Filed under Meeja

At least our press doesn’t have a monopoly on ‘terror’ stupidity

My eyes are drawn to an amazingly ignorant article on ABC News inspired by John Reid’s paranoid ravings, picking up and running with the whole “we’ll be lucky not be be blown up by Boxing Day” meme. A bet that I’ve already offered to one wingnut, and will quite happily offer to anyone else willing to take it, is £1000 that there will be no terrorist attack on the UK over the Christmas/New Year season.

Why am I so confident? Simply because the article says things which are clearly and demonstrably false about the August aeroplane bomb plot in order to make us more scared – and therefore it’s reasonable to assume it’s doing the same thing about the Evil Muslim Conspiracy To Ruin Christmas (“maybe if we’d called it Winterval instead they’d’ve left us alone”, etc).
Specifically, he suggests that the August bomb plot was a serious threat, expertly planned with direction from Pakistan, and featuring people of great technical knowledge.

Back in the real world, it’s been conclusively demonstrated that the bomb plot could never have worked, and the alleged mastermind in Pakistan has been acquitted of all terror charges. In short, the facts fit very well with the “lack of professionalism in planning that are often the hallmarks of what are commonly called homegrown plots”.

If that’s indicative of the quality of this bloke’s ‘facts’, I think my grand is pretty safe, don’t you?

Words to strike terror into the heart of anyone

“And coming up now on More4, Germaine Greer and Melanie Phillips talk to David Starkey”. Yes, this really happened tonight…

Unsung heros of blogdom

The Guardian’s Permablog is rather fun. Recommended.

In praise of Oliver Kamm

I don’t like Oliver Kamm very much. I think he’s a smug bore, that he’s approximately 10% as clever as he believes himself to be, and that he promotes a particularly noxious variety of Decent-ism.

However, even allowing for the proposition that Oliver Kamm is a cunt, then Neil Clark is a grotesque Frankenstein-esque creation sewn together from the rotting, diseased organs of dead AIDS-ridden prostitutes. He’s a fan of the late, lamented Slobodan Milosovic, and indeed of Greater Serbia in general, which would tend to raise alarm bells but doesn’t make him inherently evil.

No, Mr Clark is inherently evil because he tried to sue Oliver Kamm for libel, after Mr Kamm suggested that one of Mr Clark’s book reviews was so badly written and point-missing that it was debatable whether he’d even read the book. Rather than, say, calling Mr Kamm a cunt, he started to fire off writs, bringing the first reported UK libel action against a blogger.

This would not have been a good precedent for free speech. Luckily, being rich, well-connected and stubborn, Mr Kamm was able to hire and brief sufficiently competent lawyers that Mr Clark was scared enough to drop the case and flee, hopefully deterring others from following suit. I also approve of Mr Kamm’s conjecture that “I consider it wrong in principle and self-defeating … to threaten legal action against a blogger”.

In blog-libel-related news, it has now been established in the High Court that NuLab party hack and tedious blogger Phil Dilks did not kick a teenage girl in the arse for mocking him on the campaign trail. The case has also definitively established that Mr Dilks is a litigious scumbag, as with anyone else ever to have brought a libel case rather than merely telling their critics to fuck off – but presumably he feels it’s better to be a proven litigious scumbag than a wrongly accused girl-kicker. And he’s certainly not as bad as Neil Clark.

Who gives a shit about the circus sideshow?

I assume the IOC must have some silly “let’s all be enlightened and lovely” rule that any official reference to the Olympics has to say “The Olympic and Paralympic Games”. The alternative is that a substantial number of people actually care in the slightest about the latter, which is unlikely.

I also agree with Emerald Bile on this issue.

It’s a windmill! Kill it!

Some gibbering maniacs, including MoonBat Ye’Or and Robert Spencer, have got together to make a documentary about how Muslims are evil and are going to kill the lot of us in our beds. Sadly, neither Melanie Phillips nor the zombie corpses of Pim Fortujn and Oriana Fallaci have joined in – presumably this is just an oversight.

Anyway. The film is yer average load of rubbish (the usual wingnut thesis of “it’s inherent in Islam and in all Muslims to kill everyone who isn’t one”) and thus barely worth commenting on. But I was amused to note that it’s produced by a company called Quixotic Media. Well, out of your own mouths…

A million pointless candles

The latest online viral “ease your conscience by doing fuck all” meme is Light A Million Candles To Stop Online Child Abuse (this doesn’t literally mean online child abuse, which would be bizarre; it means using the Internet to access images of child sexual abuse. As far as I can make out, images of other sorts of child abuse are fine).

I think we can safely all agree that child abuse is a bad thing – obviously, as with all pointless platitudes, there is a great deal of debate at the boundaries (currently, someone caught in the UK with pictures of a 17 year old posing in a bikini is technically guilty of possessing child pornography; if you think this is sensible then you are insane), but there’s certainly a consensus as you move away from the margin.

According to this group’s own propaganda video (naturally, featuring “99% of statistics are made up on the spot”-type FACTS without any kind of references), “4 to 5 new faces [ie children in child porn images who haven't previously been spotted in child porn by law enforcement agencies] are discovered every week”. Given that law enforcement agencies aren’t totally shit, we can assume this is a reasonably high proportion of the total number made available – for conservatism, I’ll say 10% (which is insanely low, but never mind). So 50 new children are sexually abused every week worldwide for internet porn purposes, meaning 2,500 a year.

There are a billion people in places with readily available Internet access. To avoid having to look up demographic data, I’ll say that means 200,000,000 children (actually, there are more). Assuming that over an 18-year period the chance of abuse remains constant (obviously it doesn’t, but the end chances of a child having been abused for Internet porn by age 18 are effectively the same either way and it makes the sums easier), this means that 0.0225% of children will be abused for Internet porn.

The generally quoted figure for the prevalence of sexual abuse in childhood is around 20% for girls and 10% for boys (some surveys report higher levels). Based on this total incidence, online child abuse accounts for 1 in every 700 cases of child sexual abuse. And remember, this estimate assumes that the police only find 1/10 of images traded online, which does not tally with most actual reports on the subject.

Abuse by friends and relatives (which obviously encompasses most of the online cases as well) accounts for something rather closer to 700 out of every 700 cases of child sexual abuse. A more effective viral campaign would be something along the lines of “just because he’s your brother or your friend doesn’t mean he’s above suspicion if your kid starts behaving weirdly”.

But that would shift child sexual abuse away from being something committed by semen-encrusted hoboes like Sidney Cooke and Roy Whiting and by shadowy Russian pimps and pornographers, toward being something committed by your friends and family (given the incidence of child sexual abuse in society, it is highly likely that someone you know and trust has sexually abused a child). And that would make people feel uncomfortable, instead of giving them a meaningless emotional high.

Paul Gibbons is a cunt

So come and beat me up, you ponce.

Seriously, though – fucking hell. No wonder I don’t use my name any more.

Would that it were so…

Top quality right-wing paranoia here:

it’s not just Google’s media and financial muscle that benefits the left. Liberals run the leading blog search engine — Technorati. They run the leading blog software manufacturer — Six Apart. They invented two of the most important blogging technologies — Podcasting and RSS. The list goes on and on.

In other words, because people with creative skills tend to lean leftwards, we’ve developed the chance to deny the righties a platform. The thing he’s missed, of course, is that we don’t want to be like him: we don’t want to deny the people we think are idiots a platform. We’re happy to laugh at their idiotic stylings instead…