not fully aware what anti-semitism is (see Shami Chakrabarti’s absurd report into anti-semitism in the Labour Party)

b) unaware that the artist, Mear One, said of his 2012 creation: “Some of the older white Jewish folk in the local community had an issue with me portraying their beloved #Rothschild or #Warburg etc as the demons they are.”

c) did not hear Lutfur Rahman, the Tower Hamlets mayor at the time, say he wanted it removed because “the images of the bankers perpetuate antisemitic propaganda about conspiratorial Jewish domination of financial and political institutions”.

d) have yet to hear a Corbyn spokesperson tell everyone last week: “In 2012, Jeremy was responding to concerns about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech. However, the mural was offensive, used antisemitic imagery, which has no place in our society, and it is right that it was removed.”

 

Corbyn mural east london

Corbyn and another former face of Iran-backed Press TV both like the mural.

 

Before this was news, Jeremy Corbyn rather liked the mural called “Freedom of Humanity”. When the artist wrote on Facebook, “Tomorrow they want to buff my mural. Freedom of expression. London calling. Public Art”, Corbyn replied: “Why? You are in good company. Rockerfeller destroyed Diego Viera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.”

Corbyn was, apparently, referring to an incident in 1934, when a work by Mexican artist Diego Rivera was removed from New York’s Rockefeller Centre.

This might be tricky one to spin, then, even for nuanced and slippery Corbyn. As Rod Liddle puts it in the Times (“Nothing proves Jeremy Corbyn is anti-semitic — just everything he says and does): “I suspect most Jewish people will take the view that if it walks like an anti-semite and repeatedly quacks like an anti-semite, then it probably is an anti-semite.” Over in the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard (“There is only one word for Jeremy Corbyn”) writes: “Mr Corbyn is a liar.” Yeah, I thought he was going to call him something else, too. Pollard thinks Corbyn is a liar because of what he said then and what he said this week don’t really tally. Here’s Corbyn’s latest apology for having “friends” who dabble in anti-semitism:

“In 2012 I made a general comment about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech. My comment referred to the destruction of the mural Man at the Crossroads by Diego Rivera on the Rockefeller Center.

“That is in no way comparable with the mural in the original post. I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic.

“I wholeheartedly support its removal.

“I am opposed to the production of anti-Semitic material of any kind, and the defence of free speech cannot be used as a justification for the promotion of anti-Semitism in any form. That is a view I’ve always held.”

But that’s not what he said before. How closely do you have to look at the image to think it anti-semitic, especially when you are as sensitive to anti-semitism as Corbyn says he is?

Maybe everyone is wrong? Maybe the Guardian is right to cast the whole thing as a matter of opinion. The paper uses inverted commas to soften the racism, saying Corbyn is in an “antisemitism row after backing artist behind ‘offensive’ mural”. Are you offended by what the Guardian calls a mural that “pictured several apparently Jewish bankers playing a game of Monopoly, with their tabletop resting on the bowed naked backs of several workers”? Corbyn wasn’t. The Guardian is unsure if its readers are.

But blessedly some Labour MPs have backbone.

 

mural antisemitic berger

 

Labour peer Stewart Wood said: “The German Social Democrats had an expression in the 1890s: ‘antisemitism is the socialism of fools’. Sadly, Labour’s leadership now faces the challenge of having to convince our party and country that they will not tolerate those who confuse the two.”

Dudley MP Ian Austin said: “Jeremy would never have defended racist imagery aimed at any other group.”

But some Labour MPs are just as slippery as their leader:

Corbyn’s Deputy Tom Watson, you know the bloke who takes money from Max Mosely (not a Jew) and who called dead Tory Leon Britton (was a Jew) “as close to evil as any human being can get” (he later apologised for that error) was shown the mural on BBC TV and asked for his reaction to it. “My reaction is that is a horrible anti-Semitic mural that was rightly taken down… You are showing it to me on a 32-inch screen on national television and I have seen it about 100 times on social media. It’s very different from seeing it on Facebook when you are on the move.”

There’s only move that chills us: Jeremy Corbyn’s relocation to 10 Downing Street. And he clearly doesn’t care if Jews vote for him are not.  It was Corbyn’s old mucker Ken Livingstone who explained Labour Party thinking on BBC’s Newsnight programme in 2012:

“People vote according to their income. Now that can change – it might be a generation before people catch up. If we were talking 50 years ago, the Roman Catholic community, the Irish community in Britain, the Jewish community was solidly Labour. Still the Irish Catholic community is pretty still solidly Labour because it is not terribly rich.

“As the Jewish community got richer, it moved over to voting for Mrs Thatcher as they did in Finchley.”

And we’re back to those Jewish bankers.

Stephen Pollard is right. Jews know what you are, Jeremy Corbyn. The terrifying thing is that not enough of your colleagues think it’s all that big a deal.

The oldest prejudice is back. And it is rampant.

Posted: 25th, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Trawling for Jeremy Corbyn’s Facebook posts risk turning anti-Semitism into a witch-hunt

The Times is going pretty big on news of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Facebook activity. The Conservative-supporting Guido Fawkes website says Corbyn was a member of pro-Palestine Facebook group “History of Palestine”. Fawkes claims Corbyn was added to the group in 2014. He left it today. We’ve seen no comments made by Corbyn on the group, but the Times says there are posts saying things like: “Rothschild Zionist agenda and new world order”; “Jewish organ trafficking centre where kidnapped Syrians are stripped of their entire bodies”; and “Ambassador says Jews control 90 per cent of Canadian media.”

Mr Corbyn’s spokesman has responded thus: “Jeremy condemns antisemitism in all its forms in the strongest possible terms. He was added to this group without his knowledge.”

Dang! It just keeps happening.

Earlier this year we learnt that Corbyn had been commenting on the Facebook group “Palestine Live”. The group has about 3,000 members, “who have to be invited or added by administrators.”

Members have included Paul Eisen, a Holocaust denier, and Jackie Walker, who has been suspended by Labour over accusations of antisemitism.

Corbyn, who left the group shortly after becoming Labour leader in 2015, made a few comments under group posts. Asked whether Mr Corbyn had known about antisemitic posts when using the group, a spokesman said: “I’m sure that he didn’t.” He added that any members found to have made such posts would “be investigated and action will be taken on the evidence”.

Also in the Times, Melanie Philips (“Labour can’t see its cesspool of antisemitism”) has enlarged on Corbyn’s Facebook pals. Noting the work of David Collier in finding Corbyn’s link to Palestine Live – in a long report, Collier alerted us to members  calling Jews “demons”, stating that Jews were behind 9/11 and the 2015 Paris terror attacks, and linking to far-Right websites – and that “several” Labour Party members were suspended for participation in this group, she cites the words of the group’s creator, Elleanne Green, who posted in February 2016: “Jeremy was a member of this group for several years until a few weeks after his election as Labour leader.”

Why did he leave? We’re not told.

During this time, according to other posts on the group’s forum, Corbyn was thanked for helping members organise an Israel-bashing meeting in the Commons. He posted an apology for not attending that meeting.

Yet Corbyn said he “was joined on to that group” without his knowledge and that he had merely replied to a “couple of things” posted there. He had “never trawled through the whole group”.

Putting it at its most charitable, Corbyn and other prominent participants never registered the vile nature of some of those alongside them in this forum. The reason for this moral myopia illustrates why the Labour Party finds it impossible to deal with the antisemitism in its broader ranks and why this is the problem that won’t go away.

Meanwhile, over in the Guardian, there’s no word on Corbyn’s alleged links to “History of Palestine”, but there is one article on his relationship with “Palestine Live”:

Corbyn posted several times in the group after being tagged in posts…

He was more passive than active?

Corbyn said he had not seen the other antisemitic posts on the group. “Had I seen it, of course, I would have challenged it straight away, but I actually don’t spend all my time reading social media… I have never trawled through the whole group. I have never read all the messages on it. I have removed myself from it. Obviously, any antisemitic comment is wrong. Any antisemitism in any form is wrong.”

So how did he become a member?

The Palestine Live group was founded in 2013 and was set up in a way that allowed administrators to add people to the group without their consent. It is understood that Corbyn believes he may have been added to the group by an acquaintance, who simultaneously added him as a Facebook friend when he was a backbench MP.

Understood. Believes. May. Surely we can find out the facts, no?

The Labour MPs Clive Lewis and Chris Williamson were members of the group, as were two former Liberal Democrat politicians, Baroness Jenny Tonge and the former MP David Ward.

Jacqueline Walker, a former Momentum steering group member, is also a member of the Facebook group. Walker has been suspended from the Labour party twice over allegations of antisemitism.

In one post, Walker appears to ask: “How safe is this group?”, to which the group’s founder, Elleanne Green, replied: “Very. no one is allowed in who is not trusted. I am very very careful, it is a secret group.”

So can you add people to a “secret” Facebook group without them knowing? It looks like it. This is on Facebook:

 

 

The bigger worry than any of this is why Jew hatred does not matter to Corbyn’s Labour? Why are they obsessed with Israel? Why is it okay for the Left to attack Jews if they can link their barbs to Israel – the skin between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel is porous?

And another question: how does showing a Facebook group Corbyn was a member of stymie anti-Semitism? To work under the assumption that membership of a Facebook group with a low barrier to entry represents tacit endorsement of every view espoused in it can’t be helpful. It runs the risk of turning the need to call out anti-Semitism into a hunt for people saying things that, however horrible, should not be unsayable.

Posted: 22nd, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


30 police in 7 police vans arrest a toy trumpet player in Sheffield (video)

To Sheffield, where the Labour council has drawn up a list of 17,500 trees that must be killed. The trees, say the council, are dangerous. Many people disagree. But to prevent protestors saving healthy trees from the chop are lots and lots of police – as many as 30 officers can attend a single tree being felled.

And today the madness reached new heights.

@M_caveman tweets: “Here it is. 7 police vans, a CCTV van, 2 inspectors, 20-30 police – keeping our streets safe from a toy trumpet player. Unbelievable.’

It is.

 

What madness.

On 3 February 2018, this statement from Sheffield City Council was intended to make sense of the lunacy:

“We welcome todays statement by South Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, Dave Hartley, with regards to police support around our legitimate tree replacement works on the highway.

“Whilst we respect the right to campaign and protest peacefully, some members of the campaign group are now adopting increasingly violent tactics as well as breaching a high court injunction. This is simply not acceptable.”

See: plastic trumpet.

“It is disappointing that, on so many occasions, this unnecessary division in the city has led to on site activity shifting from peaceful protest to criminal behaviour and our priority must be to ensure the safety of the public and staff who are undertaking this work in increasingly dangerous and challenging situations.

“We once again ask that people respect the law to ensure this vital work, which will enable the upgrade of the city’s roads, pavements, street lights and bridges, can continue.”

The council is replacing mature trees of diverse species – cherry trees, lime trees and elm trees – with saplings. The existing trees are baring the brunt of a £2.2 billion plan to improve the city’s roads and pavements. But local residents are happy with the trees. And you can imagine the police are happy with getting paid to watch them. So why is his madness happening?

Posted: 22nd, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Judge saves British Jews from Nazi pug

We should all be worried by Mark Meechan’s ordeal. The 30-year-old has been convicted of a hate crime – you know, one of those offences of the mind the Soviets dreamt up to keep people in line. Meechan’s offence was in teaching his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, to raise its paw in the manner of a very small, squashed-face Nazi whenever he heard the words “gas the Jews” and “Sieg Heil”.

 

nazi pug

 

If this was an Alsatian on the end of a recreational Nazi’s rope in the shopping precinct, it’d be more pitiful that amusing. But the pug is such a soppy creature that to consider the tableaux threatening would be guilty of intellectualising the absurd.

To inure against the mentally negligible seeing the pug as a recruiting tool for a new Final Solution, Meechan told his video watchers: “My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable her wee dog is so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing that I could think of, which is a Nazi.”

The footage was uploaded to YouTube, where millions of people saw it. But when the police noticed the video those protectors of sound morals thought it “grossly offensive”.

So what if it is?

Anti-semitism is rife. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is a cesspit of Jew hatred. A pug with a raised paw is not threatening. It’s ridiculous. Jews have endured many attempts to exterminate them. Their persistence is the stuff of historical fact. Chances are they’ll laugh off the jerking pug.

But there’s sanity and then there is law. And the law is here to teach us all a lesson. Meechan, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, was arrested, charged and put on trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court. He denied any wrong doing. He said he made the April 2016 video to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, 29.

But Sheriff Derek O’Carroll found him guilty of a charge under the Communications Act for posting a video that was “anti-semitic and racist in nature”. It was aggravated by religious prejudice. What O’Carroll said should make us more afraid than Buddha’s raised paw:

“In my view it is a reasonable conclusion that the video is grossly offensive The description of the video as humorous is no magic wand. This court has taken the freedom of expression into consideration. But the right to freedom of expression also comes with responsibility… The accused knew that the material was offensive and knew why it was offensive. Despite that the accused made a video containing anti-Semitic content and he would have known it was grossly offensive to many Jewish people.”

Thanks for speaking up on behalf of the Jews, judge. But we can take care of ourselves. Free expression is bigger and more vital than your patronage. Leave Meechan alone. It’s every human’s right to offend. Anyone who’s never caused offence needs to try harder.

Ricky Gervais speaks for many: “A man has been convicted in a UK court of making a joke that was deemed ‘grossly offensive’. If you don’t believe in a person’s right to say things that you might find ‘grossly offensive’, then you don’t believe in Freedom of Speech.”

And you know who didn’t much like Freedom of Speech? Yeah. Nazis.

PS: Mark Meechan sentence will be passed at Airdrie Sheriff Court on 23 April.

Posted: 21st, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Biased media won’t save Ant McPartlin from drink-drive shame

The Press has been very much on the side of Ant McPartlin, 42, “getting over an addiction to painkillers following knee surgery”; separated from his wife Lisa, to whom he is prepared to give half of “his fortune“; his condition connived into a campaign we all can take heart from, turning McPartlin from a man who deserves a private life into a role model; his plight told in his own words; a “source” assuring Sun readers that divorce would be “the right thing for his health.” This is “freakishly clean” Ant who in 2013 admitted to having taken drugs. Good old, Ant, then. But things have changed. Ant has been nicked for alleged drink driving.


ant mcpartlin drunk driving

 

McPartlin was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving when his car was involved in an accident in Richmond yesterday afternoon, not far from his London home. He allegedly failed a breathalyser test at the scene. He was taken into police custody at a South London police station.

Worse still: the Mini his Mini collided into was carrying a couple and a three-year-old girl. McPartlin was in the car with his mother, Christine.

Sympathy for Ant will be in shorter supply. But not yet. Old habits die hard. In the Press, the same old tired reporting holds sway. The Mail notes:

The divorce from his wife of 11 years is believed to be costing the star around £30 million of his estimated £60 million fortune.

His fortune. Not ‘their’ fortune.

And in the Sun:

After his rehab stint, which was revealed by The Sun On Sunday, Ant announced he was divorcing wife Lisa, 41, after 11 years of marriage. Legal experts say it could cost him £30million.

Let’s see how long this episode can be spun for?

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Poor and white Telford girls are the wrong kind of victims

From Rochdale and Rotherham and Oxford, we’re now reading grim news of horrendous sexual abuse in Telford, Shropshire. The Mirror reports on the claims that over 1,000 girls, some as young as 11, were raped – three were murdered – by gangs of predominately Muslim, Asian-heritage men over four decades. Huge news, then. Or not.

 

Sunday Mirror TElford

Sunday Mirror – Telford

 

One day on from the story only the Daily Mail led with it.  No other paper thought it worth a front page, including the Guardian, which champions the #MeToo movement, and The Times, which went big with the story of how Damien Green MP allegedly touched Tory activist Kate Maltby’s knee and attempted to seduce her. Why is that the suffering of 1,000 beaten and raped young women and girls from an unfashionable part of the world is ignored but so much space is afforded to better off, better educated and better looking victims?

The world knows what actress Rose McGowan says she experienced at the hands of movie mogul and “monster” Harvey Weinstein, but we don’t know what happened to Charlene Downes, the poor, white girl who vanished in Blackpool, Lancashire. Maybe if she’d been seen in the company of a famous face, we would have?

 

Joanne Williams notes on the #KneeToo movement:

The lack of comment on the Telford abuse scandal exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of the #MeToo movement. High-profile campaigners announce time and again that they are not driven by self-interest, but from a desire to help women less fortunate than themselves. Jane Merrick told all because, ‘I knew that by failing to act I was letting down not only my 29-year-old self, but also any other women who may have been subjected to the same behaviour since. More importantly, I would be failing to protect other women in future.’ Kate Maltby made a similar declaration: ‘It is true that I have many privileges that other women do not. That is why I owed it to others to come forward. When we see white, financially secure women saying #MeToo, we should ask: where are the voices that we are not hearing?’ Yet Merrick and Maltby, for all their self-sacrifice and sisterly compassion, have so far had nothing to say about the rape of teenage girls in Telford.

Time’s Up, the celebrity #MeToo spin-off, launched a fundraiser to pay legal fees for victims of sexual harassment and assault seeking justice. The aim, it said, was to ‘lift up the voices, power and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation’. More than $16.7million was raised in less than a month. The British actress Emma Watson, one of the most generous and high-profile donors, posted on social media: ‘The clock’s been ticking on the abuse of power. I stand in solidarity with women across every industry to say #TIMESUP on abuse, harassment, and assault. #TIMESUP on oppression and marginalisation.’ Only, it seems, some women are more deserving of solidarity than others; some women’s voices are more worthy of being lifted up.

Too true. The story has yet to catch. The Sun cover it lightly on page 27; and the Express on page 11. The Mail uses the horror to give the BBC a kick, citing MPS “from across the political divide” who accused the BBC of “failing to cover the Telford scandal adequately”. What is adequate for what one victim calls a “whirlwind of rape” meted out to her between the age of 14 and 18? The Mail has the story on page 22, after first covering news of a new Harry and Meghan TV movie and Ken Small’s painting, which looks a lot like a Canaletto, but isn’t. Even the Mirror has it on page 5.

 

It’s not all about #MeToo. It’s also about them.

Posted: 14th, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Bradley Wiggins didn’t cheat and he never asked to be a national treasure

What would we think of Team Sky and Sir Bradley Wiggins if they were Russian, if the Tour de France winner and gold medal Olympian was a recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle the First-Called and not a knighthood? Would we roll out eyes, sneer and demand they get thee hence?

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee says Sir Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky “crossed an ethical line” by using drugs allowed under anti-doping rules to enhance performance instead of just for medical need. Our judgemental MPs are, however, “not in a position” to know the content of a jiffy bag delivered to Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. Team Sky says the jiggy bag contained a legal decongestant. But in the world of big-money sport, wherein vast sums are invested in shaving milliseconds off times and to give your athlete a ‘competitive’ advantage – lighter, stronger bikes; better fabrics; the most energy efficient nutrients; and the drugs – the proof was lacking and the MPs says there is “no “reliable evidence” to back up Team Sky’s claim.

“Drugs were being used by Team Sky, within World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) rules, to enhance the performance of riders and not just to treat medical need,” the DCMS committee report adds. Team Sky “strongly refutes” the “serious claim that medication has been used by the team to enhance performance”. Wiggins has also responded. “I find it so sad that accusations can be made, where people can be accused of things they have never done, which are then regarded as facts. I strongly refute the claim that any drug was used without medical need.”

Oh, and there’s more:

The long-awaited report, entitled “Combatting Doping in Sport”, also states Lord Coe, the president of athletics’ world governing body the IAAF, gave “misleading answers” in evidence about his knowledge of doping allegations in Russian athletics, before they were made in a German television documentary in 2014.

The DCMS committee was also “shocked” that British four-time Olympic champion athlete Sir Mo Farah received an injection of the legal supplement L-carnitine before the 2014 London Marathon that was not recorded on Farah’s medical records.

It’s what we don’t know that nags and pervades UK sport with a stink.

What was in that jiffy bag?

Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman received a ‘mystery package’ for Wiggins on 12 June 2011 – the final day of the Criterium du Dauphine in France, an event Wiggins won.

At the request of Freeman, Sutton arranged for then British Cycling coach Simon Cope to bring the package – he claims left for him in a sealed ‘jiffy-bag’ – out to La Toussuire for the end of the race.

Both Cope and Sutton deny knowing what was in the package, although Sutton told the committee he believes Freeman did administer the substance in it to Wiggins after the race, adding that Freeman had told him: “Brad’s been sorted.”

Ukad started an investigation into the contents of the package in September 2016, following an allegation, also seen by the DCMS committee, that it contained triamcinolone,

As the DCMS report notes, if Wiggins was given triamcinolone on 12 June 2011 without a TUE, it would constitute an anti-doping rule violation. Get caught misbehaving and you’re in line for a possible two-year ban and the loss of results. Wiggins won the Tour. In 2012 he won Olympic gold. But so what? “If” is not proof.

But there are records, right? There’s data on everything a top athlete does. So there are records of what was in the bag? After all, this is big money we’re talking about, to say nothing of athletes’ reputations. Er, no. Team Sky can’t produce the medical records. Say the MPs: “Such failure was unprofessional and inexcusable, and that failure is responsible for the damaging cloud of doubt which continues to hang over this matter.”

That there’s any doubt is shameful. It’s not like Team Sky had no warning.

Twelve years before, two months before the start of the 1999 Tour de France, US Postal team director Johan Bruyneel asked one of the team’s soigneurs, Emma O’Reilly, to travel from the south of France to Piles in Spain to pick up a medical product and take it to France before handing it on to Lance ­Armstrong.

O’Reilly never knew what the pills were but was sure they were not paracetamol. She met Armstrong in the car park of a McDonald’s restaurant outside Nice and handed over the drugs.

Lance Armstrong turned out to be a monumental cheat.

Team Says responds: “We take full responsibility for mistakes that were made. We wrote to the committee in March 2017 setting out in detail the steps we took in subsequent years to put them right, including, for example, the strengthening of our medical record keeping.”

Pad. Pen. Computers, Mobiles. Crayon. Paper. Photo copiers. Tablets. Faxes. Cameras. Memory sticks. Had only – had only – Team Sky kept some more records. But you live and you learn, eh.

The BBC:

In a letter revealed by the BBC in January, Ukad claimed its investigation had been “hindered” and may have even been “potentially compromised” by British Cycling’s failure to report doping allegations sooner.

The body criticised the “lack of accurate medical records” held by British Cycling. Freeman kept Wiggins’ medical records on a laptop that was stolen while he was on holiday in Greece in 2014, and no back-up copy was made.

Dang! Those foreign swine! But as the Greek police get on the case – those bungling clots have found nothing – we learn that Freeman” submitted written evidence for the report but was too unwell to appear at a DCMS hearing, before resigning from British Cycling in October because of ill health”. Let’s hope his own doctor keeps proper records and backs them up.

 

Winner of Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Bradley Wiggins accepts his award onstage from The Duchess of Cambridge during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL Arena, London.

 

The upshot is that Wiggins, a supremely talented athlete possessed of incredible drive to succeed, is mired. He didn’t cheat. He didn’t ask to be knighted and feted by the great and good, turned from athlete to national treasure and a force for moral right. There’s a big stripe of subjectivity running through the story of drugs and Team Sky. Sport is all about rules. You find the limits by pushing. We’ve yet to see any proof that Team Sky broke them. But we have seen how the State latches on to sporting success. And we should wonder why.

As for what was suspected, David Walsh gave his Sunday Times readers the side-eye in September 2016. Walsh has been an invaluable source of news on competitive road cycling and Team Sky. So when he writes, we listen:

With the benefit of hindsight, there is irony in Wiggins expressing fears about other teams using needles when he was interviewed before the 2011 Tour. The day before he had received a 40mg injection of the corticosteroid triamcinolone acetonide. Freeman had made the application and supported it with testimony from ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultant Simon Hargreaves. Wiggins did suffer from asthma and had received three TUEs in 2009 that allowed him to inhale salbutamol and two other drugs. Inhalation of these drugs is not performance-enhancing and they can now be used without a TUE. A 40mg injection of triamcinolone is very different and though some experts claim it is not performance-enhancing, the experts by experience (bike riders who have abused it for decades) argue the opposite.

Twelve months later, four days before the start of the 2012 Tour de France, Wiggins received the same injection, 40mg of triamcinolone. Again it was Freeman who applied for the TUE, and UCI’s Mario ­Zorzoli’s name on the approval slip. Ten months later, 12 days before the start of the 2013 Giro d’Italia, another application for triamcinolone was granted.

A year later Wiggins won the 2014 Tour of California as his road racing career began to wind down. That victory came during California’s “hay fever season” but now there was no longer a need for a TUE.

But let’s not just look at cycling. British sport is reeling:

And to UK Athletics, whose former chief medical officer Dr Rob Chakraverty – now the Football Association’s chief doctor for the senior men’s England football team – the MPs want investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC), after being “shocked” he gave an injection of L-carnitine to athlete Sir Mo Farah without recording the dose on medical records.

The upshot is that British sport is a professional industry. Athletes, clubs, coaches and owners seek advantage where they can. It might not be in the Corinthian spirit to take drugs, but we do so love a winner.

Posted: 5th, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Ashya King is cancer free: monstered parents rejoice in son’s life

Truly incredible and heartening news reaches us: Ashya King is cancer free. In 2014, the sane among us looked on aghast as the State declared that it not the parents knew what was best for the terminally ill child with a brain tumour.

Hampshire Police obtained a European arrest warrant for Ashya King’s parents, Brett and Naghmeh King, alleging “neglect”. The media saddled up and invited us to join the hunt for the family who’d removed their son from Southampton Hospital in defiance of doctors’ orders as they sought pioneering proton therapy on the Continent. The treatment was not offered in Britain. The Kings feared the chemotherapy and radiotherapy the NHS had scheduled for the son would leave him brain damaged or kill him.

As the police hunted the Kings, so did we. The Mirror said Ashya had just “24 hours” to live. Assistant chief constable Chris Shead told us: “It is vital that we find Ashya today. His health will deteriorate rapidly. Ashya is in a wheelchair and is fed through a tube. The feeding system is battery operated and that battery will run out today. He must continue to be fed through the tube by someone with the relevant medical training.”

The message was clear: the parents had placed their child in mortal danger. The Kings were oddball parents who belonged to “a millennial religious cult”. They must be stopped.  The Mirror, which was not alone in calling on us to nark on the Kings, told readers: “Anyone with information about Ashya’s whereabouts should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101, quoting Operation Aquilion.”

It worked. Police got the Kings. The parents were arrested in Spain and locked up. Their five-year-old son was placed with strangers in protective custody. He was made a ward of court.

And then, after the police-enabled, media-amplified hatchet job had snared the Kings, the CPS withdrew the European arrest warrants against the blameless couple it had terrorised for daring to say ‘no‘. The Kings had not wilfully neglected their son. It was nonsense to say they had done. The Kings looked after their flesh and blood with skill and love. They had recharged the feeding tube’s battery and got him the right food. The family was freed. The High Court said they could take their son to Prague for proton therapy.

Fast forward to today and Brett King is reading a letter from the cancer specialist at Southampton General Hospital: “Dear Mr King… I am pleased to say there is no sign of any tumour recurrences and there is nothing that requires any urgent intervention.”

Who knows what’s best for you children, then? And why does the State assume it’s not the parents?

Posted: 3rd, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


A Free Press Means No One ‘Guards the Guardians’

Good news, eh. The government will not implement the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry, which was due to investigate journalists’ relationship with the police. Moreover, the Government will not bring to bear the fearsome Section 40 of the crime and courts act. If implemented, Section 40 could have seen newspapers not signed up to the States’s Press regulator forced to pay legal costs in libel and privacy cases, even if they won. If you got to the bit about there being a State regulator for a free press and gaped, you’re among the majority who find it abhorrent.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock says the “world had changed” since Leveson’s 2012 report into Press behaviour – when journalists were inspected and proprietors were impelled to explain themselves. The Press’s hypocrisy was clear to even the most monocular stooge. Things had gone badly wrong. But then the debate turned to what form compensation should take? How should we interpret the law-breaking that Leveson unveiled?

More questions are prompted. What is the role of the Press in an age when Government and business can talk directly the the people through the internet? A government communique is no longer news for an ‘insider’ hack to top and tail. Secret documents are leaked. Every football match is streamed, reducing fans’ reliance on informative match reports. TV listings are free – and you can make your own broadcast schedules on the likes of Netflix. In the multi-media age, one-media newspapers get desperate as they seek to add value. What’s the future of the diminished Press and should Leveson have focused more on the booming Internet?

The Press has been behaving better since all that phone hacking was exposed. On the other side of the fight, in which everyone in a powerful position has a dog, is Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson. He says the move is a “bitter blow to the victims of Press intrusion”. Watson says Hancock failed to “stand up to the tabloid-style newspapers who are propping up this government”. Snooty much, eh.

Hancock says tabloid-hating Watson is “tied up with the opponents of press freedom”. Does he mean Max Mosley, perhaps, who earlier this week was accused of having once supported racism, an allegation he denies? Mosley has donated over £500,000 to Mr Watson’s office (you should see the curtains). He has donated more big money to Impress, the official media regulator, set up in the aftermath of the Leveson Inquiry. The Labour Party is so sure it has nothing to worry about it has, er, said it will not accept further donations from Mosley.

So much for those holding the mic. But it’s not about them. At least it shouldn’t be. Let’s be in no doubt that this is victory for all of us. Tom Slater rightfully enjoys the moment:

When the government consultation into Section 40 and Leveson 2 was announced in January last year, spiked set up the #FreeThePress campaign, with a website that allowed readers to make their feelings known and respond to the inquiry. You did so in your thousands. And despite the press-regulation lobby’s ignoble efforts, our free-press submissions swamped theirs. The culture secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday that two-thirds of the mighty 174,000 responses said No to Section 40 and Leveson 2. You stood up for liberty, and won.

“The answer to the question of ‘Who guards the guardians?’ cannot be “No one”, asked Lord Leveson. Which makes me wonder: why does a free press need guards when laws on libel, privacy, contempt of court, privacy, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and more already exist? And we should not forget that at the root of Leveson, the thing that sparked the whole story, criminal trials and the closure of one newspapers, was robust and rambunctious journalism.

Posted: 2nd, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Max Mosley and the right to ask offensive questions

Most of us have never met press reform campaigner Max Mosley (and I’m including some members of the spanking community in that) nor his father, the fascist Oswald Mosley who married Diana Mitford in Joseph Goebbels’ drawing room. She was a woman dubbed “Hitler’s Angel”. Max knew her as ‘mum’. My own ancestors living in London’s Stepney and Whitechapel did have a run-in with Mosley Senior a while back, chiefly when in his guise as leader of the Black Shirts, the aristo and former Labour Party government minister wanted to march his gang of booted anti-Semites through Cable Street in East London. The aim was to intimidate the local Jews. Back then lots of people who didn’t much like the Nazi-styled Black Shirts disobeyed the law by turning out in force, blocked the march and won the day. Officialdom did sod all to protect them. “It was a victory for the united people of the East End.”

Our bloodlines, however, have not crossed since. I know what I know of Mosley and his family by reading and hearing about them. Eventually, I might even form an opinion on Max from looking at the press, TV and books. “The questions raised by the desire to know are in principle all answerable by common-sense experience and common-sense reasoning,” wrote Hannah Arendt. We read a lot of things. We think about them, debate them and, through reason, try to reach the truth.

And today we get to know a bit more about Max Mosley. He’s back in the news. The Times says Mosley “is facing questions about whether he lied to the High Court after the discovery of a racist political leaflet published in his name”.

The 1961 document links leprosy, venereal disease and tuberculosis to “coloured immigration” and argues that Jamaicans should be sent back home. Mr Mosley, the former Formula One boss turned press reform campaigner, was questioned about the leaflets during his 2008 High Court privacy case against the News of the World.

Under oath, he said that he did not recall putting out election literature urging voters to send black people home. He also explicitly denied that any leaflets from the 1961 campaign accused immigrants of bringing leprosy, syphilis and TB, saying: “That is absolute nonsense.”

Confronted with a copy of one of the leaflets last night, he rejected the “offensive suggestion” that he lied under oath and appeared to question if it was genuine. “If it is genuine, it doesn’t reflect my views today,” he said during a combative live appearance on Channel 4 News. “This was in 1961. I ceased to have any involvement in my father’s movement in 1963.”

Here he is on Channel 4 news:

 

 

The part about Tom Watson is of interest.  The Deputy leader says a Labour Government would set up Leveson II and enforce state-backed press regulation. So much for a free press. The State will decide what is and what is not fit and proper for you to read. No need for reason when the State does the thinking for you. You’ll be free to think about other stuff, like ‘How the hell did this happen?’, ‘Isn’t it great that we all agree on everything’ and “Why is fake news now the only news?’

Spotting error is essential to solving problems and progress. Stymie expression – the right to make mistakes – and we are all isolated from one another and diminished. As the philosopher Karl Popper noted:

In spite of everything, and although we have had so many failures, we, the citizens of the western democracies, live in a social order which is better (because more favourably disposed to reform) and more just than any other in recorded history. Further improvements are of the greatest urgency. (Yet improvements that increase the power of the state often bring about the opposite of what we are seeking.)

 

Max Mosley racism

 

The story is on the cover of the Mail. It begins with a question. And for what it’s worth, I’d cede to Betteridge’s Law of headlines: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word ‘no’.”

The Mail focuses on Mosley’s relationship with the media:

He has bankrolled Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and Impress — the State-approved media watchdog which critics say opens the door to statutory control of the Press…

Mr Mosley has also pledged £3.8 million via a family trust to fund Impress, the controversial Press regulator which is underwritten by statute and supported by Mr Watson and the pressure group Hacked Off, but shunned by the newspaper industry which views it as a threat to freedom of expression.

The Guardian notes the response:

“It appears that the historical investigation pursued by the Daily Mail is yet another misconceived attempt to intimidate and deter me. I will continue to campaign for the vital reforms needed to protect ordinary people against the bullying of newspapers like the Daily Mail.”

In response to the leaflet, Watson told the Mail: “My views on press regulation are well known and have not changed. The views expressed by Max as a young man are not the views he holds now, just as the Rothermere family no longer uses its newspapers to support fascism.”

 

Max Mosley racism

 

And so there it is. A free Press is the right to report things people of power and influence don’t want you to know. It’s the right to cause offence. More power to it. And more power to anyone who can prove it wrong by establishing their facts as authentic and true. After all, our desire is to know the truth and therein become better.

PS:

 

If we are now all citizen journalists – something Jeremy Corbyn is keen to foster as he invites “non-journalists” from outside the hated mainstream media (see Trump. D) to ask him questions – will each of us with a social media account need to sign up to State regulation for our right to publish tweets and Facebook posts? A vibrant field of open debate will end when the State is the only one holding the mic.

Posted: 28th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Americans Are Odd – Why Execute A Terminal Cancer Patient?

There are times when it appears that the transatlantic cousins are more than a little odd. Their preoccupation with guns puzzles many this side of the Pond for example, their continuing love affair with executions meets with the approval of the vox populi over here if not with those who rule us. But seriously, who tries to execute a terminal cancer patient?

Part of this they did get right:

An execution in the US was aborted last week after the inmate was left with 10 puncture wounds when medical personnel were unable to find a vein after two and a half hours of trying. The failed attempts left behind a bloodied death chamber, the inmate’s lawyer said.

No, that’s getting it right. The purpose of the death penalty is to put the Fear of God into those who might commit a serious crime. A blood spattered execution chamber aids in doing that so why not? In fact, there’s a good argument that if a death penalty we’re going to have then the more public and gory it is the better. Why go with private and peaceful like a lethal injection in a prison when we could have breaking on the wheel in the public square? Evisceration perhaps? Either would be more of a deterrent.

But then there’s the part that they got wrong:

In court filings in the days before the planned execution, Hamm’s lawyers said he had terminal cancer and a history of intravenous drug use that had severely compromised his veins.

Yes the drug use will have made the injection more difficult. But the terminal cancer would make it unnecessary as well. In fact, why bother with the rigmarole at all?

It’s fairly well known that a death from cancer isn’t a pretty nor enjoyable one. That’s why those who die that way tend to go out on a cloud of morphine – these days perhaps the much stronger fentanyl. A prisoner whose veins can’t be found isn’t going to be getting useful amounts of either of those drugs now, is he? So, why bother with the execution?

Why not just with hold treatment for the cancer, including pain relief, and allow nature to get on with the rest of it? Possibly film it as an example to others?

For if we’re going to have death as a disincentive to crime then let’s make those deaths as awful as possible so as to increase the disincentive, the precautionary effect. And if we’re not doing it so as to dissuade people, as gorily as possible, then why in hell are we doing it in the first place?

Posted: 26th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


London Council bans fat children from climbing trees without a ‘reasonable excuse’

London’s Wandsworth Council wants to ban anyone from climbing a tree in the borough. Unless you have a “reasonable excuse”, climbing a tree could cost you a £500 fine. It’s all part of a range of new bylaws being proposed throughout Wandsworth to “protect the borough’s parks from criminal damage, anti-social behaviour and vandalism”.

How’s that Olympic legacy going?

The council says that’s nonsense. It says the new rules are “nothing” to do with “curtailing childrens’ enjoyment in any way and will help the council run its parks effectively as possible for the enjoyment all residents, especially children.”

Councillor Jonathan Cook, Cabinet Member for Community Services, says: “Stopping a child from flying a kite or climbing a tree, as has been suggested in some quarters this week, certainly will not be how we want to see the bylaws used.”

So the rules can be used to stop people climbing trees? The rules are open-ended and vague?

“Council set to ban ‘annoying’ tree climbing and kite flying,” says the Times. Paul Hocker, director of the charity London Play, says: “They are bolstering their huge bank reserves by fining children for climbing trees or flying a kite in the park.”

The council says Hocker et al are “misinformed”. Really?

The London Evening Standard reports:

Along with tree climbing, such traditional outdoor pursuits as kite flying or a knockabout game of cricket – along with other pursuits considered “annoying” to others – could fall foul of the regulations.

The borough’s previous 27-point list drawn up in 1924 will be replaced with 49 new diktats, including bans on metal detectors and remote control model boats on ponds…

The rules will be enforced by civilian park police – who dress like the Met officers with a kit of stab vests, handcuffs and bodycams, but lack their powers.

In the Mail, we hear from an insider:

A council spokesman told MailOnline: “A six-year-old child climbing a tree is one thing but an 18-stone rugby player who might damage the tree by breaking the branches is another.”

What about an 18-stone child? And why can’t a big lad climb a tree? Why do children get more rights than adults?

“That is the sort of behaviour we are trying to discourage. We have had people badly injury themselves in the past.”

So what? Adults knows the risks. Children find ways of working out their limits. We’ll take freedom over banning orders, thanks.

“It’s not about stopping children from playing innocent games or engaging in healthy, outdoors activities, it’s about making the spaces more enjoyable for everyone.”

The Express and Star also rehash the same Times report. But no paper lists the 47 new “diktats”. Under the heading “Wandsworth Council parks and open spaces bye-laws –  Laws governing the use of our parks, gardens and open spaces”, the council tells us what fun we can all have in the fresh-ish air (still free at the point of delivery!).

 

No Running in the non-running zone:

 

Make your babies walk! 

 

 

No Sliding – on ice?

 

 

Vagrants raus! Go to the library. Do not soil the grass:

 

 

Sod it. Safer – and cheaper – to stay in doors and watch it all on the telly. Pass the blankets, mum.

 

Posted: 24th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Justin Forsyth resigns from Unicef – man loses his job over text messages

john forstyth

 

Another successful hit for the anti-harassment police as Unicef chief Justin Fortyth falls on his (pork) sword and resigns. The former chief executive of Save the Children says his past must not “damage” the charities that allegedly coseted him.

Forsyth was accused of “inappropriate” behaviour towards three female colleagues – a “barrage” of texts and comments about their looks. He “apologised unreservedly” to the three women at the time. Save The Children investigated him twice. He left, scored a new job at Unicef and life rolled on. But when the story became news just a few days ago, his career was mired. Justice in the age of #MeToo is mercilessly swift. He’s gone.

“They were dealt with through a proper process many years ago,” Forsyth says in a statement about the complaints an their handling. “There is no doubt in my mind that some of the coverage around me is not just to (rightly) hold me to account, but also to attempt to do serious damage to our cause and the case for aid.” (For “aid”, read: politics, party, movie, the BBC, TV series,  gender and more.)

Conservative MP Pauline Latham, a member of the House of Commons’ International Development committee, reacts: “But what I’m more concerned about is the fact he has been able to work for as long as he did. It is shocking. The more I hear about it the more shocked I am. It’s terrible for the UK charity sector. It will take a lot of getting over.”

Should we be more shocked that a woman who represents us in the combative world of party politics is shocked by a man sending sleazy tests and making lewd comments? If that shocks her, what does the war in Syria do to her constitution?

Brie O’Keefe, a former employee at Save the Children, tells BBC’s Newsnight: “One of the things that kept many of us from speaking out earlier was a desire to protect the organisation that we loved.”

So much for justice, then. Less #MeToo than #ThoseBastards.

The rest of us might also wonder how one man’s unwelcome comments, for which he apologised, are linked to Oxfam’s depravity? The charity allegedly covered up and protected staffers who aided local women – some allegedly underage (child rape, then?) – escape the horrors of witnessing hundreds of thousands killed and millions made without basic needs following the 2010 earthquake by paying them for sex. The BBC makes the link explicit. In its comment on Forsyth, the BBC slips in the line: “Meanwhile, Haiti has suspended Oxfam GB operations in the country, as it investigates claims of sexual misconduct by staff in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.”

The office creep is linked to Oxfam staff going to a poor foreign country and using their piles of money and power to debase the locals to such a degree that, it’s alleged, they arranged “meat barbecues” (orgies) in which the women wore Oxfam T-shirts.

Forsyth is right about one thing: this amplification of any sort of harassment into a scandal that rides high at the top of the news cycle is creating an unhealthy atmosphere of mistrust. The most authoritarian voices are holding the mic. The rest of us should worry about where it’s all leading?

Posted: 23rd, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment