Sunday, July 31, 2011

Film Subsidies- Finally Giving The Children Of A-List Actors The Chance To Appear In Movies

As has been explained before the massive funding given to the UK Film Council was never intended to promote good art or good investments but merely to buy the support of greedy luvvies:
Stephen Frears recalls meeting him soon after [Gordon Brown] had announced a big increase in money for films. "Do you know what you've done?'' the movie man asked. "Created a rush of absolutely terrible British films?'' the benefactor replied, laughing.
So it's no surprise to learn that most of the films funded by the Quango failed to return their investment. Even spectacularly successful films like The Queen didn't repay the money that they had borrowed.

Still the supporters of continued subsidies have a new argument to make:

"Not all of the ones that have been released have started to recoup," explained the BFI spokesman. "The rationale for investing in films is not necessarily on the cultural strength of them. A large part of it is for developing new talent.
"Donkey Punch was invested in under the Warp X new talent initiative – it's new talent, a new director, and one of its cast, Jaime Winstone, has gone on to do new things, and to make a name for herself."
I don't begrudge Jaime Winstone a successful career but as her surname suggests she is the daughter of Ray Winstone, so she was not some undiscovered talent who would never have an opportunity to make a name for herself in film without a half a million pound subsidy for a crappy British film like Donkey Punch.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm Not Religious But....

.... I also find professional grievence mongering atheist organsiations to be full of insuffrable, egotistical, tossers who don't give a damn about anyone else's feelings while demanding that everyone tread on tip toes to avoid hurting theirs.

The Debt Ceiling.

The big argumemt over the debt ceiling rumbles on in Washington. Failing to raise it would be a disaster because cuts deep enough not to exceed the ceiling would have to be massive and immediate. While spending does need to come down cutting 40% in one year is not possible without damaging the economy more.

Anyway the deal that Obama and Boehner eventually come up with is going to involve spending cuts and once again demonstrates that the most effective combination for fiscal responsibility is a Democratic president and a Republican congress- the combination that produced welfare reform in the 990s for example.

With a Republican president a Republican congress will happily forget any notion of limited government and support massive increases in healthcare entitlements, military expenditure and education spending. Equally a Democratic president with a congress of his own party will spend like Charlie Sheen in a brothel.

So while Obama doesn't like being forced to offer cuts, he will in a few years be claiming credit for them as Clinton does for the policies forced on him in the 1990s which led to higher growth.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dead Children Are Great For Point Scoring

Sunny Hundal writes about the Olso massacre:
But there is no suggestion that his actions were inspired by Melanie Phillips, nor am I making that claim.
In an article titled:

Oslo terrorist cited Melanie Phillips in his manifesto

I almost wonder whether he might be being disingenuous.

Less cynical and more honest approaches to the link between mainstream opponents of multiculturalism and immigration and Ander Breivik are here by Edmund Standing on the left and Ed West on the right.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Media Irresponsibility

Just watching ITN's News At Ten. Reporting the Oslo massacre the reporter says "These are the pictures Anders Brievik wanted the world to see" as they show glamourous looking photos of him posing with guns.

If he wanted the world to see them then showing them is doing his work for him.

It is utterly irresponsible.

Terrorist attacks really do bring out the worst in TV news, especially 24 hour rolling news channels.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Norway & Criminal Justice Disturbing Fact

Norway does not have life sentences in its criminal justice system.

The maximum sentence is 21 years.

I am not sure whether the killer could be sentenced to consecutive sentences for each killing but the way I've understood it in the past is that it doesn't work like that.

Oslo & Jumping To Conclusions

Many people's initial reaction to the Oslo attack was to assume Islamists were responsible. This has led to a certain amount of gloating and scolding now that it turns out to be a blond, nationalist terrorist of the kind that populate Hollywood movies but are rather rare in real life.

I said almost immediately that it was probably either an Islamist or a lone nutjob and have been proven correct so this is not defensiveness on my part.

However that does not mean that those who initially assumed it was an Islamist attack have something to apologise for because it is not irrational or bigoted to assume that synchronised terror attacks in a Western city targeting civilians were perpetrated by the kind of groups who have most recently committed synchronised terror attacks, attacks on Western cities and attacks which focus on murdering civilians.

It was a rational assumption to make even though it turned out to be incorrect.

PS. I am not defending those who said that the attack was definately by Muslims without any evidence only those who said it was likely.


Whilst nothing is certain at this stage, it seems as though the massacre in Norway was perpetrated by an extreme nationalist, Anders Breivit.

While a movement or political grouping shouldn'tbe discredited simply because someone like Ander Behring Breivit expressed admiration for or approval of them this will inevitably happen to some extent. His obsessions seem to have been immigration, Islam and multiculturalism. I hope very much that this does not make it harder to point out the flaws and failings in any of those subjects, althoug it will.

The one aspect of his online writings which I do hope become discreditiable after this is his tendency to believe that the other side is engaged in some kind of plot to destroy civilisation. In Brevit's world immigration to Europe wasn't being encouraged because the left believed that it would benefit both Europe and the immigrants but  because they hated in Europe and were determined to destroy it.

It is perfectly legitimate to argue that policies will have catastrophic results but believing that your opponents are actively trying to destroy civilisation is usually paranoid nonsense and is not going to lead to anything good.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stick A Fork In Him, He's Done.

This has been my most productive blogging month for close to two years so far in terms of visits, links and my enthusiasm.

The subject that seems to bring the most hits is the Johann Hari career implosion.

So let's talk about that some more. I've disliked him for years but the scale of his disgrace makes me feel sorry for him. His career is over at the age of 32 and his reputation in tatters. A recap of the main scandals:
  1. Harigate 1 was the plagiarism scandal which was probably survivable, 
  2. Harigate 2 was the sockpuppetery revelations which were a hefty blow but other journalists have survived similar exposure (although their sock puppets didn't slander enemies.
  3. Harigate 3 is the longstanding allegations of lying in his articles and fabricating quotes look have gained strength. He can't come back from being a confirmed liar.
Private Eye looks to have provided the final blow:
Hari did not hire a translator, instead browbeating a charity worker into translating for him. He promised to give her his notes when they returned so she could file her own report on the war, and then broke his word. He continued to hold on to the notes even after she complained to Simon Kelner, the Independent’s editor. “The reason for this became clear when his article came out, as most of the content differed from what interviewees told us,” the aid worker told us. Hari “completely exaggerated the extent of destruction in Birao”. He “completely invented quotes, in particular those of the French soldiers”. In one gruesome vignette, Hari had French soldiers telling a piteous story of how “children would bring us the severed heads of their parents and scream for help, but our orders were not to help them”. “They did not say this. I know because I was there and I did the translating for them.”
Inventing atrocities in a conflict zone, such as the one highlighted,  is something I spotted him doing a few years ago, although I initially assumed that he was simply gullible.

However the other interesting aspect is the position of the Independent's editor at the time, Simon Kelner. Despite the charity worker contacting him to raise concerns about this article and previous question marks raised about Hari, he doesn't appear to have made any efforts to look into the matter.

Indeed he actively vouched for Hari to the committee of the Orwell Prize and accused his critics in Harigate 1 of being politically motivated.

The Independent investigation into Johann Hari has to look at the editor who did not do their job editing his work.

Important Note: In accordance with the official Right of Centre Blogger's Code to which I am a signitory, I shall not be devoting any posts to covering the News International scandals in this much depth unless it is to say "What about the Mirror?"

Replacing Cameron

Sooooo if David Cameron is engulfed by the Murdocalypse and forced to quit (which is unlikely but I think a regular cabinet minister would have already quit by now) who is likely to replace him? The way I see it, the race would be very different to the last few contests because of the coalition. 

In a purely Conservative government William Hague and Liam Fox would be best placed, but it would be difficult for the Liberal Democrats to remain in a coalition headed by either man, because they are seen as too right wing. On the other hand Cameron loyalists like Osbourne will be tainted if Cameron had been forced out in controversy.

So the likely successor has to be seen as being- not too conservative, not tainted by Cameron and not responsible for any major screw ups in government.

Whilst that leaves some decent candidates- David Davis, Phil Hammond- I have a horrible feeling that this means the most likely next PM is either Ken Clarke or Theresa May.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Bleakest Blog Post In The World

I've not come across "The Blog of Eternal Disappointment" before, but thought this take on that Spec Savers advert was inspired. Inspired by what, I am not quite sure.
He has no money for eye-tests. Sheep wool has fallen alarmingly in value over the last few years and he has no savings with which to supplement his income. With that one simple act, the accidental shearing of the dog, he realises that he can no longer look after the farm. With no son to pass the responsibility to, his livelihood is gone, his home is gone, his future is gone, his past is gone, and the countless thousands of hours of labour that he, his father, and his father's father put into the land are nothing more than wasted effort and folly.

His life is at an end.

And Specsavers think that's a suitable story with which to sell you some glasses. The bastards.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What's Up Doc?

'Half GPs say sex with patients ok'

The other half think there needs to be more foreplay.

Media Bias- Not That Important?

In the Observer Nick Cohen makes the claim:

The belief that the media manipulate the masses appeals to the far left because its supporters must explain why they can never win or come close to winning a democratic election. Rather than accept that electorates reject them because their ideas are false or foolish, they decide that corporate puppetmasters jerk the strings of citizens and induce them to vote against their "real" interests.
Trotskyists are not the only dupes of the fantasy. Conservatives are as convinced that sinister media manipulators frustrate them. The Mail and the Telegraph's assaults on BBC bias are an equally self-serving attempt to avoid facing their own inadequacies. If it were not for the propaganda of liberal broadcasters, the British would respect the sanctity of marriage, go to church, renounce the welfare state and demand the privatisation of schools and hospitals. 
I think he is more or less right. Media bias cannot simply control people's beliefs and opinions.

Like many people I have long felt that the BBC exhibits a strong bias towards the EU and the Euro- but enthusiasm for a single currency has never been more than a marginal interest and recent polls suggest that only 9% of Britons still want to join it. A similar pattern can be seen with immigration- the BBC pretty solidly for, the public remaining very much against.

The media is not devoid of power to influence opinions- I am pretty sure if they want to influence public opinion about an individual then they can do it to some extent. Issues that people don't care too much about can probably be shaped by the newspapers. The big issues though- health, education, tax- not so much and claiming that it is the media that stops your point of view being widely accepted is a cop out and an excuse not to try to persuade people.

Cohen then goes on to claim Rupert Murdoch has too much control of the media, which doesn't really make sense given the media's supposed feebleness in telling people what to do.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Got Trolled

A lot of newpaper columns are actually examples of trolling- coming out with things that leave readers incredulous and fuming- which generates page views and comments that keeps the advertisers happy.

This is an example, the troll in question Ellie Mae O'Hagan is good. Writing on the subject of Charlie Gilmour's 16 month prison sentence she lays it on thick:
He simply should not be imprisoned for crimes that hurt nobody. 
Outrage level-Tut tutting loudly.
certainly Gilmour did wrong although, having admitted that he had taken LSD and Valium prior to the protests, it's arguable whether he was wholly responsible for some of his more extreme idiocy.
Outrage level- Simmering in silence.
Perhaps, given this background, it was inevitable that Gilmour would be made an example of: living evidence that one does not question the order of things. During the protests he was filmed shouting "they've broken the moral laws, so we must break all the laws!" and this desire to question has cost him, unfairly to my mind, his liberty.
Outrage level- Explosive Rage. He actually says "we must break all the laws" yet she twists that into "a desire to question" IN THE SAME F***ING SENTENCE!!!!!
And as more and more people are criminalised, what is this all for? If the public sincerely feels safer knowing an LSD-riddled student is behind bars for the next year, we have become a paranoid nation indeed. And nobody benefits from a society where lack of dissent is the result of fear, not happiness.
Outrage level- Fist through monitor!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Murdochalypse- The Left Reacts

On this blog I like to ensure that a range of opinions are heard, so I've asked a few of the leading left wing commentators in this country to say what they think of the News Internaitonal hacking scandal and the collapse of the Murdoch bid for BSkyB.

George Monbiot-

When Belsen was liberated the world said “Never Again”, a sentiment many of us have found ourselves muttering in similar circustances this week as Wapping undergoes a the same fate.

Just as the war didn’t end at Belsen we must march on to our Berlin and a final victory over Rupert Murdoch and the corporate power elite who distort the conciousness of the bovine masses. To the point where many people look on views like mine- such as bringing back airships or forcing people give over their spare rooms to wild eyed tramps- as being in some way extreme.

Laurie Penny

For young people like me Rupert Murdoch is irrelevant- we get our news from Twitter & Facebook or from grafitti scrawled hastily on walls as we run from a police baton charge.

In the squats and bedsits of Britain, the Sun is regarded by my generation little more than a daily instruction guide teaching men how to rape.

But while he’s totally irrelevant to what commentators describe as “the Laurie Penny Generation” he is clearly the most evil man alive and in charge of the current fascist government. In the middle of a running battle with the police, a protester wiped the tear gas from his eyes and said- “aren’t you that creepy woman in her mid twenties who hangs around with teenagers all day telling them that their going to overthrow the system?” “We are all like Milly Dowler, dying while the News of the World violates our bodies”.

Johann Hari

When Belsen was liberated the world said “Never Again”, a sentiment many of us have found ourselves muttering in similar circustances this week as Wapping undergoes a similar fate.

Just as the war didn’t end at Belsen we must march on to our Berlin and a final victory over Rupert Murdoch and the corporate power elite who distort the conciousness of the bovine masses. To the point where many people look on views like mine- such as bringing back airships or forcing people give over their spare rooms to wild eyed tramps- as being in some way extreme.

Seamus Milne.

Yes people had their private phone calls hacked and yes secretive methods were used to determine a target’s whereabouts. However if they had nothing to hide then they had nothing to fear from being scrutinised. The fact that even their own friends were willing to share their personal details shows just how untrustworthy these so called victims were.

{Note from Editor: "Seamus we are talking about News International not the Soviet bloc"}

Oh right, sorry for that misunderstanding….. absolutely sickening stuff by the neoliberal oligarch Rupert Murdoch, sickening.

Ed Miliband.

The government has acted in a reckless and provocative manner. These strikes are wrong.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quote Of The Day

“I’ve never understood why we allow our print media to support a particular political viewpoint.”
Sue Marsh at "Liberal Conspiracy".

Hacking Medical Records- Then And Now.

Gordon Brown claimed that the Sun hacked his son's medical records in order to leak them to the press. This appears to be untrue but it still outraged Labour MPs and supporters.

Of course releasing someone's medical records for their own benefit is despicable.

So it's odd that I don't seem to be able to find any record of Gordon Brown condeming the way Alastair Campbell leaked the medical records of 91 year old Rose Addis because her family complained of her mistreatment by the hospital she was supposed to be receiving reatment from in order to humiliate her.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nordic Worship

The thing about the Nordic states is that it is so widely assumed that they are well functioning exemplars of social democracy that no one sees the need to actually look up any figures when making comparisons. Which is why liberal commentators like John Kampfner see no problem with saying things like:
. I remember talking to Martin Narey during Blair's heyday about the government's approach to teenagers. Narey, head of the expanded prison service at the time, told me an intriguing statistic: Finland had at that point three children in prison. The UK had 2,900
If Narey had said "Portugal only locks up 3 children" it wouldn't automatically be assumed to be an argument for a more liberal sentencing policy but with Finland it is. Finland is the most violent country in Western* Europe, there is no reason to look at their crime policies and assume that we should be copying them. Finland is great at many things- it probably has the best education system in Europe- but their record on crime is not one to be emulated.

* I know it isn't actually very far west but I mean Europe that wasn't behind the Iron Curtain.

Quote Of The Day- Perspective Edition

George Monbiot tweets about Rupert Murdoch withdrawing his bid for BSkyB:
This is our Berlin Wall moment.
Well the fall of the Berlin Wall wasn't his Berlin Wall moment.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Back To Twitter.

For about 10 days in February 2010 I was on Twitter before giving it up. I'm going back in as I think I understand it better now.

Failing To Connect The Dots.

Is it just where I live or do all local newspapers seem to spend a great deal of time lamenting the closure of town and village pubs whilst simultaneously pandering to the Nimby tendency who are always opposing any proposals to build new houses? The connection between the two is not hard to spot.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

More On Johann Hari's Sock Puppet Theatre

Jack of Kent has a wonderful post investigating "David Rose" the fanatical Wikipedia editor who has devoted so much time to defending Hari and attacking his enemies. One of the commentators has noticed that before his jihad against the enemies of Hari "David Rose's" previous edits concerned "John Lyon School" which just happened to be the former school of..... Johann Hari.

Another commentator, Bensix, links to a comment that I made about 4 years ago on another blog about an equally fanatical Hari fan who posted on dozens of blogs under the name "Niko":
Niko does seem a bit obsessed with defending Hari. If you google ‘Niko’ ‘Johann Hari’ there are hundreds of results. Usually there follows a mention that Hari went to the Congo last year so he can’t be criticised.
He also finds this hilarious riposte to "Niko" on another site:
“Niko” says:
I also only knew about this post because of a link from hari’s website…
Actually, you first came here from a Technorati search for “johann hari”. You must be a devoted fan of Mr Hari’s, constantly searching for mention of him on the internet, and dropping by here generously to inform us about his double first and digging up articles from his archive. Of course, the alternative, that you are in fact Mr Hari himself, is also amusing to contemplate…
He really is a preening knobhead isn't he?

David Cameron Would Sack David Cameron If He Weren't David Cameron.

His decision to appoint and then stand by Andy Coulson despite what was already public knowledge was a huge mistake.

If one of his ministers had been that closely involved with one of the key figures at the heart of one of the biggest scandals to hit the media in years, does anyone doubt that Cameron would sack them?

As this is the last I want to say about the NOTW for the time being, I'll just add one minor mea culpa- what I have written about the hacking investigation to date has been broadly right but I probably did unconciously pay less attention to it because the likes of Coulson were Conservative PR guys rather than Labour one's.

The Guardian's Double Standard On Bribing Law Enforcement Agents.

As I've already said the Guardian's work in the News of the World scandal has been exemplary and they should be rightly proud of their achievements.

They rightly slam the payments that the NOTW made to police officers in order to facilitie their criminal reporting (did you spot the pun there?).

This isn't the first time they've discussed payments made by News International reporters to law enforcement officials. Yet on a previous occasion the Guardian didn't make a fuss about it and indeed described the eventual prosecution of the leaker as having:
worrying implications for investigative journalism
In fact they quoted the subject's lawyer with seeming approval when he described the prosecution as:
making a mountain out of a molehill by choosing to prosecute a former agent for conduct which is fairly run of the mill." 
What could be the difference between then and now?

In 2002 they were describing an agent of the USA's "Drug Enforcement Agency" who leaked files about the Conservative Party treasurer Michael Ashcroft- that falsely implied that he was involved in drug smuggling and money laundering- to the Times..

So bribing law enforcement agencies is wrong unless the aim is to smear a Tory.

Incidentally the journalist who led the Times smear campaign- and presumably knew about paying a DEA agent- is Tom Baldwin who is currently Ed Miliband's press secretary.

Johann Hari- Wiki Warrior

Nick Cohen writes about the Johann Hari scandal:
I learned that Johann Hari was a journalist who was better at attention-seeking than truth-telling when a small American journal asked me to reply to his review of What’s Left, a book of mine on the dark forces in liberal-left politics. I looked at it and was astonished. It was not that he disliked my ideas — he was entitled to disagree — but that he had attacked a book I had not written. He pretended that I believed the West had been right to support Saddam Hussein while he was gassing the Kurds when I had said the opposite. He made up stories about my parents, good people he had never met, to show me in a bad light.
I thought no more about it until I looked at my entry on Wikipedia. As well as learning that I was a probable alcoholic, a hypocrite and a supporter of Sarah Palin, I noticed that all reviews of my work were missing except Hari’s effort. Far from saying that he had made wild allegations and I had responded by quoting from the book, a writer working under the pseudonym ‘David r from Meth Productions’
I put Hari to the back of my mind again until Cristina Odone told me a strange story. She was deputy editor of the New Statesman during Hari’s time there and had the sense to doubt the reliability of his journalism. After she crossed him, vile accusations appeared on her Wikipedia page. She was a ‘homophobe’ and an ‘anti-Semite’, the site alleged, and such a disastrous journalist that the Catholic Herald had fired her. Her husband, Edward Lucas, went online to defend her reputation, but ‘David r from Meth Productions’ tried to stop him. Mr ‘r’ gave the same treatment to Francis Wheen, Andrew Roberts and Niall Ferguson after they had spats with Hari.
I noticed that a few years ago, the same identity also defended Hari in the comment sections of blogs which I can't link to because Harry's Place no longer archives its comments.  David r from Meth Productions happily has an IP address which turns out to be:
descr: Interoute Telecommunications (UK) Ltd
origin: AS8928
changed: 20040211
source: RIPE
person: Franc Tundidor
address: Independent News & Media
address: Independent House
address: 191 Marsh Wall
address: London
address: E14 9RS
address: UK
Meth Productions doesn't seem to actually produce anything except pro-Hari propaganda.

This is another reason why the naivity defence doesn't work for Hari- he is an extremely nasty individual who has gone to great lengths to smear and slander those with the integrity to point out his tendency to lie.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Web Security

Is it worrying that when using a public computer that I've previously used before, my log in details are saved from the last time I used it?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

In Praise Of Newspaper Lawlessness

The News of the World phone hacking scandal is probably the biggest media scandal of my lifetime and the Guardian's* exposing of the case is one of the two the most significant  newspaper scoops of the last decade. The mentality of the people who hacked Milly Dowler's phone is difficult even to comprehend.

However some of the responses to the scandal have been misplaced- with calls on radio phone ins and Question Time to beef up regulation of the press and expressions of disgust that the newspaper broke the law with such impunity.

However it isn't that law breaking to get a story is always wrong, consider the other great newspaper revelation of recent years- the MPs' expenses scandal as revealed in all it's murky glory by the Daily Telegraph. There were widespread accusations, which seem plausible to me, that the law was probably broken somewhere along the line in order for the documents to have gotten into the hands of Telegraph. Yet with revelations of greed, fraud and lawbreaking on a scale that vastly exceeded that of the general public, few people would argue that any criminal behaviour that may have occurred in obtaining the documents was morally wrong.

Tighter regulation of the newspapers to prevent a repeat of the phone hacking scandal would have been welcomed greatly by Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Lord Taylor et al. It isn't the legality of what the News of the World did that was reprehensible but the nature of their targets- members of the public who had suffered tragic losses and unimportant actors and sportspeople- and it would have been wrong even if they had stayed inside the law by restricting themselves to rummaging through bins.

* Although according to Sunny Hundal the credit belongs to Sunny Hundal.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Headlines That Are More Alarming Than They Need To Be.

Seen on a billboard for the Coventry Telegraph:
Axe Threat To Children's Centres

Media Ethics

The Independent's proprietor, Evgeny Lebedev,  gives a lecture on media ethics:
Addressing an audience at Independent Voices 5x15 at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Mr Lebedev was taking part in a discussion on free speech that also featured Max Mosley, the former Formula One chief, Charlotte Harris, a leading media lawyer, the actress Ruby Wax and Johann Hari, columnist on The Independent.
He maybe ought to have thought through the guest list a bit.

Monday, July 04, 2011


I've not been to bothered about the phone hacking of the News of the World up until know. Although it's wrong it hardly seemed that important in the grand scheme of things plus I figured that if public figures were too stupid to secure their phone messages then they were idiots, but this is disgusting:
The lawyer for the family of a murdered schoolgirl accused one of Rupert Murdoch’s UK tabloids of a lack of humanity after claims that the paper had hacked her voicemail while she was the subject of a missing person’s hunt in 2002.
Mark Lewis, lawyer for the parents of the late Milly Dowler, said they had been told by police that a private detective acting for the newspaper had not only hacked into her mobile phone but had deleted messages, falsely raising hopes that the teenager was still alive.
It's not so much the hacking- deplorable though that is- but the deleting messages that rankles. Not only could it have jeapordised a murder investigation, the messages were presumably sent by people who loved her and were leaving heartfelt messages begging her to come home safely- and the journalists and investigators responsible decided they had a right to trash them.

The culture of reporting at the News of the World seems to have been deeply corrupt.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Celebrities- Is There Anything That They Don't Know?

I don't write about celebrities often and off all the celebs out there I really feel reluctant to criticise Ashton Kutcher. He seems like a really nice bloke who always takes him Mum with him wherever he goes.

However he is peddling a US variant of the myth of widespread people trafficking that has previously been debunked over here. When challenged on the facts by the liberal magazine The Village Voice- he was claiming that up to 300000* children every year were being sold into child sex slavery- he naturally realised the error of his ways, apologised and promised to research any claims that he made in future.

Not really. He launched a hate campaign against the Voice using his herd of Twitter cretins to scare off advertisers. Oh and insinuate that the publication somehow benefits from child sex with lovely Tweets like:
fact: news outlets who have financial interest in trafficking may have interest in applying bias to facts to secure their revenue 
Hey +AmericanAir. Are you aware that you are advertising on a site that supports the Sale of Human Beings (slavery)?'
Those accusations are obviously both exceptionally nasty lies. Trying to financially ruin people who have told the truth about your lying is known as "doing a Hari".
Some would say that his indifference to the the facts imply that he and fellow celebrities campaigning against child sex trafficking are doing it more for their own egos than because they have any interest in the issue. I disagree and believe that these ads are highly effective, I've certainly cut down on my use of child prostitutes since I learned that Justin Timberlake was campaigning against it and so have all my friends.

The depressing thing is that it looks like there is a real chance that people will be punished for telling the truth and shameless liars will be portrayed as being interested in child welfare.

{ Via both Rodney Balko and John B in the comments here }

* That's 300000 each year, not in total. There are about 75 million under 18s in the USA so lets say there are around 4 million in each year group. Kutcher honestly thinks it's credible that around 7% of children will be sold into sex slavery at some point.

Send Weapons To The Libyan Rebels

Apparently sending weapons to the Libyan rebels is a bad thing.

Whereas bombing the Libyan regime is fine.

Wouldn't we save a lot of time and money if we simply armed the faction that we want to win a conflict rather than actually getting involved ourselves?

Plus it is what Gadaffi did to use when he supplied the IRA with semtex.