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Woman with fear of owls wins damages from religious quack

Book of the day : ‘Owls on My Hat’ - June 1975

 

Headline of the week appeared on the BBC News website: “Owl phobia woman wins damages from religious doctor.” Yep. Quack!

Meet Sally Brayshaw, 54, of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. In pain following an operation, she was seeking relief. The Beeb says at a religious meeting locum doctor and Pentecostal Christian Thomas O’Brien told Sally the devil was “having a real go” at her. It was suggested she was possessed by demons. She was advised not to see a psychiatrist.

The pair met in August 2012: 

Over the next six months Dr O’Brien engaged Mrs Brayshaw in a number of religious activities, taking her to services, giving her religious gifts and setting her television to the Gospel channel to “soak” her in religious content. On one occasion, Mrs Brayshaw said she was taken to a meeting where a preacher spoke of sacrificing an owl…

This left her so terrified of the birds she could no longer look at a picture of one without becoming terrified.

Mr Justice Martin Spencer said it was “foreseeable” Mrs Brayshaw might “react adversely”, adding: “By reason of his zealous promotion of the religious aspects, [Dr O’Brien] became blind to the medical aspects and thereby caused or contributed to the deterioration in the claimant’s mental health.” Ruling Dr O’Brien was “negligent”, Spencer said Mrs Brayshaw was entitled to more than £12,700 in compensation from the doctor. The BBC notes: “Dr O’Brien took no part in the case and his whereabouts are unknown.” He was struck off in 2015 after a General Medical Council investigation. 

Posted: 1st, December 2018 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Huddersfield Bully: Jamal says thanks as bigots feed on his story

Jamal huddersfield

 

Jamal, the 15-year-old Syrian boy allegedly attacked by a school bully, is grateful for £130,000 raised by well-wishers to help his family. Yesterday he appeared at a protest outside his school organised by the Huddersfield Pakistani Alliance. Jamal was at the school with his father to thank members of the public who had donated money. The cash will allow the family who fled Homs in 2010 to leave West Yorkshire and begin a new life. 

Mirban Aslam, 41, who organised the school protest, is quoted in the Times. He says the “system” had failed Jamal and his family. “What other issues have this family and others faced, is there others across the country?” he asked. But it only took a few days from the video of the alleged assault going viral for the police to get stuck in. As for “other issues”, well, why speculate? Guessing and filling in the blanks is a dangerous game. MPs and BBC personalities have waded into the playground spat. Agendas and prejudices are piggy-backing on a minor incident. 

 

 

syria bbc huddersfield

The BBC’s Andrew Neil says the playground row “shames our country”

 

 

As soon as the Mail introduced the name Tommy Robinson into the story – the paper claims the 16-year-old who’d allegedly attacked Jamal had liked the former EDL leader’s videos (so what? – the BBC also considers his opinions worth listening to) – it wouldn’t be long before the rabble rouser rocked up. The Times looks at where speculation and monocular ‘journalism’ can get you:

Tommy Robinson, the former English Defence League leader, defended the 16-year-old boy accused of attacking Jamal and claimed that the Syrian boy had attacked two schoolgirls.

That claim is bunkum. But then – get this – a playground row between a teenage twat and a Syrian refugee goes to the heart of the nation and our politics. Yeah, really. The Times makes links:

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, called on Labour supporters and “anyone who cares about the future of our country” to join a Momentum demonstration in London on Sunday to oppose Robinson and other far-right figures.

 

This is how you make Robinson appear relevant. You big him up by supporting trammels on free speech. You promote what you are not by restricting conversations on migration, Islamism, cultural tensions, racism, grooming gangs, division fuelled by identity politics, police bias, multiculturalism and individuality. And into the vacuum where debate and the free and open exchange of ideas should be slide opportunists able to present their opinion as the ‘truth’. The Times continues:

Yesterday Robinson, 36, a convicted fraudster whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, uploaded a Facebook video in which he claimed that Jamal was not “innocent”.

Robinson reposted a screenshot of a message on his Facebook page supposedly from the mother of one schoolgirl claiming that her daughter had been bullied. He attached a message to the post that said: “Here’s the truth. But fear of Muslim gangs silences it.”

Utter tosh. Robinson’s ‘truth’ is censorship’s bastard child.

Three hours later he published another message, referring to another Facebook post in which it was claimed that the schoolboy had attacked another schoolgirl with a hockey stick. He added: “There’s always two sides to a story. The media just want to lap up the ‘poor Syrian refugee’ story. “I was sent [the post] the minute the story came out. I have been contacted by loads at the school. They are all scared.”

Later the mother of the schoolgirl referred to in the first posting added another message on Robinson’s site denying that it was Jamal who had attacked her daughter. Her Facebook page has since been deleted…

A spokesman for West Yorkshire police said that the force was not aware of any reports of the Syrian boy allegedly being involved in an assault on a schoolgirl.

Best of luck to Jamal and his family. They’re in the West, where free expression and free thought are theirs for the taking. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted: 30th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Job hunting with cancer – forget it

Would you tell a prospective employer you have cancer? The blurb on the job advert says they are an equal opportunities employer and committed to anti-discriminatory practices. But would you tell them? The answer should be ‘no’. Don’t bother taking the chance. New research says one in five cancer patients report discrimination upon their return to work. Macmillan Cancer Support conducted a YouGov poll of 1,500 people – 87% of people with cancer want to work. But 4% of respondents claimed to have lost their job as a result of their diagnosis. There was not data on the effects the disease has on those looking for work. But my advice is: if you mention it you’ve no chance of getting the job.

“We know how important it is to many people to work during cancer treatment, or return to employment afterwards, and this is entirely possible with the right support. However, some managers may have misconceptions about employees with a cancer diagnosis,” says Liz Egan, Working Through Cancer programme lead at Macmillan Cancer Support. “The rise in calls we have experienced to our helpline is staggering and shows just how vital it is that people with cancer have support and advice with their choices around work. Employers must be aware of their legal obligations under the Equality Act and ensure that there are appropriate policies and processes in place to best support their staff.”

All employees are aware of the law. But that’s not to say they believe it helps their business. You automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010 from the day you’re diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis. Big deal. A second YouGov poll of 1,000 line managers revealed that some were wary of retaining employees with cancer. Fear of not getting value for money governs thinking – eight per cent say they’d worry a cancer patient would sue their illness an excuse not to perform; 34% were concerned the sufferer would not stay long in the job.  

Jordan Taylor, a cancer patient, tells the charity: “When I returned to work after treatment I was called into a meeting by my boss, who said performance was down in my absence and that companies had complained. There was no time to ease back into my role or any mention of reasonable adjustments to help me during recovery. Shortly after my return, I was told my whole team was facing redundancy. A few colleagues insinuated that it was my fault, even though I was ill – it was awful and caused me a huge amount of worry.”

Legally, you don’t have to tell your employer if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. But if you don’t tell them, they don’t have any obligation to make reasonable adjustments to help you. But worse of all is being self-employed. The golden rule is not to be. You’re screwed if you are. 

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


Huddersfield Bully: MP shocked, £125 raised and grooming gangs appeal

huddersfield syria bully

 

It’s not been since news of rape gangs that Huddersfield has made it to the top of the nation’s news cycle. You’d suppose the town once famous for rhubarb and football was a haven for ultra violence given the latest news belch. That video of the 15-year-old Syrian refugee allegedly being bullied by a bigger white-skinned lad is occupying minds in London and on twitter.  

Having labelled the alleged bully a fan of far-right politics and the dread Tommny Robinson, police have interviewed the 16-year-old for the alleged attack at Almondbury Community School. He will report for summons for an offence of assault ahead of a youth court appearance. No caning and short-sharp shock. That was inhumane. These days we opt for public shaming and a criminal record. We like the wound to be permanent. 

The Indy shares a second video, this time of the alleged victim’s 14-year-old sister being pushed about. That aggro resulted in her attacker being excluded from school. Done, then. No.

The Syrian lad filmed being pushed to the floor and squirted in the face with water is on ITV, telling viewers: “I woke up at night and just started crying about this problem. They think I’m different – different from them. I don’t feel safe at school. Sometimes I say to my dad, ‘I don’t want to go to school anymore’. I was just crying and I didn’t do nothing because I respect the school rules.”

And so the story of a bout of playground nastiness rises in the public consciousness. Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman says the video is “absolutely shocking”. He tweets: “Understand from council that the school have taken strong action. Will be following up to ensure all available support is being given.” 

No word from Sheerman on other Huddersfield news, notably the Examiner’s story on those grooming gangs. This from today’s local Huddersfield newspaper.

Nearly every member of the Huddersfield grooming gang has lodged an appeal – including one man who is believed to be on the run.

Last week ExaminerLive reported that the ringleader Amere Singh Dhaliwal is appealing his life sentence, Zahid Hassan is appealing his convictions and Mohammed Kammer is appealing his sentence. Now, the Court of Appeal has elaborated that Dhaliwal and Kammer are also appealing against the jury’s decisions, as well as that 13 of the other men have lodged appeals.

Among the appeals lodged is one made on behalf of Sajid Hussain, who went missing before he was convicted.

As the MP is shocked by an alleged teenage bully picking on a smaller peer, Almondbury Community School headteacher Trevor Bowen, someone who might actually know more than the grandstanding MP and voracious media, says: “Since the incident occurred in October, the school, the local authority and the police have all taken action. We must allow the legal process to take its course, but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any sort in our school. I can also assure you that we are working very hard to ensure it is ‘business as usual’ across the school and that there is no disruption to the children’s education.”

In other news: the video has sparked reaction to the extent of £125,000 in pledges for the boy’s family. Good for them. And here’s hoping your attack by knife or grooming gang is videoed and goes viral. Or are those crimes too shocking?

And football tickets are for the taking. Huddersfield FC’s commercial director Sean Jarvis said on Twitter: “We are trying to get in touch. The whole club wishes to meet and support the family. This very sad story involving our town continues to unfold. I guess we need to leave it to the authorities to deal with at the moment – but simply there is no place for bullying.” No tickets for victims of grooming gangs have been offered. Some offences reflect better on the sympathisers than others. 

 

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


Huddersfield racism: the right-on race to ruin a boy’s life

bully-syrian student huddersfield

 

Today Twitter invited the morally good and knowing to pile in on a 16-year-old twat. Lots of people were excited by a video of a school playground incident at Almondbury community school on 25 October 2018. We see a bigger white boy apparently grab a smaller darker skinned boy and pull him to the ground. The bigger lad then pours water into the smaller lad’s face. Someone filmed it. Lots of other kids of all colours, genders and sizes just stood about doing nothing.

The 30 seconds-long video wound up on Twitter and in the midst of lots of misinformation about it taking place in Sheffield – it’s Huddersfield – and calls to name the bigger lad and tell us where he lives, West Yorkshire police got involved. Police say the 16-year-old boy will be charged with assault on the 15-year-old.

 

bully-syrian student huddersfield

BBC Radio DJ calls for action

 

Reports say the alleged bully and his family have been moved from their home for their own safety after “vigilantes” harassed them. The Sun highlights one Facebook post in which “a man threatens to stab him, saying: ‘I’ll be there tomorrow with a knife, ready to stab the c***’.”

Should we hate the minor? If you’re still in doubt as how best to answer that, the Mail adds: “Teenager accused of ‘water-board’ attack on 15-year-old Syrian refugee is ‘a Britain First supporter’ who has shared posts from Tommy Robinson on Facebook.” That’s the same Tommy Robinson who appears on BBC news shows. And if a newspaper puts something in inverted commas its means it might not be true. So why say it? 

It then turned out that the alleged victim is a Syrian refugee. Tasnime Akunjee, a solicitor representing the boy’s family, said they were considering moving away from the area and had received offers to be rehoused in Oxford. Last week a student at the school who forcibly removed the boy’s sister’s hijab was expelled. A fundraising page for the boy and his family has received more than £77,000 in donations since it was launched yesterday.

Mohammed Tahir, who set up the page, says: “I’m overwhelmed by the support that we’ve received and I can’t thank everyone enough for the generous donations they have made. I am working alongside GoFundMe so we can make sure every last penny gets to the family and I want to thank them for their support.” Best of luck with that – GoFundMe is a profit making business, taking 5 percent fee on transactions. 

As for the police, well, they tell everyone: “The incident occurred on 25 October this year and has been subject to thorough investigation since it was reported to us the day after. The alleged victim and his family are receiving ongoing support from police and other agencies.”

Fair enough. And good that the school condemns bullying and racism. Not all schools punish the racist by removing them from the group. Full disclosure: my own child was the victim of (alleged) racism at her school. The perpetrator was not excluded. They didn’t even get a detention. But we never shouted about it. Life goes on. Resilience matters. And the prat in this video needs the chance to apologise and not have the nastiness define their life. (We never got an apology. But the daughter learned a lesson about self-reliance. She’s strong and stood up for herself. Good-oh.)

Now can we adults talk about something else? Like, say, the war in Syria?

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


Political manipulation of money at root of housing crisis

house market bubble

 

The narrative running through political and media characterisation of the housing market goes like this: ‘ever increasing demand for houses, turbo-charged by foreigners looking for a safe-haven, has been met by limited supply causing prices to rise dramatically, writes Jason Leavey.  Fortunately, our politicians and the City are on hand to ensure cheap mortgages are available to help you onto the property ladder to prosperity.

Is it not also plausible that the rapid expansion of cheap mortgage credit has been a causal driver of house price inflation rather than a consequence of it?

On the face of it you might expect widening access to ever cheaper money simply means more people can buy houses more cheaply.  But if the number of houses doesn’t increase to meet demand then more people with more money chase the same properties and prices rise rapidly. Without an excess of supply, above and beyond demand, there is no downward pressure on prices. That is not to say an increasing population and other demographic changes don’t influence house prices but the impact is limited without an associated increase in mortgage lending. 

Prices are set for entire streets and beyond by the last price paid for one house – a price agreed between a buyer (most probably a willing borrower), a seller and a willing lender. Few people would doubt that a rise in interest rates limits people’s ability to borrow thereby reducing house prices. Yet the material effect of borrowing costs on house prices isn’t widely understood. An abundance of credit steadily ratchets up prices. Valuations that would have seemed insane a few years ago now seem reasonable.  Other than an adequate increase in supply the only factor which can temper demand and limit ever increasing price rises is a restriction in the supply of credit. 

Rising prices are only possible if someone has access to money – either savings or money created through lending.  In our system of money when banks make loans they don’t go to a pot of carefully accrued savings, they create new money, quite literally, at the touch of a button. It is money printing. 97% of money consists of deposits created out of thin air by commercials banks. To enable a house purchase there is a limited cost to a bank.

In the absence of new construction, no new wealth is created.  We still have the same number of houses. Credit enabled price rises reallocate money in the form of ‘paper claims’ from one pocket to another while the actual, consumable, wealth remains the same. More claims for the property haves and less for the property have-nots, who are left facing ever higher rents and mortgage costs. Given that the City is also taking its cut is a high level of wealth inequality really such a surprise?

The effect on the young is particularly pernicious. A substantial levy will be taken from their future incomes and passed to the banks and others benefiting from rising house prices, largely the older generation. The Conservative’s help to buy programme, established under the guise of helping young people get on the housing ladder, is therefore dishonest.

For politicians, unable to structure economic growth yet believing it to be the means to gain and retain power, housing presents a powerful temptation. It is a conduit for large scale money printing which produces a sense of rising wealth and increased purchasing power for those who own houses. This creates a series of consumption driven knock on effects throughout the wider economy.  It is a policy pursued with zeal by both Labour and Conservative governments.  In this light, their claims to have the long-term interests of the economy at heart seem false.

We are told that interest rates are low to motivate investment in new ventures and grow the real economy. The reality is that house price inflation has ensued with an associated boost in consumption by all those with newly printed money in their pockets. 

The fundamental cause of the 2007 financial crisis was lending by the financial sector for property and consumption, rather than investment. Continued misallocation of credit into housing is more of the same. Extraordinary monetary policy measures – such as quantitative easing – are taken to fill the void which appears when reality rears its head and the bubble collapses. This exacerbates inequality and economic instability.

Hubris underlies the widespread belief that high house prices are an intractable consequence of the UK’s economic success. While high house prices have delivered a short-term boost to consumption and some economic growth it is paid for by the young. 

There is an astonishing lack of public debate about credit driven house prices and the consequences of such a large redistribution of wealth. Little attention is paid to the role of credit, a political and regulatory matter, yet it is at the root of the housing crisis. 

By Jason Leavey

Posted: 28th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comment


The strange death of Billie Carleton that triggered a moral panic and set British dugs policy for decades

Billie-Carleton drugs death

 

One hundred years ago, just two weeks after the end of World War One, Billie Carleton, a 19-year-old actress staring in London’s West End, died of a drug overdose. The ramifications of her death lasted for decades. The gulls tory is a cracking read. By way a taster, here’s an extract from the story from the brilliant Flashbak.com:

The time was ripe for a moral panic, and in February 1916 cocaine was again mentioned in the newspapers when Horace Kingsley, an ex-soldier and ex-convict, and Rose Edwards, a London prostitute, were each given six months’ hard labour for selling cocaine to Canadian soldiers at a military camp in Folkestone. The day after the verdict, the Times’ medical correspondent came down hard on the drug: ‘Cocaine is more deadly than bullets,’ he wrote – an extraordinarily crass thing to write when in the preceding month alone about 10,000 British men had perished on the Western Front, many by bullets. The ignorant stupidity continued when he added that ‘most cocainomaniacs carry a revolver to protect themselves against imaginary enemies’. A few days later an H. C. Ross wrote to the same newspaper about ‘small silver matchboxes’ he had seen in well-known West-End jewellers that were designed to be sent to friends and loved ones on the front and which contained three tubes filled with tablets of morphine hydrochloride, to be taken when severely wounded. The letter concluded, ‘Morphiomania is a terrible malady.’ Which indeed it is, but possibly not of undue concern to a soldier who has just had his leg shot off.

 

A contemporary illustration of the ‘sordid’ opium party at Dover Street in September 1918.

A contemporary illustration of the ‘sordid’ opium party at Dover Street in September 1918.

 

The Times, ironically, had recently been carrying advertisements for preparations of morphine and cocaine by Harrods and Savory & Moore (Mayfair chemists and suppliers to King George V), describing them as a ‘useful present for friends at the front’. In February 1916, both stores were found guilty of selling morphine and cocaine contrary to restrictions contained in the 1908 Poisons and Pharmacy Act. The prosecutor, Sir William Glyn-Jones, secretary of the Pharmaceutical Society and practising barrister, made a point of saying that it was an ‘exceedingly dangerous thing for a drug like morphine to be in the hands of men on active service … it might have the effect of making them sleep on duty, or other very serious results’. Both Harrods and Savory & Moore were fined, albeit nominal amounts. In July 1916 Regulation 40B of the Defence of the Realm Act came into effect, which criminalised the possession or sale of opium or cocaine by anyone except licensed chemists, doctors and vets. Further domestic legislation followed after the war when the Treaty of Versailles contained a clause requiring signatories to introduce domestic drugs legislation. In Britain this evolved into the Dangerous Drugs Act 1920; this Act changed drug addiction to a penal offence, though up to then, within the medical profession, it had been treated as a disease.

Carleton’s death, seemingly of cocaine, and the subsequent inquest and court cases often featured on the front pages until April 1919, and both The Times and the Daily Express used the case as an excuse to run an investigation into London’s illicit drug trade…

 

Read it all: ‘Disgraceful Orgies’, ‘Unholy Rites’ and the Death of Billie Carleton 100 Years Ago

Posted: 28th, November 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment


Brexit: Donald Trump warns British to stock up on Netflix and Xanax as trade war looms

Queen Donald Trump: The Don becomes Her Majesty and Vice Versa in these unsettling pictures

 

Shrewd dealers will stock up on chlorinated chickens, baggy satin vests and TV boxsets because the US-UK trade deal is in dire peril. Donald Trump has looked at Theresa May’s Brexit agreement and says it “sounds like a great deal for the EU”. He also says it means the UK might not be able to trade with the US. The chances of Trump having read all 500-plus pages of the winter fuel allowance are thinner than a parrot’s lips. The deal is crap. The UK is stuck in the EU, liaising with le club with the enthusiasm of a baby seal.

May counters that she is ready to defend her deal in a TV debate with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. He’s unlikely to have read the corpulent pamphlet either. Even a trainee MP knows the deal is dire, but Corbyn has never had his ideas encumbered by power so there’s every chance he’ll struggle to get past the coherently phatic before panicking and belatedly realising that student politics is best left to students. The excruciating TV debate could take place on 9 December – two days before the Parliamentary vote on May’s deal. It’ll make not a sop of difference to the outcome, but might finally trigger a rebellion among Labour MPs as Corbyn spends an hour incontinently telling a tired and irritated electorate that all options are open and he’s not a racist. 

Back to Trump, then, who assured that his lacquer is made in China and not Chelmsford, guffs: “Right now if you look at the deal, [the UK] may not be able to trade with us. And that wouldn’t be a good thing. I don’t think they meant that.” Cabinet Office minister David Lidington – he’s the one who looks like a hairy lemon sorbet, an amuse bouche of an MP whose job is to cleanse the pallet before something of substance arrives (spoiler: it doesn’t) – says Mr Trump’s comments “were not unexpected” and trade deals with the US are “challenging”. “The United States is a tough negotiator,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today. “President Trump’s always said very plainly ‘I put America first’. Well, I’d expect the British prime minister to put British interests first.”

Boom! Boom! Oh, he wasn’t joking.

Meanwhile, whispering from the shadows is Lord Kerslake, a former head of the civil service, said government officials were probably working on a “Plan B” in case the deal was rejected but there would be “no whisper of it” publicly until the outcome of the Commons vote. Failing that we can all vote for Boris Johnson, who’ll paste over the huge gaps in his and our political knowledge by lavishing on cheap gags and gratuitous insults. We’ll all be chortling and eating our young by teatime – but it’ll be British kids and taste better than that imported US chicken.

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


Police approve killing suspects riding mopeds

moped thieves police ramming

Spot the criminal

 

Police spend astronomical amounts of time and cash repositioning themselves as therapists but still reveal their base nature of State-endorsed thuggery. In a break from tweeting about thought crimes and advising us to be nice to one another, police are ramming suspects from their mopeds. Police officers are allowed to use their vehicles to knock moped thieves off their bikes. The mopeds don’t ned to be stationary, sat outside the jewellers or kebab shop, but can be travelling at high-speed. It matters not if the perp is wearing a helmet or is a child. It’s less a case of what can go wrong then what can’t go wrong. 

Tim Rogers of the Police Federation of England and Wales reminds serving coppers that it is “dangerous to drive a car deliberately at another road user. The law clearly classifies this as dangerous driving, and officers could be prosecuted. No defence, no exemption.” Good. But the police are all about telling not listening. So they just tug the helmets one their ears and press a foot to the floor. 

The Metropolitan Police points at the stains on the tarmac and says there had been a 36% reduction in thefts involving mopeds since the tactics were adopted. West Midlands Police tweets: “Some brave decisions being made regarding bike crime and the pursuit of offenders using bikes. Something I strongly suspect the public support?” The only thing braver than ramming someone on a bike are strangling guinea pigs and taking two bottles into the shower. 

 

 

In tomorrow’s news: Brave police cut down on squatting by torching buildings! Courageous police push Tube fare dodgers in front of trains! 

 

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


Elvis: ‘I was kidnapped and tortured’ and Brad Pitt loves Jennifer Aniston

elvis letters

 

Brad Pitt still loves Jennifer Aniston. The National Enquirer breaks the news. In doing so the magazine finds reason to restore Pitt and Aniston to its front page, which is lucky. We have to wade into the magazine, not reading more until page 10, where we learn of Brad’s “rekindled” romance with ex-wife No. 1 Jennifer Aniston.

A “source” tells that Brad has “never stopped loving Jen”. And what speaks more of timeless love than divorce, 13 years of separation and marriage to Angelina Jolie? Sainted Jolie will be doubtless delighted to learn that Jen is the only women Brad ever truly loved. 

Bigger news from that that is news that Elvis Presley has been “kidnapped and tortured”. Can it be that didn’t die but was stolen to order, possibly by a nefarious Eastern mogul who wanted Elvis to croon for him and him alone?

The truth, according to the NE, is revealed in a “trove” of secret letters Elvis penned 50 years ago. Apparently in reaction to Harum Scarum, a 1965 movie flop starring the singer, thugs drugged, kidnapped and abused The King. The villains ripped off Elvis’ clothes, burnt his flesh with lit cigarettes and a red-hot poker, kicked him repeatedly, forced him to drink a blood cocktail, injected him with all manner of drugs and stabbed him in the leg with a corkscrew. He was “near death” when he was rushed to hospital. All true. And all revealed in letters Elvis sent to “Hollywood spiritual advisor Carmen Montez”. Sadly, she and Elvis are both dead – but you can read all about in a new book by someone who isn’t. 

Lastly, Jennifer Garner is to “secretly” marry John Miller. When they will secretly marry is unsaid, but should it happen remember: you read it first in the Enquirer… 

Posted: 26th, November 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, National Enquirer, News | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ozil victim of tabloid copy and paste factories

The Daily Express’ report on Arsenal’s 1-2 win at Bournemouth is the same report you can read in the Daily Mirror. Both are written by Neil McLeman. The Express and Mirror are both owned by Reach. Surely this sharing spells the end for one of the titles. A clue to which tabloid is getting sidelined comes on the Express‘ back page. In a story about Spurs player Dele Alli, the paper tells readers the article continues on page 55, column 3. But page 55 doesn’t mention Alli once. In fact, it doesn’t mention football at all, preferring to focus on England’s win over Australia in the rugby union. There is news of Alli on page 53, column 2. 

 

daily express

DailyExpress: Dele Alli story is continued on Page 55

 

daily express football

Page 55 contains not a single word on Dele Alli

 

As for the Ozil story so good it’s repeated in two daily tabloids, well, it’s some balls about Mesut Ozil being left in the “cold”. The German was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s win. Asked why Ozil didn’t play, Emery replied: “It depends how the match is going, what the result is. I decided for other options.” He added: “The match was very demanding…with physicality and intensity.” Put that though the tabloidese machine and you get: “Unai Emery admitted he needed players who could cope with the physicality and intensity of Bournemouth.” Can anyone think of a Premier League game that isn’t intense and physical? Answers to the Mirror and Express. Two cover prices – but one second-class stamp should cover it. 

Posted: 26th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


RIP Ricky Jay, master magician and small riot instigator

rocky jay magic

 

Ricky Jay was 72 when he died (June 26, 1946 – November 24, 2018). The actor, writer, historian and close-up magician features in a terrific article by Mark Singer for The New Yorker in 1993. The opening bars are great: 

The playwright David Mamet and the theatre director Gregory Mosher affirm that some years ago, late one night in the bar of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago, this happened:

Ricky Jay, who is perhaps the most gifted sleight-of-hand artist alive, was performing magic with a deck of cards. Also present was a friend of Mamet and Mosher’s named Christ Nogulich, the director of food and beverage at the hotel. After twenty minutes of disbelief-suspending manipulations, Jay spread the deck face up on the bar counter and asked Nogulich to concentrate on a specific card but not to reveal it. Jay then assembled the deck face down, shuffled, cut it into two piles, and asked Nogulich to point to one of the piles and name his card.

“Three of clubs,” Nogulich said, and he was then instructed to turn over the top card.

He turned over the three of clubs.

Mosher, in what could be interpreted as a passive-aggressive act, quietly announced, “Ricky, you know, I also concentrated on a card.”

After an interval of silence, Jay said, “That’s interesting, Gregory, but I only do this for one person at a time.”

Mosher persisted: “Well, Ricky, I really was thinking of a card.”

Jay paused, frowned, stared at Mosher, and said, “This is a distinct change of procedure.” A longer pause. “All right-what was the card?”

“Two of spades.”

Jay nodded, and gestured toward the other pile, and Mosher turned over its top card.

The deuce of spades.

A small riot ensued.

 

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


Brexit: May agrees democracy’s death sentence

It’s not yet a crime to hate Brexit or the EU. It will be, of course. Hating most things is a crime. Most of us don’t rate the Brexit deal Theresa May wants to sign off. But many Leavers and Remainers hate it. The newspapers pick up the scent. They are full of Brexit news. The Daily Mail sums up best: “Let’s just get on with it.” Most of us just can’t wait to get it done and dusted. But what it is is up for debate. Can it be right that May has delivered a deal worse than no deal? The Guardian says the fight continues. The Telegraph focus on the backstop, a melting fudge designed by the EU to stop other countries – they have borders, right – to never leave the group. And the Sun says it’s all just dire. 

 

 

 

Tellingly, the Mirror can’t lead with Brexit because the party it supports, the mess masquerading as Labour, has all positions covered. Their plan is to scupper May’s deal, encourage the great unwashed to vote for Labour in a General Election and then, well, just you want and see. It’ll be great. Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has pushed for Brexit pretty much all his adult life, now says he’s not all that into it and will every bit ‘Remain by another name’ as May, the arch Remainer pretending to deliver Brexit . That 17.4 million of us voted for Brexit in the great rebellion is a minor irrelevance to the powers that be. 

 

mirror brexit

 

Robert Tombs, professor of French history at St John’s College, Cambridge, gives a view that pretty much sums things up:

“May’s deal seems to mean the most extraordinary set of constitutional innovations. It would give, for an indefinite period, power over a large part of our economy and legislation not only to a foreign power but also to an unelected committee. The EU will have the power to decide upon and implement a whole load of laws and regulations. We will be required to accept them and we will have to pay for the pleasure…

…we are putting ourselves in a position where we will have to depend on the goodwill of a body that hasn’t been conspicuous in goodwill since June 2016. The EU has openly said it wants to make life more difficult for us. It has pushed us far enough already. It has made demands that have been accepted by a weak government. I’m sure even the EU could not have expected this at the beginning of these negotiations.

What the EU is clearly and openly worried about is disunity among its members and the possibility of other countries following in our footsteps. We would be voluntarily putting ourselves under the control of people whose interest is to make sure that we are not seen to prosper after Brexit. It is so stupid, it is almost unbelievable.

Spotter: Spiked

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


Signal-Activated Lingerie: the clap-off bra is here

bra clap-off automatic patent

 

Tired women, adolescents and theatre-goers rejoice (and beware), the clap-off bra is upon us. Michael M. Ahmadshahi Ph.D., Esq. has invented and patented Signal-Activated Lingerie:

“Lingerie, such as bras which are worn by females, have a fastening mechanism, such as a hook-type fastener, which is difficult to open, especially for the male counterpart. A bra according to the present invention could be made using a signal-activated fastener such that the female’s boyfriend or husband could clap his hand and the bra would automatically open.”

The voice-activated bra, thought-activate bra and leering-activate bra all remain at the planning stages.  

Spotter: New Shelton

Posted: 23rd, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True, Technology, The Consumer | Comment


Joan Crawford’s holiday tips – with no hippies

Joan Crawford’s holiday tips – how to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with no hippies – “I always add a splash of vodka to everything”. Taken from her memoirs, Joan Crawford My Way of Life:

 

Joan Crawford holiday tips hippies

 

“Joan Crawford on entertaining at home: The best parties are a wild mixture. Take some corporation presidents, add a few lovely young actresses, a bearded painter, a professional jockey, your visiting friends from Brussels, a politician, a hairdresser, and a professor of physics, toss them all together. It’s especially important to have all age groups. Of course I wouldn’t want to have hippies come crawling in with unwashed feet, but all the younger people I know are bright and attractive and have something to say. They also dress like human beings. They love to listen, too. Another important party secret is I always add a splash of vodka to everything. Nobody ever knows and everyone ends up having a wonderful time.”

Spotter: CONELRAD – All Things Atomic 

Posted: 22nd, November 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment


Women’s March and Corbyn fans agree: it’s ok to hate Jews

The Stranger at our Gate, by Frank Beard

 

It’s ok to be anti-Semitic. This we know, some claim, because Jeremy Corbyn is still leader of the Labour Party. Had Corbyn othered blacks or Asians in the same way he othered British Jews would he still be there? No chance. So to the Women’s March (WM), which will convene on 19 January 2019. Come one, come all. But Jews may not be welcome.

One of the WM’s founders, Teresa Shook, thinks current co-chairs, Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez should leave the organisation. Shook writes on Facebook:

Shook has taken issue with the women’s relationship with Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. He is no friend to Jews. He has called Hitler a “great man”. This is Farrakhan who told his supporters: “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-termite.” He says: “The Jews, a small handful, control the movement of this great nation, like a radar controls the movement of a great ship in the waters.” Jews are, says Farrakhan, “satanic“. He says gay sex is a sin. But Mallory and Perez thought it fine to pose for pictures with Farrakhan and post them on the web. Mass outrage did not follow. There was no public shaming. 

The WM responded to Shook’s call by, well, get a load of this. The WM wrote on Facebook:
 “Today, Teresa Shook weighed in, irresponsibly, as have other organizations attempting in this moment to take advantage of our growing pains to try and fracture our network. Groups that have benefited from our work but refuse to organize in accordance with our Unity Principles clearly have no interest in building the world our principles envision. They have not done the work to mobilize women from diverse backgrounds across the nation. Our ongoing work speaks for itself. That’s our focus, not armchair critiques from those who want to take credit for our labor.” 

Calling out Jew hatred is “irresponsible”. She was an “armchair” activist. This is a liberal group that doesn’t like Donald Trump – the ‘America First’ President who says so long as you work with us it’s no problem if you murder journalists, smash women’s suffrage and kill free speech. It’s no problem if you’re a bigot, says Trump, so long as my message prospers. Isn’t that position shockingly similar to what the Women’s Movement says? Don’t worry about Jew hatred and monstering gays. Look at the good we do. Women First!

But thankfully, others see racism for what it is – and they call out those who acquiesce to bigotry as the cowards they are. Now Sarsour tells Jewish and LGBTQ members WM is sorry “for the harm we have caused”. Sorry you were offended. There was no condemnation of Farrakhan. Why not? Is it because it’s ok to attack Jews and tolerate those who do?

Image: The Stranger at our Gate, by Frank Beard (1890)

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


Prince Charles dead secret daughter meets Meghan Markle

princess-diana-daughter

 

Know this: Prince Harry’s wife “Meghan Meets Diana’s Secret Daughter!”. This exclusive is brought to you by Globe. Th daughter is Princess Sarah. She was allegedly “conceived in a bizarre fertility test before Prince Charles and Diana wed”. She met Meghan on Mrs Harry’s trip to New Zealand. And that’s huge news for many reasons. 

 

prince charles love child

“FOUND! CHARLES 4 SECRT LOVE CHILDREN!”

 

We’ve been here before, of course. In September 2016, Globe told us Charles has now fewer than “four! secret love children”. They had been “Found!”. So big was this news Globe was tempted to punctuate each word with an exclamation mark. 

We read that Princess Sarah was living in New England, USA. Her “surrogate” mother was “secretly” impregnated by her doctor husband who’d stolen a royal embryo produced by Charles and Diana on the orders of his mum, Her Maj. Sarah discovered the ‘”truth” because everyone told her she was a “dead ringer” for Princess Diana. 

 

princess-diana-daughter

 

But Sarah’s parents and Diana are all dead. And Sarah is also dead. In June 2016, Globe told us: “Prince Charles Murdered Princess Diana’s Secret Daughter!” He did it, allegedly, on May 15. 

So who can we ask to corroborate the story? Meghan? More to follow as Princess Sarah communicates from beyond! the! grave!

Posted: 22nd, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


The myth of underage problem gambling

The Daily Mail today warns about the “Epidemic of Child Gamblers”. Yippee! The future for betting companies is sound. If there is one industry that has truly embraced the internet it is betting. The Mail understands this. Just cop a load of the offers and inducements to gamble on its website. Kids should look away now:

 

daily mail gambling

 daily mail gambling

 

The Mail is upset by underage gamblers. Apparently 55,000 under 17s “have a problem”. A further 70,000 are “at risk”. One in seven 11-16s year olds bets regularly, which is “worrying”. The cash – on average £16 a week – is risked on bingo, betting shops (online) and fruit machines. And “close to a million youngsters have been exposed to gambling through ‘loot boxes’ in computer games or on smart phone apps.” To say nothing of adverts to gamble in newspapers, TV ads and slogans slapped across football kits. 

But that’s not all. Tim Miller, of the Gambling Commission  – “We regulate commercial gambling and lotteries in Great Britain” – says kids prefer to gamble in “informal environments”, like on private bets between friends and or “playing cars with their mates for money”. In other words: kids are doing what their parents and their parents and their parents did.  

The Gambling Commission’s Young People and Gambling report “reveals that gambling participation by 11 to 16 year olds has increased in the last 12 months but remains lower compared to all previous years. However, the research indicated that more children are at risk of being harmed by gambling”.

 

gambling commission

‘Our children’

 

“Key findings” are:

14% of 11-16 year olds had spent their own money on gambling in the past week, this is up from 12% in 2017 but still lower than rates seen prior to 2017

This compared to 13% who had drunk alcohol in the past week, 4% who had smoked cigarettes and 2% who had taken illegal drugs

The Mail nots that “More than one in ten young people (12%) follow gambling companies on social media”. A pox on social media! It does not relay the report’s other facts, chiefly:

  • 59% agree that gambling is dangerous and only 14% agree that it is OK for someone their
    age to gamble
    • Almost half of young people (49%) said that someone had spoken to them about the
    problems gambling may lead to
    66% of young people have seen gambling adverts on TV, 59% on social media and 53%
    on other websites
    • 49% had seen or heard TV or radio programmes sponsored by a gambling company and
    46% had encountered gambling sponsorships at sports venues
    7% claimed that they had been prompted to gamble by a gambling advert or sponsorship

Isn’t all media part of the “problem” then? The report found that 33% of under 16s had seen adverts for gambling in newspapers. The Mail makes no call to ban such ads.

As for the survey: just 2,619 under 16s were polled. And most “problem gamblers” are aged 16 – old enough to get married and join the Army:

 

gambling

 

Is it a big problem? It all smacks of authoritarianism. And whenever a censor is about, they pull out their trump card: what about the kids? They must be protected. But by and large they seem fine – no worse off than their predecessors. It’s just that now the nippers are presented as victims-in-waiting – abused by the internet, children sit around in a perpetual state of slack-jawed passivity unable to think for themselves. Paternalistic government wants to ban adverts that turn the young on to gambling. And, yep, many of these same knowing politicos and protectors want 16 years olds to have the vote.  

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


Bullshit.com: Frenkie de Jong to Manchester City is a ‘done deal’

Transfer Balls: Following the Mirror’s news that Frenkie de Jong had agreed to join Manchester City for £60m comes news in the, er, Daily Mirror that he hasn’t. But he might. The paper of record (surely clickbait factory – ed) says City will have to pay a club record £75m for the Ajax and Netherlands midfielder.

It’s been three days since the Sun said Frenkie de Jong to City was done deal – three days since the Mirror told its readers City “have beaten Barcelona” to the signing. Manchester City “have blown the competition out of the water”. 

 

Frenkie de Jon

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – BBC

 

frenkie de jong

Daily Mirror says Frenkie to City is done

 

 

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City -

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – The Sun

 

 

That was all tosh. But worry not because the Mirror has more news: 

 

Frankiede Jong

A day is a long time at bullshit.com

 

The paper reports in an “exclusive”:

Manchester City will have to pay a club-record £75million in the upcoming bidding war with Barcelona for the new Johan Cruyff…

However, Spanish champions Barca are also very keen on De Jong, and several other top clubs are monitoring the rapid progress he’s making this season.

Why is £75m the fee in a “bidding war”? It’s more than the £60m it cost city to sing Frenkie three days ago. 

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Deke Duncan: DJ who broadcast to an audience of one gets BBC radio show

deke duncan stevenage

 

“I genuinely thought this was a well-crafted parody, something that the likes of @serafinowicz & @robertpopper would conjure up, but no…it’s 100% genuine – All hail Deke Duncan from Stevenage,” tweets John Morter. A video from the BBC archives takes us back to 1974. We meet Deke Duncan, the producer, presenter and pretty much most other things at Stevenage’s Radio 77 his wife Teresa can’t or won’t do. With no licence, Radio 77, based in a shed at 57 Gonville Crescent in Stevenage, can only be beamed through a speaker in his living room, where Teresa listens. It might be the most romantic thing ever. 

 

 

This week, Deke Duncan, now 73, was invited to present a show on BBC local radio. He fulfilled his “ultimate ambition” to broadcast to the rest of Stevenage.

“We used to record all the shows and play them back and think – that’s cool – but we couldn’t afford to keep buying spools of tape so recorded over them,” he said. “That house was our ship. We took the fantasy so far we said we must not go out the front or back door because you’ll fall in the sea.” The nautical theme followed his love of pirate station Radio Caroline, which broadcast from a boat off the coast of Essex in the 1960s.

Mr Duncan, who has since moved to Stockport, Greater Manchester, still broadcasts Radio 77 to “the smallest audience in the country” – his wife.

He said he felt “emotional” when station editor Laura Moss invited him to present his own one-hour special over Christmas.

 

 

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Massachusetts mayor plans to pickle the state’s first legal marijuana

weed boston

“I am not pickled – but my weed is”

 

From today you can buy weed legally in Massachusetts for fun. The state’s first commercial marijuana stores opened for business. Stood first in the queue was Northampton, Mass. mayor David Narkewicz. CBS News tells us:

When asked whether the purchase is simply ceremonial or it will be consumed, Narkewicz said, “I am actually going to probably preserve it and display it…because it is historically significant.”

It isn’t. Really, it isn’t – not unless you also have the first bag of crips sold in a pub and other humdrum consumables in a home museum to the everyday. A lump of pickled weed is simply a waste of weed.

“There has been marijuana use going on in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a long, long time. What’s changing is it’s now being regulated. It’s now being tested. It’s now being strictly monitored. That’s really the major change that’s happening,” Narkewizc said.

Ah, smell that – it ain’t freedom blowin’ in the wind, folks. It’s the stench of regulation. 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, The Consumer | Comment


Unions deeply upset that Tory minister Claire Perry allegedly swore

Claire_perry swearing

 

Claire Perry is accused of swearing and shouting at staff. The Guardian carries the news that the … Yeah, she’s the energy minister. Well, done, Claire and Claire’s mum for getting it right. Hard luck the rest of you. The paper’s story is choice:

Trade unions have written to the top official in the business department to raise concerns about claims that the energy minister, Claire Perry, has sworn and screamed at civil servants, the Guardian understands.

Trade unions are famously bastions of polite and civilised behaviour. No-one swears. No-one shouts. Right it is that they and the Guardian alert us to allegedly uncouth behaviour. In a welter of acronyms and counter-acronyms, the PCS, FDA and Prospect unions wrote a joint letter to Alex Chisholm, permanent secretary at the BEIS, noting Perry’s alleged behaviour. Civil servants are not there to be sworn at. What they are there for is to, well, again, shout out your answers; closest to the truth wins a job for life. No swearing. 

 

fuck the guardian

The Guardian says ‘so fucking what’ to saying ‘fuck’

 

fuck the guardian

Swearing is ok if you’re target is one disliked by Guardian readers

 

The paper continues:

It is understood that the complaints given to the unions include claims that Perry screamed and shouted, texted one civil servant to say “Fuck off”, and wrote, “What’s this shit?” on a memo produced by staff. The MP for Devizes became energy minister in June last year, a role that involves attending cabinet.

 

fuck the guardian

Guardian writer auditions for government

 

 

To think a woman who allegedly uses such filthy words is that close to the seat of power. If we’ve learned anything from the Brexit vote it is that liberals love using the words “fuck”, “bollocks” and “shit”, often on placards. There is a time and there is a place. Journalists at the Guardian are understood to be dismayed.

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Rangers fans, David Baddiel and ‘active leads’ keep the story moving

That the story of Madeleine McCann has taken on a life of its own is not news. The single thread story – child vanishes – has been spun. But the tabloids love to find a new angle. And they do it in the shape of David Baddiel, the comedian, who “lashes out at McCann trolls”. What he actually did was to see ‘Our Maddie’ trending on Twitter and tweet: “Most people don’t know what it’s like to lose a child and should shut the fuck up.” That’s considered polite discourse on Twitter. But a BBC comic exchanging barbs with fellow twitter users passes for news. And it allows the Star to fill half a page with no news of the missing child.

The Sun also has no news. “‘MADDIE ‘COULD BE ALIVE’,” says the headline. “Madeleine McCann investigator claims missing child could still be ALIVE and hidden in a lair.” Could. Claims. More facts? Can we handle more facts? “David Edgar is convinced Maddie was abducted by a child sex gang and could still be being held in Portugal, where she vanished 11 years ago.” Edgar pulls on his media suit and tell us: “She is most likely being held captive, possibly in an underground cellar or dungeon and could emerge at any time.” 

Is that the “new hope” another Sun story hints to? “NEW MADDIE HOPE,” says the paper. “Madeleine McCann parents meeting with Scotland Yard detectives to discuss TWO ‘specific and active’ new leads.”.The Mirror echoes the news: “Fresh hope in Madeleine McCann search as police pursue two vital new leads.” Both scoops stem from a “Whitehall source” telling the Daily Mail: “Metropolitan Police officers had a sit-down meeting with Madeleine’s parents to tell them exactly where they were with their inquiries. They informed them they had two specific and active leads that still needed to be chased and that although the investigation was taking longer than they initially thought officers said they were confident and hopeful they could get a result.”

Why the source is unnamed is moot. Is it a secret? What are the leads? We’re not told.

But let’s end this round-up with where we began: trolls. “‘MADDIE 0 RANGERS 21’ Madeleine McCann troll slammed after comparing £11.75m search fund to Rangers footballer’s price tag,” says the Sun. It’s a tweet the Sun is happy to reproduce:

“Cost Of Madeline McCann Search: £12,000,000
“Cost Of Alfredo Morelos: £1,000,000
“Goals For Rangers: Madeline: 0 Morelos: 21”

The Sun senses a story. “But a number of people were furious at the comparisons, replying to the post with fury,” says the paper, possibly contains its furious fury. “One person commented: ‘Not a good tweet!!!'” No. A better tweet would be from someone famous or in a position of authority. Then it could be front-page news, and they could be publicly shamed and hounded from their job. Try harder, twitter. 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment