Vice President Joe Biden was there at the swearing-in for the 114th Congress. He met Maggie, the young daughter of Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE). And she met him…
Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
Anyone with £24.98 to spare (What’s that in euros? – ed) can invest in a Nigel Farage ‘politically incorrect’ garden gnome.
This charming inspired piece of garden sculpture features a caricature of Nigel Farage (MEP), leader of the UK Independence Party. He is dressed, rather appropriately, in full John Bull garb, complete with Union Flag waistcoat, UKIP colour scheme, and is holding his trademark pint of mild in one hand, and a fag in the other, just like the real thing.
He stands 6 inches high* (I don’t care for centimeters), and is made from a weather resistant acrylic bond , is hand painted and sealed against the vagaries of the British weather (As one would expect from Nigel himself)
Buy now. Buy often!
Anorak is struck by how closely Farage gnome resembles a young Viscount Linley.
Is ther something we should know?
Hot on the heels of an anti-EU poll conducted by three Tory MPs, comes another. Romford’s Conservative MP Andrew Richard Rosindell has sent this poll to his voters.
The poll is more loaded than George Bush at a frat house party:
In “Con Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, the Sun tells how a hoax caller managed to speak with the cheif of GCHQ and David Cameron. The Sun knows this because the – get this – hoax caller called the Sun and told them about it.
The caller, described as “boozy”, managed to contact “top spy” Robert Hannigan, Cameron before calling the Sun “to brag about it”.
He boasted he was drunk and on drugs but still got to speak to the chief of the GCHQ surveillance base.
But it has all been confirmed by a spokeswoman in a, er, phone call:
“The Prime Minister ended the call when it became clear it was a hoax. In neither instance was sensitive information disclosed. Both GCHQ and No10 take security seriously and both are currently reviewing procedures.”
That spokesman, of course, could be a fake. But the anonymous caller can be totally trusted, telling the Sun:
“I’ve just made complete monkeys out of GCHQ. I’ve got the mobile number of the director. What’s more, I am off my face on booze and cocaine. I had some spliffs too.I’ve been up all night. I’m utterly wasted. Hilarious.”
But the best line comes from the Sun:
The man — who sounded well-educated and from the South East…
We’re looking for a well-educated Home Counties man on drugs. Seal the doors at Westminster. This looks like an inside job…
This might be the greatest reason to support global warming:
Page 3 Stunnas, The Suffragette, Fascist Mary Richardson and the Rokeby Venus at the National Gallery
As Brendan O’Neill writes of the shrill campaing to ban the Sun’s naff Page 3:
All this talk of ridding Britain of the scourge of Page 3 brings to mind the Suffragette Mary Richardson, who in 1914 took a knife into the National Gallery and slashed Velazquez’s ‘Rokeby Venus’. “I didn’t like the way men visitors gaped at it all day long.” Richardson later became the head of the women’s section of the British Union of Fascists.
That story is well told on Flashbak: The Suffragette and Fascist Mary Richardson and the Rokeby Venus at the National Gallery
The Daily Express has news: “80% want to quit the EU.”
On December 10, the Express brought news:
Some 46.6 per cent would vote “out” while just 34.3 per cent would vote “in”, with 19.1 per cent undecided.
In December 2014, the Express has other news.
46.6% became 51% is now 80%. Things move fast in Eu poll-ville.
The Express is getting mroe and more in-tune with its readers.
The Express and UKIP are in chorus:
Nigel Farage sees the 80% and tweets:
But what about that 80%? Martyn Brown notes:
BRITAIN is marching towards the EU exit door today after eight out of 10 people voted to leave in a historic poll.
That eight in ten:
Some 14,581 people voted – 11,706 of them want the UK to quit compared with 2,725 who want to remain part of the EU. The mini-referendum – the first on the issue since 1975 – was organised by two senior Tory backbenchers and a prospective Tory MP.
Three Tories conducted a poll. Who was polled?
The Tory poll was organised across three neighbouring parliamentary constituencies by Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough, Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, and Tom Pursglove, who is standing as Tory candidate for Corby and East Northamptonshire at this year’s general election.
So. A poll of three constituencies speaks for the entire UK?
Following the count, carried out in the London offices of the Daily Express yesterday, Mr Bone said: “Eight out of 10 people who took part want to come out of Europe – that is extraordinary.
“It is very, very, very clear they want to come out.”
So. Of the people who actually replied to the poll, 780% want out. How many did not respond to the poll?
The voting exercise was the biggest poll on the issue since the national referendum in June 1975.
Ballot papers were delivered to 100,000 households in the three constituencies between May and the end of last year.
There were a total of 150 spoiled papers.
11,706 people of 100,000 in Northamptonshire wants to leave the EU. That’s 11.7%.
PS: The Express previously reported: “Ballot papers will be delivered to 150,000 households in the three constituencies after the polls close for the European Parliament elections on May 22.”
Remember when fat meant jolly and thin was mean? Well, it’s over. Now fat is a sign of failure: you and your parents’ grinding failure.
In March 2014, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: “We are going to have quite bold new thinking around children’s diets.”
We? Who we?
The Pub Landlord is standing against Nigel Farage in South Thanet at the general election.
As @TheMediaTweets says:
The Pub Landlord v Nigel Farage: One gained notoriety as a parody of the archetypal ‘Little Englander’ the other is… hang on, where was I?
Those new green wellies worn by British politicians when wading past flooded homes might not be so bad.
A municipal inspector has been suspended after photos emerged of him being carried by farmers to avoid getting his shoes dirty in the snow. Nedim Zurnaci, head of the rural services department in the eastern Manisa province, was on a visit to assess the damage done by heavy snowfall in the area…
Photos of the incident were published widely in the Turkish media, and it wasn’t long before local authorities became involved. Mayor Cengiz Ergun said the behaviour “did not comply with the municipality’s attitude of service, citizen relations and values”, and announced Mr Zurnaci had been suspended while an investigation was carried out,
Judgin by the man on the left in the above photo, that goop eats your feet…
The Daily Express has news:
“Nigel Farage: Ban doctors and nurse who can’t speak ‘very good English’ from NHS'”
Find this nurse! And teach her the difference between singular and plural.
Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, does not only stand still pointing at things. He can fly!
Kim is flying a Korean People’s Air Force Antonov An-148.
Asn you can see, Kim Jong-un can fly with the power of mind control:
Spotter: Reddit – r/aviation
Ukip rift: Carswell realises that Ukip leader Farage is a rabble rousing coward in touch with racists
Thoughts on UKip, by Douglas Carswell, the former Tory now a Ukip MP. Carswell is writing in the Daily Mail. His stand-out comments are on race:
There has never been anything splendid about isolation. It was our interdependence that put the Great into Great Britain – and it is what sustains our living standards today. In such a world, a dislike of foreigners is not merely offensive, but absurd…
Far from being a party that tolerates pejorative comments about people’s heritage and background, Ukip in 2015 has to show that we have a serious internationalist agenda..
No Ukip candidate should ever make the mistake of blaming outsiders for the failings of political insiders in Westminster.
Nick Cohen wonders how that fits with Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s divisive barbs:
Rather than arguing about labels, let us agree to allow the facts to speak for themselves. Farage is a rabble-rouser and a coward. He plays with racism, the way Ian Paisley used to play with sectarianism: whips it up, then backs off just before he can be accused of inciting violence…
As for the men and women he leads, Ukip candidates and donors have suggested they want to drive Lenny Henry out of Britain because he is black, bar women from the boardroom and stop gays from having sex because as, everyone knows, God punishes the sin of Sodom by flooding the Thames Valley.
If you cannot call Ukip a far-right party, you can at least say that it is an alliance of the septic and the geriatric: a movement of the empty-headed led by the foul-minded.
Ukip is the empty vessel into which people pour their hates. It just so happens that what Farage and all Ukip supporters are filling that vessel with other races.
Season’s greeting from the folk at UKIP Rotherham.
And, remember, voters, ‘Say No To The UK’ and always print your phone number upside down:
Obama and the FBI blame the hacking attacks against Sony Pictures on North Korea. Who knew the DPRK regime was capable? The hacks were triggered by the The Interview, in which two American journalists played by James Franco and Seth Rogen set out to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Amid threats of movie theater terrorism, Sony pulled the film from its Christmas Day release.
Reactions have been many:
The whole Sony story has a certain twisted dark comedy flavor with CEO Michael Lynton bickering with Obama over the release of what is said to be an unwatchable movie. It sure looks that way from the trailers. If the NORKS had any brains, they should just have let the film be released and it would have sunk like a stone. But perhaps they had other intentions — or someone did — beyond making fun of inane Hollywood studio executives or even silencing a movie.
The cyber attack on the studio has a serious side and it’s not really about North Korea. It’s about who helped North Korea, the assumption being that the NORKS don’t quite have the technical expertise to pull this off by themselves. Russia, China and Iran are the three candidates whose names have been thrown into the hopper as possible co-perps — maybe more than one of them.
Hollywood came to the Rev. Al Thursday as embattled Sony exec Amy Pascal met privately with the black leader for 90 minutes in a bid to fix the fallout from the cyberhacking leak of embarrassing, racially charged emails.
Pascal agreed to let Sharpton have a say in how Sony makes motion pictures, in an effort to combat what he called “inflexible and immovable racial exclusion in Hollywood.”
“We have agreed to having a working group deal with the racial bias and lack of diversity in Hollywood,” said Sharpton.
One important point in the President’s remarks today: a potentially ominous nod to the need for more regulation and control over the internet. The internet now is like “the Wild West,” he said, “We need more rules about how the internet should operate.” Cybersecurity is an urgent issue, and the Sony hacks underscore that, said the president. But when heads of state talk about more state control over the internet, rarely does greater freedom of speech result.
The only problem: At least one cable company preemptively surrendered to North Korean intimidation, too, reportedly saying it would not air the film. Now, even if Sony had a backbone transplant, it couldn’t release the movie.
Sony could still dump it on the Internet and let it spread virally. It would lose ticket sales, but the company would strike a defiant blow nonetheless.
Don’t hold your breath. Sony would rather go the way of appeasement. And so would everyone else, it seems.
For Pascal, 56, and Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, 54, the damage has gotten far worse as the flood of stolen material — including both of their email inboxes — keeps coming, and on Dec. 16, the hackers, dubbed Guardians of Peace, threatened a 9/11-style attack on theaters that show Seth Rogen’s North Korea assassination comedy The Interview. Pascal, the lead creative executive on Interview, tells THR she believes she has the backing of her Tokyo-based employers. But by now, high-level insiders have moved from speculating about whether she will be replaced to asking when and by whom.
The James Flacco Name Generator
At a press conference on Friday, President Obama said Sony made “a mistake” by canceling the release of The Interview. He also praised the film’s stars Seth Rogen and James … Flacco? If, like actor James Franco, you want a new last name—one you can share with an NFL quarterback—then use our name generator below.
What I wonder is why people aren’t a little more put off by a form of censorship that is more insidious, and will likely affect far more movies in the long run: the soft censorship of appealing to the Chinese government in order to reap the Chinese box office. There have been widespread claims that recent blockbuster movies like the latest Transformers have been written so as to appease Chinese censors. There’s nothing wrong with writing movies to reach out to a particularly huge foreign box office– why wouldn’t you want your movie to play to Chinese moviegoers?– but appealing to the Chinese government is a whole other ball of wax. That’s where you can see genuine self-censorship coming in. And while I imagine that this whole thing will blow over before long, without a great deal of long-term damage, I think the urge to play in China -and for the Chinese government — will only grow over time.
The problem of willingly selling out to the Chinese reminded me of Ayn Rand, whose bracing moral lessons I’m sure Freddie had in the back of his mind. Rand’s finest novel,The Fountainhead, is an anti-capitalist screed about the spiritual and cultural evil of catering to market demand. Forget the problem of giving the commie censors what they want. It’s wrong to give the free market what it wants, when what it wants is aesthetically debased, which it always is. The architect hero of The Fountainhead, Howard Roark, is the ultimate in spine, the patron saint of never selling out. When one of his perfect, austere modernist buildings is bowdlerized the better to suit the public taste, he blows it up. That’s right, Howard Roark is a terrorist, a jihadi for artistic integrity. Maybe Howard Roark is the answer. Maybe can show us the way. Maybe Sony needs to feel that it is unsafe not to release The Interview. Maybe Seth Rogen needs to blow something up! Or maybe Brian Beutler is on to something, and the best we can do is call on Anonymous to steal the movie and make sure that, in this case at least, market-based American spinelessness can’t put a gag on our precious stoner auteurs.
Sony is a for-profit entity, and not even an American one, that effectively has important influence over American culture. We don’t entrust for-profit entities with the common defense. And recognizing that the threat to a Sony picture is actually a threat to the freedom of American culture ought to lead us to a public rather than a private solution.
The federal government should take financial responsibility. Either Washington should guarantee Sony’s financial liability in the event of an attack, or it should directly reimburse the studio’s projected losses so it can release the movie online for free. The latter solution has the attractive benefit of ensuring a far wider audience for the film than it would otherwise have attracted.
After Sony Pictures announced yesterday that it was pulling the release of The Interview, a film about two American journalists sent to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, from its scheduled Christmas Day release after threats of movie theater terrorism, several theaters across the U.S. said that they would show Team America: World Police instead.
The basic idea was to replace one movie mocking the North Korean regime with another. Team America, an all-puppet comedy from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, pits its heroes against a sad-sack version of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. At the end of the movie, he’s impaled on a giant spike, and it’s revealed that he’s actually an alien cockroach. Fitting!..
The Daily Beastreports that theaters in Cleveland and Atlanta that had planned to make the switch say that Paramount, the studio behind Team America, has ordered them to stop. The Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, which also planned to show the puppet comedy, announced on Twitter this afternoon that due to “circumstances beyond our control” its Team America screening has been cancelled…. blocking replacement screenings of Team America can really only be described as next-level cowardly bullshit.
Sony was just the latest – Janice Turner:
Not only has Paramount pulled Team America, a decade-old puppet comedy parodying Kim Jong Un’s father, but a Steve Carell movie based upon the graphic novel Pyongyang. This is no comic, but an account by Guy Delisle of his time as an animator in a North Korean studio, constantly monitored by minders yet getting glimpses of the regime in all its absurdity and horror. This is a film that needed to be made.
And when the Sony cave-in was announced, Carell tweeted a still from The Great Dictator. It is an apt comparison: Charlie Chaplin’s devastating and humane 1940 parody did not bring down Hitler but it gave succour to those who were trying. Such was its propaganda value that while it was in production and Britain was still pursuing appeasement, the government planned to ban it for fear of riling the Führer. It was inspired by Chaplin watching Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will: while other anti-Nazis were awed and dismayed by its grandiosity, Chaplin fell about laughing…
…too often, the response to any threat has been cowardice and complicity. Hollywood just behaved like the entire British establishment which dropped Salman Rushdie after The Satanic Verses rather than turning on his illiberal persecutors. And even now Newsnight refuses to show an affectionate Jesus and Mo cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad, siding with Salafist extremists rather than moderate Muslims who argued the image was inoffensive.
What if one of America’s violent anti-choice groups threatens cinemas showing a film in which a woman has abortion? Will we capitulate every time the lawyers get nervous? Because Sony Pictures just put artistic freedom in turnaround. And this is no joke.
Free speech has been under attack for an age. North Korea was just picking up the vibe…
You won’t see Louis, Alex, Carolyne and Andrew Michael on Channel 4’s Gogglebox because dad is standing as a UKIP candidate.
Channel 4 told BBC’s Newsbeat:
Mr Michael has confirmed his proposed candidacy as a UKIP MP in Hastings and Rye. Sadly any Gogglebox cast member who becomes a candidate for a political party will have to step down from their involvement in Gogglebox. It’s with great regreat that the Michaels are no longer in the show. They have been excellent contributors to Gogglebox, and we are very grateful for all they have given to the show.
Reality TV star enters Westminster. It’s a reversal of the usual process…
Ed Miliband has been eating. at the Red Lion Inn, in Hognaston, Derbyshire. It’s news in the Derby Telegraph:
He was with a party of around 12 – and they booked a table in one of the more private areas of the pub, where Mr Miliband enjoyed a roast turkey dinner.
“It was only a couple of waitresses who knew he was here, which is what they wanted,” says Tony Waterall, the owner of the pub. “He didn’t want people looking at him or for there to be any confrontation.”
Wonder why Ed never wanted anyone to look at him eating?
Tony Blair and Cherie’s Christmas card is not a paropdy. When Anorak first saw it we thought it had been mocked up by one of the godless anti-faith healers who would do down the world’s foremost doer of selfless things.
Either that or it’s a bad album cover.
Is Cherie working Tony, as a ventriloquist would work a dummy?
"Merry Christmas, now feed 'em to the pigs…" pic.twitter.com/P5Yrx4yANq
— The Media Blog (@TheMediaTweets) December 1, 2014
Jane Collins, a UKIP MEP (@JaneCollinsMEP), has added her intellect to the debate on a photograph of Westminster MPs at work. She notes:
“One is a debate on children being raped & murdered & one is a debate on payrise – can you guess which is which”
Her tweet gets appoving replies:
Only, a few words are required.
Andrew Whickey writes them:
The debate on welfare reform was a pro forma one because of an epetition, with no prospect of actually causing action to be taken, so a waste of the time of everyone there.
Most MPs, most of the time, aren’t in the chamber, but are still listening to the debates in their offices (which have a live feed), This is because a lot of the time MPs have to fit in the correspondence from their constituents (who are more concerned, in a lot of cases, that MPs act like supercouncillors than that they scrutinise legislation) into the same time as their legislative work, as they’re often working sixty or seventy hour weeks.
Most MPs were actually against the 11% pay-rise, which was awarded against the wishes of most MPs and the leaders of all three main parties, by the independent commission which took control of MPs’ pay after the expenses scandal.
The pay rise in question was actually revenue-neutral, as it involved less money going to various other benefits, such as pensions, that MPs receive.
And finally, that photo isn’t actually from the debate over the pay-rise, because there was no such debate, because MPs don’t get to set their own pay any more. In fact it’s a stock photo of PM’s question time.
Yes, there are bad MPs, MPs who only want to line their own pockets, and all the rest, but this photo plays into the hands of the stupid anti-politics “they’re all the same” nonsense, which is fundamentally against the idea of government at all — and not in a good way, but in a right-wing Grover Norquist kind of way.
Don’t fall for their lies.
Less than 1000 words and the UKIP expert might be better informed.
The UKIP MEP’s haste to damn the MPs can be linked to memes, such as this photo posted on Facebook:
Isabel Hardman has few words to add:
The bottom image claims to be from 11 July 2013. There was no debate on pay that day, which was a Thursday. There are often fewer MPs in the House on a Thursday. So this image is from the wrong day. I’ve combed the PA images archive and, surprise, surprise, it’s not from a debate about pay in 2013. It’s from Prime Minister’s Questions on 5 September 2012. Here’s that picture in slightly better quality…
Good, grief, look at how many MPs are debating their expenses! That image on the bottom left struck me as a bit strange when I zoomed in. When you’re used to looking down on the tops of MPs’ heads from the Commons press gallery, you get quite used to what Parliament looks like from above. And I didn’t recognise that Parliament. The hair looked different, frankly. I was right not to recognise it: when this debate took place, I was preparing to take my A-levels. It was 27 January 2004, when MPs voted on the Second Reading of the Higher Education Bill to introduce top-up fees.
You believe what you want to believe.
Quite a week for former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell. The man at the centre of Pleb-gate – calling a copper guarding Downing street a ‘fu**ing pleb’ – is broken.
But is he? And what did the court case cost him?
Today the Times says:
He faces a legal bill of more than £1 million after losing the libel battle against The Sun for calling Downing Street police officers “f***ing plebs” who should “know their place”.
The Guardian ups that to £1.5m.
The Daily Mail sees that £1.5m and raises it to £2m.
The Sun gloats and says the bill is…£3m.
And as for being a broken man whose career is over, well, the Times has more on Mitchell:
“I’m planning to stand again [for Parliament] . We are faced with a substantial cost, which has yet to be determined, we’ll deal with that when we know what it amounts to.”
In addition to his £3 million townhouse in Islington, north London, he and his wife, Sharon Bennett, a GP, own a £500,000 house in Sutton Coldfield and a farmhouse of the same value in Nottinghamshire. They also own a chalet in the French ski resort of Val d’Isère. Mr Mitchell has pursued other jobs while serving as an MP. In the past year he almost tripled his basic salary of £67,000 by earning £118,400 from consultancy roles.
Westminster paedophiles: A look at the story of politicians abusing child in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Daily Mail has a question:
Did PM’s adviser try to stop MP linking Brittan to claims of child sex abuse?
Anorak ‘s rule is that when a headline is phrased as a question the answer is always ‘no’.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is addressing an international women’s justice summit. He tells the women that gender equality is against nature and God:
Certain work, Erdogan said, goes against women’s “delicate nature,” and “their characters, habits, and physiques are different” from men’s. “Our religion [Islam] has defined a position for women: motherhood,” he said. He then went on to blast feminists, accusing them of not understanding their role in society. “Some people can understand this, while others can’t,” he said. “You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood.”
Erdogan tried using the Quran to advance his point, saying, “Paradise lies at the feet of mothers,” which ended up just turning into an awkward reflection on the role of his mother in his own family. “I would kiss my mother’s feet because they smelled of paradise,” he said. “She would glance coyly and cry sometimes.”
That’s how Manhunter got started…
Westminster Peadophiles: Anorak’s at-a-glance look at the story of child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s in the media.
The Times: “Paedophile ring may have killed boy, 15″
Or to turn that headline around: “Paedophile ring may not have killed boy, 15.”
Georgia Keate writes:
Police investigating an alleged paedophile ring at Westminster have told the family of a missing boy that he may be one of the three children claimed to have been murdered by establishment figures. Martin Allen, the son of the Australian high commissioner’s chauffeur, went missing in 1979, aged 15. His brother, Kevin, 51, has said he was called by Detective Chief Inspector Diane Tudway of the Metropolitan police on Friday, who said she was investigating whether Martin’s disappearance was linked to an alleged VIP ring.
Celebrity chef Jack Monroe’s most recent story for The Guardian tells readers:
pizza with kale pesto recipe – I make a lot of pizza for the kids as a treat – and don’t feel at all guilty about sneaking wholemeal flour into the base and vegetables on top.
If the woman who cooks to a budget (one that’s getting bigger) doesn’t feel guilty about wholemeal flour in a child’s pizza (has she no conscience?), maybe her tweets with prick her into mental unrest.
A recent one opines:
Because he [David Cameron] uses stories about his dead son as misty-eyed rhetoric to legitimise selling our NHS to his friends: #CameronMustGo
In 2009, Mr Cameron’s six-year-old son Ivan, who suffered from cerebral Palsy and epilepsy, died.
We don’t know what young Ivan would have made of Monroe’s charm, but maybe she can create a Twitter account in the child’s name and use it to contact David Cameron and get her views across in a more sensitive manner?
Tweet 1: “@IvanCam: I never knew wholemeal pizza could taste so good. Thanks Jack Monroe”
Labour MP Emily Thornberry’s tweet from Rochester made a the story of the by-election about Labour’s attitude to the working class.
Thornberry resigned her post in the shadow cabinet, thus setting the bar horrible low for future departures.
The Sun then did what it does best. It introduced us to White Van Dan, whose home Thornberry had presented to her twitter followers in the manner of a Victorian prude showing off a cultural artefact from darkest Africa.
White Van Dan – Dan Ware – was invited to share his vision for the United Kingdom with the paper’s readership:
As @MichaelPDeacon tweeted:
White Van Man confounds the sneering stereotypes. By writing a manifesto containing the phrase “send them back”