Archive for the ‘newspapers’ Category

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Suddenly it’s okay to show “disturbing images” on American TV

August 24, 2013

cnn“Some of the images we are about to show you are disturbing. They include the dead bodies of women and children,” said the CNN presenter, introducing a report on the situation in Syria.  And then she added: “We wouldn’t normally show you images of this kind, but we felt that this was an important story.”

Hmm.

Does that mean that the “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq, in which thousands of Iraqi men, women and children were murdered in their beds by US and “allied” forces was not, in their opinion, an important story? Because I don’t recall seeing footage of dead and mutilated bodies on that occasion. Or, in fact, throughout their “coverage” of that occupation. Instead, they showed us sanitized images of smartly-dressed US soldiers handing out bottles of water to children.

Nor do I recall seeing the bodies of women and children when the US invaded Afghanistan. Anyone watching only CNN’s coverage of that invasion could be forgiven for thinking that no one was killed or injured. Again, all we saw were images of US and British soldiers going out on patrol and chatting to natives. Where were all the dead people?

Ditto CNN’s “coverage” of the drone attacks currently being carried out by the CIA against “targets” in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Again, none of the mainstream news networks are showing images of the dead and the dying.

And where were the CNN camera teams when hundreds of Gazans were being slaughtered by Israeli forces in 2009 and again in 2012? Again, no “disturbing” images from CNN et al.

But now, suddenly, we’re seeing gruesome images of bodies on every channel!
Because this story, according to CNN anyway, is more important than those other stories, in which up to a million people were killed.

It has nothing at all to do with the fact that those other people were killed by American soldiers and American allies, whereas the bodies they are showing us now are people who were killed by Syrians.

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Pasties and Hot Sauce

June 29, 2011


“World’s oldest woman enjoyed pasties with hot sauce”
was one of the headlines on the BBC website this week.

Apparently a Brazilian woman thought to have been the world’s oldest person has died at the age of 114.

“Reports” like this really annoy me.

Are we supposed to infer that pasties with hot sauce is the recipe for great longevity?

Maybe this old lady – well, dead lady, to be more precise – only started eating pasties with hot sauce a month ago, and that’s what killed her.

Maybe if the reporter who submitted this article had taken the trouble to question members of the woman’s family they’d have told him or her: “She was doing fine until she started eating those damned pasties with hot sauce.”

We just don’t know.

It’s like those non-meat eaters who delight in telling you that GB Shaw was a vegetarian, and he lived to the age of 94 (after which, ironically, he became dead meat himself).

Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian too, but they never mention him.

Incidentally, Shaw’s father had a bad squint (is there such a thing as a good squint?) which Oscar Wilde’s father, who was a renowned Dublin surgeon at the time, tried – without success – to correct. So Shaw the elder died with his squint intact. For all we know his family had it framed and mounted.

Anyway, to get back to the point I was making, Shaw was a veggie and he lived to be 94. It’s hardly scientific proof of anything, is it? George Burns smoked fifteen cigars every day for most of his adult life, and he lived to be 100. Are we to conclude that smoking cigars is marginally better for one’s health than living on lettuce?

Turtles are herbivores, and they live twice as long as humans. But are they herbivores by choice, you have to wonder, or because they can’t move fast enough to catch anything tasty? They’re not exactly designed to be effective predators. It’s hard to imagine a turtle sneaking up on a gazelle at a watering hole and lunging for its throat. By the time a turtle crept up on any animal it would already have died of old age.

Unless it was a parrot, of course. Some species of parrot can live up to 100 years. But parrots, like most humans, are omnivores, so their longevity can’t be attributed to not eating meat. On the other hand they don’t smoke cigars, so where does that leave us?

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The social network spy

July 3, 2010

Anna Chapman - Spymistress?

Anna Chapman, one of ten people accused of being part of a Russian spy ring, is being portrayed in the media as a kind of “Mata Hari” figure; a glamorous femme fatale who used her “womanly charms” to insinuate her way into the lives and the homes (and, it is insinuated in the media, the beds) of rich and influential members of American and British high society.

I was particularly interested in her because, like me, she ran – and, as far as I can see, continues to run – a successful real estate portal. Her website – which markets Russian property – is at: www.domdot.ru

I wondered if she had a facebook page (doesn’t everyone, these days?), and, sure enough, it only took me a minute to find her profile here.

Chapman gives her favourite quotation as “Trust no one”, while her “Likes and Interests” are listed as: “Corrections officer, Federal Bureau of Investigation”.
Under “Books” she has “Agatha Christie Novels”, and under “Movies” she’s written “Spy Games”.
For “University” she’s written “Jail”.

Quite the wit for a person in her predicament, facing, we are told, the possibility of life in prison. You’d think she’d be too busy getting water-boarded by the CIA and rehearsing her story with her defense lawyers to take the time to add jokey comments to her facebook page.

Could it be because she knows perfectly well that she isn’t going to spend more than a wet day in jail and is looking forward to a stellar career as a highly-paid TV talk-show guest (or even host)? I’ll give you odds of 100-1 that this savvy spy will be back in Moscow in time for Christmas, where she will be feted as a heroine and a sex symbol.

But hold the fone, Joe! Isn’t Chapman charged with being a dangerous spy? An enemy of the state? In which case how come she’s still at liberty to access the Internet to update her social network profile? Not to mention run a business in Russia? Surely she could be sending all kinds of information and secret messages to all kinds of people in the Kremlin?

Given the high level of security that has prevailed in the US in recent years – in which people have been locked up in solitary confinement just for “looking foreign” or taking part in peaceful public protests – isn’t it a bit odd that Ms. Chapman – or, to use her real name, Anya Kuschenko – is being allowed so much freedom of movement?

And why doesn’t the US president have anything to say about this whole business? So far he has made no comment other than to express the hope that the uproar would not damage the friendship and trust that has developed between the US and Russia.

Friendship and trust, eh?

If Obama bends any further backwards to appease Vladimir Putin, he’ll qualify for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records in the Limbo Dancing category.

It seems to me that there’s something decidedly fishy going on when the FBI catches a network of Russian spies operating in the United States, and it is the Russian president who expresses his outrage!

The (commie?) plot thickens…

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Where did global warming go?

January 20, 2010

According to a report on the BBC website today:

Climate body admits glacier error
A top UN panel gave the wrong date for Himalayan glacier melt, but says it does not change the picture of man-made climate change.

Wasn’t the original claim that these glaciers were melting as a result of global warming? “Climate change” is a different animal altogether, and can include a whole range of factors (radioactive particles in the air, deforestation, oceanic pollution etc.) that have nothing at all to do with the global temperature rising as a result of human-produced CO2 emissions.

In recent months, the term “global warming” seems to have fallen into disuse by most MMGW adherents – and by the media – and the much more ambiguous term “climate change” is increasingly being used instead.

“Climate change”, of course, covers just about every contingency. If the earth warms up, that would be climate change. If a new ice age arrives, that would be climate change too.

As the climate has been changing periodically since the beginning of the earth’s history, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will continue to change in the future. Predicting “climate change” is a bit like backing every horse in a race.

So what happened to global warming? Does the abandonment of this term by MMGW adherents signal a private acceptance on their part that the much-heralded warming might not actually happen? After a decade in which global temperatures have gone steadily down and global ice is still at normal levels; and particularly after one of the coldest winters on record – not to mention the revelation that senior members of the IPCC manipulated data and resorted to blackmail and threats to prevent MMGW sceptics from publishing their views – claims of an impending rise in the temperature are beginning to strain people’s credibility.

Perhaps it’s my imagination, but it looks to me as if the goalposts in this game are on the move, and that pretty soon they’ll be telling us that “it’s not just warming that’s the problem”, and accusing sceptics of putting too much emphasis on “one particular aspect of climate change”.