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Doctor Who: John Bishop's Liverpool Dan Disclosure Earns Him BBC Call

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/04/2021 - 6:07am in

In the following preview for The Graham Norton Show, upcoming Doctor Who star John Bishop explains what earned him a call from the BBC.

Money for nothing and my Tweets for free – the video

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/04/2021 - 3:50pm in

I may be slightly overselling this video by saying it's the video of the book, but it does say what it's all about. 'Money for nothing and my Tweets for free' is available here, and this says why I did it:

Hitler’s Propagandakompanien and the Media Support for the Iraq War

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/04/2021 - 9:44pm in

Postscript are a mail order company specialising in books. Leafing through their catalogue for December 2020, I found one on the propagandakompanien, the Nazi reporters, photojournalists and film crew, who were placed in the German armed forces to provide positive coverage of the War. The book’s entitled The Propagandakompanien: Preparation, Development, Training and the Beginning of the Conflict, by Nicholas Ferard, published by Histoire & Collections. The entry for it in the catalogue reads

Formed in 1938, the ‘Propagandakompanien’ (Pk) comprised motorized units of reporters, film cameramen and photographers, all with military training and attached to Wehrmacht, Waffen SS or Luftwaffe forces. Reproducing many of the unit’s wartime photographs, this volume gives a full account of the organisation of the Pk and describes their work in print, film and radio during campaigns in Poland, France and the Eastern Front.

This is chillingly relevant to contemporary media manipulation and particularly the methods used by the American military-industrial complex to ensure media support for the Iraq invasion. Because they’re almost exactly the same. In their book End Times – The Death of the Fourth Estate, Alexander Cochburn and Jeffrey St. Clair of the radical American magazine Counterpunch collect a series of articles describing the way the American media censored itself and produced biased, propagandistic reporting in order to whip up public support for the Iraq invasion and George Dubya’s wretched ‘War on Terror’. And this included embedding journos in military units so that they would develop a positive sense of fellowship with them and so produce favourable reports.

One of the documentaries about the Nazis shown on the History Channel years ago had the simple title The Nazis – A Warning from History. It’s a good title, and far more relevant than I think the series’ producers realised. Because more and more aspects of the Nazi and Fascists regimes are being adopted by the current right-wing and ‘centrist’ administrations in America and Britain. A few days ago Mike on his blog listed the number of features of Fascism that were in Johnson’s Conservative party. It was a long list, and showed very convincingly that Johnson and the Tories are definitely Fascistic, although obviously they’re not quite appearing in uniform and holding torchlight rallies. Well, not just yet. One of the left-wing, anti-racist YouTubers said in an interview that he noticed several years ago that the Tories were adopting policies previously advanced by the BNP as British politics moved rightward. This is true. We are heading towards a Fascist dictatorship, especially with the Tories’ wretched Crime and Policing Bill which seeks to ban any kind of public demonstration if someone thinks its a nuisance or offensive.

And they’re using the same techniques the Nazis’ used to manipulate the media. Except that in Tory Britain, the media is a willing partner.

Graham Linehan’s Trans Day of Visibility: It’s Against a Harmful Ideology, Not People

I’m almost two weeks late writing about this, but I think it needs to be covered. On the last day of March, Graham Linehan and his conversationalists on The Mess We’re In channel held their own Trans Day of Visibility. As well as being the writer behind the awesome Father Ted, Linehan is very much a male feminist. He’s become notorious over the past few years for his opposition to the transgender ideology, along with Kellie-Jay Kean, Abigail Shrier, Benjamin Boyce, and the host of another YouTube channel, You’re Kidding, Right?. This last lady presents the arguments against the ideology from the perspective of a Black American woman, which is very enlightening. Especially when she forcefully tells the trans rights activists not to true to compare their ideology to the Civil Rights movement. One of her critics tried to tell her that she was the equivalent of the Klan. Her antecedents came from Georgia when the Klan were powerful and extremely frightening. She made it very, very clear that she was nothing like the Klan. But I digress.

Linehan is joined on his videos with Welsh feminist Helen Staniland and gay Canadian Arty Morty. Morty is, by his own admission, very much a part of the Canadian gay scene and worked as a bar man in a trans bar. Staniland is concerned about the threat to women and girls from biological men being allowed into female spaces on the grounds that they identify as women. Morty is particularly concerned that gender reassignment is being used as a form of conversion therapy to ‘cure’ gender non-conforming children and teens by parents who are afraid that their children will grow up gay. He’s particularly concerned as he was one of these kids. As a boy, he preferred to play with dolls, and he’s afraid that if he was a child today, he would have been put down as transgender and been put on the path to transition.

It was the ‘trans day of visibility’ a few weeks ago, and so Linehan and his friends have as guests in this video their transgender friends and supporters – Debbie Hayton, Miranda Yardlemort, Scott Newgent, and a transman who appears simply as Aaron. These gents and ladies give their perspective on the dangers of trans movement and ideology as transmen and women, and how they came to oppose it.

They did so for a variety of reasons. In the case of Yardlemort, it was through looking at what the gender critical feminists actually wrote for herself, and being horrified at the grotesquely exaggerated response by the trans activists to entirely reasonable points as well as the way opposing feminists were stalked, abused and maltreated. She was also concerned by the way the pro-trans stance of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Women actually invalidates those rights and endangers women. She was thrown off Twitter for such crimes as saying that there are only two genders, transwomen shouldn’t be allowed into women’s spaces, and that rape and death threat to women aren’t acceptable. Yardlemort has also suffered her share of bullying from trans activists, as when one tried to take her to court for alleged ‘transphobia’.

Debbie Hayton joined the anti-trans movement because she was afraid that their extreme claims would actually damage the trans movement, and make trans people less accepted. She argues that being gender critical does not mean being anti-trans. She and Helen Staniland looked back to a time when transwomen and women were largely in harmony with each other, although there was occasional conflicts over the inclusion of transwomen in female-only events, such as the Michfest women-only music festival.

They also talk about the vexed issues of pronouns. The attitude of Arty Morty is that, while he doesn’t believe that there should be laws demanding transgender people be referred to be their chosen pronouns, he has no problem doing so for decent people. It’s only the misogynists he refuses to call ‘she’.

Aaron made it very clear that he believes transitioning is beneficial for some people. It worked for him, but he didn’t have a mental illness. This is important, as some of those being diagnosed a transgender may simply be mentally ill or have a neurological condition like autism. He turned against the trans ideology three years ago from concerns about the homophobia. He’s afraid that the excesses of the trans activists, such as the attacks on J.K. Rowling, will eventually lead to a ban on transitions, which will harm those who really need them. He is also afraid, like Linehan, Staniland, Morty and the others, that children and vulnerable adults are being misdiagnosed as trans and consequently mutilated. Debbie Orlander also shares this fear, especially when it comes to children as young as four or five.

Scott Newgent makes the point that part of the problem is medical corporations, who stand to make a profit from these drugs and treatments, telling vulnerable people they have the solution. This is compounded by social media, as Twitter and other sites will not allow the opposing side to be heard. He also makes the point that the trans ideology is supported by genuinely good people, who want to do the right thing, and have been falsely persuaded that the trans issue is the same as gay rights and comparable to the struggle over gay marriage. He believes that there is a positive side to trans activism, but this is a problem as its acceptance leads also to the acceptance of the negative aspects as well. He and the others also take down some of the ridiculously inflated and entirely false claims of the trans activists. Over here in the Blighty, the trans activists wanted a ‘trans day of remembrance’ for all the transgender people, who’ve been murdered. Except the numbers of transgender people who’ve been killed over here is vanishingly small. No transpeople have been killed in Scotland, for example. Newgent makes the same point about similar claims in his part of the US. He attended a talk about trans rights, in which the speaker claimed that trans children in his state of South Dakota were in danger of committing suicide. Except they weren’t. No trans children have committed suicide there.

The peeps do, however, express concerns that these threats and prophecies of suicide may be self-fulling. There is the danger that people, who have been misled into transitioning, may kill themselves when they find that it is not the cure they have been promised. Lesbian girls may be particularly affected by this. One of them talks about how they’re horrified by the the people, who’ve been physically harmed by the treatment – people with osteopathy and shrunken hearts due to puberty blockers and the hormones they’ve been prescribed. There’s also the case of the medical doctor, who contacted Linehan in distress at being officially barred from telling upset trans people that J.K. Rowling does not in fact want to kill them.

The team talk about the toxicity and violence of the trans activists. One of them physically attacked a gender critical feminist, Cathy Brennan, at Speaker’s Corner, a situation made all the worse by the actions of Stonewall, the gay advocacy organisation. They also criticise the left for its handling of the debate. They state that the left is undemocratic, intolerant of free speech and has a problem with racism and misogyny. Stonewall by its actions over a number of issues has provoked a backlash, of which the gender critical movement is only one part.

Hayton is optimistic, believing that more people are turning against the trans movement and being aware how it affects women’s rights and children’s safeguarding, as well as the way it harms transpeople themselves. Fionne, another transwoman, is also optimistic, noting the success of the Keira Bell case. Like Aaron, she believes that medical transition should be an option, but only for adults, not children, who need psychotherapy and a more diverse approach. She believes that transpeople have made a mistake in demanding access to women’s spaces, and should instead have demanded their own, third spaces. Yardlemort actually emailed a number of LGBTQ organisations about the need for gay spaces away from transpeople, but none of them replied.

The team also debate whether Donald Trump was the only person, who would have been able to stop the progress of trans ideology. They feel we need more people like J.K. Rowlings, who stand up to the trans lobby simply out of principle without any benefit to themselves. Newgent states that he has sacrificed his own career for his principles. He states that when it comes to the treatment of children,

I am very much aware that this is a very emotive issue and that many of my readers don’t share my views on this topic. However, I strongly believe that Linehan and his guests here are correct, and that vulnerable people, particularly women and children, are being unnecessarily put on life-changing, harmful medical treatment. And there is a problem with biological men being allowed into female-only spaces, such as prisons. There have been a series of rapes of women prisoners by biological men, who have been placed in women’s prisons because they have identified, or claimed to identify, as women.

I don’t hate transgender people, and definitely don’t wish anyone to come to any harm, much less be killed. But there are genuine dangers here, but unfortunately the climate of liberal opinion and many ‘official’ gay organisations, like Stonewall, mean that the gender critical side is silenced and their arguments not heard.

As you can see from this video, Linehan and his friends very definitely don’t hate transpeople, although they do discuss some extremely dangerous and predatory individuals. And they clearly have friends and supporters in the trans community, who share their concerns.

At the very least, they need to be heard and listened to. The topic should not be the monopoly of intolerant trans activists.

The fundamental pension contract is failing

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 10/04/2021 - 4:59pm in

People think that pensions are all about saving, financial speculation, and living off your money in old age.

The trouble is that this model of pension provision is failing because financial markets are no longer providing reliable financial returns, and there's no likelihood that they will.

Worse still, this form of pension provision has meant that a generation (mine) has failed to invest in the real assets that are essential if the next generation (our children) are to have the means look after us in old age.

That's the real worry, and only radical action can put that right now. I explain this in more depth in this video.

I have been asked whether transcripts of these videos are possible. They aren’t, easily. But subtitles can be turned on by clicking on the three blobs in the top right hand corner of the video and clicking the option to add captions. They will not be perfect, but they will help. 

Archiving Video on Twitter with PeerTube

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 07/04/2021 - 11:43pm in

I am digging that PeerTube is increasingly becoming part of my daily workflow on the web. I have re-committed to bookmarking links, but archiving videos has always been a challenge. When folks throw a video my way via Twitter, email, etc., my first impulse is to save it, but even if and when I do it quickly gets lost in the clutter of my local computer. PeerTube gives me a clean space to copy and quickly re-use those videos, and thanks to the magic that is the youtube-dl code it essentially can copy any video from just about any link. Take for example, the video in the Tweet above that was uploaded locally to Twitter. I now have it on my PeerTube install with a simple copy and paste of the Twitter link:

I love the idea of having an eclectic, personalized YouTube. It not only let’s me archive videos like the one of the Heavy Metal Picnic Grant Potter linked me to yesterday…

…but it also provides me a space to upload some of the VHS archiving I have been doing over the last year. In particular, the VHS copy of Kate Bush’s The Hair of the Hound (1986) which I just archived yesterday:

Playing with it has given me an idea for another project I dreamt up last year. I’ll have to experiment with that, but I imagine the less I say about this project the better for what may already be obvious reasons.

Doctor Who "Ravagers" Trailer Previews Christopher Eccleston Return

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 27/03/2021 - 12:05am in

Big Finish released an audio drama trailer for Doctor Who – The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Ravagers previewing Christopher Eccleston's return.

Business is going to need all the help it can get to reopen

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 26/03/2021 - 6:13pm in

Deep down inside me there is the chartered accountant I have been for almost 40 years now. And as an accountant I know that the biggest stress that almost any business can face is from something called 'over-trading'. That happens when it tries to grow too quickly, and despite being profitable it runs out of money as a result - as it just can't get enough money in quickly enough to pay its debts as they fall due.

The problem for many businesses after Covid is that the might face this situation as they try to get back to what they think to be normal too quickly, and will run out of money as a result. The government has done well in keeping businesses going until now, but the crisis is not over yet and more support is going to be needed if we're to successfully reopen the UK economy any time soon. In this video I explore this issue, and its consequences.

The long hot summer of 2021

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/03/2021 - 6:05pm in


Politics, YouTube

I can't promise that there will be a long hot summer in 2021. But what worries me is that the government has built up people's hopes and they now think things are going back to normal.

That already looks to be unlikely with regard to foreign holidays and the NHS is already contingency planning for another big Covid peak after schools, shops and other premises are fully reopened. If that happens the government will find it hard to contain the heat of people's anger this summer - and they need to be doing something about that now.

Lord of the Rings Prequel Series: Wayne Che Yip Directing, Co-EP

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/03/2021 - 1:51am in

Wayne Che Yip (The Wheel of Time, Doctor Who) will direct Amazon's Lord of the Rings prequel series and serve as co-executive producer.