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Mick Harper
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In: London
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This is why I never watch the TV news any more (unless I’ve got a plate of food on my lap and can’t move).

I watch Channel 4 News, Newsnight and Al-Jazeera News Hour every day. I used to watch a couple of CNN prime-times as well but they got removed. Am I fat?

Every single story either fits an agenda or is just sensationalism to attract viewers.

Pretty much every single story turns up on pretty much every single news channel so unless you believe in a World Government News Agency feeding us sensationalism, how do you explain this?

You will now tell me that it was ever thus, but I’m not sure that’s true.

It was ever thus and I'm sure it's true.

Twenty years ago they tried to show a few stories about what is happening in Britain today.

Last time I looked they still are.

Now even those stories are distorted by current fads like Covid or global warming or racism.

The big stories at the moment are Covid, global warming and racism.

The only genuine news items are the car crashes they report on at the weekend because the political spinmeisters are not working and ITN and BBC need to find something eye-catching to show their addicted viewers.

The world mostly shuts down at the weekend.
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Mick Harper
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Here's an idea for Boris to raise his flagging fortunes

The French tricolor has undergone a bit of a makeover. Emmanuel Macron made the important decision to change the sky blue to a navy blue.

See what I did there? 'Flagging fortunes.' I'd offer to write his speeches if I thought the eejit could keep my pages in the right order. No, but seriously, the Union Jack is looking a bit tired. What is it, two hundred and odd years since the last change? Of course we might have to take the Irish bit out soon anyway. Here's hoping.

I agree, navy blue to sky blue would be two fingers to the French but inappropriate with Pep still miles behind Frank's Old Boys. Even though it would upset the Scots. No, I think an extra stripe is what's called for. Green would be aspirational, yellow more realistic. What about octarine as a tribute to Terry Pratchett? I'll see what he thinks before committing myself. He may prefer a knighthood. I've booked a spot in Poet's Corner myself but let's not get ahead of ourselves, I've got years in the tank. As long as my mind doesn't go. What was I talking about? Oh yes, Boris Johnson. Aaagh, I'm going to shoot myself.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Mick Harper wrote:
Here's an idea for Boris to raise his flagging fortunes


My own suggestion is something I have labelled "levelling up". Good punchy name eh?

Here is how it works. You empower all your anti-imperialist wokey types in the south to close down their museums, knock down their statues, etc and so create a Southern cultural wasteland. It is what they want to do anyway.

You then transfer all your imperial treasures to Middlesborough, where you create a new capital. At a stroke tourism, transport links and hospitality will all start to move northwards. The guilty metropolitans in the south will still have their street theatre and modern art to admire along with 14 different types of Fair Trade coffee. We have simply removed white privilege from sight. Northerners like Scotty will be able to gaze in wonderment at the Elgin Marbles for the first time. That will surely cheer them up, and will also make them more civilised.

I will email it to Boris.
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Mick Harper
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I am puzzled by China's advice to the Burmese military junta in the wake of the Aung San Suu Kyi verdict. "The parties are urged to bridge their differences and continue to advance the hard-earned democratic transition." They make it sound as if it is a good thing. Although in their defence one of the parties got 90% support so perhaps they mean an advance to a one-party democratic transition. If so, they should bear in mind that Aung San Suu Kyi herself led that party and was found guilty of electoral fraud so it may only have been 80%.

She was given four years but this has now been reduced to two, presumably for good behaviour. She certainly doesn't seem the sort to give the prison staff backchat or whatever it is. Me, I would have done. "Why hasn't the fifteen years I've already done count towards 'time served'?" is what I'd be saying, loud and clear. But she's got another trial coming up next week so no doubt these administrative issues will be attended to then.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Can I suggest as a compromise Aung San Suu Kyi, rather than be detained, could be given special permission to attend the Hague to further defend the charges that the military committed genocide on her watch (Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar))?

After all trying, let alone proving, these genocide charges does take a while........and so far Myanmar have raised every technical objection possible to the case even being heard.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
I am puzzled by China's advice to the Burmese military junta in the wake of the Aung San Suu Kyi verdict. "The parties are urged to bridge their differences and continue to advance the hard-earned democratic transition."


This is the standard Chinese line. They are helpfully giving the same advice to the Americans, after the "attempted riot/coup" and refusal, by some, to accept election results. Wouldn't have happened in China.
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Mick Harper
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The witness known only as Caroline said she was sexually abused from the age of fourteen until she was eighteen and realised she was too old for Jeffrey. Asked about compensation, the witness said, "No amount of money can fix what has happened to me."

I keep straying into a parallel universe. My reading of the situation is that Caroline's chief regret was that the gravy train had stopped because she was over the hill. I can see no other interpretation of the actions of someone who has been essentially 'turning up for work' for four years.

She is going to receive, or has received, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of dollars because of this. I accept (but do not regard as very serious) the underage and grooming aspects of all this but to be asked to see her as any kind of victim is simply perverse. When considering real victims, victims that can't be fixed, victims that don't get hundreds of thousands, never mind millions, of dollars, I find it obscene.
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Grant



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The remarkable thing about Epstein was not how debased he was but how vanilla his tastes were. He liked teenaged women massaging him and had sex with the most compliant….and? The evidence that he was a paedophile is actually very scanty.

So where is the sex dungeon, the orgies, the photographs any self-respecting pervert would have taken over the years? It’s all a little dreary and disappointing.
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Mick Harper
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One of the photos showed him and Ghislaine hanging out with the Queen at Balmoral. One's a billionaire, the other's a millionaire (the Queen's a trillionaire) and yet the two of them seemed to have the sexual horizons of me at my youth club and this girl I knew who was kinda my girlfriend but mostly would set me up with her friends. Admittedly we were later arrested.
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Mick Harper
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This astounding brouhaha that is engulfing Boris needs our attention. He does not, like Trump when he was being serially engulfed, enjoy a constituency of "He's our man, come what may." Which reminds me, May got engulfed and was pure as driven snow. One of the reasons, maybe, she had to go. We like our leaders to be clean but not boringly so.

So is Boris going to have to go? His strategy has always been to do nothing and wait for the news cycle to die a natural death. I predict -- though not with any overweening confidence -- that the strategy will work this time. And every time until he is triumphantly re-elected in 2024. Then they'll be gunning for him à la Thatcher.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Grant wrote:
The remarkable thing about Epstein was not how debased he was but how vanilla his tastes were. He liked teenaged women massaging him and had sex with the most compliant….and? The evidence that he was a paedophile is actually very scanty.


Epstein pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2008 by a Florida state court of procuring a 14 year old child for prostitution.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
So is Boris going to have to go? His strategy has always been to do nothing and wait for the news cycle to die a natural death. I predict -- though not with any overweening confidence -- that the strategy will work this time. And every time until he is triumphantly re-elected in 2024. Then they'll be gunning for him à la Thatcher.


He's made a big mistake by pursuing the levelling up agenda, as he was previously the darling of the "getting by nicely, thank you very much." Telling the odd porkie to get on, providing you are hard working, is not something they are concerned about, raising taxes to help northerners is.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Of course the state prosecutor in the Epstein case was widely critcised for being too lenient, but their judgement was right, just get any sort of conviction.

You take away one card and the house of cards will eventually fall....
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Mick Harper
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The evidence that he was a paedophile is actually very scanty.
Epstein pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2008 by a Florida state court of procuring a 14 year old child for prostitution.

This is a category error. Paedophilia is having sex with children. All heterosexual men would have sex with a fourteen-year-old 'girl' (other things notwithstanding). We're programmed to. Calling her 'a child' is like referring to consensual sex with her as 'rape'. It may be legally correct, it may be tabloidally correct, but it still isn't correct.
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Grant



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And when he pleaded (pled?) there was presumably a deal involved as there always is in the fantastically corrupt US legal system. That’s why his sentence was so light.

Epstein loved the sort things wealth brings - houses, cars, private jets and sexy girls. And the girls helped him get information from the influential men they pleasured. But he didn’t do much with these girls apart from demand a massage with a happy ending.

I fear that if I was a billionaire I’d be much more depraved
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