Monday, 17 December 2018

This seems to be a real thing that is real

If Twitter existed in the 1980s, when climate change was just creeping into public consciousness, this degree of cluelessness might - MIGHT - have been forgivable.  In 2018, however ...

It is genuine. The source is a climate obsessive who posts things like, "Funny... millennial climate bedwetting trolls have spent all weekend trying to 'ratio' me because of this tweet. They should instead spend their time learning why CO2 is good and communism is bad."

Saturday, 25 August 2018

New day, new smear - Don't-appreciate-irony-gate

The sun has come up, so I suppose that must mean another dimly conceived attempt to drum up a scandal about Jeremy Corbyn.

Here it is:
Jeremy Corbyn claimed that Zionists in Britain “don’t understand English irony” in a speech that appeared to portray Jews as an alien culture. 
Luciana Berger, a Jewish Labour MP, said that the Labour leader’s comments, caught on camera at a pro-Palestinian event, were “inexcusable” and made her feel unwelcome in the party.
And here is the video of him making these 'inexcusable' remarks:

First, he's clearly talking about some very specific comments made by specific people who were present at a meeting.  We don't know how they acted, so condemning Corbyn when this important information is lacking is grotesque.  I might even say, it's inexcusable.

Also, Corbyn's point was that the people who go on about the "immemorial rights of Jews" to the territory of Mandate Palestine, the "Rights of Jews to a homeland," the right "self-determination" and the "Rights of Israel to defend itself" are attacking someone else for suggesting that Palestinians (the people who were living in Mandate Palestine before Israel and were dispossessed by the creation of Israel) might actually have these rights as well.

As he said, they don't want to study the history of the area - as far as they are concerned, it started in 1948, or possibly even on 1967.  And they don't get the absurdity of their position, demanding the suppression of one group's rights for the advantage of another's.  I'd go further than Corbyn.  I wouldn't call it a failure to appreciate irony.  I'd call it hypocrisy.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Corbyn, Black September et cetera - I was, of course, completely wrong

Just a heads up that yesterday's post, suggesting that the images of Corbyn waltzing about a Tunisian cemetery with wreaths were taken at different times and locations is completely wrong.

While the people in the images do change, and the chain does seem to disappear from one shot to the next, if you look at the background it is clearly the same place; and studying the dents and marks on the underside of the canopy confirms it.

I shall leave that post up as part of the historical record, in which I am sure my ramblings will be very significant.

But, yeah, I called that one completely wrong.

Which takes us back to the question posed in my first post on this: whose grave are they actually honouring?

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

More on Corbyn, Tunis, Black September et cetera

Look very closely at this image:

Corbyn holding a wreath, right?

Note the people standing around him, particularly the two dapper chaps in suits with blue ties. Note the chain on the right, attached to the black post. Note the Check Shirt Dude, one arm draped nonchalantly across the chain that so clearly separates him from the graves or memorial.

Now look at the next image:

Corbyn helping lay a wreath, presumably (as the Mail would like us to think) on the grave of a Black September murdering terrorist.

Again, note the people - the two dapper chaps are still there, and they are joined by Pink Tie Guy and a Mystery Woman. Note the chain.

Now look at this image:

Corbyn making a show of joining in the gestures of respect. This is obviously taken very shortly after the first two images and is in the same location - Pink Tie Guy, the Mystery Woman and the two dapper chaps in the suit appear are still there (the first two just visible on the left) and you can still see the chain attached to the black post - or at least the brass coloured clip that attaches it to the post.

Conclusion - these pictures were all taken in one location and over a very short period of time.

Now look at this one, the one that places him, supposedly, at the grave of a Black September killer (never mind the Mail doesn't identify whose grave it is):

Note how the cast has changed. Pink Tie Guy and Mystery Woman have disappeared. The two Dapper Chaps are still there, but one of them appears to have found time to do up his suit jacked - in previous photos it was open, revealing his splendid belly to the world. Also note that Check Shirt Dude is still there, but the chain that was so obviously apparent, right in front of him, has disappeared.

That would suggest this last photo was taken at a different time and in a different part of the cemetery.

So the implication that Corbyn assisted in laying a wreath on the graves of Black September murderers and joined in a prayer at their graves is very shaky indeed. It looks like he laid a wreath - presumably at the memorial for those killed in the 1985 raid as he as always said - joined in the prayer there, then followed others over to see what was happening at the other grave. Again, confirming what he wrote in 2014. A main wreath was laid at the memorial for the victims of 1985, and he was part of that. Other wreaths were laid on other graves and he wasn't part of that.

But there is no evidence he laid a wreath at the Black September graves, or honoured them. Look at his posture in that final photo - hands in pockets, slouched, typical Corbyn. He isn't honouring nothing there. He's probably wondering if his allotment is being well looked after in his absence.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Corbyn, Black September Graves et cetera

During the election campaign last year a story surfaced briefly about Jermey Corbyn visiting a cemetery in Tunisia and taking part in a ceremony to honour 'Palestinian martyrs'.  The controversial aspect was that - buried in the same cemetery were the bodies of some of the terrorists who kidnapped, tortured and murdered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

October 1 is a poignant day in Palestinian history and is commemorated in Tunisia. This year was no exception as a group of us gathered at the hillside cemetery overlooking the villages and walked down to the town and the beautiful blue Mediterranean where in 1986 Israeli jets screamed in to bomb the relocated headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, causing many deaths.

The offices and buildings were destroyed and once again Palestinians, in exile, became the victims.

The PLO had relocated after the massacres at Sabra and Shatilla in 1982 when Israeli troops oversaw massacres by Phalangist militias at the huge refugee camps in Lebanon, home to Palestinians driven from their homes in 1948.

After wreaths were laid at the graves of those who died on that day and on the graves of others killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991, we moved to the poignant statue in the main avenue of the coastal town of Ben Arous, which was festooned with Palestinian and Tunisian flags.
The story was unearthed in 2017 during the election campaign and repeated with varying degrees of speculation, conjecture and hyperbole.  Guido found the bottom of the barrel, pretty quickly, claiming "Corbyn honoured Munich massacre terrorist", a claim which is not borne out by any of the facts presented in the piece that followed.  In particular, he attempts to conflate the unidentified persons described as being "killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991" with Atef Bseiso, one of the planners of the Munich murders.

Bseiso was killed, possibly by Mossad agents, in Paris.  But this happened in 1992, not 1991 and was a single killing, when Corbyn refers to 'others'.

Three members of Black September were killed by Mossad, in 1991, but not in Paris.  So it is hard to square Guido's interpretation with what Corbyn reported.  As Guido points out, there are no killings attributed to Mossad in 1992 in Paris.  So quite who Corbyn was referring to is unclear.  According to the Indie, The Times asked Corbyn if he meant Bseiso:
According to The Sunday Times, that was a reference to Atef Bseiso, a PLO agent who was involved in the 1972 attack. Mr Corbyn denied this was the case.
The story went away, quite quickly, and the election went about its business.

Now it has resurfaced.  The Mail apparently has obtained pictures and even went as far as to visit the cemetery.  The claim the pictures show Corbyn standing at the graves of the Black September murderers:
One picture places Mr Corbyn close to the grave of another terrorist, Atef Bseiso, intelligence chief of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Bseiso has also been linked to the Munich atrocity. Another image shows the Labour leader apparently joining in an Islamic prayer while by the graves.

Last night sources close to Mr Corbyn insisted he was at the service in 2014 to commemorate 47 Palestinians killed in an Israeli air strike on a Tunisian PLO base in 1985.

But on a visit to the cemetery this week, the Daily Mail discovered that the monument to the air strike victims is 15 yards from where Mr Corbyn is pictured – and in a different part of the complex.

Instead he was in front of a plaque that lies beside the graves of Black September members.
On first glance, the pictures bear out the Mail's implication (never directly stated) that Corbyn was taking part in a ceremony honouring Bseiso, Salah Khalaf, Fakhri al-Omari and Hayel Abdel-Hamid, who are all buried in that part of the cemetery.

But look more closely.

Here are the pictures:

This image clearly identifies the graves occupied by the Munich murderers.  Note the plaque to the right, in front of another, slightly elevated tomb.  The occupant of this tomb is not identified by the Mail.

Now, look at the image of the wreath laying.  You'll see they are standing right in front of that plaque, which the Mails states is "honours three dead men: Salah Khalaf, who founded Black September; his key aide Fakhri al-Omari; and Hayel Abdel-Hamid, PLO chief of security."

Pretty damning, huh?

But look more closely, and read more carefully. First of all, the Mail slyly admits the plaque lies "lies beside the graves of Black September members," not in front of it; it is not claiming the grave behind the plaque belongs to a Black September member.

And (important bit) the photograph clearly shows the wreath has been placed on the tomb. You can see it in the bottom right corner of the photograph.

When you are placing a wreath at a monument, you do not place it BEHIND the monument. You put it in fron of it. This would clearly indicate they were honouring the person or persons in the grave, not the persons commemorated in the plaque; and the grave they appear to be honouring is not identified as a Black September grave. This is all from the photographs the Mail provided and - crucially - the information they chose to withhold.

Now, if that grave contained the body of some heinous individual, would the Mail would have coyly kept that information to themselves? If they knew who was in it and if that person was a rotter they would have told us.

The Mail state they visited the cemetery to confirm the details of the story. You'd think they wold check who was interred in the grave the group was specifically honouring.

So either they didn't bother to find out (poor journalism, verging on the deliberately dishonest) or the person who was being honoured is someone not too repugnant, and the Mail opted to trick casual readers into thinking the ceremony was honouring the Black September murderers.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Corbyn meets with Jewish representatives

So, the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies of British Jews met with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism in Labour. They say they found Labour leader's response wanting.
After a meeting with Mr Corbyn, which lasted more than two hours, the organisations said in a statement: "We are disappointed that Mr Corbyn's proposals fell short of the minimum level of action which our letter suggested. 
"Words in letters and newspaper articles will never be enough. We welcome the fact that Mr Corbyn's words have changed but it is action by which the Jewish community will judge him and the Labour Party."
The actual list of suggestions they presented to Corbyn which they feel he was unforthcoming on are as follows (my immediate thoughts in italics):
  • A fixed timetable to deal with anti-Semitism cases 
Why just anti-Semitism? Why not all cases? Fixed timetables are always problematic as cases can be problematic. If the timetable is not met, what happens? Is the member automatically excluded, or are charges dropped? I don't think that either outcome is really useful.
  • Expedite the long-standing cases involving Mr Livingstone and suspended party activist Jackie Walker
I agree Livingston has been allowed to fester. But this is outwith Corbyn's power. This lies with the NEC. The decision to suspend Livingston 'indefinitely' was taken by the former incarnation of the NEC under Iain McNicol.
  • No MP should share a platform with somebody expelled or suspended for anti-Semitism 
Again, why the special rule for this particular offense? Why not racism or homophobia or just being scum? As it would apply to all members it could make something as simple as appearing on Question Time problematic. It would also hand power to the anti-Semites, who could effectively bar Labour MPs from appearing on any platform, just by being there. Far better to accept that there are times when MPs may have to share a platform with someone objectionable, and hold them very accountable for what they say.
  • Adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism
I probably wouldn't have a issue with that. It is a straightforward definition.  Some people don't like it as they feel it conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, but I don't see it.  If you can't manage to criticise Israel without coming across as a Jew hating lunatic, then you probably are a Jew-hating lunatic.
  • Transparent oversight of the disciplinary process
I'm not comfortable with the idea that internal Labour Party issues are to be made 'transparent' - does that mean public? There are all manner of issues around this. Remember that disciplinary issues can result in someone being cleared - having their reputation damaged by the investigation process would be very problematic. Remember what happened to Carl Sargeant? He didn't even have any allegations publicised.
As you can see, a lot of them rely on unacceptable special pleading or violate principles of natural justice.

I am interested to know if they have issued a similar set of demands for the Conservative party?  Surely they can't be saying there is no anti-Semitism in the Conservative Party, or that its provisions for dealing with it are flawless?

A stronger message would have been one the removed some of the special pleading and focused on all forms of racism or bigotry aimed at the individual; and one that was clearly expected of all parties.  Developing a 'Code of Conduct' for for all political parties to deal with complaints like this would have been more useful than what seems to be their politically motivated campaign to target Labour and Corbyn.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Hannity II

Another conflict of interest / undisclosed relationship type thingy is emerging, involving Sean 'Death of Journalism' Hannity and people who got frequent boosts on his show, without Mr Hannity bothering to acknowledge that he had a relationship with them beyond the studio:
For months, Fox News’s Sean Hannity has promoted Henssler Financial and its Principal and Managing Director, Bil Lako. Hannity has featured articles from Lako on his website, and had Lako appear as a special guest on his radio show. Describing Lako as a “good friend”, and his “financial adviser”, Hannity failed to disclose that he stood to financially benefit from promoting Henssler.

Most recently, Lako wrote an analysis piece on criticizing the cost of the Special Counsel, writing,

“The funding is built into the congressional budget, so if you were really wondering, the citizens pick up the tab. That’s right, a political game funded by taxpayer dollars. Shocker!” Corporate documents and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records have revealed that Hannity is secretly a co-owner of Henssler Financial’s affiliate, Henssler Capital. His advertisement of the financial advisory firm came as the group sought and received millions of dollars in funding from investors.

Buried within Henssler Financial’s 2018 brochure are a list of its affiliates, including Henssler Property Management and the aforementioned Henssler Capital. It states, “[Henssler Capital] is owned by Dr. Gene, Mr. William G. Lako, Jr., Mr. Christopher E. Reeves, and SPMK II, LLC.”

Hannity’s involvement with Henssler Capital is shielded via his use of a shell company, SPMK II, based in Georgia. Shell companies such as the one managed by Hannity are typically able to keep their beneficiaries secret, however when a company enters into a Limited Partnership, the representative of the company must sign official documentation. In 2007, Hannity certified to the Georgia Secretary of State that he is the Manager of the General Partner SPMK II.
I'm sure Sean will quickly and efficiently respond to this, and clear everything up.

Nope, looks like he's using Twitter to grizzle about how the liberal media are on a witch hunt, fixated with smearing good honest Republicans and decent folk:
Dude!  The birth certificate!  The emails!

Another example of Mr Hannity's projection / complete lack of self awareness / supreme mastery of irony.  Or plain brazen desperation to deflect attention away from his increasingly compromised position.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Sean Hannity (hopefully, the fist of many)

Then the other day:  Sean Hannity mourns the death of journalism, having personally viciously stabbed it repeatedly.

Who says Americans don't do irony?

Love the "Coming Up: Newt Gingrich" in the corner. Newts live in swamps, don't they?

And now this:
Hannity declared––and brought up Rush Limbaugh‘s words agreeing––that the media is obsessed with trying to “tear this President down” and they’re going after big supporters like himself because he “challenge[s] their rigid radical left-wing ideology” and “expose[s] the deep state.”

The Fox News host went on to say he’s at least “honest” about who he is and declare, “The media is guilty of every single solitary thing they’ve been accusing me of.”
Someone needs to explain to Sean Hannity what 'projection' means in psychology.

Oh, Sean, I guess this outpouring suggests you know you might be in a little bit of trouble. Still, I guess you've got lots of friends out there, because it isn't like you're a professional rightwing media thug or anything.

"Schadenfreude" is the word we are all groping for.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

More on Labour / Anti-Semitism

So, someone decided to stage a Three Billboards style protest about anti-Semitism outside Labour Party headquarters.

Clever, eh?  That'll show that nasty old anti-Semitic Labour Party the errors of its ways.

Obviously a stunt like that requires a bit off effort and money to stage.  It was carried off by something called "Community United against Labour Party Antisemitism’ aka Culpa.

Their spokesman is someone called Jonathan Hoffman who seems to be quite vociferous on twitter about anti-Semitism and how much he dislikes Jeremy Corbyn.  Beyond his high volme tweeting, Mr Hoffman has a considerable cyber-footprint.

Let's look into some of the organisations that have hosted Mr Hoffman's views, shall we?

  • On visiting the United With Israel website, I was prompted to watch "A moving tribute to fallen IDF soldiers" and asked whether I thought Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel.
  • Harry's Place is somewhere I haven't looked at in years. Glancing in today I see the first article, by 'Lucy Lips' describing Jewish Voice Labour ' as 'Quislings.' Quisling, you will recall, is the fellow who served as a Nazi figurehead in Norway in WW2. Yup, that's someone describing Jews as Nazi collaborators. Wonder if that will get bigged up by Jonathan Hoffman? Or is it only ant-Semitic if Corbyn does it, Jonno?

  • UK Media Watch admits openly (though perhaps disingenuously) that it was established to promote "Fair and accurate coverage of Israel."
  • Z-Word seems to be a defunct, indeed perhaps entirely deleted, blog, run by the American Jewish Committee which describes its mission as "Advocating for Israel and the Jewish People." Interesting they put Israel first ...
Hoffman was also, apparently, chairman of something called the Zionist Federation until 2012, at which point he seems to have been booted out of it for abusing people he did not agree with and for cosying up to the racist English Defence League. I am not making this up.

It was interesting to discover the intriguing connections between an anti-Corbyn stunt and various pro-Israel organisations. This is nothing to do with anti-Semitism, it is obviously a hatchet job on Corbyn because of his pro-Palestinian views and links.

Labour and Anti-Semitism (probably the first of many)

So, you might wonder what has prompted me to stir in my Cthulhuesque slumber?

Today in parliament a debate was held on the issue of anti-Semitism.  Its a rather important issue and one which - you'd hope - would transcend party politics.  Sajid Javid, opening the debate for the Conservatives:

"While I would much rather that this issue transcended party politics [It does, there are plenty of anti-Semites in your own party.  The problem is that you are incapable of transcending party politics.] as other forms of racism have done for a long time, we cannot and we must not ignore the particular concern with elements within the Labour party [but we'll pretend there isn't anything to worry about in the Tory party]. Nor can we ignore the fact that this increasing concern has correlated with the current leader of the opposition, and the waves of activists that have come with him [Even though research has indicated anti-Semitic attitudes have waned since Corbyn became leader and the are less common in Labour now than in the Conservatives. Those activists - also known as young people - are far more likely to reject anti-Semitism than older people, who disproportionately support the Conservatives].”

 Javid uses a debate on a serious issue to attack Labour and Corbyn, and accuses young people of being swivel-eyed anti-Semites. You wonder why young people scorn the Tories?

 He also says, "I thank the leader of the opposition for attending this debate. It won’t perhaps be the most comfortable three hours of debate that he has sat in on, but he makes the most of it and his effort is appreciated for attending. There has, frankly, been a deeply worrying lack of leadership and moral clarity on this issue from him."

Clearly indicating that this is simply going to be a party political attack on Labour, and particualrly on Corbyn; and repeating the false claim that Corbyn is somehow vacillating because he isn't doing things he is not actually able to do.

There are words to describe him, but they can not be used here.

Obviously, there have been constant allegations, insinuations and unfortunate interventions from George Galloway:

(Can anyone recall a post-2004 intervention by George Galloway that was not unfortunate?  why is he even a thing anymore?)

I'll try to post some of my branes on this issue ... and other stuff as well.

I'm sure my thoughts will have as decisive an impact in the matter of anti-Semitism as they have on every other matter.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Gun lover gives up gun

While I will never understand his need to own firearms, I can absolutely emphasise with the gesture he has made.
As an aside, Emma Gonzales seems like an incredible person.

A fortnight ago she was just a normal young adult doing normal young adult stuff. Now she's a school shooting survivor and the figurehead for a major social movement.

I hope she's getting the support needed to deal with both these lifer-shattering events.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Trump on FBI, Florida Killings

Is Trump actually trying to imply Robert Mueller's investigation is root cause of the recent high school carnage?

Mutterings about Musk

Going to try to get into the blogging thing again (ha!) what with anew PM, an election coming up and all that. So today I thought I'd st...