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Harry Dunn: Invisible Anne Sacoolas shames America

anne sacoolas

Where is Anne Sacoolas? She’s no longer in the UK. She might still be checking her hair and make-up in a room at the White House, waiting to “ambush” Harry Dunn’s parents. But to the world at large, the middle-aged woman who legged it is invisible. We don’t see her. And we only hear her speak through a hired suit. Says Anne Sacoolas’ lawyer Amy Jeffress: “We are trying to handle the matter privately and look forward to hearing from the family or their representatives. Anne accepted the invitation to the White House with the hope that the family would meet and was disappointed.”

What more private than a televised big reveal? How about this, Anne and Amy: why doesn’t she just hop on a plane back to the UK and go and see Harry Dunn’s parents? Why doesn’t she call the British police? Why doesn’t Anne Sacoolas do the right thing?

Can it be that Anne Sacoolas, 42, is so valuable an asset to the US that the country cannot function without her? She returned to the United States under diplomatic immunity days after the crash which killed Harry, 19. She said she would not flee. But she did.

Meanwhile, Harry Dunn’s parents are behaving with admirable stoicism. “Meeting Anne Sacoolas in the White House yesterday wouldn’t have brought any healing to her or us,” says the teenager’s grieving mother. “We all accepted right from the off it was a tragic accident. She has to live with that”. Mrs Sacoolas should “do the right thing and set an example to her children… Come back to UK soil and face the justice system and then we can all sit in a room and then we can all start the healing process.”

Of course, that is to assume Anne Sacoolas’s children are not entitled diplo-brats learning the vital lesson that you can leave a foreign teenager dead and get away with it Scot-free if you’ve the right spouse and connections.

And get a load of the Sacoolas family’s representative on the world stage. Having laughed off the accident and attempted to turn the horror into a trite reality TV show, President Trump told media: “My meeting with the family, it was beautiful in a certain way. [Mrs Sacoolas] was in the room right out there, we met right here. I offered to bring the person in question in, and they weren’t ready for it… they wanted to meet with her and unfortunately when we had everybody together they decided not to meet. Perhaps they had lawyers involved by that time, I don’t know exactly.”

Such is the level of bullshit that shames the USA.

Posted: 17th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Jewish MP Louise Ellman shows Jeremy Corbyn the red card for racism

MP Louise Ellman has quit the Labour Party. She says Jeremy Corbyn is “not fit” to become prime minister. The MP for Liverpool Riverside MP is “deeply troubled” by the “growth of anti-Semitism” in Labour under his leadership. She “can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM”.

This is the same Corbyn who spends chunks of his day supporting hashtags to stop racism at the football. But away from the working-class oiks at the match, Corbyn is ok with Jew hatred when it’s in his gang. Although Corbyn and his tame dame say they can’t see it. And some of Jezza’s “friends” in Hamas (pledge: kill all Jews) doubtless agree with their assessment. But Ellman has heard and seen enough of the blatant and rife Jew hatred in Corbyn’s Labour.

Corbyn racism
Irony overload

“I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our prime minister,” she says. “With a looming general election and the possibility of him becoming prime minister, I feel I have to take a stand… Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out. A party that permits anti-Jewish racism to flourish cannot be called anti-racist. This is not compatible with the Labour Party’s values of equality, tolerance and respect for minorities. My values – traditional Labour values – have remained the same. It is Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, that has changed.”

Corbyn racist
“I would support any player walking off as a way of saying: ‘I’m not prepared to tolerate this abuse,’” said Corbyn, who was speaking to the Guardian at a Show Racism the Red Card event.
Uefa is better than Labour

Ellman has shown Corbyn the red card. Faced with relentless racism, the Jewish MP has walked off. The Labour crowd baits the Jews. But Corbyn can hear nothing wrong. Time for decent Labour supporters to leave the field of play. Time to show Corbyn and his apologists the red card.

Posted: 17th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Harry Dunn: hating Anne Sacoolas, star of Trump’s reality TV trap

harry dunn sacoolas anne

Anne Sacoolas only speaks through her lawyer. The suit likes to tell us how pained his client is. How sorry she is. How she is deeply affected by the “tragic accident” that left Harry Dunn dead. How she will do all she can to help British police in their investigation into the teenager’s death. CCTV showed a car travelling on the wrong side of the road when it collided with the innocent teenager on his motorbike.

Harry Dunn’s father, Tim Dunn, puts it better than Anne Sacoolas’s mouthpiece for hire: “She knew Harry had died, she had been told that, and what I really struggle to understand is if you knew that you have killed somebody, you think it is the right thing to flee the country.”

Sacoolas, a mother of three who reportedly had her 12-year-old son in the car when the crash happened, was spoken to by police the day after the crash. Did she, a US citizen, have any plans to leave the country? ‘No,’ came the reply. Her husband is a diplomat. Wary of the abused privilege of diplomatic immunity, police applied to the US embassy for a waiver to allow them to question her. The waiver was refused. And in any case, Anne Sacoolas had fled back to the US. She faces a lifetime of being wrong. But she’ll get over it. Her friends in the US system will help her all they can, in the same way the Mafia help and hide one of their own when faced with allegedly criminal actions.

Anne Sacoolas left behind a dead teenager and a family determined to get justice for the son they loved. Harry’s Dunn’s parents travelled to the US, where Anne Sacoolas is not immune from prosecution.

A moment of horror on a provincial road is international news. Foreign secretary, Dominic Raab urged the US to “do the right thing”. Boris Johnson said, “I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.”

And so Harry Dunn’s parents found themselves in the White House. They met Donald Trump. And then things got nasty. Trump revealed Mrs Sacoolas was in a room next door. “I looked to my side and I saw at least three photographers ready to almost do a press call,” said family spokesman Radd Seiger. A meeting with grieving parents had been turned into a reality TV show. Sick. Callous. Cruel.

But Harry’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, did not plummet into the elephant trap Trump and Team Sacoolas had set for them. They felt “a little ambushed” by the offer.

And so to business. Would Trump order Sacoolas to face the music in the UK? No. Would he show the UK a level of respect a trusted ally deserves? No. Did Anne Sacoolas do the right thing? No. US national security adviser Robert O’Brien told the family that Anne Sacoolas “was never coming back” to the UK, Mr Seiger said.

But Ms Charles remains hopeful. She said after that White House meeting: “When [President Trump] held my hand, I gripped it a lot tighter and I was honest with him and just said… ‘if it was your son you would be doing the same as us’. He actually gripped my hand a little bit tighter and said ‘yes I would be’. And that’s when he said he would try and look at this from a different angle. I can only hope that he was sincere enough to consider doing that for us. He’s the one in control here, but we’re the ones in control of our situation as much as he can be – we still want justice for Harry and we will take it as far as we possibly can to ensure that that’s done. We do feel that we have done as much as we can at the moment.”

Harry Dunn’s family have been given the brush off. Trump has already acted as judge and jury, telling everyone that it was a “tragic accident” and that driving on the “wrong side of the road” is a hazard for all Americans in the UK. In the clip below, US officials laugh as Trump gives his judgement, finding Anne Sacoolas blameless. Hey, “it happens”, says Trump. His fellow Americans shrug and laugh. A teenager with all his life ahead of him is dead. The suspect legged it. C’est la vie. Shit happens:

Insult upon insult is being poured on this country by the US. The country has no intention of putting Anne Sacoolas on a plane to the UK. Anne Sacoolas won’t do it under her own agency. No dignity is being afforded to Harry Dunn and his family. No sense of duty compels Anne Sacoolas and her US protectors to do the right thing. She did not flee the scene in a blind panic. That much would be human and understandable. She was measured. The US has displayed a callous disregard for UK laws and process. And we should all be appalled.

Posted: 16th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


When Frederick Banting and Charles Best stopped death

Frederick Banting and Charles Bes

‘In 1922 the scientists went to a hospital ward with diabetic children, most of them comatose and dying from diabetic keto-acidosis. This is known as one of medicine’s most incredible moments. Imagine a room full of parents sitting at the bedside waiting for the inevitable death of their child. The scientists went from bed to bed and injected the children with the new purified extract – insulin. As they began to inject the last comatose child, the first child injected began to awaken. Then one by one, all the children awoke from their diabetic comas. A room of death and gloom became a place of joy and hope.

‘In the early 1920s Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin under the directorship of John Macleod at the University of Toronto. With the help of James Collip insulin was purified, making it available for the successful treatment of diabetes. Banting and Macleod earned a Nobel Prize for their work in 1923.’

Photo Credits- Library and Archives Canada. Via Diabetes Hope Foundation

Posted: 10th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Nasa’s hard shell space suits

Nasa's hard shell space suits

From 1966 through the 1990s, NASA crested hard space suits for space travellers. These suits would offer greater mobility than soft suits. The leader in space fashioned was Hubert “Vic” Vykukal. As the principal designer and investigator of the AX space suit series, he was also happy to model them.

You can see lots more of Vik in his creations on Flashbak.

Posted: 10th, October 2019 | In: Fashion, Key Posts, Technology | Comment


‘Everyone’s favorite game: Cohen, Pacino or Hoffman?’

Cohen Pacino Hoffman game

Play along to ‘Everyone’s Favorite Game – Leonard Cohen or Al Pacino or Dustin Hoffman?’ On Facebook one reader did ask : “Leonard who?” They’ve been banned and sent for re-education at one of our camps. The rest of you can carry on…

Spotter:  Tara McGinley and Flashbak

Posted: 8th, October 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment


Harry Dunn: Anne Sacoolas faces a tormented life of being wrong

Charlotte Charles Harry Dunn Anne Sacoolas

Anne Sacoolas is the middle-aged US diplomat’s wife whose Volvo XC90 car collided with a motorbike bike being ridden by Harry Dunn, 19, in Northamptonshire on 27 August 2019. He died. Early police investigations point to him being blameless and Mrs Saccolas driving on the wrong side of the road. Justice is being denied because Anna Sacoolas, her husband and their three children soon after left the UK under the umbrella of ‘diplomatic immunity.’

Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, diplomats and their family members are immune from prosecution in their host country, as long as they are not nationals of that country. However, their immunity can be waived by the state that has sent them.

But all Harry Dunn’s family have received is a note from the US ambassador and comments about privacy.

Anne Sacoolas
Anne Sacoolas 

Harry Dunn’s parents have been on the TV. “[It was] unintentional,” says Harry’s mother. “She didn’t purposely drive on the other side of the road… if she’d have stayed and faced us as a family we could have found that forgiveness… but forgiving her for leaving, I’m nowhere near.”

Anne Sacoolas is not a child. We can imagine – and it’s not hard to do so – that she’s a bright and capable woman. The graduate in psychology from the University of South Carolina was working for the US State Department in Washington when she married Jonathan Sacoolas in 2003.

She married a man trusted by the US state to uphold the country’s values. But she’s failed. And by turn, so too has the USA. When faced with ongoing, she and her husband “fled”.

And what of her parental role? Reports suggest Anne Sacoolas’s 12-year-old son was in the passenger seat when her car hit Harry Dunn. What did she tell him of her reasons to leave behind an open police investigation, a dead teenager and a grieving family? Does she tell them it was the right and proper thing to do? It was the grown-up thing to do? Only god can judge them?

“Maturity begins with the capacity to sense and, in good time and without defensiveness, admit to our own craziness. If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun,” wrote Alain de Botton in The Course of Love.

Can it be that Anne Sacoolas is suffering more than in her imagination than she would do in reality?

Posted: 7th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


US Ambassador’s cynical letter to Harry Dunn’s grieving parents

harry dunn

The police know her name. The authorities know where to find her. Sky News says they tried to call her. But the 40-something year-old wife of the American diplomat sought in connection with a car crash that left Harry Dunn, 19, of Charlton, Banbury, dead is missing.

Harry Dunn was riding his motorbike near to the US spooks base at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on 27 August. Police told Sky News that “their initial findings show that Harry was riding his motorbike on the correct side of the road, but that a woman, who pulled out of the airbase onto the wrong side of the carriageway, hit him head-on.”

And then, as reports go, she scarpered back to the USA, land of the free. She remains at large under the cloak of diplomatic immunity, so is claimed. She might be behind the wheel, dropping off her children. It’s all a bit murky. And the powerful want to keep it that way. The US Embassy guffs:

“We express our deepest sympathies and offer condolences to the family of the deceased in the tragic August 27 traffic accident involving a vehicle driven by the spouse of a US diplomat assigned to the United Kingdom. Embassy officials are in close contact with the appropriate British officials on this matter. Due to security and privacy considerations, we cannot confirm the identity of the individuals involved, but we can confirm the family has left the UK“.

US ambassador to the UK has written a letter to blameless Harry Dunn’s distraught parents. Woody Johnson, for it is he, expresses his “profound sadness”. His “thoughts and prayers” are with them. He notes that “lost a child myself” he feels their pain. Mr Johnson’s daughter Casey Johnson died of diabetic ketoacidosis in 2010:

heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, died of natural causes related to diabetes, the Los Angeles County coroner said Thursday.
The 30-year-old socialite was found dead at a friend’s home January 4, authorities said.

Harry Dunn was a healthy teenager. One moment he was alive and then he was gone. There is something cynical about Woody Johnson’s mentioning his undeniably, acute private pain in the capacity of his public role in an incident in which diplomat’s wife, aided by the USA, has behaved abominably. Harry Dunn and his family deserve better…

Posted: 5th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


The first photo of the far side of the moon

The first photo of the Dark Side of the Moon

On October 7 1959, human beings saw for the first time the far side of the moon. It was taken by the Soviets’ Luna 3:

The first image was taken at 03:30 UT on 7 October at a distance of 63,500 km after Luna 3 had passed the Moon and looked back at the sunlit far side. The last image was taken 40 minutes later from 66,700 km. A total of 29 photographs were taken, covering 70% of the far side.

And now:

The first photo of the Dark Side of the Moon

Spotter: NASA

Posted: 5th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, Technology | Comment


Tough Life: Harry and Meghan pick a fight with the tabloids they can only lose

prince harry meghan
Harry and Meghan : live cam – exclusive to all media

Is Prince Harry a celebrity, an activist or a royal? Right now he’s a litigant, suing the Mail on Sunday for allegedly “bullying” his wife, Meghan.

Harry and his acolytes often portray the Sussexes as victims. “Imagine being attacked for everything you do, when all you’re trying to do is make the world better,” opined US TV host Ellen DeGeneres. “The way people treat her [Meghan] is the most public form of bullying I have seen in a while,” echoed the pop star Pink.

Harry, and presumably Meghan, are upset by the paper’s decision to publish a handwritten letter from Meghan to her father, Thomas Markle, sent shortly after she and Prince Harry got married in 2018. Did you read it? Was it interesting? Good gossip? How did the Mail on Sunday come by it?

Harry’s eye-wateringly expensive lawyers claim the paper and its parent company misused private information, infringed copyright and breached the Data Protection Act 2018. The Mail on Sunday’s report, they allege, was a crime. Ah, so now you want to read it. Nothing sells like contraband and scandal. (The paper denies any wrongdoing.)

Says Harry in a long statement:

As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world – on every level – we have never needed responsible media more.

Harry, a democrat in a crown, wants the media to be responsible? What does that mean? Shouldn’t the media be daring, proactive and print what the rich and powerful don’t want you to know? Isn’t the rest just PR?

This is Harry who takes private jets to reach the pulpit from where he preaches about the need to conserve the planet’s resources. “Harry said that he often woke up and felt overwhelmed by too many problems in the world and that sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed in the mornings because of all the issues, but he wanted to use their platform to enable grass-roots change and to try and create a better society,” South African student Peter Oki, 18, told a Daily Telegraph reporter.

Harry is a man besieged. You could place a small pea under Harry’s mattress and he’d not get a wink of sleep.

“Every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference,” Harry and Meghan guffed on Instagram. They could have added ‘yours’ not ‘ours’. It’s not easy being green when you’re dipped in gold.

Under the headline “Tough Life“, one publication looked at Harry’s campaign for eco-tourism – which given his jet-set lifestyle and palacial homes – the taxpayer generously paid £2.4m to do up their ‘official’ residence – sounded a bit too much telling the oiks to know our place:

His comments followed a summer of controversy after it emerged that he and Meghan had taken four private jets in the space of 11 days to cruise between London, a super-premium villa in Ibiza, and Elton John’s fabulous home in the south of France.

Days before news of the private flights leaked out, Harry, in the course of a lengthy interview with Vogue, had fretted about global warming and pledged to only have two children for environmental reasons.

Harry and Meghan’s high-carbon habits were in stark contrast to William and Kate, who took their family to Scotland on a budget airline.

And now he’s suing the press. He’s upset that the same people he wants to reduce their carbon footprints – replace sun-kissed package trips to the Spanish costas with a drab weekend on a British camp site – get their news in the tabloids. Harry, an ambulatory laser light, wants the tabloids be be “responsible”. He wants readers to only see “responsible” things.

The tabloids love a fight. And many readers love the tabloids. Harry may well have picked the wrong battle. He adds – and look out for his desire to rescue us, the slack-jawed dolts, from the written word sent downmarket:

I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.
This particular legal action hinges on one incident in a long and disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media. The contents of a private letter were published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question. In addition to their unlawful publication of this private document, they purposely misled you by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.

The Mail on Sunday spokesperson tells everyone: “We categorically deny that the duchess’s letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning.”

The rest of us might wonder if the purpose of the monarchy is to bind the nation, entertain us or protect the plebs from knowing too much. And we would if we were not too busy working…

Posted: 2nd, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Human babies have lizard body parts

Lizard babies

Hey, eyeball lickers. News is that babies in the womb are possessed of extra lizard-like muscles in their hands. “Most” babies lose the lizard part before they’re born. (Where do they go?) Others take up residence in Buckingham Palace.

The journal Development says the lizard muscles are a hangover from when reptiles transitioned to mammals. Dr Rui Diogo, from the Howard University, who wrote the research, says:

“We have a lot of muscles going to the thumb, very precise thumb movements, but we lost a lot of muscles that are going to the other digits. In our evolution, we do not need them so much. Why are they there? Probably, we cannot just say in evolution, ‘Look, I will delete from scratch, from day zero, the muscle going to digits two, three, four, five and I will just keep the one going to the thumb.’ Probably it is not so easy. Probably you have to form this layer of this muscle and then it disappears on the other digits but persists on the thumbs…

“The important question for me now is, ‘What else are we missing? What will we find when all the human body is inspected at this detail during its development?”

The next King of England?

Posted: 1st, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Jews missing from union’s tribute to Holocaust Memorial Day

People walk through the concrete steles of the the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. The memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in Europe under the Nazis was created by U.S. architect Peter Eisenman and consists of an undulating field of 2,711 steles through which visitors can wander. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

You can remembers the Holocaust at the University and College Union. They are? “The University and College Union (UCU) represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK.”

It’s “theme” for Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 is ‘Stand Together’. you might suppose the Holocaust didn’t need any theming. It’s about mass murder. But the UCU was to explore “how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together with their neighbours, and speaking out against oppression.” It is a “vision”.

But the vision is a little monocular. See if you can spot which people are notable by their absence from an email sent by the union:

Transscipt:

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 is ‘Stand Together’. It explores how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together with their neighbours, and speaking out against oppression.

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2020, will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation by the Red Army of Auschwitz-Birkenau [sic], the largest Nazi concentration and death camp. 2020 also marks 25th anniversary of the Bosnian genocide (1998-1995).

Trade unions, including social democrats and communists, were amongst many groups who were persecuted by the Nazi following Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. Other groups persecuted included:

Europe’s Roma and Sinti people
‘asocials’ which included beggars, alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes and pacifists
black people
disabled people – those with physical as well as mental illness
freemasons
gay and lesbian people
Jehovah’s Witnesses
non-Jewish Poles and Slavic POWs.

‘Non-Jewish people’ – and not to mention’ Jewish’ people. The union website site does mention that 6 million Jews were murdered. But its very odd – more than a little remiss – to fail to mention them in the list of victims, which appears on the website thus:

Never forget. Please try not to.

Image: People walk through the concrete steles of the the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. The memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in Europe under the Nazis was created by U.S. architect Peter Eisenman and consists of an undulating field of 2,711 steles through which visitors can wander. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

Posted: 1st, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Set the language police on our MPs

boris johnson

Have you called the language police on Boris Johnson? You might need to wait a while because a few others could be getting the knock first. Johnson has been upbraided for saying the best way to honour Jo Cox, the MP murdered by a man who yelled “Britain first” as he killed her with a gun and a knife, is “to get Brexit done“. He will not stop using the words “surrender bill” to explain the act MPs pushed through to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Labour MP Paula Sheriff demanded Johnson “moderate” his language and stop using the words “Surrender Act”. Referring to Jo Cox, she said: “Many of us in this place are subject to death threats and abuse every single day. Let me tell the prime minister that they often quote his words – surrender act, betrayal, traitor – and I, for one, am sick of it.” Johnson replied: “Mr Speaker, I have never heard such humbug in all my life.”

He’s pressing buttons. And many opponents are answering the call.

“The prime minister’s language and demeanour yesterday was nothing short of disgraceful,” opined Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “Three years ago our colleague Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right activist shouting: ‘Britain First. This is for Britain. The language that politicians use matters – it has real consequences. To dismiss concerns from honourable members about the death threats they receive, and to dismiss concerns that the language used by the prime minister is being repeated in those death threats, is reprehensible.”

You readers may recall Corbyn using language to case British Jews as something foreign and lacking in British decency, and calling a group who want all Jews dead his “friends“.

Corbyn’s fellow Labour MPs are also hot on language. “The use of language yesterday and over the past few weeks, such as the surrender bill,” says Jess Philips, “such as invoking the war, such as betrayal and treachery, it has clearly been tested, and workshopped and worked up and entirely designed to inflame hatred and division. I get it, it works, it is working. It is not sincere, it is totally planned, it is completely and utterly a strategy designed by somebody to harm and cause hatred in our country.”

Previously:

And here’s the Shadow Chancellor:

And another of Corbyn’s colleagues:

And to ensure all things are even, here’s Ed Davey, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats:

Can we agree that at least some of the outrage at Johnson’s language is based on political expediency.

Posted: 30th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Portland hails the end of the urinal

Portland urinals

Good news for men who like to sit down to take a wazz. The City of Portland has done away with urinals at its Portland Building. “The City of Portland banned urinals in the remodeled Portland Building,” says local station KGW. In an email to employees last February, Portland Chief Administrative Officer Tom Rinehart wrote about the gender-neutral bathrooms:

“We will continue to have gender-specific (male and female) multi-stall restrooms that are readily available to any employee that prefers to use one. But, there will be no urinals in any restroom in the building. This will give us the flexibility we need for any future changes in signage. I am convinced that this is the right way to ensure success as your employer, remove arbitrary barriers in our community, and provide leadership that is reflective of our shared values.”

Will the men up their toilet game – flush the chain; you only need a book if you run out of toilet paper; no aiming at the wall and floor- or will women be reduced – not bothering to flush and wash their hands in case whatshisface wants to chat at the sink?

Posted: 30th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Watch an octopus dream in colour

octopus dreaming

An octopus changes colours while sleeping. The US show Octopus: Making Contact opines that the captive octopus is dreaming of hunting. Bit of a guess, no? Maybe it’s dreaming of escape or an ancestral home? Dr. David Scheel enlarges:

So here she’s asleep, she sees a crab and her color starts to change a little bit. Then she turns all dark. Octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom. This is a camouflage, like she’s just subdued a crab and now she’s going to sit there and eat it and she doesn’t want anyone to notice her. …This really is fascinating. But yeah, if she’s dreaming that’s the dream.

Spotter: Laughing Squid

Posted: 29th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Captain Morgan bars Muslims from its US website?

Captain Morgan Muslim

Sorry, Muslims, no rum, sodomy and the lash for you. At least that’s the way it appeared. Last week Captain Morgan rum ran a verification check on its US website. It asked customers to tick the box to declare: “Yes, I am a non-Muslim and aged 21 years and above.”

Sir Henry Morgan (1635 – 25 August 1688), after whom the sickly sweet booze is named, was a Welsh-born privateer who encapsulated the raw energy of the birth of Jamaica. On his first official trip to the Caribbean island, he shipped with “hectors and knights of the plague, lewd person and thieves”. It’s not known if any of the lads were Muslim. But Morgan was just twenty on that trip to storm the Spanish in Jamaica – so no rum for him.

Alerted to the oddity, a spokesperson for Captain Morgan went on the record: “Over the weekend, a misconfiguration on our age-gating files for our US Captain Morgan website meant that people were shown our United Arab Emirates age gate window in error. In the United Arab Emirates it is commonplace for alcohol brands to request verification of this kind, in addition to age-gating, in line with UAE alcohol licensing requirements. We corrected this as quickly as possible.”

Captain Morgan and his shipmates would have lasted two minutes in such a dry state. But the UAE is not alone in censoring its booze. Visitors to the UK site are met with an age verification form:

“Live like a Captain,” says Captain Morgan tagline. “Unleash your inner captain.” But do so responsibly. It’s what genteel Morgan and his band of marauding cut-throats would have wanted.

Posted: 29th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Man has sex with plastic cleaning cone at Wigan train station

Phwoar!

Is nothing safe? To Wigan train station, where a man has been caught shagging a cleaning cone. He was observed abusing the facilities by a worker for Virgin Trains, natch.

The Metro reports on Trevor Smith, 38, who was “found in a lift with his trousers and undies around his ankles while thrusting his hips at the cone”. At first Mr Smith was observed with the cone upside down on his lap. He later “mounted” the cone.

Says one witness: “I have not seen anything like that in all my time working on the railway.” It’s unlikely he’s ever been to Motherwell station.

Smith, who has committed other public sex acts in the past, will be sentenced at Bolton Crown Court on Thursday, October 24.

Cleaners at the court would be well-advised to lock their tools in a safe place until after sentencing.

Posted: 29th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Stoned tuna: chef arrested for cannabis-infused fish

cannabis tuna

The Italian newspaper La Sicilia reports on a local chef arrested on suspicion of drugs dealing. The chef claimed he was testing out “new flavours”, and the two large marijuana plants and 1kg (35oz) of Indian hemp in his pantry were part of his dabbling in cannabis-infused wine, olives, coffee and tuna – all items also seized from his home near Catania.

The 50-year-old is a self-billed “agro-food consultant for third millennium cuisine”.

Meanwhile, you know ‘weed’ you bought from the guy who works in the kitchens, well, it’s oregano – probably.

Posted: 29th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Vaping marijuana – don’t panic

vaping

A conspiracy can start any number of ways. But let’s consider the Daily Mail’s news on vapes and cannabis and death. The headline is a burp of worry words: “Black market cannabis vapes are found to contain hydrogen CYANIDE amid health panic after 13 die from mysterious illness linked to e-cigs.” This one nearly has the lot: drugs, crime, a health panic and mystery. But what are the facts?

The story is based on a report by America’s NBC. Researchers bought 18 vaping cartridges containing THC, the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana. The three purchased at legal dispensaries were fine. But 13 of 15 bought from unlicensed dealers contained Vitamin E, which causes lung damage when inhaled and myclobutanil, “a pesticide that, when burned, can turn into hydrogen cyanide, a chemical that causes oxygen levels to fall and leads to death within minutes.”

The Mail links that shocker – criminals cheat! – with news that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded the deaths of 13 Americans with “vaping-related illnesses”.

“You certainly don’t want to be smoking cyanide,” says Antonio Frazier, the vice president of operations at CannaSafe, the company that tested the products. I don’t think anyone would buy a cart that was labeled hydrogen cyanide on it.”

Don’t be so presumptuous. People will buy anything it it’ll give them a buzz. But before we go, what is Cannasafe? “CannaSafe Analytics is committed to defining consumer safety and quality assurance standards for the cannabis industry.” It’s private concern that will test what’s in weed products – looking for such things as: excreta, hairs, aflatoxinB2, lead, pesticides and bacteria. It will also test how potent your harvest is. There is no kite mark for cannabis, but there could be. So here’s news that the people from the Cannasafe lab found that uncertified products might be harmful.

What might be causing vapers to die is unclear. Patterns are emerging – the same brands of black-market THC cropping up in reports. The black-market THC cartridges could be to blame. Which makes this story not one about am ambitious company or the perils of vaping but the sad state of the war on drugs. But instead of a debate on that debacle, we’re getting more not fewer bans. President Trump announced a Food and Drug Administration ban on flavoured e-cigarettes. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has banned the sale of vaping products at retail outlets. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo imposed a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes on an “emergency” basis. “Vaping is dangerous, period,” he guffed.

Well, of course it is. But it’s still less dangers than smoking cigarettes. And as for people smoking illegal, unchecked, imported Chinese cartridges of THC to get stoned – well if marijuana was legal nationwide, would that still be a sensible consumer choice?

Posted: 27th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


The best print shop on the web

George Mayerle's Eye Test charts

Delighted to say that Flashbak has new print store. It promises to the be the best print shop on the web. The print shop is edited by me, Rob Baker and Stephen Ellcock.

We’re going to be adding lots more images to it in the coming week – including great prints, calendars and cards.

Shipping worldwide from the fine art printers in London carries no extra fee – so whether you’re in New York, Nairobi or Newcastle, postage is the same price.

Image: George Mayerle’s Eye Test charts. Buy it here.

Flashbakshop.com – The best print shop on the web

Posted: 25th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Class War Death Race: Labour summon Grim Reaper for Corbyn and the Queen

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

The Sunday Times leads with news that Jeremy Corbyn’s senior aide Andrew Fisher has resigned. Who? Fisher, we learn, was head of policy and author of the party’s last election manifesto. He’s now reportedly of the mind that Labour “will not win” a general election.

A memo apparently has him telling colleagues: “I no longer have faith we will succeed.” He says Corbyn’s team is compsite blend of a “lack of professionalism, competence and human decency”. He can no longer stomach their “blizzard of lies and excuses”. The paper also notes:

He also claimed “class war” has gripped the upper echelons of the party — a dig at Seumas Milne, Corbyn’s senior aide, who was educated at Winchester and Oxford.

The Guardianon the other hand, looks over Fisher’s CV, writing:

The 40-year-old has been a controversial figure within the Labour movement. He was suspended from Labour in 2015 for apparently supporting a Class War candidate against Emily Benn, Tony Benn’s granddaughter, in the general election, and Benn called for him to be expelled. He also appeared in a video saying he had “very violent, bloody nightmares” about hitting former Labour cabinet minister James Purnell.

Confused?

The Mirror is taking names?

Sources say only seven people had obtained the bombshell memo before it was leaked to the Sunday Times.

And spinning:

Multiple Labour sources confirmed Mr Fisher’s resignation, saying he still remained loyal to Mr Corbyn personally.

Nothing screams loyalty more than a resignation. But he did it to be loyal – honest:

A more anodyne statement was later circulated in Mr Fisher’s name saying he would resign by the end of the year to spend more time with his young family.

The Sun tells its readers:

“It comes amid rumours that the Labour boss himself, who is now 70, could quit because he’s under “incredible pressure”.

And the Times notes:

Sources say Milne and Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s gatekeeper, are also concerned Corbyn might be forced to stand down after the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) investigation into whether Labour is institutionally anti-semitic.

The EHRC has emails that, it is claimed, will cause resignations among Corbyn’s closest aides.

“You’d be rationally frightened of a 70-year-old man dropping down dead,” said an ally. “But the more rational fear is that only those people know what the EHRC has. When that report comes out they are all finished. It’s about planning for what happens if they get decapitated.”

Blame the Jews, then. And ditch Queen, say Labour members in YouGov poll

Form an orderly queue at the guillotines – the Sunday Times also reports: “Ditch Queen, say Labour members in YouGov poll.”

Posted: 22nd, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Royal Family | Comment


‘My sex with Prince Andrew’: Virginia Giuffre says Epstein trafficked her to the Duke

Virginia Giuffre

The story of Jeffrey Epstein’s relationship with Prince Andrew did not die when the convicted paedophile took his own life. The Sun and Mirror lead with the words of Virginia Giuffre (formerly Victoria Roberts) and her claims of sex with the Duke of York when she was 17 years old. She’s gone on the record with NBC News. She claims Epstein “trafficked” her to the duke. Prince Andrew denies “any form of sexual contact or relationship” with Ms Giuffre.

Why Epstein would have done such a thing is left limply hanging like a tired Prince Albert. Did Epstein like to rub away his minted mates’ money, titles and gongs to see the flawed, bestial human beneath – to prove in some way that they were just like him and that he belonged in their company?

Virginia Giuffre

Giuffre claims Ghislaine Maxwell, a friend of Epstein, told her: “I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein.” Ms Maxwell has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Guiffre alleges that following the directive she had sex with Andrew in the toilet at Epstein’s pad and then in the bedroom. Afterwards she says he straightened his top hat and tails and said ‘thank you’.

Giuffre says she claims she could not believe a royal could behave in such a manner. Does she expect flowers, too, from men of hereditary distinction? Cue eye rolling…

Meanwhile:

 Woman Accuses Epstein of Repeated Rapes and Assaults in New Lawsuit. “A woman at the center of sex-trafficking charges against Jeffrey Epstein filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the former financier’s estate, describing in graphic detail for the first time her alleged recruitment at age 14 to perform sex acts for him. Since Mr. Epstein’s suicide in August, at least six women have filed lawsuits seeking compensation for what they allege are damages sustained from years of sexual abuse. The suit filed in federal court in Manhattan by “Jane Doe” appears to be the first brought by one of the three unidentified minor victims featured in the criminal indictment charging Mr. Epstein in July.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 21st, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Ben Stokes : the tabloids, murder and the right to be forgotten

the sun ben stokes

Fallout from the Sun’s story on Ben Stokes “secret family tragedy” was loud and vociferous. The cricketer and a personal hero of mine, was the subject of a story about a horrific crime that cost the lives of two of his close relatives three years before his birth.

One Twitter #DontBuyTheSun was trending. Twitter was on the side of Stokes, who used the platform to issue a reaction:

Hacked Off – “Campaigning for a free and accountable press which works for all of us” – wanted a slice of the action:

Clearly, the story was not to everyone’s taste. But to argue the story of a brutal crime is not of interest to the public is bunkum. We don’t need a gatekeeper to tell us what we are fit to know.

The Mirror and the Daily Star, both owned by Reach, picked up on the Sun’s old news. But following the blowback they deleted their online stories. The Mirror then published a story on Stokes’ “furious” comments about the Sun.

The Sun didn’t lie. It reported facts. It chose a moment when Stokes was newsworthy and a household name to publish a story 3 years told. Scoop? Not a bit of it. Sensation? Lots.

What of the Right To Forget, which ‘enables claimants to request the removal of links to irrelevant or outdated online information about them’? Was the crime so old it need not be repeated? I once received one from a convicted paedophile who wanted their name expunged from website I was editing. The argument was that they’d served their time and their name being on the web was causing them great upset. Another time, a victim of a crime asked for their name to be ‘forgotten’. Which name, if either, would you have edited from existence?

Google says:

When you make your request, we will balance the privacy rights of the individual concerned with the interest of the general public in having access to the information, as well as the right of others to distribute the information. For example, we may decline to remove certain information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.

Does the crime leading to the Ben Stokes story deserve to be forgotten? Is it unethical to repeat the case? The Sun argues:

“The Sun has the utmost sympathy for Ben Stokes and his mother but it is only right to point out the story was told with the co-operation of a family member who supplied details, provided photographs and posed for pictures. The tragedy is also a matter of public record and was the subject of extensive front page publicity in New Zealand at the time. The Sun has huge admiration for Ben Stokes and we were delighted to celebrate his sporting heroics this summer. He was contacted prior to publication and at no stage did he or his representatives ask us not to publish the story.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 20th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


David Cameron: the cannabis years

Cameron cannabis marijuana

In 2007, it was reported that David Cameron had smoked cannabis in 1982, when the future Prime Minister and then leader of the Conservative Party was a 15 years old pupil at Eton College. The incident led to the expulsion of seven of Cameron’s peers. He was merely gated.

When asked if he’d taken illegal drugs whilst at Oxford University, Cameron told the Observer: “I had a normal university experience.” Prodded he added: “‘There were things I did as a student that I don’t think I should talk about now that I am a politician.”

That’s not to say they are irrelevant. In 2007, Cameron told media: “If it can be proved that there are real benefits, medicinal benefits and scientific evidence for it, I would be relaxed about that. My decision would be to licence it if it could be proved to have benefits.”

Fast forward to this week and Cameron is plugging his memoirs. When he went to boarding school his mum coped by “taking large dose of Valium”.

A few friends had started getting hold of cannabis. In those days it was mostly in the form of hash, typically dark brown and crumbly, although occasionally some “Red Leb”, supposedly from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, would show up. Instead of popping behind the school theatre for a fag, we started going for a joint.

Not everyone is a fortunate as Cameron. If your caught with cannabis you can get a formal (recorded) warning and a police caution. You may also be referred to the police Youth Diversion Scheme. And Cameron believes firmly in upholding the law, stating when eh was PM:

This is criminality pure and simple and it has to be confronted and defeated…If you are old enough to commit these crimes you are old enough to face the punishment”

Unless you’re connected…

Posted: 19th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


Someone is leaving cannabis biscuits and cakes in England’s parks

marijuana art swing park

Who is baking hash cakes and dropping them on the grass? Sarah Kenny says she was walking her Jack Russell cross Max in St Helens, Merseyside, when he scampered into a bush. Later back at home he fell ill. Sarah says she smelt his vomit. “I could tell that it was chocolate which immediately raised alarm but then I smelt this really distinctive smell and I knew it was cannabis. I hadn’t seen what he’d eaten in the bush before but when he was sick we knew straight away it must have been a lot of cake.”

Meanwhile, over in Leyland, Lancashire, Sarah Eccles is taking Billy, a cavachon (King Charles cavalier and bichon frise cross) round the park. The Metro says Billy “stumbled upon a pile of discarded cookies”. The Indy says the “pile” was “two chocolate cookies lying in the grass at her local park”. Both sources see Billy on a video posted on Facebook looking very unwell. Oddly, the Daily Record delivers its story under the headline: “Mum reveals shock video of ‘stoned’ dog who almost died after eating cannabis cookie.” Not the dog’s mum, obviously, which makes her billing irrelevant. Or are mums more worried about cannabis in the bushes than other women?

The good news is Billy is ok. The bigger news is that the Indy reports “there was no indication it [the cookie] had been tested to confirm its ingredients”. But Sarah says she knew it was cannabis by the smell and “picked up one en route to the vets and returned later that night to dispose of the other”.

The identity of felons dropping space cakes in parks around the north-west of England has yet to be established.

Posted: 18th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment