Chelsea want their fans to stop hailing new striker Alvaro Mora with the song: “He came from Real Madrid he fucking hates the Yids.” ‘The Yids’ is, for those of not au fait with footballing abuse, a reference to Tottenham Hotspur football club. The rich irony being, of course, that Chelsea are owned by Roman Abramovich, a Jew. Mr Abramovich is Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia. This might be a shock to the Chelsea goon who in the early 1980s sniffed my friend and hymned: “Fe-fi-fo-fum, I smell Yiddish scum.”
In blood, Abramovich is more of a yid than Spurs’ Harry Kane. But this isn’t really about racism. This is about finding ways to insult the opposition and upset their fans.
Most Spurs fans couldn’t give a toss about the song. The club’s self-styled Yid Army demand to sing what they want to, and good on them. The press ridiculously call it “The Y-word” (Daily Mail), fetishising the word through censorship, making it all the more exciting and daring to say aloud.
Chelsea have issued a statement:
“The club and the players appreciate the fans passionate support away from home, of course, but the language in that song is not acceptable at all. We’ve spoken to Alvaro after the game and he does not want to be connected to that song in any way and both the player and the club request that the supporters stop singing that song with immediate effect.”
That’s a rather clever twist on the usual ham-fisted demands for football fans to stop saying things or else. If Chelsea fans are annoying their own new star turn, then surely they’ll stop singing the song. It’s progress. Chelsea are not threatening fans with the police or lifetime expulsion from watching the team for the crime of singing songs. They’re politely asking for the fans to sort it out amongst themselves.
Ply board and corrugated iron won’t stop Hurricane Irma. But guns might. The terrifying and immense Hurricane Irma is heading to Florida. Over six millions Americans have been told to pack up and leave. But Ryon Edwards, 22, is staying. And he’s going to end the storm by shooting it out of the sky.
Ryon’s Facebook event page has 46,000 repondents who say they might well join him in shooting at the wind. “A combination of stress and boredom made me start the event,” Ryon tells the BBC. “The response is a complete and total surprise to me. I never envisioned this event becoming some kind of crazy idea larger than myself. It has become something a little out of my control.”
Take care, though, shooters. Aim wrong and the the bullet might not come back and kill you.
The better ideas might be to do as one man told Sky News. When asked what his plan to survive the Hurricane was, he replied: “Well, I got a big Chinese takeaway and some beers in the fridge.”
Give up, Irma. We have you surrounded.
The Ugandan government is on the look out for homosexuals. Helping it to detect “homos and porn actors, especially those misusing applications like Whatsapp with sex acts” is a gadget imported from South Korea – that’s the country exporting porno fridges.
The machine was ordered last year. It’s just been delivered, reportedly. But who ordered it? And does it work?
In 2016, Uganda’s Red Pepper newspaper spoke with Father Simon Lokodo, the country’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity. Red Pepper is the Ugandan tabloid that in 2014 named the country’s “200 top homosexuals”, a day after President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill toughening penalties for gays: a fine of UGX 10 million ($3000) or up to 10 years in jail, or both.
The paper has an enthusiastic interest in gay sex.
The story began with a photo of the gay-hunting politician underscored with the caption, “Homos Want To Rape Me – Fr. Lokodo.” Readers were told:
The amiable man of God, who quit priesthood after being appointed minister in 2011, told Red Pepper in an exclusive interview that ever since he waged a war on homosexuality, shameless homos have decided to fight back by insulting him with gay sex advances. Lokodo’s most recent brush with the bum-drillers happened last week when — together with police — he stormed and foiled a gay pride parade that was being planned at Kabalagala in Kampala city.
Thoughts soon turn to the gay-detecting machine. Lokodo explained his “war” on homosexual love:
“We are going to attack and attack. I have fresh tactics. One of them is a censor gadget or machine. We are going to procure this machine and it will detect homos and porn actors especially those misusing applications like WhatsApp with sex acts. The South Koreans are programming it. And very soon we will ship it into the country and all the evil will be busted.
How the machine works, we don’t know. Perhaps the machine works a bit like the mysterious E-meter, the Scientology device, which, according to that group “does nothing. It is an electronic instrument that measures mental state and change of state in individuals and assists the precision and speed of auditing.” But does nothing.
TechZim has a theory about the G-meter.
The machine will detect pornographic pictures, videos or graphics taken or saved on phones, computers or cameras…. How does the pornography detection machine work though? This machine is not the first attempt at detecting porn on devices. There are several products already available, the Paraben Porn Detection Stick being an example. The Stick uses advanced image analysing algorithms to identify facial features, flesh tones and body parts that are potentially pornographic among other things.
The Stick actually works to a certain extent. It errs on the side of over-zealousness as it flags normal photos as pornographic more frequently than the opposite. The Stick however only scans for images and not videos which are harder to scan. Uganda’s machine does both, which it should at $88,000 because the Paraben Porn Detection Stick costs around $129.
Worryingly, the machine can also tap Virtual private networks (VPNS).
An interesting tidbit about the machine’s technology is that it can trace traffic from VPNs and proxy networks such as Tor. With such leads, they can they block the nodes routing traffic from the VPNs in question.
This means that we are unlikely to see a repeat of what happened during the social media blackout that was instituted in February during election time, when VPN clients were downloaded 1.5 million times to bypass restrictions.
Here’s the anti-porn committee being sworn in:
If you go to work, make money and provide well for the large family you love, you are, in the words of Harriet Harman, a “deadbeat dad”. To be a good dad, a lively one who matters, you need to wake up and smell the shit, literally.
Harman, the former deputy leader of the Labour Party last seen wooing women to vote Labour by driving around in a – I kid you not – pink bus in her bid to “bring politics to the school gate and the shopping centre”, turning women into a special-interest group, says Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is a prime example of a “deadbeat dad”.
Celebrity stuff-shirt Rees-Mogg thought it wise to tell everyone after the birth of this sixth child Sixtus that he’d never changed a nappy. “Men who don’t change nappies are deadbeat dads – and that includes Jacob Rees-Mogg,” said Harman.
It’s the kind of preachy micro-management of our lives we should all kick back against. Do we care that the State approves of our ability and willingness to change a nappy? The State should get its nose out of your business – and your kid’s business, too.
For added look-at-me nonsense, Harman also wants all MPs to get six months’ paid parental leave. Hard cheese, mum and dad. You earn enough to hire child care, but Harman wants you at home. You can’t be a working parent. You just can’t.
Who pays for Harman’s regressive ideas? Is there a locum MP to step-in? Or maybe Harman and lots of other nannies can be left to run everything..?
By way of a follow up to the story of Hetty Douglas, the artist who sneakily took the piss out of scaffolders as they all waited in line for a McDonald’s in central London, the victims’ employer has issued a statement. It alerts readers to people, like Hetty, who equate high-vis jackets and steel-toe boot with stupidity. GKR scaffolding also notes that many highly successful businesses have been created by people with few or no academic qualifications – to say nothing of self-taught artists:
Hetty Douglas has now deleted her Instagram account. But her work remains online. As they say, no publicity is bad publicity. Although Hetty may be a little put out that the people she publicly labelled thick are appraising her work and, as the Sun says, finding it wanting. “Too much time on Facebook does this to you,” comes one comment. “Probably done at 5am after a late night,” is another.
Not that Hetty is of the same planet as her critics. On her website, Hetty’s bio presents Hetty in the third person.
Hetty Douglas makes work that represents both the light and dark that comes with simply existing. Douglas simultaneously conveys, subverts and celebrates the complexities of trust, sexual boundaries,and the labyrinth of unspoken intimacies of masculine/feminine truths.
The flippant and challenging textual content of this work is a deeply personal response to past and present relationships. It is obscure and hidden, and thus serves its unintentional purpose – to provoke an exploration of sincere emotions.
Underneath the tantalising layers of Douglas’s work lies a clear pursuit for something that truly matters – astable place and a true identity in a world that can happily chew you up, spit you out and not think twice about it.
Can Hetty turn adversity to her advantage? After all, the best bit of this story is that her Instagram photo is the most artful thing she’s produced. A series is surely in the offing, in which Hetty gets to the essence of what it is to exist today with a series of images in which she derides not only workmen, but also bankers, grammar school children, men on trains, the fat, smokers and Essex men. She should find a ready market for her stuff in the Labour Party.
Look out Bournemouth, here come the Saudis! Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz is most displeased with the treatment meted out to his eldest son, Prince Abudullah, as he dined with his entourage at Marbella’s Finca Besaya eatery. Spain’s Territorial Security Unit raided the place, reportedly acting on a tip-off that members of the royals’ security detail were not carrying the required permits.
The prince’s party were asked for IDs and interrogated, and, as one eyewitness claims, “treated like terrorists”. For a double-whammy, the armed police then raided another restaurant, El Ancla, where Prince Abdullah’s daughter, Princess Susu, was celebrating her 17th birthday, again the story goes that two of her bodyguards had not been properly certificated.
So incensed is King Salman by the police’s actions that he’s threatening to pack up his millions – his presence is estimated to be worth €100,000 a day to the local economy; and that’s just in handbags – and never to return to Spain.
Well, that’s if you read EuroNews and believe my source who claims to be close to the King’s circle. The local Costa del Sol news paints a very different picture:
A National Police inspection of the private security guard detail of the Saudi royal family, carried out last week at a restaurant and a private property in Marbella, revealed that four guards had no license to act as security guards and were carrying blank-firing pistols, not real ones. Police officials said a representative of the Saudi royal family thanked the department and told it that the guards would be fired [no pun intended].
El Mundo also reports the fiasco as a triumph of Spanish policing – via Google Translate:
The National Police has detected irregularities in the escort service of members of the Saudi royal family who spends their holidays in Marbella when they discover that the four men in charge of their security do not have the professional qualification required to carry out this function…
In the first, Princess Susu celebrated her 17th birthday and in the second her father, Prince Abdullah, son of King Salman of Saudi Arabia, dined with his family to fire his vacation. Faced with this situation, Prince Abdullah lodged a complaint with the Spanish Ministry of Interior for a supposed vexatious treatment of the police to his family and his entourage . The officers, according to their version, came to gag their daughter. For their part, escorts of the royal delegation denounced that the police action was excessive and that they asked for passports and documentation without allowing them to give any explanation.
The police argue that the inspections were carried out with “absolute respect”, without “at any time” occurring “no violence or intimidation” . He also underlined that the identifications were carried out by plainclothes agents and uniformed police officers to avoid “any confusion in the inspection”.
The troublesome thing for the heavy-handed Spaniards is that a source tells me that when the French upset the King a few years ago – he wanted a public beach reserved exclusively for his use; locals objected with a 100,000-name petition – he left and vowed never to return to his family’s seafront home in Vallauris, preferring to take his summer hols at his palace on the beach in Tangier. He’s not holidayed in France since.
So with France and Spain out, Bournemouth it is.
Here’s one to ponder. Martin Ponting, 50, a father-of-three, is serving a life sentence for raping two young girls. Jailed in 1995, Ponting became Jessica Martina Winfield after a sex change operation paid for by the NHS. In 2007, Winfield told prisoners’ newspaper Inside Time:
“Unfortunately there is a minority of staff and inmates that give me a hard time because of my sexuality, possibly through lack of understanding and empathy.
“So not only do I have the problem of dealing with serious emotional issues surrounding my gender reassignment sex change but also added pressures and issues due to comments and abuse from certain individuals… I work in the main kitchens here at Whitemoor and the majority of staff and management, along with most inmates, have been extremely supportive. The same on my wing.
“I have changed my name to that of a female to prove to the authorities and everyone concerned that I am very serious about my gender and that I do not feel right being a man. I feel like a female trapped in a male body.
The State stepped in, helping through surgery Ponting solve any self-declared incongruence between his biological sex and gender identity, what the NHS terms ‘gender dysphoria’.
In March 2017, the rapist now known as Winfield was transferred from Cambridgeshire’s male-only HMP Whitemoor to Europe’s largest female-only prison, HMP Bronzefield in Surrey.
He’s now been segregated from other prisoners for allegedly making inappropriate advances.
One of his victims told the Sun in March: “There are not enough words to describe him and the evil he has done. It is diabolical they have allowed him to have a sex change and diabolical that he could be freed this year. He may have changed physically but his brain is still the same.”
When Winfield is released, she can use women-only colleges, women-only cab services, women-only changing rooms and women-only toilets. Might it be that feeling like you imagine a woman thinks and is does not necessarily make you one?
You might also wonder under what tyranny a rapist is housed in a female prison.
As the blurb states:
Walid al Damirji’s sharp eye is what makes his pieces for By Walid so covetable. Sourcing vintage treasures to incorporate into handsome thoughtful pieces, texture, colour and shape define his collections. Clothing from the past is transformed into pieces with modern sensibility.
And the £798 trousers you can see in the photo above and below:
Walid’s lightweight tonal-brown and navy silk-poplin Boro-print Morton trousers are artfully ripped and patchworked together for an offbeat lived-in feel. They suspend from an elasticated waistband into a slim-fitting shape that tapers at the knees, then are lent a further discerning twist by the extended raw seams. Runs true to size.
Or as Nigel Meister puts it:
[Dept. of Contemporary Obscenity] So, these trousers (by Walid) are described as “offbeat and lived in”. They are made of silk. They retail for $951. I doubt anyone who had un-designed trousers that looked anything like these would describe them as “lived in” or “offbeat”. There is something deeply distasteful about this kind of poverty porn (IMO). That the economic misery that an (indubitably artful) design like this implies or references could be worn as an expression of 1% luxury is, to my mind, obscene. It magnifies and exemplifies the economic disconnect rampant in our world. It is vivid symptom of a kind of moral rot at the heart of late-stage capitalism in the 21st century.
Goes well with hat (£3,545), artisan stick (£8,986) straw (£98) and bare feet (model’s own):
Spotter: Nigel Maister
We’re all suspects now. What we say is written down on Twitter and Facebook can be used to ridicule and incarcerate us at any time. News reaches us of Robbie Travers, a 21-year-old law student at the Edinburgh university. Travers has 1980s hair and, reportedly, an ongoing investigation for having committed a hate crime.
The 21-year-old third-year student wrote on Facebook post after the US Air Force bombed an ISIS stronghold in Afghanistan in April: “I’m glad we could bring these barbarians a step closer to collecting their 72 virgins.”
The Mail says his fellow student Esme Allman, a second-year history student and the former black and ethnic minority convenor of the university’s students’ association, accused Travers of Islamophobia. Her complaint goes:
“Not only do I believe this behaviour to be in breach of the student code of conduct, but his decision to target the BME Liberation Group at the University of Edinburgh, and how he has chosen to do so, puts minority students at risk and in a state of panic and fear while attending the University of Edinburgh.”
The Sun says her accusation has triggered “outrage”.
Travers adds an update on Facebook:
“Afraid I’ve been a little more quiet as I have been accused of Islamophobia because I mocked ISIS, and I’m being investigated on such a ground by my University. Mocking ISIS allegedly made Islamic and minority students feel ‘threatened’ and ‘unsafe,’ so goes the complainant’s ramblings. Have engaged legal advice to dismiss this nonsense. Wish me luck.”
The Times hears from Travers:
He said: “I am deeply worried that I am being investigated for comments which are expressions of opinion in a jovial way . . . I do not incite the harassment or racist treatment, nor attack anyone with an illegal suggestion or suggest, indeed, that they be deprived of their human rights.”
Allman is quoted further – and for those of you not versed in student speak, this is pretty much what now passes for the norm:
“I value inclusivity as well as building and preserving safe spaces for us. Creating a truly intersectional campaign is incredibly important to me and my first job will be to work alongside the other liberation groups to ensure EUSA are fully representative of our views. Here at Edinburgh I want BME Students to engage in conversations about the issues that affect us.”
The big news is that Robbie Travers is in the news. And he might well like it that way.
In 2015, he told The Tab:
“I can also talk about football and rugby, if you like. And, sometimes, I just like to go and have a little dance at a party”, he said. “But being a public figure means that people engage with you as a ‘brand’ rather than as a real person”.
Meanwhile…on Twitter Ido Bock – “Writer for the New Statesman, Haaretz, Prospect, CapX” – has some claims regarding Travers’ postings:
For all the dumb journalists uncritically sharing what Robbie Travers has made up, let’s have a thread of all his lies over the years…
— Ido Vock (@idvck) September 5, 2017
1. Claimed to be a go-to source for news about Prince Philip’s death pic.twitter.com/ufNKZVz7Vp
— Ido Vock (@idvck) September 5, 2017
8. Claimed to have ‘contacts in Iraq’ with kids called Tonibler pic.twitter.com/O44pfiYitd
— Ido Vock (@idvck) September 5, 2017
— Ido Vock (@idvck) September 5, 2017
Exciting times on campus, where everyone’s a victim.
To Salt Lake City, where police detective Jeff Payne intends to take blood from an injured man undergoing treatment at the University of Utah Hospital’s burns unit. To remove blood you need the patient’s consent. But he’s out cold. What to do, then? The injured man is not under arrest. But Payne wants that blood. So he tells Nurse Alex Wubbels to take it. She refuses. Wubbels seeks advice. Her supervisor tells her not to take the blood – doing so would mean breaking the law. But Detective Payne disagrees.
So he grabs her, bundles her outside, pushes her against a wall and slaps her in handcuffs. A host of other overweight, unsympathetic cops look on. Thankfully, one of them films the whole assault on a body camera.
The Washington Post has more:
Nurse Alex Wubbels politely stood her ground. She got her supervisor on the phone so Payne could hear the decision loud and clear. “Sir,” said the supervisor, “you’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse.”
Payne snapped. He seized hold of the nurse, shoved her out of the building and cuffed her hands behind her back. A bewildered Wubbels screamed “help me” and “you’re assaulting me” as the detective forced her into an unmarked car and accused her of interfering with an investigation.
The explosive July 26 encounter was captured on officers’ body cameras and is now the subject of an internal investigation by the police department, as the Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday. The videos were released by the Tribune, the Deseret News and other local media.
On top of that, Wubbels was right. The U.S. Supreme Court has explicitly ruled that blood can only be drawn from drivers for probable cause, with a warrant.
Wubbels, who was not criminally charged, played the footage at a news conference Thursday with her attorney. They called on police to rethink their treatment of hospital workers and said they had not ruled out legal action.
Salt Lake police says Detective Payne is still on active duty – sleep easy, people – but that he has been “suspended” from the department’s blood draw unit.
Everton’s former Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney only had a “kiss and a cuddle” with Laura Simpson, 29, whose car he was driving when police nicked him for drink driving. All the tabloids wonder what this means for his marriage to Coleen Rooney. The Mirror says she’s fearful for the couple’s three children, “worried about playground taunts” because kids can be cruel.
Coleen, we learn, is also worried about media intrusion. Which is presumably why she, as the Sun reports, uploaded photos of her boys on Instagram and wrote: “No matter where I am they always follow me, and I hope that last forever.” No, not a coded message to the paparazzi, marketeers and celebrity magazines. That was a “heavy hint that she would keep the kids with her if Wayne and she split”.
By now you’re itching to know more about pneumatic Laura Simpson, who “boasts” (Mirror) of having 32E breasts, which Wayne “ogled”, hair extensions, false eyelashes, Botox and lip enhancers. Unlike Wayne, she does not smoke and have a spouse, but she does have a child.
The Sun then pinpoints the single mother struggling to make a living, helping anyone who wants to bounce into and off of Laura find her. We learn that she works at a lettings agency (wages: £38,000 a year); once went on two trips to Dubai in one month; is “cash-strapped”; and lives in a “terraced house in Irlam, Greater Manchester”. If you can’t find her there, maybe you can reach her on the sugar daddy website, where the Sun says she functions under the name “Lolaura”.
As journalists and pornographers stampede to Laura’s door, the kindness of strangers kicks in. In “Dear Coleen”, Coleen Nolan, writes an open letter to her namesake. “Oh love, my heart ached for you yesterday,” says Coleen, to say nothing of her mouth and she dictated 300 words of to-deadline advice. “Back from holiday, piles of washing to sort, school uniforms to get ready,” says Nolan, proving she has the inside track on the life of a woman who counts her millions by the dozen. “Whenever anyone askw me for advice,” says Nolan, “my first tip is…” Call my agent? “…never, ever, make life-changing decisions when emotions are high.” Coleen’s life is far from over because as Nolan reminds her, she too has been cheated on by a wayward and well-known husband, and had her private life scrutinised in the national press. She moved on, forging a new life as the Woman Whose Famous Husband Cheated On Her And Had Her Life Scrutinised In The Press in the Mirror and on TV’s Loose Women. Hang in there, Coleen. There’s a multifaceted career in this, maybe.
More advice for Coleen in the Mail, where Bel Mooney has “inimitable advice” for the Rooney. “Dear Coleen,” begins the heartfelt advice once more, it being a well-established fact that Coleen is a dear and likes to surround herself with dear things, some very dear, some very, very dear. “Bloody men, eh,” says Bel. “At it again!” As with Nolan, Mooney presents herself as Coleen’s kindred spirit. Coleen was born in Liverpool and so too was Mooney. Wayne was boozing with Laura in Alderley Edge’s Bubble Room.”My best friend lives in Alderly Edge,” says Money, “and I’ve been to those upmarket joints, Piccolino’s and the Bubble Room”.
“Good luck, Bel,” says Mooney, which sounds a bit like Rooney, and a bit self-obsessed.
Good luck, Coleen!
Just in case you hadn’t heard, it’s 20 years since the death of Princess Diana. The Diana Industry is in full cry. In today’s instalment, former royal servant Paul Burrell is seen eying the site of the car cash that killed his boss in Paris and sharing his “troubling questions” over her death.
Paul’s thoughts are front-page news in the Mirror. And on pages 4 and 5 you get a lot more of them. Burrell, who has made a career from being Diana’s “Rock”, says, “My heart tells me it was a terrible accident.” To say nothing of the countless books, coroner’s reports, police inquiry, TV specials and a million to-deadline opinions about the car crash.
Paul then takes time out to gives us a city tour. He says he “never realised how close the Eiffel Tower was” to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, where Diana died, an underpass he “never realised” was so small. “Now I realise it [the Tower] must have been the last thing she saw before the crash,” says Paul.
Having realised much and shared her last view, Burrell then shares Diana’s demise, albeit mentally. “I dreamt last night I would crash and die in the exact same place,” says Burrell. Not all dreams come true. And Paul is alive to place a “touching” card on the bridge. It says – and it’s all written in easy-to-read capital letters:
YOU WILL BE WITH ME FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE … AND ONE DAY WE WILL BE RE-UNITED AND SIT AND LAUGH AND LOVE.
Always nice when a staff member enjoys their work, but Paul seems a tad besotted with Diana. He says it took a few hours before he realised “she had left me”. In the hospital where she died, coppers showed him the room where Diana is lying, her hair washed, her body carrying the scent of formaldehyde – “I can still smell it, like I still smell her perfume, Hermes 24 Faubourg.” The Mirror plays along, saying Burrell was “the first person to see her body” (if so, who washed her hair and declared her dead?). He says he entered the room to “stare death in the face”. Lest you think facing the Grim Reaper something you do when faced with your own mortality, Burrell opines: “I’d lost my reason for being.”
But he found a new one, and whether it be talking about Diana in the tabloids, writing about Diana in your book, eating ‘roo gonads on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!. judging would-be Dianas on Australian Princess, working out anagrams of ‘CROK’ on Countdown, singing on Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, or shopping on Celebrity Big Brother, Burrell’s soldiered on.
The Times‘ scoop became a big talking point: a five-year-old, white, native English specking Christian girl had been placed with a Muslim foster family by London’s Tower Hamlet’s council. What problem with that? If the vulnerable child needed help and help was forthcoming, what matter respective religions? The council surely vets foster parents and made an informed choice.
The girl spent four months with her substitute family. She says the family did not speak English in the home, encouraging her to speak Arabic. Her primary foster carer veiled her face in public. When placed with a second foster family, also Muslim, the girl spoke of regularly eating meals on the floor. The girl was scheduled to return to the first foster carers, but a council worker heard her complain of having had her necklace removed and not returned. The necklace featured a cross-shaped pendant. The girl claimed the family had refused to let her eat carbonara prepared by her family because it contained bacon.
The girl is now back with her family, living with her grandmother on the orders of Judge Khatan Sapnara – the Mail tells readers on its front page, the judge is a Muslim; a fact the Times repeats on page 6 in a lengthy profile on the woman who arrived in the UK as child from her native Bangladesh. Judge Sapnara told the council to seek “culturally matched placements” for children. She also made a stand for free speech. Tower Hamlets tried to block the Times story but failed when Judge Sapnara made it clear she “would not stand in the way of the freedom of the press to report, within the law and in a responsible manner, in respect of this case.”
The Mail adds that the girl’s family had “pleaded” with the council to let her live with her grandmother. The girl “begged” not to be returned to the Muslim family. By page 17, Sarah Vine is telling readers about the value of “a granny’s love”. But taken in isolation, without us knowing why the child was in care at all, why grandma was overlooked in favour of foster parents and what the foster parents hope to gain from their role, opinion rides roughshod over fact. But Vine tells us that Tower Hamlets advertises foster carer allowances of “£313 and £253 a week”. “That’s a nice little earner,” says Vine.
Easy money? On the Tower Hamlets website we read:
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer you will need to meet with a social worker many times to talk about yourself, your family and your experiences of looking after children. Some people find the idea of this daunting, but our social workers are highly experienced and will do everything they can to help you feel reassured during this process. You will also need to have police and medical checks and will need to ask employers, friends and families to give references.
And Vine’s undersold the job: “Fostering fees and allowances up to £474 per week (per child in placement depending on age).” But, yes, the payments for a five-year-old are as she says. Fostering is a cottage industry. Why the public sector is turning child care into a job creation opportunity is not touched upon. And it costs:
In the 2013/14 financial year an estimated £2.5 billion (gross expenditure) was spent on the main looked after children’s services in England. The majority of expenditure (55%) was on foster care services (around £1.4 billion, 55%) and children’s homes (around £0.9 billion, 36%).
So much for the money.
What’s wrong is when Vine says the “real scandal” is that social services “would rather pay someone, irrespective of whether or not he child will be miserable, than find a home where someone wants to offer the one thing that has no price: a mother’s love.”
Eh? Surely is can be argued that the “strict Muslim” women was offering just that: a place where the child would be treated like one of their own. Moreover, where is the child’s mother? Is she able or capable of offering the kid of love Vine seeks? Let’s not pretend a mother’s love is the ultimate nurturer of life and love.
Also troubling is that the story is presented as one of child abuse. The child was refused food. The child was with “strict” adults. The child was upset. The child “sobbed”. Everything is presented to make readers suspicious of adults. The child’s view is pure and passes challenged. We’ve not heard from the Muslim women at the centre of the story. The overriding impression from reading this story is that when society revolves around child protection, everyone who works with children is cast as a suspect.
Trucker Kenny Ollerenshaw got a tattoo of himself driving his own body. You can get one from Richard Batey of Immortal Art Studio.
Spotter: Design Taxi
Twitter can be nasty place, full of angry prudes, prigs, bigots and berks. And then you’ve got the nastier types. The Fawcett Society says Twitter is “failing women” threatened online. The Fawcett Society is, as it says it is, the “UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights”. Created in 1866 to campaign for women’s suffrage – from championing equality the group now wants special rules to protect women (facepalm) – the charity is now looking at free speech and law in partnership with a group called Reclaim the Internet. Which is? Well, it’s mission statement begins: “The internet must be a forum for freedom of speech. But…”
If there’s a ‘but’ there’s no free speech, is there. Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP who set up the organisation that seeks to control what can and cannot be said, might not be able to see the irony of her position, but anyone who values free speech should.
This comes after last week’s news that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has vowed to “treat online crime as seriously as offline offences”. The CPS will “prosecute complaints of hate crime online with the same robust and proactive approach used with offline offending”.
The Telegraph has more:
The two groups identified 14 cases of threats and abuse against women including the MPs Luciana Berger, Diane Abbott and the late Jo Cox, as well as the campaigner Gina Miller, and reported them to Twitter earlier this month.
Tweets reported by the two groups also included threats of rape as well as images and video of apparently non-consensual sexual acts alongside abusive comments aimed at groups of women including migrants and Muslims.
On Monday night five of the 14 accounts remained active with the tweets in question still on the site, while Twitter had taken up to nine days to suspend the other accounts reported to it…
The offending tweets included a vile slur on the late MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by a constituent in 2016, and racist and misogynistic abuse directed at the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott. Other tweets included a description of raping migrants as “ethnic cleansing”.
Can you sue someone for saying something nasty about a dead person? Seems pretty incredible. Especially given that the prop is that online threats carry the same weight as threats carried out in the real world, where real sticks and stones can break your bones.
It all creates more questions. What’s abusive? Who gets to decide when words are illegal? Is it up to the police and then the CPS to decide? The law is sure to be very busy looking into every tweet someone found beyond the pale and reported? Are there enough resources? And do you want to live in a nation of narks getting off on setting the full weight of law on a fool who made a moronic, challenging or rude comment online?
Might be best to debate all this and more face to face, say in the pub, where notes are not taken and used in evidence against you. Problem is that since our protectors brought in the smoking ban and pubs started to become gastro-led family creches or flats, that option’s not all that attractive. Pub’s are out. Graffiti’s illegal and any conversation could take years. And no-one reads the papers, so letters to the editor are useless. So shouting at pigeons in the precinct it is, then. How’s that for progress?
After mass murder on the streets of Barcelona, how are people responding? When a nutcase allegedly murdered a woman at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, hashtags exhorted us to #PunchaNazi. The Guardian wrote 31 stories on the fight between Nazis and counterprotestors in a small US city.
British TV news featured Social Justice Warriors toppling the Confederate Soldiers Monument in Durham, North Carolina, and kicking it. Rage was the watchword.
The Nazis were not true Americans, we were told. Calls came to sack protestors from work places and colleges, to make them unemployable. The SJW presented a few hundred Nazis who move their lips when they once read bits of Mein Kampf as the vanguard of a Fourth Reich, with themselves cast as the embodiment of the Dunkirk spirit, ‘The Few’ giving no quarter in the bloody battle for civilisation.
And then came the slaughter of 13 people out and about in a touristy part of Barcelona. In the past three years, 460 (and rising) people have been murdered by Islamists in Western Europe. #PunchAnIslamist was not tending on Twitter. It never has done. Symbols of Islamism are not being torn down. The racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic, rapacious, murderous, thieving, barbaric Islamists who seek to colonise the world will be defeated with candles, repurposed pop songs and hugs. Because in the playbook of the right-on, it’s not about them. It’s all about us.
From being hymned “Don’t look back in anger” after the jihadi attack on Manchester and encouraged to “Imagine” John Lennon’s anodyne world of total peace, we will not rage against the horror in Barcelona. We will stand together with candles and stare into the light until it dies.
Photo above: Marina Ginesta, anti-fascist fighter during the Spanish Civil War. This picture was taken in Barcelona in the summer of 1936.
More on the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a would-be white supremacist is casting off his white polo, cap and khakis (apparently dressing like a golfer makes you a fascist. Who knew? Discuss) and tells the counter-demonstrators chasing him he’s not Nazi. He’s just playing dress-ups and shouting in public. He might even be golfer in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“In the hole!”
CJ Hunt recored their conversation:
Since I’m a person of color, my identity is not a uniform I can take off when I am feeling unsafe—when I’m stopped by police or when my white girlfriend and I travel through southern towns where Confederate flags billow from porches and pickup trucks. Like all minorities, I’ve grown used to the way that difference marks me—the burden of being ever ready for the moment my skin turns me into a target for angry white men determined to take back what they think the world owes them.
Maybe the lad’s an actor? In the run-up to the fighting, an LA-based company posted an advert of Craigslist. The company called Crowds on Demand, a “public relations firm specializing in innovative events”, was looking for protestors. For a decent $25 per hour “actors and photographers” were invited to get involved in events in the Charlotte, NC area”n If you’re “ok with participating in peaceful protests:, then get in touch.”
The ad chimed:
Actors and Photographers Wanted in Charlotte
Crowds on Demand, a Los Angeles-based Public Relations firm specializing in innovative events, is looking for enthusiastic actors and photographers in the Charlotte, NC area to participate in our events. Our events include everything from rallies to protests to corporate PR stunts to celebrity scenes. The biggest qualification is enthusiasm, a “can-do” spirit. Pay will vary by event but typically is $25+ per hour plus reimbursements for gas/parking/Uber/public transit.
For more information about us, please visit www.crowdsondemand.com
If you’re interested in working with us, please reply to this posting with the following info:
Prior relevant experience (as an actor/performer, photographer, brand ambassador, political activist, etc)
When are you usually available for work?
If you’re a photographer, what equipment do you use?
Are you ok with participating in peaceful protests (optional)?
And a screenshot of the original post:
Are you looking to create a buzz anywhere in the United States? At Crowds on Demand, we provide our clients with protests, rallies, flash-mobs, paparazzi events and other inventive PR stunts. These services are available across the country in every major U.S city, every major U.S metro area and even most smaller cities as well. We provide everything including the people, the materials and even the ideas. You can come to us with a specific plan of action and we can make it happen. OR, you can approach us with a general idea and we can help you plan the strategy then execute it.
We’ve made campaigns involving hundreds of people come to action in just days. We have a proven record of delivering major wins on even the toughest campaigns and delivering phenomenal experiences with even the most logistically challenging events.
The CEO of Crowds on Demand tells Snopes:
“We were not involved in any capacity with the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those impacted by the violence”
As he asks: “Silly question, but if your cause is worthy of protest then why would you need to pay $25 per hour to get people to show up?”
Fake news isn’t just being made in journalism boiler rooms; it’s being made on the street.
Do you agree that pin-brained loons on the furthest reaches of the far right deserve free speech? Should Nazis get the same freedom of expression as the extreme far Left, the softest liberals, jihadis, Christians and the rest of us? If you answer ‘no’, you’re wrong. They should do.
You don’t earn the right to have an opinion; you have it by hard-won right.
If you ban one group from free thought and free expression you badly damage democracy. Bans on what can and cannot be said stymie progressive thought. Bans on free speech hand sovereign power to the authorities, who can then judge what it is the rest of us get to hear. You want Donald Trump to be charge of what can and cannot be said?
And hands up who wants to read the banned stuff, those words deemed taboo and too potent for your feeble mind to scrutinise with reason and ridicule? Banning it fetishises the thoughts you want destroyed. There are already enough berks jacking off to Nazi memorabilia. No need to encourage them.
On the shrill and wholly intolerant Change.org site, people are being invited to add their name to the petition “Fire & Expel Peter Cvjetanovic”. He’s the gurning loon goon filmed chanting white nationalist slogans during the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one woman allegedly was murdered. The petition calls for the University of Nevada, where Cvjetanovic studies, to boot him out. The petitioner writes:
We heard your statement about how it is challenging to expel him on legal grounds, but we are asking you to do it for moral reasons based on your school’s code of conduct. And we are asking you to do it because it is the right thing to do.
Says who? Says you.
What a sad time we’re living in where we have to convince an institution of higher learning to expel a student for marching with the KKK and neo-Nazis.
No. A sad time was when you had to be in the Nazi party to go to college. One cretin giving full throat to his putrid thoughts is not sad for anything but him.
We know Cvjetanovic. Buy who else have the armchair detectives found? The New York Times reports:
After a day of work at the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas, Kyle Quinn had a pleasant Friday night in Bentonville with his wife and a colleague. They explored an art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and dined at an upscale restaurant.
Then on Saturday, he discovered that social media sleuths had incorrectly identified him as a participant in a white nationalist rally some 1,100 miles away in Charlottesville, Va. Overnight, thousands of strangers across the country had been working together to share photographs of the men bearing Tiki torches on the University of Virginia campus. They wanted to name and shame them to their employers, friends and neighbors. In a few cases, they succeeded.
Mr. Quinn, who runs a laboratory dedicated to wound-healing research, was quickly flooded with vulgar messages on Twitter and Instagram, he said in an interview on Monday. Countless people he had never met demanded he lose his job, accused him of racism and posted his home address on social networks…
“You have celebrities and hundreds of people doing no research online, not checking facts,” he said.
Celebs like Jennifer Lawrence, who told her Facbeook followers:
“These are the faces of hate. Look closely and post anyone you find. You can’t hide with the internet you pathetic cowards!”As Twitchy notes,
Say the wrong thing and the enlightened with pick up their torches, track down people and threaten’ them. Nice. As Reason states: “‘No Free Speech for Fascists’ Is a Truly Terrible Idea: The ACLU is right: Do you really want Donald Trump deciding who gets free speech?”
Last week, the ACLU sparked controversy when it announced that it was defending the free speech rights of alt-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority refused to allow ads for his book to be displayed on public transit. Lost in the debate was that other groups the ACLU was defending along with Yiannopoulos were also censored under the same rule: Carafem, which helps women access birth control and medication abortion; the animal rights group PETA; and the ACLU itself.
For representing Yiannopoulos, the civil liberties group was widely accused of defending and enabling fascism. But the ACLU wasn’t “defending Yiannopoulos” as much as it was opposing a rule that allows state censorship of any controversial political messages the state wishes to suppress: a rule that is often applied to groups which are supported by many who attacked the ACLU here.
The same formula was applied yesterday when people learned that the ACLU of Virginia had represented the white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville after city officials tried to ban the group from gathering in Emancipation Park where a statue of Robert E. Lee was to be removed.
Free speech for all, then. No buts. Karl R. Popper explains further in The Open Society and Its Enemies:
The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato.
Freedom from; or freedom to?
Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”
In short: don’t be a Nazi.
Hurrah! Boris Johnson’s vulgar Garden Bridge will not happen. Londoners should rejoice that this corporate carbuncle is dead. But not everyone is pleased. The Times says the Garden Bridge over the River Thames was “killed off by ‘spiteful’ mayor at cost of £50m”. Reading that you might suppose London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s spite cost £50m. But you’d be wrong.
The comment was made by Johnson, now foreign secretary, who opined: “It is so sad that Sadiq Khan has killed the Garden Bridge and wasted so much time and money. Labour has no vision for London and no ambition. The garden bridge was a beautiful project. The Labour mayor claimed to support it but killed it out of spite – because it was not initiated in his period of office. The only crumb of comfort is that good plans have been developed and can be readily revived.”
Good plans for a vanity project. Maybe they can be sold to Dubai or some other place where style of the obvious and expensive sort masks the lack of substance? The grotesque bridge Johnson’s childhood pal Joanna Lumley called a “tiara for the Thames” was much more a space for corporate shindigs than a useful and grand public crossing. Situated 200 metres from an existing bridge, the Garden Bridge was to be accessed by stairs or lift, closed between midnight and 6am and for several days a year (so the corporate well off can enjoy it) and paid for by £37.4m of public funding.
Whereas New York’s High Line gives the city a green walkway made out of a former elevated rail track on stilts, the bridge – five times the square-foot cost of the High Line – was a skin-deep marketing venture.
So why does the Times lead with the “spite” and not the soaring costs of the expensive eyesore? The paper features a “strongly worded letter to Mr Khan” from Lord Davies of Abersoch, chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, in which he moans: “About £9 million of public funds has been committed since the mayoral election, and had you made [in May 2016] the announcement you have made now, then most of that expenditure would have been avoided.”
Right enough. It should have been killed at the earliest opportunity. But if you’re going to focus on Khan’s costly dithering, why not mention also Johnson and his chums? The Times does note: “Although supporters had hoped that another benefactor would rescue the project, the estimated cost rose from £60 million to £200 million”. It was going to cost a lot more – and what of the ongoing maintenance?
And then this:
Despite raising £70 million in pledges, including £20 million from the Monument Trust, a charity, £10 million from Glencore, the mining company, and £5 million from Sky, a funding gap of £85 million remained.
So says the Times (prop, Rupert Murdoch) of Sky (prop. R. Murdoch). Part of the bridge the taxpayers funded and the elite wanted was to be named in honour of – yep – Sky.
The paper adds in “Behind the story”:
When work began in 2013, the Garden Bridge project showed every sign of flourishing and one day bearing fruit (Jonathan Morrison writes). It enjoyed the support of Boris Johnson, the London mayor and, through him, Transport for London; it had the blessing of George Osborne; and it enjoyed widespread support in the media and from celebrities.
Lumley loved it.
The design by Thomas Heatherwick, the man behind the London Olympics cauldron, was hailed as a masterpiece: showcasing, as the Games had done, the vein of optimism and genius running through Britain. Soon, £60 million had been allocated from the public purse.
A bad press helped to turn public opinion against the project…
Nah. The bad press had nothing to do with it’s spiking. Honesty did.
President Donald Trump’s reaction to the death of Heather Heyer, 32, was lamentable, and to his many detractors illuminating. Heather Heyer, 32, from Charlottesville, was killed as Nazis, the KKK and other white supremacists clashed with counter-protestors in the city. Heyer was allegedly mowed down by a car driven by James Alex Fields Jr, 20, who has been charged with her murder. Nineteen other people were injured, some seriously, as the vehicle ploughed into anti-fascists.
Trump blamed “many sides” for the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” in Charlottesville. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country,” said Trump. “Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”
Trump did not condemn what was obviously a fascist gathering. It’s easy – and right – to bash Trump over his reluctance to call out racists. (It’s less simple to bash the liberal society which has wallowed in identity politics for so long, encouraging everyone to view life through the prism of racial and gender identity.)
Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator who ran against Mr Trump for the party’s presidential nomination, winces. He reasons that Trump “missed an opportunity to be very explicit here… These groups seem to think they have a friend in Donald Trump.” He’s not wrong. David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, chimes: “We’re going to fulfil the promises of Donald Trump [to] take our country back.”
As Trump forgets to mention white supremacists at the white supremacists rally – whoops! – we hark back to one man who never forgot.
Trump’s no Bill Baxley.
On February 28 1976, Bill Baxley (born June 27, 1941), Attorney General of Alabama (1971 – 1979), replied to a letter from white supremacist Edward R. Fields – founder of the National States’ Rights Party and Grand Dragon of the New Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
In 1971 Baxley had ordered the law to look again at the bombing of 16th Street Church – on Sunday September 15 1963 at 10:22 am four African-American girls (Addie Mae Collins, 14, Carol Denise McNair, 11, Carole Robertson, 14, and Cynthia Wesley, 14) were murdered in a racially motivated attack.
In 1968, the FBI had closed their investigation into the bombing without filing charges against any of their named suspects, Thomas Edwin Blanton, Jr., Herman Frank Cash, Robert Edward Chambliss and Bobby Frank Cherry. The files were sealed by order of J. Edgar Hoover. Baxley had been a student at the University of Alabama when he heard about the bombing in 1963, and in 1977 recollected: “I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what.”
When Baxley took office he wrote the names of those girls on a small telephone calling card. In 2014, he told NPR why:
“I want to be reminded that before my term was over, I wanted to try to solve that case and do something about the people who killed the little girls. It took us a couple of years to really get on the trail of the right people. And when we finally got on the right group – Robert Chambliss and his group. He was the ringleader. He was responsible for 30 or 40 bombings over a two or three-decade period in Birmingham. His nickname was ‘Dynamite Bob’ and he was very proud of it. So then around about ’76, it got public that we were for the first time looking at that case and making some real progress.”
That’s when Edward R. Fields put pen to paper.
“Well, I took it as a threat,” said Baxley. “He called me a traitor to my race and how dare I prosecute or investigate these white Christian patriots and blah, blah, blah, blah. And so they demanded a response. So I sat down and wrote them a response.”
In 1977, Robert Chambliss was tried and convicted of the first degree murder of Carol Denise McNair. Thomas Blanton and Bobby Cherry were each convicted of four counts of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2001 and 2002 respectively, whereas Herman Cash, who died in 1994, was never charged with his alleged involvement in the bombing.
PS: Where were the police? An eyewitness recalls:
“There was no police presence. We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park watching… I’ve seen how the police have managed crowds here in Madison, Wisconsin — huge rallies with opposing sides. I’d like to know how the police in Virginia could be so impotent. Are they so afraid of being accused of doing something wrong that they protect themselves by doing nothing?”
Anyone hankering for Ostalgie (nostalgia for East German life behind the Berlin Wall) should know that elements of American society are sympathetic to your mood. Ersatz liberals are operating a sinister and tentacular network of volunteer narks who will grass you up for failing to adhere to ‘right’ thinking. Their preferred medium is twitter, over which wrong thinkers will be publicly shamed. If all goes well, the enemy will be interrogated by their employee before dismissal, shunned by their friends and ostracised by decent, tolerant society.
Last week, actress Lena Dunham was on surveillance at a US airport. She picked up two flight attendants engaging in what she termed “transphobic talk”. Swiftly she hopped on Twitter’s spite hotline and grassed: “Not gonna call out the airline who delayed cuz shit happens BUT I did just overhear 2 @AmericanAir attendants having a transphobic talk.”
American Airlines got in touch with Dunham. No, not to condemn her as an insidious voyeur for spying on two working stiffs having a private conversation, but to seek help in fingering the miscreants. Dunham provided details of the conversation and directions as to how the Untermensch could be found.
“I heard two female attendants walking talking about how trans kids are a trend, they’d never accept a trans child and transness is gross,” said Dunham to American Airlines. “I think it reflects badly on uniformed employees of your company to have that kind of dialogue going on. What if a trans teen was walking behind them? Awareness starts at home but jobs can set standards of practice. Thanks for your consideration!”
Ella Whelan notes:
Dunham’s latest attempt to call out prejudice reveals her own prejudice. She felt comfortable ratting out workers to their boss because left-liberals like her no longer have any interest in expressing solidarity with working people. They also have no interest in free speech. The idea that your employer should punish you for what you say and believe is apparently fine. As a result of the impact of Dunham’s tweet, it wouldn’t be surprising if the two American Airlines attendants soon found themselves out of work.
This is how low the PC brigade will stoop to pose as good and decent. All Dunham’s tweet achieved was to prove that she was a self-righteous eavesdropper. She even tweeted a warning to other employees who might dare to have a political opinion different to hers: ‘Headed back to the airport and I guess my biggest hope is that people will keep it cute. But if they don’t YOU WILL KNOW.’ Beware the PC police – they will try to get you fired if they disagree with you.
Thankfully, no “uniformed” worker was doxxed or sacked. “We always look into complaints from customers, but at this time, we are unable to substantiate these allegations,” American Airlines told Fox News. “From the team members we hire to the customers we serve, inclusion and diversity is a way of life at American Airlines. Every day, our team members work to make American a place where people of all generations, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religious affiliations and backgrounds feel welcome and valued.”
Win-win, then. The airline got to showcase its sound moral credentials. The minted celebrity got to look good and teach the lesser beings a lesson. And the somewhere in East Germany a man ran his hand over his pliers and dared to dream of a return to the good old days when everyone agreed on everything.
Everything is not rosy at Google. An internal memo written by Google engineer James Damore accusing the internet behemoth of operating as an “ideological echo chamber” is riding high on the news cycle. Google, opined Damore, is a place where the company’s approach to diversity is taboo. Google “dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the ‘victims’,” he wrote. And for saying that he was – get this- sacked.
“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes,” says Damore. He says “differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50 per cent representation of women in tech and leadership”. He adds that ‘”discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business”.
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, read that and decreed that Damore had amplified “harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”. Google’s workforce is 69% male. A mere 2% of Google staff are African American.
Damore’s views were not debated. He was fired. He lost his livelihood for being a disruptor, something Google, which owns YouTube, is proud of saying of itself. You must stick to the orthodoxy or perish. Free expression is out at Google. But Pichai maintains, “we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves.” That’s not free speech you can hear – that’s the soft wind of everyone nodding in agreement.
Damore touched a nerve. Google fired him to advertise its own sound morals. Never mind that women are underrepresented and one in 50 workers at any paygrade is African American, just read the press releases and know that Google upholds diversity and equality and will punish anyone expressing ‘the wrong’ views. On Google’s diversity page, Pichai is quoted saying, “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” Oh, the irony.
Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, tells us in response to Damore: “Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”
She fails to tells us why, though. Damore did not understand the point of Google’s diversity programs. Does it improve results? Can its success be measured? Google defines itself as ‘diverse’ – Damore was sacked for breaking its “code of conduct”.
Picahi adds that female Googlers “are hurting and feel judged based on their gender”. Lucky for them that the blokes in charge are there to rally to the defence of these ultra-sensitive, simpering women who tremble and cower in the face of a man with a memo.
Is Facebook a friend to quality journalism? As well as publishing Anorak, I publish Flashbak. It’s Facebook page is up to 280,000 followers. But very few of the people who choose to follow the Page get to see it. Facebook limits the reach of anything I and others post there.
To reach every reader who wants to see our stories in their newsfeed, we’d have to pay Facebook a few hundred dollars per post. Post 5 stories a day and we’d be giving Facebook around £1,000. Add that up over a week; a month; a year. We can’t afford it. But that’s the deal. So we play along in the hope that readers will seek us out and find us though Facebook and other means – such as a weekly newsletter pulled together by the excellent Rob Baker.
But Facebook is making it even harder. Facebook is to penalise “reposted” content. They want us to post “new, original, content”. Posting links to stories on Flashbak.com we’ve taken a long time to research and resource, for instance, will be seen by even fewer readers. But slap up a livestream video of one of us walking about an art gallery, say, and lots more people will see it.
Come on, Facebook, we want to work with you but you’re making it harder and harder for small and mid-sized publishers to make the deal work .
You read the news that Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez has “agreed“a four-year contract with Paris Saint Germain? You read that the Arsenal player had been in Paris to meet with PSG reps? And like me you thought it odd that no-one had a photo of Sanchez in Paris. Now Sanchez is in London, training with – yep – Arsenal. But the Daily Mail has news: “Judgment Day: Wantaway Sanchez flies back to London ahead of return to Arsenal… but what was he doing with his lawyer in Paris?”
He was, er, agreeing to play for PSG?
The Mail doesn’t answer. It just notes that “his brief stop-off in France has led to some fans questioning whether PSG is his next destination, while Man City supporters are still hopeful he will arrive at the Etihad.”
Hie next destination turned out to be Arsenal. Which leaves us to wonder what Sanchez was doing in Paris, if it wasn’t to sign a contract with PSG? The Daily Telegraph explains:
Ruben Inostroza Povea, who is Sanchez’s lawyer, uploaded a picture of the pair preparing to leave Santiago airport, Chile, on Sunday evening.
Odd. The paper said he was already in Paris. But at least his time there was a photo to prove that he wasn’t. But why was Sanchez heading to the French capital?
According to Povea’s Instagram picture, the trip included a stopover in Paris, where the forward is thought to have renewed his British work permit.
Just like he did in 2014, when he first joined Arsenal.
Such are the facts.