Secular Talk: Judge Has Journalist Arrested for Using Freedom of Information Act


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

It seems that freedom of the press is under attack all around the world. Erdogan, the wannabe Ottoman Sultan of Turkey, has made himself notorious for jailing anyone, journalist or not, who dares criticise him. John Kampfner, in his book, Freedom for Sale, describes the clampdown on press and media freedom across the world, in Britain, France, Italy, Russia, Singapore, Dubai and Russia. And now America. In this piece from Secular Talk, Kyle Kulinski comments on a Vice Report about the arrest of a journalist in the US state of Georgia, Mark Thomason, and his lawyer, Russell Stookey, by the chief judge of Pickens County superior Court, Brenda Weaver. Thomason’s the publisher of a small, local newspaper, Fannin Focus. They were arrested on charges of identity fraud and making false statements. Thomason’s real crime was making official requests for public documents on illegally cashed cheques. He and Stookey also…

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Vox Political on Chilcot’s Damning Verdict on Blair, and What His Readers Think


I did support Gulf War 1 to ensure the liberation of Kuwait and could not understand why the allied forces did not pursue further into Iraq to topple Saddam, So I could have supported the evental removal of Saddam. However I have always been untrusting of Blair, but did rejoice in the overthrow of Saddam, so the rights of all Iraqs could be progressed. But as we were only too aware, after the event, that no constructive plans of operation had been thought through. Blair and Bush by their actions created a vaccum in which allowed the formation of Daesh to be created from some of the forces which had originally,appeared, to support the Bush/Blair initiative.

From this lessons should have been learned, but this did not prevent the removal of Gaddafi in Lybria to create a further vacuum.

it is clear, that the prresiding factor was oil, as Blair and Bush have not taken similar actions in other countries where oil in not a factor, Zimbarbre being only one example.

With the evidence of the Chilcot report and the current state of the Middle East it is amazing that Blair still feels he was justified in his actions and would do it again.

He and Bush are totally responsible for the current state of the Middle East so Blair should be prosecuted as a War Criminal, as accountability should have a bearing on decisions made by persons when they hold positions of responsibility.

The families need closure and while the Chilcot report goes some way with this, the prosecution of Blair would be even more closure.

Blair needs to be made responsible and accountable for his actions and not so glibly make comments that in no way answer his ctitics and the evidence.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Mike over at Vox Political has reblogged a piece from the Guardian by Owen Jones, laying out how damning the Chilcot report is of Tony Blair and his decision to lead the country into war. Owen Jones is a fine journalist, who clearly and accurately explains the issues. I’ve read and quoted from his book Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class, which is very good, and has rightly received great praise. He also has another book out The Establishment: Who They Are and How They Get Away with it. I’ve been thinking about that one, but have avoided buying it so far on the grounds that it might make me too furious.

Mike also asks what his readers think of the Iraq War. He asks

Do any of you believe the war was justified, as Ann Clwyd still does (apparently)? Have any of you come to believe that?…

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Vox Political on IDS Replacement, Stephen Crabb


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Mike over at Vox Political has put up a piece giving a few choice facts about the man now filling IDS’ seat in Cabinet, Stephen Crabb. He points out that Crabb has enthusiastically supported all of the benefit cuts, including the 30 per cent reduction in ESA. However, he begins by talking about Crabb’s enthusiasm for curing gay people.

No, he isn’t a mutant crab. That was a bad joke.

Not a joke is his apparent belief that people who are gay can be cured of it. He is on record as having taken interns from a charity called Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), and sponsored a ‘gay cure’ event run by the same organisation in 2012.

Perhaps he thinks serious illnesses and disabilities like cancer, Parkinson’s disease and amputated limbs can also be cured. Let’s face it, everyone carrying out Work Capability Assessments seems to have that belief…

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Private Eye on the Coalition’s Attempt to Make Prosecutions for Industrial Accident More Difficult


Is this Justice?

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Private Eye ran this piece in their issue for 3rd – 16th May 2013. I’m fairly certain Mike over at Vox Political also covered it at the time, so its might be worth going over to his blog and looking at through the posts for that time for more information.

Insult to Injury

David Cameron won applause from the Daily Mail in January last year when he promised “to kill the health and safety culture”. Move on to Spring 2013, and we can see what his pledge means: the coalition is to slash compensation payments to injured employees and the families of dead workers, which have existed since the 19th century.

In a sly manoeuvre, the Tories and Liberal Democrats waited until their Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill had passed the scrutiny of a Commons committee, the slipped in a clause to make it harder for injured men and widowed…

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Private Eye on How the Tories Wrecked Private Pensions


The private sector workers have been losing their pension arrangements, but the public sector workers have not, but for how much longer. If they do will this also effect MPs and Ministers?

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

I found this piece in Private Eye for 8th to 22nd July 2011 on how Tory legislation allowing companies to take ‘pension holidays’ wrecked their pension schemes.

“There has been widespread pension reform across the economy. People in the private sector have seen old defined benefit schemes disappearing.” So said Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude in his defence of serious public sector pensions cuts when a graph in pension advisor John Hutton’s r4eport proved that the “unaffordable” argument didn’t hold water.

But why have private sector workers lost decent pension arrangements providing fixed benefits based on their previous salary? It’s not simply because too many oldies are not living longer.

Unlike most state schemes of this sort, private ones have to be backed by funds, which were in pretty good shape until the companies providing them started taking extended pension holidays in the 1980s and 1990s to bolster profits in…

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Private Eye from 2006 on the Failure and Dysfunction of the Freedom of Information Act


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Private Eye in its issue for the 6th to 19th January 2006 published a long article on how the Blair government’s Freedom of Information Act actually didn’t do what everyone expected, and lead to great openness and freedom of information from government. I’m posting it up here as it shows how there’s always been a problem using the Act to get information, as Mike and so many of the other disability activists have found out for themselves, trying to get information out of Ian Duncan Smith’s DWP. Here’s the article:

How FOI Doesn’t Work

“The culture of secrecy in Whitehall, and beyond, is cracking open,” announced Lord Falconer in the Guardian last week, reflecting on the first anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act.

“We have seen real change … We seek to achieve across the whole public sector a new culture of openness, fully embedded in each and…

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Donald Trump Now Satirised in Private Eye Cartoon


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Donald Trump’s stupidity and bigotry are an increasing concern on this side of the Atlantic to the point where he’s wound up being satirised in the pages of this fortnight’s Private Eye. In addition to the other cartoons, like ‘Dave Snooty and His Pals’, ‘It’s Grim Up North London’, ‘Young British Artists’, and ‘The Premiersh*ts’, they’ve launched another strip featuring him, called ‘Trumpton’. It’s named after the well-loved ’70s BBC children’s programme, and is drawn in the same style as models used in the animated episodes.

In the first edition of the strip, Trump tells Mrs Ladyvoter, that if she’s voting for Hillary Clinton, it must be because she’s ugly, a lesbian or has lost her mind due to being on her period. These are all the offensive or misogynistic remarks Trump has hurled at women, who have dared to disagree with him. It’s shows just how coarse and…

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