Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
WHAT has George ‘lifelong Chelsea fan’ Osborne learned this week? That passing yourself off as a man of the people is trickier than it seems.
The Old Pauline has had his fingers burned before of course, after he adopted a Tony Blair style ‘mockney’ accent when speaking to ‘ordinary’ voters, and was rightly ridiculed for his presumptuousness.This week he tweeted a picture of himself burning the midnight oil with just a burger and fries for company. It has predictably came back to bite him on the arse, now that said snack has been revealed as a ‘posh’ burger costing just shy of ten quid.
IN photos: President Barack Obama looks out of the “door of no return” during a tour of Goree Island, Senegal. Goree Island is the site of the former slave house and embarkation point built by the Dutch in 1776, from which slaves were brought to the Americas. The “door of no return” was the entrance to the slave ships.
THE G8 summit in Northern Ireland was a success. Hunger was ended. Bono, Mr G9, talked about fairness. Locals were unable to walk down roads and post letters. And The Obamas had another terrific family holiday.
Highlights of the Enniskillen Golf Club ladies day (they let Angela Merkel in so long as wore a blue tie) below:
He tells the Evening Standard:
“The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place…
“About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point. There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt. We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.”
The story does not end there. Ever since the Sunday People published the photos, the story has been a cause of chatter. The Sunday Mirror even made a joke of it all, punning that TV cook Nigella was at “BOILING POINT“.
A few days on and vain arsehat Nick Griffin, the BNP’s monocular tosser, who thanks to the democratic experiment has the mandate from 120,139 voters, tweets:
If I had the opportunity to squeeze Nigella Lawson, her throat wouldn’t be my first choice.
The Mirror gets wind of that stupid comment and reports:
Controversial politician makes derogatory sexual comment about celebrity chef
Others would surely prefer to look at the fact that Griffin fancies a Jewish mother of two. (Griffin claimed he fell out with Tyndall over the latter’s policy on Muslims: “Because he hated Jews so much, he thought Muslims couldn’t be all that bad if they didn’t like Jews” – Times)
But let’s not analyse the pillock. Let’s just note that the Mirror made its own joke at a time when it appeared to be alleging that Nigella had been the victim of domestic violence. Classy stuff.
The Express picks up on the story. It thunders: “Outrage as BNP leader Nick Griffin makes sick joke about Nigella Lawson on Twitter”.
This would be the Express whose sister paper the Daily Star once backed the EDL? The Express that asked of Nigella, “So has TV’s yummy cook out a bit too much in her tummy?” Is this the Express whose sister organ, Channel X, is showing this week such right-on films as Angel’s Gutter Girls, Skint Students and St Teenycums Nymphic Games 1? Is that the same Express outraged by “derogatory sexual comment about the celebrity chef?
The Daily Mail once invited us to look at Nigella’s “jumbo knees”. And ITV infamously tweeted: [Nigella Lawson] is “nowhere near as attractive as she thinks she is”.
Be outraged by Nick Griffin. Be more outraged that people actually elected him to be an MEP (one reason to quit the EU, surely, Mr Farage). But if you are going to outraged by sexism, recognise that it’s not only racial bigots who champion it…
DOES it help to be an actor if you want to be Prime Minister? At the G8 Innovation Summit chat in the Siemens Crystal Building, London, David Cameron was as keen as ever to show us that he is not only thinking but capable of showing us the is thinking. When he is deep in thought, he looks deep in thought. When he is unhappy, his mouth turns down. When he has an idea, a man holds a lightbulb over his head and slaps a desk bell. Ping!
It’s all wonderfully contrived. If it wasn’t whenever Dave spoke of gay marriage he’d look wistful rather than tough, and on the subject of drugs he’d inhale deeply, hold it…hold it… hold it… and lob an imaginary pot plant though a window…
DOCUMENTS leaked by US techy spook Edward Snowden show us that the US government is able to access details of smartphone and internet activity under a scheme called Prism. The allegation is that the US intelligence agencies have an open line to Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Skype and Apple. They also record all of your phone calls. The Guardian reprots that the UK’s electronic surveillance agency, GCHQ, has access to the data. This might explain why the taxes for so many big Internet firm are so low. The elite want to keep paying foreign companies for data on British citizens off the books.
What does it all mean, though? We’ve picked out the best opinions on the news:
Perhaps this is just the way it is in the panopticon state. Tocqueville foresaw this, as he did most things. Although absolute monarchy “clothed kings with a power almost without limits” in practice “the details of social life and of individual existence ordinarily escaped his control.” What would happen, Tocqueville wondered, if administrative capability were to evolve to bring “the details of social life and of individual existence” within the King’s oversight? Eric Holder and Lois Lerner now have that power. My comrade John Podhoretz, doughty warrior of the New York Post, says relax, there’s nothing to worry about. But how do I know he’s not just saying that because Eric Holder’s monitoring his OnStar account and knows that when he lost his car keys last Tuesday he was in the parking lot of Madam Whiplash’s Bondage Dungeon?
When the state has the power to know everything about everyone, the integrity of the civil service is the only bulwark against men like Holder. Instead, the ruling party and the non-partisan bureaucracy seem to be converging. In August 2010, President Obama began railing publicly against “groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity” (August 9th, a speech in Texas) and “shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names” (August 21st, radio address). And whaddayaknow, that self-same month the IRS obligingly issued its first BOLO (Be On the Look-Out) for groups with harmless-sounding names, like “tea party,” “patriot,” and “constitution.”
It may be that the strange synchronicity between the president and the permanent bureaucracy is mere happenstance and not, as it might sound to the casual ear, the sinister merging of party and state. Either way, they need to be pried apart. When the state has the capability to know everything except the difference between right and wrong, it won’t end well.
AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Julia Gillard has recovered from the salamists sandwich tossers to be affronted by a whole menu of food. On the Reef & Beef menu at a Liberal party fundraiser held at the Richards and Richards restaurant on March 28 was a fried quail meal consisting of “small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box“.
But the menu was a fake. It wasn’t the official one.
But when the fake menu was tweeted by David Carter @chef09876, the news went global.
When asked for more information, Carter said he has “no idea” if the menu was on any tables. You see, he “wasn’t even working there at the time”. His position had been “terminated“.
Carter went on the telly:
But the menu wasn’t real. The owner of the eatery wrote to Mal Brough. Joe Richards said it was meant as private joke. The menu was never distributed at the $1000 a head fundraiser. He wrote:
I have been following the rubbish that has been on the news today. I would like to confirm what actually happened: there were never any menus distributed on the tables or in the restaurant. I created a mock menu myself as a light-hearted joke, however as I said I never produced them for public distribution. Unfortunately a staff member saw the mock menu, and unbeknownst to myself, posted it on their facebook. It now appears that a third party for political reasons has distributed it, yet I can reassure you that no such menu was distributed on the night. As you know no one at the dinner was privy to such a menu, and it is so unfortunate that an in-house joke between myself and my son has caused you great problems and embarrassment.
But the press had a story.
The Daily Mirror thundered:
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has hit back after an opposition party fundraiser menu featured a dish named after her that offered “small breasts” and “huge thighs”.
The menu was used at a dinner in March for Mal Brough, an opposition candidate for the September national elections.
No. It was a crap joke produced by the restaurant’s owner.
The BBC went with:
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said a menu for an opposition party fundraiser that made crude comments about her body was “grossly sexist” …
The menu was for a dinner for Liberal National Party candidate Mal Brough.
AFP sent it around the world:
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday accused the opposition of a pattern of misogynist behavior, branding a menu for a party fundraiser “grossly sexist and offensive” after it featured a quail dish named after her that offered “small breasts” and “huge thighs.”
The menu was used at a dinner in March for Mal Brough …
Katharine Murphy told her Guardian readers:
The Australian prime minister has again been forced to confront sexism in the country’s politics after it emerged that the menu at an opposition fundraising dinner offered “Julia Gillard quail … with small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box.”
Wow! So much reporting based on the tweet of a part-time chef, who got it wrong.
As for the sexism, well 6PR DJ Howard Sattler asked Gillard if her partner Tim Mathieson was gay.
A veteran Australian radio host has been suspended for asking Prime Minister Julia Gillard on air whether her partner is gay.
Sattler: “Tim’s gay?”
Gillard: “Well, that’s absurd.”
Sattler: “But you hear it. He must be gay – he’s a hairdresser … It’s not me saying it – it’s what people say.”
NOW that Northern Ireland is more peaceful place, it’s encouraging to see it being picked to host the laste G8 bunfight. The great and good (and look out for Mr G9 Bono in attendance) will mass at the Lough Erne Hotel resort in Co Fermanagh:
The Resort is the ultimate expression in old world heritage and new world luxury, set on its very own 600 acre peninsula, between Castle Hume Lough and Lower Lough Erne, just outside Enniskillen, with stunning panoramic views from almost every vantage point.
NICK GRiffin, the BNPs’ monocular head, is in the Middle East? He wants us all to guess why? Our guess was that he’d read his own placards and was only obeying orders:
But KarlRemarks other ideas?
Is he “about to relaunch the Crusades”?
Griffin says he’s conducting research.
NICK Griffin, the monocular BNP leader, does read his own placards, and has responded to his own demands. This hate preacher’s gone to Syria…
MEXICO is a weird and wonderful country, but surely no-one could’ve ever expected that, within its borders, a cat would be elected to run for mayor.
Morris has been put forward as the citizens’ candidate for elections taking place on July 7th and cat-lovers are probably chortling to themselves as they say “Well! He can’t do any worse than the humans! HAR HAR!” Obviously, you’d need to say that in a Mexican accent for it to work.
If Morris were to win, he would become the mayor of Veracruz state capital Xalapa.
YOU know you’re the proverbial dead donkey when you’re Liberal Australian MP Scott Morrison. Until Labor whip Joel Fitzgibbon passed by, Morrison had been holding court at the very centre of the Press pack.
One moment you’re news, the next moment you’re stood around with your hands in his pockets, and your press secretary, Julian Leembruggen, is wondering where his life is heading.
JAMES CAAN, star of BBC Dragon’s Den and would-be baby buyer is working as Nick Clegg’s “social mobility czar”. The pair hooked up to lunch an initiative called of Opening Doors. On page one of his manifesto, Clegg writes:
Fairness is a fundamental value of the Coalition. Government. A fair society is an open society. A society in which everyone is free to flourish and rise. Where birth is never destiny. In Britain today, life chances are narrowed for too many by the circumstances of their birth: the home they’re born into, the neighbourhood they grow up in or the jobs their parents do. Patterns of inequality are imprinted from one generation to the next.
The true test of fairness is the distribution of opportunities. That is why improving social mobility is the principal goal of the Coalition Government’s social policy.
By definition this is a long-term undertaking. There is no magic wand we can wave to see immediate effects. Nor is there a single moment, or particular age, when the cycles of disadvantage can be broken for everyone. The opportunity gap has to be addressed at every stage in the life cycle, from the Foundation Years through to the world of work. And Government cannot do it alone. Employers, parents, communities and voluntary organisations all have a part to play.
Tackling the financial deficit is the Coalition’s most immediate task. But tackling the opportunity deficit – creating an open, socially mobile society – is our guiding purpose.
Nick Clegg MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Good stuff. And then we all noticed that Caan had employed one of his daughters in three separate roles and another worked for a company he had invested in.
LORD Hylton, a parliamentary crossbencher is upset that homosexuals “stole” the word gay. Says he to the House of Lords:
“I regret very much that the fine old English and French word ‘gay’ has, in my lifetime, been appropriated by a small but vocal minority of the population.”
THEY erected statues to Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov Lenin, In all of them he looks aged and sporting a noble brow. But how do you remember the great leader? Is that image what he would have wanted?
Born 22 April 1870, this is Lenin in aged 3 or 4.
IN a bid to remind us that the BNP still exists, around 100 supporters of the far-right group massed outside the Palace of Westminster to shout about their opposition to – irony of ironies – hate preachers. They wanted to meet outside Woolwich Barracks, where Lee Rigby was murdered. Scotland Yard thought that was a bad idea. So. It was Westminster and a march to the Cenotaph, the monument to the ‘Glorious Dead’, many of whom fought – still more irony – Nazis. There, they clashed with Unite Against Fascism. Elsewhere, members of the EDL clashed with anti-fascist supporters after a march in Leeds, West Yorkshire. And representatives from all Islam, Jewish, Anglican, Catholic and Sikh faiths laid a wreath spelling “Peace” at Woolwich barracks.
There was one student holding a handwritten “Kevin Rudd 2013” sign. There were a few more who spoke about Mr Rudd … Somewhere in there, half a Vegemite sandwich was thrown, allegedly by a student.
The culprit was dealt with:
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard says she’s treating a sandwich attack at a Queensland school as a laughing matter – but won’t be offering a Prime Ministerial pardon. Kyle Thomson, 16, has been suspended for 15 days after being blamed for throwing the sandwich as an otherwise friendly group of students mobbed the PM.
“I didn’t see a sandwich in the air. I did see half a sandwich on the ground.”
An investigation was demanded:
Kyle’s mother believes her son is being unfairly blamed for the incident and has demanded all footage from the visit be reviewed to find the real culprit.
And then in happened again in Canberra:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has had a sandwich thrown at her during a school visit for the second time this month.
Ms Gillard was walking in a crowded foyer at Lyneham High School – where she was announcing the ACT had signed up to her Gonski reforms – when the salami sandwich was thrown.
It was lobbed from behind, over the top of her head, and landed at her feet.
Stephanie Peatling told us:
The PM was not hit. I repeat the PM was not hit by the sandwich.
The bread-based missile, which appeared to contain salami and what was possibly a slice of cheese, was lobbed by an as-yet unidentified culprit in a crowd of students. It is reported to have hit her arm before falling to the ground …
File under: Sandwich monkeys…
Spotter: Tim Blair
THE murder in Woolwich has all the hallmarks of a religiously motivated attack. One of the two murderers said to camera:
We swear by the Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. The only reason we have killed this man this is because Muslims are dying daily. This British soldier is an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth …
An eyewitness says the killers screamed “god is Great” in Arabic before murdering:
“I saw a guy with no head lying on the ground. He had been decapitated. There were two black guys walking around his body saying ‘This is what God would’ve wanted’.
Eugne Robinson on Obama and the seizure of AP journalists’ records:
The Obama administration has no business rummaging through journalists’ phone records, perusing their e-mails and tracking their movements in an attempt to keep them from gathering news. This heavy-handed business isn’t chilling, it’s just plain cold. . . .The unwarranted snooping, which was revealed last week, would be troubling enough if it were an isolated incident. But it is part of a pattern that threatens to redefine investigative reporting as criminal behavior.
The AP story that has so infuriated the government described the breakup of an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula plot to place an underwear bomber on board a U.S.-bound airliner. Published on the afternoon of May 7, 2012, the story patted itself on the back for having heeded the White House and CIA requests to not publish the previous week, when the AP first learned of the operation. The AP states in the article that it published only after being told by “officials” that the original “concerns were allayed.” In a chronology published in today’s Washington Post, we’re told that the CIA was no longer resisting publication of the AP story on the day it hit the wire (Monday) and that the White House was planning to “announce the successful counterterrorism operation that Tuesday.”
That may be the case, but the government was still incensed by the leak. In fact, it appears that officials were livid. As my Reuters colleagues Mark Hosenball and Tabassum Zakaria reportedlast night, the government found the leak so threatening that it opened a leak investigation beforethe AP ran its story…
…the perpetrators of a successful double-agent operation against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula would not want to brag about their coup for years. Presumably, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula will now use the press reports to walk the dog back to determine whose misplaced trust allowed the agent to penetrate it. That will make the next operation more difficult. Other intelligence operations — and we can assume they are up and running — may also become compromised as the press reports give al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula new clues.
Likewise, the next time the CIA or foreign intelligence agency tries to recruit a double agent, the candidate will judge his handlers wretched secret keepers, regard the assignment a death mission and seek employment elsewhere.
What makes the DOJ’s actions so stunning here is its breadth. It’s the opposite of a narrowly tailored and limited scope. It’s a massive, sweeping, boundless invasion which enables the US government to learn the identity of every person whom multiple AP journalists and editors have called for a two-month period. Some of the AP journalists involved in the Yemen/CIA story and whose phone records were presumably obtained – including Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo – are among the nation’s best and most serious investigative journalists; those two won the Pulitzer Prize last year for their superb work exposing the NYPD’s surveillance program aimed at American Muslim communities. For the DOJ to obtain all of their phone records and those of their editors for a period of two months is just staggering.
When the Supreme Court set the legal precedent back in 1979, phone records contained much less information. Nowadays, a phone record’s metadataincludes not just the phone number, but the time the call took place, the call origin, the call duration, and the carrier.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the protection of digital rights, said in a statement released [Monday] that it “no longer makes sense to treat calling records and other metadata related to our communications as if they aren’t fully protected by the Constitution.”
Electronic communications have improved drastically since the legal precedent was set, and the amount of revealing data now transferred with a phone call is far greater than just a telephone number. But the law has yet to catch up with technology—which means the Justice Department has access to a lot more than just the numbers dialed by the AP’s journalists.
Massimo Calabresi nails Obama:
Obama came into office offering Americans a deal on secrecy. On the one hand, he promised to shrink the number of secrets created by the government, ending the problem of “overclassification” which produces so many secrets that few are well protected. At the same time, he said he would aggressively defend the secrets the government did need to keep by going after leakers and making them pay. Obama has delivered on the crackdown–he’s prosecuted twice as many leakers as all his predecessors combined–but he hasn’t delivered on the secrecy reduction.
Why the secrecy..?
LEADING foreign dictator Robert Mugabe – some say he’s the best in his field – has seen to it that a lecturer who called him “a rotten old donkey” has been jailed for three months.
Chenjerai Pamhiri, 38, a lecturer at Great Zimbabwe State University in Masvingo city, was convicted in a Zimbabwe court for standing in a supermarket and shouting “dirt which should be discarded, a rotten old donkey” in reference to the country’s President. He was swiftly arrested.
CAN a person’s muscles dictate their politics?
Men who are physically strong are more likely to take a right wing political stance, while weaker men are inclined to support the welfare state, according to a new study.
Researchers discovered political motivations may have evolutionary links to physical strength.
Men’s upper-body strength predicts their political opinions on economic redistribution, according to the research.
LOOK ALIKE of the date: UKIP leader Nigel Farage looks like…Joe E. Brown…
NIGEL Farage, the UKIP leader, was shouted and screamed at in Edinburgh. The MEP was forced to escape the crowd in a police riot van. The gaggle of self-declared anti-racists and Scottish nationalists joined forces to create an illiberal mob.
US Attorney General Eric Holder sat before the House Judiciary Committee and told them all the things he does not know. Does he know about the politicising of the Internal Revenue Service? Organisations with “Tea-Party” and “Patriot” in their names were vetted more than others. The IRS asked groups to identify their donors and provide print outs of their tweets and Facebook posts.
Does he know why the State subpoenaed phone records of Associated Press reporters? He just doesn’t know.
“In a sense, the two topics that dogged Holder most on Wednesday — the AP phone records and the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups — were one and the same. In both cases, Americans are being punished and intimidated for exercising their right of free expression — by the taxing authorities, in the conservatives’ case, and by federal prosecutors, in the reporters’ case.”
“I stopped watching The Daily Show the day after the ’04 election, because Jon Stewart’s open grief was too much to bear. (I was a different person then.) Plus, once I saw through his Clown Nose Off/Clown Nose On routine — ‘You should listen to me because what I’m saying is important, but I’ll brush off your rebuttal by insisting I’m just a comedian’ — it was like the optical illusion with the cows. It might take you a minute to see it, but once you do, you can’t unsee it. Which just makes this all the more delicious.”
NFL player Evan Mathis, of the Philadelphia Eagles posted a picure of himself pissing on the IRS building.
BARACK Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden has news on guns:
“If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier.”