More Fake News

Yesterday morning I saw a headlining story on the BBC about how Donald Trump had tipped a whole box of fish food into a pond full of carp, heavily implying he lacked the patience or intelligence to feed them slowly with a spoon as he was supposed to. I ignored it as the usual anti-Trump bollocks from the BBC but I wish I’d screen-grabbed it because it later disappeared. However, CNN’s coverage remains online:

Trump feeds fish, winds up pouring entire box of food into koi pond

The moment happened as Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe headed to lunch. The leaders were escorted to a dining room that overlooks a koi pond at Akasaka Palace.

As an aide clapped loudly, Abe and Trump tossed spoonfuls of fish food into the pond. Then, with a look of enjoyment, Trump quickly poured his entire box of food into the pond.

Most major news sites have a video of the incident, including CNN and The Independent – which uses the caption:

Mr Trump upends the fish food into the collection of precious koi carp as Mr Abe looks on and smiles

Dozens of news outlets relayed the story and Twitter piled in, with most using a graphic like the one below:

This was the graphic the BBC used, with a similar caption, before the story mysteriously disappeared. So why did they pull it? Because it was fake news of course:

Moments before, Shinzo Abe threw his entire box into the pond and Trump simply followed suit, and all of this can be seen in the unedited clip. But major news channels like the BBC and CNN decided to go with a carefully edited clip which showed Trump looking foolish, and ran it on their front pages. Someone, somewhere in these organisations are quite deliberately making these decisions, abandoning all pretence of impartiality and accurate reporting. What’s amusing is this sort of stuff gets exposed within hours in the modern era, yet still the mainstream media behaves like this and insists they are bastions of truth and knowledge. It’s why Trump’s “fake news” remark was so effective and why the term has become so widely used. I suspect it’s also why Iranian authorities view anyone who work for such organisations with deep suspicion and throw them in jail as political subversives. If they showed the slightest capacity for self-awareness, they’d be addressing these practices immediately.

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Twitter Troubles

Thanks to this, Twitter is in full-on damage control:

US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account briefly vanished on Thursday but has since been restored, the social media company said.

An employee deactivated the @realdonaldtrump account, it said, clarifying that it had been their last day in the job.

The account was down for 11 minutes and Twitter is now investigating.

Now part of this is quite amusing, and I confess had someone done it to Obama I’d be chuckling away. But it’s actually quite serious:

Firstly, the employee is an idiot. Sure, he might gain some street cred with his lefty mates and have liberals fawning over him for a day or two, but Twitter could (and probably should) clobber him for this. “But it’s my last day!” doesn’t provide immunity from sabotage or malicious acts; sure, you can bare your arse on the way out the door but if you were to start interfering with a customer’s account in any other business you’d be in deep shit. Of course, there is also a reasonable argument that perhaps Trump shouldn’t be on Twitter at 3am shooting his mouth off and all presidential communications ought to go through proper, secured channels – but this is Trump, and I can understand why he wants to bypass the mainstream media that openly colluded with his opponent during the election.

But despite all this, and despite Twitter on some measures being little more than a giant playground, it is still a large and influential public company and this latest incident says a lot about how it’s run. One would have thought that anyone with admin rights over accounts – particularly those belonging to people like Trump – would be put on gardening leave the moment they submit their resignation. At the very least, they should have their admin rights pulled. There’s also the question over who is given these admin rights; it appears Twitter doesn’t distinguish between the accounts of high-profile and ordinary people, and a lowly administrator can make changes on everyone’s accounts. I bank with NatWest, but I’d hazard a guess the person who picks up the phone to unblock my card or help me set up a direct debit wouldn’t be able to access the accounts of any celebrities or billionaires who banked with them; they’d have their own account administrators, who would be vetted more thoroughly.

Unfortunately for the Twitter management, this isn’t the only time they’ve been accused of running the company like a students’ union rather than a blue-chip tech corporation. Last week they made the decision to pull all adverts from accounts owned by Russia Today, thus endorsing the rather wild view that such adverts may have swung the election for Donald Trump. Not only is this ludicrous political posturing – Twitter is full of adverts from dodgy regimes, the latest I am seeing is from Saudi Arabia attacking Qatar over Yemen – but RT has responded by saying they were approached by Twitter in the run-up to the election:

RT was thereby forced to reveal some details of the 2016 negotiations during which Twitter representatives made an exclusive multi-million dollar advertising proposal to spend big during the US presidential election, which was turned down.

Do I believe RT unconditionally? Hell no. Do I think it plausible, even likely, that Twitter approached RT at that time in order to secure millions in advertising funds? Yes I do. Do I think the Twitter management would cynically ban RT a year later in order to pander to Democrat politicians? Yes, I do. Even if the Russians are making this up, it doesn’t make Twitter look good.

This has not come out of a clear blue sky, of course. During the election campaign Twitter stood accused, with good reason, of shadow-banning conservative or pro-Trump accounts, i.e. hiding them from people’s news feeds without telling them. Many people believe, again with good reason, that Twitter’s enthusiasm for banning people tends to be directed mainly at those whose views don’t align with prevailing progressive orthodoxy, and liberals are free to hurl abuse with gay abandon in a manner which would get a conservative suspended. As ZMan pointed out in one of his podcasts, Twitter and other social media sites actually brag about how many people they’ve silenced, how many accounts they’ve shut down, and how they are committed to protecting people from the wrong sort of opinions. This sounds very unlike a business interested in making money and a lot more like a bunch of people with an aim to control narratives for political and social purposes.

Finally, you have the farce which is the blue check-mark. Originally it was a good idea, used to verify that an account appearing to belong to someone famous was actually administered by that person. Anyone can sign up to Twitter claiming to be Ryan Giggs, but by verifying accounts with a blue tick users would know which one was officially his. But somehow this morphed into a system whereby even obscure people whose views align with Twitter staff get a blue check mark while world-famous people they don’t like are denied. Julian Assange, for example, has not been verified even though it is clearly him (he puts a blue diamond after his name to highlight this). Now you might not like Assange or agree with him, but he’s definitely someone whose account ought to be verified as belonging to him. Contrast this with a chap called Ben Spielberg who I picked at random: he has less than 10k followers (Assange has over 500k) and seems to be known mainly for running a blog focussing on civil rights and occasionally writing for the Huffington Post.

Equally controversially, Milo Yiannopoulos was unverified by Twitter, i.e. they removed his blue check-mark for reasons unknown back in January, before he got booted off altogether. If the verification was genuinely an indicator of an account-holder’s identity as Twitter claimed, they would not threaten to withdraw it as punishment for expressing forbidden views. I suppose if you inhabit an ultra-liberal Silicon Valley bubble then all of this might seem perfectly acceptable and give you a sense of smug satisfaction you’re improving the world. But when all this is added up, it is clear Twitter is not run by adults nor managed in the vein of a serious, multinational corporation. Their increasingly opaque policies, particularly those to do with breaches of code of conduct and suspension of accounts, are more akin to those of an off-topic message board on a gaming forum or a personal blog than a tech giant with the ear of governments.

What Twitter’s investors make of this is anyone’s guess but I’m with ZMan on this: the smart money got out of there a long time ago. How long Twitter can keep this up will be interesting to watch.

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The Future for South African Whites

I’m reading on Twitter that the issue of “farm killings” has gained attention in South Africa, this being the term used when a bunch of blacks massacre a family of whites who live in isolated rural settlements. This article gives us a clue as to what we’re talking about:

Willemien (pictured below) was only two years old when, along with her mother, she was forced to watch her farmer father stabbed 151 times with a garden fork. Her little feet were dipped in her father’s blood, and she was then lifted up by her baby-soft red hair, and shot at point-blank range through her head. Then her mother was forced to her knees and shot through the back of her head.

So far, so Africa.

At the trial of the family’s six killers, all local black men, a large crowd gathered outside the court in celebration of the slaughter, cheering the killers as heroes and saviours. Women (under the circumstances I use the word women very loosely) danced and sang in excited joy.

Uh-huh.

Farm killings have been going on since the end of Apartheid and I don’t know if there has been a recent upsurge in farm killings which is driving rural folk to protest by blocking motorways, or whether they’re just fed up with being slaughtered while the authorities do nothing and large swathes of the population think they’re racists who deserve it.

Either way, the writing has been on the wall for white South Africans for well over a decade now, and few can be dim enough not to have seen the precedent set by Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. The overwhelming political opinion both in Africa and abroad is that whites have no place in Africa, and they should get out while they can. Is this fair? No, of course it’s not, but this is the reality they need to deal with. It may take another generation, perhaps two, but in the foreseeable future it is a near-certainty that we’ll see South Africa’s remaining whites being forced to leave or face being massacred. When that happens, the rest of the world will look on with barely a murmur. You’re sure as hell not going to get anyone calling for sporting sanctions.

Of course, you have a lot of middle-class South Africans wringing their hands on Twitter and Facebook, imploring people not to make the murders “about race”. Well, that’s a bit late: everything is about race these days, and whereas this was always the case in Africa it is now increasingly true in America and Europe. This is why, when the white South Africans start seeking refuge in these places, they will be turned down by obese, gurning bureaucrats seeped in cultural Marxism with a deep loathing for their own country, race, and culture who are only too happy to admit millions of non-white people who share that hatred and contempt. As the linked article says:

Anyone who believes that, after three centuries, South Africa is not equally the Boer’s homeland simply on grounds of race must have a poor opinion of the rights of far more recent non-white immigrants in Europe – unless, of course, they are total hypocrites.

Stop thinking that refugees are non-whites and ‘seeking a better life’. That isn’t a refugee – that is an economic migrant who tugs at the guilt-strings of a decreasing number of people. The Boers are the most valid refugees I can think of – with no financial incentive to find a safe country, simply the necessity to save their lives.

My advice for young, white South Africans is twofold. Start cultivating ties with Eastern European countries, as there is a good chance they will be the only places where the authorities are not infiltrated to the core by cultural Marxists who will be shrieking with glee at your plight. Secondly, stop the middle-class virtue-signalling over issues like Donald Trump and gun ownership in the US; the more I see it, the more I’ll think you’re complicit in your own demise, and it is highly likely you will one day wish you lived in a regime that had both.

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Fake Outrage, Fake News

Perhaps it’s because I know a lot of soldiers that I don’t find this particularly worthy of outrage:

US President Donald Trump has said a lawmaker’s claim he made a soldier’s widow cry is “totally fabricated”.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson said she was shocked by the president’s comments to the bereaved wife of a fallen soldier.

The Democratic lawmaker claimed he told the widow: “He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”

Ms Wilson told WPLG, a Miami TV station, she heard the president’s “so insensitive” remarks to the widow on speakerphone in a limousine.

Naturally, everyone is falling overt themselves to condemn Trump for a single sentence in a conversation being relayed to us secondhand by a politician of the opposition party who overheard it. The BBC, as usual, is gleefully running it as their headline story.

Context is important, and so is nuance. The way the media is presenting it, Trump rang up the widow, said those words, and hung up. But acknowledging that the young man knew the risks, said in the right way, could be comforting. For example:

I know you can’t see it this way now, but he died doing what he loved, serving his country. You should feel immensely proud of your boy, putting himself in harm’s way to secure the freedoms of others. He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.

It’s a bit clumsy, but then this is Trump (and Obama wasn’t much better once you took away his teleprompter). Unless and until we know the full transcript and the tone in which the words were delivered, this outrage is simply fake news.

Ms Wilson told the Washington Post that the widow, Myeshia Johnson, who is expecting the couple’s third child, broke down in tears after the conversation.

“He made her cry,” Ms Wilson said.

The world’s combined media seem unable to entertain the possibility that she would cry after talking about her recently deceased son regardless.

“Yeah, he [President Trump] said that,” Ms Wilson said. “To me, that is something that you can say in a conversation, but you shouldn’t say that to a grieving widow.

But turning the whole thing into a media circus is just fine, presumably.

“And everyone knows when you go to war, you could possibly not come back alive. But you don’t remind a grieving widow of that.”

Well, actually you might. It is probably of some comfort to a widow that her late husband died as a volunteer who knew the risks rather than some poor sod drafted in against his will.

The full context of the conversation is not known. Ms Wilson said that when she had asked Ms Johnson about the exchange, she said she could not remember.

It sounds as though Ms Wilson has more of a problem with what Trump said to Ms Johnson than Ms Johnson does. Has anyone got her opinion, or does she just wish the media circus would leave her alone to grieve in peace?

The alleged remarks sparked angry comments on social media, with Ms Wilson saying on Twitter that Mr Trump did “not possess the character, empathy or grace to be president of the United States”.

Perhaps sensibly, the US chooses presidents on voter preference and doesn’t disqualify them on the basis of a psychological assessment made by an opposition politician after eavesdropping on a phone call.

This is not the first time Mr Trump has found himself in an imbroglio over US veterans.

He also engaged in a racially charged feud with the parents of decorated army captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

A feud that was kicked off when Khan’s parents were wheeled on stage during the Democratic National Convention and his father promptly attacked Donald Trump. Strangely, the BBC left out that part.

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Trump is a Puppet of [Insert Country]!

From the Washington Post:

Erdogan’s government began cultivating Donald Trump’s team before the election. Michael Flynn, then a campaign aide, was hired as a pro-Turkey lobbyist, and his firm continued to receive Turkish money during the transition. After Flynn resigned as national security adviser in February, the Turks began working with Rudy Giuliani, a close Trump adviser.

So, having utterly failed to turn up a shred of evidence of collusion with Russia, those who don’t like Trump move the narrative effortlessly onto collusion with Turkey.

Is anyone sane still listening to this crap?

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What Passes for Journalism

Two examples of shoddy journalism that irked me.

The first, described on Twitter as being an example of “Tory values”:

In a bid to crack down on so-called ‘health tourism’, 20 NHS trusts across the country have taken part in a government pilot scheme to trial identity checks for patients. The results of the pilots are due to be published later this year, but doctors, patients and health organisations have spoken to Politics.co.uk to raise serious concerns about the impact they have had.

“One of the worst cases involved a pregnant French woman who was of Asian descent,” one doctor says. “She arrived for a routine scan and was asked by reception staff if she was eligible for free care. She told them that she was French and had never needed to provide ID before. The receptionist told her that she didn’t ‘seem French’ and called the Paying Patients department to question her further.

“The woman was so upset by what was happening that she had a panic attack. I was called to check her over. I had to tell the Paying Patients department to leave the room because they had upset her so much.”

Sorry, but this doesn’t pass the smell test. Firstly, French people habitually carry ID with them everywhere and I doubt it’s a habit they ditch when they move to the UK unless they’ve been there many, many years. And to access the healthcare system in France they need to produce a separate carte vitale, which most French people carry in their wallets alongside their ID. It is therefore highly unlikely a pregnant French woman went to a hospital expecting treatment without bringing some form of ID. It is even less likely she had a panic attack on being asked for some.

Secondly, I have a hard time believing a hospital receptionist said she didn’t “seem French”: this isn’t the 1970s, and even the NHS would have given their receptionists some rudimentary training as to how to deal with those without ID. According to the journalist who wrote it, the doctor witnessed the whole thing – yet later she says he or she was “called to check her over”. Did the doctor stand idly by as this woman went into a panic attack, waiting to be called over? And who called her? Or was she actually out of earshot when the “didn’t seem French” remark was made (which I suspect is more likely) in which case who are we relying on for the quote?

This whole thing looks to me like an embellished story fed to a gullible reporter by an anonymous doctor who doesn’t like the policy. As a piece of journalism, it fails to establish key details of the story and doesn’t make sense even on a superficial level.

The BBC, reporting on the withdrawal of subsidies to health insurance companies, doesn’t do much better:

US President Donald Trump will end subsidies to health insurance providers designed to help low income households, as he continues his attempts to dismantle Obamacare.

The White House announced the move hours after Mr Trump signed an executive order allowing the sale of health insurance plans which are exempt from some of the law’s regulations.

The announcements come after Congress repeatedly failed to repeal Obamacare.

They were instantly criticised.

Democratic Party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement denouncing the end of subsidies as a “spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage” which would harm the poorest citizens.

Meanwhile, critics of the initial announcement argued it could de-stabilise the Obamacare market by encouraging healthy consumers to leave their current plans, prompting a spike in premium costs for older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions.

According to a statement from the White House, the subsidies, which run into billions each year, were not legal.

This might come as a surprise to the BBC, but rulings on legality are not made in the White House but in courts. As the Washington Post reported last August:

Republicans have long protested the payments, and in late 2014 the GOP-led House filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration, contending that the subsidies were unconstitutional because Congress had not made a specific appropriation for them. Last year a federal district court ruled in the House’s favor, and the Obama administration appealed the case to the D.C. Circuit.

All Trump has done is stop the appeal. The illegality of the payments is therefore not a matter of a White House statement, implying its merely Trump’s opinion, but something ruled upon by a federal court. It’s yet another example of Obama deciding to do things on his own without consulting Congress, as he was constitutionally obliged to do. Not that you’d know that if you relied on the BBC for information.

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More on Harvey Weinstein

Commenter Stephen K responds well to my previous post on Harvey Weinstein:

Contra our host’s idea that this will be big, I think it will blow over. Nothing will happen. None of Weinstein’s (former) fans and enablers will change their views (at most they will go a bit quiet for a while, until they can change the subject). Hollywood will use this as the opportunity to bravely make films about sexual abuse in which they bravely depict conservative/ traditionalist men as abusers. These films will be highly praised as topical and (of course) brave. It is a matter of days, if not hours, before someone writes an article explaining that “the Weinstein scandal is all the more reason why we must redouble our resistance to the misogynistic regime of Trump” which will get retweeted a million times. We have seen it all before.

I agree with this of course, mainly because it is already happening. Today Newsweek asks:

Who hates women most? Pence, Trump, or Weinstein?

And there was some woman on the BBC this morning whose take on the whole thing was that misogyny is everywhere and needs to be rooted out, presumably to the benefit of women like her who, if her remarks were any guide, would be out of her intellectual depth sweeping floors in the local chippy.

As Stephen says, we’ve been here before, and sleaze in Hollywood is nothing new. There is a reason why actresses are the butt of crude jokes involving bishops and seen as one rung above prostitutes, and why no self-respecting father would let his young daughter anywhere near a film studio let alone the hotel room of a fat, greasy producer. You’ll note that books are filled with stories of women who ran away from home to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood, and didn’t let their parents know where they were going.

However, back then actresses were not pretending to be the conscience of the nation as they now are. Had an actress in a previous era attempted the sort of self-righteous posturing Meryl Streep engaged in at the last Oscars, the laughter of the men in the room would have been heard around the world. Actors like DiCaprio would have fared no better, either. One of the things Friends got spot on was portraying Joey Tribbiani as actors are: nice looking, good at speaking words someone else has written, but otherwise rather dim. The Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar! made the same point as well.

But actors and actresses spouting political nonsense wouldn’t matter so much had the Democrats not wholeheartedly embraced them and taken their vacuous endorsements seriously. At times it looked as though Democrats with ambitions of high office were taking their leads from air-headed celebrities, seemingly star-struck in their company.

But even that wouldn’t matter so much had the Democrats not made women’s rights, sexual assaults, and misogyny a central issue on which to attack their political enemies. But they have, and now any criticism coming from liberals on the subject can be countered by simply saying “Here’s a pic of you and Weinstein, and you knew full well what he was like.” Sure, they will say that Trump and Pence and everyone else are just as bad, but all that does is put them on the same footing and liberals can’t fight from there. Without a moral high-ground to posture from, liberals can barely muster an argument.

Following Trump’s win, the Democrats have lurched even further towards the loony-left end of the political spectrum, with centrists (assuming there are any left) ceding the floor to nutters like Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. Worse, Hillary simply won’t shut up and go away and nor will Obama, making it impossible for anyone sensible to rally the handful of sane Democrats left and mount a challenge for the 2020 election. Although it’s tempting to believe that all female Democrat voters are deranged lesbians or single women in Brooklyn who own a lot of cats, there are plenty of normal women who vote that way too. I’m sure a good portion of these will be appalled at the hypocrisy and enablement of sexual abuse that is on display here, and won’t be persuaded by the excuses and whataboutism pouring forth from those compromised. These women will have been put off voting for Trump because he’s a sexist pig, and that portion who don’t put politics above absolutely everything else will be pretty unhappy that their own party is behaving the same way or worse.

What the Democrats need is a proper house-cleaning that gets rid of the Clintons once and for all, puts the Obama era behind them and drags the party back into the realm of electability leaving Warren and her ilk ranting harmlessly from the sidelines. That means tackling some of the issues that drove people to vote for Trump – jobs, immigration, terrorism – but also getting shot of the lunatics that stop these issues being talked about. The Democrats will always need the media but they can be tempered; they don’t need batshit insane Hollywood celebrities with failed marriages, bad tattoos, and cocaine habits.

On this blog it was Bardon (who else?) who asked:

I think the question is why now, and why was it the NYT that took down this Godfather at the top of the power structure?

My guess would be that a faction in the Democrat party looking to move it towards the centre has decided to use Weinstein’s abuse of women to strip the Clinton and Obama factions of credibility, clearing the way for them to take charge. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the NYT has played their role, having been approached by this new faction well in advance of the interview that started the ball rolling. Let’s see if they run any articles calling for “reforms” or “pages to be turned” and “new eras to be embraced” by the Democrat party in the coming weeks and months.

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On Harvey Weinstein

I have a feeling that this Harvey Weinstein story is going to be huge. It’s not that he was a sleazy Hollywood producer with a well-worn casting casting couch; that sort of stuff has been going on for ages. Nor is it that lots of people around him knew it was going on but covered it up; that too has been going on for ages. It’s more to do with who covered it up.

Since as far back as I can remember, Hollywood in general, and particularly famous actors and actresses, have been fully supportive of liberal, progressive politics and openly hostile to Republicans and conservatism. They worshipped at the feet of Barack Obama and went into meltdown over the election of Donald Trump. They have portrayed themselves as the moral arbiters of the nation, leading the way into a progressive new world by adopting every trendy cause going: Leonardo DiCaprio on global warming, Mark Ruffalo on fracking, Shia LeBeouf on anti-Trump, God knows how many actresses turning up in support of Planned Parenthood and other feminist-driven organisations. This culminated with Meryl Streep’s excruciating Oscar speech in which she positioned Hollywood celebrities like her as the shining beacons of hope in a country which would otherwise be nothing but ignorant white men watching football.

The Democrats, of course, have welcomed this unquestioning support for years, happy to hob-nob with Hollywood stars at swanky parties in New York and LA and receive millions in campaign donations along the way. Hollywood, Democrats, and liberal politics have become so intertwined it is almost impossible to separate the two. Also entangled in the whole lot is the media, which is largely the publicity arm of the Democratic party, and hence also firmly in bed with the Hollywood moguls. When Trump ran for president, everyone on the left – Democrats, the media, and Hollywood stars – lined up to condemn his misogyny and ill-treatment of women when the Access Hollywood tape (several years old) was mysteriously leaked at a crucial point in his campaign. This triggered the feminist-driven anti-Trump movement which after his election organised huge protest marches in support of women’s rights which they claimed were being eradicated under an administration which wasn’t even a week old. Several prominent Hollywood celebrities spoke at these highly-political marches, more attended, and the media gave them fawning coverage.

Now it appears that these same people have not only been close friends with a serial sexual predator, but they have been actively covering up his activities for years. The dyke was breached when Ashley Judd spoke to the New York Times about Weinstein’s behaviour towards her early in her career. Ironically, Judd subjected the masses to an unhinged political rant at the Washington Women’s March last January; one wonders why she chose to attack Trump – who she’s probably never met – than lodge a complaint about the man who actually abused her. I’ll get to the answer later.

Since then, the floodgates have opened. Several more prominent actresses have come forward with tales of abuse at the hands of Weinstein and with it dozens of pictures of actors, celebrities, and Democrat politicians cosying up to him while showering him with accolades. This would be less damaging were everyone in the dark as to what he was up to, but evidence is pouring in that his demands for sexual favours from young women was Hollywood’s worst kept secret. It was so widely known that Seth MacFarlane even joked about it at the 2013 Oscars, and everyone laughed.

It’s hardly surprising that few of these young women came forward to report him, and tempting though it is to point out that Judd only went to the papers once her career was over and her money earned, it is unfair. Yesterday an audio recording emerged of an encounter between actress/model Ambra Gutierrez and Weinstein. The conversation was recorded as part of an NYPD sting operation into Weinstein’s behaviour, and Gutierrez – who had been groped by Weinstein the day before – made the recording on their behalf. Weinstein admits on tape to inappropriate behaviour the day before, but the New York District Attorney – one Cyrus Vance Jr – decided to quash the case. If police recordings weren’t enough to bring about meaningful intervention into Weinstein’s behaviour, the mere word of a young woman wasn’t going to. As a measure of Weinstein’s clout, I read an anecdote on Twitter last week regarding an incident that took place at a very public event in New York. Some reporter had upset Weinstein and he grabbed him around the neck and basically threw him down some steps. Despite the dozens of photographers and cameramen around, not a single shot of the incident was published: nobody would dare.

Of course, covering up is one thing, actively defending the guy another. According to today’s Independent:

It’s been alleged by The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman that she investigated the accusations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein 13 years ago while reporting for The New York Times in 2004.

She claims this piece was cut from the paper due to both The Weinstein Company’s presence as an advertiser and alleged meddling by major Hollywood players including Matt Damon and Russell Crowe.

We also have this report from the New York Times which really doesn’t make Brad Pitt look too good after his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow was propositioned by Weinstein:

She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she said.

So Pitt knew about Weinstein since the time of this incident, which would have been around 1994, and said nothing. However, skeptics might point out that Paltrow wasn’t so traumatised that she couldn’t work with Weinstein afterwards in her defining role in Shakespeare in Love. Also in the NYT piece comes news that Weinstein also made unwanted advances on Angelina Jolie.

Okay, here’s the thing: I can understand why a young, unknown actress might not speak up about Weinstein, but Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow? Why are they only coming public with it now? Jolie has been one of the most powerful people in Hollywood for years, and Paltrow has been famous enough to brush off Weinstein for at least as long. Why did they not speak up sooner? And while we’re on the subject, why  haven’t these right-on Hollywood men responded to the Guardian‘s request for a comment:

The Guardian contacted more than 20 male actors and directors who have worked with the movie mogul over the years, some of whom have projects with Weinstein. All declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries about the accusations that the producer sexually harassed women over a period of nearly three decades.

The list of industry figures thus far remaining silent includes a number of male directors, such as the Oscar-nominated Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, the Hateful Eight) and David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, Flirting With Disaster), who have both made numerous movies with Weinstein.

The liberal film-maker Michael Moore, currently working with Weinstein on a documentary about Donald Trump, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Here’s why. Firstly, nobody gives a shit about one another in these circles. Actors and actresses by nature are narcissistic, selfish assholes and would happily stab one another in the back to get ahead. Ditto Democrats and most of the media. That vicious, vindictive, nastiness that is ever-present among public figures who champion liberal politics – particularly celebrities – doesn’t simply disappear once they’re around friends. They don’t have any friends, just people they can use for now. I see Weinstein’s wife has just decided to leave him, as if she had no idea what he was like before. The directors of his company have fired him only because the public found out about his behaviour, not because they did. Paltrow and Jolie and all the other long-term, highly-protected A-listers are speaking out because as of this week it became the smart thing to do reputation and career-wise. Before that, they were happy to stay silent as women were abused and propositioned just as they had been when younger. So much for female solidarity.

The second reason is politics. For all the talk about Republican and right-wing misogyny, nine times out of ten any public figure caught abusing women in America will be a Democrat or one of their chief supporters. The notable exception is Donald Trump, but sharp-eyed observers will point out that he was a big pal of the Democrats throughout the entire period any bad behaviour was alleged to have taken place (and I wrote about his supposedly excusing sexual assault here). Only once he turned Republican did his misogyny become an issue. One thing this unfolding story about Weinstein will prove once and for all is that Democrats, liberals and their media lackeys will ignore, accept, and defend all manner of disgusting, sexually-abusive behaviour from men provided their politics conform with theirs. We could mention Roman Polanski, or Antony Weiner, or Bill Clinton; provided they are on the liberal, Democrat side of politics, anything is acceptable. But if you’re a Republican and you say you wouldn’t have dinner alone with a woman who wasn’t your wife, the liberal establishment goes into hysterics about misogyny and marches in protest, accusing you of “attacking women”.

I don’t know why Judd finally broke ranks and spoke to the NYT, but now the cat is out of the bag even his politics can’t save him (although some are trying, and others are rapidly backtracking). The liberal mouthpieces have now smelled blood in the water, a chance to take down an old, white guy, polish their third-wave feminist credentials, and push the narrative than women everywhere are subject daily to horrific sexual exploitation by male bosses. Presumably they think nobody will notice they covered it up for years purely because he helped their careers and espoused the right politics.

Commenter Phil B asked me yesterday why I continued to fisk the nonsense that Laurie Penny writes, and this is my answer. In yesterday’s post I commented on how she is happy to remain friends with somebody with a history of sexually assaulting women because she approves of his politics. In the post the day before I recalled how she allowed her rapist to get close to her because “he was a fun-loving, left-leaning chap who was friends with a number of strong, feminist women” she admired. Yet Laurie has decided that it is ordinary, decent, conservative men that are the problem – just as Hollywood celebrities, Democrats, and liberals say it is.

This Harvey Weinstein story is not just about Hollywood, it goes to the very heart of left-liberal politics from the top to the very bottom, and you can be sure he’s not the only one behaving like this. Other names will come out in due course, all with a similar history. This is why I think it will be too big to shove under the carpet.

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The NRA Responds

From the BBC:

The National Rifle Association has called for “additional regulations” on bump-stocks, a rapid fire device used by the Las Vegas massacre gunman.

The group said: “Devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”

Republicans have said they would consider banning the tool, despite years of resisting any gun control.

Lawmakers plan to hold hearings and consider a bill to outlaw the device.

The NRA called on Thursday for regulators to “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law”.

This is odd. Before the echoes of the shots had ceased ringing around the buildings that line the Las Vegas strip, reputable newspapers and reporters were confidently telling us the NRA would vociferously oppose any attempts to change existing gun legislation. Could it be they were talking shite?

The NRA’s strategy for responding to the Las Vegas mass-shooting is now coming into focus.

By recommending that an executive branch agency conduct a review of the legality of bump stock devices, the extremely influential gun rights lobby is seeking to direct efforts towards administrative, not legislative, solutions.

This is BBC speak for: the NRA is actually responding in a calm, mature, and responsible manner that we didn’t expect, so we now need to resort to semantics to downplay it as much as possible to avoid us looking foolish.

If Congress were to start drafting new laws, the process may be more difficult for the NRA to control.

The NRA has called for additional regulations. Apparently these are wildly different from new laws.

Democrats, who have been clamouring for the opportunity to debate new gun-control laws, could have their chance. Republican congressional leadership may try to clamp down on the proceedings, but there’s a chance other proposals -like limits on magazine capacity, military-style rifle features and new background check requirements – could come up for consideration.

Ah, so the NRA wants to regulate or ban the precise equipment used in the shootings, whereas the Democrats simply want to use the incident to ram through firearm restrictions which are wholly unrelated. Is that it?

These types of provisions are popular with the public at large but vigorously opposed by the NRA and their supporters in Congress.

As if the NRA is ten guys in a dingy backroom instead of a body representing 5 million members of that same public at large.

The White House and many congressional Republicans are pledging to have a “conversation” about the issue and “look into” the details. That, for the moment, is a far cry from action.

The NRA is now suggesting an alternative route.

There appears to be at least one adult in the room, and it isn’t the media.

In the same statement the NRA urged Congress to pass their longstanding pet proposal to expand gun rights nationwide, so-called right-to-carry reciprocity.

The lobby group wants gun-owners with concealed-carry permits from one state to be allowed to take their weapons into any other US state, even if it has stricter firearms limits.

I presume the gay lobby is fully supportive of this proposal? This is the argument they used prior to the SCOTUS ruling to get states where gay marriage was illegal to recognise their marriage from permissive states.

A bill to ban bump-stocks was submitted to the US Senate on Wednesday by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein.

I bet she’d never even heard the term before Monday, and I’d bet even more she couldn’t competently describe what one is or how it works at the time she submitted the bill.

One of the most popular manufacturers of bump-stocks, Slide Fire, said they had sold out “due to extreme high demands” since the Las Vegas shooting.

And that’s the problem in a nutshell. A running joke during the Obama years was that his portrait adorned the walls of gun shops beneath the words “Salesman of the Year”, meaning his continual threats to enforce stricter gun controls caused millions of Americans to go and buy more guns and especially ammunition. I read an account the other day of guys complaining they couldn’t buy their standard few dozen rounds of ammunition because all the stores had been cleaned out by people stockpiling. America is awash with guns and ammunition, and now it appears bump stocks also. These things are not biodegradable, and confiscating them will be nigh-on impossible. And even if these devices were all destroyed, somebody would come up with a legal work-around within days. That might be why the NRA is happy to see them regulated or banned: it won’t make any difference to its members.

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May in a Nutshell

From the BBC:

Security at future Conservative events is to be reviewed after a comedian was able to get within yards of the prime minister and hand her a mock P45 redundancy notice.

Prankster Simon Brodkin – also known as his TV persona Lee Nelson – was arrested by Greater Manchester Police after briefly interrupting the PM and giving her a sheaf of paper he claimed was from Boris Johnson.

He was later released, with the police saying he had “legitimate accreditation” to attend the event.

Here’s a pic:

You know what grates most about this? Theresa May is one of those authoritarian busybodies who constantly demands extra powers to snoop on our electronic communications and wants to micromanage every aspect of our lives in the name of security…yet she heads an organisation that can’t even manage the simple task of vetting attendees at her own speech and chucking out a troublemaker.

Why is it that those who profess to know what’s best for us, and want to tell us what to do every five minutes, are so utterly incompetent themselves? The sooner the Conservatives ditch May, the better. What a useless woman.

(The stunt itself was about as lame as it gets. This is British comedy in 2017.)

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