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Quote of the Day

Trigger Warning: Facts.

From a piece at TechRaptor about the GamerGate controversy. If you haven’t heard of GamerGate (think JournoList with videogames), TechRaptor’s a good place to start.

Craven

The retailer of “naughty things” Ann Summers has apologized over a lingerie range named “Isis”

Knickers

Not to be confused with…

Twat

London (AFP) – Adult retailer Ann Summers apologized Saturday after launching a range of lingerie named Isis — but said it did not support jihadists in Iraq and Syria and had no plans to withdraw the line.

Well, that last bit is reassuring. Not, I suspect, that Ann Summers would be especially welcome in the New Caliphate anyhow. But why apologize? An Ann Summers spokeswoman stated the decision had been made months ago and Isis is an ancient Egyptian fertility goddess which seems a fairly reasonable name for female intimate attire. I mean it’s not something a lady would wear to play football in is it*?

It remains on sale which is something, though why apologize anyway? It is admitting that “ISIS” (or “IS”) have stolen part of our culture and mythology. It is bizarrely conflating something to cover your er… with a bunch of arseholes. And that is my point, really. Are ISIS vile? Are they dangerous? Yes. Are they the greatest threat facing the USA as President Obama recently stated? Are they Hell! They are just a bunch of ragged-assed renegades on the create. They ought to be treated with the disdain they deserve and not treated like Sith Lords. By regarding them as Mordor itself we are their best recruiting sergeants because it gives spurious glamour to a collection of honour-free tossers playing at jihad.

As an aside they are currently carrying out “judicial” executions, crucifixions and amputations and “encouraging” children to watch (like Alton Towers in the sand). Of course they would regard the ladies pictured above as depraved. I have a rather different standard for depravity.

On the plus side I am reliably informed that Russia has banned such frivolous under-garments on spurious grounds of causing minge-rot or something so it would seem we are annoying the right people.

Pooty Poot and the Sand People – sounds like a dreadful band from the ’50s.

*No I haven’t seen that video. Curse you internet!!!

T. Friedman, B. Bernanke, the IPCC, and … Rand Paul:

What do they have in common?

Go here to find out.

David Horowitz and Carl Bernstein

David Horowitz was a red-diaper baby who gave all he had to the New Left as it developed in the late ’50′s and the ’60′s. It took him a long, very painful time, during which he forwent politics in favor of writing non-political biographies, to see that the Left’s avowed goals could not be met by any method, and finally, in 1984 (IIRC), he pulled the lever for Ronald Reagan.

Since then he has gone back to being a highly energetic political activist, but this time trying to educate people as to the importance of individualism and conservatism, and as to the danger of “radical Islam.” This includes the founding of FrontPageMag.com, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the site Discoverthenetworks.com, where articles detail the links among a wide variety of leftist institutions and persons;  as well as much writing and the giving of many speeches on leftism and on Islamicism.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the fascinating subject article, published at FrontPageMag.

. . .

Carl Bernstein’s Communist Problem and Mine

July 31, 2012 By David Horowitz

….  I thought it might be useful to those first being introduced to what I like to call the “neo-communist left” to read a piece I wrote a few years ago about Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein and his Communist father…. It is particularly the disloyalty and fundamental dishonesty of these people, these Communist progressives which I think should most interest readers in the context of the political and economic crises we are facing today. – David Horowitz.

. . .

Al Bernstein, the father of Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, had been a member of the Communist Party and a secret agent in the same way that Ann and my parents were secret agents. Like them, Al Bernstein is one of those progressives who left the Party but could never leave its political faith. When Carl Bernstein approached his father about a book he intended to write on “the witch-hunts leading up to the McCarthy era,” Al Bernstein stonewalled him, refusing to be interviewed, even though it was his own son. He did not approve his son’s proposed quest for the truth about his Communist past. He did not want his son to discover the truth about his experience in the Communist Party or about the Party’s role in American life.

 

[.  .  .]

Greenwald and Canada?

The headline speaks for itself. –Speaking of Leaking, Var. Newspaperiensis, did you-all know Mr. Bernstein (of Watergate, Woodward-&-Bernstein fame) was also a red-diaper baby?

Glenn Greenwald’s Next Spy Leak Target: Canada

When Two Twats Go to War.

Apparently Jezza and Piers have been feuding for 13 years.

Battle of the big-heads: Fisticuffs. Hissy fits. For 13 years, Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan have waged a hilariously juvenile feud… and now it’s hit new depths

I would question the use of hilarious here for they are both epic bell-ends. As you can imagine it isn’t Oscar Wilde and James Whistler.

Apparently… Piers Morgan calls Jeremy Clarkson a ‘muscle-depleted Chihuahua’.

Ohh… man-bags at the ready. The only thing that needs to be depleted here is the uranium in the shells from the A-10 used to turn them into force-meat. Or how about this…

Round four: October 2003
The supersonic passenger jet Concorde makes its final scheduled flight for British Airways from New York to London. Among the celebrities onboard are, yes, Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson.

Despite the fact that Clarkson has told other passengers that Morgan ‘is a little ****’ and he’s going to ‘punch his lights out,’ BA put Clarkson in the seat directly in front of Morgan. As Clarkson takes his seat he says, ‘Oh, ******* hell, I’ve got a **** behind me.’

‘And I’ve got one in front of me, too,’ Morgan replies. Further potty-mouthed badinage ensues and Morgan taunts Clarkson: ‘Come on big man, show me what you’ve got.’

Clarkson then tips a glass of water over Morgan, much to the amusement of fellow passengers, including Joan Collins and Jodie Kidd.

Later Clarkson calls Morgan while the latter is chauffeured back from Heathrow. ‘This is all getting very silly. Let’s put it behind us. Please,’ he says. But is the feud put behind them? Not for long.

I have seen such “hilarious” antics before on a flight. It was a budget airline from Prague to Manchester. Some lads in front of me decided to be generally obnoxious and ultimately staged a farting contest in a row just ahead of me and my wife. They were “telt” by the Flight attendants in no uncertain terms to pipe down or there would be a taxi with flashing blue lights to greet them at Ringway. They shut it because they were “proles” so bad behaviour isn’t “hilarious” unlike with “celebs” like Jezz and Piers. The Flight Attendents looked more like nightclub bouncers than “trolly dollies”.

Round five: March 2004
Morgan and Clarkson both attend the British Press Awards. A thoroughly refreshed Clarkson makes his way to the table where Morgan, who has just begun his TV career alongside editing the Daily Mirror, is sitting.

‘Now that you’re in my world of telly, I can tell you you’re ****,’ the Top Gear star remarks.

A heated conversation ensues, in which Morgan sees Frances Clarkson, staring daggers at him from her table. ‘Why does your wife always blame me for everything you do?’ he asks.

Clarkson is outraged. He swings a right hook at Morgan, followed by more blows, hitting Morgan’s temple and forehead.

The following day, Morgan tells reporters: ‘He then tried to headbutt me — missing my nose by about an inch. I think it’s fair to say he was a little inebriated. I’ve frankly taken worse batterings from my three-year-old son.’

Clarkson admits: ‘He’s won really. This is just one in a long line of clashes. We’ll have to kiss and make up.’

And there is much more “antics” between these two.

Apart from the simple fact they fight like girls if you or me had done this we’d have another appointment with the paddy wagon Indeed if you or me had done this we’d be accused in The Mail of “The sort of yobbery that is typical of ‘Broken Britain’” and not of “hilarious” japery.

For the record I used to find Clarkson May and that little fella’s antics amusing but he’s just become a pathetic self-parody of himself who has jumped more sharks than an Orlando water-park does in a season. I mean how many ways can the Top Gear lads wreck a caravan – again. Morgan is though just a total and utterly irredeemably unmitigated cunt of the very first water.

But when two such “characters” go to war you don’t pray for a victory, you pray for a bipartisan dual smiting in the Biblical sense.

And you also wonder at the Mail thinking this light-hearted hi-jinks. I suppose because neither are Rommanians coming over here to get a job in Burger King.

The Daily Mail are deranged gits as well. The great myth of many that immigrants are a “burden” perplexes me but that’s for another post. I’d much rather have a Bulgarian nurse and a Romanian waitress over here than Jezza and Piers. I doubt though Sofia or Bucharest would play swapsies. I wouldn’t.

Trogger*

The Daily Wail is up in sanctimonious arms about a “notorious internet troll” they have exposed.  Why is the Wail’s blood up?  Because uncompromising blogger Old Holborn verbally slaughtered a couple of sacred cows that no one dare tell bad taste jokes about.  And it caused the twatterati to descend into a frenzied virtual lynch party.

This is the face of one of Britain’s most notorious internet trolls.

As his alter ego Old Holborn, Robert Ambridge is responsible for a series of vile and offensive Twitter posts that have brought him death threats.

Apparently death threats are not as vile and offensive as taking the micturation out of a taboo subject.

Thousands were outraged when Ambridge, who appears on his Twitter page with his identity disguised by a plastic pig mask, tweeted about the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. He posted a picture of two overweight women and claimed ‘this is what crushed the 96’.

Whereas the millions who have never heard of OH and are too busy having a life to tweet probably couldn’t give a stuff.

Moral outrage.  The most persistent bane of our post normal society.  A dangerous threat to free speech.  Is OH offensive?  I’d say yes, having read his blog on and off over the years.  Sometimes I agree with what he says and on other occasions I think he’s a git.  I wouldn’t issue a death threat to shut him up though no matter how offensive his remarks.  Nor would I be insisting that “something must be done” to silence him.  If he wants to be a git making gittish remarks designed to annoy authoritarian gits then that’s his prerogative.

Ambridge, 51, a recruitment consultant and father of six from Braintree, Essex, also made disgusting comments about the murder of James Bulger which deeply upset his mother. But an unrepentant Ambridge claims people who are offended by his comments have only themselves to blame.

Yes, being offended on the behalf of someone you’ve never met has become a full time sport for the perpetually affronted brigade.  My reaction?  OH is being a controversial git gleefully poking what he knows is going to be a hornets nest to provoke a reaction.  The adult thing to do, if you are offended by him, is ignore him, not give him the oxygen of publicity.  But it seems we are not dealing with adults and that includes the journalists and the police.

‘It is not my responsibility what other people find upsetting. I didn’t target anyone. I didn’t send an email. They chose to read what I wrote. If they don’t like it, they should turn it off. I don’t care what people find offensive.’

Because making crass remarks might be offensive to those prone to outrageous bouts of herd apoplexy but it is not an offence in law.   It certainly isn’t a hound ‘em and flog ‘em out of gainful employment offence.  Oh wait, yes it is.  People have the right not to be offended.  By anyone or anything.  Anywhere or at any time.  And the authorities will be there to mollycoddle wounded feelings and take names.  All in the name of social inclusivity and clamping down on naughtiness to make the world a better place for everyone who is happy being a touchy-feely herdthink drone.

Justifying his tweet about Hillsborough, he added: ‘This is dark humour. People might not like my humour but I think it is funny and it gets a chuckle.’

So where is all the outrage about taking the mickey out of fat people?  Don’t they deserve to be treated with sensitivity?  Well no, because it is socially acceptable to believe that all fat people are greedy and stupid and deserve all the derision they get even when they don’t. Unlike Merseyside’s tragically deceased they aren’t a protected species when it comes to verbal abuse or offensive jokes.  Either everyone is a target or none at all.  I’ll settle for everyone because none at all is a tyranny.

This week, the self-proclaimed ‘satirical terrorist’ will seek to justify his vitriolic internet posts in an ITV documentary called Fear And Loathing Online.

Well yes, OH can be quite loathsome when he puts his mind to it.  However the only fear in this particular Wail story comes from the death threats of the morally outraged.  OH hasn’t actually threatened anyone, merely piddled them off.  Not the same thing.  So how come he’s the only pariah in town right now?  Have the thousands of column inches dedicated to our not bombing Assad being wrong, wrong wrong, finally run out of steam?

Ambridge agreed to be filmed without his pig mask, although his face was not shown. But The Mail on  Sunday traced Ambridge to his dilapidated Victorian home in Braintree.

Matthew Hopkins journalism at its most odious.  I’ll assume that howling mobs, pitchforks and flaming torches were optional extras not available on expenses.

With an appearance more akin to Coronation Street’s hapless cafe owner Roy Cropper than a cutting-edge satirist, he initially denied he was Old Holborn.

So what is a “cutting-edge satirist” supposed to look like?  And who wrote the benchmark specifications for the physical appearance of one?  Fatuous journalism at its most infantile.

But later, speaking at the wheel of his battered Toyota vehicle, gap-toothed Ambridge said: ‘I am there to upset the apple cart. It is a form of entertainment. Trolling is like putting a fishing line in a shoal of fish and seeing what you can get.’

I can see a pattern building here.  It’s not just OH’s opinions that are low rent.  His dilapidated house, battered Toyota and crooked teeth are proof that the Wail is dealing with a lowlife scumbag who needs to be put in his place – six feet under if the Twatter mob get’s its way.  He hasn’t broken the law.  The fact that he’s overweight, white and middle aged isn’t a criminal offense although the Wail is trying to build a case on those shifting sands of stupidity.  He has six children.  So what?  I am led to believe he has worked hard to bring them up instead of relying on the state to do it.  That isn’t a crime either.

Ambridge worked for Alchemy Recruitment in Braintree until April, when he was first outed as a notorious online troll. Following his Hillsborough comments, people bombarded the firm with phone calls and threatened to burn down its offices.

OH is a blogger who stirs the smelly stuff with a big spoon and then muses upon the fruits of the fall-out.  He’s certainly not everyone’s cup of cha.  Internet trolls lead the unsuspecting into an ambush which isn’t OH’s modus operandi at all.  But then, given the inferior, poorly informed and lacking a shred of research dross that passes for journalism these days, I suppose the confusion is understandable.  After all the newfangled  blogging media has only been around for a decade and a half – give or take.  Not enough time for the legacy media to catch up.

However, the ancient practice of witch-hunting is alive and well in the twenty-first century.  Anyone associated with someone possessed of free speech a penchant for controversy an aversion to political correctness the Devil’s evil forked tongue and tail is fair game and must be purged for the good of society. Don’t you just love this popular resurgence of a deeply unsavoury hysterical historical custom?

An investigation was launched by Essex Police over tweets relating to the Boston bombing, as well as the Hillsborough disaster and the Bulger murder. Ambridge has since left the company.

So are they going to investigate everyone who believes OH is entitled to his opinion no matter what sacred cow he’s tipped?  Are they also going to investigate the death threat tweets and emails he and his former employer received?  If not, why not?  Or is it now legal and acceptable to put someone in fear of their life for upsetting the herd or because they employ someone who has?

Police said the CPS is considering whether to pursue a case of criminal communication through social media involving a 51-year-old man from Braintree.

Clearly there is a certain demographic that never found its way out of the infants playground.  It is not the job of the police to nurse bruised sensitivities and pander to the chronically indignant.  Their job is to investigate, arrest and charge actual criminals, not harass people who upset the mores of self-indulgent, social puritans. So OH caused offense with his crass and very black humour.  So what.  It’s not like he was caught red-handed molesting kiddies, drowning kittens or mugging old ladies for their bingo money.

I was disgusted by the people who happy-danced at a certain old lady’s funeral a few months back.  But they were entitled to do that. I was content to mutter “gits” at the TV screen.  I certainly wasn’t motivated to hunt them down and send them death threats on behalf of the bereaved family.  Nor do I expect the police to “investigate” the matter as a possible “hate” crime.  Yes there was hate.  A lot of it.  But was it a crime?  Hardly.

 

*  It seems the Wail doesn’t know the difference between a controversial, politically incorrect blogger and a troll, notorious or otherwise.  Hence, Trogger.

To conjure a dark illusion

“In a society that believes in nothing, fear becomes the only agenda. Whilst the 20th century was dominated by a conflict between a free-market Right and a socialist Left, even though both of those outlooks had their limitations and their problems, at least they believed in something, whereas what we are seeing now is a society that believes in nothing. And a society that believes in nothing is particularly frightened by people who believe in anything, and, therefore, we label those people as fundamentalists or fanatics, and they have much greater purchase in terms of the fear that they instill in society than they truly deserve. But that’s a measure of how much we have become isolated and atomised rather than of their inherent strength.”

Dr Bill Durodié is an Associate Fellow of the International Security Programme (ISP) for Chatham House

The above quote is a brief excerpt from Adam Curtis‘ 2004 classic documentary The Power of Nightmares on how black propaganda can create a fantasy of self-delusion which ultimately seduces the body-politic of its producer. This is a compelling interpretation of the history of the creation of Al Qaeda as a phantom enemy to fill the gap caused by the fall of the Soviet Union.

The US Networks have refused to show it, so while it may be familiar to our UK readers, it has probably not received the audience it deserves outside of the UK.

The Power of Nightmares

The Power of Nightmares – The Rise of the Politics of Fear

Regardless of whether you believe his interpretation is correct, it is an interesting analysis of the road to Baghdad.

To prevent Cats from accusations of copyright infringement, I will not post links, but I watched all three episodes this afternoon courtesy of Google.

Lying in the Age of Obama

Victor Davis Hanson, for those who have the misfortune to be located in the Provinces *g*, is a military and classical historian who is a highly-regarded columnist on current affairs here in the States.

Below are the major headings from his piece on the current vogue for and acceptability of lying as a way of life, with a sentence or two from the start of each. There are many more links throughout the piece, at the source:

http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/lying-in-the-age-of-obama/?singlepage=true

Victor Davis Hanson:

Lying in the Age of Obama

July 23rd, 2013 – 12:02 am

A Nation of Liars

The attorney general of the United States lied recently to Congress. He said he knew of no citizen’s communications that his department had monitored. Lie!

But why pick on the president?

The media routinely peddles “noble” untruths. ABC manipulated a video to show George Zimmerman without much injury to his head.

It’s Not Really the Cover-up

Our current scandals are predicated on lies. No one believed the official White House version that the IRS miscreants were rogue agents from a Cincinnati field office.

Is There Anyone Left Who Doesn’t Lie?

Why do they lie? Because they can. Or to paraphrase Dirty Harry, they like it.

The Cover-up Pays

We repeat the nauseous canard that “it is not the crime, but the cover-up” that gets you in trouble in Washington. But that too is often a lie….

Why Do Our Best and Brightest Lie?

There are both age-old and more recent catalysts for lying.

One, lying and plagiarism are forms of narcissism.

So Why Not Lie?

I end with three reasons to tell the truth.

“We always lose,” says Chris at the end of the The Magnificent Seven after he did the right thing. Or to paraphrase the cinematic T.E. Lawrence about Auda Abu Tayi, we will not lie, as do our elites, because it is simply “our pleasure” not to.

The 9/11 conspiracy theorist who changed his mind

“If you are presented with new evidence, take it on, even if it contradicts what you or your group want to believe. You have to give the truth the greatest respect.”

The 9/11 conspiracy theorist who changed his mind

The poster boy for a mad movement: Charlie Veitch     Photo: Will Storr

The poster boy for a mad movement': Charlie Veitch Photo: Will Storr

By Will Storr

7:00AM BST 29 May 2013
237 Comments

On a June afternoon in the middle of New York’s Times Square, Charlie Veitch took out his phone, turned on the camera and began recording a statement about the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center.

“I was a real firm believer in the conspiracy that it was a controlled demolition,” he started. “That it was not in any way as the official story explained. But, this universe is truly one of smoke screens, illusions and wrong paths. If you are presented with new evidence, take it on, even if it contradicts what you or your group want to believe. You have to give the truth the greatest respect, and I do.”

To most people, it doesn’t sound like a particularly outrageous statement to make. In fact, the rest of the video was almost banal in its observations; that the destruction of the towers may actually have been caused by the two 767 passenger jets that flew into them. But to those who subscribed to Veitch’s YouTube channel, a channel he set up to promulgate conspiracy theories like the one he was now rejecting, it was tantamount to heresy. …

His friend showed him the online documentary “Terrorstorm: A History of Government Sponsored Terror,” made by the American radio host Alex Jones. It parsed a new version of history, in which governments secretly organised terror attacks to spread fear and extend their matrices of control. From the Reichstag fire to the Gulf of Tonkin up to the present day, it writhed with apparently unassailable facts and sources.

Jones is a brilliantly effective propagandist who recently made headlines for his hostile showdown on US television with Piers Morgan, over gun control. …

Veitch was now a well-known figure in the conspiracy community. But, while some believers could be dismissed as harmless crackpots, there was a malevolent undercurrent to many of the theories.

In essence, the modern conspiracy narrative is the same as the one that has existed since at least the 19th century: that the few (often termed the “Illuminati”) control the many. This, of course, is the nucleus of the dangerous anti-Jewish myth. …

“I’ve gone full circle in my Right-wing thinking,” he says. “There’s a professional victimhood in conspiracy theorists. There’s a hatred of high achievers.”

As they say — Read the whole fascinating thing. Especially the last three paragraphs. Oh, and some of the comments are interesting too.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/10079244/The-911-conspiracy-theorist-who-changed-his-mind.html

Right over both their heads

Charles Crawford, over at the Commentator – whose comments system, based on the Hell that is Disqus, sucks – fisks the incomprehensibly influential doofus Will Hutton on the horsemeat scandal. And totally misses the point. Hutton:

“As the horsemeat saga unfolds, it becomes more obvious by the day that those Thatcherite verities – that the market is unalloyed magic, that business must always be unshackled from “wealth-destroying” regulation, that the state must be shrunk, that the EU is a needless collectivist project from which Britain must urgently declare independence – are wrong.”

How’s that, Will? As Richard North has demonstrated in his usual obsessive style, Horsemeat entered the food chain because of fraud in the EU regulation system, a compulsory system that places excessive weight on paperwork while failing to sample any actual meat. Quite what the failure of an overbearing, hubristic, supranational regulatory bureaucracy has to do with Thatcherism is completely beyond me.

Other than proving it right, that is. The truth is, this scandal is actually extremely instructive in showing almost the exact opposite of Hutton’s gleeful conclusion: that EU regulatory structures, which replaced our own local authority testing of which North was once a part, can cost a bloody fortune, get in the way of efficient trade, and still utterly fail to protect the public in any meaningful sense at all. There are plenty of regulations, and keen, enthusiastic, inspectors to enforce them; they just don’t work. As long as the Papers are in order, and the factories are ticking all the right Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points boxes, all is well. Until some unanalyzed hazard emerges at an uncritical, uncontrolled, point, such as a crook who doesn’t give a damn about HACCP switching the labels. Guys like North would have known who to suspect – the dirty premises, the slapdash staff, the shifty management – and left the honest ones relatively, well… shall we say “unshackled”? The alphabet soup of FSA/DEFRA/EU bureaucrats, who are too high and mighty to get their hands dirty on the slaughterhouse floor, don’t have a Scooby Doo. All their papers check out. Someone must have been – gasp! – lying.

So we have frantic, minute, obsessive – expensive – regulation, to absolutely no useful end whatsoever. Oh, yes: this costs money, and does destroy wealth. That’s why we now have a tiny number of “super-abbatoirs”, instead of a thriving industry of local ones. It’s the only way the meat business can afford the regulation. Hardly the the free market running riot, is it? And it’s a damning example of the uselessness of Will’s beloved EU. Indeed, as North points out, this is only beginning to be sorted out by the EU states organising their own investigations outside the Union’s institutions.

Crawford never touches on this, preferring to score cheap points by bringing up the Staffordshire NHS killings. But then, his opening statement (“Sooner or later anyone that prolific must drift from wisdom towards self-parody”) suggests that he thinks Hutton demonstrated any wisdom in the first place, which casts severe doubt on his judgement.

Update: Thanks to Your Freedom and Ours, here is what Hutton thinks doesn’t exist: “Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety”. This is particularly interesting:

Before 1 January 2005 and every six years thereafter, the Authority, in collaboration with the Commission, shall commission an independent external evaluation of its achievements on the basis of the terms of reference issued by the Management Board in agreement with the Commission. The evaluation will assess the working practices and the impact of the Authority. The evaluation will take into account the views of the stakeholders, at both Community and national level.

“Stakeholders”, eh? I don’t know if Hutton actually coined this slippery word, but he did much to popularize it, and it appears again in the article Crawford attempted to fisk. So much for the Powers That Be ignoring his ideas and going off on a neo-liberal spree of their own….

The Department of Shoddy Journalism

The circulation figure for the lefty rag, New Statesman, fell over the edge of a cliff some time ago and is still plummeting.  Hardly surprising, if this is the standard of journalism.

Martha Gill writes an online column she calls Irrational Animals.  Her latest outpouring is entitled, Why “family men” make terrible bosses.  It’s possible Ms Gill has a reason for the scare quotes.  It’s also possible that it is nothing more than an annoying and pointless affectation.

There is a photo of iDave, his wife and youngest child with a caption reading, Do we like David Cameron more because he has children? Obviously the link here is that Cameron is a family man who also happens to be Tory Prime Minister.  Ed Miliband is also a parent but obviously he’s not the type of parent Ms Gill wants to smear write about.

If you’re trying to become the leader of a political party or a chief executive, it might be a good idea to have some kids – especially if you’re a man. For some reason, we like having family men at the top: perhaps because we think they’re more relatable; perhaps because we think they’re kinder or more empathetic.

Who is this “we” she’s talking about?  Is it the apocryphal “we” shonky journos use to prove yet another interminable non-point?  The crude and ramshackle device that masquerades as consensus but is nothing more than wishful thinking tarted up like a dog’s dinner?   Yes it is!

Political leaders, in particular, often introduce policy measures that affect children with a brief mention of their own kids (just to show parents that they’re on the same page) – or simply mention them apropos of nothing.

Gosh, political leaders with a family behave just like ordinary parents do.  Who knew?

“My children have onesies and I often say I’m very jealous,” Cameron announced last week, just to make sure, one last time, that we all know he’s a dad.

Yes, God forefend that Cameron should talk fondly about his brood.  It’s unnatural!  It shouldn’t be allowed!  Send for the Daddy Police!

The implication is that because a leader has children, he’ll care more about children in general. Anecdotally, at least, this seems not to be true. Before having children, people tend to have a benign (if not particularly invested) attitude towards other people’s kids. Have children of your own and these other kids become tiny competitors: less good at gym than your child but somehow in the gym team; inexplicably cast as Mary in the nativity play; undeservedly in a higher maths class; irritatingly better at the clarinet.

The implication is that Ms Gill could quite possibly be completely barking if she believes even half that guff.  Cameron is a crap leader because he is incompetent, not because he is a doting dad.  That goes double for Miliband and Clegg.

Although your image becomes fuzzier and warmer, your behaviour seems to go in the opposite direction. I have seen the genuinely empathetic suddenly start filling up their friends’ Facebook newsfeeds with 12 daily pictures of their newborns (all, surely, the same picture). I have seen the genuinely interesting and funny suddenly unable to talk about anything but nappy rash.

But has she seen or heard iDave do it when he’s Prime Ministering or whatever it is he thinks that entails?  If the answer is no then what point is being made here?  Anyone?  Oh, wait.  I forgot.  This is a lefty rag so what I’m reading is anti-Tory spin, not informed opinion.

The problem is that having children completely shifts your priorities. It makes you more grasping (on their behalf) – which makes the warm and fuzzy image rather odd.

Call me blind but I don’t recall seeing any shift, significant or otherwise, in iDave’s political viewpoint when his daughter was born.  Not even from the sad death of his son. If Ms Gill requires an example of how a politician shifts priorities for an offspring then she should look a little closer to home, to Diane Abbott.  A more appropriate example to illustrate this lefty wibble I can’t think of.

A recent study by the Aalborg University economics professor Michael Dahl showed that the first thing male CEOs do when they have their first child is to give themselves a raise at the expense of everyone else in the company. The research was carried out on a large group of Danish chief executives and found that when they had a child, their pay went up by an average of 4.9 per cent. The rest of the company were paid about 0.2 per cent less.

Michael who?

So what’s he said that has got Ms Gill’s thong in a twist about political leaders and parenthood?

Motivated by a growing literature in the social sciences suggesting that the transition to fatherhood has a profound effect on men’s values, we study how the wages of employees change after a male chief executive officer (CEO) has children, using comprehensive panel data on the employees, CEOs, and families of CEOs in all but the smallest Danish firms between 1996 and 2006. We find that (a) a male CEO generally pays his employees less generously after fathering a child, (b) the birth of a daughter has a less negative influence on wages than does the birth of a son and has a positive influence if the daughter is the CEO’s first, and (c) the wages of female employees are less adversely affected than are those of male employees and positively affected by the CEO’s first child of either gender. We also find that male CEOs pay themselves more after fathering a child, especially after fathering a son. These results are consistent with a desire by the CEO to husband more resources for his family after fathering a child and the psychological priming of the CEO’s generosity after the birth of his first daughter and specifically toward women after the birth of his first child of either gender.

Errr…That’ll be sweet FA then.  Dahl is writing about the behaviour of newly parented leaders of Danish industry and business.  I don’t see anything about politicians there at all.  So, WTF is Ms Gill banging on about?

If it’s a boy and a firstborn, male employees suffer particularly –wages going down by about 0.5 per cent. Interestingly, though, the effect is muted when the baby is a girl. Fathers of girls take a smaller pay rise (3 per cent) and give their female employees a tiny average raise.

Spontaneous physog/palm interface.

According to the researchers, the odd gender differences here are probably a mixture of straightforward competitiveness (with the men) and a raised awareness of the pay gap (which, though small, still exists in Denmark) that could now affect their daughters. They speculated that the results would be more exaggerated in the US but privacy laws made it too hard to get the right information.

Talk about losing the plot…

It’s an interesting study as it broaches the idea that caring about your children doesn’t necessarily translate into caring about anyone else. It might be time to give the childless a chance at promotion.

I don’t think so, Ms Gill.  Who the Scammel wants another Edward Heath in Number Ten?

It is clear that Professor Dahl’s latest book bears absolutely no relevance to British politicians who are fathers.  However, that hasn’t prevented Ms Gill from weilding it like a piece of Fabian two-by-four.  I know that progressives believe that the State is both mother and father but attacking Cameron for being a parent is both snide and pathetic.

Clearly Ms Gill is an expert an irrational animals.  She puts lipstick on one every morning.

Israeli Elections 2013.

The balance of power will be held by a political party headed by a television presenter (the son of a another media type) who has promised everything (education, health, housing) to everybody – and who is known (even to his actual supporters) as “Pretty Boy”.

Anyone want to explain how Representative Democracy is a good thing?

Two bad cases of the DTs

From The Telegraph on the subject of the predecessor to the Bloodhound SSC project…

Thrust SSC was, at 4m wide and 10 tonnes – powered by twin Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines, more commonly found beneath the wings of an F-4 Phantom II jet aircraft – an unwieldy beast. Rather than simply tweak its design, Noble and Green opted to begin from scratch. A slimmer, lighter car could, they reckoned, significantly outstrip Thrust. But first they needed jets.

This is what an F-4 Phantom looks like:

Do you see any engines under the wings? Now obviously I knew this already but finding that (and many more) images took 5s with Google. And it’s not like it’s an obscure ‘plane so anyone writing on this sort of stuff ought to know anyway.

If I were editor of the DT I’d carpet Mr Ross for such sloppy idleness. Now I’m a fair man so I’d give him a start before I released the hounds and wouldn’t spray his genitals with aniseed first. I reserve that as a unique punishment.

The second is this gem of bollocks reporting and woo-woo headlining.

Look, you numpty, this is what the USA thought of doing… They were going to detonate a kT range-yield nuke (I hate the term “atomic bomb” which is used in the article) to show the Soviets that the USA could hit the Moon or even in principle weaponize it. Bear in mind this was the ’50s when serious popular science journals were considering the (stupid and unworkable) idea of missile batteries on the moon. Unworkable because it took an entire Saturn V rocket to get three men there and stupid because it took three days to get there (or back). Who wants to launch a nuclear strike giving the other side that much notice? Of course in those days small (and not so small) boys were reading action comics in which the USMC (Space Division) and the Spetznaz (Space Division) would be slugging it out (with ray-guns, natch) over Copernicus Crater.

It all goes back perhaps to Arthur C Clarke (and maybe John Wyndam) and the concept of orbital weapons. Again a militarily ridiculous concept if you think about it*. Ultimately technical, military and economic logic won though against SF dreams and the sub-orbital ballistic missile was born. Couple that with a nuclear powered submarine and you have a far more potent weapon at orders of magnitude less money. You think a Vanguard or Ohio class submarine is expensive? Compare with the cost of building nuclear silos on the Moon…

I guess it hit a popular Zeitgeist based, perhaps, on the feeling that we’d gone from the Wright brother’s stick and string to Sputnik in half a century and from lobbing hand-grenades from primitive biplanes to Little Boy in even less time.

“Everyday it’s a-gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a roller coaster”

-Buddy Holly.

Perhaps it’s also down to other little boys fantasizing about using their ray-guns to waste some tentacled horror and win the heart of the alien princess who might be green but that’s OK because she has unfeasibly large breasts (that’s Zero-G for you!). Seriously, the interaction between popular culture, fashion, trends in aerospace and governmental policy can’t be underestimated. Perhaps whoever wrote this Telegraph schlock was one of those little boys but of course this persisted long after the ’50s. Consider two films from about 1980. There was a sort of proto-”Deep Impact” movie (I forget the name) which featured pre-existing Soviet and US nukes being turned against an incoming meteor or some such and also of course “Moonraker” with the USMC in space-combat with Drax’s mob. Drax also has deadly weapons in space. Of course he does! And he wears a Mao suit.

Instead we had Apollo. You know they left medals commemorating lost cosmonauts as well as the astronauts who died in the Apollo oxygen fire?

Back to Earth! The wider problem I see with this hopelessly sloppy reporting on aerospace related issues by the dear old DT is that this is a subject I know a lot about. And it isn’t just the DT. They are all at it. The contempt the MSM scribblers show for basic fact checks and employing anyone competent** in the first place is staggering. And this is something I know about so I can chortle but what about the huge numbers of things I don’t really know about? That’s a worry. I don’t have the internal knowledge to appraise immediately nor the time to acquire it. They can’t sell me a load of pony on certain things but on others… And the same dear reader applies to you. None of us are polymaths anymore.

But as to the aerospace specifically, suspect deep-down it is a symptom of an ingrained belief amongst the “serious” papers (the ones without unfeasibly large breasts – more honest – you know where you are with a tit) that the really important stuff only happens between Whitehall and Wapping and getting actual facts – easy, non-controversial, non-debatable facts correct about all that nasty, complicated stuff with “like sums with letters in them” doesn’t really matter to their journalism trained minds. Something Michael Gove said is ever so much more important. No. It. Isn’t. When the Govester and his EBacc are mere footnotes in Hansard (some other wanker will be re-arranging the deckchairs by then anyway) studied only by the dullest of graduate students people will remember Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins.

Well, that tech-stuff does matter and I’d much rather read something written by someone with no qualifications in journalism but an understanding of the area they are reporting on anyway. As I said, in many areas I don’t know what to think because I don’t trust what I read not just because it is propaganda or lies or deranged opinion but because I can’t accept the basic, verifiable, “truths” they use within the piece as real or otherwise because I know how sloppy they are on things I do know because I know they don’t even care to find out an F-4 Phantom has fuselage mounted engines rather than under-wing ones. I’ll leave the penultimate words to a quote from Bertrand Russell (I think this is about right),

I’d rather be reported by my worst enemy in philosophy than someone ignorant of it.

Quite, Bert.

Without facts to argue from analysis and opinions are devoid of meaning. Without a respect for facts analysis and opinions range from doubtful to disingenuous to out-right “Noble Lies” (in the Platonic sense).

I want to know truth and not an unreality built upon a lack of genuine, objective facts. Every ignoring of reality (whether deliberate or through idleness or stupidity) contributes towards an “invented reality” so let’s ultimately hear from Jorge Luis Borges.

Ten years ago, any symmetrical system whatsoever which gave the appearance of order — dialectical materialism, anti-Semitism, Nazism—was enough to fascinate men. Why not fall under the spell of Tlön and submit to the minute and vast evidence of an ordered planet? Useless to reply that reality, too is ordered.

- Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

PS. I know this rambles. I’ve spent too long on it.
PPS. I know (see PS) this is posted after Levenson introduced (BBC – “His long-awaited enquiry results”. Not by me it wasn’t. I wasn’t calling for the DT to be taken to task by the “Regulators” (think Western movies) over these inexcusably bad pieces of journalism. No. I was calling for the likes of us to point out and laugh because, like a small boy who sees a potentate in the nip.

*Either geostationary over Moscow and DC or in predictable orbits or burning lots of fuel to vary orbit which would mean a very limited life-span or some form of space refueling.
**In the first article there is some wibbling about “Computational Fluid Dynamics”. Clearly the author hasn’t a clue what he is on about.

Support Mitt Romney – says Paul Marks.

Yes I know this means that Governor Romney is doomed. My support tends to have that effect…

I also know that I have been attacking Mitt Romney for years.

However, the endorsements of Comrade Barack Obama by Mayor Health Fascist Bloomberg, and the vile Economist magazine, are just too much.

If they are on one side – I just have to be on the other side, saying a “plague on both their houses” will not do.

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