Prison sentences for Twitter trolls will only encourage the professional victim class’s sense of grievance and entitlement

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Yesterday on Twitter someone publicly declared that I not only had no brains but no balls either. This remark went to the very heart of my male pride and cut me so deeply that I think I may face sleepless nights, the end of my sex drive and possibly the ruination of my entire career.

Or at least that’s what I’d tell the court were I of a vindictive disposition and minded to take revenge on my Twitter persecutor with one of those handy new, two-year sentences being proposed for “internet abuse” by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

What Grayling doesn’t seem to appreciate is that such a measure, if introduced, will open the floodgates for any number of vexatious lawsuits pursued by the burgeoning victim class in our grisly modern culture of professional offence-taking.

There are some people out there whose careers have been built almost entirely on the publicity and sisterly solidarity they have managed to glean by goading the more unhinged kind of male into saying hideous things about them on Twitter, then squealing about how hurt and threatened they have been made to feel. Do we really want to amplify the strident, self-important voices of these Social Justice Warrior harpies any more than they have been already?

This isn’t to defend the idiot blokes who make threats on Twitter; merely to note that if we really are to insist that more police and court time is to be wasted trying to track down and punish people who say horrid things on social media, then there will be unintended consequences which we may come to regret.

Indeed, we already have several examples of how things can go wrong.

One of the worst was the case of the Twitter joke trial of Paul Chambers, who lost his job and was fined by the court for a jokey Tweet he’d sent after snow had shut his local airport.

It said:

‘Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your s*** together otherwise I am blowing the airport sky high!!’

Only after the case had been appealed to the High Court did our justice system finally see sense and admit what should have been perfectly obvious from the start: that the Tweet was just the kind of silly thing people say on Twitter all the time with no intention of being taken seriously.

Yet for far too long it suited the system to pretend otherwise. The police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the duty manager for security at Robin Hood Airport were indulged by the courts in their ludicrous claims that this poor man’s Tweet represented a credible threat. Never mind commonsense. Never mind Chambers’s career and livelihood. That tweet – or so the magistrate’s court which heard the case first decided – was “clearly threatening” and airport staff had been concerned about it, therefore a crime had been committed under the 2003 Communications Act, and a fine, costs and “victim surcharge” must be imposed.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

From Farage to Freud: how the cultural Marxists are murdering our language

0803_freespeech_630x420The other day on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, I made a point which unfortunately went right over the heads of my booing audience. It had to do with the way lefties like my fellow panelists Chuka Umunna MP and TUC leader Frances O’Grady too often choose to misrepresent the meaning of perfectly harmless words and language for nefarious political ends.

We were discussing Labour’s confected furore over Lord Freud’s remarks on the disabled. As is now abundantly clear to anyone even halfway acquainted with the background to the story – the fact, for example, that his comments were addressed sympathetically to the father of a severely disabled daughter – Lord Freud’s intentions and meaning were unimpeachably honourable and decent.

So instead his critics resorted to that well-tested lefty fallback position: distortion and misrepresentation. In this case, Lord Freud’s remarks about disabled people being thought by employers to be not “worth the full wage” were twisted so as to mean that he thought disabled people were “worthless.”

This is a weasel trick and when Labour MP Chuka Umunna tried it on Any Questions, I called him out on it. Umunna has his faults but unutterable stupidity is not one of them. Suppose, I put it to him, that he had heard someone in the pub after a rugger match boasting about having “murdered” the opposition. Would he call the police?

Of course he wouldn’t because like anyone born into our richly allusive English-speaking culture he would have understood that our language depends as much on tone and context as it does on the words themselves. That verb “murder” is a perfect example of this. Sometimes, it can indeed mean literally “kill”. But on many other occasions it can mean something innocuous like desperation for a drink (“I could murder a pint”) or abject defeat in a board game (“he murdered me at Scrabble”).

And the amazing thing is that despite the fact that depressingly large sections of our population have low IQs, are functionally illiterate, and are almost totally uneducated thanks to our dumbed-down education system, even the most unutterable thickos among us are yet capable of grasping these semantic nuances – even though they wouldn’t know what a “semantic nuance” was if it bit them on the arse.

So if even the thickest of thick native English speakers can understand basic concepts like the fact that even though “worth less” and “worthless” sound the same but actually mean something different – why can’t a bright, articulate, Manchester- and Burgundy-University-educated, City lawyer like Chuka Umunna?

The answer, of course, is that it suits him not to – in much the same way it suited Nigel Farage’s various lefty-feminist critics not to at the time of his supposedly contentious remarks earlier this year about women in the City.

What Farage said, you may remember, was this:

“And if a woman has a client base, has a child and takes two or three years off work, she is worth far less to the employer when she comes back than when she went away because her client base will not have stuck rigidly to her.”

This is a fairly straightforward economic point which, I’m quite sure, any City employer would tell you (albeit guardedly, lest they seem in any way “discriminatory”) is no more than the ground truth.

Yet the truth was no defence for the likes of Labour MPs such as Harriet Harman who naturally piled in to accuse Farage of saying something he had never actually said: that female employees are, to some degree, “worthless.”

Of course I understand why the Harmans and the Umunnas of the world play this game: it’s a useful way of circumventing the awkward fact that the left rarely has any useful arguments.

But what astonishes me is our cultural tolerance for it…

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Splattergate II: green graphic novel celebrates eco-terrorist shopping mall killing spree

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When is it acceptable for a terrorist to go berserk in a shopping mall and machine gun innocent victims to death?

When it’s all being done for the noble cause of environmentalism, of course!

Such is the take-home message of an award-winning graphic novel which has been praised by a top scientist at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “a marvellous way to convey the knowledge accumulated by our scientific community.” (H/T Marc Morano at Climate Depot)

It has also been recommended by a curriculum developer at the US National Council of Teachers of English as a “rigorous” and “highly expressive” work which will make an “optimal text for students at various levels”. (Naturally, the novel has been deemed Common-Core-compliant too.)

Climate Changed by Philippe Squarzoni shows a beautiful woman called Camille in a supermarket staring down the sights of an automatic rifle at three men dressed in Santa costumes.

“In an energy model based on a vision of demand continually increasing we produce more so we can consume more,” says the caption, disapprovingly.

Luckily, the author has found the perfect solution to this rampant and offensive consumerism, as he demonstrates in the next frames.

The woman opens up, shellcases tumbling, and the screaming Father Christmases are riddled with bullets.

In the last frame of the sequence Camille and her boyfriend Philippe Squarzoni (who besides being the book’s author has made himself its hero) stand over one of the Santas, Camille’s rifle trained on his corpse.

The caption reads:

“Making conservation a positive factor in the future would require a huge change in political direction.”

Though it’s quite possible the Santa massacre represents some kind of fantasy sequence it is not properly explained and there are no repercussions for it. In any case, it accords with the generally dyspeptic, eco-fascistic tone of the book in which, elsewhere, the Santas are shown as being in the pay of Big Tobacco, while “climate deniers” are represented as dung beetles pushing balls of excreta.

The book was published in France in 2012, where it won the Jury Prize at the Lyon Graphic Novel Festival.

Now it has been translated into English for a US edition published earlier this year by Abrams, New York, complete with plaudits from Dr Jean Jouzel, a vice-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group 1 (“The Physical Science Basis”) and an editor and author on the most recent four of the IPCC’s five Assessment Reports.

Better still – if somewhat unfortunately, given Squarzoni’s apparent distaste for Big Tobacco funding – Jouzel was the 1992 winner of a climatology prize from the Philip Morris tobacco corporation.

He writes:

“An extremely well-documented work – which is, of course, essential for the perception of the message it delivers. But its principal merit is, in fact, in the quality of the narrative and the art.”

Jouzel may be right about the art work – but he’s certainly not right about its scientific accuracy. Tony Thomas, in the Australian journal Quadrant has gone through it with a fine-tooth comb. He has found that though the graphic novel purports to take its climate science very seriously and is ponderously annotated and indexed with expert advice from supposedly impartial sources (eg one of Greenpeace France’s leading activists) it is in fact riddled with basic errors and outright lies.

 

Read the rest at Breitbart London

How the malign, totalitarian left played the ‘disability’ card to brand an innocent man a thought criminal

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Another day, another “full and unreserved apology”  forced on someone in the public eye by the leftist Offence Police.

This time the mea maxima culpa comes from a minor government minister called Lord Freud who, apparently, has been caught out saying something truly, dreadfully, almost unforgiveably evil about disabled people.

His statement says:

“I would like to offer a full and unreserved apology. I was foolish to accept the premise of the question. To be clear, all disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, without exception, and I accept that it is offensive to suggest anything else. I care passionately about disabled people. I am proud to have played a full part in a government that is fully committed to helping disabled people overcome the many barriers they face in finding employment. I am profoundly sorry for any offence I have caused to any disabled people.”

We all care about the disabled. But “passionately?

This is no ordinary apology.

It’s redolent of the kind of thing you might write with a knife held to your throat by Islamic State; the sort of confession you’d make after months of reeducation in a North Korean POW camp; the stuff you might say at a Kim Jong Un show trial, shortly before being thrown into a cage of fifty starving dogs. What it most definitely isn’t is the language you’d expect any person to have to use anywhere outside a totalitarian state. It’s just not how real people talk. Not only is it too strained and hyperbolic but it’s intellectually dishonest and politically extreme.

Why, for example, is it “offensive” to the point of total unacceptability to argue that there are some occasions where it makes sense to pay disabled people below the minimum wage?

Surely there are times when it is both economically sensible and compassionate?

Sam Bowman makes a good case here:

Many severely disabled people who would like to work thus can not do so. Markets are amoral. If a severely disabled person cannot produce more than the minimum wage’s worth of work, no employer will be able to profitably employ him. Some generous ones might do so at a loss, but we cannot assume that there will be enough of them.

What Bowman is restating here is the point that Lord Freud was trying to make at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference, where his remarks were recorded by a Labour party activist and then used by Labour leader Ed Miliband in parliament yesterday to ambush David Cameron.

Lord Freud’s point was a perfectly reasonable, caring and practical one: how do you best incentivise employers to take on disabled people who want to work but whose productivity rate may not be the equal of able-bodied employees?

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Judy Finnigan – and why the ‘War on Women’ is really a war on freedom of expression

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Daytime TV presenter Judy Finnigan has been forced to apologise after claiming on ITV’s debate programme Loose Women that an act of rape committed by a footballer was “not violent” and “didn’t cause any bodily harm” to his victim who “had far much to drink.” Why?

I don’t mean “Why did some viewers feel sufficiently moved to vent their half-baked insights on Twitter?” That one’s a given: we live in a culture of licensed offence-taking.

Rather what I mean is: “Why was Judy Finnigan compelled to surrender to the social media Social Justice Warrior bully mob?”

“RAPE IS RAPE, JUDY. Moron,” observed one Twitter user, employing the popular “‘Shut up!’ she explained” technique beloved by social media campaigners.

No it isn’t. And this was the point – however clumsily – that Judy Finnigan was trying to make: as befits the role of a panellist in what is supposed to be a free and open debate programme in which strong, contentious opinions are expressed.

If all “rape” were the same, judges’ jobs would be a lot easier. All they’d have to do once the crime had been established to the satisfaction of the court would be to hand out the one-size-fits-all, standard rape sentence.

Does anyone – even the most rabid, #waronwomen crusader – think that such a state of affairs would be just or appropriate?

Well I’d hope not. There’s a world of difference between being raped at knifepoint by a stranger on a beach – as once happened to a beloved relative of mine – and, say, a messy student fumbling that went badly awry after the girl decided the next day once she recovered from her hangover and read an article by Lena Dunham that at no stage in the procedings had she announced her full consent, then signed it in triplicate in unicorn blood.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Owen Paterson’s assault on the Climate Change Act puts David Cameron on the horns of an impossible dilemma

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Just when David Cameron needs it least, one of his former ministers has opened a devastating second front on the Coalition’s tattered administration.

Owen “Minister of Sound” Paterson has urged the repeal of what is arguably the most damaging, wrongheaded and suicidal piece of legislation in recent parliamentary history: the 2008 Climate Change Act.

The Act was the creation of Labour leader Ed Miliband during his stint in the Gordon Brown administration as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. It was devised by a green activist, Bryony Worthington – formerly of the hard-left, anti-capitalist pressure group Friends of the Earth, subsequently ennobled as Baroness Worthington. And it was endorsed by David Cameron, while in opposition, as part of his “Vote Blue, Go Green” strategy which culminated his announcement – delivered at Greenpeace’s London HQ, shortly after the last general election – that he intended to lead the “greenest government ever.”

This was a costly mistake. Just how costly, Christopher Booker explains here:

[The Department of Energy and Climate Change's] declared aim at an estimated cost of £1.1 trillion, is the almost complete “decarbonisation” of our economy. Astonishingly, this means that, before 2030, the Government plans to eliminate almost all use of the fossil fuels we currently use to generate 70 per cent of our electricity, to cook and heat our homes and workplaces, and to power virtually all our transport. They want all our existing coal- and gas-fired power stations to close.

Out will go petrol-driven vehicles, along with all gas-powered cooking and central heating. These are to be replaced by such a massive switch to electricity for heating and powering our vehicles that it will require a doubling of our electricity needs. Much of this is to come from “renewables”, such as wind turbines; most of the rest from new nuclear power stations – although, after 2030, new gas- and coal-fired power stations will again be allowed, on condition that all the CO? they emit is buried in holes in the ground (what is called “carbon capture and storage”, or CCS).

In order for this crackpot scheme to work, Booker goes on to explain, the UK taxpayer will be compelled to spend £360 billion building 90,000 giant bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes – 85,000 more than we have at the moment. To put it another way, we will have to build 2,500 wind turbines every year for the next 36 years, swamping an area of the British landscape the size of Scotland. Apart from being physically impossible – we would have to be putting up wind turbines eight times faster than we are at the moment – it would be environmentally devastating, not just to the millions of birds and bats killed by the turbines, but also to the swathes of hitherto unspoiled countryside which would be turned into an industrial zone. It would, furthermore, significantly drive up the costs of energy, placing huge burdens on both private and business users, as well as making the UK economy less competitive.

Paterson was perfectly aware of the scale of the problem during his stint as Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Much of his time there was spent heroically trying to resist the swathes of green legislation being urged on Britain by the European Union, by his rivals at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and by environmental campaigners from the WWF, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. His reward from David Cameron? To be booted out of his job at the last cabinet reshuffle because Cameron could no longer bear the flak he was getting from the green lobby and wanted to promote someone more pliable and emollient.

This is a move Cameron will surely come to regret.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

People who support wind farms are deluded, criminal or insane. Which one are you, Vince Cable?

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Opposing wind farms is “irrational”, claimed Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable at his party conference yesterday.

Actually, no. Here are some reasons why anyone who doesn’t oppose wind farms is most probably either deluded, criminal or insane.

1. Wind turbines kill bats on an industrial scale – nearly 30 million a year in the US alone, according to some estimates. This is somewhat ironic since most of those pushing for more wind are ardent greenies, who presumably understand that the reason bats are such a heavily protected species is that their breeding cycle is so slow and their life cycle so long – making them especially vulnerable when a breeding pair is killed.

2. Wind turbines kill birds on an industrial scale. Between 110 and 330 birds per turbine per year, according to the Spanish conservation charity SEO/Birdlife – though other research puts the mortality rate as high as 895. In the US, they have killed tens of thousands of raptors including golden eagles and America’s national bird, the bald eagle. In Spain, they threaten the Egyptian and Griffon vulture. In Australia, they have driven the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle close to extinction. Yet bizarrely wind farms are supported by bird charities including the RSPB, because their ideological commitment to “clean energy” trumps the interests of birds, apparently.

3. Wind turbines produce Low Frequency Noise and infrasound, which can cause those who live nearby a range of health problems including insomnia, raised cortisol levels, headaches, panic attacks, tachycardia, nausea, mood swings, palpitations, depression. The corrupt wind industry has known about this for years. – with the complicity of certain tame acousticians – contrived to cover up the problem, recognising that if ever the word gets into the public domain the lawsuits are going to be immense.

4. Wind turbines have terrible impacts on animals besides birds and bats. They have caused stillbirth and deformations in livestock; they can turn healthy, responsive dogs into nervous wrecks. In Denmark they caused the premature births of 1600 mink at a fur farm. In Canada they caused the closure of an emu farm popular with tourists, because the turbines made the docile birds (which cost $3,000 a pair) aggressive.

5. Wind turbines kill jobs. According to research by Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of the Rey Carlos university in Madrid, they destroy 2.2 jobs in the real economy for every Potemkin job (“green job”) created by government malinvestment. Separate research suggests that the damage in the UK may be even higher: 3.7 real jobs lost for every fake green one created.

For five more reasons – out of a potential gazillion – go to Breitbart London

 

 

Bad news for climate alarmists: the ‘missing heat hiding in the deep ocean’ excuse is toast

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The cause of climate alarmism has been struck another near-fatal blow by a new study from a NASA research team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Using a combination of satellite observations and direct measurements taken by a network of 3,000 floating Argo temperature probes, the NASA team set out to calculate temperature changes and thermal expansion in the deep ocean (below 1.24 miles).

What they have found is that the deep ocean has not warmed measurably since at least 2005.

This unfortunate discovery represents a major problem for the climate alarmists because the “missing heat” supposedly hiding in the deep oceans has long been their favoured explanation as to why there has been no measured “global warming” for the last 18 years.

Here, for example, is what Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) told National Geographic in February this year:

“Strong trade winds are bringing cooler water to the surface in the equatorial Pacific and mixing more heat into the deeper ocean.”

This meant, National Geographic helpfully summarised, that “the missing heat from global warming is being stored in a deeper warm pool in the western Pacific.”

And here is NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth, Godfather of the “missing heat hiding in deep ocean” theory, speaking in October last year to Bloomberg.

In fact, there is mounting evidence that deeper regions of the ocean, down to 2000 meters, are absorbing heat faster than ever, Trenberth said in a phone call. His research shows the oceans began taking on significantly more heat at around the same time the surface warming began to slow in 1998. His widely cited work was published just after the cutoff to be included in the IPCC report.

The irony, says Trenberth, is that when the surface of the planet is unusually sweltering, the Earth actually radiates more heat into the atmosphere, in effect slowing the long-term warming of the planet. And in “hiatus” years, when the surface is cooler, the Earth absorbs more of the sun’s heat deep the oceans, slowly cooking the planet. What you see isn’t always what you get.

What has happened here, in other words, is that for years the warmists have been fobbing off their teachers with the excuse that “the dog ate their homework”. But it simply won’t wash any more because the teacher has now discovered that they don’t actually own a dog.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Offensive remarks on Twitter should not be punishable by prison, let alone death

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Should trolls who say disobliging things about people on Twitter face imprisonment or death?

Well the answer is now in and, depressingly, it appears to be “yes”.

Today, we read the news that a woman who tweeted under the name “@sweepyface” has been found dead in her hotel room, after having had her identity publicly exposed on television as the author of some unpleasant tweets about the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann.

A week ago, we saw a man named Peter Nunn jailed for 18 weeks for sending a series of abusive tweets to Labour MP Stella Creasy.

Well I’ve read some of Nunn’s tweets and they’re really not nice.

One of them (a retweet, rather than something he thought up himself) says: “You better watch your back, I’m going to rape your arse at 8pm and put the video all over.”

Horrid.

So yes I think we can all probably agree that Nunn sounds a bit of a warped individual – well in line with that recent study from Canada which suggested that trolls tend to have cruel, psychopathic, Machiavellian personalities.

But where, I suspect, the more sane among us would differ from Stella Creasy and the presiding judge is over the idea that being an unpleasant piece of work ought to be a crime punishable by a prison sentence.

Nunn was found guilty by the judge of “sending indecent, obscure or menacing messages” which, according to the prosecution, had had a “substantial” effect on Creasy who felt “increasing concern that individuals were seeking not only to cause her distress but also to cause her real harm which led her to fear for her own safety.”

I suppose if I were shallow and vindictive enough to want someone put away for being rude about me on social media that would be the line I’d take too. Probably, I might also claim – as feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez did in a supporting statement – that the “fear and horror” generated by these nasty tweets had given me “dizzy spells.” Why stop at mere offence and upset, after all, when you can up the ante to actual physical symptoms?

But I’m not that shallow and vindictive and, even if I were, I simply don’t think I’d have the brazen hypocrisy, the moral dishonesty, and the naked cynicism to pursue such an utterly dishonest case.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

US professor discovers the reason for Islamic State: climate change, apparently

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A New York professor has discovered the real reason for the rise and rise of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq: not Islamist fundamentalism, death-cult nihilism or regional power struggles but climate change.

Charles B Strozier, Professor of History at the City University of New York, enlarges on his fascinating thesis at the Huffington Post.

While ISIS threatens brutal violence against all who dissent from its harsh ideology, climate change menaces communities (less maliciously) with increasingly extreme weather. Most of us perceive these threats as unrelated. We recycle water bottles and buy local produce to keep the earth livable for our children — not to ward off terrorists. Yet environmental stressors and political violence are connected in surprising ways, sparking questions about collective behavior. If more Americans knew how glacial melt contributes to catastrophic weather in Afghanistan — potentially strengthening the Taliban and imperiling Afghan girls who want to attend school — would we drive more hybrids and use millions fewer plastic bags? How would elections and legislation be influenced?

As evidence for this novel theory, Professor Strozier – with help from one Kelly A Berkell, attorney and research associate at the Center on Terrorism at John Jay College of Criminal Justice – cites the four-year drought which ravaged Syria from 2006 to 2010, setting off a “dire humanitarian crisis for millions of Syrians”.

He argues:

Drought did not singlehandedly spawn the Syrian uprising, but it stoked simmering anger at Assad’s dictatorship. This frustration further destabilized Syria and carved out a space in which ISIS would thrive.

It is, apparently, a matter of some concern to the professor that this truth is not more widely recognised.

The connection between climate change and conflict continues to evade mainstream recognition, despite reports by think tanks, academics and even military experts. A leading panel of retired generals and admirals, the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board, recently labeled the impacts of climate change “catalysts for conflict” in vulnerable regions. The Pentagon concluded similarly in this year’s Quadrennial Defense Review that the effects of climate change are “threat multipliers,” enabling terrorism and other violence by aggravating underlying societal problems.

Indeed. We have written about this unlikely alliance between the US military and the climate alarmism industry at Breitbart too. But the conclusions we have drawn on this are not quite as enthusiastic as Professor Strozier’s. Au contraire, the US military’s weird decision to lend its authority (and vast budget) to endorsing the discredited junk science of the warmist establishment is in much the same league of unforgivable irresponsibility and institutional political correctness that made, for example, the Fort Hood massacre possible.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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