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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 34

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Oh Do F**k Off: Piers Morgan is not Trump’s Goebbels

piers morgan hitler

‘Guten Morgan Britishers’

 

When Piers Morgan was told to ‘Fuck off’ on the telly by Australian comedian Jim Jeffries, right-thinkers on twitter loved it. Morgan, who identifies himself without invitation as Donald Trump’s mate, pointed out that there is no ban on Muslims entering the USA and that Trump is not Hitler.

Morgan’s correct. To say so does not mean you like him or Trump, it’s just to acknowledge the facts. Trump is not Hitler. Piers Morgan is not Trump’s Joseph Goebbels, the Reich’s Minister of Propaganda.

This anti-reason shrill denial of basic facts normalises the Second World War and diminishes the Holocaust into a routine event. If Hitler is the now and the everyday, the actual Hitler, the man who wanted to make Germany greater again and triggered the murder of 6 million Jews is not all that extraordinary. Isn’t this what anti-Semites say in their effort to denigrate the great crime, that the Holocaust was not that big a deal? In pointing at Trump and yelling ‘Hitler’, history is subverted. The innocent dead are demeaned and their guilty murderers exonerated.

For the infantile Hitler shriekers, engaging with Trump and, in turn, listening to the 62 million who voted for him means ushering in the embodiment of human evil’s reincarnation. People who protest the illiberal, kak-handed and cruel attempt to ban people from seven Muslim majority countries as something Hitler would do think they are making a principled suppression of Trump’s prejudice. They’re wrong.

Trump, the authoritarian and illiberal enemy of free-speech, is not rounding up Muslims, transporting them to ghettos and concentration camps in a plot to kill every last one them, as Hitler did with the Jews. To use that monumental crime in order to give any campaign against Trump some weight is hideous.

Encouragingly for Trump and any other modern-day Hitlers, things can turn around pretty fast. The New Statesman, which in 2013 branded Angela Merkel ‘the most dangerous German leader since Hitler’, now in the post-Brexit world – it wanted the UK to Remain – calls her ‘the defender of liberal values in the post-truth age’, while the Independent, Raw Story, the Daily Beast and The Australian call Frau Hitler the ‘leader of the free world’.

The ‘free world’ being the undemocratic EU, purveyors of the Germany-biased euro currency, whose technocrats colonised the mismanaged Irish and Greek economies, belittled and harried the Irish for rejecting the Nice Treaty and made second-class Europeans of Romanians and Bulgarians who having joined the EU in 2007 had rights to work and claim benefits limited for their first seven years of membership. Merkel the evil or Merkel the great hope? Everyone gets to decide but her.

As for Jeffries, well, he was playing to the crowd and hitting a soft target. Disliking Morgan’s to-deadline pomposity is easy. When I worked as a reporter one way to get people to talk was to ask them not what they liked but what they disliked. People are far more comfortable listing and detailing their pet hates than their loves. They will tell you don’t like the phrase ‘Oh My God’, when someone with whom they disagree says they’ve been ‘owned’ and the sound of a stranger’s sniffing. Ask them what people they dislike and the flood gates really open. Right now it’s safe to say in public that you dislike Trump. Disliking him – and, boy, is that an easy task – is the quick and easiest way to define yourself and be ‘on the right side of history’. It’s much the same with Morgan. Say you don’t like him and you’re playing to a sympathetic crowd.

And that’s what struck me about Jeffries’s negating of reason and debate in taking a verbal pop at Morgan. It was safe. No-one on the TV show was going to hound him for calling out Morgan, much less Trump. In his rules of modern comedy, Jeffries told us: “You can’t do jokes about black people or Asian people, but you can do a rape joke onstage now and there’s not a problem.”

And you know who was really good at playing to the crowd and hitting soft targets who couldn’t hit back?

Let’s not make the world a safe space, where dissent is censored, disruption mobbed and naysayers shackled. Let’s debate, consider the details, listen and hold things up to the light.

Posted: 12th, February 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


David Beckham and Danny Cipriani: you can’t be victim if you’re famous

Is it a crime to be famous? This week, two stories about blackmail have occupied the Sun’s front page.

The first is the matter of messages hacked from a server that handles David Beckham’s emails. The hackers wanted money to make the ‘leaks’ go away. The company being targeted complained and the emails were delivered to a site that specialises in ‘leaked’ material.

In a few emails, David Beckham allegedly uses industrial language to complain about his lack of a knighthood. He comes out of it badly. But he’s the victim, right? We love the chatter and the details, but surely we can agree that he’s a victim of an apparent crime?

We love to learn that Beckham obtained a high court injunction in December 2016 blocking the emails’ publication in the Sunday Times – a waste of money and effort given that overseas organs published the stuff online. One Romanian outlet detailed Beckham’s ‘angry pursuit of a knighthood’, which included, as the Guardian notes, the former footballer allegedly calling the gong-givers “a bunch of cunts” after he was overlooked for the honour.

It’s all a good read. We can an insight into Beckham’s non-choreographed activities. But he’s the victim.

 

david beckham emails david beckham emails the emails beckham david

 

The second story is on Danny Cipriani, a rugby player. He was blackmailed by a stripper he impregnated. The story goes that he agreed to give her some money for a termination but then failed to cough up. Lisa Murphy, for it is she, had the abortion. When she was forced to miss work, due to health complications, she asked him for money, which again he did not pay. Murphy and her colleague, Violet Smith, 29, then threatened to go to the papers with the story, namely to The Sun on Sunday. Cipriani called the police.

And how does the Sun cover the story?

 

cipriani rugby danny

 

Is the law different if you’re famous?

 

Posted: 8th, February 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Zakaria Bulhan: the tabloids’ favourite Somali-born Muslim terrorist who wasn’t

Zakaria Bulhan, 19, stood in the dock at the Old Bailey and admitted killing US tourist Darlene Horton and wounding five others – Lillie Selletin, David Imber, Martin Hoenisch, Bernard Hepplewhite and Yovel Lewronski – (all strangers to him) on 3 August 2016. Yesterday Bulhan pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and charges of wounding. Bulhan has been handed an unlimited hospital order.

Mr Justice Spencer told Bulhan:

“It is quite clear that when you committed these dreadful crimes you were not in your right mind. You were in the grip of mental illness. These were crimes which caused enormous public concern because, from their timing, it was feared initially that they might be the work of a terrorist fanatic. As it turned out they were not, although that is no consolation to your victims.”

So how does the media report an unusual crime that was front-page news? Is it a tale of knife crime, ‘broken Britain’ or mental health care? No. Parts of the media make Islam and otherness central to the story.

 

zaakria bulhan

 

The Star (page 5) says Bulhan ‘mumbled “Allah, Allah, Allah“‘ after he was Tasered by police and bundled to the ground.

The Mail doesn’t mention the story at all.

The Sun doesn’t report on Bulhan.

 

zakaria-bulhan daily mirror

 

The Mirror mentions the story on page 10. ‘Crazed killer is locked up,’ runs the headline in the fourth story down in a sidebar. Bulhan is ‘a teenager who killed a US tourist’. It does not mention what the man of ‘Somali origin’ with paranoid schizophrenia ‘mumbled’.

The Express covers the story on page 10. Bulhan is the “knife rampage killer’. The story begins: ‘A paranoid schizophrenic stabbed an American tourist to death…’  In the third paragraph, the paper says Bulhan is a ‘Norwegian-born Somali Muslim‘. You might say he’s a Norwegian. But his nationality had nothing to do with his crime. So why mention his religion, which also had nothing to do with the case?

Whereas the Star heard Bulhan ‘mumbling’ the Arabic word for ‘God’, the Express says, ‘They [Armed police] heard him chanting Allah! Allah!” as they Tasered him and found an Islamic leaflet in one of his pockets.’

Mumbling or chanting? And what was on the leaflet? We’re not told.

The tabloids got it wrong with Bulhan. Islamic terrorism played no part in his crime. His religion, place of birth and roots all played no part in his crime. A cynic might think the Press is disappointed by this. But surely papers will get face the problem that writing about mental health lacks the punch and pull of Islamic terrorism, stick to the facts and correct any mistakes made? Surely papers won’t manipulate the story to fit an agenda?

But they do. And it’s ugly.

On August 9, the Mail reported:

Was ‘devout Muslim’ Russell Square knifeman radicalised? Police to trawl ‘impressionable’ attacker’s PC for links to ISIS as neighbour claims mental illness is a ‘scapegoat’

Answer: no. He was not radicalised. He was not in ISIS. He was not a devout Muslim.

The Mail continued:

Counter-terror police will today forensically study computers belonging to the Russell Square knifeman as a neighbour claimed the ‘impressionable’ teenager could have been inspired by ISIS.

He wasn’t.

The Mail called him a ‘migrant‘ on its front page.

daily mail islam

 

The Sun called him a ‘Somali’. He isn’t. He’s Norwegian.

 

zakaria-bulhan-killing

 

daily-mail-bulhan-islam

 

daily-mail-bulhan-islam-jihad

 

 

The Sun wondered if Bulhan was a jihadi who had read books.

 

 

zakaria bulhan

 

He wasn’t. He isn’t.

It’s worth looking at Justice Spencer’s sentencing statement in full, lest we missed the Muslim angle. Express readers get an insight into why Bulhan had ‘Islamic literature’ in his pocket.

4. You are 19 years of age, with no previous convictions. Your parents emigrated from Somalia to Norway in 1994, and that is where you were born. In 2003, when you were 5 years old, your mother came to the United Kingdom and you have been living in this country with her ever since, with your brother and sister.

Bulhan was five years old when he arrived in the UK. His family entered the country legally.

Although your mother and father had separated you saw him regularly too. You left school at 16 but retook your GCSE examinations at college and did well in your studies. You became concerned yourself about your mental health and consulted your general practitioner from 2015 onwards. You were referred for assessment by psychiatric services and you were seen by your local early intervention service on 20th April 2016. You were diagnosed with an anxiety and depressive disorder but it was not thought at that time that you were presenting with any psychotic symptoms.

Can we have a discussion abut mental health services?

5. Sadly your mental state deteriorated sharply over the next few months. You started hearing voices frequently and became convinced that you were possessed by devils, that people were conspiring against you, and that that your life was in danger.

At the end of July 2016 your mother and younger brother went to Holland to visit family members which meant that you were living alone at the family home in Tooting. You became convinced that your neighbours wanted to kill you. You went to stay with your father and he tried to look after you. He took you to the mosque on successive days up to the evening of 3rd August, hoping you might receive some form of counselling.

Did Bulhan pick up that aforesaid leaflet at the mosque, the one the Express delivered fully loaded?

When you were at evening prayers that day and a phone rang you got up and ran out of the mosque. Your father waited for you to come back and tried to find you, and tried to contact your mother in Holland for help, but all
to no avail.

6. Your movements thereafter that evening have been traced to a degree. It is clear from the CCTV clips that you were moving around the streets in a distracted and bizarre way. At some stage you acquired a large kitchen knife. You probably took it from a shop counter. At about 10.20pm you entered Russell Square. It was busy with pedestrians heading home after an evening in London’s West End. Among them were many visitors to London from overseas.

13. You were chased by members of the public. When you stopped in Bedford Place one witness described you as standing aggressively, holding the knife, uttering sounds in what appeared to be a form of incantation, although your voice and expression were not aggressive. An armed response unit attended very soon afterwards. You were told to stand still but instead you screamed and ran away. Eventually you were tasered and brought to the floor.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 8th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


John Bercow: anti-Trump apostate or jumped-up fool?

Is House of Commons Speaker John Bercow an apostate or a jumped-up pillock who overstepped his brief when he declared that Donald Trump should be banned from addressing Parliament? Maybe he’s both.

The Mail (front page) says Bercow ‘sparked fury’ when he told MPs of his opposition to “sexist and racist” Trump sullying the hallowed halls of Parliament with his presence. The paper quotes a ‘Whitehall source’ who calls Bercow “insulting” and in danger of damaging the so-called Special relationship between the UK and USA. Although the same source adds that Trump doesn’t “even know who Bercow is”.

A Mail writer says Bercow ‘let loose a volley of self-important rudeness’.

 

bercow trump

‘I am anti-Trump there for I am’

 

The Mail quotes another source mocking Bercow’s ability to straddle a high horse with such short legs. The paper shows Bercow welcoming such embodiments of enlightenment and protectors of the democratic flame as the emir of Kuwait and the president of China.

The Express (front page) calls it ‘Outrageous’.

The Sun (buried on page 5) says Bercow ‘was cheered by Labour and SNP MPs’.

And the Mirror (front pages) thunders: “Racist Trump banned from speaking in Parliament.’ On Page 2, the Mirror says, ‘Bercow was praised for standing up to Donald Trumps’s questionable values and blocking him from Parliament’. Whereas the Mail can find only people to belittle Bercow, the Mirror finds only voices to exalt him. ‘Tory MPs sat in stoney silence as their former colleague tore into Mr Trump,’ says the paper.

The trouble is that Bercow doesn’t have the right to peak for the nation. His grandstanding was just that. If the Commons values democracy, as surely it must, the man 62 millions American chose for their leader should be respected. Bercow is the Speaker. He is not The Guard. His role is to be versed in the Commons’ rules and officiate during bouts.

Of course, Trump a useful fool. Being anti-Trump means that you stand for something. He defines you by what you are not. But what are you? Being anti-Trump is not enough. It’s easy and it’s lazy. Its invites bigger questions: why don’t you trust the electorate? Who do you represent if not the voters? If you prefer bans over debate, why do you sit in debating chamber?

It’s easy to take issue with Trump. It’s less simple to explain what you would do instead.

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Superman addresses Donald Trump in 1950

superman 1950 Trump

 

In 1950, Superman, a refugee from a distant land, had this message for American youth.

…and remember boys and girls, your school – like our country – is made up of Americans of many different races, religions and national origins, so…

if you hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race or national origin – don’t wait: TELL HIM HAT KIND OF TALK IS UN-AMERICAN.

KEEP YOUR SCHOOL ALL AMERICAN

Spotter: flashbak

 

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Transfer balls: Antoine Griezmann moves to Manchester United for the branding opportunities

The Sun continues to link Antoine Griezmann with a move to Manchester United. In ‘MAD FOR IT’, the paper’s lead sports story is that Atletico Madrid’s star striker ‘wants to be the new Becks’. Griezmann has ‘dropped a hint’ he wants to play for Man United.

He did? No. The only person talking is Griezmann’s ‘image advisor’ Sebastien Bellencontre, who, according to the Sun ,’says Griezmann wants to follow hero David Beckham by wearing the iconic No7 shirt at the Theatre of Drams.’ He doesn’t want to follow his hero (?) Beckham to Real Madrid, PSG or LA Galaxy. The Frenchman wants to be Beckham II at Old Trafford.

In the fifth paragraph of the story continued four pages inside the Sun, readers get to hear what the marketing man actually said. Bellencontre told So Foot magazine: “When I read articles about  a hypothetical transfer to Manchester United I think it would be the ideal commercial scenario.”

Feel the passion, United fans. But not everyone will be non-plussed. Whereas Ferguson went for continuity, the current Manchester United hierarchy wants only to buy big, buy bigger and buy biggest.  Bellencontre is talking their language. “I don’t like the fact that there are consistently more players from Spain on the [Ballon d’Or shortlist],” said Manchester United’s chief executive Ed Woodward. “We as a club should be aspiring to have the best players playing for us.” Not the best team. The players with the biggest public profiles. The players who can flog stuff best.

 

griezmann

 

What the Sun doesn’t report is that Bellencontre also said (and this via Google translate):

“He would play club Beckham, his idol, with the same legendary number 7 in the back … Still without any consideration sport, PSG would be interesting to Franco-French level, but it has already happened to International …  ”

So he quite fancies PSG, then.

Le Figaro has more from Bellencontre (again via Google translate):

“The model would be a mixture of Beckham and Zidane. Beckham because it is his idol, but also because I would like to make it a fashion icon that survives his career. Zidane for French DNA, simplicity, family values, fidelity too … We want Antoine to finish his career at Puma for example. (…) For the Beckham card, the young European blonde, tattooed, talented. (…)

On ESPN, Bellencontre is billed as Griezmann’s ‘former image consultant’. Although on his company website and twitter bio, Bellencontre is billed as Griezmann’s branding guru.

The upshot is that is should United opt to throw the best part of £100m at Griezmann, they won’t just get a striker, they will get a striker with Zidane’s hair and fashion nouse, and Beckham’s fidelity and French DNA. Or something like that. Anyhow, it will be totally amazing and ensure another season of great business in the United soccer superstore.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Hacked emails reveal David Beckham swears like a footballer

In what the Sun calls ‘leaked emails’ David Beckham allegedly wrote about his disappointment at receiving an OBE and not a knighthood in the kind of language you’d expect from a footballer. He allegedly called the Honours Committee “unappreciative c***s”. The stars are the Sun’s work and without a ‘t’ or ‘ck’ we cannot be certain as to the degree of Becks’ upset. He also allegedly wrote, “Unless it’s a knighthood f*** off.” That’s an easier puzzler.

 

beckham emails leaked

 

Beckham also allegedly queried the value of an OBE, given that one was awarded to Katherine Jenkins, the photogenic singer. ‘Katherine Jenkins OBE for what?’ mused Beckham allegedly. ‘Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops plus taking coke. F***ing joke.’ Her manager says Katherine OBE does lots of charity work and is deserving of her gong. Her manager is ‘Professor Jonathan Shalit’. According to Wikipedia, Shalit was awarded an Honorary Professorship in 2012 by Henley Business School and Reading University in recognition of his contribution to the arts, music and broadcasting.’

Gongs and titles, eh?

beckham emails leaked

 

The Mail says Beckham was all set to get his knighthood from those “c***s” in 2014. He didn’t because of ‘warnings from HM Revenue and Customs’ to ‘sort out his finances’. No, not warned to relocate to France or Luxembourg and keep away from the taxman’s reach. The Mail says it was down to Beckham’s ‘involvement in an alleged tax avoidance scheme’. The Mail also notes that the emails were not ‘leaked’ from the servers of Doyen Global, a company run by Beckham’s PR chief Simon Oliviera, but ‘hacked’.

So Beckham’s the victim,then.

The Mirror says he is. It leads with news that Becks is the victim of a ‘Blackmail plot’. The emails were made public only after Doyen Global ‘ignored demands for cash’. The Mirror pits itself as Beckham’s champion – and thus against its rival the Sun – highlighting his ‘Good work’, role as his daughter’s’ HERO’ and dedicates a column to the subject ‘Lunacy he’s not already Sir David’.

 

beckham emails leaked

 

He’s no victim, says Jan Moir. The Mail writer dips her quill in vinegar and says, ‘Now we know the reality behind the facade’. Isn’t it a tad harsh to judge a man’s life on the value of a few emails? No, says Moir. “We know now the real Beckham is foul-mouth, determined egotist who uses his work for charities as part of an increasingly desperate campaign to win a knighthood.’

He’d make a good editor.

And so what if grandstanding over charity work is based on self-promotion? If people get help, do we care that he gets a knighthood, a gong so precious they gave one to avid charity worker Jimmy Savile?

 

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


Fake News: Bosnia attack survivor Chelsea Clinton recalls the Bowling Green Massacre

Compare and contrast the following news about the Bowling Green Massacre and Hillary Clinton landing under enemy fire in Bosnia. Fake news is big news right now.

Sat at the top of the new cycle is the idea that pimply Putin supporters pumped out fake news stories which swung the election for Donald Trump. Amid reports that the great unwashed don’t trust journalists is news that fake stories were taken as fact and influenced people to vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton.

These people have trouble separating fact from fiction. It’s these slack-jawed people for whom health warnings appear at the end of soap opera.

A few years ago I was invited to talk on a BBC radio show about a story on British soap opera Coronation Street. A fictional child had gone missing. Fictional police and fictional people – actors repeating the words penned by scriptwriters working to replicate slice-of-life stuff to the fourth wall – were frantic with worry. The show ended by assuring viewers that everything they had seen was not real. Similarities to actual events were coincidental. If they had been affected by the heartbreaking story, they should call a number, where they would be given assistance but sadly not advised to stop watching the magic box, get a grip, get out more and get your head tested.

Such warnings suggests broadcasters have a pretty low opinion of their viewers.

 

 

Post-Trust.

A British poll in late 2016 found that 25% of those polled said they trusted journalists. Oddly, journalism is much more widely trusted – up to 65% – when the report is read aloud by a TV newsreader.

Politicians are trusted by just 21% of the people.

The assumption is that the people who fall for fake news – the stupid and gullible who read only one news source and don’t talk to people in the street (68% trust rating); who think Dallas was a documentary and Picasso a martial artist – are Trump voters. Clinton supporters, so goes the theory, are too knowing to be so easily duped.

 

Bosnia, 1996.

Hillary Clinton is on a visit to the war-town country. She tells media in 2008:

“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead, we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

Utter balls. Hilary and her daughter Chelsea Clinton landed at Tuzla Air Base. Local and dignitaries met the Clintons at the airport. They gave them flowers, a poetry reading and at least one hug from a well-placed photogenic child.

In The Des Moines Register, said Hillary:

“We landed in one of those corkscrew landings and ran out because they said there might be sniper fire. I don’t remember anyone offering me tea on the tarmac there.”

Called out on her balls, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson told reporters in 2008:

“The facts are clear from contemporaneous news accounts that she was entering a potentially dangerous situation… is it possible that in the most recent instance in which she discussed this that she misspoke, with regards to the exit from the plane…”

Not a lie. Not fake news. A misspoke.

 

Bowling Green Massacre. 

President Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway tells media:

“I bet it’s brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green Massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

There was no Bowling Green Massacre.

Conway says she misspoke. She meant to say ‘Bowling Green terrorists’.

In 2013, the Justice Department announced the sentencing of two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to federal prison after they confessed to attacking U.S. soldiers in Iraq and tried to assist al-Qaeda in Iraq by sending money and weapons.

Massacre. Nothing like it. Utter balls. A lie? No. A misspoke.

 

Cue Sniper survivor Chelsea Clinton.

 

Chelsea clinton fake

 

Fake news is a big issue. But it’s nothing new. Why is one news item leading the TV news? Why does Israel and not Brazil or Pakistan top the BBC’s news show? Newspapers appeal to their readers’ prejudices. Bias is all around.

Facts can be checked. Claims can be disproven. You can read more than one newspaper or online report and watch more than one TV show.

So what changed?

Whereas once journalists were expected to be objective, they now emote, signalling their opinion and taking sides. The journalist’s report becomes just another opinion. It is no more valid – no truer – than any other opinion. Trust has been eroded by a desire to show all sides of an argument; to present the ‘facts’ from all angles; to be seen as impartial and in search of not one truth but of multiple talking points; to show views over verifiable fact.

If there’s no truth, all we get is fake. Hillary, Trump and Putin didn’t invent and encourage fake news. The mainstream media did.

Posted: 5th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Censors, babies and fools burn Milo Yiannopoulos out of Berkeley

‘Out of Berkeley Nazi Scum,’ demands a placard held high at University of California Berkeley. Intolerance will not be tolerated! So goes the protests against to deadline polemicist Milo Yiannopoulos, who having been banned from the virtual world – Twitter suspended his account – is now branded too outrageous for the Berkeley brains’ trust to cope with.

 

free speech milo

 

The screeching, fires, placards and – irony of ironies – calling out people as ‘fascists’ as you smash windows and light fires by the college bookstore worked. Fascists, eh. If you want to call out a fascist, copy their methods and become one of them. The college that once championed free speech, where students campaigned for the right to hear from Communists and agitators buckled. Trump supporter and Breitbart news mainstay Milo Yiannopoulos had his appearance cancelled. The censorious, violent, angry prudes won the right to stymie and curtail free speech.

 

free speech

Wrong

 

On CNN the post-truth, fact-free news mandarins got wind of the story. UC Berkeley professor and former Democratic Secretary of Labor Robert Reich suggested Trump and his fans were behind the protests.

“I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students. Those people were outside agitators. I have never seen them before.”

“There’s rumors that they actually were right-wingers. They were a part of a kind of group that was organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event. So Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth…. I saw these people. They all looked very– almost paramilitary. They were not from the campus. I don’t want to say factually, but I’ve heard there was some relationship here between these people and the right-wing movement that is affiliated with Breitbart News.”

You want facts? No need when you have feelings.

If you don’t think free speech is worth protecting, you are not for progress. You cannot counter ideas and foment new thinking without free speech, the sound of free thought.

 

Posted: 4th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Seb Dance says don’t trust politicians and the media – and Nigel Farage agrees

seb-dance-lying

 

There are so many things about President Trump to be concerned about. His illiberalism. His attitude to free speech – he’s against it. His cruel and arbitrary ban on people visiting the US from seven counties. But dismissing his supporters, people who want freer lives, more money, better job security, jobs, opportunity and recognition as thick, ‘low-information’ fascists is not in the least bit helpful.

This disdain for the concerns of 62 million voters who backed Tump over Hillary Clinton – the patrician who wanted a “barrier” between the US and Mexico, who called vast numbers of voters ‘deplorables”, untermensch to be despised by the knowing and – irony of ironies – who know fascism when they see it, and has caused so much suffering in majority-Muslim counties – is contagious. And what goes for Trump’s supporters goes too for the majority who embraced democracy and voted in favour of Brexit. Writing in the Guardian, Labour MEP Seb Dance has much to say.

Earlier this week, while UKip MEP Nigel Farage was addressing the European Union chamber, Dance held up a sign. It featured an arrow aimed at Farage and the message ‘He’s lying to you’. Phew! Good job that Seb Dance was there to tell us thickos what was untrue.

On his website, Sebastian says why he did it:

“Mainstream politics must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and the populists. They pretend to stand up for people who are suffering but their diet of hate, division and suspicion create only misery and poverty. It’s time to stop the nuanced language: They’re liars.

“Nigel Farage is regularly treated to free coverage by virtue of being leader of the EFDD [UKIP’s European Parliamentary group] and UKIP often use these clips in isolation on social media. When debates are time-limited it is impossible to challenge what he’s saying, so I protested in the only way I knew how at that point, which was to grab a piece of paper, write a very simple message on it and sit behind Nigel Farage during his usual diatribe.”

The New Statesman calls Dance ‘the best MEP ever’.

The FT says:

The motive was a smart piece of sabotage, aimed at making it more difficult for UKIP’s former leader to go viral.

And so to Dance, who tells Guardian readers:

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union. On 8 November 2016 Donald Trump won the US general election. Both events were seismic, in and of themselves, but it has been the reaction to them that is the most extraordinary part of the story so far.

No, not people in the streets shouting down debate with cries of ‘Hitler’ and fascists, nor MPs decrying democracy.

From having been the rebel outsider positions in their respective countries, both have now risen to a new kind of status that leads online Twitter eggs gleefully to announce the end of liberal democracy and welcome the impending arrival of a new world order.

Democracy won. Both results were established in a free and legal vote. I’m no Trump supporters, and was delighted when Farage failed to win a seat at the last General Election, but the millions who voted for Trump and Brexit are not all twitter eggs. The voters are not passive no-marks. They mobilised for change.

Dance then tells readers:

There were many fine and erudite contributions before Farage spoke. The values this place represents do instil a real sense of pride. But some of the comments focused on the need to have a constructive dialogue with Trump, as if he would somehow listen to reasoned and impassioned pleas from MEPs, an organisation he has repeatedly indicated he would want to be destroyed.

MEPs are not an organisation. They are representatives. Dance’s note positions him as the politician who knows politicians cannot be trusted. A placard held up for the cameras apes the protestors who want to make their voices heard but have no arena save for the street in which to do so. Dance is elected to speak on their behalf. He is not passive. He is active. He’s not one of ‘us’, He’s one of ‘them’. Disparaging politicians and their motives puts him squarely in the same camp as Trump and Farage. Both say politicians and the media cannot be trusted.

Dance agrees.

 

Posted: 3rd, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


The biased Guardian says Trump approves of child killing (Obama droned them to sleep)

Is the media biased against President Trump? He says it is. And – get this – here’s evidence that he’s right. The Guardian leads with the picture of the Anwar al-Awlaki’s daughter, Nawar al-Awlaki, who “may have been fatally shot in intelligence operation on al-Qaida that left at least 14 people, including a US commando, dead.”

The headline declares:

Eight-year-old American girl ‘killed in Yemen raid approved by Trump’

 

Trump girl died

 

A child’s death was “approved by Trump”.

Is that biased? Or is it a little too subtle for you?

 

Trump Nawar child

 

Did the Guardian lead with pictures of children killed in attacks approved by Barack Obama?

No.

Did we see faces on the Guardian’s cover of people – including pregnant women and children – offed when Obama-approved bombs killed 131 people at a wedding and 140 civilians at a funeral in Yemen?

No. Maybe Obama bombed them to sleep? Maybe he blessed them with his ordinance? Maybe being killed on Obama’s approval is more desirable than being killed on Trump’s?

Did we see any faces on the Guardian’s front page of the children deported – some of the 2.5 million people sent packing on Obama’s instructions?

No.

Is the media biased?

Yes.

Is Trump out of step with previous American leaders?

No.

Posted: 1st, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians | Comment (1)


Manchester United: what did Bastian Schweinsteiger’s celebration really mean?

Media balls: why did Manchester United’s Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrate a goal against Wigan Athletic by pretending to play tennis (or was it squash)? His bespoke goal celebration is causing the Press to wonder why he did and what it all meant.

It would be easier, of course, if the German could be more precise. An overheard serve and loud grunt would have dismissed the squash interpretation, and the donning of an headband (removed from a sleeve or sock) or skirt (ditto) helped further still. As it was Bastian played two air shots, and any offence to Jeremy Bates or Tim Henman, two nearly men of British tennis, is regrettable.

On the plus side, when lining up his forehand, Schweinsteiger did not hit a teammate dashing in to celebrate his goal nor deliver a backhand cuff to the unmentionables. Although had he done the headlines – ‘New balls, please’ – write themselves.

Anyhow, to the Press.

The Daily Express knows why he did it:

‘The 32-year-old German then stole the show with a celebration in tribute to Australian Open champion Roger Federer, who beat Rafael Nadal in five sets earlier during the day’

The Daily Mail knows:

‘Schweinsteiger stuck the ball in the net and then celebrated with a swing of an imaginary racquet in front of his wife, retired tennis star Ana Ivanovic’

The Daily Star knows:

Schweinsteiger, a keen tennis fan and husband of Ana Ivanovic, celebrated his goal with a nod to Australian Open champ Roger Federer.

The Guardian knows:

Schweinsteiger celebrates by playing a tennis forehand and backhand, which is either a tribute to his wife Ana Ivanonic or Roger Federer, or both.

In conclusion: more practice in front of the wardrobe mirror, Bastian.

Posted: 31st, January 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Donald Trump: God save the Queen from common muck

Donald Trump continues to set the news agenda, his presidency a political take on ‘Stay Tuned’ TV cliffhangers. President Trump’s ill-conceived travel ban dominates the news. But the Daily Mirror has a new angle. It books itself into one of The Donald’s five-star hotels – the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC – and sets about looking at the labels on the luxuries therein.

Full disclosure: I’ve stayed in a Trump hotel, his tower in Toronto. And, aside from my iPhone getting nicked from the room, found it pretty good, from the linen to the pink ‘Trump’ baseball hats left for each guest. And, no, hair was not attached to the complimentary lids.

 

Donald Trump

 

The Mirror’s Christopher Bucktin got the tough job of stock taking at Trump Inns. He found lots of ‘imports but few US goods’ at ‘Hotel Hypocrite’. He found Samsung TVs (made in Mexico), shower caps (made in China), cups (Germany) and a fridge (Switzerland).

Having quoted one hotel guest who lambasts Trump for picking the cheapest goods, Bucktin makes a false step. ‘We also fund him cashing in in his most hated religions – Islam,’ he writes.

Cashing in? How so?

In the bedside drawer ‘I came across a Gideon Bible’, a move akin to finding your own arse with your own hand. By the Bible is a note: ‘If you would like to continue your spiritual journey, we also offer the following: Talmud, Quran, Gita, Avesta, Tripitaka, Shri Guru, Grantha Sahib and Book of Mormon.” A call to housekeeping confirmed guests were able to have the holy book of Islam brought to their room in Arabic and English, with a prayer rug and a compass pointing to Mecca.’

The swine!

So how was he cashing in? There is no word that the mat, book and compass incur a surcharge. Bucktin explains: ‘Trump the hotelier welcomes Muslims – if they are loaded with dollars.’ He treats all customers the same. He does not discriminate. Just like Hitler, then.

And what if they’re workers? We don’t know if any staff at the hotel are Muslim. Maybe Trump welcomes Muslims so he can pay them, too?

Attacking Trump, the accidental president whose bad for liberty, is not too hard a task so why make a bad job of the facts? The Mirror says rooms ‘start at an average of £500 per night’. A quick look at the hotel’s website tells us a room can be had for $400 a night all in. Not cheap. But not £500.

 

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

 

Over pages 6 and 7, the Mirror looks at the protest’s against Trump’s executive order banning travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries. It notes the on-line petition calling for Parliament to cancel Trump’s State visit lest it “embarrass” the Queen. Over 1.5m people support feudalism and the monarchy. Who knew?

‘Prevent Donald Trump’, runs the petition text, ‘from making a state visit to the United Kingdom. Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US government, but he should not be invited to make an official state visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.’

Can Trump achieve what Prince Andrew, Prince Charles, the Duke of Edinburgh, Fergie, a grandson dressed as Nazi, an uncle who was a Nazi, walking about with a crown on your noggin’ and riding in a gold coach failed to do? Can Her Majesty feel embarrassed? “[Trump’s] misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by the queen,” says the petition’s writer. Over one million people think Trump is too common for Her Majesty. What a snooty view. Look how superior we are to Trump and his supporters. No red carpet for him. He has hotels; she has palaces. He has Bibles; she is Defender of the Faith. He has voters; she has subjects. He has borders; she has Empire. He has Tiffany; she has diamonds as big as your face.

The paper notes that outside Whitehall, protestors demanded Theresa May condemn Trump.

And then come the inevitable celebrity endorsement. ‘Bianca Jagger, Lily Allen and Gary Lineker, who was with two of his sons’, were all there. ‘America united to condemn Donald Trump,’ says the paper. All of it? Odd not to hear one word in support of Trump’s ban. ‘Hollywood stars’ spoke out against Trump.

It’s all pretty much what Trump wants, no? The media present one side of the debate. Check. The celebrities vent forth. Check. People who don’t like the fact he was democratically elected in a legal vote use polls and numbers to try and derail him. Check.

More Trump on the Sun’s cover. ‘PM: No Trump U-turn.’ Over pages 8 and 9, the Sun spots Gary Lineker and Lily Allen in the 10,000 people outside Downing Street.

The paper quotes MPs likening Trump to Hitler. “The Holocaust didn’t start with the gas chambers,” says SNP Carol Monaghan, one of many keen to use the murders of 6 million Jews to score a political point. Boris Johnson told the Commons the comparison “demeans the horror of the 1930s”. It does. Trump is not plotting and fomenting genocide. He’s not that organised.

‘Protest march? It’s a waste of time,’ writes the Sun’s Clare Foges. Maybe. Maybe not. It; good for filling pages and spotting famous faces. Foges adds: ‘Strangely there was not the same outcry when Obama banned refugees from Iraq for six months in 2011.’ She spots hypocrisy and ‘anguished luvvies’ in a ‘pitch of hysteria’. Protest is for losers. “Save your breath,’ says the Star, which one sided with the protesting EDL.

Does this ‘hysteria’ over Trump whitewash crimes of other politicians, like Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton and Obama?

One of those ‘luvvies’ occupies the Mail’s front page. It’s Gary Lineker and a son. The Mail says May is ‘right to ignore the hysteria’ and the ‘twitter-obsessed, virtue-signalling student union politicians running today’s Labour Party’. The matter of US security, says the paper, is ‘a question for US politicians’.

And a question for Daily Express readers, too. An impressive 99% of them ‘agree with Trump’s tough migrant stance’. Well, those who voted in one of the paper’s polls do, which has still to bring in that 100% result. Of course, 100% could be achieved by there being just one caller keen to spend 50p on a premium-rate phone line – that’s 5p less than the paper costs. But at 99% the poll looks busy and representative.

And the Express has another. Today it asks readers: ‘Is Donald Trump right to bring in the travel ban?’ Anyone in doubt as to how to vote can see the headline hanging above the question: ‘Trump fury is just liberal left hysteria.’

The vote is open to liberal left hysterics with 50p to burn. Like everything about Trump, it’s fair and fair can be.

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

Posted: 31st, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Mirror uses John Hurt’s death to bury Theresa May and Donald Trump’s Special Relationship

When Donald Trump was voted in, the Daily Mirror was aghast that he’d called Theresa May after dialling so many other leaders. It was a”poor start to the Special Relationship”. May was “at the back of the queue of world leaders”. The President-elect had issued a snub.

 

donald trump theresa may daily mirror

 

Donald TRump daily mirror

 

So how did the Mirror report the news that May is the first world leader to meet President Trump?

Was it front-page news?

 

donald-trump-may-daily-mirror

 

And every other paper?

 

trum-mp-may trump-may-the-times trump-may-the-daily-star trump-may-the-daily-express trump-may-the-daily-telegraph trump-may-the-daily-mail

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 28th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comments (3)


Brexit: Tim Farron, Gina Miller and the anti-trust brigade have their eye on you

Is Tim Farron beyond parody? That F. A. R… Oh, never mind. He’s the leader of the LibDems, which were pretty popular and go-ahead until their former leader Nick Clegg stuffed them. Talking about Article 50 and Brexit – which he opposes – Farron is quoted in the Guardian:

The UK’s final Brexit deal must not be decided by “a stitch-up between Whitehall and Brussels”, the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has said, promising his party will seek to hold Theresa May’s government to account over the process.

There will be no stitch-up between the wonks, the technocrats and the mandarins because Tim is watching. That’s Tim who wants another referendum on Brexit because the stoopid people didn’t agree with the technocrats, wonks and mandarins the first time round. The people who mobilised and saw an alternative political future can’t be trusted, says Tim, who is on hand to protect us from our own ignorance.

Knowing Farron is overseeing international operations brings to mind Frederick Peel Eldon Potter. In response to Tsar Alexander II’s aggression in the Caucuses in 1898, Potter told the few thousand readers of his column in Ireland’s Skibereen Eagle, “the Skibereen Eagle has its eye on Russia.”

It’d be an idea for Farron and others who don’t trust the demos to pass their time thinking of an alternative to the EU and a new angle for politics that engages with the electorate and actually represents the people.  Brexit offers opportunities. Farron should embrace it. But it’s easier for him and his ilk to carry on as they have done for decades, delegating decisions to unelected groups and inviting the great unwashed to “join the debate” with no intention of acting on a word they say. Politics isn’t therapy.

Says Farron:

“That is a recipe for dissent, for a complete breakdown in trust in our politics. For the next couple of generations, let’s say, Britain’s relationship with the outside world will be cast because of stitch-ups in the 21st-century equivalent of smoke-filled rooms.”

Someone tell him. Not you, Gina Miller, who was made “physically sick” by the Brexit vote. She successfully challenged the Government in the courts. The Supreme Court sided with her and ruled that parliament must vote to trigger Article 50. Miller did it not because she wants to feel better and best way of achieving an holistic recovery is to scupper Brexit. Like Farron, Miller did it for us. She wants to prove that “parliament alone is sovereign”. Made ill by the voters, she champions democracy.

No. Not her.

One of you 17.5 million people who voted for Brexit in a free and legal election can have a go at telling Farron what’s what. Form an orderly line queue. He’s relying on us all getting bored and the electorate’s old passivity to return and ensure Brexit dies on the vine.

But we won’t.

 

 

Posted: 25th, January 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


Brexit the Daily Express and the 55 Tufton Street gang

So keen are migrant workers to pay UK taxes, the Daily Express says “more than 1 million citizen” of them will “rush in” before the country leaves the European Union.

Well, maybe they will. Maybe they won’t.

 

daily express migrants brexit

 

The headline figure is the opinion of Richard Tice, billed as “co-chairman of the Leave Means Leave campaign”. Why there should be a campaign to implement something decided by a free and legal vote is off. And how Tice came to be the voice for it is not investigated.

But it’s exists. And the Express is all ears, keen to support Tice’s views and guesstimates on its front page. Indeed, this is the third time this January Mr Tice’s views have reached Express readers.

Who is he? What is Leave Means Leave? The Express doesn’t say much about the group based at 55 Tufton Street, London. The Independent has a little, reporting on February 10 2016:

The address where Eurosceptics and climate change sceptics rub shoulders – The offices of 55 Tufton Street in Westminister [sic] are home to no fewer than eight right-of-centre organisations

 

tufton steet

 

After the clanger in the headline, the Indy has some insight on goings on at 55 Tufton Street.

But this low-profile four-storey block, a stone’s throw from Parliament, is home to no fewer than eight right-of-centre organisations dedicated to pulling Britain out of Europe and undermining the battle to curb global warming.

We get some names, most of which the Daily Express seems to have on speed dial:

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson is one of the key figures at 55 Tufton Street, after he moved his climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation to the premises.

This puts the foundation in the same building as the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the bullishly effective low-tax pressure group…

We’re told that  55 Tufton Street is owned by Richard Smith. Who is he?

Richard Smith is probably best known for flying David Cameron to his home in Shobdon, Herefordshire in 2007 – shortly after the then leader of the Opposition proposed taxes on unnecessary flights… His company, HR Smith Group, owns number 55 Tufton Street… He is also a trustee of the Politics and Economics Research Trust, the charitable arm of the Taxpayers Alliance.

At the time of writing, the Indy said you could find the following organisations at 55 Tufton Street: Global Warming Policy Foundation, Global Vision, The European Foundation, Civitas, Taxpayers’ Alliance, Business for Britain, Big Brother Watch and UK2020.

You may well wonder why London-based think tanks carry so much weight in the media? If their thoughts trigger debate, we should know more about how their treatises came to be.

Richard North claims:

…55 Tufton Street is a nest of vipers. It harbours groups which form a nexus of influence which dominates the fringes of right-wing Conservatism. And it provides the spiritual home of those who believe they are entitled to run the “leave” campaign.

Adding:

…the referendum is an opportunity to rethink how we do political research in this country, working towards the idea of virtual think-ranks, freed from the stultifying grip of the Tufton Street Gang, and the intellectual constraints that it brings.

So to the Express‘ story, which does little more than repeat Mr Trice’s claims. Over pages 4 and 5, we get “Fears over EU migration in run-up top Brexit”. Tice says we could “easily see one million to 1.25 million extra EU migrants move to Britain” if “freedom of movement for EU citizens continues over the  next two years”.

 

daily express migrants

 

Will these “rushing” foreigners be allowed to hold British passports or continue to work here after the country leaves the EU? Dunno. How much will they pay in tax? Dunno. Will all the jobs they do be low-paid? Dunno.

Few facts, then. But the Express has heard enough. “Mr Tice says that estimate is a conservative one based on National Insurance registrations,” it reports. One million could be millions of rushing foreigners.

Tice’s guess ‘does not take into account the extra pull factor of Britain’s looming departure from the EU, making this the “last chance saloon” for people to secure better prospects offered in the UK than elsewhere in the bloc”.

How many will see it as their last chance to leave the UK and secure better prospects in the bloc? Dunno.

Lest readers still not have got the message that foreigners are to be feared, the Express presses f7 and conjures up one of its other sources of fact: MigrationWatchm, an outfit not hymned for its love of immigration.

Have loaded the argument the Express invites readers to vote in a premium-rate phone line poll which asks, “Should Britain act NOW to control immigration.”

Vote now and vote often.

Posted: 24th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Madonna misses the White House as envious celebs bask in Trump’s light

madonna-v-trump

 

In the twilight area between fact and fiction lies the Daily Star. Today’s Star leads with the sensational news that Donald Trump is “IN CELEBRITY BIG BOTHER”.

Such is the way of Trump, it might be that the thin-skinned reality TV creation is to appear on another reality TV show. But did you spot the pun? Anorak had to read it twice. It’s “BIG BOTHER” not “BIG BROTHER”. And news is that Donald Trump in in trouble because:

a) China has eaten the last creature he wears on his head?

b) There’s a gay sex tape?

c) He’s a jihadi?

d) Madonna is upset?

Yeah, it’s ‘d’. But should there be trade war with China, things might get worse for Trump.

As we’ve noted, Madonna says she is so upset at the result of a legally democratic vote she considered “blowing up the White House“. And no, she wasn’t planning on achieving it by nipping in the back door and pricking her inflated ego. Kaboom! Rhinestone all over the place.

Also unhappy with Trump are: The Edge (from U2, the group front by Bono, aka Mr G21), Natalie Portman, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Amy Schumer.

Does anyone else think the problem celebs have with Trump is not a problem at all. He’s a symbol that what a TV star says matters. Their lives are not just about endorsements for fizzy drinks, the next record / film / miracle baby / diet / gadget and Hillary Clinton. People actually listen to what famous, vain, rich people with zero political nous, diplomatic savvy and military experience say. And what’s more, they vote for them to be President of the US of A!

“Look,” say the A-listers “one of us can get into the White House. Why didn’t my agent tell me?”

Madonna’s just gutted it isn’t her sat in the big chair with a finger on the button. Neither brave nor daring enough to go for the top job, she’s been reduced to playing on as Trump’s support act. No wonder she’s unhappy.

Posted: 23rd, January 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Madonna occupies victimhood as Rust Belt women are belittled and abused

What do we have? On one side, are the people with no jobs, who endure deprivation and exist in a place called ‘The Rust Belt’. The technocrat, elitist candidate opposing Donald Trump called them “the deplorables”. On the other side are the people who have time and energy to bemoan their lot on twitter, march outside the White House and listen to Madonna, a multi-millionaire celebrity tell them she is so upset and victimised by President Trump winning the democratic vote she thought of blowing the place up.

It’s not democracy they want. They want their own prejudices to be given State approval.

Donald Trump is hard to like, harder still to admire. His illiberalism and attitudes to abortion are hideous. But the protests against him are monocular. If womanhood is united against abuse why didn’t women march on the White House when under the Obama administration drones killed hundreds or thousands of people, including many women?

“Between January 2012 and February 2013,” The Intercept reported, “U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.”

And what of the women killed by drones in Yemen, including a pregnant woman and three children?

According to the victims, on 12th December 2013, Abdallah Mabkhut al-Ameri, his new wife and about 60 of their friends and family, were travelling in a wedding procession outside the city of Rada’a when four Hellfire missiles hit the convoy, resulting in the deaths of more than 10 people, including the groom’s son from a previous marriage, and injury of 24 more.

Was there a march to contest the US ties with Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, its intensely religious education system and its puritanical Wahhabi Islam? This is how the Guardian describes life for women in the US’s ally:

The male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia is not just law: it is a set of bylaws and state-sanctioned discriminatory policies and practices that restrict a woman’s ability to have a wide range of choices unless permitted by her male guardian – typically a father, husband, brother or even a son.

In practice, it means women are unrecognised by the state as full legal adults.

 

Obama meets the Saudi king

Obama meets the Saudi king

 

Did you march when Obama deported two-and-a-half million people?

“The inclusive nature of the event, the organisers say, calls for participants to come together to safeguard the freedoms of all people that have been threatened by recent political events,” the Evening Standard reported on the march.

So where were you then? Where will you be tomorrow? Or is not about freedom, liberty and equality but your dislike of accidental President Trump and the result those rebellious working-class bullies in the fly-over States voted for?

 

Posted: 22nd, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Scotland’s The Herald says Trump’s inauguration is an episode of The Twilight Zone

Donald Trump’s affinity with the Scottish people of his mother’s ancestry knows no bounds. Some Scots have been succinct to the point of monosyllabic in giving full throat to their opinions of the US President. Scottish newspaper The Herald is pretty verbose, likening reality TV creation Trump’s inauguration to an episode of The Twilight Zone.

 

trump-sunday-herald-twilight-zone

 

As ever, the best thing on British telly is a US import.

Posted: 15th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Graham Taylor versus The Sun: they came to bury him not to praise him

More on Graham Taylor in the Sun, where he is “Golden Graham”, “legend” and “hero”. Taylor “never bore a grudge”, says the Sun, “even after this.” The ‘this’ was the paper’s headline ‘Swedes 2 Turnips 1’, dreamt up after Taylor’s England side had lost a big match.

 

graham taylor the sun

 

Far from holding a grudge, the Sun says Taylor “admired” the headline that “summed up his failure as England manager”.

 

graham taylor the sun

 

But did that headline really sum up Taylor’s tenure as England’s manager? The Sun is being far too modest. Surely the headline that said so much was this one,which called golden Graham “Turnip Taylor’ and for added ooomph superimposed the root vegetable on his head.

The Sun came to bury him.

 

The Sun headline on 24 November 1993 following Taylor's resignation as England manager.

The Sun headline on 24 November 1993 following Taylor’s resignation as England manager.

 

The image might have escaped the Sun’s eyes today, but The Times, it’s New Corp. stablemate, does recall it. It says far from being delighted with the Sun’s mockery, Taylor was “upset” by it.

 

graham taylor the sun

 

The Sun apologises for anyone who read its newspaper and thought Graham Taylor a useless fool. It turns out he was brilliant.

 

Posted: 13th, January 2017 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


Argie-Bargy In Hun-derland! Sun and Star slam EastEnders over Eyetie Slur

When Danny Dyer’s character Mick Carter told EastEnders viewers the Queen Vic’s Italian supper was “Eyetie night” he triggered a “race row”. So bad is that the Daily Star, the paper that once cheered for the EDL, is aghast.

“Danny Dyer’s character made a slur against Italians,” trills the paper on its front page. By Page 3 it’s a full-blown “race storm”.  Soap fans are in a state of “fury”. For those readers not au fait with racism and not yet furious, Lauren Clarke tells us, “Eyetie is a derogatory word for Italian people which emerged during World War Two.”

 

danny dyer daily star

The Star

 

The Sun agrees. Danny Dyer is “‘Eyetie’ Order”. “The “insult” is used as “offensive slang” rooted in wartime.

 

The Sun danny dyer

The Sun

 

Eyetie’s a bit like kraut, a slang term for Germans, which is a bit like ‘Hun’ or ‘Jerries’ – or Argie, a way of talking about Argentineans, which may or not be derogatory depending on what paper you read:

These are few articles in the racially sensitive Daily Star:

 

the sun the hun

 

argie daily star

 

daily star argie

 

daily star kraut

 

And in the Sun:

 

the sun yanks

the sun krauts jerries hun

 

Zuch are zer facts.

Posted: 13th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Scare Stories: Nutella and Kinder eggs give Ambassador Farage’s guests cancer

Nutella gives you cancer. Maybe. Maybe not. The Daily Mail is taking no chances, warning its readers that the sugary spread offers eaters potentially lethal side effects. Well, one of its ingredients might be cancerous. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says palm oil, which makes the spread smooth, is “more carcinogenic than any other oil”.

Ferrero, which makes the goo, should know that last year the Mail reported on another of its products. “Kinder chocolate found to contain possible cancer-causing oil,” thundered the headline.

Germany’s Foodwatch found the Kinder Reigel contained mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH), which the European Food Safety Agency has said ‘may be carcinogenic’.

Or to put it another way: MOAH may not be carcinogenic.

Kinder also make Ferrero Rocher chocs. Those over-sweet balls contain palm oil. Did the Mail fail to spot the alleged danger when it reported on Nigel Farage’s party:

 

farage ambassador

 

We know Farage and the Mail want a hard Brexit, but surely neither don’t want the EU offed in such a brutal manner?

PS: Add it to the list.

Posted: 12th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Dave Duncan: How I beat ISIS by being a good bloke

Dave Duncan, from Otley, wanted to help the family of Lukasz Urban, the Polish trucker murdered by Islamist Anis Amri and his ISIS cohorts. Amri used Mr Urban’s truck to murder 12 people and ruin the lives of many more at a Berlin Christmas market. Dave Duncan, himself a trucker, set about raising nearly £200,000 for Urban’s relatives.

 

dave duncan trucker poland berlin urban

Dave Duncan – champion of international solidarity and working people

 

“It could have been any one of us there that day,” says Mr Duncan, who having presented Mr Urban’s family with the money was invited by them to attend the driver’s funeral in Banie, close to the Polish border with Germany.

“The Polish truckers’ own tributes are what being a truck driver is all about,” he adds.” “We have to watch out for one another, as in most cases nobody else does.”

“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope,” said the author James Baldwin. Dave Duncan’s clarity of thought is manifest in his intensely human act of kindness.

Poland’s ambassador to the UK, Arkady Rzegocki is touched by Duncan’s humanity. He will thank him at an official ceremony. “His compassion moved many both in the UK and back in Poland,” he told the BBC. “It is an inspiring example of British-Polish solidarity which never fails in times of crisis.”

Great story, isn’t it. A British man shows the Poles that he and the donors to his cause also understand the meaning of solidarity. Are we divided? No. ISIS can’t win. We win.

“Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now,” wrote Jack Kerouac in 1957.

Naomi Shihab Nye put it well in her poem ‘KINDNESS’:

 

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Nice one, Dave.

 

Posted: 9th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Local News Watch: the greatest two paragraphs of all time

Local News Watch: Adam Hart spots two paragraphs in the Western Gazette which, as he says, show us “journalism at its very best”.

 

local news watch

 

The story is about a car parking matters. Two cars have been spotted parked close together in Frome, Somerset. The local news hound places the happening in context: “They’re not the first two vehicles to have been pictured inches from one another in the town. A yellow Citroen parked inches away from a blue Volkswagen  at Sainsbury’s a few months ago.”

This story might be missing the still bigger scoop: who is going around Frome taking pictures of cars almost touching and are they on a police register?

Spotter: Adam Hart

Posted: 8th, January 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Strange But True | Comment


Chelsea fans found guilty in the most racist incident of all time

Deep on page 9 of the Daily Mirror is the story of four Chelsea fans found guilty of racist violence and given suspended prisoner sentences by a French judge. The four white men were accused of pushing a back man off a Metro train in Paris ahead of Chelsea’s Champions’ League match with PSG. “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it,” belched fans as the video rolled.

A nasty little event was then amplified beyond all proportion. The Sun led with the news:

 

Paris Metro Chelsea fans racist

 

Readers were ordered to “FIND PIGS OF PARIS”. The Sun said “an international hunt” was under way for the bellends who also chanted the refrain “Where were you in World War 2?”. It was the type of cross-border hunt usually reserved for jihadis and master criminals. It was that serious.

The then Prime Minister, David Cameron, lifted his blinkers away from Syria and the EU Referendum to tell us that the matter was “extremely worrying”. “These are very, very serious matters.” Nick Clegg said, without irony given his career: “‘I was so ashamed.”

The United Nations – no, I’m not making this up – thought it wise to comment. “It is important to build on the outrage created by this snapshot of the ugly face of racism, to re-energize the effort to combat it in all its forms wherever it occurs,” said a spokesman. It was, he said, “cruel”. The United Nations is hot on cruelty, human rights and racism, after all just look at the members who sit on its panel: Bangladesh (“Security forces continue enforced disappearances, killings, and arbitrary arrests with impunity”), China (“Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners have faced particularly severe repression in recent years, including forced conversion, torture and imprisonment”), Qatar (“Discrimination against women remains entrenched in both law and practice) and Saudi Arabia (“Members of other faiths can worship privately, but non-Muslim houses of worship may not be built”).

Across the global feelings were hurt by oafs on a Paris tube train. Idiots had been caught behaving sadly. But the elite in Westminster and what used to be Fleet Street wanted more. They held the video up as being a sign of much greater ills. And once again football – the great meritocratic melting pot watched by slum people – was in the dock.

There are no black faces on the Government’s front benches; no black editors of national newspapers; no black faces on the Metropolitan police leadership team; but get a load of those berks on the Paris Metro. There’s your racism. Happily for the elite who use football as a extension of Moral Health UK, the Chelsea fans were wearing club colours.

The elite like their racists white, preferably working class and always obvious.

The Daily Mail (number of black faces on board: nil), knows racism when it sees it. It delivered the time-honoured “LEAGUE OF SHAME”, a list of football fans arrested for “racist and abusive chanting”. The Daily Star (which once supported the EDL) said the “Hate thugs face 3 years’ jail”. “There is a greater shame here because we foolishly, naively, believed the issue of racism among our football supporters was a thing of the past,” wrote Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail. The Guardian’s Barney Ronay opined in the paper’s 40-odd articles on the incident: “For decades this kind of thing has happened, continues to happen, and most troubling, appears to be happening a little more now.”

One by one these wrong ‘uns were lined up to be shot at. Josh Parsons came to epitomise racism. The Sun led with a picture of Parsons. The Times showed us photo of his home in Dorking. He was an ex-public schoolboy. He was a “City high-flyer”. He had studied at “30,000-a-year” Millfield school. He worked for the Business and Commercial Club in Mayfair. And in case you still couldn’t find him, the Sun said his office was on Mayfair, Central London.

Grab your torches! Saddle up! Let’s roll!

And as you journeyed to the lynching, know this –  Star told readers: “Meanwhile, season ticket holder Josh Parsons, 21, one of those filmed, is a UKIP supporter who enjoyed a pint with Nigel Farage”.

Damned in print and monstered by the highest offices in global diplomacy, the men who abused Souleymane Sylla, 34, are now buried deep in the papers. Parsons, billed as a”trainee scaffolder”, Jamie Fairbairn, a civil engineer, Richard Barklie and William Simpson are no longer the apogee of all wrongs. They were ordered to pay about £9,000 to My Sylla.” That’s a pretty steep fine for being a prat, and far less than the lengthy custodial terms some were hoping for.

You might supposed the story is front-page news elsewhere. But you’d be wrong. It does not appear in the Star. It’s on page 8 of the Mail (“Chelsea yobs told to pay £9k for racist Paris attack”). The Sun shows the story on page 8. In its version Barklie is not 50 years old, as the Mirror says he is, but 52 and an “ex-cop”. We also get more details of the punishment:

Barklie: Tried in his absence, the County Antrim man got a suspended year long jail term. He denied racist violence.

Simpson: Tried in his absence, he got a suspended year long jail term.

Parsons: He went to court and got an eight months suspended sentence.

Fairbairn:  He went to court and got a six months suspended sentence.

The Guardian has more. We get to know what happened to Parsons, public enemy Number 1:

Parsons told the court the Métro was packed and the atmosphere was “hot and hostile”. He said Sylla was “bigger than me” and when the commuter tried to get on the carriage “I pushed back”. He said the pushing was not related to the colour of Sylla’s skin. “The only time I knew the skin colour was when I saw the video afterwards,” he said.

Questioned by the state prosecutor, Parsons said that after he pushed Sylla the first time, he chanted “Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea,” and after he pushed him a second time, he chanted “Fuck the IRA”. He said the chant “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it” was shouted in another carriage; he did not sing it and he “did not like that chant”.

Parsons said: “I’m very sorry for Mr Sylla but I wasn’t racist in any way.”

Parsons’ lawyer said his life had been affected by the “total hysteria” of the media, members of which had arrived at his home after he was identified as one of the fans in the video. Parsons, who once posed for a photograph with Nigel Farage, said journalists had come on to “my land” and rung his grandmother’s doorbell every half an hour.

He said he had lost his finance job in Mayfair, London, and had briefly moved to Cornwall where he retrained as a scaffolder. His lawyer said Parsons’ entourage described him as a “well-brought-up boy” and two former dormitory friends from his boarding school, who were not white, had testified that he was not racist.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, January 2017 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment (1)