HMV Doesn’t Shutdown Twitter

Social media gets its revenge:

HMV failure

Snap 2013-01-31 at 17.04.02

Snap 2013-01-31 at 17.04.28

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Socialists, Scarfe’s Cartoon And Inverted Commas

Socialists tend to expound socialism, the view that there is something beyond the bleak and avaristic world that we live in, or at least that is what they used to do.

Nowadays many on the Left have an unhealthy attitude towards one particular ethnicity, Jews.

So watching modern-day socialists discuss the atrocious Scarfe cartoon is not for the faint hearted, or those with any appreciation of antiracism.

Scarfe-Cartoon1

Rather than debate what is offensive, what is racist and why, the discussion in the comments box hinged on whether not is acceptable to put the word, Holocaust, in inverted commas.

One of the posters had objected:

“10. Moderator: putting the world “Holocaust” in inverted commas is highly abusive, particularly if, like me, you know what concentration camp your relatives were sent to.

CJB ought to be banned. He could always go to some Holocaust denial site and post his garbage there.

Posted by prianikoff 30 January, 2013 at 9:48 am”

The moderator finally came out with a bizarre explanation:

“Moderator: putting the world “Holocaust” in inverted commas is highly abusive, particularly if, like me, you know what concentration camp your relatives were sent to.

Prianikoff, I guess you’re seeing a completely united management team here – it’s clear that me, John and Andy agree that aspects of your posts have been abusive.

However: I’m the one who put the “abuse deleted” in yours – and CJB’s – posts.

Let me explain: You can argue hard against him using quotation marks around the word ‘Holocaust’ without calling him a piece of shit. Cos you don’t know why he did it – he used the word twice in his post, once in quotes and once without. That *might* mean he has a nuanced position on the Holocaust as a historical fact, and the “Holocaust” as an ideological industry. I don’t know – but your politics are solid enough for you to be able to put a decent argument in without calling him names.

So, his use of quotation marks isn’t offensive unless he then comes back and starts denying that the Holocaust happened. You didn’t know at the time, and since then he’s come back and given an explanation.

I hold you to quite a high standard as it goes – I told Andy last night that I find you really interesting to read. You can do this without calling people names.

Posted by Tony Collins 30 January, 2013 at 10:33 am ” [My emphasis.]

It’s depressing that many modern socialists can’t see where this type of debate leads or why certain individuals put the Holocaust with in inverted commas. There is an almost complete lack of perception and understanding of how anti-Jewish racists work and their methods.

In the past there was a more direct confrontational approach taken by these racists, but with the advent of the Internet they change their approach, slower, subtler, pushing discussions towards a certain area and seeing who bites. Who takes up or agrees with their anti-Jewish sentiment.

But it is a damning indictment when socialists can’t discuss these issues with any degree of sensitivity, are unable to comprehend the background to real racism affecting Jews, its implications, why racist and bigots purposefully denigrate the memory of the Holocaust. They have truly lost it. By way of comparison, at Engage there is an intelligent discourse on the significance of David Ward’s remarks and where such thinking leads.

Steve Cohen provided plenty of examples of this detachment and ambiguity towards Jews amongst elements of the Left.

Still, I can’t help thinking that socialism needs better advocates. Some that grasp the techniques of the Far Right and salami-style Holocaust revisionism. Particularly those that understand when the **neo-Nazis at Stormfront approve of a cartoon then something is seriously wrong.

[**Warning: Indirect link to neo-Nazi filth at Stormfront as a record of their views.]

Update 1: It might be argued that the above is a poor example, isolated or not representative, however, a similar hostile attitude towards Jews can often be found at Liberal Conspiracy, Why aren’t the usual suspects defending the Sunday Times over its ‘anti-semitic’ cartoon?

Update 2: It seems that the penny has finally dropped and one of the moderators sees the issues, after it was highlighted.

Update 3: I think Norm makes many good points in his Alibi Antisemitism, notably when he argues:

“A second form of the Israel alibi for antisemitism is the plea that antisemitism should not be ascribed to anyone without evidence of active hatred of Jews on their part; without, that is to say, some clear sign of anti-Semitic intent. A well-known case of this second form arose with Caryl Churchill’s play ‘Seven Jewish Children’, following upon Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2008-9. This play puts into Jewish mouths the view that Palestinians are ‘animals’ and that ‘they want their children killed to make people sorry for them’; but that there is no need to feel sorry for them; that we – the Jews – are the chosen people and that it is our safety and our children that matter; in sum, that ‘I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out’. I will not insist here on how this echoes the blood libel; it is enough that Churchill ascribes to the Jews, seeing themselves as chosen, murderous racist attitudes bordering on the genocidal. On the face of it, one would think, this is a clear candidate for anti-Semitic discourse. ” [My emphasis.]

Update 4: It seems that Liberal Conspiracy moderators are filtering out the worst comments from obvious bigots. Most commendable. I hope they continue this approach as they will, unfailingly, touch on related subjects in the next weeks and months.

Update 5: Liberal Conspiracy appeared to be down, but this comment from the Google cache was illuminating:

“Shuggy 12:34 am, January 31, 2013

Oh for goodness sake! Anyone familiar with the history of anti-Semitic imagery and propaganda calls this out of what it is. Those that don’t need to go back to school.

Look, it’s a simple distinction between a right and an obligation; the former doesn’t necessitate the latter with regards to publication. Take three recent examples:

1) The Guardian has the right to publish Burchill’s article but since it was a piece of shit, they shouldn’t have.

2) The Sunday Times has the right to behave like Der Sturmer, I suppose, but anyone with any knowledge of European history would hope they might have more sense.

3) Most recently, we have an anti-Scottish racist cartoon by Steve Bell. I would defend the right of the Guardian to publish it – but obviously as a Scot, I rather wish they hadn’t.

But I’m not that surprised because quite frankly the British ‘quality’ press has a bunch of thugs working in it these days and it would be refreshing if you had something to say about that rather than, “Ooh, Nick Cohen defended this but doesn’t defend that…” You both work for the same increasingly shitty paper, after all – and you haven’t even touched upon the cesspit that is the Daily Telegraph, which is – as they like to remind us – Britain’s best-selling ‘quality newspaper’. [My emphasis.]”

Shuggy calls out the Liberal Conspiracy’s piece as more of a spat between media types than any particular concern for correctly analysing antisemitism.

That seems a fair judgement given the LC’s coverage of such matters.

Update 6: The Guardian contrasts two views on that awful cartoons, however the comments box is as poisonous as ever.

George Galloway on David Ward’s Racism

When I read that George Galloway criticised the MP, David Ward, for using the expression “the Jews” I was pleasantly surprised, although I wondered where was the sting in the tail?

Now gorgeous George has bought out an official statement.

I reproduce it in full, lest it succumb to revisionism and the desire to tidy up some of the more questionable parts:

TUESDAY, 29 JANUARY 2013

Why David Ward was wrong

It’s good that David Ward has decided to support the Palestinians, even at this late stage in his career. He has clearly realised the strength of feeling among many of his constituents. But his timing and choice of words have inadvertently strengthened their persecutors. No British politician has been more closely identified with the Palestinian cause – and for longer – than me. So when I say that the supporters of Israel spend hundreds of hours every week trawling for just such mis-timings and mis-statements it should be heeded.

His statement – now withdrawn and apologized for to save his political position – has provided an unexpected bonus for Israel, from Bradford of all places. The Holocaust is the greatest crime of the 20th Century. Tens of millions perished in it. I repeat tens of millions. Approximately six million of those were Jews, annihilated for no other reason than that they were Jews. It was slaughter on an industrial scale, men woman and children marched into death camps to be gassed, starved, worked to death. Holocaust Memorial Day cannot possibly be the day to make the comments Ward made, even if, in Professor Norman Finkelstein’s words, ‘the Zionists have developed effective means of translating the murders of millions of Jews into the case for Israel’.

But Ward’s words were even worse than his timing. As a teenager I knew of the importance of avoiding the false synonym of Jew equals Zionist and Zionist equals Jew. Many Jews around the world hate Israel and its crimes and are amongst the Palestinians most effective supporters. The greatest Jew, Dr Albert Einstein, famously refused to become Israel’s first president, saying he could not preside over a state for one people whose happiness was to be built upon the misery of another people.

Professor Noam Chomsky, Professor Finkelstein, Professor Ilan Pappe are but a few of the host of towering intellectuals whose support for the Palestinians is vital. Their courage is unmatchable. And they are all Jews.

Thus Ward’s condemnation of ‘the Jews’ is a gross error on every level. Many Jews are not Zionists – religious and secular – and most Zionists are not Jews, indeed many like the crazed Christian fundamentalists of the US bible belt don’t even like Jews. Ward should have said that a state claiming to be ‘the state of the Jews’ is a blasphemy against the Book and a political monstrosity, heaping endless misery on the Palestinian people whose land they stole, expelling them to wander the earth.

If he had done so then, notwithstanding the bitter animus between Respect (and most of the country) towards the Liberal Democrats who keep the Tories in power, we would have supported him. He did not and so we cannot. ” [My Emphasis.]

Galloway, as an employee of Holocaust denial supporting Press TV, has to keep his feet in several camps and I am sure many people will analyse his words in the coming days, but one thing stood out to me:

Ward should have said that a state claiming to be ‘the state of the Jews’ is a blasphemy against the Book

Which is a strange turn of phrase even for Galloway, I suppose Respect Party’s claim to be political is somewhat undercut by this theological piece of demagoguery.

Whatever Galloway’s real views on the matter, I hope he finds the courage to take his employer, Press TV, to task over the ludicrous lies of the Rothschild running the world and the hosting of David Duke’s friends.

Whilst Galloway is, rightly, criticising David Ward he could look closer to home at Press TV’s veteran antisemite, Gordon Duff’s preposterous article trying to blame Israelis for the shooting at Sandy Hook school.

Well, George, why not tackle the very real antisemites at Press TV? That would be brave.

Silvio Berlusconi, Compare And Contrast?

SB1

Recently, we have seen how LibDem MP, David Ward, tried to devalue Holocaust Memorial Day by taking a quick jab at “the Jews”, but Silvio Berlusconi has tried to trump him.

Italy’s ex-Prime Minister wanted to rehabilitate Benito Mussolini, the National Post reports:

“ROME — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi praised Benito Mussolini for “having done good” despite the Fascist dictator’s anti-Jewish laws, immediately sparking expressions of outrage as Europe on Sunday held Holocaust remembrances.

Berlusconi also defended Mussolini for allying himself with Hitler, saying he likely reasoned that it would be better to be on the winning side.

The media mogul, whose conservative forces are polling second in voter surveys ahead of next month’s election, spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Milan to commemorate the Holocaust.

In 1938, before the outbreak of World War II, Mussolini’s regime passed the so-called “racial laws,” barring Jews from Italy’s universities and many professions, among other bans. When Germany’s Nazi regime occupied Italy during the war, thousands from the tiny Italian Jewish community were deported to death camps.

“It is difficult now to put oneself in the shoes of who was making decisions back then,” Berlusconi said of Mussolini’s support for Hitler. “Certainly the (Italian) government then, fearing that German power would turn into a general victory, preferred to be allied with Hitler’s Germany rather that oppose it.”

Berlusconi added that “within this alliance came the imposition of the fight against, and extermination of, the Jews. Thus, the racial laws are the worst fault of Mussolini, who, in so many other aspects, did good.”

More than 7,000 Jews were deported under Mussolini’s regime, and nearly 6,000 of them were killed.

Thus far, David Ward hasn’t past any judgement on Berlusconi’s comments.

I somehow feel that Ward won’t understand the similarities between him and Italy’s grubby ex-PM. Both crass politicians pushing a tawdry agenda.

David Ward MP And Subconscious Themes

Whatever other attributes they might have, we like to think of politicians as having a way with words, a deeper understanding of issues and a certain intellectual subtlety.

That clearly isn’t the case with the LibDem MP, David Ward.

The BBC, rather typically, underplay is the issue:

“”Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”

According to his Wiki entry, David Ward is highly educated and was an academic.

So it at all the more disappointing that he doesn’t understand the use of words. In particular, how he’s managed to blame the world’s entire Jewish population in one fell swoop. Ward doesn’t, as you will notice, criticise the Israeli government or even Israelis for electing them, but “the Jews”.

Such terminology was prevalent in the latter part of the 19th century. Demagogues and political extremists would stir up racial hatred by blaming a country’s or the world’s ills on “the Jews”.

Subsequently, such usage was considered toxic, a remnant of the Extreme Right, but more recently there has been considerable linguistic slippage, with the return of comparable expressions.

Occasionally, senior LibDem politicians have been found in the company of conspiracy freaks and racists like Ken O’Keefe.

But it’s not all words, in the West there is a subconscious theme which seems to percolate just below the surface, a nasty afterglow from the 20th century, something which many people have not truly divorced themselves from. David Ward’s words and usage make that much clear.

Update 1: The CST examines Holocaust Memorial Day abuse part 3: David Ward MP:

“Mr Ward may know exactly where he stands on antisemitism, the Holocaust and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He may be utterly assured of his spotless morality and faultless compartmentalisation of all three issues. He may well have signed the Book of Commitment in order to encourage “constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today”.

Sadly, however, this is not quite how racism works; and neither is it how Jews (nor many others) will react to this latest opportunistic and amoral debasement of Holocaust commemoration.

Update 2: The Daily Mirror picked up the story although don’t add any biting commentary.

Update 3: Paul Evans has written a highly intelligent piece:

“In a stroke such analogies belittle the suffering of the past, obscure our understanding of the present and most dangerously, suggest a kind of retroactive collective responsibility should be carried by Jewish people for their own suffering. “Yes,” they say “Jews suffered…” – you can smell the caveat coming, can’t you? “But look at the suffering they have caused too! Can they really be called victims? Unlike perpetrators of that genocide, Jews haven’t even learnt anything from being murdered in their millions! What is wrong with them?”. David Ward might not have meant all of that, I think he probably just thought he was being clever and decent when his office sent out that press release. But that is the dirty subtext which he bought into – and he should be held accountable for it.

For these reasons, we must be vigilant in calling out and countering such tawdry rhetoric, which helps Palestinians not at all and hurts Jews the world over. It is incumbent upon us to foster an environment in which accuracy and restraint, and not provocation, poison and hyperbole, characterise public discourse on the Holy Land. Most pressingly for this weekend, let’s not allow David Ward MP to distract us from taking time on Sunday, January 27th, to commemorate the people that hatred killed.”

Update 4: Huff Post covers it too, however, the toxic nature of the comments box suggests a wider problem.

Update 5: Sky News reproduces much of the same without a particularly intelligent critique. There is a small video clip of Ward digging a bigger hole doing the rounds. I will post a copy of it when I can find a non-Tory source (yes, I am aware that Guido Fawkes is all over it like a bad rash).

Update 6: Earlier, Ward was on BBC Radio 5 demonstrating an almost complete lack of insight. He plays the martyr and tries to make political capital from it all.

Update 7: Ward has released an updated version of his previous statement, still exceedingly poor.

Update 8: The Guardian’s contribution initially makes Ward out to be the victim, rather than self-absorbed and keen to exploit the HMD 2013 for his own political ends. At the end of the article, however, Ward manages to dig a deeper hole:

“Asked if he accepted that he was accusing Jews, rather than the Israeli state, of inflicting persection on the Palestinians, he replied: “I’m accusing the Jews who did it, so if you’re a Jew and you did not do it I’m not accusing you. I’m saying that those Jews who did that and continue to do it have not learned those lessons. If you are a Jew and you do not do those things and have never done those things then I am of course not criticising you.”

Ward is employing the old “Good Jews, bad Jews” dichotomy, as RationalWiki explains:

Relation to anti-Semitism and Judeophobia

The dichotomy dates back to ancient stereotypes regarding Jews as evil people, particularly those stereotypes spread in Christian-ruled polities. However, due to the focus of the Bible upon ancient Israel/Judah/Judea/Canaan and its inhabitants (and all the purported divine interventions in reality as written in the Bible), it also accords a strong cultural significance (often to the point of obsession) upon anything that has to do with Judaism, Jews or Israel; in other words, in the eyes of those who hold to this fixation, any of the three become dehumanized and turned into tools.

Someone who uses the “good Jew, bad Jew” dichotomy may also be prone to say “b-but some of my best friends are Jewish!”

[My emphasis.]

Update 9: Lib Dem Voice has a thread on it, Has it all gone Jenny Tonge for David Ward? Which is not as bad as it could have been, not brilliant but a few perceptive comments.

Update 10: This guide is for all of those readers who don’t quite understand antisemitism and even those who think they do:

“Don’t use the Holocaust/Nazism/Hitler as a rhetorical prop. The Jews who were murdered didn’t set foot in what was then Palestine, let alone take part in Israeli politics or policies. It is wrong and inappropriate to try to use their deaths to score political points. Genocide, racism, occupation, murder, extermination—go ahead and use those terms, but leave the Holocaust out of it.”

I hope David Ward reads that, stops and thinks for a moment.

Update 11: Jenny Tonge provides David Ward with much needed support:

“Jenny Tonge. 26th Jan ’13 – 7:05am
I do not usually add to the masses of indignation that is published on LibDem Voice, but I must point out that Israel insists that it is the JEWISH State of Israel , which leads to some people assuming that what Israel does is endorsed by all Jews.
Many Jewish people support the Palestinian cause and those of us who try to bring the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli government to the attention of the citizens of this country.
We must not be deterred by the sickening and self righteous indignation that comes from the Zionist Lobby.
David is a fine MP and understands the issues, and deserves our support.”

Unfortunately for Tonge and Ward, many commentators (including one at LibDem Voice, David) can see the issues with a degree of sophistication:

“David 26th Jan ’13 – 8:51am
@ Jenny tongue.

If David Ward understands the issue, why did he not just issue a clarification, rather than become defensive and restate his highly offensive position. He has stood by his comment of “The Jews” as a collective.

This is not a Zionist Lobby issue (as convenient as it would be to make them a scapegoat and deflect attention from David Ward MP’s words).

David Ward MP has had countless times to clarify his statement and has not. Presumably, in his eyes, a British Jew, a citizen of this country, who has no vote in Israeli elections, pays no taxes to Israel, who has less influence on Israeli policy than him, an elected politician, is to blame. We should remember that attacks on Jews in this country rise during tensions in the Middle East., so at all times, we should be using correct language to stop a collective ethnic blame.

[My emphasis.]

Update 11: Engage’s contribution makes a subtle point, how many would balk at generalisations aimed at “the Muslims” or other ethnic minorities, but can’t see the problem when that is applied to Jews, all 14+ million.

Read the original, David Ward, Israel, the Holocaust and the Jews – by Sarah AB.

Update 12: Norm is characteristically evenhanded, but has a marvellous observation:

“So if David Ward is innocent, this is innocence in one of two other meanings than the blameless meaning. It is either the innocence of a political fool, someone who should know better and is culpable for not going to the trouble of knowing better; or it is the dishonest innocence of the person who chooses not to understand what the fuss is about.”

Update 13: The LibDem Chief Whip’s letter, which is rather restrained.

Update 14: Matthew Harris gets to the point:

“It stinks, and it would stink just as much if said about Muslims, about British Asians, or about any other minority group. History teaches us at all costs to avoid the politics of “I blame the Jews”. “

Continue reading

Bigotry at Liberal Conspiracy Goes Unchallenged

Liberal Conspiracy is an interesting and frequently informative blog, however, its occasional forays into commentary on the Middle East often allow racist or bigoted comments to go unnoticed or unchallenged.

That is what happened recently.

Unrelated to the topic, one of the posters started comparing the number of Jewish MPs & the number of British Jews.

As the CST pointed out last year:

The concept of “Jewish entitlement”, whereby Jews (or other minority groups) are limited to a certain number of seats in Parliament according to their numbers, is entirely alien to British democracy. Candidates are supposed to appeal for votes on the basis of their policies rather than assuming “entitlement” because of their religion or ethnicity; and for a party to select candidates on the basis of their religion or ethnicity would almost certainly be illegal.”

There are, broadly, three themes to consider: the roots of this remark, the blog’s comments policy and the wider applicability of this line of reasoning.

Snap 2013-01-25 at 00.50.20

Firstly, it is a very common feature found on the Far and Extreme Right.

Stormfront, the neo-Nazi forum, covered this in January 2012, for the obvious reason that to the hardcore antisemite “one Jew is one Jew too many”.

Antisemitism is predicated on conspiracy theories, of secretive power and supposed manipulation, etc. which underlies the comment.

This is ingrained into the antisemite’s consciousness and an obvious tell-tale sign of their thinking. Anyone remotely familiar with antiracism should have familiarised themselves with these particular tropes, which is why it is exceedingly annoying to find it at Liberal Conspiracy, a left-wing antiracist blog.

The comment (#9) itself is cut and paste from an article by the racist, Stuart Littlewood from May 2010. The essence of the comment is common currency across anti-Jewish and racist web sites as any simple search of Google would show.

Secondly, this is all the more egregious as Liberal Conspiracy prides itself on having a tight comments policy aimed at fostering constructive debate.” [My emphasis.]

I can only assume that moderators at Liberal Conspiracy can’t see the implication of the comment or understand its antecedents.

I had tried to illuminate this issue to those running Liberal Conspiracy, but it seems that the comments policy varies considerably in implementation, although they say:

“We believe in free speech but not your right to abuse our space.
Abusive, sarcastic or silly comments may be deleted.
Misogynist, racist, homophobic and xenophobic comments will be deleted.”

Thirdly, such interjections and conceits are a mainstay of racists. The particular target may vary, but the argument is similar, running along the lines of “there are too many …….[fill in ethnicity] here” or “why are so …….[fill in ethnicity] doing this job”.

In Britain that applies, whether or not the target is Polish immigrants**, Afro-Caribbean nurses or other ethnic minorities.

In short, I think that Liberal Conspiracy is right to provide critiques on the Middle East and related matters, but they should be conscious of how anti-Jewish racism is fostered. They should educate themselves in the various figures of speech and arguments use by the Far/Extreme Right. Their comments policy should be implemented in an even-handed but intelligent manner. Its moderators should be aware, more broadly, of these racist arguments and where they lead.

Finally, ignorance of this type of racism is no excuse, particularly at Liberal Conspiracy.

PS: **Apologies for linking to the Daily Mail, but the atrocious comments connected with the article illustrate my point.

Mali, Ronnie Raygun And Stephen Sizer’s Plight

The headline news on Mali conveys very little. I think it is useful to try and understand the background to events.

Heather Hurlburt argues that Mali’s crisis caused by development failures, not military aid which seems a bit off, but at least it does provide one side of the argument.

Peter Beaumont’s contribution is much better:

“In Mali’s post-dictatorship history, Bamako’s response to these periodic outbreaks of rebellion has, depressingly, remained the same – a “militiatary” policy that meant that different groups armed to neutralise each other. That policy was pursued over a long period even as former peace agreements were largely allowed to slip on their commitments and old grievances allowed to fester.

Indeed, close analysts of developments in Mali have been concerned for almost a decade by the increasing dysfunctional nature of the country’s government, as well as by the re-emergence of Tuareg and Islamist armed factions in the north. “

The New Yorker is pessimistic and sees the next quagmire:

“The situation in Mali dates back to March of last year, when, in a surprise coup, low-ranking government soldiers overthrew the former Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure. Since then, the country has been broken in two, with the lawless north slipping into a hell of medieval-era punishments like flogging, stoning, and even, reportedly, amputations, all dictated by a severe form of Sharia law practiced by the Islamist radicals who now dominate the area. France, the United States, and other Western powers have been nervously watching this unfold, concerned that Mali would become the next major organizational hub and training ground for Al Qaeda. They hoped that the nations of West Africa would intervene on the Malian government’s behalf, but as those countries dragged their feet about doing so, and as the Islamist rebels continued moving steadily into the southern part of Mali, it began to seem that if someone did not take action to halt their advance, it would be too late to stop them. “

Africa is A Country has a good backgrounder, France in Mali: the End of the Fairytale.

Scott Edwards at Amnesty International USA provides a who’s who, which is very handy.

CNN reports on the growing humanitarian crisis in Mali.

I had always appreciated that Ronald Reagan was intellectually decrepit and only capable of repartee when it had been written for him, but I had not realised he could not process information in a written form, as most presidents do.

Apparently, the CIA provided him with simplistic reports and analysis in the form of films:

By chance I read of Rev. Stephen Sizer’s plight on Craig Murray’s sites. It sounds positively miserable:

“That Stepehn is not an anti-semite and has not knowingly endorsed anti-semitism, I have no doubt. But what worries me is the growing bravura with which all critics of Israel or supporters of the Palestinians are charged with the – rightfully – damning slur of anti-semitism.”

Leaving aside the poor spelling and even weaker reasoning within Murray’s post, I imagine he would have had a stronger case if the comments box had not been littered with obvious antisemitism.

I will bet that neither Rev. Sizer nor Craig Murray would be able to adequately explain why that occurred, but this is a very small sample:

[Apologies to readers, as I have left in the links to neo-Nazi and racist web sites, as a public record. It indicates the type of material that is considered fit and proper reading amongst some of Rev. Sizer’s supporters.]

“Cryptonym 13 Jan, 2013 – 12:36 am

I later sampled Behind Communism by Frank L. Britton**, available on hundreds of other websites too, it tries to tell the story of pre, during and post-revolutionary Russian history, not found hardly anywhere else, and can hardly do so without mention of its Jewish population and their huge role, it has a tellingly critical tinge that intrudes on the story…”

It isn’t an impossibility to be anti-jewish with perfect ethical and moral justification, nothing is above criticism, it like all religions simply being a set of madcap ideas, constituting a bogus identity, rammed into impressionable minds and causing permanent damage. It seems any subject matter which mentions the chosen ones, not closed off only for their exclusive consumption, and which isn’t quite the prescribed Hollywood gloss revisionist whitewash version of events -is proscribed reading nowadays. “

[** See below for details on Frank L. Britton.]

Many of Murray’s readers seem to relish the opportunity to digest more antisemitic and neo-Nazi material.

“A Node 13 Jan, 2013 – 1:37 am

I’m with Cryptonym on this one. Thanks BoD and Kempe for the tip-off about this useful resource.
http://www.iamthewitness.com/
Sure there’s some stuff there that’s a bit rabid for my taste, but there is much that seems reasonable comment.

It’s absolutely fascinating and resonates with a lot of my findings elsewhere.
Really, thank you Bod, and particularly you, Kempe, for providing the link.”

“Brendan 13 Jan, 2013 – 1:47 am

Posting a link is now an offence? Blimey.

http://www.holocaustdenier.com/

Smell them apples then.

Note: I do not deny the holocaust.
… “

Holocaust denial and the themes of “Judeo-Bolshevism” are not considered antisemitic by Murray’s poster, although it is a common notion pushed by the Extreme Right and racists, such as David Irving.

“Zona Norte 14 Jan, 2013 – 2:19 am

An anti-semite is someone who hates someone of semitic origin simply because that person is semitic.

I argue, therefore, that it is not anti-semitic:

To deny the Jewish holocaust.
To deny the uniqueness of the Jewish holocaust.
To compare Jewish suffering with that of other peoples.
To point out that Jews figured prominently in the Bolshevik Revolution.
To claim that AIPAC calls the shots in the US’ Middle East foreign policy.
To opposed the existence of the State of Israel.

Such statements or claims may be controversial or dead wrong and could be motivated by anti-semitism but of themselves are not anti-semitic. Refusing a Jew (or Arab) a job because of their race is anti-semitism. Jailing or attacking a Jew or Arab because of their race is anti-semitism. Prejudicial behaviour is the key to anti-semitism. “

[My emphasis.]

“Mary 15 Jan, 2013 – 12:07 pm

Not (fully) reported in the Zionist-controlled corporate media.
…”

etc etc.

[Explanatory note on reference above. Lorne Bair Rare Books notes on Frank L. Britton’s publication, American Nationalist “was the racist and anti-Semitic house organ of Frank L. Britton, a California anti-Communist crusader who was one of the first to detect the presence anti-American influences in Hollywood. Content of the current issues is about equally divided between Jew-baiting and exposure of the plot to “mongrelize” the United States through interracial marriage (also, not surprisingly, a Jewish plot).” ]

I suspect had Frank L. Britton been alive today he’d be commenting on Craig Murray’s site to widespread approval and raising cash for Rev. Sizer’s defence.

Anyone capable of reading should know that the whole “Judeo-Bolshevism” nonsense is the staple of neo-Nazis and hardened antisemites, as are many of the ideas circulating in that thread.

The complaint against Rev. Sizer is here, as a PDF, and fairly damning it is too.

The BOD statement, One Sizer doesn’t fit all.

Update 1: Rev. Sizer hasn’t been slow garnering support enlisting his PhD supervisor, Dr Martin Davies.

Mel Gibson, UKIP And Child Labour in Yemen

Jodie Foster has a new friend, Mel Gibson. Or at least that’s what we are told. Leshu Torchin at Souciant has a few thoughts:

“Moreover, there seems to be some misplaced disdain in a speech that mocks Honey Boo Boo but describes Mel Gibson as a lifesaver. I don’t doubt that there is a deep friendship there, and one that is mutually rewarding, but this was truly unsettling as it made me think of how Hollywood seems to give a free pass to men who beat women. Even if we forget his well-documented racist and anti-Semitic outbursts, this is a man who allegedly punched his wife in the face—twice—one time knocking her teeth out, because, as he states on the notorious tape, she “f*cking deserved it.” And he is not the only one. Charlie Sheen, who has a record of assaulting and abusing his partners (and even allegedly accidentally shooting one), continues to work, starring in the FX show Anger Management. And that behavior is not the violation of the morals clause that got him fired from the TV show Two and a Half Men; no, apparently he was fired because he began to harangue his producers. Insert “WINNING” joke here. Or don’t. “

UKIP always seek to thrive on the loathing of “foreigners”, the up and coming changes in the EU are no exception:

“After Eric Pickles said at the weekend that immigration from Romania and Bulgaria would “cause problems” and could lead to housing shortages, UKIP has wasted little time in exploiting the issue. The party has added a clock to its website counting down the days until 1 January 2014, the moment when transitional controls on migrants from the two newest EU member states expire.”

Child labour in the West is the stuff of Dickensian novels, but in Yemen and elsewhere it is a sad reality:

“SANAA, Yemen (ILO News) – More than 1.3 million children in Yemen are involved in child labour, including 469,000in the 5-11 age group, a new study shows.

This means 17 per cent of Yemen’s 7.7 million children in the 5-17 age group and 11 per cent of those aged 5-11 are involved in child labour, according to Yemen’s first-ever national child labour survey, which was carried out with support from the ILO, the Social Development Fund and UNICEF. “

Ed Balls, Timid Labour And China

Ed Balls is not an impressive politician, not by virtue of his shrewdness, delivering or occasional principles. Still, you might hope of paid politician, someone who does it for a living, would eventually get the hang of it.

But no, Balls doesn’t, as Neil Schofield argues:

“There’s some nice triangulation there. Balls is trying to play both sides of the street on welfare and benefits, and manages to get in a bit of One Nation rhetoric as well. But the point is that his underlying assumptions are both wrong and, in my view, counter-productive.

The problem with Ed Balls really lies in that second quote, where he continues to use the rhetoric of austerity. Austerity is failing, and there is an increasing body of evidence to show why that is the case – I’ve referred to the IMF’s evidence about the multiplier before. The evidence is increasingly showing that we need precisely the opposite of spending cuts, and that any tax increases should fall overwhelmingly on the wealthier, for reasons of both equity and to ensure that they do not damage demand (Balls’ argument that his scheme should be paid for by reducing the pension tax advantages of those on the highest incomes is very welcome, but misses the point – more spending and an end to austerity would increase tax revenues across the economy as a whole). “

Any compassionate person reading the Where’s the Benefit blog would be struck by the ferocity and persistency of government attacks on the disabled, a Testing Journey and If you can only walk twenty metres you’ll get no help :

“When PIP starts to replace Disability Living Allowance next year anyone who can walk just twenty metres will not qualify for help with mobility. Twenty metres is less than the distance most of the disabled parking bays at my local Tesco are from the door. It’s really not much. Hundreds of thousands of people will no longer get a mobility allowance and as a result will no longer be eligible to lease a Motability car. One day it might be you that needs this.

The government has also left out the phrase “safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely manner” from the PIP regulations. This means that if a person can do something just once, or can push through pain to do it, they might not get help and can’t even challenge it at tribunal. “

The Labour Party has a problem challenging the Tories on this issue, they essentially agree with the Tories’ underlying assumptions as Liam Byrne’s thinking has shown.

It’s a pity that it takes The Children’s Society to point out the downside of Tory policies:

“Half a million soldiers, nurses and teachers will have their income slashed under the coalition’s benefits crackdown, according to a new report. The chancellor’s sub-inflation rise in benefits and tax credits over the next three years will hit a whole range of the country’s most trusted professionals.

Up to 40,000 soldiers, 300,000 nurses and 150,000 primary and nursery school teachers will lose cash, in some cases many hundreds of pounds, according to the Children’s Society. The revelation appears to contradict the government’s stated intention to target shirkers and scroungers, and will raise the temperature of the Commons debate and vote on the plan on Tuesday. “

A reminder, for timid Labour, of what Tory attacks really mean:

“On Friday night Christina Martin posted a link which caught my eye. It was a few lines from a local paper which said that a blind, deaf, tube-fed, non verbal, disabled man from Scotland had been deemed fit for work by the DWP. As a result of not completing the form correctly his benefits will be stopped on 7th June and he will have to access the appeal process to have this decision over turned.

This man has to have 24 hour care and the person who had completed his form for him as his disability prevents him had not included something in the 30 page form which meant that due to that error his money will stop. “

That was not an isolate incident:

Elsewhere, Syrian journalists caught in middle of conflict

In the US, Who Is The Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower is surprising.

Austria still has issues:

“(JTA) — The number of anti-Semitic incidents documented in 2012 by Austria’s Jewish community has doubled from the previous year, the leader of Vienna’s Jewish community said.

Oskar Deutsch told the Kurier newspaper that the Jewish community registered 135 such incidents last year, compared to 71 in 2011.”

Tom Pride’s post on China is worth thinking about:

  • China is the world’s largest authoritarian dictatorship.
  • About one third of the industrial waste water and more than 90 percent of household sewage in China is released into rivers and lakes without being treated.
  • Half of China’s population lacks safe drinking water.
  • China’s incredibly high rates of liver, stomach and esophageal cancer have been directly linked to contaminated drinking water.
  • In China, in 2008 six babies were killed and 300,000 were left sickened after consuming infant formula contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine.
  • In summer of 2011, the China government reported 43 percent of state-monitored rivers are so polluted, they’re unsuitable for human contact.
  • Most of China’s rural areas have no system in place to treat waste water.
  • An estimated 980 million of China’s 1.3 billion people drink water every day that is partly polluted.
  • In October 2009, Greenpeace identified five industrial facilities in southern China’s Pearl River delta that were dumping poisonous metals and chemicals—such as beryllium, manganese, nonylphenol and tetrabromobisphenol— into water used by local residents for drinking.
  • In March 2010, more than 3.5 tons of “yard-long” green beans contaminated with banned pesticide isocarbophos, were destroyed after being discovered on sale in the central city of Wuhan.
  • In Shenzhen, southern China, nearly one third (28pc) of food made with rice flour were found to have levels of aluminium above national standards.
  • An undercover investigation in March 2010 estimated that one in 10 of all meals in China were cooked using recycled oil, scavenged from the sewerage drains beneath restaurants.
  • Research showed that 10 per cent of rice sold in China was contaminated with heavy metals, including cadmium, some contained up to five times the legal limit.

Bloomberg’s Mapping China’s Red Nobility is excellent for detailing the interconnections and relationships amongst China’s elite.

Chagossians, An innumerate Iain Duncan Smith And More

I had hoped to start 2013 on a better footing, with longer, more thoughtful post but time and life are not so generous. I think the plight of the Chagossians deserves a wider audience:

“For the uninitiated, in the 1960s, the US wanted Diego Garcia (one of the Chagos Islands) as a major air base. It spoke nicely to the UK, its owners, who consequently evicted and banned all the inhabitants from it and the neighbouring islands. The constitutional arrangements were apparently decorous. A new UK colony was established (the British Indian Ocean Territory or BIOT) with a Commissioner to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Territory. “

Iain Duncan Smith is a loathsome politician, but he’s also innumerate as Channel 4’s Factcheck shows:

The claim

“Tax credit payments rose by some 58 per cent ahead of the 2005 general election, and in the two years prior to the 2010 election, spending increased by about 20 per cent.”

The verdict

We asked the Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which administers work and child tax credits, how much has been paid out since the current system started under Labour in 2003 (before that it was the Working Families Tax Credit).

It said that in 2003-04, £16.4bn was paid, and the following year – the one that included the general election to which Mr Duncan Smith refers – £17.7bn.

That’s an increase of 8 per cent, not 58. “

The German army still has a problem with neo-Nazis as Zeit On-line points out, original in German or the Google translation.

In the US, White Supremacists are planning an anti-immigration rally according to the ADL.

The Guardian looks at the companies set to benefit from the privatisation of the NHS.

The Automatic Cat’s commentary is to the point:

“That doesn’t matter, anyway. The purpose of his statement was to demonise a section of the public in order to justify cuts which themselves are aimed at proving to ‘The Markets’ how fiscally astute and fearless we are. ‘The Markets’ being, in large part, the global banking system which brought us to the edge of catastrophe in the first place.

We’ve seen this kind of demonisation before, with the unemployed and the long-term ill. The suggestion that they’re really putting it on somehow, or shirking, or somehow otherwise undeserving of any help at all. It goes hand in hand with the policy that the safety net has made us all soft and needy and that taking it away will get us off our lazy behinds and make us take all those jobs which are out there.

It really won’t do. Personally I’m rather insulted that the government thinks so little of us that it believes we’ll swallow this nonsense. It shows a rather interesting lack of sophistication and, indeed, compassion. A government which believes we can be so easily manipulated is really not a government worth having. “

Reuters reminds us of the ever increasing death toll in Syria: 60,000 at the last estimate.

Will 2013 be better than 2012? Not looking good thus far.