Wednesday, December 27, 2017

What Lies Behind the Ever-Worsening Treatment Passengers Get at the Hands of Airlines?

This Fox News report is one of the most ludicrous things I have read in recent times. Four hours into its flight across the Pacific Ocean, an L.A.-to-Tokyo plane is "forced" (sic) to turn around and fly back to California. Why? What warranted this? Technical failure? A drunk passenger getting loud and threatening? A group of terrorists?

No. Mid-flight, personnel found a… stowaway aboard. An unexpected person who does not seem to have been displaying any kind of particularly peculiar or unwelcome behavior beyond the fact that he or she wasn't supposed to be on board, no more, no less.

Why on earth not continue the flight and, upon landing (wait for this astoundingly bright solution to the problem), turn the person over to local (to Japanese) authorities?! Have him (or her) detained, perhaps, while making sure to have the stowaway fly back to the point of origin on the very next available flight?! (Alternatively, the stowaway might pay the airline for a ticket and, insofar as the person's papers are in order, be allowed into the Land of the Rising Sun…)

It seems to me that that — that that simple, straight-forward solution — would be the first reaction of any pilot with a brain, any flight attendant with a brain, any air company CEO with a brain, any airport director (whether at the point of departure or arrival) with a brain. Does no one in the flight industry have common sense anymore?
Supermodel Chrissy Teigen live-tweeted her disastrous experience aboard a Japan-bound jet that made a U-turn about four hours into the flight due to an unauthorized person on board. 

Teigen, 32, who was on the flight with her husband, crooner John Legend, reported her Tokyo-bound All Nippon Airways jet turned around halfway into the flight because “we have a passenger who isn’t supposed to be on this plane.”

"A flying first for me: 4 hours into an 11-hour flight and we are turning around because we have a passenger who isn't supposed to be on this plane. Why...why do we all gotta go back, I do not know," Teigen said in a tweet.  
Certainly, this is far worse than my own recent experience — trying to board an airliner with two pets — but doesn't it show the general direction (away from the friendly skies) that the airplane service industry is going?

The following complaint is very long, filling two fully typed pages, and if you ask me why you should care, I agree — there is not much of a reason why you should (and, who knows, you might even come down in favor of the airport authorities) — but at the midpoint of the letter (see where I inserted a bullet point), I head away from my experience into a more general discussion of what seems to have been screwing up airlines in the past decade or two.

As you read this (or part of it, if you want to skip to the bullet point), recall the words of Lao-Tzu from 2,600 years ago
“The more laws and restrictions there are, The poorer people become. ...
The more rules and regulations you create,
The more thieves and robbers [the more criminals] you create as well.”
Here, with no further ado, is the (slightly redacted) complaint in question:
Air France

December 18, 2017

Dear Sirs,

    I wish to issue a complaint about the treatment I received at Air France's Aviator desk in Copenhagen on December 1, when I was denied access to flight AF1051 due to the presence of two cats traveling with me.

    On the other hand — needless to say — I am grateful to Air France that I was allowed to board the same flight 24 hours later (along with both felines and this time one hard box), even more so due to the non-refundable status of the first ticket being changed with no charge.

    Still, when I arrived with the cats on December 1, I was carrying a bag for each cat.  They were two soft bags, authorized specifically by Air France, as can be confirmed by your recordings of my conversations with Air France staff not only on Monday November 27 but also on Thursday November 30.  During the latter, the representative was so insistent on getting her facts right that she asked me to hang up from our (long) conversation while she went to check with her supervisor before calling back …/… with "good news" (her words).  I asked her to make sure to put the authorization of the two soft bags in "writing" in a note on the [computer] reservation.

    On December 1, therefore, I duly went through all the steps of getting registered at Kastrup airport, getting as far as having my boarding pass issued (seat 21A).  Then it was over to a special desk to get my cat tickets paid for (a hefty price of 1150 Danish Crowns).

    Here we started bumping into obstacles — mainly, a(n incomprehensible) rule that allows no more than one cat per passenger in the cabin, while other cats must go into the hold.  It seems like it's a rule which theoretically would allow 100 pets on board a given plane, barking, meowing, whimpering in the hypothetical situation where each passenger showed up with one pet.  That was not the case on December 1 (nor on December 2).

    For 30 minutes to an hour, Aviator staff called back and forth, ringing one supervisor after another to give them permission to either 1) allow two cats in the cabin — as the Air France note specifically directed staff to do! — or 2) put one of the two cats in the cabin and the other in the hold in a hard box instead of a soft bag (admittedly, I was far from keen with regards to the second alternative).

    Time was running out, which could have been used to fetch a hard box in the airport's basement (your airport personnel were the ones who mentioned this possibility!), to lend me or to sell to me (I am not sure which).

    All the while, I was treated to one catastrophic scare scenario after another explaining the rules (what if a passenger brought five kittens?! what if an animal was crushed in the hold?! what if you brought a lawsuit against us?!) — some of which admittedly made a modicum a sense — with no one capable of making a simple decision to slightly bend the rules.

    Have they watched Monty Python and The Holy Grail too many times, and do they think that kitty cats are like the movie's cute white bunny that can turn into the vicious killer rabbit of Caerbannog, leaping from neck to neck to bite off one knight's head after another?

    Finally, some supervisor said that because two cats would not be allowed in the cabin and because one cat would not be allowed in the hold in a soft bag, I would not be allowed to board at all — in spite of Air France's specific directions.  This anonymous pencil pusher refused to talk to me or even give me his name.

    I had no choice but to leave the airport, not knowing when and if I could get another flight and wondering whether my non-refundable ticket would be changed free of charge (thankfully, it was, and that for the following evening) while spending Saturday hunting for a hard box for the hold cat (no easy task, as it turned out — most boxes being for dogs of a larger size).

   • On a more general note:

    Aren't all the scandals of the past couple of years — the Kentucky doctor dragged off a plane in Chicago (David Dao), the young mother whose stroller was violently grabbed by a flight attendant (Olivia Morgan) — due to airline employees' inordinate focus on following rules — and on treating passengers like children who should remain quiet and obey — instead of being the smiling face of a service agency?

    Indeed:  isn't the very presence of a plethora of more rules — many of which did not exist in the "laissez-faire" era of only 10 to 20 years ago (which in itself would seem to prove that [contrary to common-sense bans about bringing handguns aboard, for example] the new edicts are relatively non-essential and unimportant, almost gratuitous) — a thing that causes, consciously or otherwise, employees to be more focused on the rules than on the passengers and on providing service?

    A number of these new directives are close to unfathomable:  regarding pets, besides the one-only-in-the-cabin, you have — all airlines have? — if I understand correctly, recently decided to ban every type of hard box for sale except for that of one single vendor; and apparently there is a decree that unless you declare a traveling pet 24 hours prior to boarding — i.e., if you show up with the pet unannounced at the airport counter — it will be denied admittance.

    Where do these rules come from, anyway?  Are lawyers with nothing to do dreaming them up, like Woody Allen in Bananas, to justify their salary?

    Then there are bans like the one on changing places to an empty seat with more legroom — unless you pull out your credit card — which make travelers think that we are to be treated more like a flock of sheep or, rather, a herd of milch-cows.

    In any case, the heads of your Copenhagen crew seem to be they have to act as policemen and/or as judge, and follow the rules religiously.

    However, in real life, aren't real police officers and real judges flexible at times?  In what country does a citizen not hear, at one time or another, "This time, I'm letting you off with a warning" or "Okay, we'll let it go this time — but don't do it again"?  In other words, the very sworn representatives of the state (!) and its rule of law (!) do not act like robots, and use (and are allowed to use) their discretion as well as their common sense, rendering a service to a citizen when and if the situation warrants it.

    In legal terms, today's citizens seem to suffer from an incapacity and a mental refusal to see the difference between malum in se (conduct inherently wrong by nature like theft and murder) and malum prohibitum (non-damaging statute-based rules), as well as to determine mens rea in one's fellow human being (to what degree was a fellow's misdeed intentional, if at all?).
    To return to the Air France/Aviator supervisor in Denmark, who is definitely part of the service industry, but who seems incapable of taking the initiative to overlook rules when and if the situation warrants it — a passenger stranded with two cats in the airport as an airliner readies to take off — in spite of specific directions by Air France on said passenger's computer reservation to do so.

    The Scandinavian peoples' love affair with rule-following allowed for no decision, no initiative, no capacity to improvise, no motivation to say, "Let's see if we can't find a solution and make this customer (and his furry friends) happy."

    As I said, there were several solutions available — including going around the rules and, in a cabin of some 100 people, allowing two cats (there may have been one or two more) for one passenger.

    Indeed, this was exactly which happened earlier this year, on my evening flight of January 9 when I traveled in the opposite direction.  Then, the ground crew at Charles de Gaulle airport brought the Air France captain out from his cockpit and the plane to the terminal (this does sound a bit extreme, you realize), where he told duly me he would accept two cats on his aircraft if I could find a passenger agreeing to take the second feline.  (Needless to say, chances are close to 100% that in a group of about 100, you will find a high number of people willing to take responsibility for a cute kitty-cat for less than two hours.)

    Now, a final word of praise:  while one cat went into the hold on December 2, the Aviator personnel who made my reservation was so kind to put me and the other animal in a row all by ourselves.  This is the kind of service and thoughtfulness that I fully appreciate.

    Joyeux Noël et bonne année
Related: This Is What We Would Like to Hear When a Flight Is Overbooked

Update: Airlines are running out of ways to charge customers more by Alessandra Malito:
The [airline] industry ranked seventh-to-last out of 43 industries in the American Customer Satisfaction Index in 2016. All aspects of air travel have been criticized, such as airfare, booking flights, getting onto the plane and even the flight itself.

Did Donald Trump Read Lao Tzu Early in His Life?

Lao Tzu does not seem to have been a leftist, a Democrat, or a communist…
Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 57

Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of this!

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men's weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
     I take no action and people are reformed.
     I enjoy peace and people become honest.
     I do nothing and people become rich.
     I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Star Wars VIII: A Disturbance in la Force

When, at minute 1:10 of the Jimmy Kimmel Live special on the eighth Star Wars film, the host asks Rian Johnson, "Is Jedi in the title of this film singular or plural?", the writer-director of the The Last Jedi replies that it is singular.

Fair enough, but in France, the message does not seem to have gone through — or else, it's due to the ever-lasting love-hate relationship between les Français et les Anglo-Saxons — as the title there is Les Derniers Jedi.
Rian settles the debate over whether or not Jedi is plural in this movie's title
Le Figaro's Jean Talabot has an entire article on the issue, saying that a translation error might be involved.
Il se peut également que ce titre français soit du à une erreur de traduction, ce qui ne serait pas la première fois comme l'a soulevé le Huffington Post .

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Police Corruption in the UK: Manchester force ‘took bribes from organised crime gang’

No good news for the police and the authorities of the United Kingdom days after the breaking of the scandal of an innocent student almost jailed for up to 10 years for rapes he did not commit, based on the lying testimony of his petulant former lover, an ignominy that is but the tip of the iceberg.

Now it turns out, writes Crime Editor Fiona Hamilton, that a Times exposé of corruption in the Greater Manchester Police has found allegations that Britain’s fourth-biggest force ‘took bribes from organised crime gang’, effectively causing its £3.5m investigation to collapse.
A £3.5 million inquiry into one of Britain’s most notorious crime gangs collapsed after multiple claims of police corruption, an investigation by The Times has revealed.

Officers from Greater Manchester police were accused of taking bribes from associates of Paul Massey, the underworld “Mr Big” who was murdered in Salford two years ago. The allegations emerged during Operation Holly, a five-year inquiry into money laundering, fraud and tax offences, which centred on a security company for which Massey, 55, was a consultant. Detectives believed that he was a “shadow director” for 21st Security Ltd and that it was used to launder funds and disguise the gang’s gains. …

Monday, December 18, 2017

Confirmation bias in this alarmed age says that because some teachers have been abusers, some men have raped, and many victims weren’t believed, it follows that assuming guilt is the safe bet

The ordeal of Liam Allan must not have been in vain
writes Libby Purves in the Times (see Teach British Women Not to Lie About Rape and The case of an innocent student put on trial for a rape hoax is just the “tip of the iceberg”).
The torrent of public and legal outrage following the student’s two years on bail and instant acquittal must not die away. Police and CPS failures must be analysed, punished and made unthinkable. This was a young man facing a 12-year sentence and lifelong stigma for multiple rapes, and it took the prosecuting barrister to save him.

Jerry Hayes was left spitting rivets of indignation at being put in a position of nearly wrecking a life simply because bad training and lazy procedure meant the police ignored, or never looked at, clear evidence that the accuser lied. She was, as Allan pleaded, out for revenge and had long pestered him for sex after he ended the liaison. Hayes, new to the case but an old warrior in the law, demanded her phone record (previously denied to the defence as “very personal” and not relevant). The defence sat up reading the woman’s texts, and in court the next day Hayes announced that there was no case.

Every detail is dismaying. The accused had asked for the woman’s phone to be checked because he had lost his own; police archived it or ignored what was staring them in the face. A report this year by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service indicates that the “scheduling” of evidence is
“routinely poor, while revelation by the police to the prosecutor of material that may undermine the prosecution case or assist the defence case is rare”.
Liam Allan, vindicated and angry, suspects that in sex-offence cases convictions have become “like sales targets”. We know about the psychology of confirmation bias, in which the mind selects evidence that reinforces its prejudices. But to find it in the criminal justice system is horrifying. The director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, driven by missionary zeal over real unpunished sexual abuses, has caused unease by referring to complainants — once even after the acquittal — as “victims”. The message from police, in a backlash against decades of disgraceful nonchalance, is a soupy “You will be believed”, which has led in some cases to believing fantasists and liars.

It is hard not to see confirmation-bias culture in this case. …

Confirmation bias in this alarmed age says that because some teachers have been abusers, some men have raped, and many victims weren’t believed, it follows that assuming guilt is the safe bet. Yet just because it has long been a dangerous world for women, that is no reason to make it so dangerous for men. It’s happening, though. And the risk is that proper rage at the system’s abuse of Liam Allan will be smothered by fashionable truisms about sexual assault: “OK, he is innocent but lots of men do get away with it.” Exposure of real sexual misconducts lately has aggravated this feverish anxiety, and a dismaying willingness to punish and smear without investigation. Aled Jones, of all people, is now off the BBC while it pokes suspiciously at a decade-old allegation reported as “inappropriate contact and messages”. This he has strongly denied. The new wisdom says that we women are perpetual victims: abused, coerced or freezing in dumb terror.

Take The New Yorker’s short story Cat Person currently overexciting the western world, in which a flirtatious woman enjoying her power suddenly cools off, but proceeds with coupling through a mixture of politeness and vanity (“Look at this beautiful girl, she imagined him thinking. She’s so perfect, her body is perfect . . . The more she imagined his arousal, the more turned-on she got”). Some seize on even that soft-porn fiction as evidence that we are always victims of male domination because, after brushing the poor mutt off with an abrupt text, the heroine gets in return one which irritably ends in the word “whore!”.

Well, that’s rude of him. Very rude. On the other hand, it is not nearly as bad a response to rejection as crying rape and trying to get your former intimate jailed for a decade, reckoning that officialdom will believe you and not him.

It should be emphasised that false accusations of sexual assault are very rare. Home Office figures suggest 4 per cent. But they do happen, and the present atmosphere of suspicion, and neurotic magnification of minor male clumsinesses may encourage more. Women are not all angels, and a sense of our historical powerlessness may make this particular weapon horribly tempting.

It mustn’t be. There have to be consequences, because sexual crime is too serious, lying about it too wicked, to be used as a weapon of the petulant. In the Allan case we know nothing of the vulnerabilities or mental problems of the woman who lied, but it will be dismaying if she is not promptly charged with perverting the course of justice. Or, at least, wasting police time. Certainly she should lose anonymity. That privilege of real victims is far too precious to be brought into disrepute.
Update: Police Corruption in the UK — Manchester force ‘took bribes from organised crime gang’

Betrayed by the UK System of Justice: The case of an innocent student put on trial for rape because police withheld evidence is just the “tip of the iceberg”

At the Times of London, Ben Gurr has more on the UK man — nay, the UK men — who are betrayed by the UK system of justice:

This must be brought to a stop. There is only one way to do that, and that involves two common-sense steps.

There must be divulgation of the identity (yes, that's right, shaming) of, lawsuits against, and trials and punishment (including jail time) for the drama queens involved in the crime of falsely accusing others of a specific crime (in these cases, rape). Don't the potential future lovers or boyfriends of these crybullies deserve to know the identities of those with whom there is danger of hanging around with?!

There must be divulgation of the identity of, lawsuits against, and trials and punishment (including jail time) for the police officers and government lawyers involved in assisting (even unintentionally) people (men as well as women) in the crime of falsely accusing others of a crime (whether rape or any other offense).

Needless to say, the above is as much, if not more, about setting precedents by dissuading others (other vixens, other police officers and prosecutors) from the temptation of engaging in similar "mental torture" stories in the future as it is about punishing the guilty in this particular case. Pour encourager les autres.

Many will notice, no doubt with the greatest of astonishments, that this "extreme" solution used to be… the rule before the left swept through society with all their fairy tale takeovers of history, of the culture, and of the law.

I will be pleased if a reform movement will include criminology student Liam Allan.

Update: Confirmation bias in this alarmed age says that because some teachers have been abusers, some men have raped, and many victims weren’t believed, it follows that assuming guilt is the safe bet
 … There have to be consequences, because sexual crime is too serious, lying about it too wicked, to be used as a weapon of the petulant. In the Allan case we know nothing of the vulnerabilities or mental problems of the woman who lied, but it will be dismaying if she is not promptly charged with perverting the course of justice. Or, at least, wasting police time. Certainly she should lose anonymity. …
But back to Ben Gurr of the Times of London:
The case of an innocent student put on trial for rape because police withheld evidence is just the “tip of the iceberg”, senior barristers said last night.

Dozens of cases have collapsed in the past three years because of serious police failings over the way they handle evidence, according to an inspection report obtained by The Times.

In one case, a man accused of robbery spent six months in jail before a prosecutor found evidence confirming that he had been robbed by the “victim”, who was a violent drug dealer.

Yesterday The Times revealed that Liam Allan, 22, spent almost two years on bail and was on trial for a series of alleged rapes before police handed over text messages that exonerated him.

Angela Rafferty, QC, chairwoman of the Criminal Bar Association, said yesterday that without the intervention of the barristers in court Mr Allan “would have suffered an appalling miscarriage of justice” because of the failure of police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

She warned that the failure was “not an isolated incident” and said that police and the CPS may be “unconsciously bias[ed]” towards people who report sex offences.

Mr Allan’s acquittal comes as concern grows over a series of rape cases involving young men that have fallen apart because of fears about the quality of the evidence.

A report in July by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, seen by this newspaper, found that police and CPS staff blamed “limited resources and lack of time” for the poor disclosure of evidence.
The inspectors found that the failure to deal with issues early meant that unauthorised disclosure between lawyers, unnecessary adjournments and discontinued cases “are common occurrences”. The report said that at least 56 cases had been scrapped because of failure to disclose evidence between 2013 and last year.

 …/… Critics said Mr Allan’s case showed that lessons had not been learnt. Ms Rafferty said: “The case should never have been brought. Public funds were wasted, he spent two years on bail, and no good has come of it. The authorities do not appear to have learnt lessons from the joint report by HM Inspectors of the CPS and Constabulary in July 2017, which highlighted systemic failures and offered remedies.”

Dapinder Singh, QC, who specialises in complex frauds and serious crime, said the failure to disclose evidence in Mr Allan’s case may be “just the tip of the iceberg”. He added: “Disclosure is the backbone of the criminal justice system and a defence team must be able to trust the prosecution to properly discharge their disclosure duties.”

Among cases to have fallen apart recently are those of George Owen, a 21-year-old trainee accountant, who was cleared in September by a jury that took two hours to find that he had not forced himself on a 19-year-old student as they left a bar in Manchester.

The previous week, two young men were cleared of raping girls after nights out. Bartolomeo Joly de Lotbiniere, 22, a student at York University, was reported to police when he appeared on University Challenge — 14 months after having sex with his accuser. Joshua Lines, 23, was accused by a fellow student who had invited him into her bed. Both said that the sex was consensual and were found not guilty, prompting questions about why they had ended up in court.

The woman who accused Mr Allan faces investigation for attempting to pervert the course of justice. The detective involved will be questioned about the failure to hand over the vital evidence. The accuser told police that she hated sex but wrote hundreds of text messages to friends saying she was devastated when Mr Allan said that they could not meet again and discussing in detail her enjoyment of sex.

The CPS and Scotland Yard are reviewing why 40,000 text and WhatsApp messages from her phone were not handed over until after the trial had begun at Croydon crown court. Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, has apologised in a letter to The Times today for the failure to hand over the evidence earlier.

In Mr Allan’s case, the phone records were handed over only when a new prosecutor agreed to a request from the defence barrister to see any material from the woman’s phone. Judge Peter Gower said on Thursday it was clear that Mr Allan would not have been charged if the messages had been seen, and demanded an inquiry into the failure to produce them.

Mr Allan, who is in the final year of a criminology degree at the University of Greenwich, had been warned that he faced at least ten years in jail and would be on the sex offenders register for life.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: “We know how important it is to get disclosure right and in the light of the recent HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate report we are reviewing our disclosure policies and practices with police colleagues as a matter of urgency.”

The ‘victim’s’ messages

The woman who accused Liam Allan of rape told police that she hated sex, but hundreds of messages sent to friends during the preceding months detailed her obsession with the student and her love of sex.

The messages were downloaded by police from the woman’s telephone shortly after she was interviewed in January 2015. Police then stated there were no messages of interest to either the prosecution or Mr Allan’s lawyers.
Edited examples of some of her messages were read out in court. In a message to a friend after Mr Allan told her he was going to university she described how she had called him in a panic and begged him to see her, writing:
“Honestly I was just a mess and I was like I’m asking for one last chance to show you how much you mean to me.”
Writing to a friend about having sex with another man:
“After the initial pain of the train getting into the tunnel it’s not that bad, after a while it’s alright and it’s fun . . . everyone knows I enjoy it but it still hurts me to this day but no pain no gain. It’s worth it.

“It’s always nice to be sexually assaulted without breaking the law. You clearly don’t love me because you keep revoking my sexual advances, have I got to drug you.”
In the comments section, writes that

You can't trust the police, they're more interested in their social engineering and politically correct duties than solving crime.

More interested in chasing people for saying mean things on twitter and facebook than protecting white girls from the muslim rape gangs.

More interested in arresting someone for leaving a rasher of bacon outside a mosque than dealing with FGM.

They should be stripped of their pension rights en-masse and be investigated on a personal level, and made to pay damages on a personal basis to those that they have failed.
Related: Teach British Women Not to Lie About Rape — Accused man who went through “mental torture”: "I feel betrayed by the system which I had believed would do the right thing"

Update 2: Police Corruption in the UK — Manchester force ‘took bribes from organised crime gang’

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Teach British Women Not to Lie About Rape — Accused man who went through “mental torture”: "I feel betrayed by the system which I had believed would do the right thing"

A judge has called for an inquiry after the trial of a student accused of rape collapsed because police had failed to reveal evidence proving his innocence.
Thus reports David Brown in the Times of London. As Instapundit says, this should lead to jail time, but not just for the woman, also for the members of the bar in charge of the prosecution. Shouldn't at the very least the reparations that the young man is due come directly from their pockets? And why on earth can't she be named and identified?! Maybe there ought to be jail time for the (fake news?) journalists (or, rather, their editors) refusing to fully inform the public (not least, the future potential lovers of hers)…
[Update: thanks for the Instalanche, Glenn Reynolds; Instapundit readers, as the full story turns out to be even worse, do not fail to check out the update to this post, Betrayed by the UK System of Justice: The case of Liam Allan is just the “tip of the iceberg” (!!)]
Liam Allan, 22, spent almost two years on bail and three days in the dock at Croydon crown court before his trial was halted yesterday.

The judge demanded a review of disclosure of evidence by the Metropolitan Police, Britain’s biggest force, and called for an inquiry at the “very highest level” of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). He warned of the risks of “serious miscarriages of justice” after hearing that, to save costs, material was not always handed to defence lawyers.

Mr Allan, a criminology undergraduate at Greenwich University, had been warned that he would be jailed for at least ten years if found guilty after being charged with six rapes and six sexual assaults against a woman who told police that she does not enjoy sex. Mr Allan said the sex was consensual and that the woman was acting maliciously because he would not see her again after he started university.

His lawyers had repeatedly been refused access to records from the woman’s telephone because police insisted that there was nothing of interest for the prosecution or defence, the court was told.

When a new prosecution barrister took over the case the day before the start of the trial, he ordered police to hand over any telephone records. It was revealed that they had a computer disk containing copies of 40,000 messages.

They showed that she continued to pester Mr Allan for “casual sex”, told friends how much she enjoyed it with him and discussed her fantasies of being raped and having violent sex.

Jerry Hayes, the prosecuting barrister, told the court yesterday that he would offer no evidence. “I would like to apologise to Liam Allan. There was a terrible failure in disclosure which was inexcusable,” he said.

Mr Hayes, a former Tory MP and criminal barrister for 40 years, added:
“There could have been a very serious miscarriage of justice, which could have led to a very significant period of imprisonment and life on the sex offenders register. It appears the [police] officer in the case has not reviewed the disk, which is quite appalling.”
Speaking outside court, Mr Allan told The Times: “I can’t explain the mental torture of the past two years. I feel betrayed by the system which I had believed would do the right thing — the system I want to work in.” His mother, Lorraine Allan, 46, a bank worker, hugged her son as he was surrounded by friends who had been lined up to give character evidence if the trial continued.

“In the current climate, in these sorts of cases, you are guilty until you can prove you are innocent,” she said. “The assumption is there is no smoke without fire.”

Radhia Karaa, a district crown prosecutor, wrote to the court admitting that the handling of the telephone downloads “has fallen below the standard that we expect”. Judge Peter Gower found Mr Allan not guilty on all charges. “There is something that has gone wrong and it is a matter that the CPS, in my judgment, should be considering at the very highest level,” he said. “Otherwise there is a risk not only of this happening again but that the trial process will not detect what has gone wrong and there will be a very serious miscarriage of justice. He [Mr Allan] leaves the courtroom an innocent man without a stain on his character.”

The judge said that police must tell prosecutors about all material collected during their investigations. “It seems to me to be a recipe for disaster if material is not viewed by a lawyer,” he said. “Something has gone very, very wrong in the way this case was investigated and brought to court.”

Julia Smart, for the defence, said she received the details of the woman’s text messages on the evening before she was due to cross-examine her, so stayed up reading them. When she told the court what she had found, the trial was halted. She said she believed that evidence from phones was being withheld from defence lawyers to save money.

Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, has pushed to increase the prosecution and conviction of sexual offences. Rapes recorded by police have risen from 12,295 in 2002-03 to 45,100 last year but the number of rapes referred to the CPS for a decision on charging has stayed broadly static. Of the 35,000 adult and child rapes recorded by police in 2015-16, just over 6,800 were referred to police, a fall of about 690 on the previous year, according to Rape Monitoring Group figures.

A Met spokeswoman said: “We are aware of this case being dismissed and are carrying out an urgent assessment to establish the circumstances.”
Down Under, meanwhile, Victoria Craw has more quotes from Liam Allan:
A STUDENT has described going through “mental torture” after a rape case against him was thrown out in court because police had failed to hand over more than 40,000 messages from his accuser. 

Liam Allan, 22, faced up to ten years in jail charged with six counts of rape and six counts of sexual assault against a young woman over a 14-month period that began when he was 19.

 … Now, the judge has called for an inquiry at the “very highest level” to understand why police failed to hand over critical evidence including 40,000 messages from the accuser to Mr Allan and friends.

The messages showed how she had continually messaged Mr Allan for “casual sex”, said how much she enjoyed it and discussed fantasies of violent sex and rape, The Times reports.

 … Outside the court, Mr Allan said he went through “mental torture” over the two year period and relied on the system to uncover evidence that would exonerate him.

When first accused, he turned to a local lawyer he had done work experience with and said he was terrified at the idea of going to prison with sex offenders and worried about what would happen to his mum and flatmates when he was away.

You are all on your own. I could not talk to my mother about the details of the case because she might have been called as a witness. I couldn’t talk with my friends because they might have been called. I felt completely isolated at every stage of the process,” he said.

“I can’t explain the mental torture of the past two years. ... I feel betrayed by the system which I had believed would do the right thing, the system I want to work in.”

 … The Crown Prosecution Service said they will not conduct a “management review” with the Metropolitian Police to “examine the way in which the case was handled.”

Mr Hayes, who is a former Conservative MP wrote in The Times the case marked the most “appalling failure of disclosure I have ever encountered.”
Update: Betrayed by the System of Justice: The case of Liam Allan is just the “tip of the iceberg”

Update 2: Confirmation bias in this alarmed age says that because some teachers have been abusers, some men have raped, and many victims weren’t believed, it follows that assuming guilt is the safe bet
There have to be consequences, because sexual crime is too serious, lying about it too wicked, to be used as a weapon of the petulant. In the Allan case we know nothing of the vulnerabilities or mental problems of the woman who lied, but it will be dismaying if she is not promptly charged with perverting the course of justice. Or, at least, wasting police time. Certainly she should lose anonymity. …
Update 3: Police Corruption in the UK — Manchester force ‘took bribes from organised crime gang’

Is it really true? Are these “sexual orientation” nondiscrimination laws really aimed at no one in particular?

Over at the Constituion website and in spite of Neil Gorsuch, Benny Huang is not optimistic.
The American people probably won’t learn the Supreme Court’s decision in the groundbreaking case of Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado until the court deigns to deliver its “wisdom” sometime before June.

We’ll all be holding our breath until then, waiting to know if Justice Anthony Kennedy feels like allowing us to have a few scraps of freedom.

My prediction: probably not. The First Amendment is dead.

Interestingly, the plaintiff in this case, a Christian baker named Jack Phillips, has made his appeal primarily on free speech grounds, arguing that his rights have been violated because he’s being forced to use his artistic talent to communicate a message that he does not support. Though he is also making a free exercise claim, it is secondary in nature.

That’s because Phillips would almost certainly lose if he hung his hat on the Constitution’s free exercise clause. I don’t mean to imply that I wouldn’t find a free exercise argument compelling, only that the court probably wouldn’t. If SCOTUS were to uphold his free exercise right not to be forced to be an unwilling participant in someone else’s wedding, it would mean overturning precedent, something the court is loath to do.

For credibility’s sake, the supremes have traditionally stood by previous decisions, even bad decisions like Employment Division v. Smith, a free exercise case that the court decided in 1990. The case was brought by Alfred Smith, a member of Oregon’s Klamath tribe, who lost his job as a drug and alcohol counselor for using the psychedelic drug peyote, a controlled substance, and was subsequently denied unemployment benefits. Smith argued that his free exercise rights had been violated because he only used peyote in the context of religious rituals sponsored by the Native American Church, of which he was a member. He took his case all the way to the Supreme Court…and lost. 

There are a number of thorny issues surrounding the Smith case that would require a lengthy tangent to explain here. Suffice it to say that the case set a bad precedent and greatly diminished religious freedom in this country. SCOTUS came to two conclusions that we’ve been forced to live with ever since. They are:
  1. Laws that happen to impinge on free exercise rights are not unconstitutional on their face. If they are “laws of general applicability” that happen to bump up against someone’s religion, “the First Amendment has not been offended.” Only laws that intend to curb free exercise are automatically unconstitutional.
  2. Legislatures may create special religious accommodations but they don’t have to.
The first of these conclusions is problematic because it speaks to motive. A law can be either constitutional or unconstitutional depending upon what the legislators’ were thinking at the time. Trying to divine legislators’ true motives seems like a fool’s errand—especially if they aren’t honest about their intentions—so my instinct is to discard motive as a guiding principle in favor of effect. Yet on the other hand I can see that some laws really do find themselves in conflict with people’s religious beliefs and practices quite by accident. An example of this can be found in a 2003 case from Florida in which a Muslim woman, Sultaana Freeman, sued the state for not allowing her to have her driver’s license photo taken while wearing a niqab, a garment that covers all of the face except the eyes.

I can see an argument for creating a special accommodation for religious garb. After all, if she’s pulled over while driving she will be wearing her niqab so her face will match her license photo. On the other hand, a photo ID is basically worthless if its bearer can obscure her face in the picture.

Though I can see the pros and cons of granting this woman an accommodation, it’s actually irrelevant. The question is not whether Florida should make special accommodations for Muslim women but whether it must. 

The answer is no. Sultaana Freeman lost her case because the infringement upon her free exercise rights was incidental. The law wasn’t written to make her feel like a lesser citizen. It was written because people often need to prove their identities and because identities must be matched to faces.

The reason that free exercise claims have failed to protect private business owners from intrusive nondiscrimination laws is because supporters of such laws have countered that any infringement upon free exercise rights is entirely unintentional. Just as Sultaana Freeman was forced to yield to a law of general applicability, so too must Christian bakers, florists, and wedding photographers.

But is it really true? Are these “sexual orientation” nondiscrimination laws really aimed at no one in particular?

How anyone can make this argument with a straight face is beyond me. Just listening to the way supporters of these laws talk tells me that they harbor a deep animus against people of faith—hence all the talk of flying spaghetti monsters and creeping theocracy, the constant comparisons of Christian conservatives to ISIS and the insane claims that religious zealotry is to blame for the Holocaust.

Supporters of these laws are the same people who maintain that restricting marriage to the union of a man and woman violates the Constitution’s establishment clause because only religion could be the impetus. Then, when a Christian baker asks not to be forced to design a custom wedding cake for a same-sex wedding they act as if religion has nothing to do with it.

A good example of someone who can’t stop betraying the true motives of such laws can be found in homofascism’s premiere sugar daddy, Tim Gill, a billionaire homosexual who uses his fortune to bankroll “gay” “rights” initiatives. Basically, he promotes nondiscrimination laws and opposes religious freedom laws.

Said Gill to a Rolling Stone reporter:
“We’re going into the hardest states in the country. We’re going to punish the wicked.”
Punish the wicked? And who might that be, Mr. Gill?

Gill offers a clue that such laws aren’t actually comparable to the Florida law that so vexed Sultaana Freeman. The purpose of the Florida law is to establish a reliable form of identification, something the state has an actual interest in. It’s not intended to “punish the wicked” and if it were we could logically infer that “the wicked” must be religious Muslim women.

Naturally, Gill denied that “the wicked” means Christians. Rolling Stone’s Andy Kroll defended Gill in a follow-up article: “Not once in my profile does Gill talk about ‘targeting’ Christians. Not once does Gill so much as hint at singling out Christians or adherents of any other religion. Not once does the word ‘Christian’ appear.”

It’s worth noting that none of the various state religious freedom initiatives Gill opposes say anything about homosexuals or wedding services. Tim Gill simply infers that that’s what is meant.

But it’s true that Tim Gill didn’t explicitly mention Christians. He only said that he would go into the “toughest states” (the Bible Belt was clearly implied) and use his huge checkbook to crush religious freedom laws. In other words, “punish[ing] the wicked” was a dog whistle that all of his supporters heard loud and clear.

For a wonderful rebuttal to Gill’s nonsense, I’ll refer to The Federalist’s Bre Payton.
“Ah, so ‘the wicked’ whom Gill says need to be ‘punished’ are indeed Christians, as well as everyone who agrees with them. Anyone who stands up for a Christian’s right to live in accordance with his or her religious beliefs will also be targeted for harassment in public and the legal system. Further, he clearly defines ‘wickedness’ as adhering to centuries-old Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) beliefs on human identity and sexuality. To Gill, orthodox Christian beliefs comprise ‘wickedness.’ Thanks for clearing that up.”
The distilled version of Gill’s argument is that nondiscrimination laws apply to everyone so shut up. This is not nearly the air tight argument he thinks it is.

In days gone by, some states required poll taxes to vote. They applied to everyone but they were often aimed at blacks even if the legislators who passed them wouldn’t admit it. They claimed it was about funding elections.

Prior to 2011, the US military prohibited homosexual conduct in the ranks, a policy which I supported then as now. This was a law of general applicability yet some people—people like Tim Gill for example—believed that it targeted “gays.”

In short: Just because a law applies to everyone doesn’t mean that it isn’t aimed at someone in particular. The outrageous laws that Tim Gill pushes are aimed at people of faith and they therefore run afoul of the Constitution, even as interpreted in light of the Smith ruling. The First Amendment was written to protect us from exactly this kind of governmental overreach. If it doesn’t protect us from this it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Johnny Hallyday: Good-Bye, Friend

The beloved French mega rock star who passed away at 74 Wednesday, Johnny Hallyday (see Adam Gopnik's New Yorker profile), is to have his coffin driven down the Champs-Élysées on Saturday before being flown to his favorite island, Saint Bart's, for burial on Monday.

A lover of America, he was nicknamed the French Elvis Presley, and many, if not most, of his songs feature a distinctive American rock sound.

More on Johnny Hallyday, including from Steven Erlanger:
 … his Wikipedia entry in French is longer than Jesus Christ’s.

Johnny Hallyday is as French as the baguette, and he has been singing for more than 50 years, bringing Elvis rhythms, energy and glitter to a culture steeped in ballads.

Friday, December 01, 2017

The Bright Future of European Health Care: Britons Face Longer Waits Along with Rationing of Treatment

As Bernie Sanders, in a CNN debate between him and Senator Maria Cantwell on the one hand and Senators Ted Cruz and Tim Scott on the other, again defended nationalized health care — his main argument, or one of his main arguments, being nothing more than its very existence in European countries and around the world — across the pond Britons were treated to the splendid news that NHS patients face longer waits and rationing of treatment. (Cheers for the link, Maggie.)

Writes the health editor of the Times, Chris Smyth:
The health service will curb treatment for conditions such as hearing loss and dementia after its head set out the first explicit limits on what patients should expect.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, effectively ripped up waiting-time targets for routine surgery, rebuffing demands from ministers as he said that cancer, mental health and GP care should take priority.

Patients were told to stop expecting the NHS to treat coughs, indigestion and other minor conditions, with GPs encouraged to send people away without prescriptions for medicines they could buy over the counter.

A list of 36 conditions that do not need to be treated has been drawn up in plans to save £190 million …
Related health care posts:
Note to Americans Who Believe Europeans' Health Care System Is the Way to Go
• News From Across the Pond: Taking Britain Towards a Bright New PC Future
• Waiting 3 to 4 Years for Surgery: The UK's State "Rationing Will Cripple Patients"
• And, finally, There is no free lunch:
People are far more likely to go hungry in an NHS hospital than in a prison, researchers from Bournemouth University said.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Meghan Markle Joins Foreign Minister Boris Johnson as Individuals Hounded, Previously Hounded, or To Be Hounded, by the IRS

The TaxProf's take on Prince Harry's bride-to-be, via Instapundit, namely that Meghan Markle’s U.S. Citizenship Could Cause Tax Headaches For British Royal Family, is a reminder that the most famous Briton, or the most famous person, to renounce his or her dual American citizenship (back in 2015) is a fellow by the name of Boris Johnson.

The foreign minister of the UK (who has long been and will continue to be a leading candidate for the office of prime minister itself) was hounded for so long by America's IRS that, in disgust during his tenure as mayor of London, he renounced his dual American citizenship in 2015.

Related: • Keeping the IRS happy grew ever more time-consuming and costly, until it became intolerable

A massive breach of the Fourth Amendment: The vast majority of those renouncing citizenship are middle-class Americans, living overseas, fully compliant with their U.S. tax obligations

Moreover: Check out 46 photographs of Boris Johnson to see whether he appears more British or more American 

The toxic sludge of victimology: There’s no way Americans could have landed on the moon, much less prevailed at Iwo Jima and Normandy, if we had been a nation of pants-wetting victims

Just when I thought I’d heard everything
sighs Benny Huang,
along comes a new phenomenon called self-cyberbullying. Apparently it’s “a thing” now. …

It occurs to me that I had in fact heard of self-cyberbullying several years before the release of this study, I just hadn’t known that the phenomenon has a name. In 2013, a University of Wyoming student, Meg Lanker-Simons, whipped her college campus into a frenzy after she anonymously posted an online rape threat against herself. Lanker-Simons was (and probably still is) a hard-left political activist.

“I want to hatef*** Meg Lanker Simons so hard,” wrote Meg Lanker-Simons. “That chick runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its so hot and makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican bitch.” [Spelling mistakes original.]

Outrage spread quickly. A rally against rape culture was held at which the “victim” Lanker-Simons spoke, followed by denunciations of the cravenly rape fantasist who was then still hiding behind a mask of anonymity. The coward was assumed to be one of those hated conservatives.

But then the police investigated and discovered that the threat had been posted from Lanker-Simons’ own computer. Woops! That wasn’t supposed to happen. The coward had been hiding in plain sight all along.

It isn’t difficult to see what Lanker-Simons was trying to accomplish. First, she was portraying her political adversaries as evil misogynists. Second, she was exaggerating beyond all proportion the danger of sexual violence that women face on campus, something feminists like to do. And third, and perhaps most importantly, she was making herself a victim.

I suspect she was trying to do this because victimhood is a sought-after commodity in our society. It’s this year’s Tickle Me Elmo—people are trampling each other to get their own. Those who haven’t actually been victimized get jealous of people who have been and concoct ridiculous hoaxes to get the same degree of attention. This pathology is so bad it’s even infected the US Air Force Academy prep school.

I can hear the objections now: ‘But isn’t there such thing as a real victim?’

Of course. It would be foolish to claim that there are no real victims or that we shouldn’t try to do right by them. I myself have written about victims—of abortion, of affirmative action, and of evil, oppressive private sector nondiscrimination laws. Earlier this month, a strident atheist victimized a church of full of Christians in Sutherland Springs, Texas. But there’s a difference between helping victims and establishing victimhood as our national idée fixe. The first is admirable while the second is anything but.

This obsession with victimhood is a worrying trend. There’s no way Americans could have landed on the moon, much less prevailed at Iwo Jima and Normandy, if we had been a nation of pants-wetting victims. We would have been doomed to mediocrity or worse.

I know of no other nation, with the possible exception of post-Apartheid South Africa, that has exalted victimhood to quite the same level as we Americans have in 21st Century. In other cultures, particularly non-Western cultures, victimhood is not nearly as important or valuable.

In the Muslim world, for example, victims are held in contempt because victimhood is associated with weakness, a despicable trait. This is especially true for men. If a guy has his wallet lifted while walking home at night he’s more likely to pretend it didn’t happen than to be perceived as too unmanly to defend himself. There’s a cultural conundrum here because most Muslims won’t hesitate to tell you that they’re victimized by big bad Israel or big bad America but in their minds that’s different. It’s not personal victimhood.

There are even some subcultures within the United States such as the military in which victimhood is shunned, or at least that’s the way it used to be when I was in the Army in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I recall being shocked when, during my first few days of basic training, the drill sergeant ridiculed those privates going to sick call as the “sick, lame, and lazy.” When some of the privates came back on crutches they were called “gimps” or worse epithets that I won’t repeat here. I couldn’t believe my ears. At that point in my life, which then totaled almost nineteen years, sick and injured people had always been given special care, reprieve from their duties, and above all sympathy. They were allowed time and space to recover. They were not barraged with insults.

Slowly I came to understand why the drill sergeant did this. Many of the privates were faking. They wanted to be treated as victims because it meant ducking out of training for a while and resting in an air-conditioned doctor’s office. If they came back from sick call with a doctor’s note they could be excused from doing pushups, running, or marching which made their lives a lot easier. It hardly mattered that it interfered with the frenetic training schedule or that it was a very dishonorable thing to do; the important thing was that they would be able to garner some sympathy which had a lot of benefits.

I know this all sounds very cruel to a lot of civilians but trying to turn a bunch of teenagers raised on MTV and Nintendo into soldiers requires a hardass attitude. The drill sergeant wasn’t allowed to forbid the privates from going to sick call but he could extract a social penalty from them in order to discourage others from mimicking the same irresonsible behavior.

But what about those privates who were legitimately sick or injured? In time they learned that the drill sergeant wasn’t talking about them. He was talking about the malingerers. Those who knew in their hearts that they weren’t malingering paid the drill sergeant no mind.

That was almost twenty years ago. I doubt very much that drill sergeants today are still allowed to call the sick call herd the “sick, lame, and lazy” though I wish they were. It would be nice if there was still some refuge from victim culture somewhere.

Just how did we get here? One explanation is that we’ve become a feminized society. Women, I believe, have a surplus of sympathy which makes them suckers for a sob story whether it’s true or not. Some men have the same soft spot in their hearts though most of these men were raised in feminized cultures. The majority of the world’s men still believe in “toughing it out.”

Another explanation is that our society has quietly and incrementally succumbed to Marxism. No other political philosophy sees the world in such stark categories of victim (the “exploited”) and victimizer (the “exploiter”). Without victimhood, Marxism has no basis and no meaning.

In classical Marxism, exploitation is understood in terms of class—workers suffering at the hands of the cigar-chomping boss man. That was the world as Karl Marx understood it, living as he did during a period of intense industrialization. Since the late 20th Century, however, many other “exploited” groups have become stand-ins for workers. Women, for example, have made their claim to being an oppressed class. So have blacks, homosexuals, and illegal aliens. Together this victim coalition hopes to topple the system that supposedly oppresses them.

This victim/victimizer dichotomy has so thoroughly saturated our society that we can hardly make sense of the world we live in without it. Just as a fish doesn’t know that he’s wet, we don’t know that we’re swimming in the toxic sludge of victimology. We think we’re observing the world outside our windows with clarity and objectivity.

I wish I knew how to put a stop to victimhood mania because it’s tearing us apart as a nation. Each time there’s a phony baloney “bias incident” that turns out to have been a cry for attention, our societal fabric deteriorates just a little more. My suggestion would be swift and harsh punishment for hate hoaxers, though that probably won’t happen. Regardless, we can’t continue to reward this behavior.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Who Represents the Biggest Threat to Women?

A cartoon by A F Branco.

More on Roy Moore:
• Following Leftist Sex Accusations Against Conservative Politicians,
Conservatives Join In the Onslaught: When on Earth Are We Going to Learn?!

Monday, November 27, 2017

While the East Coast Élites Mock the Superstition of Conservatives Americans (i.e., Religion), the New York Times Prints Articles Treating Subjects like Astrology Seriously

Here’s what the feminization of the news room looks like
writes Heather McDonald (thanks to Instapundit):
The New York Times — that self-appointed scourge of fake news and the alleged war on science — has published a fawning article about astrology in its news pages. “Leaning on the Stars to Make Sense of the World,” by Alexandra S. Levine, treats Times’ readers to heaping doses of astrological mumbo jumbo: “Saturn’s move from a fire sign to an earth sign next month.” It respectfully conveys astrologers’ hilariously self-important evaluations of their “profession”: “‘It’s so important that we give quality literature, quality interpretation, quality astronomy and astrology,’” says the astrology columnist for Harper’s Bazaar
While we are supposed to roll on the floor laughing at the idea of flyover Americans engaging in practices so primitive as going to church — as I once wrote in a lengthy and in-depth piece (Devotees of Science Versus Followers of Religion — Are Only the Latter to Be Taken to Task for Their Alleged Superstitions?) — we are told to ignore the full reality which can be summarized in the following sentence:

While traditional Americans, aka clueless Neanderthals, are to be described as superstitious regarding their outdated religious beliefs, it turns out that the avant-garde and allegedly science-minded Democrats, as Jonah Goldberg puts it, "are more likely to believe in paranormal activity. They’re also more likely to believe in reincarnation and astrology."
The [New York Times] article never once asks the obvious questions, including: What is the theory behind astral influence? Do stars emit some physical force, wave, particle, or gravitational field that affects events on earth, and if so, has it been measured? What is astrologers’ ex post facto batting average — how do their daily newspaper predictions stand up? Have they predicted major events with anything other than random success? The closest that Ms. Levine gets to skepticism is the following: “for a craft so often criticized for being nonscientific and, in some cases, fraudulent, horoscopes still cover the pages and websites of publications in New York and across the globe.”

 … The day after the New York Times informed its readers about the “professional” world of astrology, it ran a front-page story about ICE agents’ alleged reign of terror in Atlanta, Ga., under the Trump administration. This reign of terror consists in targeted enforcement raids against individuals like an illegal Mexican who has been deported twice, served time in prison, convicted of two domestic-violence incidents, and charged with rape which he plea-bargained down to a lesser crime. The number of illegal alien law-breakers in Atlanta is so high that one is booked into a county jail every few hours, reports the Times. The Times notes with dismay that illegal aliens are being arrested for driving without insurance and without a license. Apparently Times reporters would not mind if their car were totaled by an uninsured driver. A reporter for the Spanish-language newspaper Mundo Hispanico sends out Facebook alerts of sightings of ICE agents so that illegal aliens can evade the law. Yet we are supposed to believe that it is the Trump administration that poses a threat to the rule of law.
Females have always been the biggest consumers of spiritual hoaxes such as astrology, crystals, séances, and other metaphysical claims about the world that rest simply on assertion rather than scientific proof. If a credulous article on astrology can get through the editorial process at an increasingly female-dominated Times, we can expect that political reporting will grow even more unmoored from reality at the Times and other outlets experiencing a similar demographic shift.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

"1917, La Fayette, nous voilà !"

Le musée franco-américain de Blérancourt accueille jusqu’au 22 janvier 2018 une exposition intitulée 1917, La Fayette, nous voilà ! (merci à Mademoiselle OT).

Jean-Francois Lixon écrit que
Le débarquement du 6 juin 1944 a eu un surprenant effet secondaire, l'événement a occulté dans la mémoire collective cet autre fait de guerre important : les Américains étaient déjà venus à l'aide de la France et de ses alliés face à l'ennemi allemand.

C'était en 1917 et cette fois déjà, son aide aura été décisive dans la suite du conflit.

L'exposition "1917, La Fayette, nous voilà !" que propose jusqu'au 22 janvier 2018 le musée franco-américain de Blérancourt, dans l'Aisne, revient sur cette période avec des affiches et des documents. Ils racontent la propagande qui a précédé l'arrivée des troupes américaines en Europe puis leur quotidien.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Respect Matters: What Does Consent on the Dance Floor Look Like?

If, according to the drama queens' new rules for "horizontal dancing," consent must be given regularly and at all times, then ‘What does consent on the dance floor look like?’

The answer (according to Princeton UMatter) is:

• Frequently Checking in with your dance partner;

• Asking & Waiting for an answer;

• For instance, "Hey, are you still into this? We can stop if you aren't!"

I thought this infographic was a joke, a tongue-in-cheek piece by the Washington Post's Eugene Volokh or by some conservative blogger, but to my horror, it turns out to be true.

If i hadn't pressed on the link of "Campus Reform has more", I would never have guessed…

Thursday, November 23, 2017

French TV Debate on Robert Mueller's Investigation of Donald Trump and His Aides Overlooks One Key Point

A conservative blogger was invited on the set of France 24 for a 40- to 45-minute debate on the Robert Mueller investigation, along with jurist and America specialist Anne Deysine, Harper's Magazine director John Rick MacArthur, and, from Gaza (?!), Gallagher Fenwick (France 24 part 1 and France 24 part 2).

See the leftists get all giddy — especially the neutral (sic) presenter of what the French call their equivalent of CNN (they mean this in a good way) — especially at the thought that Mueller might actually manage to take down Donald Trump in person.

Two to three minutes from the end, at around minute 22:55 in part 2, a Branco cartoon is shown on French TV…

Two and a half minutes earlier, at around minute 20:24 in part 2, the blogger quotes a Glenn Reynolds meme on Instapundit to state the one thing everybody on the program seems to overlook is that the very eagerness of the leftists the world over to take down the Republican president (along with the very existence of programs like this one on which all of the participants are appearing) is how you get more Trump.

Instapundit has been mentioned on French television before, as well as on French radio.


Ingérence russe aux Etats-Unis : 

Paul Manafort inculpé de 12 chefs d'inculpation (Partie 1)

C'est l'image du jour : celle de Paul Manafort l'ancien directeur de campagne de Trump marchant vers le bureau du FBI à Washington. L'homme d'affaire Rick Gates l'accompagne. Il a reçu la même injonction. Il s'agit des premières inculpations dans le cadre de l'enquête sur l'affaire russe menée par le procureur spécial Robert Mueller. 
Est-ce une nouvelle étape dans les accusations de collusions de l'équipe de campagne de Donald Trump avec la Russie ? Le moment est-il historique ?

Une émission préparée par Elise DUFFAU, Sarah MISSAOUI et Noufissa CHARAÏ.

Nos invités


Juriste, spécialiste des États-Unis


Journaliste et auteur. Membre des Republicans overseas.


Directeur du Harper's magazine.

Gallagher FENWICK

Envoyé spécial en direct de Gaza