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News | Anorak - Part 48

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Lotto scratchcard ‘fury’ but no mention of the Health Lottery

The Daily Star picks up the sound of “punters’ fury at Lotto card Farce”.

Those “angry punters” have branded the National Lottery a “rip -off”. The Star says “nearly a quarter” and “most of the top prizes” on Lotto’s 42 scratch card games currently on sale offer prizes that have already been won. “What a waste of money,” says one unnamed gambler, without irony.

 

daily_star health lottery

 

We do hear from Camelot, which operates the cards. “There are only two scratchcard  on sale that have no top prizes remaining. No new packs of these scratchcards can be put on sale.”

That seems fair.

 

daily_star health lottery

 

What seems a little less fair is that the Daily Star does not mention that its owner (Richard Demond) is chairman of Northern & Shell, parent company of the Health Lottery, a Lotto rival which sells virtual scratchcards for online games. How it deals with scratchcards after the top prizes have been claimed is not mentioned.

We called the Health Lottery to ask them. Calls to The Health Lottery Helpline are charged at 7p per minute plus your telephone provider’s access charge. It took 59 seconds for us to be able to press ‘4’ to speak with an advisor.

We were directed to the Ts and Cs. They tells us:

The result of each Instant Lottery Game shall be pre-determined at the time of purchase and shall not include any element of skill. The Health Lottery Computer System will determine prizes based on the probabilities and not from a limited pool of prizes…

The chances of winning a Prize will be exactly the same at the point of purchase and shall not be affected by previous wins in the same Game or other Prizes previously paid in other Instant Lottery Games . The advertised prize structure shall remain in place at all times, with each prize tier always available for a win as the Instant Lottery Games do not use a limited pool.

It’s different system to the Lotto, then. Whether or not it’s any fairer is moot. Both systems are after all, odds-based punts.

 

Posted: 25th, August 2017 | In: Money, News, Tabloids | Comment


The Daily Diana: a car crash marriage proposal, reincarnation and Peter Kay’s shepherd’s pit

Princess Diana dead

 

It’s the Daily Diana, and the Sun leads with Sun readers remembering the day Princess Diana died 20 years ago. The story is headlined “Diana AND ME”. Because it’s all about ME.

Reader Louise Voss says, “I went into labour with my daughter as she died.” Louise “worked out” that just as the car carrying Diana slammed into a tunnel wall in Paris, she had her first contraction, and daughter Gracie began her journey down her own sort of tunnel. Spooky! ”

“Gracie was born the next day, and we always told her she was the reincarnation of Diana,” says Louise. Although Diana wasn’t dead yet, and only soap actors get to be the reincarnation of someone still alive. It detracts little from the drama to note that Louise never met Diana – well, not in her previous lifetime.

As the paparazzi and land mine charities dash over to see Gracie, we meet others, like Jo who says of her late sister: “That night marked Diana’s death – and the beginning of my sister’s decline.”

Tess agreed to marry her boyfriend the day before news of Diana’s death broke. She says the day was a “true rollercoaster”.

Marianne Berry, a nurse who like Jo and Tess never met Diana, offers context. A newsflash appeared on the telly: “We thought it was the announcement of World War Three. Then the newsreader says Dodi had died, and Diana was on her way to hospital. Another nurse came over and joined us and we watched the horror unfold.”

Peter Kay dodges the bombs to recall that he heard the news via a note on the fridge from his mom. It read: “Princess Diana dead. Shepherd’s pie in fridge.”

It’s what she would have wanted.

 

Posted: 24th, August 2017 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Down’s syndrome husband wins compensation for sex ban but not for the reason you think

A 38-year-old British man banned from having sex with his wife has won £10,000 compensation. The secret Court of Protection ordered the man to “abstain” from sex until he had passed a sex-education course run by his local council. And his wife had best watch out, too. The court told her that because her husband has Down’s Syndrome he cannot consent to sex. If she shags him, she could be committing a criminal offence.

Neither of the pair are virgins. They had been having sex for five years before the law stepped in to pull them apart, a clinical psychologist deciding that the man lacked the capacity to provide his consent. The couple, who had applied for fertility treatment, were assessed by the experts and found wanting.

Anyhow, now things are ok. The man has received a pay out. But it wasn’t for the State locking a chastity belt on he and his wife’s reproductive organs. He scored some cash because for over a year the council failed to provide the sex-education course that the court had ordered. This and not the sex ban breached the couple’s human rights.

The Court of Protection describes itself thus:

We make decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (they ‘lack mental capacity’).

We are responsible for:

deciding whether someone has the mental capacity to make a particular decision for themselves

appointing deputies to make ongoing decisions for people who lack mental capacity

giving people permission to make one-off decisions on behalf of someone else who lacks mental capacity

handling urgent or emergency applications where a decision must be made on behalf of someone else without delay

making decisions about a lasting power of attorney or enduring power of attorney and considering any objections to their registration

considering applications to make statutory wills or gifts

making decisions about when someone can be deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act

Good that a court exists to make decisions on the welfare and affairs of those who lack the capacity to do so themselves. But the man is married, and should expect the life that comes with such a commitment. To think the State knows the man better than his wife does is abhorrent. Too many horrible stories are hidden in the shadows.

 

Posted: 24th, August 2017 | In: News | Comment


Katharine McPhee, topless telly ‘babes’, Tiger Woods and Miley Cyrus are naked online

Have you seen the “SEX PICS” of the “TWO TO TV STARS”. The saucy photos “LEAKED ONLINE” are front-page news on the Daily Star. Nasty stuff, indeed, to have your private moments stolen and shared with the world. The two celebs, two of the country’s “biggest stars”, have called in the lawyers.

 

daily star sex

 

The Star is appalled. And anyone looking for the “explicits naked snaps” of the “2 telly babes” – the “extremely intimate shots” – of the “beauties”on an “X-rated” website should be ashamed of themselves. Says a spokesperson for one of the women:” “The selfies were taken from social media accounts but the topless images claiming to be of her are fake.”

So there are no sex pics. The images weren’t leaked, rather shared and photoshopped. Aside from that the Star’s lead story is, er, correct.

Meanwhile, in other celebrity naked news, Katharine McPhee is “fighting back”.

The actress and singer, 33, filed suit in Los Angeles County Tuesday in response to intimate photos of her being published on pornographic websites after her phone got hacked.

Miley Cyrus is naked in public – again:

Intimate pictures allegedly showing Miley Cyrus and Stella Maxwell together, Kristen Stewart apparently topless and former couple Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn apparently naked have surfaced online.

Vonn and Woods are considering legal action.

The odd things about all this is that while the newspapers report on the story of leaked sex photos, anyone who cares is online looking for the images. If there’s any one story that shows how out-of-step the dead-tree Press is, it’s when dirty photos get leaked online.

Posted: 24th, August 2017 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment


Shropshire Hospital rejects donations from fund-raising transvestites

Many men like dressing up as women: sailors, rugby players, the headmistress at St Trinian’s school, East German athletes and Glamour magazine’s woman of the year. So too men on a fundraising drive for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust. The lads dressed up as female nurses and shook their tins in the streets of Ludlow, Shropshire. People dug deep in their pockets and donated a none-too-shabby £2,500.

But the money is no good. It’s dirty. The hospital has rejected the cash, saying the way  it was earned was “highly-sexualised” and “demeaning”.

The Trust’s letter to the Ludlow Hospital League of Friends, which raised the cash, opines: “The presentation of men dressed as female nurses in a highly-sexualised and demeaning way is wrong, very outdated and insulting to the profession.”

Indeed. If nurses are to be demeaned by anyone it will be by pen pushers, male doctors and MPs, which is far more modern and progressive.

Posted: 23rd, August 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment


Reclaim the Internet and protecting the dead from online abuse

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.

free speech fawcett

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?

Posted: 22nd, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


If George Clooney looks ‘frazzled’ you should see his nanny

Clooney looks “ace” in the Daily Mirror. The paper has a paparazzi shot of George Clooney and Amal Clooney at a tennis match lose to their home in Italy. Neither is holding a racket, but they are holding hands. They look like a well-groomed couple minding their own business.

 

 

But over in the Mail, Clooney is “frazzled”. He’s a new dad “after two months of sleepless nights”. No, not or the couple’s umpteen nannies, for George. To prove its point (surely to spin a story from a papped photo? – Ed) the Mail shows us Clooney looking “fresh-face and beaming” in April.

 

 

PS: on the day the the Mail leads once more with news of Princess Diana 20 years after her death, odd indeed it should feature a half-page paparazzi photos of the Clooneys. After all, it was in the wake of Diana’s death that the Mail made this pledge:

8 September 1997, eight days after the death of Princess Diana:

“Mail leads the way in banning paparazzi pictures. 

“The proprietor of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard announced last night that his papers will not in future purchase pictures taken by paparazzi

“Viscount Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc said: ‘I am, and always have been, an admirer of Diana, Princess of Wales, and nagged my editors to protect her so far as they could against her powerful enemies.

“In view of Earl Spencer’s strong words and my own sense of outrage, I have instructed my editors no ‘paparazzi’ pictures are to be purchased without my knowledge and consent.'”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 21st, August 2017 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Diana: everyone hates Prince Charles and Dodi was a mug

princess diana dead 20 years

 

It’s Diana-mania all over again in the tabloids as papers mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

The Mirror leads with a Diana pullout, four pages of revision featuring the wedding day kiss on the Buckingham Palace balcony (awwww!); Diana getting Charles’s name wrong at the altar (d’oh!); Charles mentally repeating “Must not call her Camilla” over and over (cheating, lying bastard!); and how the couple, as Marje Proops told us on July 30 1981, “could have been quite alone. It was look of love and longing” – her love for him and his longing to be Camilla’s tampon.

Too harsh on Charles, the poor lamb? Nah. The Press are all diving on the swine. The Express, with the vanishing of Madeleine McCann deemed a story no longer to be of much interest, leads with the pre-Maddy blonde Diana and news that she “saved” the Royal Family. This follows news that, when polled, most time-rich Britons who respond to YouGov polls think Charles is unfit to be King.

 

Princess Diana daily mail

 

The Mail begins its Daily Diana by looking at a poll. This one says only a third of Britons think Charles is worth his salt and 14% think Camilla should be Queen (yeah, that many). How many think Diana was murdered is not investigated, but it might be more than the number who think Charles should put his hair in a bun and his **** in a toaster.

Over on the Sun’s cover, big news is that Diana was not in love with Dodi Fayed. This we know because Michael Gibbins, her private secretary, believes she was simply “having a lovely summer at somebody else’s expense”. Diana was freeloader? A tart? “When the summer was over, everything would have disintegrated,” says Gibbons. He then adds: “If she’d lived she would have been looking for other things – and rushing into my office saying why hadn’t I found them for her?” Although her husband Dodi might have been with her, carrying their child, little Michael Paul Burrell-Gibbins and his twin sister Fergie.

In tomorrow’s papers: why Diana loved the paparazzi.

Posted: 21st, August 2017 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Why did William and Harry walk behind Diana’s coffin?

funeral diana

 

To mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, we’re seen lots of photos of the funeral procession. In today’s Mail, we see the family shot of the young princes, William and Harry, their father Prince Charles, Diana’s brother Earl Spencer and the Duke of Edinburgh. The story of why the princes were walking behind their mother’s coffin seems confused.

The Mail on Sunday says:  “The decision for the boys to  join the cortege was not made until an eve-of-funeral family supper when their grandfather, Prince Philip, promised them: ‘If you walk, I’ll walk.”

We know this was an act of selflessness by the caring Duke because on the ITV documentary Diana: The Day Britain Cried, The Queen’s senior aide Sir Malcolm Ross, opined:

“And I understand that it was at a family supper on the Friday night in Buckingham Palace that the decision was made and Prince Philip, after some discussion, said to the boys, ‘I’ll walk if you walk’.”

But talking to Newsweek magazine, Prince Harry tells us:

“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television. I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

And there’s Earl Spencer, who told the BBC is was a “very bizarre and cruel thing” for Diana’s two sons to be told to walk behind her body. He says the Palace “lied” to him, telling them the boys had wanted to walk behind the coffin, which, he says, they did not want to do.

 

 

Not that anything about Diana is new. We’ve heard it all before, sort of.

In 2015, Hello magazine reported:

When the late Princess Diana died in 1997 her sons William and Harry did not want to walk behind the coffin, but Philip thought they would regret it later and told them: “If you like, I’ll walk with you.”

In 2007, the Daily Express told its readers:

Vanity Fair also prints excerpts of The Diana Chronicles, by former magazine editor Tina Brown, which reveal how the Princess and the Duke of Edinburgh clashed before her divorce from Prince Charles.

Philip is claimed to have threatened to remove her HRH title if she failed to behave properly.

But the Princess is said to have responded by informing the Duke that her title as Lady, referring to the lineage of the Spencer family, was a lot older than his. Ms Brown also claims Philip cajoled Princes William and Harry to walk with him behind Diana’s coffin at her funeral, overruling objections from her brother Earl Spencer.

In his Diaries, Tony Blair’s spin doctor, Alistair Campbell, noted:

William believed the plan was designed to appeal to the media. Campbell writes: “William was refusing to speak to anyone and he was consumed by a total hatred of the media … I sensed the boys were holding firm, and they seemed to feel it was being done for the media and the public, not for their mother.”

The Mirror reported in 2011: “William and Harry walked behind Diana’s coffin to prevent a mob attacking Prince Charles.”

Such are the facts.

At least no-one is still harping on about her having been murdered. Which she wasn’t. Right?

 

Posted: 20th, August 2017 | In: News, Royal Family | Comment


America’s anti-free speech rally is wholly stupid

To Boston, then, where thousands of well-meaning fools are marching to shut down free speech.

Thousands of counter-protesters crammed Boston Common and marched through city streets on Saturday morning in efforts to drown out the planned “free speech” rally.

The aim was to precent white supremacists from talking.

Blessedly, some people understand how things work:

 

free speech

 

Free speech for Nazis is free speech for anti-Nazis. You cannot have one without the other.

Spotter: Washington Post

 

Posted: 20th, August 2017 | In: News | Comment


Media bias: Arsenal robbed, Stoke imperious and three penalties

Media Bias: a look at bad reporting in Stoke City’s 1-0 win over Arsenal in the Premier League. Stoke scored a perfectly good goal, a swift strike on the counter attack that ws waved on by Arsenal’s lacklustre and horribly overrated Mesut Ozil. But should Arsenal have had a penalty or three? What say the reporters?

The Arsenal website has the figures: “Seventy-seven per cent possession, six shots on target, one big penalty shout and one disallowed goal – but ultimately no points from Saturday’s Premier League clash with Stoke City.”

Seems fair. Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger offers his appraisal of the match. He says Lacazette’s “goal” was “one hundred per cent” a good goal. “I’ve just watched it and it’s not offside at all. Even his foot was not offside. We have to swallow that and we should have scored despite that.”

Managers have their own views. But the Arsenal website has more on the Lacazette goal:

Alexandre Lacazette did have the ball in the net with 20 minutes to go, only to be flagged offside when replays suggested he was level.

Over on the Stoke City website, no word on how the Potters were overran in possession. Indeed, they were the team that always looked more likely to score.

Hughes’ men started the second half in scintillating fashion when Berahino did well to find Jese inside the box and the attacker finished brilliantly past Cech to give City the lead they thoroughly deserved.

The Stoke win was emphatic:

City remained comfortable for the remainder of the match, with the Gunners hardly threatening.

Stoke City readers might wonder why if the Potters were such easy winners the team’s goalkeeper, Jack Butland, was Man of the Match, which he was.

What about the penalty Arsenal thought they should have been awarded in the first half?

No word on the Stoke City website, but as one write on the Stoke Sentinnel website Wenger a moaner and the “boy who cried wolf”, another notes “the referee’s failure to spot Mame Diouf’s first-half challenge for what should have been an obvious penalty“.

On BBC’s Match of the Day, pundit Jemaine Jenas says Arsenal should have had – get this – three penalties.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 20th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


If Trump is fine with Nazis is Jeremy Corbyn ok with other types of anti-Semites?

Caitlin Moran has been writing in the Times about Donald Trump and his cheerleader, Piers Morgan. It’s a snappy read, taking in Nazis and Jews.

This week, however, Morgan… faced the big dilemma, which is, in the words of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, “When are you gonna come down? When are you going to land?” Trump’s disturbed press conference on Charlottesville — “There were some fine people there” ABOUT A NAZI RALLY — seemed to make Morgan realise that Jimmy Kimmel’s words were true: “When you’re with people who are chanting things like ‘Jews will not replace us’ and you don’t immediately leave, you’re not ‘a very fine person’.”

A “very fine person” leaves when the anti-Semites turn up. That’s “true”. But Trump is an “entrenched old bastard”. He stays.

Mindful of that, see if you can make the link between the next two images:

A) Jeremy Corbyn is not all that far from a man holding the Hezbollah flag, a group the Labour Party leader called “friends” after inviting them and Hamas to Parliament for a chat.

 

Corbyn anti-semitism

 

As reported in the Guardian:

The leader of the Labour party has defended supporters of every variety of ancient prejudice: the Palestinian activist who revived the medieval libel that Jews used the blood of Christian children to make bread; the Anglican vicar who promoted the views of modern neo-Nazis that the Jewish conspiracy was now so malign and supernaturally powerful it was responsible for 9/11. After reviving old prejudices, Labour members adopt new ones just for fun. Jews were the chief financiers of the slave trade, they say as they repeat a fantasy promoted by the US race-huckster Louis Farrakhan. Jews collaborated with Hitler, they continue as they repeat the fantasies of 20th-century Marxist‑Leninis

Richard Millett:

The Jewish Chronicle also questioned the banners at the Stop The War Coalition sponsored Al Quds Day rallies where Corbyn regularly speaks. Corbyn is also chair of the Stop The War Coalition. I have been to these racist rallies where Hezbollah flags are proudly waved and banners, which I have photographed, state: “Israel is a disease we are the cure” and “For world peace Israel must be destroyed”, “Israel your days are numbered”, “Death to Israel” and “The world stopped Nazism and Apartheid the world must stop Zionism”.

B) Vote Jeremy Corbyn.

 

Caitlin Moran Labour cunt tweet

 

Do we judge people by the company they keep?

Corbyn later added on Hamas, a group that calls for all Jews to be murdered (“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him” – Hamas covenant) and Hezbollah:

“I use (the word ‘friends’) in a collective way, saying our friends are prepared to talk. Does it mean I agree with Hamas and what it does? No. Does it mean I agree with Hezbollah and what they do? No. What it means is that I think to bring about a peace process, you have to talk to people with whom you may profoundly disagree.”

Was Trump just enabling the peace, enlarging the conversation, when he blamed both sides for the violence in Charlottesville? Was he doing a Corbyn?

I don’t believe Corbyn is an anti-Semite nor Trump a Nazi. But to the sensitive and morally right who offer no excuses for bigotry and profess to know it when they see it, not voting for Corbyn makes you a “cunt” and voting for Trump means supporting a “bastard”.

Were that a Confederate flag or Nazi banner behind Corbyn, what then? Of course, the modern day Nazi party is, thank god, relatively amateur when it comes to mass murder. Islamists remain the current market leaders in barbaric anti-Semitism.

Brendan O’Neill muses:

I just wish the people rightly shocked by the anti-Semitism on the Charlottesville march had been equally shocked by the big London demo against Israel’s war with Gaza a few years ago at which I saw loads of swastikas (“Israel is Nazi”), placards making accusations of collective Jewish guilt for crimes against humanity, and a man in a grotesque “Jew mask” pretending to eat a doll covered in blood while young Arab kids laughed their heads off. Some of the leftists furious over Charlottesville were on that march. People need to clean out their own stables too. Anti-Semitism is a serious problem and it exists on the right and the left.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 19th, August 2017 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


After Barcelona: people are fighting Islamists with candles

Marina Ginesta, anti-fascist fighter during the Spanish Civil War. This picture was taken in Barcelona in the summer of 1936.

 

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.

 

 

Posted: 19th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Murdoch united: The Sun says BBC ‘nabbing’ Great British Bake Off stars to ‘spite’ Love Productions

In a Sun “exclusive”, the paper says “BBC chiefs are facing claims they are sabotaging shows from the firm behind The Great British Bake Off.”

 

Sky balls Bake off

 

That company is Love Productions, who have brought to your telly such treats as Bake Off and: Junior Bake Off, Newlyweds, Famous Rich and Homeless, Tower Block of Commons, Young, Autistic & Stagestruck, The Baby Borrowers, Young Mums’ Mansion and Naked, Underage and Having Sex, and Britain’s Youngest Grannies.

Industry insiders say Love Productions believe the Beeb deliberately nabbed stars from other shows they have made.

Industry insiders say Love Productions believe the Beeb deliberately nabbed stars from other shows they have made. It’s an alleged “bid to sabotage the firm”. What stars have been “nabbed”?

Claudia Winkleman, who presented The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throwdown’s host Sara Cox.

Claudia, 45, is to co-host new BBC show Britain’s Best Cook, alongside former Bake Off judge Mary Berry, 82. While Sara, 42, is now presenting BBC2 series Back In Time For Tea.

Negotiations for new series of the sewing and pottery shows have now stalled.

Can we get a insider to go on the record?

A TV source said: “The sheer arrogance of it all is astonishing.”

 

Adding:

“There’s a view in the industry that the BBC is acting out of spite and not in the best interest of the licence fee payer.”

What the story in the Sun (prop. Rupert Murdoch)  omits to mention is that in 2014, British Sky Broadcasting acquired a majority stake in Love Productions. News Corporation (prop. R. Murdoch) owns 39.1% of BSkyB. 21st Century Fox (pro R. Murdoch) has formally lodged its £11.7bn bid to take full control of Sky.

 

 

 

 

Posted: 18th, August 2017 | In: News, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


For sale: 5 NASA Space Shuttle flights suits

nasa flight suits bargains

 

Most old tat is great. Talia Rappa and Skyler Ashworth got some terrific gear at a Florida thrift store’s fire sale: for $1.20 they bought five NASA flight suits.

According to experts at the American Space Museum, the astronauts’ names and flight dates on the white labels seem to match the time astronauts, PhD, Robert A. Parker, PhD, and Charles D. Walker, a payload specialist, flew shuttle missions between 1983 and 1985.

Robert Allan Ridley Parker (born December 14, 1936) is an American physicist and astronomer, former Director of the NASA Management Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a retired NASA astronaut. He was a Mission Specialist on two Space Shuttle missions, STS-9 and STS-35.

Robert Allan Parker (born December 14, 1936), former Director of the NASA Management Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a retired NASA astronaut. He was a Mission Specialist on two Space Shuttle missions, STS-9 and STS-35.

 

Charles David "Charlie" Walker (born August 29, 1948) is an American engineer who flew on three Space Shuttle missions in 1984 and 1985 as a Payload Specialist for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation.[1] He is the first non-government individual to fly in space.

Charles David “Charlie” Walker (born August 29, 1948) flew on three Space Shuttle missions in 1984 and 1985 as a Payload Specialist for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation.[1] He is the first non-government individual to fly in space.

George Driver "Pinky" Nelson (born July 13, 1950) is an American physicist, astronomer, science educator, and a former NASA astronaut.  Contents  [hide]  1Early life and education 2	Research 3	NASA career 3.1	Spaceflight experience 3.1.1	STS-41-C Challenger 3.1.2	STS-61-C Columbia 3.1.3

George Driver “Pinky” Nelson (born July 13, 1950) is an American physicist, astronomer, science educator, and a former NASA astronaut on STS-41-C Challenger, STS-61-C Columbia and STS-26 Discovery

You can buy one of these fantastic artefacts when the finders auction them at the American Space Museum auction on November 4.

Spotter: Click on Orlando

Posted: 18th, August 2017 | In: News, Technology, The Consumer | Comment


After Barcelona: the driverless van hired by an innocent man

Carnage in Barcelona. Islamists have driven a truck into the city centre, murdering 13 and injuring 100 more. #punchanislamist is NOT trending on twitter, as #punchanazi has done. Barely a week has passed since a woman was killed by a nutcase at a far-Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Those gaggle of losers look like amateurs compared to Islamists.

The newspapers report on the horror. Do they mention Islamists at all? And know that Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the slaughter.

The Star spots “terrorists in a speeding white van” marauding down Las Ramblas. The Mirror says a “van was driven into crowds”. The “terrorist driving a van” ran into anyone in his path.

Both newspaper lead with a photo of Maghrebi Driss Oukabir, the Moroccan-born man suspected of hiring the van. He says his ID was stolen. He says he’s innocent. But Spanish police handed out his photo, and the media pepper his face over the papers.

The Star’s story makes not a single mention of Islamists. Odd, indeed, for a newspaper that once supporting he anti-Muslim EDL to leave religion out of it.

The Sun leads with “BARCELONA BASTARDS”. Again we seen Oukabir, now under arrest. We’re told the killer was a “maniac driver”. Was he an Islamist? The paper does not say. But we do hear over two pages about Driss Oukabir is a “fan of dope, rap & booze”. Well, that’s what it says on his Facebook Page, where his likes include Durex condoms, Heineken larger, marijuana, hip-hop and “several Islamist pages”.

As Durex and Heineken’s PRs wonder if all publicity is good publicity. we learn that Oukabir might have handed himself into the police. He’s innocent, then? No, says Piers Morgan, paragon of virtue, he’s a “snivelling, pathetic, loathsome, deluded cowardly little prick”. And presumed innocent, right?

Oukabir’s there again on the Express’s cover. It’s an old photo of the suspect from a past run-on with the police. Not much more on him is reported.

But the Times says Oukabir’s “identity documents were believed to have been used to rent” the van used in the attack. We learn that Oukabir walked into a police station in Ripoli, north of Barcelona, and said his papers had been stolen by his 18-year-old brother Moussa, who lives in Barcelona. Oukabir did hand himself in. We also learn that Oukabir likes Prison Break, the song AK47 by the Albanian rapper Noizy and has 725 friends on Facebook. None of them have been rounded up  nor abused by Piers Morgan – yet.

Only the Times makes “Islamists” the main thrust of its report, leading with “EVIL strikes again – Islamists mows down innocents in Barcelona.” You wonder why the other papers don’t?

Compare that to the Guardian, which begins: “Thirteen people were killed and at least 50 injured after a van rammed into a crowded street…” A van did it? “At around 5pm a large white Fiat van veered off the road… ploughing its way through the crowd…” It ended “by a colourful mosaic by the artist Joan Miro. It was here that the van, with its front bumper smashed up, came to a halt.” Words on the driver come there none. But the magic, driverless van’s on the mend.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 18th, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News, Tabloids | Comment


Charlottesville racist casts off his robes and declares ‘I’m an actor not a Nazi’ (video)

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:

Full Name

Prior relevant experience (as an actor/performer, photographer, brand ambassador, political activist, etc)

When are you usually available for work?

Resume (optional)

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:

 

Crowds on Demand add under a section on their websiteProtests and Rallies”:

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.

Spotter: GQ

 

Posted: 18th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, The Consumer | Comment


Spurs balls: Levy puts Dele Alli in the shop window

In the mad world of football transfers, what is Tottenham and Spurs’ talented irritant Dele Alli worth? Helpfully the BBC says he’s worth £150m. Its story is rooted in the Sun’s “exclusive”, which says Dele Alli won’t be sold to Manchester City or Barcelona “even for £150million”.

 

levy dele alli spurs

 

The article adds that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy “has made it clear 21-year-old Alli is not for sale at any price”. In other words, anyone who wants to buy the player can start the bidding at £150m. As the story adds:

And with Neymar moving to PSG for £198m and Kylian Mbappe expected to follow him for £160m, Levy sees no reason why Alli should not be in a similar bracket.

Levy’s dangling Alli in the water and is waiting to see if any oil-soaked fish is mad enough to bite. And as Levy sticks Alli in a basque and suspenders and puts him in the store window, the pretence continues that he’s anything but waiting for a massive bid. “Levy has made it clear his future is at White Hart Lane,” adds the Sun blithely.

The really odd thing about the Sun’s scoop is that it contains not one quote from Levy. His “warning” to the world that only £150m-ish will get Alli contains not a word that can be attributed to him irrefutably and directly. If the Spurs chairman won’t go on the record, why is news of Alli’s non sale news at all?

When did the Sun become Tottenham’s salesroom?

Posted: 17th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Charlottesville: white supremacist rally brings out liberals’ inner Nazi

Peter Cvjetanovic

 

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?”

Greenwald gets it:

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.

Posted: 16th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Whoops Apocalypse! Guam radio broadcasts nuclear missile warning in error

North Korea has missiles trained on Guam, an American territory. Will mad Kim Jong-un shoot? KTWG and KSTO radio stations say he already has shot, broadcasting an emergency alert to listeners. But there was no incoming missile. It was an error.

Whoops!

Guam locals have been issued with leaflets telling them “What to do in case of nuclear attack”. One  tip: “Do not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you.” Tip 2: “Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.” Adhere to tips one and two and then: “When possible, take a shower with lots of soap and water to help remove radioactive contamination.”

After armageddon, good to know en-suite bathrooms survive. Oh, and best to take just one bottle into the show: “Do not use conditioner in your hair because it will bind radioactive material to your hair.” Should you have any left.

Don’t panic!

Posted: 15th, August 2017 | In: News, Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Chelsea balls: Diego Costa and the Daily Mail pile into blameless Conte

Following up its interview with Chelsea striker Daily Mail, the paper leads with “WE BACK DIEGO”. News is that “Antonio Conte’s decision to exile Diego Costa is threatening to damage his strong bonds with other Chelsea players.” Other papers go with “Rebel Will Be Left To Rot” (Sun) and “Blues lay down law to AWOL star” (Daily Star)“.

Costa is currently sulking at his mum and dad’s house in Brazil. He’s been fined for not showing up at Chelsea. And he says the Blues are treating him “like a criminal”.

The Mail says it’s not wantaway Costa in the wrong; it’s Conte. The story continues: “Costa is a popular figure in the dressing room and remains in regular contact with close friends Willian, David Luiz and Spain team-mates including Cesc Fabregas.” Well, so says Costa. And then this: “Some fear they could be the next to be discarded in brutal fashion by title-winning manager Conte.”

That Conte, eh, what a heartless swine. What the Mail omits to mention is that in July 2016, Costa demanded to leave Chelsea for Atletico Madrid. Conte, as was reported widely, persuaded him to stay. Said Costa:”I did all that I could to return but it didn’t happen. When Atlético had to wait for me, they didn’t wait.”

Indeed, one news organ has reported on Costa’s unhappiness at Chelsea many times:

Costa has never properly settled in London after moving there in his own £32m deal and has remained in contact with various former team-mates telling several of them that he would like to return. – Feb, 4, 2016

Antonio Conte unsure if Diego Costa will stay a Chelsea player: ‘If you ask me if Costa will remain, I don’t know’ – July 31, 2016

Antonio Conte won a battle of wills with Diego Costa after Chelsea’s leading scorer demanded to be taken off during the 3-0 Premier League victory over Leicester at Stamford Bridge. The Spain international started the game on four yellow cards for the season, meaning another booking would see him miss the highly anticipated clash with Manchester United on October 23… the Blues striker gestured angrily towards his manager that he wanted to be substituted 20 minutes before time to avoid a potential suspension, but Conte was having none of it – despite Costa holding his leg late on. – October, 2016

All in the Mail.

Having supported Conte for telling Costa who’s boss, the Mail now tells its readers:

Could Diego Costa last longer at Chelsea than Antonio Conte? Champions order rebel striker back to London as their manager feels the heat

Not if Costa’s got anything to do with it, no. He wants to leave…

 

Posted: 15th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Jews get final laugh at ‘anti-Semitic’ Swiss hotel

Aparthaus Paradies, Arosa, Switzerland

 

Jews! To the showers! So reads the sign to “Jewish guests” at the Aparthaus, Arosa, Switzerland.

“To our Jewish guests, women, men and children, please take a shower before you go swimming. If you break the rules I’m forced to cloes [sic] the swimming pool for you.”

A second sign, this one of a fridge, says:

“For our Jewish guests: You may access the refrigerator only in the following hours: 10:00-11:00 and 16:30-17:30. I hope you understand that our team does not like being disturbed all the time.”

“Everyone had been very nice to us; suddenly we came down and saw the sign, we were in shock,” says a Jewish Israeli on Israel’s Channel 2. “It was very strange and the sort of anti-Semitic incident we have not been exposed to before.”

Ruth Thomann, the hotel’s manager, has removed the signs. The hotel tells Channel 2:

“There was no anti-Semitic intent and the signs were removed. We have no problem with Jewish guests at the hotel “

Accidental racism, unwitting, if you will.

With it so far? It all seems pretty fair. After all, the hotel accepts and welcomes Jews as guests. But then…

“The sign on the freezer was hung because only Jews used the workers’ refrigerator. The sign regarding the showers was hung after two Jewish girls entered without taking a shower, ignoring a sign addressed to all guests. Therefore, a specific sign was hung to focus their attention on this.”

Ah. You singled out the girls not for their girlishness, rather by their Jewishness. No longer two kids ignoring the rules, the miscreants are two Jews whose very Jewishness makes them offenders-in-waiting. So all Jews are hereby warned.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely says it’s “an anti-Semitic act of the worst and ugliest kind”. Really? She can think of no worse act of anti-Jewish hate than an unsettling sign addressing Jewish guests to shower (with all the connotations that command brings), who surely did some research before booking?

Shlomo, a haredi Jew from the Jerusalem area, counters: “I personally know the owners of the hotel and the woman in question who is accused of anti-Semitism. I have been to this hotel several times and they are as far from anti-Semitism as the far east is from the west.”

The message is not to let a misspelt sign spoil your holiday. After all, free Jews taking in the Alpine air at a place where not all that long ago Nazis felt very much at home is the best story of all.

Posted: 15th, August 2017 | In: News | Comment


British spite rules! The grotesque Garden Bridge is dead

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.

 

garden bridge

Turning the Thames into a moat

 

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.

Posted: 15th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


The apogee of identity politics: Lorde blames all whites for Nazis

Lorde, the singer, wants to school you in history, Nazis and race. She’s surveyed the carnage in Charlottesville, and now seeks to apologise for all whites:

 

Lorde Nazi

 

Good Lorde. We hear you.

Sorry about ‘The Few’, the French / Polish / Greek resistance, The International Brigades, Oskar Schindler, Witold Pilecki, Irena Sendler and the millions of others who fought the Nazis. Sorry, says Lorde, the Kiwi singer who knows nothing of what Anzac Day means but is well versed in the arcane politics of identity, when everything about you is based on gender and race.

The Wall Street Journal has more:

The White House nonetheless issued a statement Sunday saying Mr. Trump “includes white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups” in his condemnation. As so often with Mr. Trump, his original statement missed an opportunity to speak like a unifying political leader.

Yet the focus on Mr. Trump is also a cop-out because it lets everyone duck the deeper and growing problem of identity politics on the right and left. The politics of white supremacy was a poison on the right for many decades, but the civil-rights movement rose to overcome it, and it finally did so in the mid-1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. ’s language of equal opportunity and color-blind justice.

That principle has since been abandoned, however, in favor of a new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions, and the irony is that America is more diverse and tolerant than ever.

The problem is that the identity obsessives want to boil down everything in American life to these categories…

A politics fixated on indelible differences will inevitably lead to resentments that extremists can exploit in ugly ways on the right and left. The extremists were on the right in Charlottesville, but there have been examples on the left in Berkeley, Oakland and numerous college campuses. When Democratic politicians can’t even say “all lives matter” without being denounced as bigots, American politics has a problem.

Not all white are brutal, murderous Nazis. No ‘sus laws‘, please.

Posted: 15th, August 2017 | In: Celebrities, News, Politicians | Comment


Bill Baxley shames Trump: Alabama Attorney General tells the KKK to ‘kiss my ass’

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.

 

James Fields Junior

James Fields Junior

 

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.

 

Bill baxley-letter-letter bombing

 

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.”

 

Bill baxley-letter-letter bombing

 

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?”

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 14th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment