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News | Anorak - Part 20

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Canadian Parliament scuppers moves to permit drunk canoeing

canoe beer canadaCanada has rules governing drinking in “vessels”, including those “propelled exclusively by means of muscular power”. Get caught over the limit in a kayak or on an inflatable raft and you could lose your driving licence.

Now the Canadian Safe Boating Council has countered moves to end this rule, telling Liberal MP Colin Fraser, “it would send the wrong message to the public to exclude drunk canoeing”. You can be drunk in charge of a bicycle. But you must be sober in a canoe.

The Canadian Criminal Code says only motorized road vehicles are covered by impaired driving laws – but all water-going “vessels,” whether they’re motorized or not, are included:

But the definition may soon be tested in court. Earlier this year, Ontario Provincial Police laid charges against David Sillars, a 37-year-old who tipped a canoe on the Muskoka River. An eight-year-old in the canoe was swept over a waterfall and died.

Sillars is charged with impaired operation of a vessel causing death and operating a vessel with a blood-alcohol level over 80 milligrams causing death, among other counts.

During the committee meeting, Conservative MP Rob Nicholson — a former Conservative justice minister — appeared to cite that case in asking for clarification on what the amendment would do.

In the UK, the law on drunk-boating tells us:

Boaters may be prosecuted under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 if their actions on the water are seen to be endangering other vessels, structures or individuals and they are under the influence of alcohol.

But there is no law covering being smashed in charge of a canoe, or pedlo.

Spotter: National Post

 

Posted: 17th, October 2017 | In: News, Politicians, Strange But True | Comment


Lysette Anthony and Harvey Weinstein in Trial By Media

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul accused of multiple crimes against women, is all over the tabloids.

The Sun leads with the “3 Brit Victims”. Alleged victims, of course, a fact given credence with those inverted commas. Weinstein is deserving of a fair hearing. Innocence must always be presumed.

The pick of the alleged victims seems to be Lysette Anthony, a former model and actress, subject of the Sunday Times’ scoop: “Lysette Anthony: I answered the door. Harvey Weinstein pushed me inside and raped me in my own hallway.” That’s a headline and a half. And because it is a headline, it counts as opinion not fact.

 

harvey weinstein

 

Lysette Anthony’s allegations reach use via Charlotte Metcalf, a “close friend” of the actress. The pair went to a police station, where Anthony made her allegation. It’s serious stuff. Her words are weighty, and she should be afforded respect. The sincere hope is that the matter goes to court. Our opinions matter not.

Metcalf writes:

She was nervous but the officers were sensitive and reassuring. Afterwards I sat down with her and she told me the full story which she has agreed I should now make public.

Are we entertained yet? Stay tuned…

We hear that Lysette and Weinstein first met in New York. “Over the net few years she would have lunch with Harvey from time to time when he was in London. At that point she experienced nothing untoward: ‘The lunches were invariably in hotel suites but I felt comfortable in Harvey’s company. We had become friends.'”

And then she claims he attacked her:

“He pushed me inside and rammed me up against the coat rack in my tiny hall and started fumbling at my gown. He was trying to kiss me and shove inside me. It was disgusting.

She tried pushing him off but he was too heavy. “Finally I just gave up. At least I was able to stop him kissing me. As he ground himself against me and shoved inside me, I kept my eyes shut tight, held my breath, just let him get on with it. He came over my leg like a dog and then left. It was pathetic, revolting. I remember lying in the bath later and crying.”

Anthony says she never told the police not her agent. She claims that around a year later, she met Weinstein again. She took her out for dinner. He was “perfectly charming”. He bought her a coat on the way home. “I thought it was his unspoken way of apologising for what had happened,” says Lysette. “I assumed that was that and we went our separate ways.”

And then…?

“From this point on, if I ignored ­Weinstein’s calls the assistants started ringing and if I ignored them his ­assistants called my agent to set up a meeting. What you have to understand is that no one turned down an opportunity to meet Harvey Weinstein. No one. I’d never told my agent about the rape, so it was impossible to explain why I didn’t want to see him.

“The meetings would start with a chat in a hotel suite. The assistants would disappear and then he’d disappear and return in a robe demanding a massage. By then I’d just given up. I knew I was powerless and at least I wouldn’t have to do much. I was just a body, young flesh. It wouldn’t take long and no one knew.”

And there it is, out there in the court of public opinion, the story of the actress and her alleged rapist.

 

harvey weinstein

 

Weinstein the “sex beast”:

harvey weinstein

This has to reach court. Weinstein must have the right to defend himself. And society has the right to judge the matter. Anything less than law-based justice reduces alleged horrific crimes into a nasty form of entertainment…

Posted: 16th, October 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment


Going fast: the Anne Frank Halloween costume for girls

Why not alarm your Nazi neighbours this Halloween by dressing up in an Anne Frank costume (for girls)?

 

halloween costume gils anne frank

 

 

The costume has now been pulled from shelves.

Public Relations Specialist at Fun.com, Ross Walker Smith went on Twitter to explain:

“We sell costumes not only for Halloween, but for many uses outside of the Halloween season, such as school projects and plays. We have passed along the feedback regarding this costume, and it has been removed from the website at this time.”

Just a clerical error, then. Thanks for the feedback. Who knew flogging a murdered child for Halloween was anything by fun?

And it’s positively tasteful compared to this:

 

 

Spotter: JudeHabib

Posted: 16th, October 2017 | In: News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Hillary Clinton throws Harvey Weinstein under the bus (with all of Bill’s women)

Did you roll your eyes and let you mouth fall agape when Hillary Clinton told Andrew Marr about Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul accused of rape? There’s delusional and there’s Hillary Clinton levels of delusional:

“I was really shocked and appalled because I’ve known him through politics as many Democrats have. He’s been a supporter – he’s been a funder for all of us, for Obama, for me, for people who have run for office in the United States.  So it was just disgusting and the stories that have come out are heartbreaking. And I really commend the women who have been willing to step forward now and tell their stories.”

This is same Hillary Clinton who allegedly vowed to “destroy” women who accused her husband, Bill Clinton, of sexual harassment – who, according to the New York Times, was part of a devious campaign to see one of Bill’s ‘victims’ branded a “bimbo” and a “pathological liar”. Does Bill get a pass when we talk of sexual predators? Is Hillary so delusional – so iconic – all talk of her being her husband’s enabler is taboo?

She goes on to tell Marr:

“But I think that it’s important that we not just focus on him and whatever consequences flow from these stories about his behavior but that we recognize this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated anywhere, whether it’s in entertainment, politics. After all, we have someone admitting to being a sexual assaulter in the Oval Office. There has to be a recognition that we must stand against this kind of action that is so sexist and misogynistic.”

No. Donald Trump has never admitted to being a sexual assaulter.

She then encourages comparrisons between Trump and Weinstein.

“I’m not a psychologist, I can’t draw that conclusion. There are credible reports from women about both that sound very similar.”

Trump’s “pussy” comment was nasty. He has questionable views on women. But he has not been accused of rape. You know who has? Yep, Harvey Weinstein and…Bill Clinton.

Get a load of this exchange:

MARR: “And this depends on women coming forward and the courage to come forward. And yet in your book the three women, brought onto the stage by Trump, attacking your husband and you kind of dismissed them. Was that the right thing to do, are you sure about that?”

CLINTON: “Well, yes, because that had all been litigated. That was the subject of a huge investigation as you might recall in the late ’90s and there were conclusions drawn and that was clearly in the past.”

But the past cannot be so easily boxed up:

“I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me,” Juanita Broaddrick tweeted from her home in Van Buren, Ark. “I am now 73. . . . it never goes away.”

Harvey Weinstein deserves a fair trial. Hillary Clinton deserves to have her record looked at. Justice must not be denied.

Posted: 15th, October 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Why Brexit is good for tea and tigers

Judith_Kerr_on_September_15,_2016_at_the_International_Literature_Festival_Berlin

 

Hold fast there! No need to flee Brexit Britain, where glorious democracy rules and inspires. I’ve been offered a Portuguese passport – something to do with the Inquisition and the Portuguese being sorry. Mrs Anorak qualifies for an Irish passport. Do we want them? Judith Kerr, author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and other books – is a Jew who escaped the Nazis. Now living in London, she tells the FT:

“As soon as the vote of Brexit came through half the people I know were trying desperately to work out whether they had Irish grandmothers. But I would never take dual German nationality because I owe this country too much, and I wouldn’t want to dilute it.”

You might not like the result of the Brexit vote, but by god you should rejoice in it.

Posted: 15th, October 2017 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Arsenal balls: The Metro and Google News trick fans with Sanchez to Man City story

Egregious balls in the Metro, which declares: “Arsenal News: Alexis Sanchez has decided to join Manchester City.” It’s one of the top three Arsenal stories on Google News:

 

But when you click on the story, things are not so clear. We read:

Alexis Sanchez has decided that his next destination will be Manchester City, according to reports.

But according to the Metro, Sanchez has decided to join Manchester City, right? It says so in the headline on Google News. But reading on, the Metro cites a different source to itself:

The Daily Mirror claims that the Chile international will not sign a new deal and Arsenal are now deciding whether to cash in on the 28-year-old in the January transfer window.

The Metro doesn’t bother to link to the Mirror’s story. But we do. And it does not say Sanchez has agreed to join City. It says Arsenal are in talks to extend Sanchez’s deal at Arsenal and that if the Chilean doesn’t stay in London, he could leave for City if they pay a big enough fee.

But Sanchez has made his mind up, right? Wrong. The Metro adds:

The Daily Mirror reports that Sanchez’s future in January will be decided by Arsenal’s season so far and whether the club are in with a realistic chance of winning major silverware.

Utter balls, then, in the dire Metro, which tricks people into reading its bilge.

 

 

Sanchez has not decided to join Man City. Other than that the story is correct.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, October 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Tabloids | Comment


Harvey Weinstein begins the slow transformation from mogul to victim

Weinstein climbed into his air ambulance with a message to us all, and specifically, no doubt, fellow suffers of Weinstein Syndrome. “I’m hanging in, I’m trying my best,” he mustered. “I’m not doing OK but I’m trying. I gotta get help guys. You know what, we all make mistakes … Second chance, I hope.”

Stories abound that Weinstein is being treated for ‘sexual addiction’, which if right and placed in line with allegations levelled at him, reduces claims of his alleged criminal behaviour to a sympathetic hormone-fired back story. Get this from one of his people in the New Yorker: “Mr Weinstein has begun counselling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”

Second chance is the mantra – and possibly the name of the cure-all pills and the clinic that provides them.

PS:  Is Weinstein V Addiction ever going to reach trial? If it does, given the vitriol and opining online and in print, can Weinstein ever get a fair trial? Better, perhaps, to blame it on the sex and have those troublesome genitals beaten with sticks.

Next week from behind the grave: “Jimmy Savile: I wound’t wish my disease on anyone.”

Posted: 13th, October 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comments (2)


Inside China’s censorship factories

censorship china

 

To the Wisdom Mountain Twin Towers in China’s Tianjin city, where the bright young things are cleansing the internet of words and images the State would rather you did not see. The Chinese government often outsource censorship to British students private companies, like Toutiao, which raised $2B in capital markets. These companies are recruiting prim minds to uphold moral values and restrict your view of the world and the people around you.

And you won’t hear the West complain, not as long as the Chinese keep paying for our acquiescence. In August, under pressure of an academic boycott, Cambridge University Press reinstated over 300 articles it removed from its prestigious China Quarterly journal at the behest of the Chinese authorities. The Chinese State wants facts erased the world over:

Zhang Lijun, chairman of the online news and video portal V1 Group, said that between 20 and 30 per cent of his company’s labour costs went on content auditors – a necessary business expenditure.

“Without doubt you need to maintain close ties with the ruling party,” Zhang said. “Party building, setting up party units properly, these can ensure your news goes out smoothly and keeps your business operations safe.”

The Beijing-based censor said Toutiao used artificial intelligence systems to censor content, though these don’t always understand the tone of posts.

“We are training the AI. They are not as smart. Hopefully they will learn to handle all this eventually.” For now, though, real humans are still in demand.

An advertisement Toutiao posted on Tianjin Foreign Studies University’s career page for students this month sought 100 fresh graduates to work in “content audit”, earning between 4,000-6,000 yuan ($611-$917) per month.

Spotter: SCMP

Posted: 13th, October 2017 | In: News, Technology | Comment


Arsenal balls: Sanchez talks progressing well and Manchester City worry

When Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger talks, the tabloids churn his words though the mangle and spit out sensation. Discussing the futures of the team’s Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez – both players in the final year of their current deals – Wenger said:

“The fact we didn’t agree last year doesn’t mean he [Ozil] wants to leave… Both players look happy and overall I hope the situation can be turned round, but at the moment we are not close enough to announce anything. Talks are going well.”

The headline news is that talks to keep Sanchez and Ozil at Arsenal are “going well”.

A journalist than asks if there’s deadline to the talks. “No,” says Wenger, “not at this moment.” The journo asks if it gets to the January transfer window and no deals have been agreed Arsenal will “count their losses” and sell bother players.  Wenger says you “envisage every solution”.  Will they leave? “It’s possible,” says Wenger.

Of course it is. That much is not new. The news is that talks are progressing with both players. Indeed, Ozil’s agent says his man wants to stay in the Premier League.

But in the Manchester Evening News the story that Arsenal are working to keep Sanchez becomes: “Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez hands Pep Guardiola transfer dilemma.” This apparent dilemma is whether Manchester City should buy Sanchez in January. But it’s not a dilemma in the Mirror, which announces: “Manchester City plot cut-price £20m transfer swoop for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez in January window.” Neither the Mirror nor MEN cite a single source for their stories.

Over in the Daily Mail, the Chilean has already made his mind up. “Alexis Sanchez set to leave Arsenal in January,” says the paper.  “Arsene Wenger is resigned to Alexis Sanchez leaving Arsenal in the January transfer window,” says the paper.

Is that what he said? No.

Such are the facts.

 

 

 

Posted: 13th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2)


Children compete to create Nazi Party mascot

To Georgia, where middle schoolers have been set a test: dream up a mascot for the Nazi party. WSB-TV Atlanta looks on as sixth graders from Shiloh Middle School in Snellville get to work.  “Directions: The year is 1935 and you have been tasked with creating a mascot to represent the Nazi party at its political rallies,” the task reads. “Think about all the information that you have learned about Hitler and the Nazi party. You will create a COLORFUL illustration of the mascot. Give the mascot a NAME. You will also write an explanation as to why the mascot was chosen to represent the Nazi party.”

 

nazi toy school

‘My Little Genocide’

 

Pass the crayons:

Gwinnett County Schools said learning about Nazism, the use of propaganda and the events that resulted in the Holocaust is part of the sixth grade social studies curriculum.

However, a school district spokesperson said in a statement, “This assignment is not a part of the approved materials provided by our Social Studies department and is not appropriate and the school is addressing the use of this assignment with the teacher.”

Given what you know about Nazis, industrialised murder, the Holocaust and more, get colouring, kids!*

Bonus marks will be awarded for any child stealing another child’s work with extreme prejudice and blaming it on the Jews.

Spotter: DrRandomFactor

Posted: 7th, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Arek Jozwik, Brexit and the travesty of facts

Sterling work by Brendan O’Neill on Spiked, who ‘fisked‘ the story of Arek Jozwik, the man the papers told us was “murdered for being Polish”. Mr Jozik’s death was the result of violence, true enough – a 16-year-old boy from Harlow, Essex, has been found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for three years.

But to a monocular press, the trial’s facts arrived as inconveniences: it wasn’t murder and it had nothing to do with the victim’s nationality.

Following a row, a 15-year-old British thug punched Mr Jozwik, a 40-year-old Pole, in the head. Jozwik fell. His head hit the pavement. Two days later Arek Jozwik was dead.

But the media narrative was set from the outset. This was foremost a suspected hate crime. Loud voices told readers and listeners that the death of Arek Jozwik was evidence that since Brexit racism was out of control.

Ross Clark noted:

James O’Brien, an LBC radio talk-show host, declared that certain Eurosceptics had ‘blood on their hands’ as did ‘anybody who has suggested speaking Polish in a public place is in any way undesirable’. This was the premise of almost all reporting on the story: a man seemed to have been murdered for being Polish.

Viewers of BBC1’s News at Six were told, ‘the fear is that this was a frenzied racist attack triggered by the Brexit referendum’.

The Indy was arguably the biggest miscreant, positioning the horrible altercation that ended in the death of one man and the imprisonment of another as a return to “white man’s gulch“. The paper mused: “Harlow: Did the great hopes for a post-war new town end with the death of a Polish immigrant in a shopping arcade?” The whole town was in the dock, just as how all of Eltham and its inhabitants were found guilty when Stephen Lawrence was knifed to death in a racist attack. “Harlow in Essex… was once the shiny future of post-war Britain. What went wrong?” asked the paper. What is wrong with Essex man?

The story of what really happened emerged after a trial. It made its way into the Sun, which invited Brendan O’Neill to expose “one of the most shameless misinformation campaigns of recent times”. He wrote:

For certain political and media types, still reeling from the electorate’s rejection of the EU, this was more than just a drunken dispute that ended tragically — it was an act of political evil.

Instantly, and without the benefit of evidence, they labelled Mr Jozwik’s death a Brexit crime…

Jakub Krupa, of the Polish Press Agency, wrote in The Guardian that the killing “exposes the reality of post-referendum racism”.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also used it to attack Brexit. He told the European Parliament: “We Europeans can never accept Polish workers being harassed, beaten up or even murdered on the streets of Essex.”

Robert Halfon, Tory MP for Harlow, said the killing showed that some people “from the sewers” were using Brexit to “exploit division”.

Meanwhile, the leftish Twittersphere went into meltdown. Tweets included “Welcome to Brexit Britain”, “(Jozwik was) murdered for being Polish”, and “This is what was encouraged by Farage, Johnson, Cameron.”

Good stuff.

Or as the Sun put it previously:

 

 

 

 

 

And:

 

 

And:

Anti-Brexit boors have gone silent over the killing of Polish man Arek Jozwik..

A HORRIBLE night in ­Harlow, Essex, a little over a year ago. A drunken Polish bloke gets into an argument with a 15-year-old black kid. He pushes him and calls him “n*****”. The kid responds with a single punch.

The convicted teenager is believed to be white.

Such are the facts in the trusty mainstream media.

Posted: 6th, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


After Las Vegas: only candles, thoughts and prayers can stop another massacre

After the horror in Las Vegas, will anything happen? Something must after America’s worst mass-shooting. The sane thing would be to debate gun control and why it’s ok for someone to own an arsenal of high-powered weapons. But amid the candles, prayers and hashtags – and the flurry of guessing about why Stephen Paddock executed scores of innocent music fans out for a good night – nothing gets done. Second Amendment freedoms remain unchanged in law. You can buy a machine gun in the USA and keep it shiny in the hope that when someone aims their machine gun at you, you can shoot back.

The newspapers are full of the Las Vegas bloodbath. All mention Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old killer, in the opening lines. Police and the FBI are looking for Paddock’s motive. There are many being spouted: he is a jihadi; a white supremacist; an anti-Trump activist; a pro-Trump gun-nut; a terrorist; a white male; and so on. Reuters hears an official says that Paddock had a “history of psychological problems”. Paddock’s father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was a “psychopathic serial bank robber” who was once on the FBI’s most wanted list between 1969 and 1977.

 

 

Donald Trump says it was an “act of pure evil”, a phrase that invokes God and invites us to think the Devil did it. Is that going to be Stephen Paddock’s excuse? Is he going to become a victim of some kind of hereditary condition and demonic possession?

“WHY DID HE FLIP?” asks the Mirror over two pages. The answer can be summed up in one word: “Dunno.” But the Mirror, as with so much media, analyses the dead murderer’s brain. Did he “inherit his criminal father’s mental illness and ruthless passion for violence”? The Mail wonders: “Did gambling losses turn law-abiding ex-accountant into mass killer?” The Sun leads with news that Paddock was “thought” to have gambling debts.

We like a clean narrative: man with money worries / troubled upbringing / religious devotion murders scores of people. But none of it sheds any light on the horror. It just offers Paddock an out. He deserves none. The Las Vegas Police Department’s Sheriff Joe Lombardo is honest: “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath.”

The only sense would be to look at how mass shootings can be prevented. Better mental health provision? More exorcisms? Locking up children of the criminally deranged? Stopping a man on a mission to kill isn’t easy if you value freedom. How about stricter rules on who gets machine guns and bullets? The US gun lobby won’t budge. Trump needs to find a way to keep the US constitution intact – the freedom and equality it enshrines in law – and stop manics getting their hands on high-velocity killing machines.

The next slaughter won’t be stopped by tea-lights and prayers.

 

Posted: 3rd, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


After Las Vegas: everyone knows why Stephen Paddock did it

Why did Mesquite, Nevada, man Stephen Paddock shoot dead more than 50 people and wound 400 more when he opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas? Police “believe” he committed suicide before they raided his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. It was from there that he fired at the crowd below, allegedly.

 

Stephen paddock las vegas

 

We might never know why he did it, if he did it and if he did it alone – 10 weapons were found in his room, say police. So can anyone with an agenda subscribe their bigotry to this horror?

ISIS says they know why Paddock did it. A statement published by the group’s Amaq propaganda agency says: “The Las Vegas attacker is a soldier of the Islamic State in response to calls to target coalition countries.” They claim Stephen Paddock “converted to Islam several months ago”.

The Daily Mail endorses that message:

 

 

Eric Paddock, the suspect’ brother, is quoted in the Orlando Sentinel:

“We are completely dumbfounded. We can’t understand what happened. We have absolutely no idea whatsoever. I can’t imagine. When you guys find out why this happened, let us know. I have no idea whatsoever.”

Tariq Nasheed says it’s to do with white supremacy.

 

Tariq Nasheed stephen paddock

 

Paddock had been travelling with Marilou Danley, who is not a suspect. The Australian said Danley was “an Australian passport holder, possibly of Indonesian descent, but officials there have not confirmed her nationality”. White supremacist friendly with Indonesian women attacks country music festival. Really? Danley relocated to the United States 20 years ago, according to one of her former neighbours who said she is originally from the Philippines, The Herald Sun reported.

Was it terrorism? “There is motiving factors associated with terrorism other than a distraught person just intending to cause mass casualty. Before we label with that it will be a matter of process,” says Sheriff Joseph Lombardo.”We believe it’s a solo actor. A lone wolf,” Lombardo added.

Is there something about his name?

 

What about Donald Trump? Armchair Detective On Twitter tabs the side of his nose and gives us the side eye:

 

Paddock hated Trump! right?

stephen paddock donald trump

 

 

How about Stephen Paddock’s whiteness?

stephen paddock white

 

Terror attacks are used to further a cause. What Paddock’s was Charles Clymer doesn’t say. But when it comes to being murdered, he is producing a league table. Ban white guys, says Charles!

Can we ban God, who was angry at Trump.

 

 

The dead are victims of white privilege:

 

Deborah Schurman-Kauflin says he was a killer:

Too many people are at a loss to understand such killings. They can’t comprehend the deep pitted hatred that fills the black hearts of these multiple murderers. A shooting or mass event shocks the public which doesn’t spend its time dreaming of murder. However these killers do just that. Every waking moment is focused on their deviant desires. By rote, they practice over and over in their minds how they will destroy as much life as possible. They live and breathe an inevitable revenge. Fueled by continuous anger, they prepare for their destiny. That is how they see it. Every mass killer I interviewed said they always knew they would kill. In a way it is a self fulfilling prophecy.

Whatever method they choose to execute their plan, they practice ad nauseum. They go to the location they want to attack. Once there, they watch. They want to memorize the patterns of the people at the location. They want to see who is there and where they go. What is normal for this area? Yes, killers profile too. They need those patterns so they can predict the behavior of their targets. When they can anticipate how a victim will react, they can cut off escape routes.

Weapons are obtained, and very often, they tell someone of their goal. Though they are deadly serious, the threat is blown off. People have a hard time believing that this person could do such a thing. Or, the person is too frightened to say a word. Thus, the behavior and words do not get reported. And the plan continues.

 

 

More to follow…

Posted: 2nd, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (3)


3 dead in Marseilles: ‘Allahu Akbar’ ad infinitum

Three people are dead at Marseilles’ Saint-Charles train station in France. Police shot one dead after he’d murdered the other two. The Guardian says the murderer was a “man”, an “assailant” armed with a knife, a “knifeman”. And that’s all.

“Two victims have been stabbed to death,” says regional police chief, Olivier de Mazieres on AFP.

But a clue to what the “man” might have been and why he did it comes via an unnamed French official, who tells France’s Le Monde newspaper that the killer yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he stabbed two women to death.

How relevant is that chant? It’s very relevant, reasons the Daily Mail, which unlike the BBC and Guardian makes the familiar war cry of militant Islam central to the story. “Two passengers are killed as attacker shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ slits a woman’s throat with a butcher’s knife and stabs another at Marseille station before soldiers shoot him dead,” announces the headline.

The Mail mentions “Islamist radicals” in its story. The Guardian makes no mention of Islam whatsoever in its. Why is there such a clear difference in reporting? Why does one publication make Islam a key part of the narrative, whilst another ignores it entirely? I’d hazard a guess that it’s something to do with the uncertain, fearful censorious times we live in. Ever watchful of triggering the slack-jawed mob, the simplest fact is redacted from reports lest it foment a race riot. With free speech and free expression stymied, what should be objective – simply stating the facts – becomes confrontational and daring. Most worryingly, it leaves the facts to actual bigots who adopt the role of rebels and present themselves as brave and knowing sources of ‘truth’.

As for the police, well, the soldiers who shot the killer dead are part of Operation Sentinelle, the military operation launched after Islamists massacred so many at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January 2015.

Good the soldiers were there, then.

Aside from a conversation on armed police on the streets this attack invites, is there also a conversation to be had about Islamist violence? Since 2015, more than 230 people in France have been killed in Islamist attacks. Discuss.

Posted: 1st, October 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit poll: 88% of young voters want Britain to quit the EU?

Is Brexit a disaster? We’re not sure what it entails in detail, but that vote was glorious. And a new poll tells us that far from being fans of a second referendum and voting until we deliver ‘the right’ answer, most of us rather enjoy democracy and the chance it’s given the country to try something different:

 

brexit poll

 

The stand-out figure is the 12% of 18- to 24-year-olds who think the country should press on and quit the European Union. That figure is topped by the 92% of the working class who want Brexit. Jeebus – 70% of Remainers want the country to get on with it.

So let’s not stop Brexit. Let’s not heed the demands of Labour MPs who demand a second referendum and think us all duped for voting for Brexit in the first place. They don’t want democracy; they want to stymie it.

The full survey for the Times went like this:

 

brexit

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, October 2017 | In: News, Politicians | Comment (1)


No anti-Semitism in Labour – just calls for a ‘final solution’

Good job there’s no anti-Semitism in Labour or else we’d think Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME) seeking of a “final solution” ugly.

 

labour final solution

 

 

Having been alerted that Nazis were fond of just that term, and forced to why they used it in regard to the world’s only Jewish state, the group Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME) has apologised for its “extremely poor choice of words”.

They then added a sympathetic backstory:

“Due to the preparations for the Party conference, we were unable to effectively check every piece of content being published on our page.

“While the use of the phrase in this context was genuine error we would like to sincerely apologise for the hurt it has caused and will endevour [sic] to ensure such errors do not occur in the future.”

Look out for Labour debating “the Jewish question” at a meeting near you.

Posted: 1st, October 2017 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Words are bad: Australians warned not to offend weak-minded women at work

The Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) wants to warn you about words. The DCA is an “independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace”. The DCA are guns for hire. They will deliver a 2 hour talk at your organisation “by experienced DCA staff and consultants”. Does it cost? Yes:

Fees
$2,500 per session for DCA members.
$3,600 per session for non-members.

For small businesses of – get this – as low as one employer (can you offend yourself?) membership is $1,645 a year.

You will be told that using words like “abo”, “retard”, “poofter”, “fag”, “dyke” and “so gay” can be upsetting. Who knew? Also saying “hi, girl’ or “hi guys” is taboo.

“We want to get people thinking about the language they use in the workplace and whether it’s inclusive or excludes people,”says DCA’s CEO Lisa Annese. She offers an example. “A really good test is reversing the gender,” says Annese. “Would you walk into a mixed gender group and say ‘Hello ladies’ or ‘Hello girls’? No, because men would be offended. I used to use the word guys. I have both genders in my team and I out of respect for everyone, I think it’s much better if I say ‘Hi team’ as it includes everyone. It’s a small change.”

Women are so weak and easily offended that they need protecting from hearing the word “guys”. What an understanding view of women that is. These delicate types need safer spaces to work in. And who hasn’t met a modern Aussie male intimated by being called a ‘lady’? Well done DCA!

And “mum” is out, too. You should also avoid “drudge”, “slave” or “Filipino”, if you work in one of the smarter areas:

 

Posted: 1st, October 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment


Media bias: Bournemouth robbed as Leicester’s Simpson tucks his hands onto his arms

When Bournemouth hosted Leicester City in the Premier League, the Cherries were hard down by when a clear handball by the Foxes’ Danny Simpson in his own area went unpunished.

The official Leicester FC website reports on that early goalmouth action:

Defoe connects with a King cross and turns his effort onto the underneath of the bar. Pugh’s follow up is deflected wide and City clear the corner.

No word on how the shot was deflected wide.

Leicester says the game’s “major moment” was Shinji Okazaki missing a good chance –  not the handball.

Over on the Bournemouth FC website, it’s a different story:

Within three minutes there was high drama. Joshua King’s low cross was directed onto the crossbar by Defoe, and as the ball rattled loose Marc Pugh’s close-range shot was deflected wide by the hand of Danny Simpson.
Pugh’s shouts for a penalty were sustained, but referee Graham Scott was unmoved in signalling for just a corner.

Let’s see if a local newspaper can give us the facts?

The Leicester Mercury reports:

The tone was set in the third minute when a sweeping move carved City open and Jermaine Defoe struck the underside of the bar form close range and Marc Pugh struck Danny Simpson’s arm with the follow-up.

As Simpson nurses his arm and #pray4Danny trends in Leicester, we see what the BBC made of it:

The home side dominated the game and will feel they should have had an early penalty when Leicester defender Danny Simpson appeared to handle inside the box.

Can you handle something with your arm? No. The Times explains:

Early on, Defoe exchanged passes with the impressive Josh King whose low cross was turned against the bar by the England striker. Marc Pugh looked certain to score from the rebound, but his effort was deflected wide by the palm of Danny Simpson.

Handball, then. Bournemouth were robbed. But not if you get your news from Leicester, in which case we wish Danny Simpson well.

Posted: 30th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports | Comment (1)


Ben Stokes reminds the country that people still play cricket

England cricketer Ben Stokes has been making news ever since he was arrested following a bout of alleged fisticuffs with Ryan Hale, a former soldier who served in Afghanistan, on a night out in Bristol.

Everything about Stoke’s life to date is being examined for signs of mania. He wore comfi-Slax and a jumper for his interview for the England captaincy; the winner, Joe Root, wore a suit and tie, and most likely tucked his vest into his Y-fronts. He did an impression of Katie Price’s disabled son Harvey, which someone filmed. In 2011, Stokes was arrested and cautioned for obstructing the police. He’s ginger. He was rusticated from a tour of Australia for boozing. He achieved four speeding offences in one month.

 

 

The big shock, of course, is that a cricket should be on the front pages at all. Cricket usually attracts less media attention than Wayne Rooney’s urine; it’s f7 on the keyboard when there’s no football on. And that’s the international stuff. Cricket at country level has less pull than Ann Widdecombe in a moist tent.

 

 

The MCC, ECB and all other cricket boards should write a letter to Stokes thanking him for making cricketers and cricket worthy of our attention. Cricket needs exposure even more than the aforementioned Katie Price and her Jordans.

As for Stokes, a player who often eschews the cloying professionalism in favour of the amateur spirit, we,, he should save his aggression for the match.

 

Posted: 30th, September 2017 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal riot, stroll and stumble at BATE Borisov

Arsenal ran out pretty easy winners in their Europa League match against BATE Borisov, winning 4-2, having been 3-0 up after 25 minutes. Arsenal are the first team to beat Bate on their own patch in European competition since Barcelona defeated them in 2015 – a run of seven games.

What do the newspapers have to say about the match?

EASY!

The Daily Mail calls it an “Arsenal stroll”. The Sun agrees that it was a “stroll”. The Gunners, boasting a squad of nine players aged 20 or younger, “ran riot”. The Express saw Arsenal “picking apart the BATE defence at will”. The Daily Star says it was “stunning stuff from Arsenal”.

HARD!

The Daily Mirror says it “wasn’t an easy ride” for the Gunners in Belarus.

And the Times:

Times Arsenal

 

One man’s stroll is another reporter’s stumble.

Such are the facts.

 

 

 

Posted: 29th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: police get more cash for another 6 months of looking

Madeleine McCann news watch – a look at reporting on the missing child. There is “new hope” in the “Maddie hunt” says the Daily Express. Is hope born of new clues? (Any clues?) New evidence? (Any evidence?) No. It’s just that police have been given an extra £154,000 to keep investigating what happened to the child who vanished on a family holiday in May 2007. This, says the paper, is a “massive boost”.

But is it, really? It keeps the investigation going, yes, but unless we know on what it will be spent and if any investment will answer to the question ‘What happened?’ it’s pretty meaningless. What value £154,000 when the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Grange has cost over £11million? It’s less a massive boost than a top-up deal.

The story continues on page 9. We see a the familiar photo of Madeleine McCann in her Everton kit. And we see a picture of her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann. We hear Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ spokesman, say his clients are “extremely thankful to the Home Office and Scotland Yard for continued funding”. The McCanns are “encouraged that there remains work to be done that requires the extra budget,” he says. What work that is, we’re not told. Perhaps wrapping up a large police operation caries its own costs?

The story is all about the money because the changing number is the only new fact. The single thread story remains just that: child vanishes.

The Star carries the same story on its page 4, sticking to that bald fact and summing up the entire case in a caption that says “Missing: Madeleine”.

But the Mirror thinks the news of “MADDIE COPS” being “GIVEN ONE LAST CHANCE” worthy of its front page. The paper reasons that if police “fail” to find “fresh leads” the probe “could be axed”. On page 5, readers learn that £154,000 is enough for fur police to work full time on the case for 6 months.

Unless they find out what happened sooner, of course…

 

 

Posted: 29th, September 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester City star Aguero fractures rib in car accident

Manchester City’s Argentinean star Sergio Aguero has been injured in a car accident in Amsterdam. The 29-year-old fractured a rib when the taxi he was taking to the airport struck a lamp post. Aguero was in Holland to watch a concert by Colombian singer Maluma.

Reports in Argentina estimate Aguero will be out of action “for at least three months”, noting that the “seat belt saved his life”. The Sun calls it a “horror smash” and says he “cheated death”.
 

 

It could have been worse, then. We wish Aguero well, of course. But look out for fans of rival clubs being delighted.
 


 

And let’s not forget the jokes:
 

 

But don’t worry City:

 

Ooer.

Posted: 29th, September 2017 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Lavinia Woodward’s case tells us nothing about race but it might expose the myth of gender equality

Afua Hirsch has something to say about Lavinia Woodward, the troubled woman guilty of attacking her boyfriend. For the crime of unlawful wounding Woodward was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months. Much of the narrative has focused on her intellect, which the judge praised. He told her “normally it would attract a custodial sentence, whether it is immediate or suspended”. Judge Pringle praised her “extraordinary talent” for learning and medicine – Woodward wants to be a heart surgeon –  and listed “mitigating factors” in arriving at his conclusion that a period in prison would be the wrong sentence.

 

 

The Press disagreed, calling it “TOFF JUSICE” (The Sun) and reworking the judge’s comments into “Oxford student branded ‘too clever to be jailed'” (Mirror). Woodward became a talking point. So here’s Hirsch to tell Guardian readers: “The Lavinia Woodward case exposes equality before the law as a myth.”

It does? She describes Woodward as “white, and privileged”. I’d add ‘blonde’. It is surely Woodward’s blondeness that made her case front-page news.

Hirsch adds: “At the time of her attack, she was studying medicine at Christ Church college, Oxford. She had attended a prestigious international school. She could afford an excellent lawyer. She was able to demonstrate – in a language the judiciary can easily understand – her potential future contribution to society.”

Hirsch then reviews all the facts – although the judge’s full comments have not been published – adding maybe a dash of her own prejudice to the matter. “She is as deserving of a prison sentence as the young black men so often reported as being involved in stabbings,” she writes, as if all stabbings are of equal damage and all cases easily comparable.

But if it’s inconsistency we’re seeking, the key word might not be ‘white’. It might be ‘she’. In the 2013 Government report “Statistics on Women and the Criminal Justice System – A Ministry of Justice publication under Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991” we read more.

Women go to prison less often than men:

 

 

That the crime was Woodward’s first was noted by the judge, who told her: “There are many mitigating features in your case. Principally, at the age of 24 you have no previous convictions of any nature whatsoever.”

The report states:

Offending histories: Female offenders were less likely than male offenders to have any previous cautions or convictions throughout the ten years from 2003 to 2013, with a third of females and only a fifth of males being first-time offenders in 2013.

Is Woodward likely to repeat her crime?

In the most recent period (2012), males (both adults and juveniles) re-offended at a higher rate than females (27.7% compared to 18.5%), and this has not changed over the past ten years.

 

 

And what about those mitigating factors? The judge told Woodward:

“There are many mitigating features in your case. Principally, at the age of 24 you have no previous convictions of any nature whatsoever. Secondly, I find that you were genuinely remorseful following this event and, indeed, it was against your bail conditions, you contacted your partner to fully confess your guilt and your deep sorrow for what happened.

“Thirdly, whilst you are a clearly highly-intelligent individual, you had an immaturity about you which was not commensurate for someone of your age. Fourthly, as the reports from the experts make clear, you suffer from an emotionally-unstable personality disorder, a severe eating disorder and alcohol drug dependence.

“Finally, and most significantly, you have demonstrated over the last nine months that you are determined to rid yourself of your alcohol and drug addiction and have undergone extensive treatment including counselling to address the many issues that you face. In particular, you have demonstrated to me since I adjourned this matter in May a strong and unwavering determination to do so despite the enormous pressure under which you were put and which has been referred to me by your counsel.”

Says the Government:

A case with many aggravating factors is dealt with more severely than a case with a few aggravating factors. These offenders are more likely to be sent to prison and more likely to be sent there for longer. Conversely, offenders with many mitigating factors taken into account in their case are less likely to be sent to prison.

If you satisfy the court that your sorry, well done:

 

 

 

And:

The type of sentence outcome given at court differs between male and female offenders and has also changed over time, due largely to the greater use of SSOs since 2005 when they became more readily available under the Criminal Justice Act 2003. As with the wider trend for all indictable offences (highlighted in the defendants’ chapter) there was also a decline in the proportion of community sentences over the time period.

The most common disposal given to male offenders across each of the four specified violence offences is now an immediate custodial sentence, with the proportion increasing over the last ten years for ABH and remaining stable for the other offences. By contrast the type of sentence outcome given to female offenders has differed for each of these four offences. In 2013, the most common disposal given for the offences of ABH and cruelty to or neglect of children was a community sentence, whilst for GBH without intent it was a SSO and for breach of a restraining order it came under the otherwise dealt with category.

Across each of these four offences, male offenders were around twice as likely to be given an immediate custodial sentence than female offenders. By contrast, a greater proportion of female offenders received less severe sentence outcomes.

Money matters, of course. But to argue that Lavinia Woodward’s case typifies the “racial inequality at the core of our justice system” is wrong. But there might be an argument to be made around gender…

Posted: 28th, September 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News | Comment


RIP Hugh Hefner: breaker of taboos

 

RIP Hugh Hefner (1926-2017), the man who made your feel less guilty about looking at nudes. Hefner was the man who gave us the enjoiner: “I only buy it for the articles.” And, boy, were those stories good. So good that the protectors of our minds and bodies branded Playboy magazine “obscene”. We lapped it up. And in the 1960s Hefner moved into teasing punters with actual flesh and satin-eared women in Playboy clubs. Punters drank in the wit of black comics Dick Gregory and Jewish enemy-of-the-state Lenny Bruce, a man Hefner could not stand to watch “persecuted or prosecuted for his words and his ideas”,  proving that when it came to entertainment and escapism, segregation, whether born of race, gender or rudeness, is for losers.

This was social revolution.“

Hefner was the first publisher to see that the sky would not fall and mothers would not march if he published bare bosoms; he realised that the old taboos were going,” Time magazine said in a 1967 cover story. “He took the old-fashioned, shame-thumbed girlie magazines, stripped off the plain wrapper, added gloss, class and culture. It proved to be a sure-fire formula.”

The Hollywood Reporter:

Hefner became the unofficial spokesman for the sexual revolution that permeated the 1960s and ’70s and he was both lauded and criticized by feminists of the era, with some accusing him of objectifying women while others said he liberated and empowered them. During a conversation with Gloria Steinem in 1970, Hefner dismissed feminism as “foolishness,” and Steinem told him: “What Playboy doesn’t know about women could fill a book … There are times when a woman reading a Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.”

Hefner was a staunch supporter of abortion – including helping to finance the landmark Rowe v. Wade decision in 1973 — and more recently was an outspoken advocate of same-sex marriage, and his dedication to such issues (along with his distribution of pornography) made him a pariah in some religious circles. “By associating sex with sin, we have produced a society so guilt-ridden that it is almost impossible to view the subject objectively,” he wrote in 1963 in one of his many broadsides aimed at Christian leaders.

Cheers, Hef.

Image:  Hugh Hefner (April 9, 1926 – September 27, 2017) at his kitchen table working on the first issue of Playboy (1953)

Posted: 28th, September 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


RIP Mehmet Aksoy: the British filmmaker who showed us the Kurds fight against ISIS

British filmmaker Mehmet Aksoy has been killed. The 32-year-old Londoner of Kurdish descent went to Syria in June, joining the Kurdish militant group, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), and filming its battles against ISIS.

 

Mehmet Aksoy

 

The Kurds deserve our support. Betrayed by the West after World War 1, the West now arms them in the fight against ISIS. The Kurds are fighting to stop ISIS spreading further into the Middle East. If the Kurds win, they surely deserve the autonomous region they crave.

Posted: 27th, September 2017 | In: News | Comment (1)