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Jennifer Lawrence’s puckered flesh gives Red Sparrow a leg up

Jennifer Lawrence showed some skin as she lined up with her Red Sparrow co-stars for a press call. The men showed no skin. The Mail  says the looks sparked “controversy on social media”. Helen Lewis, for one, was upset by what came to be called – get this – “WarmCoatGate”.

 

 

Not that Lewis, the Deputy editor @newstatesman, was outside to promote a film. Some clothes are best for popping to shops, others are good for gardening or climbing Everest. Some are good at getting attention.

The Mail couldn’t resist editorialising, telling readers that Jennifer Lawrence “appears to be shivering in a plunging Versace dress”. You can tell if someone’s shivering from a still? Maybe the cold is why the four man are all sporting coats and beards. Maybe the beards are viewed as part of what it is to be a man, just as Lawrence’s cleavage is essentially feminine?

Lawrence got wind of people voicing their disapproval. “This is not only utterly ridiculous, I am extremely offended,” she writes on Facebook. “That Versace dress was fabulous, you think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf? I was outside for 5 minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.”

Get a load of all that freedom. And then get another big stinky load of the righteous trying to work out if you can have freedom and enforced equality.

In other news: attractive actress in revealing dress gets film lots of attention. Read all about it!

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Film, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Lacazette’s talking knee changes time

With Trinity Mirror’s purchase of the Daily Express and Daily Star, football fans who get their news online can expect a tag-team movement of total balls. All titles use their websites as clickbait farms. The latest tosh involves Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette, who has, says the Mirror,  “given an update on his recovery from a knee injury”.

In its dash for clicks, the Mirror tells readers approaching via Google’s bots that Lacazette is bidding “for a quick recovery” (as opposed to hoping for a slow recovery and lots of sick pay and daytime telly?), illustrating the teaser with a photo of Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and, er,  Robbie Lyle, presenter of the entertaining Arsenal Fan TV

 

lacazette arsenal

 

Clicking into the story and readers are told Lacazette will be sidelined for “up to five weeks”. Arsene Wenger’s words to BeIn Sports that Lacazette could be out for “four or five weeks” are repeated. There’s no word on any “quick recovery”. That much is utter balls.

And then this spot some time illiteracy:

A return date on the pitch could occur against either West Ham on April 21 or Manchester United on April 28 with a return to first team training likely to begin at the start of April.

Lacazette underwent surgery on February 12. Four or five weeks after that take us up to mid March. Even if you add on a few days from the operation until Wenger spoke, Lacazette still looks likely to return well before April.

But having spun a nonsense story from a single photo of Lacazette’s poorly knee as he work out in the Arsenal gym – one taken by the player and posted to his Instagram page – the Mirror’s clickbait expert needs to hit his word count. So we get this:

Until Lacazette’s return, Wenger will put his faith in Aubameyang, though the Gabon striker is unable to help in their quest to win the Europa League. Despite overcoming Ostersund 3-0 in the first leg of the round of 32 tie, a probable last 16 tie will occur on March 8 and 13, with a potential quarter-final on April 5 and 12.

That means Arsenal’s most probable route back into the Champions League will rest on Danny Welbeck’s form.

No. It won’t because Arsenal are not a one-man team and Lacazettte will be back in March. In addition, the last 16 ties will be played on March 8 and 15. March 12 is a Monday. Europa League ties are played on Thursdays.

Apart from the story being factually inaccurate and based on total balls, it is spot on.

PS: But there is good news. Cop a load of the ads that wrapped around the balls. We counted – get this – 23 ads on this one story.

 

 

 

It’s almost as if the words are just a trick to make you see lots and lots and lots of ads…

Posted: 21st, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Red trolls in Purple States: how Russia defeated democracy

 

The Guardian has a few words on the Russian State-funded trolls accused of swinging the 2016 US Presidential election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Russia saw in Trump, so the allegation follows, a better chance to grow and protect its monocular, illiberal interests.

The Russian regime often looks guiltier than a dog stood by a pile of poo. When the Russian PR machine talks, you’d be wise to hold your nose. It’s a steady stream of bull-made effluent. And it makes you wonder why Russia’s tosh has been imbibed with such power. Did Russian bots and spods really win it for Trump, boost Bernie Sanders and root for the Green Party’s Jill Stein? Is its propaganda so much more effective than the stuff seeping from Western regimes? And why does any of it matter?

The Cold War was won. But look out – the Ruskies have moved on from invasion and armed global socialism to a fearsome social media strategy. They might not be able to hack United States military supercomputers and trigger World War III, but they’ve got some terrific gossip about Clinton having had on-the-clock sex with Trump on a yellowy waterbed as Saddam Hussein drummed out Back in the USSR on Bono’s buttocks. (That was the rumour, right? If not, Oleg, call me, I have ideas and hashtags.) Whatever the truth, mentally-negligible Mary-Sue in a swing state bought it.

The Guardian tell us:

It was from American political activists that they [Russian trolls] received the advice to target “purple” swing states, something that was essential to the ultimate success of the campaign.

Well, quite. You target the area where you can have most effect. You know, like the, er, Guardian did:

To maximise the likelihood of your efforts making a difference, we’ve zeroed in on one of the places where this year’s election truly will be decided: Clark County, Ohio, which is balanced on a razor’s edge between Republicans and Democrats. In the 2000 election, Al Gore won Clark County by 1% – equivalent to 324 votes – but George Bush won the state as a whole by just four percentage points. This time round, Ohio is one of the most crucial swing states: Kerry and Bush have been campaigning there tire lessly – they’ve visited Clark County itself – and the most recent Ohio poll shows, once again, a 1% difference between the two of them. The voters we will target in our letter-writing initiative are all Clark County residents, and they are all registered independents, which somewhat increases the chances of their being persuadable.

Before Twitter, there was the Guardian’s interventionism. Called Operation Clark County, the paper wanted to “help readers have a say in the American election by writing to undecided voters in the crucial state of Ohio”.

Here was one reaction from the mouth-breathing colonials:

KEEP YOUR FUCKIN’ LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION. HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR? REMEMBER THE WAR OF 1812? WE DIDN’T WANT YOU, OR YOUR POLITICS HERE, THAT’S WHY WE KICKED YOUR ASSES OUT. FOR THE 47% OF YOU WHO DON’T WANT PRESIDENT BUSH, I SAY THIS … TOUGH SHIT!
PROUD AMERICAN VOTING FOR BUSH!

How the modern Left loves democracy. You can intervene if is means sneaking the demos the right answer to the big question. Noble Obama telling us a vote for Brexit would put us to the back of the queue and helpful Bill Clinton backing Boris Yeltsin with $1bn of aid are great. But a Russian nerd in an out-of-town office tweeting bollocks is a threat to democracy – something so precious that its champions call everyone who voted for Trump and Brexit thick as custard.

So much for confidence in democracy. Because that’s it, no? It’s not about Russian might. It’s about us thinking our way of life is so precarious that a few rogue propagandists can destroy it with a tweet.

Posted: 20th, February 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Police and Travelodge view men as suspected paedophiles

Are we more suspicious of adults then ever? “One minute I was brushing my teeth, the next I was being told I was a paedophile,” says Karl Pollard, whose ordeal began when he checked into a Travelodge with his 14-year-old daughter, Stephanie.

Staff at the Travelodge in Macclesfield, Cheshire, didn’t much like the look of the 46-year-old, in town to visit his ill mother. “When we arrived the receptionist gave me a weird look but I thought nothing of it,” he says. “We went up to the room to get unpacked and ready to see my mum. It was only a 20-minute walk away, which is why I chose the hotel. About 10 minutes later there was a knock at the door. A policewoman was standing there. I thought something had happened to my mum or my wife. But she said, ‘We’ve had a call from Travelodge, they believe you are a paedophile grooming underage girls’.”

The police like to “believe” terrible things are “credible and true“.

“I explained to her [the police officer who interviewed them separately] that I was Stephanie’s dad. The officer had to ask her loads of questions to prove it. My mum has just been diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer. We’re not sure how long she has left. I wanted to take Stephanie down to visit her before she started treatment.”

Mr Pollard’s, Stephanie’s mother, wasn’t with them because she has multiple sclerosis.

“My daughter was in tears. She was so scared – and thought I was going to get taken away,” he adds.

Travelodge then endeavours to explain, offering a classic non-apology apology, containing the prerequisite sympathetic back story and a dash of moral smugness:

“All our hotel teams are trained according to national guidelines supported by the NSPCC. In the past proactive action by our hotel teams has helped to safeguard young people at risk. In this instance we got it wrong.”

And you thought they just operated budget hotels. Turns out they’re an arm of the purpose-seeking police, who view men as potential threats to children. It’s sound and rational to be worried by men.

Cheshire Police then offer: “Police were called at 3pm on Thursday 8 February to reports of suspicious activity at a hotel on Waters Green in Macclesfield.”

Who was acting suspiciously? Mr Pollard and his daughter weren’t. Unless, you’ve invested in the notion that all adults are suspects.

“Staff at the Travelodge did the right thing by reporting what they believed to be suspicious activity to officers, although thankfully there was nothing untoward and it turned out to be a misunderstanding.”

Good to know the police approve of innocent men being treated as suspects first whose innocence needs to be established. don’t trust one another. Trust only in the police and the State.

Posted: 20th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Saving Haiti: if a celebrity won’t exploit you Oxfam will

Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring has been talking to the Guardian. The paper says the mood at Oxfam is one akin to a “sudden bereavement” – much like Haitians felt when 200,000 of them were killed in an earthquake, or worse?

Oxfam staff are “close to tears”. Goldring “hasn’t slept for six nights and he looks stricken,” we’re told. Anyone wondering why Goldring chose to speak with the Guardian and not, say the Daily Mail or Times, which broke the story of Oxfam’s alleged laissez-faire attitude to criminality and sexual exploitation by its staff? This is less interview than PR.

Goldring was “justifiably fretting that his words would be wilfully twisted to do Oxfam yet more damage”. But here he is in the Guardian, a man in mourning wondering if the inheritance tax and death duties will damage the brand. He complains of being “savaged” in the media, his words “manipulated”. No danger of that in the Guardian, which sees good in the simple act of a grown man at the top of powerful multi-million pound organisation – last year’s income: £408.6 million – talking “alone, unchaperoned by press officers” – one of the 20 full-time press officers the Times says are on Oxfam’s books. He is “unguarded and candid. The impression I form is of someone telling the truth: if Goldring has been guilty of anything, I think it might be naivety about the vulnerability of almost any organisation in the febrile public mood of distrust.”

It’s not so much about Oxfam lying and covering up alleged criminality and exploiting the bereft and genuinely bereaved, allowing staffers to leave without a stain on their CVs and thus best able to secure other jobs at other aid organisations, which some did, it’s about you. Asked why Oxfam lied and covered up immoral behaviour by some of its staff, Goldring offers:

“That was wrong. I believe it was done in good faith to try to balance being transparent and protecting Oxfam’s work. I don’t think [Oxfam] wanted to promote a sensation and damage the delivery of [the Haiti] programme. With hindsight, we should have said more. I’ve been clear about that since this broke. But if Oxfam’s business is to help save lives, if your organisation is there to actually help make the world a better place, I can see why people thought this was the right thing to do.”

It’s you they don’t trust, you judgemental sods who give so generously to Oxfam. It’s about ring-fencing your giving from people who don’t have the best of intentions. It might be about the Haitians, but don’t worry about them. Just give. Oxfam will decide what they need.

Goldring adds:

 “The intensity and the ferocity of the attack makes you wonder, what did we do? We murdered babies in their cots? Certainly, the scale and the intensity of the attacks feels out of proportion to the level of culpability. I struggle to understand it. You think: ‘My God, there’s something going on there.’”

He is then invited to go on the attack. The Guardian leads him to the escape hatch and kicks it open:

Is it that political opponents of international aid – the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel – are exploiting Oxfam’s crisis? He hesitates.

Are leading Tories the problem here? Goldring dismisses the idea out of hand, saying that it’d be a sick irony to present Oxfam as the victims of an opportunist, self-serving elite. No, of course not. He says:

“Others are better to judge whether that’s right or wrong. I don’t think it’s right for Oxfam to say that at the moment, because even that feels self-serving. What I’m really concerned about is that this is not used as an approach to attack aid.” But it already is. “Yes. It is.”

Good job it’s not about first world westerners, the rich, saintly and knowing, riding in to save the hapless, perpetually needy Third Worlders from starvation and poverty by telling them how many babies to have, that Fairtrade is better than GM, that to live ‘ethically’ is ideal, water is best when it comes not from pipes by from wells dug by Prince William, and if they’re lucky a celebrity coloniser will adopt one of them. Good job it’s not about the vain and well off controlling the impoverished and using them to show off their own moral goodness. It’s not about them. It’s all about us. Charity, after all, begins at home…

 

Posted: 17th, February 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


John McDonnell will bankrupt the Tube and there’s no such thing as a free market

No sooner has John McDonnell outlined his ambition to renationalise energy, rail and water than news reaches us of a shortfall. The Guardian notes:

Transport for London (TfL) has insisted it is not facing a financial crisis despite planning for a near £1bn deficit next year after a surprise fall in passenger numbers.

Mr McDonnell told BBC Radio 4’s Today earlier:

“It would be cost free. You borrow to buy an asset and when that asset is producing profits like the water industry does, that will cover your borrowing cost.”

The assets make the profits. The profits pay the bills. What about if people alter their behaviour?

He went on:

“We aren’t going to take back control of these industries in order to put them into the hands of a remote bureaucracy, but to put them into the hands of all of you – so that they can never again be taken away.”

But bureaucrats will still run the entity, albeit ones appointed by the State, right? Who are they accountable to? How does anyone get redress for poor service? Is McDonnell seeking to serve taxpayers best or just tying to give meaning, direction and authority to the State?

“Public ownership is not just a political decision, it’s an economic necessity. We’ll move away from the failed privatisation model of the past, developing new democratic forms of ownership, joining other countries, regions and cities across the world in taking control of our essential services.”

So you take over the London Underground, and budget accordingly. And then there’s a £1bn deficit. Which means..? As Ronald Reagan put it in 1986: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

 

 

But business has never been independent of the State. What of PPI, regulation and subsidies, which rather dampen the idea that immense profits are being made? (In 2006-7, the Government spent £6.8 billion of public money in the the privatised rail industry – around half what it cost to run the entire thing.) What of Government calls for curbs on executive pay and vows to “fix the broken housing market”? So much for the free market.

Tony Blair told us “Stability can be a sexy thing”. Theresa May wants to be “strong and stable”. They seek to maintain the status quo. Doesn’t that add up to the established businesses and their links to Government rolling on and on and not entrepreneurship, the best of which is often triggered by volatility and daring?

McDonnell’s monocular and forgetful call for re-nationalisation has not come out of the blue. It’s just an addendum to current and recent Government policy and a crisis of purpose.

Posted: 15th, February 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Judge rules: Taylor Swift’s lyrics are too ‘banal’ and ‘unoriginal’ to copyright

Taylor Swift’s lyrics are too banal to copyright. US Judge Michael W Fitzgerald has ruled in a case of alleged copyright infringement against the singer.

Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler claimed Swift’s song Shake It Off stole from their tune Playas Gon’ Play. They argued that Swift’s lyric relied on their lyric, “playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.”

 

taylor swift banal

Shakers gotta shake; makers gotta make; takers gotta take

 

 

Fitzgerald was unimpressed. His ruling is golden:

As reflected in Defendants’ RJN, and as Plaintiffs acknowledge, by 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters. Although Plaintiffs recognize as much, they allege that they “originated the linguistic combination of playas/players playing along with hatas/haters hating…” Plaintiffs explain that the plethora of prior works that incorporated “the terms ‘playa’ and hater together all revolve about the concept of ‘playa haters’” – a “playa” being “one who is successful at courting women,” and a “playa hater” being “one who is notably jealous of the ‘playas’” success.”… Plaintiffs explain that Playas Gon’ Play “used the terms in the context of a third party, the narrator of a song who is neither a ‘playa’ nor a hater, stating that other people will do what they will and positively affirming that they won’t let the judgment of others affect them.

Isn’t it great.

The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal. In the early 2000s, popular culture was adequately suffused with the concepts of players and haters to render the phrases “playas … gonna play” or “haters … gonna hate,” standing on their own, no more creative than “runners gonna run,” “drummers gonna drum,” or “swimmers gonna swim.” Plaintiffs therefore hinge their creativity argument, and their entire case, on the notion that the combination of “playas, they gonna play” and “haters, they gonna hate” is sufficiently creative to warrant copyright protection…

Looking at this this case from a potentially-protectable-short-phrase perspective, the lyrics in question are not sufficiently creative to warrant protection… Even if, as Plaintiffs contend, Plaintiffs were the first to employ the concepts of players playing and haters hating for the purpose of expressing “the idea of not concerning yourself with what other people do and think” …  the allegedly-infringed lyrics consist of just six relevant words – “playas … gonna play” and “haters … gonna hate.” In order for such short phrases to be protected under the Copyright Act, they must be more creative than the lyrics at issue here.

As discussed above, players, haters, and player haters had received substantial pop culture attention prior to 2001. It is hardly surprising that Plaintiffs, hoping to convey the notion that one should persist regardless of others’ thoughts or actions, focused on both players playing and haters hating when numerous recent popular songs had each addressed the subjects of players, haters, and player haters, albeit to convey different messages than Plaintiffs were trying to convey. In short, combining two truisms about playas and haters, both well-worn notions as of 2001, is simply not enough.

At the hearing, Plaintiffs’ counsel offered alternative (very clunky) formulations of pairing a noun with its intransitive verb, thereby suggesting that “[noun] gonna [verb]” was creative in itself. While clever, this argument does not persuade. The argument ultimately only makes sense if the use of “gonna” as a contraction of “is going to” is sufficiently creative, or (as discussed above) one can claim creativity in asserting that a type of person acts in accordance with his or her inherent nature. To explicitly state the argument is to see how banal the asserted creativity is.

In sum, the lyrics at issue – the only thing that Plaintiffs allege Defendants copied – are too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act. In light of the fact that the Court seemingly “has before it all that is necessary to make a comparison of the works in question” … the Court is inclined to grant the Motion without leave to amend. However, out of an abundance of caution, the Court will allow Plaintiffs one opportunity to amend, just in case there are more similarities between Playas Gon’ Play and Shake it Off than Plaintiffs have alleged thus far (which Plaintiffs’ counsel did not suggest at the hearing). If there are not, the Court discourages actual amendment. The more efficient course would be for Plaintiffs to consent to judgment being entered against them so that they may pursue an appeal if they believe that is appropriate.

Judges gotta judge.

Posted: 14th, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


US school bans To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

To Minnesota, where the local censors have banned students from studying copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Anyone reading either book will be “humiliated or marginalised” by the language therein. (Yeah, they’re that good. Stick a ‘censored’ and ‘explicit lyrics’ label on them and watch the cool kids lap it up.)

The Duluth school district will allow the texts to sit on shelves in the libraries, but they won’t be on the curriculum for ninth and 11th-grade English classes, reports the Bemidji Pioneer. Pupils that age – and we’re talking about 16-year-olds – just can’t handle it.

Duluth’s director of ‘curriculum and instruction’ Michael Cary says he wants to “teach the same lessons” as To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn in other ways, perhaps with finger puppets, cotton wool and the great American hashtag. Anti-racist texts, see, should contain no hint of the racism they’re satirising and destroying, in much the same way that books on World War 2 should feature no examples of anti-Jewish rhetoric, and histories of the US Civil War contain no violence and examples of ‘hate speech’. The past is the past. If history is not to be repeated it must be forgotten.

“We felt that we could still teach the same standards and expectations through other novels that didn’t require students to feel humiliated or marginalised by the use of racial slurs,” says Carey.

Oddly, this mollycoddling is supported by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, whose regional president Stephan Witherspoon thinks the books are “just hurtful” and use “hurtful language that has oppressed the people for over 200 years”.

“It’s wrong,” he decrees. “There are a lot more authors out there with better literature that can do the same thing that does not degrade our people. I’m glad that they’re making the decision and it’s long overdue, like 20 years overdue. Let’s move forward and work together to make school work for all of our kids, not just some, all of them.”

Now school’s not working for any of them. Which is surely what equality is all about. Oh, brave new world.

Posted: 13th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Whoops! Just like Iraq WMD goes missing in Syria

The use of sarin was Barack Obama’s “red line”. You can shoot, stab, and smash them with barrel bombs, but using chemical weapons to kill Syrians is bad.

The use of chemical weapons turned Syria’s embattled dictator Bashar al-Assad’s war against the rebels into a war crime. He must be stopped because it “is not just that President Assad might start using his chemical arsenal in much greater quantities… [but also] the prospect of it falling into even less benign hands.”

It’s not about ending the war in Syria; it’s about preventing us being next. It was also a connived argument against intervention – we only go if there are people being killed by poisoned gas. Starvation and a lack of medial aid for the critically ill exacerbated by armed blockades are morally superior ways to die.

 

 

There were impassioned calls for intervention:

There are no good choices — good outcomes in Syria are impossible to imagine. But if it is proved to a certainty that Assad is trying to kill his people with chemical weapons, then Obama may have no choice but to act, not only because he has put the country’s credibility on the line (Iran and North Korea are undoubtedly watching closely), but also because the alternative — allowing human beings to be murdered by a monstrous regime using the world’s most devilish weapons, when he has the power to stop it — is not a moral option for a moral man.

As Time noted: “Rebels’ use of chemical weapons] could force Obama into the deeper engagement he has long resisted: the alarming prospect that radical Islamists could acquire Syrian chemical weapons and try to use them beyond Syria’s borders, perhaps even within the US.”

Just as Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction led us into Iraq, WMDs would pull us into action in Syria.

You might wonder if WMD gases are more potent than conventional method of mass killing, as one expert told The Register: “Far from possessing any special deadliness, chemical warheads are less potent than ordinary conventional-explosive ones. Calling them “WMD”, which suggests they are in some way equivalent to nuclear bombs, is simply ridiculous.’ He concluded: ‘So, if your aim is to kill and injure as many people as possible, you’d be a fool to use chemicals. And yet chemicals are rated as WMD, while ordinary explosives aren’t.”

But there is no time to pause and consider the facts. We are 45-minutes from certain death. We must go in now.

We never did find any WMD in Iraq. And now news reaches us that more big weapons have vanished in the Middle East.  Newsweek reports:

Lost in the hyper-politicized hullabaloo surrounding the Nunes Memorandum and the Steele Dossier was the striking statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the U.S. has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people…

Serious, experienced chemical weapons experts and investigators such as Hans Blix, Scott Ritter, Gareth Porter and Theodore Postol have all cast doubt on “official” American narratives regarding President Assad employing Sarin.

The bigger question is how this sectarian war in Syria came to be about America and us?

Posted: 12th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Poland absolves itself of all complicity in the Holocaust

The letter from the Polish League Against Defamation informed us: “There were only camps established by Germany in German-occupied Poland. The proper reference to the German camps therefore is as follows:

– German camps in German-occupied Poland

– German Nazi camps in German-occupied Poland

– German camps in Nazi-occupied Poland

– Nazi camps in German-occupied Poland.”

It is “gravely false and highly defamatory” to call the Nazi camps in German-occupied Poland “Polish death camps”, or any variant thereof.

Poland’s president Andrzej Duda has signed-off a law that that makes it criminal to suggest his country supported Nazi war crimes during the 1939-1945 occupation. The new law, he reasons, maintains Poland’s “dignity and historical truth”. If you call Auschwitz a  “Polish death camp” you could be fined or imprisoned for three years.

“All the atrocities and all the victims, everything that happened during World War II on Polish soil, has to be attributed to Germany,” says Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. “We will never be accused of complicity in the Holocaust. This is our ‘to be or not to be’… This law is not going to limit speech, not even one iota.”

Germany is on side.

“Without directly interfering in the legislation in Poland, I would like to say the following very clearly as German chancellor: We as Germans are responsible for what happened during the Holocaust, the Shoah, under National Socialism (Nazism),” said Angela Merkel in her weekly video podcast.

German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel states: “This organized mass murder was carried out by our country and no one else. Individual collaborators change nothing about that. We are convinced that only carefully appraising our own history can bring reconciliation. That includes people who had to experience the intolerable suffering of the Holocaust being able to speak unrestrictedly about this suffering.”

But how can any law banning words and opinions enable unrestricted speech?

Peter Muchlinski, SOAS, University of London, UK, notes: “There are fears that the law would put virtually every Jewish survivor of the Holocaust in Poland at risk of prosecution. I’ve read hundreds of survivors’ testimonies, yet I do not recall a single one where the writer has not described an episode of betrayal, blackmail or denunciation on the part of their fellow Polish citizens.”

Is something more in this?

Poland’s lower house of parliament endorsed the new legislation on January 26, the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Why then?

Many Poles helped Jews during the war. They were brave and righteous. If caught, they faced execution by the Nazis.

Morawiecki was touring the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews in Markowa when he spoke.

The Markowa museum, which opened in 2016, stands near the place where German soldiers in 1944 killed Jozef Ulma, his pregnant wife Wiktoria and their six small children, as well as eight members of the Goldman, Gruenfeld and Didner families that the Ulmas were sheltering.

Mateusz Szpytma, deputy director of the museum, said it is estimated that between 700 and 1,100 Poles were murdered by the Germans for helping Jews during the war.

At the Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center in Jerusalem, 6,706 Poles are honoured for their role in helping Jews.

Facts are vital. But how are they established if not through free speech and free expression? It’s a perverted sense of liberty that advances freedom in negative terms – a freedom from ideas, speech and words, rather than the pursuit of a positive freedom to speak and to challenge. From “Arbeit macht frei”, the sick message that hung over the gate to Auschwitz, the message to today’s Poles is “Gesetz macht dich frei”, the law will provide.

Arkady Rzegocki, Polish ambassador to the UK, writes to the Times:

The new law does not set a precedent. Legislation penalising, for example, Holocaust denial is also reflected in the legal systems of other European countries.

Absurd, of course. Don’t try to understand why and how? Just dip the Holocaust in aspic and serve it as an orthodoxy to be consumed. Only bigots and berks deny the Holocaust and make liars of the millions murdered and everyone who knew them. That speech is trammelled on pain of law to protect the sane and reasoned from the foolish, biased and people who prefer the other side in the war is a sadness that undermines free speech, elevates the losers to something too close to martyrdom and presents Germans, French and anyone else living where Holocaust denial is a crime as mass-murderers-in-waiting, people for whom the Holocaust is not a horror but a neatly-packaged slice of history that were it not for banning orders most would consider an experiment worth revisiting.

You wonder who it is the authorities really hate and fear?

Rzegocki continues:

According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of Holocaust denial, this is not only a denial that the Holocaust took place, but also a distortion of historical truth about its perpetrators and its circumstances. We believe that the truth about German death camps and the cruel reality of the German occupation of Poland is a part of the Holocaust’s history, and see the new law as complementary to the existing world regulation on Holocaust denial.

“World regulation on Holocaust denial”. To anyone who supports free speech, that line is chilling.

And now for some more context. The Guardian spots another landmark to Jewish persecution:

One lesser-known memorial is a small plaque on the wall of the Warszawa Gdańska railway station, a nondescript socialist-era building on the north side of the city. It was from here that many Poles of Jewish origin departed in the wake of the “anti-Zionist campaign” in March 1968, when cold war politics and a power struggle within the Polish Communist party led to an antisemitic propaganda campaign forcing thousands of Polish Jews to leave the country.

“Loyalty to socialist Poland and imperialist Israel is not possible simultaneously,” prime minister Józef Cyrankiewicz had declared in 1968. “Whoever wants to face these consequences in the form of emigration will not encounter any obstacle.” The plaque bears a tribute from the Polish-Jewish writer Henryk Grynberg: “For those who emigrated from Poland after March 1968 with a one-way ticket. They left behind more than they had possessed.”

And this:

Ruling party officials have claimed the row has been confected by Jewish advocacy groups seeking compensation for property restitution claims. An editorial on the rightwing TV Republika website described the crisis as “a big test of loyalty for the Polish Jews whose organisations are linked personally and institutionally with American Jews”, and accused them of “too rarely and too weakly defending Poland and the Poles in the international arena”.

“They want to break us – it’s about sovereignty, truth and money,” read the cover of Sieci, a weekly that has close ties to Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party.

DW adds:

Andrzej Zybertowicz, an adviser to Polish President Andrzej Duda, said Israel’s negative reaction to the law stemmed from what he called a “feeling of shame at the passivity of the Jews during the Holocaust.”

Zybertowicz called Israel’s opposition to the new law “anti-Polish” and said it shows the Mideast nation is “clearly fighting to keep the monopoly on the Holocaust.”

“Many Jews engaged in denunciation, collaboration during the war. I think Israel has still not worked it through,” Zybertowicz said in the interview in The Polska-The Times newspaper on Friday.

Two words in reply: never forget.

Posted: 11th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


A police medic did not punch a man in the face and head at London’s Kurdish protest (video)

kurds rally London police

 

The police tell. They do not listen. They work to an agenda. Media should not be so monocular. It should exercise circumspection. The police make enough mistakes without any need to sensationalise the ordinary.

The Metro trails as story from a march in London by thousands of Kurds protesting against Turkey’s military attack on the Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria. It’s horrendous. Shame on the UK for not backing the Kurds.

This Metro’s conjures the headline: “Police medic punches man in head at Kurdish rally.” It is “shocking” says the paper of the moment a “Metropolitan Police medic repeatedly punches a man” in the head.

Only, he doesn’t. The copper is hitting the man in the shoulder in what appears to be an attempt to get him to release his grip.

 

 

The minor incident was reported earlier in the Mail, which also needs a crash course in body parts:

Met police medic punches man in the head at Kurdish rally. Met police medic punches man in the head at Kurdish rally. A man wearing a Metropolitan police medic uniform has been filmed on top of another man who he punches repeatedly in the head as he lays on the road at a Kurdish protest rally in London.

 

kurds rally London police

The Mail adds: “The man tries to get up, without using much force but is pushed back down by the medic, who then punches him in the face four times“. The Mail says that twice.

 

 

The face? No. That’s a shoulder.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police says: “We are aware of a video posted on social media. We are in the process of establishing the circumstances of the incident. The Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed.”

We’re aware of it, too, and it’d be stupid to rush to judgement. No context is offered by the video. Just sensationalist reporting.

Meanwhile…in Afrin…

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Labour speaks with forked tongue to Welsh teens

This week it became a criminal offence for under-18s in Wales to get a pierced tongue, nipple or genitals. The Labour-run Welsh Government heard from, among others, Dr Frank Atherton, the chief medical officer for Wales, who said “a third of young people with intimate piercings have reported complications following a procedure”.  The could be “child protection issues”.

Under-18s cannot care for themselves as well as over-18s. Over-18s do not always have under-18s best interests at heart. Although the Welsh Government notes: “A study in England found that amongst individuals aged 16-24 complications were reported with around a third of all body piercings.” So adults are just as likely to report complications with body piercings as under-18s. Why not ban it for everyone, then? Maybe the Welsh Government think one age group is easier to control than the other?

This week week we also learned that the Welsh government plans to allow 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in council elections. Sixteen-year-olds are too childish to wash their own tongues but smart enough to vote… well, to vote Labour, which is surely the local burghers’ forecast.

They’re not giving teens the vote because they think you’re whip smart or even want it. They’re giving you the vote because they think you don’t read the label and can’t grasp consequences.

Posted: 4th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, The Consumer | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dear daughters, an apology: grid girls and darts babes are worse than porn

grid girls sexism

 

This is an apology to my three daughter. I’m an idiot. I never realised women could only do certain jobs and should dress a certain way. I thought you could do it all, and maybe make up some new roles and fashions that offer fun, fulfilment, independence and a living. And you, the eldest, when the school rang to tell me what you’re life choices amounted to “Get lucky or be a Victoria’s Secret’s model”, I should not have said, “Well, luck’s great and – wow! – what a great life that must be.” I should have gasped and steered you toward something you don’t want to do, and a life which, crucially, more educated and caring people know you need.

Thankfully, these better more paternalistic people are helping you and me by setting new rules. You must not be a Formula One grid girl or accompany an overweight, white, male darts player to the oche. If you are attracted to traffic and multi-millionaires in very expensive cars, you can get a job as a Transport Minister or cleaner roads campaigner in Knightsbridge.

Radio presenter James O’Brien explains: “Unless there are lots of parents who would genuinely prefer their child to dream of wearing a skimpy outfit & being sprayed in the face with champagne for money rather than dreaming of being a racing driver, this ‘grid girl’ business seems rather straightforward.”

It’s not about choice for you; it’s about preference from them. They are here to steer us towards a more dignified and ‘appropriate’ you.

Lauren-Jade (@laurenjadepope) is one women who wasn’t privy to the Twitter School of liberal conservatism. She notes:

“Because of these feminists, they’ve have cost us our jobs! I have been a grid girl for 8 years and I have Never felt uncomfortable! I love my job, if I didn’t I wouldn’t do it! Noone forces us to do this! This is our choice!”

She doesn’t know her own mind, of course. You might wonder why dressing like an air stewardess or bank clerk by fast cars is outrageous but going naked in Vogue, a film role and for Peta, say, or dry humping a building site is empowering? I thought the answer was something to do with class, wage and articulation. Strong-minded upper and middle-class women take off their clothes and have on-the-clock sex to lampoon society, take a stand and become a broadsheet-loved, ITV-endorsed, best-selling author (see: Belle du Jour); working class women take off their clothes because they’re mentally negligible aids to masturbation, and know no better, having been conditioned to limit their lives and imaginations by a society that knows what’s best for them.

We’ve come a long way, I’m told. Now women should prioritise not what they think they want but what others know they really want.

Sorry, girls.

Posted: 4th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Anti-free speech bigots attack Jacob Rees-Mogg (video)

When Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg arrived to speak at the University of the West of England (UWE) event organised by the university’s Politics and International Relations Society, a group of protestors burst in and started bellowing. Some of the fearless hecklers wore darks glasses and scarves over their faces. The Express calls them “masked men”.

Chloe Kaye, who posted a video of the ruckus on Twitter, wrote: “A huge amount of (physical) violence at a Jacob Rees-Mogg speech in UWE Bristol.” She tells the Express: “I went into the talk to hear about Jacob Rees-Mogg and suddenly as soon as he comes in about six masked individuals run in screaming, ‘bigot, racist, sexist’. They’re screaming, absolutely no university security to be seen. Jacob Rees-Mogg screams, ‘I believe in free speech,’ so he runs up to them and actually wants to start talking to them.”

They also called him a Nazi, which says much about their thin grasp on history and what actual Nazis are.

 

 

Only the Guardian offers some reason why the uninvited guests went for Rees-Mogg:

The Conservative MP for North East Somerset, tipped by some as his party’s next leader, is seen as a divisive figure because of his rightwing views, including hardline Euroscepticism, opposition to abortion even in cases of rape, and his belief that climate change is not worth fighting.

He’s a committed Catholic. Raus! No Catholics here. He has strong views. And he understands that holding them will attract fierce reactions. But to be slated for being a Catholic is abhorrent. And you know who else didn’t much like Catholics?

 

The Guardian branded Rees-Mogg a bigot on its front page, but not the Pope, nor any number of people from other religions that don’t support abortion and gay marriage, such as leaders in Iran, where homosexuals are executed – Iran’s a bigoted regime that used to hire Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn through Press TV.

 

The Pope – the right kind of ‘bigot’

 

There was a scuffle. Rees-Mogg was jostled. Although sources say he was trying to break up a fight between the “anti-fascists” who, er, don’t like free speech and those who’d got a ticket to hear him speak.

“Some people who don’t agree with me wanted to make their point, and I don’t object to this,” said the MP. “I think we live in a free society and freedom of speech is very important. And people like me, who advocate freedom of speech, support it when it’s not exactly what we want, as well as when it is what we want.”

 

 

“They shouted at me, but they weren’t going to hit me,” he adds. “They didn’t want to talk about politics, they just wanted to stop the event. I’m of the sticks-and-stones school of thought,” he said. “I wanted to stop anyone being hit because the whole thing would have degenerated. I didn’t think anyone was going to hit me so I felt quite safe intervening. I spoke afterwards; I was there for ages.”

He was speaking his mind – something we must all be free to do.

Posted: 3rd, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Recasting mosque murderer Darren Osborne as a grooming victim

How do you report on Darren Osborne? Yesterday at Woolwich Crown Court, Osborne was convicted of the murder of Makram Ali, 51, and the attempted murder of other Muslims outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, north London.

The Mirror calls him a “racist thug”. An “ex-schoolmate” calls him a “complete dick”. A former lover calls Osborne a “pill-popping sponger” who was banned from Toys R Us for “trying to steal Lego”. He stole from his “blinded great-grandad” and served a two-year prison sentence for assault. He’s the Sun’s “twisted loser” – a “maniac”. Darren Osborne, folks, a life-long bastard.

 

darren osborne muslim killer

The Sun says 4 weeks; the Star and Guardian says three.

 

But the Sun says he “turned into a hate-filled extremist in just four weeks”.  The Star declares “3 Weeks To Turn Into Racist Killer”. The Times classifies Osborne as a “a white loner” who was “rapidly radicalised after accessing far-right material on the internet”. No circumspection. One minute you’re browsing for photos of cats, online banking and asking to see a schoolboy’s fillings and when he opens his mouth to show you gobbing inside it (as Osborne reportedly did), the next you stumble across a website, get brainwashed by murderous loons and go on a killing spree. To see is to do, runs the mantra.

How long before Osborne is described as a victim because police “believe the catalyst for Osborne’s descent into hate was watching a BBC drama about a sex abuse scandal involving Muslim men, a swell as viewing extremist inline content” (Guardian)? Was he, you know, groomed?

 

darren osborne muslim killer

The Guardian

 

More descriptions of Osborne, 48, are forthcoming in the Times. He’s “unemployed”. He’s an “alcoholic”. Seeking background to those conditions might tell us more about the kind of man who deliberately drives a van into people minding their own business. But it’s the “radicalisation” that excites the old media, the State and police most. You can’t control a man as easily as you can control what a man sees and hears. So we read this:

Police said that Osborne, from Pentwyn, Cardiff, acted alone and was radicalised soon after joining Twitter and immersing himself in far-right material online. He took a particular interest in Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League, and Jayda Fransen, the co-founder of Britain First.

Commander Dean Haydon, the head of Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism command, said that the first trigger for Osborne was a BBC television drama about the child-grooming scandal in Rochdale.

He was triggered. Like a switch going off (or on), the narrative is that Osbourne was a normal, average, rational and reasoned individual, a man whose motto was ‘Live and let live’, who never had a racist thought, and who after watching one show on the telly embarked on a mission to murder Muslims. There but for the grace of god, go we, eh. That’s hope the internet is trammelled, censored and controlled by those who know best so that we too are not damaged.

 

darren osborne muslim killer

The Mail: the web and BBC dunnit

 

Mr Haydon goes on the record: “That [a BBC TV show on rape gangs ] was the catalyst for him having a hatred for the Muslim community. From thereafter he accessed extreme right-wing material. He then became obsessed with that material and that sent him into a further spiral of him wishing to carry out an attack.” Haydon called Osbourne a “devious, vile and hate-filled individual”. Well, he did murder one man and try to slaughter many more. He did pledge: “I’m going to kill all Muslims.” Haydon’s appraisal of the convicted murderer is pretty spot on, but not needed. We, like the jury that took less than an hour to convict him, can make up our minds without police guidance.

But the police are not only there to tell; they are also there to censor:

The Met will not disclose the details of Osborne’s hate-filled interviews, or the full note that he left behind in the van that contained various slurs against Muslims, for fear of inciting more hate incidents.

From being an alcoholic loner, Osbourne is now an inspiration. He watched the telly to be become a killer; you only need to read a note to flip the switch. You’re all that vulnerable (aka: thick and in need to State-led supervision).

 

darren osborne muslim killer

The Sun

 

And then this:

Osborne was also said to have become angered after the string of Islamist attacks last year in London and Manchester.

So not just the telly show, then. There was more.

Two nights before the attack he told people at his local pub that he was “going to kill all Muslims” and said that he was going to take matters into his own hands. Callum Spence, a soldier, told the court: “I heard him saying: ‘All our families are going to be Muslim. They are all going to be terrorists.’ Things like that.”

The ravings of a deranged and violent criminal, who was, as the Guardian notes, thrown out of a pub near his home in Cardiff for making racist comments”. But Harun Khan, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, says Osbourne is a terrorist. “The scenes we witnessed last summer were the most violent manifestation of Islamophobia yet in our country,” he says. “We cannot be complacent and regard this as a one-off terrorist incident.”

But it was a one-off, a rare crime, thankfully.

Why can’t Osbourne be like other terrorists who we’re told operate as lone wolves, gurning loons who represent only their own grotesque disregard for life and freedom, and have no truck with a greater cause and movement?

Khalid Oumar, a trustee of the mosque and founder of the Finsbury Park Attack victims’ voice forum, puts the case for trust in ourselves well: “The scars will stay with them for ever, but the community is determined to go about daily life without fear and to stand together against victimisation and violence.” Right on. Let’s not let this be all couched in dispiriting victimhood. We’re better than that.

Note: Darren Osborne has been sentenced to a minimum term of 43 years in prison. He’ll die there.

Posted: 2nd, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


’15 Things I’ve learned from Chris Heath’s remarkable interview with Quincy Jones’

Quincy Jones’s interview in GQ magazine in gangbusters. John Lewis distills the glory in “15 Things I’ve learned from Chris Heath’s remarkable interview with Quincy Jones”:

 

quincy jones dong rats

 

 

1. Aged 84, Quincy Jones has 22 girlfriends around the world, who are all aware of each other.
2. He claims to speak 26 languages.
3. He seems confident that he will live until the age of 120.
4. He watched his mother being carted off in a straitjacket to a mental hospital.
5. He and his brother were forced to catch and eat rats as children.
6. He used to buy dope from Malcolm X when he stayed in Detroit.
7. He watched Ray Charles injecting heroin into his balls (that’s Ray Charles’s balls, not Quincy Jones’s).
8. He was very angry when Michael Jackson’s chimpanzee, Bubbles, bit his baby daughter Rashida. He also saw Michael Jackson’s boa constrictor eat a parrot.
9. His lunch companions have included Pablo Picasso (“he was fucked up with absinthe all the time”) and Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (“she told me everyone in the Third Reich was on cocaine”).
10. He was due to be at Sharon Tate’s house on the night of the Charles Manson murders, but forgot to go.
11. He still wears a ring given to him by Frank Sinatra, bearing the Sinatra family crest from Sicily.
12. Barack and Michelle Obama came round his house in 2008 and spent six hours trying to convince Quincy to shift his support in the Democratic primaries from Hilary Clinton to Obama.
13. As a guest of the Pope in 1999, he was impressed by the pontiff’s footwear. John Paul II overheard Quincy as he remarked: “Oh, my man’s got some pimp shoes on.”
14. He stays at Bono’s castle when he’s in Ireland (“cos Scotland and Ireland are so racist it’s frightening”).
15. He is a good cook. “I cook gumbo that’ll make you slap your grandmother.”

And that’s not to mention the stuff about Prince, and Marlon Brando, and Marilyn Monroe, and Tupac Shakur, and Nat King Cole, and the Dominican playboy Portfirio Rubirosa (“What a guy: 11-inch dong”).

Read it all.

Posted: 31st, January 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Action on Sugar and the new Puritans know what’s best for the poor and chilled

You don’t need to share a big back of crisps of chocolates, you know, the small sacks of the stuff you can buy in cinema foyers. A friend of mine eschews the small packets and asks for the “fat bastard” popcorn bucket. He finds it just the right amount. But some people thinks he’s spending his money on too much nosh. They want a return to those halcyon says of less, when rationing was all the go. The Guardian says the country is gripped by an “obesity crisis” – which it isn’t –  and wants us to listen to the uncharitable charity Action on Sugar, which is demanding a 20% sugar tax on all sugar-enriched confectionery.

The poor will pay more for their sugary treats. The better off and thick won’t much notice. (Unless they add a new tax to wine, which is full of sugar.)

AoS also wants a ban on supermarket deals for “sharing” bags of treats like M&Ms, Maltesers, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Giant Buttons. The stuff’s being made too cheap. People are buying too much. There is too much freedom.

Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar is outraged. “It is shocking that food companies are being allowed to exploit consumers by manipulating them into purchasing larger size bags of chocolate confectionery on the cheap,” he says. “Theresa May is letting companies get away with this despite pledging to help the socially deprived when she first became the prime minister. Companies must be held accountable and reminded to reconsider their ethical and corporate responsibility.”

It turns out you help the deprived by, er, depriving them of things they enjoy. And the easily manipulated should be manipulated not by Bertie Bassett but by anti-sugar campaigners. No money for a skiing holiday this year, but you’ve got a few quid for a big bag of Revels on the sofa in front of the telly. You get your pleasures where you can. But other people know what’s best for you. Step back from the Minstrels trough, fatso. Stop being chilled about your weight and diet. It’s panic stations time. (Call 0800TASTE4STRESS – Our therapists are waiting for your call.)

According to the data, the most sugary sharing bag is a pouch of Brookside Dark Chocolate Pomegranate (198g), which contains 29 teaspoons of sugar in one bag – “four times the maximum daily limit for adults”. Maximum limit? It’s not a limit that if exceeded causes you to overdose. It’s a recommendation.

The Guardian doesn’t mention the reply from the Industry body the Food and Drink Federation. “There is no substantive evidence that they make any meaningful difference to obesity,” it says. “Instead of demonising individual nutrients, products or categories we should instead be promoting balanced diets.”

They all agree on one thing: the purpose of life is health and longevity. So wrap you and yours in cotton wool, avoid all risk and take your five a day. It might not be fun. But at least you’ll be miserable for longer…

NEXT UP: The Pension crisis and people living longer than ever!

Posted: 26th, January 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Presidents Club Dinner: moral outrage trumps cancer victims

presidents club dinner

 

Lots of reaction to the President Club do, a charity fundraiser in London in which a soak of rich men (is that the correct group term?) convened in Park Lane for a night of extempore giving in the company of able-bodied, attractive female serving staff. The event’s been going for 33 years, but this year’s shindig at the flashy Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane has been damned. A journalist for the Financial Times says while working undercover she experienced lots of wandering hands and the needy blokes who equate being minted with sexual attraction treating young women as chattels.

Many upset voices have taken to the airwaves. #SexistDinner runs the hashtag on social media. Kate Maltby, the woman who survived Damien Green MP touching her knee, says it’s a game-changer. David Meller, who worked at the event, has quit the board of the Department for Education. The Prime Minister is “appalled”. Jess Philips MP says the women were “bought as bait”. Ubiquitous TV face and pal to the super-rich David Walliams says he had no idea he was at a slave auction when he entertained the bastards and is crawling over broken glass to get back in with the right sort of people.

 

 

The money raised is tainted. In the rush to damn, the actions of a few men at a “notorious” dinner  are hurting the most needy.

Great Ormond Street hospital – sending the money back, will not accept future donations
Received: £530,000 between 2009 and 2016.

Comment: “We are shocked to hear of the behaviour reported at the Presidents Club charitable trust fundraising dinner. We would never knowingly accept donations raised in this way. We have had no involvement in the organisation of this event, nor did we attend and we were never due to receive any money from it.”

Evelina children’s hospital (part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust) – sending the money back
Received: The Presidents Club pledged £650,000 to fund a six-bed high-dependency space within a new intensive care unit. Construction is under way. At the dinner, Richard Caring pledged £400,000 to put his name on the unit – Evelina confirmed that would not be going ahead.

Comment: “We are very alarmed by the allegations about the behaviour of some of those attending the Presidents Club fundraising dinner. This is not the kind of event we would wish to be associated with and we will therefore be declining funding from it and returning all previous donations from the Presidents Club.”

Clatterbridge cancer charity – sending the money back
Received: £15,000 towards the building of a new specialist cancer hospital in Liverpool.

Comment: “We can confirm that we received a donation of £15,000 from the Presidents Club charitable trust last year.

“Following reports of completely unacceptable behaviour at their event we will be returning that donation.”

Royal Academy of Music – sending the money back and will not accept future donations
Advertisement

Received: £10,000 scholarship for a child violinist with special needs.

Comment: “The allegations of sexual harassment are deeply disturbing. The Royal Academy of Music received a £10,000 donation from the Presidents Club in July 2017, which was awarded as a scholarship to a gifted violin student. We had nothing to do with the event last week, or previous Presidents Club fundraising events.

“In light of today’s allegations, we will be returning the £10,000 donation and will not be accepting any future donations from the Presidents Club. The student will not affected by this course of action. We would never knowingly associate with an organisation which condones the type of behaviour we have learned about today.”

Cancer Research UK – will not accept future donations
Received: £20,000 towards equipment for children.

Comment: “We are shocked by the allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Such behaviour is intolerable and completely incompatible with the values of Cancer Research UK.

“We have never had any involvement with the Presidents Club and no one from Cancer Research UK has ever attended the dinner.

“We did receive a one-off donation from the trust in the past, which has already been spent to fund research into childhood cancers.”

Can it be right that these charities think grandstanding is more important than helping the pained, in need and deprived? Do the women who worked at the event want this? Has anyone thought to ask them – or are they mentally negligible dolts whose views are worth less than their wages and contacts books?  Madison Marriage, the Financial Times reporter who worked at the event, says the 130 hostesses were asked to sign a five-page non-disclosure agreement about the event upon arrival at the hotel. But surely that doesn’t include a ban on reporting criminality?

And on what planet can it be right that moralisers and the offended trump the needs of cancer patients? Answer: this one, apparently. Let’s spot the real victims and not let a few sad men and moralisers hold sway.

Posted: 25th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


L’Oreal model Amena Khan resigns over tweets calling for destruction of Israel

Turns out L’Oreal model Amena Khan isn’t worth it.  Khan, who became the first woman in a hijab to model L’Oreal’s face and hair unguents, has resigned “because the current conversations surrounding it detract from the positive and inclusive sentiment that it set out to deliver”. Eh?

 

loreal kahn antisemitism

 

A L’Oreal spokesperson has more: “We have recently been made aware of a series of tweets posted in 2014 by Amena Khan, who was featured in a UK advertising campaign. We appreciate that Amena has since apologised for the content of these tweets and the offence they have caused. L’Oréal Paris is committed to tolerance and respect towards all people. We agree with her decision to step down from the campaign.”

She’s deleted her posts. But someone saved them. Here they are:

 

loreal racism model

 

Nice one, Amena. You might wonder why she wants the world’s only Jewish state to be utterly destroyed. The assumptions could be the some people will look at her and think she’s a bigot.

 

 

Let’s have a look at what Khan told Vogue she got the job:

“How many brands are doing things like this? Not many. They’re literally putting a girl in a headscarf -whose hair you can’t see- in a hair campaign. Because what they’re really valuing through the campaign is the voices that we have. You have to wonder—why is it presumed that women who don’t show their hair don’t look after it? The opposite of that would be that everyone that does show their hair only looks after it for the sake of showing it to others. And that mindset strips us of our autonomy and our sense of independence. Hair is a big part of self-care.”

Not sure if those noble words extend to Israeli women, who if their country is ended, as Amena hoped, would very possibly all be dead. But that’s not to say those uniquely barbaric Jews can’t and shouldn’t look after their hair as they await their next slaughter. Because as anti-Semites never tire of telling us: they’re worth it.

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United: Mata is the antidote to Sanchez and Pogba’s greed

How much does Manchester United’s Paul Pogba earn? This is not to shame ‘Old Pogba’, as the BBC dubs him, to cast him as a footballing mercenary, a barb former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has aimed at Alexis Sanchez as the Chilean prepares to leave Arsenal for a £450,000-week deal at Manchester United.

The vast majority of us work for the money. Footballers should be no different. Although some of us want footballers to be role models for the slack-jawed masses, which is why the Guardian has made Juan Mata its footballer of the year. The Manchester United midfielder heads the Common Goal project, in which players and managers donate 1% of their salary to charity. Good for him and the recipients of his generosity, but relegating an athlete’s ability with the ball to somewhere below their morals is unhelpful to anyone who sees football as a fun leisure pursuit. Does journalism award prizes to commentators and editors on the strength of how many charities they give to? Do newspapers publish staff earnings in league tables and link wage packets to their owner’s net worth? The maximum fee for professional footballers was scrapped in the 1960s. The current obsession with footballer’s earnings and spending power looks a lot like snobbish disdain.

 

Young man from working-class background buys house!

 

And in the rush to sneer at footballers, facts are manipulated to suit the narrative. When Pogba signed for United on 2016, the Daily Mail stated his wage at £290,000-per week. Today the Mirror reports that Pogba earns £200,000-a-week. That’s quite some difference. And the Express says Pogba wants his wage”doubled” to match the “£500,000-a-week” Sanchez is set to earn.

Pogba’s basic salary is £165,000 a week, says the BBC. But his 41-page contract contains substantial incentives to earn more.

Will United give Pogba such a massive raise because his agent senses an opportunity? You wouldn’t bet against it. If the club are desperate enough to pay Sanchez a massive wage and in so doing risk destabilising the team – the reason Pep Guardiola gave for Manchester City pulling out of any deal for Sanchez – they’ll pay through the nose to keep their main marketing asset happy. Good for them. The rest of us should all agree on one thing: everyone should be on huge wages.

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Get the Prince William haircut: yours for £3 a hair

Prince William did not shave his head into a regulation short back-and-sides. The hair was cut by a “scissors over comb freehand technique”, that, according to the Sun, “results in a softer finish” than clippers.

Anyone itching to get ‘The Wills’ can hire Joey Wheeler, who will set to work on your thatch for a mere £180, roughly £3 per hair. Well, so says the Sun – the reassuringly expensive fee echoed in the Mirror.

 

prince william hair

 

Helping readers spot the new Willis from the old, the Sun presents “before” and “after” shots. The odd bit is that Wills’ hair is less obvious in the ‘after’ than it in the ‘before’, but it is the ‘after’ which dignifies the front-page of the country’s best-read newspapers. Less is more in the world of tabloid sensation and hair.

PS: If you see Sarah Ferguson stretching a pink cap of sliced York ham over her red mane, don’t be shocked. She does what she must to get noticed.

Posted: 19th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Justin Trudeau rides to the rescue on Khawlah Noman’s cut hijab

Racism exits, of course. But to prejudice incidents to fit our own prejudices serve no useful purpose. When CNN reported the claim of an alleged crime, the details were not couched in circumspection and a need to stick to the facts. The story told us: “Khawlah Noman was walking to her Toronto school when a man suddenly appeared behind her and cut her hijab.”

Fact. Nasty stuff. The story continues: ‘”I felt really scared and confused,” the 11-year-old girl said at a news conference Friday.’ A news conference for a nasty but not major crime seems overblown. No? You kind if wonder what role the police are taking. Child makes claim. Police stage press conference and issue a statement of fact.

The man approached the child from behind Friday morning as she made her way to school with her younger brother. He pulled the hood off the girl’s jacket and cut her hijab with a pair of scissors, police said.

More facts.

The story was so important that it went to the very top. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter:

“My heart goes out to Khawlah Noman following this morning’s cowardly attack on her in Toronto. Canada is an open and welcoming country, and incidents like this cannot be tolerated.”

Was an alleged incident being used to polish the State’s sound morals? Canada was standing with Khawlah.

The facts kept on coming. Reuters wrote a report which was picked up by many publications. The following words appeared in the Daily Mail, NY TimesThe National and the Huffington Post:

Toronto police are investigating an attack on an 11-year-old girl whose hijab headcovering was repeatedly cut on her way to school on Friday, heightening pressure on Canadian governments to take further action against attacks on Muslims.

Newsweek rehashed the news:

Khawlah Noman, a sixth grader at Pauline Johnson Junior Public School in Toronto, Canada was walking with her younger brother to school when a man came up behind her, pulled off her jacket hood, and started cutting the bottom of her hijab.

Trudeau was breathless with pain as he told people that attacking children was not the kind of country Canada is.

 

 

It happened!

 

 

And now a report tells us:

An 11-year-old girl’s report last week that a man tried to cut off her hijab as she walked to school didn’t occur, Toronto police said Monday.

“After a detailed investigation, police have determined that the events described in the original news release did not happen,” police said.

“The investigation is concluded.”

Kids, eh.

Posted: 17th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Toby Young, The Fabian Society and eugenics for life

Is Toby Young a eugenicist? Young has been riding high on the news cycle ever since we was given a job at the Office for Students (OfS). People held up Young’s offensive tweets and, depending on your prejudices, either hounded him from a job he was well-equipped to perform or exposed a pervert who benefitted from friends and family in high places to score a job he was unfit for. Under pressure, Young resigned from the position.

Prejudice has played a part in Young’s undoing, of course. Labour MP Angela Rayner wanted Young banned from the OfS for his “historical comments”. That’s the same Rayner who supported her fellow Labour MP Jared O’Mara, the charmer who labelled his fellow humans “sexy little slags”,  “poofters” and “fudge-packers”. Angela Rayner told the BBC’s Today Programme: “I am happy to sit alongside him, because he made those comments 15 years ago… People do change their views…it is important that they recognise that and apologise and correct that behaviour.”

And what of Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who called Tory MP Esther McVey a “stain on humanity”? He mused: “Why aren’t we lynching the bastard?” Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, has described Mr Young – who apologised “unreservedly” for previous “ill-judged” comments – as “horrible”. Appearing on BBC Radio 5Live, Thornberry was asked if she believed Mr McDonnell should apologise. “I think that those who remember what it was that she [McVey] said around the time that she was cutting benefits to disabled people will be horrified to hear that she is now the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.”

Isn’t that, you know, victim blaming?

What of death threats aimed at McVey following McDonnell’s attack? “Well, that is wrong but what she needs to do is she needs to ensure that she educates herself properly about what the effects of cuts to benefits have on real people on a day to day basis,” said Thornberry, who saw no need for McDonnell to apologise.

And there’s more. On the BBC’s Question Time last night, the matter of Young’s attendance at a get together called the London Conference on Intelligence (LCI) at UCL was raised. The London Student Coop site highlights some of the matters discussed there: “The London Conference on Intelligence, is dominated by a secretive group of white supremacists with neo-Nazi links.,, Among the speakers and attendees over the last four years are a self-taught geneticist who argues in favour of child rape, multiple white supremacists, and ex-board member of the Office for Students Toby Young.”

Private Eye says the conference “serves as a rendezvous for academic racists and their sympathisers”.

Young says:

Yes, I heard some people express some pretty odd views. But I don’t accept that listening to someone putting forward an idea constitutes tacit acceptance or approval of that idea, however unpalatable. That’s the kind of reasoning that leads to people being no-platformed on university campuses.

Fair point, no? If attending equates to approval, what of working for the Iranian regime? Nick Cohen noted:

Jeremy Corbyn has been paid £20,000 to appear five times on the totalitarian Iranian regime’s propaganda channel, which was banned in the UK for its role in filming the tortured forced-confession of Iranian liberal journalist Maziar Bahari… Iranian democracy campaigner Maziar Bahari’s own thoughts on Corbyn, who he describes as ‘a useful idiot’, and goes on to say:

People who present programmes for Press TV and get paid for it should be really ashamed of themselves — especially if they call themselves liberals and people who are interested in human rights.

The Iranian regime executes gay people, democracy activists, Kurds, and orders the rape of female prisoners. But Corbyn is happy to take their money and aid their propaganda campaign. Watch the end of this clip as Jeremy hosts a caller who describes the BBC as having hosted ‘Zionist liars’.

And what of inviting Hamas and Hizbollah to Parliament? Corbyn called them his “friends”. That’s Hamas which calls for all Jews to be killed and states:

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad.

Double standards? Of course. That much is certain.

And as for eugenics being, as Question Time panelist comedian Nish Kumar called it “some dark Nazi shit”, well, not all eugenicists are Nazis. There’s Marie Stopes, the family-planning pioneer, who in a book called Radiant Motherhood denounced any society that “allows the diseased, the racially negligent, the thriftless, the careless, the feeble-minded, the very lowest and worst members of the community to produce innumerable tens of thousands of stunted, warped and inferior infants.” Helen Keller said that allowing a “defective” child to die was simply a “weeding of the human garden that shows a sincere love of true life.” In 1910, ardent socialist George Bernard Shaw’s lecture to the Eugenics Education Society was reported in the Daily Express: “A part of eugenic politics would finally land us in an extensive use of the lethal chamber. A great many people would have to be put out of existence simply because it wastes other people’s time to look after them.”

Polly Tonybee, who like Bernard Shaw did, writes for the Guardian, also forgets history. Does she forget that the Fabian society once advocated eugenics? The Fabian Society, as the Guardian notes, “joined with the trade unions to found the Labour party”. Says Tonybee in that paper:

Despite the non-emergence of an “intelligence gene” and the predominant importance of environment over heredity, the far right’s search for reasons why the poor are inferior has a long history. Steve Jones, renowned geneticist, puts it this way: he points out that wealth is considerably more heritable than genes. He says moving to affluence increases a working-class child’s IQ by 15 points. As for super-breeding, Darwin asked a racing dog breeder how he succeeded: “I breed many and I hang many,” was his reply. Not so easy with humans.

Young’s New Schools Network is an odd beast, a charity drawing £2m, 90% of its income, from the state, to advocate and help people set up new schools. But there haven’t been any successful applications since before the 2015 election.

The closing date for the renewed contract to the NSN is 19 January – though it has always gone to the same outfit. Toby Young earns some £90,000 per year as its head. There is, in the tender, no mention of applicants being fit and proper – or non-eugenicists.

Is it a “witch-hunt” as Young says it is?

Brendan O’Neill says it is. He sees a cull:

…the worst thing about this days-long, now successful demand for a metaphorical head on a platter is that it will intensify one of the nastiest strains in British politics right now: the urge to purify public life; the thirst for harrying and hectoring and shaming out of polite and political society anyone who isn’t fully au fait with PC-speak, who isn’t completely versed in the new and prudish sexual strictures, who doesn’t believe that men can become women, who thinks it’s okay to make jokes about things, and who isn’t an obedient bower and scraper before the worldview of a staggeringly narrow but sadly influential section of society. Toby Young’s fate confirms the intellectual straitjacketing of public life, and the borderline criminalisation of eccentric, daring or simply daft thought and speech.

If we’re all being judged by people so certain they are right and another is wrong – people who have stopped arguing with themselves and now occupy a settled position where disturbance is taboo, differing views must be destroyed and uncertainly, that force that creates ideas and humour, is ended – an essential part of what it is to be human dies. In which case, can please hurry up with those robots…

Posted: 12th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Donald Trump’s gorilla channel dupes the media

Donald Trump watches a channel that only shows gorillas fighting. It’s true. We read it on Twitter. Pixelated Boat, the self-styled “Prince of Lies”,  shared an extract from Michael’s Wolff’s book on the President, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House:

 

donald trump gorilla channel

 

“On some days he’ll watch the gorilla channel for 17 hours straight,’ an insider told me. ‘He kneels in front of the TV, with his face about four inches from the screen, and says encouraging things to the gorillas, like ‘the way you hit that other gorilla was good.’ I think he thinks the gorillas can hear him.’”

We know it’s true because no sooner had “Prince of Lies” tweeted it than the New York Times broadcast it as fact:

 

donald trump gorilla channel

 

Newsweek had more.

 

 

The Atlantic’s contributing editor Shadi Hamid hooted:

“This is my favorite part of Wolff’s book so far. Amazing for what it says about this administration! (It’s worse than you think!!). So amazing, I can barely even believe it. It’s *literally* incredible.”

Even more incredible than Pixelated Boat’s previous Tweet to the Gorilla TV news:

 

 

 

David Burge nails it: “is that the gorilla turned out to be Trump and the stupid gorilla-obsessed Trump turned out to be the media.”

 

Posted: 11th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


To all the fat nurses everywhere: keep taking the sugar

After a lengthy stay in hospital, I was advised by a charming, caring and professional nurse to go out for ice-cream and champagne. She told me this as we chatted over a huge plate of biscuits and sugary tea. I felt instantly better. But sugar is taboo at an NHS hospital in Greater Manchester. Staff are being weaned off the stuff.

Karen James, Chief Executive Tameside hospital, says: “My staff work very hard. Long hours and shift patterns often make it very difficult for people to make healthy choices, so they opt for the instant sweet fixes, which until now have been readily available. These are dedicated healthcare professionals who believe they should be role models for their patients but the food environment has been working against them.”

Role models? I just wanted the nurses to give me the right drugs at the right time and stay wake.

“We’ve taken away the sugary drinks, we’ve taken sugary snacks out of vending machines, we’ve taken away cookies and muffins and replaced them with fruit,” thunders Amanda Bromley, director of human resources at Tameside “You’d go to the till and there’d be a Twix and a Bounty bar staring back at you. People are working long shifts and if things are in front of them we know they are going to reach for them.” Adding: “Nurses and other health professionals need to be leading by example. They need to be role models for patients.”

“If someone is visibly overweight people don’t necessarily trust that advice. The public expect nurses to be role models,” says Richard Kyle, of Edinburgh Napier University, who led a recent study to find measurements on people working in health professions, and found them to be as obese as the rest of us. “It’s a priority of Simon Stevens [head of NHS England] that the NHS should be an exemplar, have a better proportion than the general population.”

So the vending machines have been cleansed.

The Times has more:

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, is planning to ban the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals this summer if on-site shops cannot get them down to under 10 per cent of sales.

Maybe the shops can sell other stuff to get the higher-spending punters in, like running machines and cannabis, say.

He is also imposing calorie caps on sandwiches, crisps and chocolate to fight a “snack culture that is causing an epidemic of obesity, preventable diseases, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer”.

After so much PR guff – and the message to nurses to buy cheaper multi-pack of snacks at the supermarket – one thing is missing for the table: hospital food is disgusting. On my first night on the ward I was fed a baked potato with more ‘eyes’ than a Piers Morgan column. Thankfully, I had a someone who bring in fresh and edible food. And when I felt like a pick me up, well, the nurse was always there with biscuits. I can’t recall her weight, BMI or vital statistics, largely because I didn’t give a shit. But next time I’ll be sure to check as I seek her views on religion, politics, investment strategies and other things that I need from her to make sense of my own life.

Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0