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Brexit 1 Nick Clegg 0: Facebook seduces Mr EU to Leave for California

See ya, Nick Clegg. The man who wants a second EU referendum in the hope the great unwashed will vote for the status quo has opted to leave for the US, where he’ll work for Facebook. The former Deputy Prime Minister is now Facebook’s head of global affairs and communications.

On Facebook, natch., Clegg told us: “Having spoken at length to Mark and Sheryl [Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg] over the last few months, I have been struck by their recognition that the company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook’s apps but to society at large.”

A journey…to Luxembourg to pay less taxes? Clegg continues his travels into X Factor speak:

“I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey. Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Oculus and Instagram are at the heart of so many people’s everyday lives – but also at the heart of some of the most complex and difficult questions we face as a society: the privacy of the individual, the integrity of our democratic process, the tensions between local cultures and the global internet, the balance between free speech and prohibited content, the power and concerns around artificial intelligence, and the wellbeing of our children.”

Maybe. Or you could just, you know, disable the app? Life will go on. But Clegg’s already at work, it seems, assuring us that Facebook is life itself. It’s not a company geared to make money from a leisure activity; it’s part of who we are.

 

nick clegg facebook

 

He adds: “I believe that Facebook must continue to play a role in finding answers to those questions – not by acting alone in Silicon Valley, but by working with people, organisations, governments and regulators around the world to ensure that technology is a force for good.”

Or as he put it in a 2017 column: “Other critics of Silicon Valley are just plain disingenuous: traditional newspaper groups vilify social media companies for scooping up the lion’s share of advertising revenue. What do they expect? Social media companies – notwithstanding their occasionally pious New Age slogans – are profit-making companies, not charities.”

Good job he’s gone for the betterment of humankind and not the money.

Spotter: Financial Times 

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Technology | Comment


Brexit 1-0: mature student waves adieu to insignificant Englanders

Warned of impending doom, dropping off a “cliff” and “crashing out” of the European Union, it’s a relief to see the rosy-fingered dawn breaking in the Guardian, which reports, “Top linguist: ‘I’m leaving the UK because of the disaster of Brexit’.” Alex Rawling was 27-years-old when he was named the UK’s “most multilingual student” in 2012. He’s taking his mastery of 15 language and moving to Barcelona. “Just booked a one way flight out the UK,” said Rawling on Twitter in English. “Not an easy decision to leave family and friends behind, but there’s a bad atmosphere in the country and I need to get out.”

Ta-ra, Alex. The Observer sees him off. “This whole country is on the brink of the worst disaster since the second world war, and everyone is just sipping coffee, going about their daily business as if nothing is happening,” says Alex, who is “half-Greek”, but not the half, perhaps, vigorously shafted by the EU.

“One of the things I was always most proud of in the UK was that this is a place where anyone can belong, which is an amazing achievement,” he continues.” That is now being threatened by the populist rhetoric of politicians and the laziness of the media in not challenging it.” So he’s taking his dictionaries to live in Catalonia, a part of Spain where lots of people campaign for the right to protect their wealth from the tentacles of austerity the EU’s technocrats enforced on the country.

Says Alex by way of a parting shot: ““I have huge faith in the people of the UK to sort this out eventually. It will take a generation… and in the long term, it will be good for the country to realise its own insignificance.” Anyone else think that last part would sound better in German?

Posted: 18th, October 2018 | In: News | Comment


Fugitive Daley Smith lets Madeleine McCann do his PR

Daley Smith is getting to be quite famous. On the run from police, Daley Smith has now upped his game by comparing his escape to the police search for Madeleine McCann. On Facebook, Smith says he’s going to throw a party when he reaches the milestone of 100 days at large. It’s been 88 and counting. But this is about the media’s favourite missing child, and the Sun says, “Smith has sparked fury with his sick posts about Madeleine McCann”. Do we need to hear the man’s sickness?  Apparently, yes. He is “claiming: ‘It’s my personal opinion that her mum and dad covered the whole thing up’.” If the police don’t get him, doorstepping journalists, internet trolls or the McCanns’ lawyers might. (Just to state: the McCanns are not suspects.)

And now he’s added to the sickness with a poem:

“Cheshire police have got more chance of finding Madeleine Mcann [sic], I may as well be in Japan, they’ve even been harassing my nan, but everything hasn’t gone to plan. They’ve fucked with the wrong man, I feel like Peter Pan. So far I don’t know how far I’ve ran, but it’s been mad since this Journey began.”

Daley, who has been charged with possession with intent to supply class B cannabis and concerned with the supply of cocaine, according to police, seems fully aware of how using Madeleine McCann can further his own career, such as it is. Last night his account featured this ‘sick joke’:

 

daley smith mccann

Speech bubble ours

 

That message was posted after Smith found a message from someone claiming to represent ‘Kennedy News’. All the photos in the Sun’s story carry the ‘Kennedy News and Media’ watermark, which seems odd given that you can see the same images for free on Facebook.

 

daley james sun maddie mccann

 

Madeleine McCann is missing. Daley James Smith is in the papers, on tour and on Facebook.

Posted: 18th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


The Civilian Action Trining Program protects Snowflake police from bad words and thoughts

Civilian Interaction Training Program

Objects in the mirror are more heavily armed and prone to ruin your life than they appear

 

When men and women are added to the every-growing list of “protected characteristics” that can make you the victim of a hate crime, we wondered if every group was now deemed special? Like the cosseted child of helicopter parents, our governments see us as victims-in-waiting, vulnerable and in constant need of their supervision, direction and protection. (How they fear us.)

And now you can add police to the list. The State’s enforcers are sensitive types who can be triggered by you thinking and saying mean things. Compliance is all. Officer Snowflake demands it.

To Texas, then, where the “Civilian Interaction Training Program”, a project of the Texas Commission On Law Enforcement, is teaching children how to be nice to police. As Boing Boing says, “Reviewing these training materials is mandatory for anyone hoping to receive a diploma from a Texas high school.” Compliance is all in the era of total control:

 

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


Punters at Ohio haunted house subjected to mock-rape attack

At Ohio’s Akron Fright Fest, an “extreme haunted houses”, visitors sign a disclaimer stating they realise the place features not actual ghouls and demons, but actors who might touch them. According to reports, the actors might also shove the paying punters to the ground and simulate rape. Hollywood should sue Akron Fright Fest for allegedly nicking its intellectual property.

Ryan Carr claims he was shoved over and assaulted. The Huffington Post reports Carr’s girlfriend, Sarah Lelonek, tried to stop it:

“She comes over and yells, ‘Stop! What are you doing? That’s my boyfriend,’” Carr recalled Lelonek saying. He then described the masked person’s response: “‘Not anymore, he’s mine now. I’m going to rape him,’ and then he started thrusting against me.”

The Huffington Post also hears claims that a 16-year-old boy was tossed onto a mattress and subjected to a mock rape, during which the actor told him to “squeal like a pig”. A spokesman for the venue says he’s “shocked” and “appalled”. The staffers “who worked in the area where the incident allegedly occurred have been suspended”. “Obviously, rape is a horrible act,” he said. “Even a mock rape scene has no place as part of any entertainment.”

Unless it’s on the nightly news, of course…

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Steve Punt is a more convincing Eric Idle than Eric Idle is

BBC Breakfast used a photo of Steve Punt and not Eric Idle during their interview with the former Monty Python stalwart (that’s Idle not Punt):

 

eric idle steve punt

Eric Idle (left) and Steve Punt (right)

 

Punt played Eric Idle in the BBC show Holy Flying Circus, which covered the release of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. 

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Hate crimes keep on rising as more victims sought

Is being rude and setting out to cause offence a crime? The latest Home Office data shows that religious hate incidents rose by 40%, from 5,949 to 8,336 from April 2017 to May 2018. Overall hate incidents rose to 94,098, up 17% over the aforesaid period. Of those, 71,251 were marked as race hate.

If you want a definition of hate crime, the BBC provides one:

“Hate crime is defined as an offence which the victim considers to be driven by hostility towards their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.”

It’s subjective. If you think the offence was powered by the alleged villain’s prejudice, then it was. And what is meant by “hostility”? The CPS explains it employs the “everyday understanding of the word” which includes “ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike”. Being unfriendly could be a crime.

And – get this: the CPS will “accept the victim’s perspective, even where we are unable to identify sufficient evidence to prosecute the case as a hate crime”. To say it is, is to establish a truth.

Crimes targeted at people because of their sexual orientation made up 12% of the total (11,638), with religious hatred at 9%, disability hate 8% (7,226) and transgender hate crimes 2% (1,651).

Do we hate more? Do loud mouths and the criminally minded pick on soft targets for abuse? Do some people complain more than others? And is being a nasty, racist sod online the same as screaming into someone’s face in the street or firebombing a kosher restaurant? The CPS says it is all on the same page.

And you can add the old, women, men, boys and girls to the list of protected characteristics, too. Yesterday the Government announced plans to included other “protected characteristics” in hate crime law, including age and gender. You wonder which group will be left off the list – and if in leaving them off, they become a group in need of protecting?

Be in no doubt that hate crime numbers can only rise:

According to the police figures, the number of hate crimes has more than doubled since 2012/13, when 42,255 were recorded. And one quirk of the figures is that a single hate crime offence can be recorded more than once if it is deemed to have multiple motivations – for example, if an individual feels that they were targeted because of their race and their religion.

So an elderly, one-eyed, heterosexual, black, female, French Jew dressed as a teenage Goth can be the victim of nine hate crimes at once.

And there are more quirks. The BBC adds:

Curiously, police recorded 237 incidents where the perceived target religion was “no religion” at all. We’ve asked the Home Office to explain how that can be a religious hate crime – they don’t know why the police recorded the figures that way. They stress that this is the first set of statistics and – as such – is experimental, adding that it will be improved in the future…

One element these figures simply don’t cover is sectarianism – where one branch or sect of a faith targets another. While this is fully understood in Northern Ireland, it goes less noticed in the UK, despite the fact that it does happen.

There is definitely evidence of tensions between some Sunni and Shia Muslims, the two traditions of Islam, and documented persecution of the separate small Ahmadiyya community, which is theologically rejected by others.

Confused? Don’t worry if you are – the police can read minds. They’re in control of this. If they believe hate was involved in a crime, the miscreant can expect an “uplift” in their sentence. Good-oh.

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: News | Comment


Norfolk police showcase dashcam footage of exciting near-fatal accidents

Police! Cameras! Whoah! Or maybe the show based on dashcam footage could be called Narks!? Norfolk police says they are receiving hundreds of videos from civilian drivers with dashcams. Videos like this one below from September 1 2018 of a van hitting a roundabout and taking off. Three people were injured. No-one died. It’s not a snuff video.

 

 

Bad driving is criminal. It’s also a really pathetic way to end a life. But do we need civilians to start filming each other being rude and discourteous and then contacting the police in pursuit of revenge  justice? Film only shows so much, offering a limited view. Context matters.

Posted: 14th, October 2018 | In: News | Comment


The death of Palestinian Aisha Muhammad Talal Rabi

It’s vital Israeli authorities treat the death of 47-year-old Palestinian Aisha Muhammad Talal Rabi with the same seriousness as when Israelis have been killed by Palestinian rock throwers. Mrs Rabi died after Israeli settlers near Nablus on the West Bank allegedly threw a rock that struck the windshield of the car in which she and her husband were travelling last Friday night.

 

Aisha Muhammad Talal Rabi rock

 

Aisha Muhammad Talal Rabi rock

 

Reporting is loaded. The Times of Israel notes it was “a stone-throwing attack that caused her car to crash, and which has been blamed on Jewish settlers”.

According to Yesh Din, which documents alleged Israeli rights abuses in the West Bank, the stone-throwing at the Tapuah Junction caused 47-year-old Aisha Muhammad Talal Rabi’s husband to lose control of the car.

Or as Maan News puts it:

On late Friday, Aisha Muhammad Talal al-Rabi, 47, a mother of eight children, from the Bidya village near Salfit in the northern West Bank, was killed and her husband was injured, after Israeli settlers hurled rocks at their vehicle near the Zaatara checkpoint in Nablus in the northern West Bank.

And then it escalates. The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called it “a heinous crime under international law, and holding the Israeli government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, directly and fully responsible for her death.”

Police are investigating.

Posted: 14th, October 2018 | In: News | Comment


Meeting Buddah the Nazi dog

When Buddah the pug was outted as a recreational Nazi, his owner, Count Dankula (aka Markus Meechan), was arrested and found wanting. Dankula was found guilty of being ‘grossly offensive’, which is the kind of branding all the cool kids can only dream about achieving. No Jews were hurt. Buddhists have not taken offence and declared religious war on Count Dankula. Buddha is not barking for a final solution at the pigeons in the precinct.

Andrew Doyle went to Glasgow to meet the self-styled peer of the meme:

 

 

Next week: meet the parrot who can recite the entire Nuremberg address in French, the chameleon that displays a Swastika on its rump on the command “Juden raus!” and Mohammed the stick insect who can play Frank Zappa’s We’re Turning Again on the bongos.

 

Posted: 12th, October 2018 | In: News | Comment


Womxn replaces womyn replaces women at Wellcome show for people who identify as women

womxn

 

Wellcome Collection, the “free museum for the incurably curious, exploring health and what it means to be human through medicine, art and science” has renamed women as “womxn”. Men remain as they were, but women are now womxn because, well, you can dick around with women and not worry about the consequences. This earnest rebranding comes with a supporting show:

Typeset women back into history with #Daylighting our four-day programme of letter printing presses, zine workshops, discussions on how womxn can challenge existing archives, wikipedia 101 & more. 18-21 Oct. Explore the programme: ow.ly/sXTm30m7g98 #free

Wellcome explains:

We’ve had some questions about why we’re using the word womxn for this event. We’re using it because we feel that it is important to create a space/venue that includes diverse perspectives. It was agreed during our conversations with collaborators as the programme developed.

Oh, what utter twxts.

Replies are fruity:

 

 

Adding:

 

Look out for womin; for women who ‘i’-dentify as women; woden, for women with a god complex; and woken for the kind of bellends who use the word womxn.

Posted: 10th, October 2018 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Gay Cake bakers rejoice: Supreme Court say bakery was right to refuse to make gay wedding cake

gay cake leaving do cake

 

Gay cake haters are cock-a-hoop, moreover Gay Cakes R Us, which can now own the market in gay cakes. The UK supreme court has sided with the bakers in a row over their right to refuse to decorate a cake with a pro-gay marriage – a political message – for a customer who wanted them to. Things kicked off in 2014 when Ashers, a Belfast bakery run by evangelical Christians, declined gay man Gareth Lee’s request to produce a cake carrying the order “Support Gay Marriage”.

Belfast county court and the Court of appeal had earlier ruled that Ashers discriminated against Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation. In 2016, Lee, a gay-rights activist, was supported in his case by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. Ashers was no longer a private business providing non-essential goods and services, a family-run store free to discriminate in its private choices, but a public cause. In the new hierarchy of ideas and morals, sexual orientation held more sway than religious conviction.

Now the five judges on the Supreme Court have decided that Asher’s were not bothered by Lee’s homosexuality. That’s not why they refused to fill his order. There was no discrimination on those grounds.

“It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any of the other protected personal characteristics,” Judge Hale said in the judgment. “But that is not what happened in this case and it does the project of equal treatment no favours to seek to extend it beyond its proper scope.”

The court pointed to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, which says we have the right “not to express an opinion which one does not hold”. Hale says “nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe. The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed.”

It’s a triumph for tolerance, then. We can reject ideas. But it might not end there because Lee is reportedly considering appealing to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg. And I’m off to the kosher deli to order my ‘Holohoax’ almond ring.

Posted: 10th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Your Facebook account hasn’t been cloned

There’s an old concept called chain mail. There’s nothing actually to it at all, it’s just that a letter contains the message “pass it on.” Thus it gets passed on until everyone has had multiple copies of it. The older versions always used to die out because it cost actual, real, money to send letters. In an age when we can reach hundreds, or thousands, in moments and at zero cost there’s a greater likelihood of that sending on. This is what is happening here with this Facebook message:

A hoax message on Facebook is being spread that warns users their account has been cloned.

The fake warning is being spread due to its chain mail format with the message encouraging those who receive it to pass it on to more users.

No one’s even making anything out of this. There’s no malicious code contained, this doesn’t lead on to phishing or anything. It just makes people panic and the originators get to look and laugh as they do:

The hoax message reads: “Hi….I actually got another friend request from you yesterday…which I ignored so you may want to check your account.

“Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!”

It’s that pass it on to all your friends part which makes it replicate. But thankfully that is all it does, replicate:

A range of similar messages have spread across Facebook in recent months, including similar posts about making sure that posts appear in your feed. It’s not clear why such hoax messages begin, since there is nothing really to be gained by starting one, though they have been going on for decades in the form of chain letters.

Quite so. There’s nothing to this at all. Other than the flood of messages themselves, nowt to worry about. Just delete them – and don’t, don’t send it on. There’s just something about us humans which makes us prey to this sort of thing. It’s of no matter, merely slightly boring.

Posted: 10th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


Innocence unproven in the Brett Kavanaugh witch hunt

Can you tell the difference between real life and fiction? One is messy, complex and unpredictable. The other is written to a script, an idealised version of things built to entertain and reach a satisfying climax. Slate, the online magazine, has watched the Brett Kavanaugh witch hunt and come up with the headline: “No One Could Be Further From Atticus Finch – Defenders of Brett Kavanaugh liken themselves to the hero of To Kill a Mockingbird. That’s appalling.”

To Kill a Mockingbird is a work of fiction. Atticus Finch was never an actual person. No-one made up Brett Kavanaugh, and if they did the only ponderable would be: why did they bother.

Yesterday, Kavanaugh was worn in as a Supreme Court justice. At the signing in shindig, Donald Trump said Kavanaugh was “proven innocent” of allegations of sexual assault. The Guardian calls that a “baseless claim”. Of course it is. You don’t need to prove yourself innocent, unless it really is a witch hunt in which case you die trying. Said Trump of his man:

“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process. Our country, a man or woman must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

And that’s it. End of. Christine Blasey Ford made for a compelling and credible accuser when she claimed Kavanaugh had at age 17 and she 15 pinned her to a bed, placed his hand over her mouth, groped her and tried to remove her clothes. He denied it all in a testimony that was no less compelling and credible. The world’s richest country became transfixed and frozen as two adults debated what they did and didn’t do as teenagers in the 1980s. What was worrying was that to question Ford’s story, to ask for evidence, to wonder why she never told the police, a friend, her family, and to look for witnesses to corroborate her story was heresy.  We were told to “believe” her. We should do this because she is a woman. But women can lie, right, forget or misremember.

To believe without evidence was to support victims of sexual violence, we were told, and say #timesup to the oppressors. To believe the anti-abortionist Kavanaugh or seek facts and evidence was to advocate rape and misogyny.

Kavanaugh wasn’t proven innocence. Trump’s a berk for saying he was. But to believe without question, to assume guilt on the strength of a single word is to undo democracy. But if you still want Kavanaugh lynched, let’s hark back to another era in American history were one group were always believed:

In 1931, a fight occurred between black and white boys on a freight train traveling through the town of Scottsboro, Alabama. The police rounded up all black boys riding on the train and ultimately arrested nine black boys, ranging in ages from 12 to 19 years old. Two white girls then came forward alleging that they were gang raped on the train. All nine defendants claimed innocence. After four separate one-day trials with all-white juries, eight of the nine were convicted and sentenced to death.

Their appeals would last over 20 years. On re-trial, one of the rape victims testified that the rape was fabricated, yet all-white juries again returned guilty verdicts. In the end, after facing multiple re-trials, all of the Scottsboro boys had their convictions dropped or were sentenced to lesser charges.

Believe without question? Check your bias at the door and consider the facts.

Posted: 9th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Meng Hongwei: Missing head of Interpol found in Chinese prison

Panic over. The head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, has been found. He’s in a Chinese jail being investigated by the country’s anti-corruption body. His crimes are “unspecified”.

Meng, how has gone missing while on a tip to his native China, resigned from the presidency of Interpol today. Interpol are not thought to be investigating an event that appears to be right up its street. And as ever, the more powerful the suspects, the more dilatory the police response. What looks like the State-sponsored kidnapping of a leading figure representing an international public service is fine; get spotted DWB (driving whilst black) and you’re nicked.

It’s not very rare for China to lock people up for things the details of which are sketchy.

When the actress Fan Bingbing re-emerged, having vanished in China in July, she issued a public apology for tax evasion and any other offences [insert list here]. Expect Meng to be very apologetic very soon, and thereby mitigate the need for more intense forms of questioning.

Looking on, China’s getting a bit like the West in this race to purge the landscape. PC (Police China) is rewriting history. Had Fan Bingbing not apologised, chances are she’d have been airbrushed out of all her films. It’s zero tolerance the world over…

 

Posted: 7th, October 2018 | In: News | Comment


Free speech for Jew haters: Mahathir Mohamad addresses Oxford University students

Is Mahathir Mohamad a fan of Katie Hopkins, the rent-a-gob former Mail columnist and LBC radio presenter? Both seem to have missed the memo from Josef Mengele, the Nazi who when not dreaming up new ways to murder Jews in his lab was measuring Jews’ anatomy to check for nose size. It turned out that despite Nazi propaganda painting Jews as hook-nosed freaks, Jew noses were no different in dimension to the Aryan master race’s. So when Hopkins reportedly says “I got the nose but not the Jewish bit, which is shit” and Mohamed, the Malaysian prime minister, states that all Jews are “hook-nosed”, you might think they’re harking back to anti-Semitic tropes. You might also get the feeling that the sighting of “Jew noses” is not meant as a compliment, but intended to other the Israelites and mark out Jews as, well, “shit”.

Hopkins is no longer a regular presence on the mainstream British media. But you can catch Mohamad on the Beeb and on stage during his tour of the UK. He’s a lovely bloke. Not in the least bit of an anti-Semitic bastard. “If you are going to be truthful, the problem in the Middle East began with the creation of Israel,” he opined knowingly on BBC’s Hard Talk, pointing to those fabled pre-Israel lands flowing with the milk and honey of human comradeship [see the Bible, Islamic history, the big book of beheadings and the Horrible Histories series for children]. That is the truth. But I cannot say that.” He also knows that 4 million not 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust – which means 2 million dead Jews are liars, so too the ones who mourn them.

Not that the bigger figure is not without its appeal:

“1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews,” he said at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur. “There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counterattack. We are actually very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million.”

He “wrote on his personal blog in 2012 that ‘Jews rule this world by proxy,” The Associated Press reported’.

But why read the case notes when you can catch him live? The man who says he’s “proud” to be called an anti-Semite appeared at Oxford University’s Islamic Centre, Imperial College and Chatham House. Good to see universities are not full of snowflakes after all – at least those sensitive students didn’t issue a ‘no platform’ decree when Jew-baiters and Jew haters are delivering the address…

 

Posted: 4th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Scotland Yard’s ‘unofficial’ investigation

Madeleine McCann – a look at reporting on the missing child. Today the Star brings ‘Our Maddie’ news on page 19. The paper says “official cash” to fund the search for the missing child has “dried up” – so “Scotland Yard  is “footing the bill”. Is Scotland Yard an unofficial outfit, a private company or some kind of rogue agency?

Reading on we get a fuller picture: the Metropolitan Police is continuing its investigation – Operation Grange – without knowing if it will get more government funds. So all that’s happening is the Met is investigating the vanishing as it would investigate any other alleged crime. An unnamed Home Office wonk is quoted as saying requests for more funds are “being considered”.

In other news: there is no news.

 

 

Posted: 4th, October 2018 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


Grenfell fraudster Jenny McDonagh spent stolen money on a huge dildo

grenfell jenny fraud

 

Jenny McDonagh, 39, has been sentenced for five and half years choky for using her finance manager’s job at Kensington and Chelsea council to get pre-paid credit cards that should have been given to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 people.

Part of her £62,000 haul – £48 of it – was invested in a 12-inch dildo from Ann Summers, the high-street aide-to-masturbation store, says the Sun. Judge Robin Johnson told Isleworth Crown Court, McDonagh splashed out on meals out, gambling, and £51.4k on trips to France, Iceland, America and the UAE. She also defrauded the NHS of more than £35,000.

But it’s the huge phallus that catches the eye. And it seems fitting. After all, Jenny McDonagh is a massive ****.

Posted: 2nd, October 2018 | In: News | Comment


Grenfell won’t work – the problem with banning combustible cladding

Grenfell Tower was a horror, a grotesquery. That doesn’t, though, mean that any and every plan to make sure something like that never happens again is going to work. This latest insistence being a good example – all combustible claddings for buildings are to be banned. There are two problems here, one just a facet of reality, the other a rather more subtle piece of economics.

But they’re going for it all the same:

Combustible cladding ban set to be announced

As we know, one of the problems at Grenfell was that the covering they put on the building could – and did – itself burn.

Plastics, wood and products that include combustible materials such as aluminium composite panels will be banned in the external wall systems used in residential buildings more than 18 metres tall, as signalled by ministers earlier this summer. The only materials that will be allowed are those classed as A1 or A2, which includes materials such as metal, stone and glass, which seldom contribute to fires; or plasterboard, which makes no significant contribution.

It’s important to note what is being said there.

All combustible materials on outside of new buildings to be banned

Because that’s not what is being said.

The problem that reality presents us with is as with Paracelsus and his comment that it is the dose that is the poison. With fire what is combustible depends upon the temperature. Absolutely everything will burn at a high enough temperature – stars themselves rather show that. OK, different sort of burning but still. The argument is instead that things which might burn at any likely temperature are to be banned. Which is nice, but then we thought we’d already done that under the old building regulations. Those cladding panels on Grenfell weren’t supposed to burn either.

But we’ve that other economic point too. It is never true that we want to be perfect. The entirety of life is a series of compromises. We want everything to be “good enough” for the purpose to which it is being put, not so good that nothing bad can ever happen. Sure, bad things have costs – and people being burnt to death is a high cost indeed – but then so does preventing bad things. What we need to do is balance these out. We can make every car entirely safe for example, but they’ll move at 3 mph if we do. Thus we don’t even want to ban all combustible materials, we just want to ban those where the costs of not using them are lower than the costs of using them.

We’re not, therefore, going to ban all combustibles but then we shouldn’t either.

Posted: 2nd, October 2018 | In: News | Comment


Elon Musk got off lightly – Tesla is damaged

There will be, from the fan boys, screeches and wails of discrimination over this decision to fine Elon Musk. They’ll be right too, this is discrimination, wholly in favour of Elon Musk and Tesla. For he most certainly did mislead the markets, a serious financial crime, and there’s a very good argument that he should have been punished much more than he was. The Securities and Exchange Commission could have insisted that he entirely remove himself from the management of a listed company – that would have been extreme perhaps but it was possible.

 

Elon_Musk_ tesla

Elon Musk: trust me I’m a car dealer

 

As has been pointed out before, Musk should have been punished for what he did:

Insofar as (a) is concerned: LSD? Lack of sleep? Impending mental breakdown? Or was there something more desperately Machiavellian about it? Regardless, I can’t think of an explanation that bodes well for Tesla.

With regards to (b). It is so blindingly obvious now (and should have been from word one) that his announcement Tweets were materially false. They had large impacts on the price of Tesla stock. They followed years of other dubious announcements, both on Twitter and in SEC filings and investor disclosures. If the SEC lets this slide it will make a mockery of the securities laws, and suggest that there are different standards for some people.

So, what really is that he did? Well, his actual tweet was along these lines:

The fraud allegation relates to his August tweet in which Mr Musk said he was considering taking electronic car maker Tesla off the stock market and into private ownership.

He wrote he had “funding secured” for the proposal, which would value Tesla at $420 per share. Shares in the company briefly rose after his announcement, but later fell again.

Effectively, he announced that someone was going to buy all Tesla shares at that $420. This, not unsurprisingly, made the price of Tesla shares rise to close to that $420. The problem being that it wasn’t true, he didn’t have a buyer. That’s misleading the markets.

Elon Musk, the billionaire technology entrepreneur, will step down as chairman of the electric car company Tesla and pay a £15 million fine to settle fraud charges.

And that’s the punishment. But there are those who think it’s a pretty light one:

Elon Musk just dodged a bullet. It’s Tesla that bears the scars.

Just a couple of days after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Tesla Inc.’s chairman and CEO – an action he described as “unjustified” – Musk has settled. Without admitting wrongdoing in connection with his bizarre claims of having teed up a buyout of the company in August, Musk will pay a fine of $20 million and relinquish the position of chairman for at least three years.

Given the apparent strength of the SEC’s complaint, with so much evidence typed and broadcast by Musk’s own hand, this surely counts as a win for him. The fine is immaterial compared to the $8.9 billion value of his stake in Tesla. Crucially, he has avoided the ban on being an officer of a public company, as the SEC was seeking.

It could have been so much more and it wasn’t – yes, that’s a win. Well, a win after having done something so ridiculously stupid as having sent the tweet in the first place.

Posted: 1st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Gerry’s tears, Pope is religious and Maddie is missing

Did you tune in to BBC Radio 4 show on fathers and daughters to hear Madeleine McCann’s father, Gerry McCann, as he “weeps uncontrollably”, as the Daily Star says he did? TV loves tears, from cake baking shows to pro-celebrity dance contests, no broadcast is complete without a close up of someone crying. But does it work for radio? In “MADDIE DAD BREAKDOWN” the Star leads with Gerry McCann saying how he “believed in heaven”. The man who along with his wife, Kate McCann, met the Pope when the hunt for his daughter was in full cry, is religious. Want more news?

 

maddie mccann

 

The front-page story continues on Page 5. The Star’s editorial says “Gerry McCann’s heartbreak over missing Madeleine must touch every parent’s heart… Listeners will have sobbed along with Gerry as his tears flowed.” All of them? Having spent 11 years watching the parents and now listening to them, many people will be interested in the actual investigation and what happened to an innocent child? Well, the Star says the Metropolitan Police should get more cash because “we may be looking for a serial offender” and “it could be money well spent”. May. Could. Reporting on the disappearance of a missing child  continues to be sensationalist and speculative.

 

maddie mccann

 

The Mirror also leads with Madeleine McCann, and news that Gerry “dreams of hugging” her again. Over pages 4 and 5, we’re told Gerry McCann wholeheartedly believes his daughter is alive – “a view backed up up by Scotland Yard’s plea for more funds to probe the mystery.” What plea? There has been some newspaper talk of funds running low and police considering applying for more. Indeed, the Star says there is a “debate” over whether police will request more funds or not. If there is a plea for money – and does Scotland Yard plea or merely ‘apply’? – the Mirror has no details about it. It would be useful to know what progress police think will be made with more fund.

 

maddie mccann

Daily Star

 

The Sun picks up the radio broadcast, and pretty much transcribes the whole thing:

“I couldn’t get the darkest thoughts out of our minds, that somebody had taken her and abused her. I remember just being in the bedroom – the two of us just completely distraught. It was almost feral, the reaction and the pain, feeling helpless, alone.”

And amid the pain and the emotion, the Sun surmises the story so far:

“A number of potential leads have emerged since the little girl vanished, but none amounted to anything and no arrests have ever been made.”

Can you arrest anyone when all you know is that a child vanished?

This is the BBC’s story, and it’s useful to see their take on it:

Madeleine, then aged three, disappeared from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007, sparking a worldwide search for her whereabouts.

A search stoked by a media feeding frenzy.

Mr McCann was speaking to BBC Radio 4 for a programme about the relationship between fathers and daughters. He said that he was sure immediately that his daughter had been abducted.

After being told by his wife Kate that their daughter was missing, Mr McCann said “automation kicked in” and he began searching the apartment.

“We started searching more widely really quickly and then very quickly raised the alarm,” he said.

“You’re in this quiet little holiday resort – that seemed idyllic – out of season and I certainly didn’t speak Portuguese so I asked [our friend] Matt to go to reception and ask them to call the police.”

“I couldn’t get the darkest thoughts out of our minds, that somebody had taken her and abused her,” he continued.

“I felt that every moment that we couldn’t find her was worse.

“I remember being slumped on the floor and starting to call some of my family members and just saying: ‘Pray for her.'”

And the “plea” for money:

The Home Office said last week it is currently considering a police request for an extra six months’ funding for Operation Grange.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


The youth hungry Labour Party really is a cult to an old white man

Ever wondered how a society gets to the stage where they erect statues to the esteemed leader in every town and every city? Persecuting Jews is good. Starving people, also good. How about voting for Labour? You might not get a statue straight away – it takes time to nationalise the cement and industries – but there will be a puppet in place of a wilful MP. The Corbyn cultists have staged a vote of no confidence in Labour MP Chris Leslie. On Friday, activists at the Labour MP’s Nottingham East constituency party voted to pass a no-confidence motion for what they said were Leslie’s “repeated attempts … to undermine the leadership”. Members of the Mapperley branch of Nottingham East pointed to the former shadow chancellor’s “disloyalty and deceit”.

Louise Regan, chairwoman of the Nottingham East Labour party, guffed: “We overwhelmingly passed a motion of no confidence in our MP Chris Leslie. It was agreed that this information would be shared with the press, but that we would also make clear that members of the CLP [constituency Labour party] would be out campaigning on the national day of action, building support for Labour policies and a Labour government.”

The Labour policy seems to be ‘crush dissent and build a party of singular talent’. (Odd, no, that for a Party so keen on urban youth, and chucking out the ‘pale, male and stale’, the top team is so very old, privately educated, provincial, middle-class and white.) And cultists can play no small part in shaping what is still called the Labour Party. They’re able to force the sitting Labour MPs to compete for selection as a general election candidate.

“Sadly, differing opinions are no longer tolerated in some parts of the Labour party,” Leslie told the BBC. “But I have to weigh the views of a few dozen people at this meeting with the thousands who voted for me at the last election.” But it’s all about the party, Chris. Loyalty to zer party ist alles.

Anti-Corbyn Labour MP Chuka Umunna did what he does best and, er, tweeted: “Real unity is based on the freedom to disagree and debate… So we need to foster a much greater culture of tolerance… We must learn to listen a bit more, and shout a lot less. To focus on what unites us.” Us? You’re not with “us”, mate, say the Corbyn cultists. Your in yesterday’s Labour Party. And if you attack our beloved leader, we will attack you.

So at least Leslie is not totally alone. Labour MPs Gavin Shuker, Kate Hoey, Joan Ryan and Frank Field have been hit with no-confidence votes from their local party members. And here’s the thing. Labour must win 64 more seats at the next general election to form a majority government. But it won’t just be Labour Party members on the Far Left who get to vote for a Corbyn loyalist. The cultists can put one up for election, but the voters can knock them down.

Posted: 29th, September 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Hate crime: Julia Hartley-Brewer defiled sacred safe space at Labour conference

You don’t have to like Julia Hartley-Brewer to be on her side in a story about safe spaces. Disability News Service (DNS) says Labour Party members want the LBC presenter disciplined by her employers and banned from future events because she criticised safe spaces. Labour says Julia Hartley-Brewer’s opinion that safe spaces are for “snowflakes” “caused considerable distress” to Labour delegates. She posted a video of her sat in a safe space “put aside for disabled people and others who need a quiet area for impairment-related and other reasons”. She said “boo” when a colleague with a camera entered the room. Hartley-Brewer then tweeted: “Comrades, if you’re feeling triggered at the Labour Party conference, don’t worry, we’ve found the official #SafeSpace…”

 

 

This mocking of safe spaces – places for contemplation that used to be called the toilet cubicle, stationery cupboard, library or car – left one delegate feeling “humiliated and violated”. She approached the Disability Labour stand and “just burst into tears, shaking with anger and rage”. She intends to report the incident to the police “as a potential disability hate crime”. A campaigner calls it “nothing less than a hate crime against disabled people”. Disabled people who have fought hard to be seen as resilient, spirited and capable might recoil at this portrayal of them as needy and fragile, reliant on the police and censors to counter different opinions. Another says Hartley-Brewer defiled the safe space, which can no longer be called a safe space, presumably because infidels have touched the sacred ground.

Hartley-Brewer adds in a tweet: “I’m told that this ‘safe space’ at Labour conference is meant for people with autism and other disabilities. The sign doesn’t say that. For the avoidance of doubt, there was no intention to upset disabled people, but every intention to upset snowflakes. Hope that clarifies.”

All it clarifies is that a woman voiced an opinion some other people don’t like, and now seek to turn into a crime – an actual criminal offence as dictated by a society defined by a desire to find and coset the victim in each of us.

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


The newspapers: unpack your prejudices for Christine Blasey Ford v Brett Kavanaugh

Who do you led with – Christine Blasey Ford, the blonde, white women who stood before the massed ranks of the US Senate Judiciary Committee and the TV cameras as she accused supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her 36 years ago or the white, grey man who says he “never sexually assaulted anyone”? No contest for the newspapers, which leads with Dr Ford. She claims that at a 1980s high school party, she believed Judge Kavanaugh “was going to rape me” and “was accidentally going to kill me”. Kavanaugh then appeared before the same committee. He denied allegations of sexual assault. At home and on Twitter, we tuned in, unpacked out prejudices and picked a side we knew – just knew – was right. Our morals are sound. The other side is most probably evil:

 

brett kavanaugh Christine Blasey Ford paper newspapers brett kavanaugh Christine Blasey Ford paper newspapers brett kavanaugh Christine Blasey Ford paper newspapers

 

 

Posted: 28th, September 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Cold War Steve: Steve McFadden stars in an exhibition by Twitter’s greatest artist

Cold War Steve mcfadden

 

The art of Cold War Steve is to feature in an exhibition at The Social, London. Called A Brief History of the World (1953 – 2018), the show’s running thread is the presence of British actor Steve McFadden, famed for playing tough nut Phil Mitchell on the BBBC dystopian soap opera, EastEnders. There’s fun to be had in spotting famous faces from the world stage and British telly. Personal favourites are poleaxed TalkSport DJ Alan Brazil and the late Cilla Black offering a quizzical look to us from the montage – a look that says ‘Who invited you?’ and ‘What the bloody hell am I doing here?’

Christopher Spencer, the talent behind @ColdWarSteve explains it simply: ” The more incongruous they were, the funnier.” And, boy, are they funny:

 

Cold War Steve mcfadden Cold War Steve mcfadden Cold War Steve mcfadden

 

More from @ColdWarSteve on Twitter.  A Brief History of the World (1953 – 2018) is at The Social from October 15.

Posted: 27th, September 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, The Consumer, TV & Radio | Comment