Good Articles That Don't Deserve Their Own Threads

Thruth

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Lord Buckley

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The brutality of modern architecture leads directly to a situation like Grenfell, where the needs of the individual is subservient to abiding to environmental legislation at the expense of human life. It is the end game of reducing mankind to the mass produced globalista benefit drone.

What is the mission of these buildings other than to dehumanize and create a sense of ugly oppression?

The UK in particular has failed badly in its experiments in high rise living. Lack of architectural talent at the time, combined with ill use of space and then dodgy contracts with brown envelopes exchanged in freemason lodges and the like. There was a need though to get rid of those slums though, community spirit beside.

High rises can work, but you have to use space and use it to alleviate the stark brutal essence of the modern experience. A place it does work, is in Ipanema and Leblon in Rio. The streets are wide, with wide pavements that are tree lined. Small parks every now and again. This creates a suburban texture and feeling. In the North of Rio this is lacking. So too Sao Paulo.

The Dutch do it quite well. They're experts at inner city regeneration and can build good spaces to live in including high rises. They also do suburban estates very well with lots of different building styles, tree lined paths, parks and bike lines. Although some of the newer ones are going the US route of doing away with paths.

Poundbury in the UK is good experiment in urban density living, despised by the postmodernist left press and critics. It is like a modern update to Port Sunlight village on the Wirral in the UK. It shows there can be another way with traditional and new classical aesthetics.
 

formby

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The brutality of modern architecture leads directly to a situation like Grenfell, where the needs of the individual is subservient to abiding to environmental legislation at the expense of human life. It is the end game of reducing mankind to the mass produced globalista benefit drone.

What is the mission of these buildings other than to dehumanize and create a sense of ugly oppression?

The UK in particular has failed badly in its experiments in high rise living. Lack of architectural talent at the time, combined with ill use of space and then dodgy contracts with brown envelopes exchanged in freemason lodges and the like. There was a need though to get rid of those slums though, community spirit beside.

High rises can work, but you have to use space and use it to alleviate the stark brutal essence of the modern experience. A place it does work, is in Ipanema and Leblon in Rio. The streets are wide, with wide pavements that are tree lined. Small parks every now and again. This creates a suburban texture and feeling. In the North of Rio this is lacking. So too Sao Paulo.

The Dutch do it quite well. They're experts at inner city regeneration and can build good spaces to live in including high rises. They also do suburban estates very well with lots of different building styles, tree lined paths, parks and bike lines. Although some of the newer ones are going the US route of doing away with paths.

Poundbury in the UK is good experiment in urban density living, despised by the postmodernist left press and critics. It is like a modern update to Port Sunlight village on the Wirral in the UK. It shows there can be another way with traditional and new classical aesthetics.
More info is coming out of the Grenfell tragedy, the selection of the panels seems to have been a cost saving exercise, fire-resistant panels have been substituted for non-resistant ones. How this has been signed-off is deeply worrying.

I have downloaded the relevant standards mentioned in the product catalogues. I've briefly looked at them, but not had time to study them in detail.

As for the architectural point, that's hard question to answer. One thing to consider is that several of these once-reviled structures have been renovated into bijou flats and have become highly desirable. Urban Splash's recent renovation of Park Hill in the former Socialist Republic of Sheffield is a good example as is the Barbican in London. An architect once said to me, that you can put a pig in a palace, but it will still be a pig which is a rather brutal way of saying the problem maybe the people, not necessarily the style of the buildings. Construction was often shoddy though, but that's a separate issue.

There are many good books around the subject. Jane Jacobs being a good starting point. Concretopia by John Grindrod is interesting as is the writing of Owen Hatherley who approaches the subject from a slightly Marxist POV.
 

Fwiffo

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Urban Splash's recent renovation of Park Hill in the former Socialist Republic of Sheffield is a good example as is the Barbican in London.
I'm pretty sure I had a conversation with someone the last time I was across the pond that the Barbican Estate was *the* place to live if you fancied the arts and urban living.
 

Fwiffo

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Well I don't know. If you have a bias against something, you tend to hyperbolize everything. I don't like my ex girlfriend but I sure remember her being a lot uglier and fatter than before.

In other news: Why Britons have a beef with the Sunday roast

"With so many Britons living in smaller households and Sunday no longer a day of rest, White says roast dinners just take too much time out of a person's day to be made every week....The idea that Sunday is no longer a day of rest is especially felt among students and young professionals who are still learning how to make the most of their week as they try to manage their time away from home."

It's roast beef. You just marinate it, make sure it's not frozen and you stick it in an oven. How hard could it be?

"You've got that option of 'Do I really want to cook a roast for an hour and a quarter?' or..."

Aha! It's only 75 minutes in the oven - by itself. One Netflix episode and some puttering around on YouTube.

"The Churchill Arms in west London, a pub named after former British prime minister Winston Churchill, looks like a traditional British pub from the outside, but customers looking for a hearty British meal will be disappointed once they get inside. 'We used to do Sunday roast years ago, but it wasn't doing well, so we got rid of it,' says manager James Keogh. 'Now we actually only do Thai food.'"

Oh dear God.

You know it's proper Thai when it's coming from a pub.
 

fxh

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Well I don't know. If you have a bias against something, you tend to hyperbolize everything. I don't like my ex girlfriend but I sure remember her being a lot uglier and fatter than before.

In other news: Why Britons have a beef with the Sunday roast

"With so many Britons living in smaller households and Sunday no longer a day of rest, White says roast dinners just take too much time out of a person's day to be made every week....The idea that Sunday is no longer a day of rest is especially felt among students and young professionals who are still learning how to make the most of their week as they try to manage their time away from home."

It's roast beef. You just marinate it, make sure it's not frozen and you stick it in an oven. How hard could it be?

"You've got that option of 'Do I really want to cook a roast for an hour and a quarter?' or..."

Aha! It's only 75 minutes in the oven - by itself. One Netflix episode and some puttering around on YouTube.

"The Churchill Arms in west London, a pub named after former British prime minister Winston Churchill, looks like a traditional British pub from the outside, but customers looking for a hearty British meal will be disappointed once they get inside. 'We used to do Sunday roast years ago, but it wasn't doing well, so we got rid of it,' says manager James Keogh. 'Now we actually only do Thai food.'"

Oh dear God.

You know it's proper Thai when it's coming from a pub.
What nonsense - there's hardly less effort you can do than doing a low slow roast.

I have the whole family and partners etc over around once a month. In winter I do a slow roast lamb shoulder.

Around 1.00pm I stick a lot of garlic in it rub in salt and pepper and a bit of rosemary, lemon, stock , onions, etc. Chuck it in cast iron pot with lid. This takes around 10 minutes.

I leave it on 160 C until about 4.30 pm while I sit in front of open fire and drink red wine and read books and listen to music. At around 4.30 or so I peel spuds, sweet potatoes etc and place them in roasting tray on lower shelf, take lid off lamb and turn oven up to 190 C or so. that takes around 10 mins. I go back to drinking and music etc.

Then around 5.30 PM I start "cooking" - that is I look at it all every 20 mins, turn stuff over needed and get vegies ready to cook. At 6.20 or so I start cooking vegies and turn oven up to 200C and/or fan forced. I keep watching every 10 mins. by 6.45 pm or 7.00 pm or so its all ready to feed 8 people.

Total effort & time = 3/5ths of SFA.
Lamb falling apart. Nice roast brown outside.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes brown on outside.
Wonderful food score = 9/10
Me = basking in glory and approaching fwiffo-esque levels of alcohol.
 

Monkeyface

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Well I don't know. If you have a bias against something, you tend to hyperbolize everything. I don't like my ex girlfriend but I sure remember her being a lot uglier and fatter than before.

In other news: Why Britons have a beef with the Sunday roast

"With so many Britons living in smaller households and Sunday no longer a day of rest, White says roast dinners just take too much time out of a person's day to be made every week....The idea that Sunday is no longer a day of rest is especially felt among students and young professionals who are still learning how to make the most of their week as they try to manage their time away from home."

It's roast beef. You just marinate it, make sure it's not frozen and you stick it in an oven. How hard could it be?

"You've got that option of 'Do I really want to cook a roast for an hour and a quarter?' or..."

Aha! It's only 75 minutes in the oven - by itself. One Netflix episode and some puttering around on YouTube.

"The Churchill Arms in west London, a pub named after former British prime minister Winston Churchill, looks like a traditional British pub from the outside, but customers looking for a hearty British meal will be disappointed once they get inside. 'We used to do Sunday roast years ago, but it wasn't doing well, so we got rid of it,' says manager James Keogh. 'Now we actually only do Thai food.'"

Oh dear God.

You know it's proper Thai when it's coming from a pub.
A lot of young Britons/Londoners might not have a proper oven, or have to share it with 4-5 others.
 

Thruth

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R. Kelly is still a freak & people are still stupid

https://www.buzzfeed.com/jimderogat...omen-in-a-cult?utm_term=.iqKZjYAno#.xc8Lymogx



BuzzFeed News; Getty Images


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R. Kelly Is Holding Women Against Their Will In A “Cult,” Parents Told Police
As the R&B legend tours the country this summer, parents have told police that R. Kelly is running an abusive "cult" that's tearing families apart. Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle told BuzzFeed News similar stories.

Posted on July 17, 2017, at 5:02 a.m.

Jim DeRogatis

BuzzFeed Contributor

Reporting From
Chicago
Backstage at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, on May 23, 2015, J. was thrilled that her 19-year-old daughter’s music career was going to make a major leap forward from recording demos and performing at talent shows to the chance of stardom — thanks to the help of an R&B superstar.

“When we got to go backstage with R. Kelly, we stayed there over two hours,” said J. “One-on-one with just me and my daughter and him. We went back to talk about the music. He listened to her CD. He was going to help her with her CD, and I was really impressed with him at first, because I have always been an R. Kelly fan.”

J. said that Robert “R.” Kelly, who turned 50 in January, met her daughter backstage at a concert in Atlanta earlier that month. Soon enough, he’d invited her to fly out to the Indio concert on his dime. J. said she’d heard about past sexual misconduct accusations against Kelly, but wasn’t overly worried. She is a fiercely devoted stage mom — she and her husband of 22 years, Tim, a car dealer, had moved from Memphis to Atlanta to help their eldest child’s career — and was confident she could protect her daughter.

“In the back of our minds, we were thinking [my daughter] could be around him if I was with her,” J. said. “It didn’t really hit home. Even with the Aaliyah situation, now that I think about it, ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number’ ... but you don’t think about that. You grew up with the song, and you like the song.”

Two years later, J. and Tim are in a desperate fight to bring their daughter home. (BuzzFeed News verified their identities and full names in public records, but is withholding the alleged victim's full name and her parents' last name to protect her privacy.)


“It was as if she was brainwashed.”
As part of their efforts, the mother closed her businesses, became a relentless amateur detective, and shared her findings with the FBI and police in two states. But their daughter isn’t a missing person — at least not in the eyes of the law. She still lives with Kelly and says she’s doing fine, despite her parents telling the police that she is “being held against her will” in what they call a “cult.”

Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle — Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee — provided details supporting the parents’ worst fears. They said six women live in properties rented by Kelly in Chicago and the Atlanta suburbs, and he controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.

The last time J. saw her daughter was Dec. 1, 2016.

“It was as if she was brainwashed. [She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible,” she said. “I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and [Kelly] is the one who cares for her. I don’t know what to do. I hope that if I get her back, I can get her treatment for victims of cults. They can reprogram her. But I wish I could have stopped it from happening.”

J. and Tim said they have only heard from their daughter twice since they last saw her. They got a one-sentence text from her on Christmas Day: “I hate Christmas has to be this way this year.”

And J. received another text on May 14: “Happy Mother’s Day from me and Rob.”



Vallery Jean / FilmMagic
R. Kelly performing at the James L. Knight Center on Oct. 17, 2013, in Miami.

Kelly has sold nearly 60 million albums during his 25-year career, and though his relevance is fading somewhat from the heyday of “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Trapped in the Closet,” he remains a major star in high demand for concerts, endorsements, television and radio appearances, and glossy magazine profiles. When he’s not performing, Kelly splits his time between his suburban Atlanta home and Trump Tower in Chicago. Extensive interviews with Mack, Jones, and McGee and a review of legal documents by BuzzFeed News paint a picture of what Kelly’s life offstage is like today.

The women in Kelly’s entourage initially think “This is R. Kelly, I’m going to live a lavish lifestyle,” said Mack, who worked as Kelly’s personal assistant for a year and a half starting in 2013 and has remained in touch with some members of his inner circle. “No. You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom. … [Kelly] is a master at mind control. ... He is a puppet master.”


“He is a puppet master."
Jones and McGee both said they lived with Kelly and had sexual relationships with the star at different times over the past five years before leaving. Their documentation of this time is limited, however, as they said Kelly controlled their phone and social media use while they were under his roof, and they were not allowed to take photos with Kelly or of the rooms where they were living.

According to Mack, Jones, and McGee, the women living in Kelly’s Duluth, Georgia, “guest house” or his Chicago recording studio last summer included:

  • A 31-year-old “den mother” who “trained” newcomers on how Kelly liked to be pleasured sexually. She had been best friends since high school with the girl in the videotape for which Kelly was tried in 2008. She recently parted ways with Kelly, these sources say.
  • A 25-year-old woman who also has been part of Kelly’s scene for seven years.
  • A recent arrival, a 19-year-old model who has been photographed in public with Kelly and named on music gossip websites — a rarity among the women in his circle.
  • An Atlanta songwriter who began her relationship with Kelly around 2009, when she was 19. (She is now 26.)
  • And an 18-year-old singer from Polk County, Florida. Mack said the Florida singer is Kelly’s “favorite — his number-one girl.”
Mack, Jones, and McGee claim that women who live with Kelly, who he calls his “babies,” are required to call him “Daddy” and must ask his permission to leave the Chicago recording studio or their assigned rooms in the “guest house” Kelly rents near his own rented mansion in suburban Atlanta. A black SUV with a burly driver behind the wheel is almost always parked outside both locations. Kelly confiscates the women’s cell phones, they said, so they cannot contact their friends and family; he gives them new phones that they are only allowed to use to contact him or others with his permission. Kelly films his sexual activities, McGee and Jones said, and shows the videos to men in his circle.

Mack, the star’s former personal assistant, said Kelly almost always tells the women to dress in jogging suits because “he doesn’t want their figures to be exposed; he doesn’t want them to look appealing.” She said when other men are in the same room, Kelly “would make the girls turn around and face the wall in their jogging suits because he doesn’t want them to be looked at by anyone else.”

If the women break any of Kelly’s “rules,” Mack and Jones said, he punishes them physically and verbally. For example, Jones claimed that Kelly held her against a tree and slapped her outside of a Subway sandwich shop in spring 2013 because she had been too friendly with the male cashier there. McGee said she never saw Kelly hit anybody, but also said he was running a “cult” and manipulated her emotionally and sexually.

“R. Kelly is the sweetest person you will ever want to meet,” McGee said. “But Robert is the devil.”

Of course, the law says that consenting adults may take part in any relationship they want, no matter how nontraditional. Welfare checks by police in both Illinois and Georgia in the past year didn’t lead to any charges; in January, the aspiring singer from Georgia told Cook County police she was “fine and did not want to be bothered.”

And all of the women in Kelly’s inner circle are of legal age — the age of consent is 17 in Illinois and 16 in Georgia — despite Kelly’s history of allegations against him regarding his sexual conduct with women. He was last tried in 2008 in Illinois, where he was acquitted on 14 charges of making child pornography. The case, which took a record six and a half years to go to trial in Chicago, focused only on a single videotape that prosecutors alleged showed him having sex with a 14-year-old girl. (While he was a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times, this reporter received the tape anonymously and turned it over to the police; called by Kelly's attorneys to testify, he took the Fifth Amendment rather than revealing sources.)

The trial, however, excluded claims made by girls or their parents that alleged Kelly regularly abused his position of fame and influence to pursue illegal sexual relationships with underage girls — which has also been the subject of a dozen or more civil lawsuits against Kelly that were settled out of court with cash payments from Kelly. The girls signed nondisclosure agreements when they accepted the payments. Also excluded was evidence of Kelly’s marriage in 1994 to his then-15-year-old protégé, Aaliyah, for whom he wrote the album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.

Chicago attorney Susan E. Loggans declined to say how many settlements she has negotiated with Kelly before lawsuits were ever filed, but she said they were “numerous,” and recently included one for a 17-year-old aspiring singer from Chicago’s West Side who is said to have been part of Kelly’s inner circle. Loggans gave no other details, citing attorney-client privilege and the terms of the settlement.

Kelly also has been sued by other attorneys representing women over the age of consent in their respective states. In 2002, an Illinois lawsuit was filed by Montina Woods, a dancer who toured with Kelly’s friend Ronald Isley, in which Woods claimed she was unknowingly recorded by Kelly during sex. (Kelly eventually settled the suit, paying Woods an undisclosed sum.) And on April 21, a Mississippi lawsuit was filed by Hinds County sheriff’s deputy Kenny Bryant over an alleged affair between Kelly and Bryant’s wife.

The music industry has a history of stars using their fame to gain the trust of young women — and their parents — who expect professional relationships but end up in sexual ones. But numerous sources, including women who left his inner circle, made on-the-record allegations suggesting ongoing mental and physical abuse of several women in Kelly’s entourage far beyond that of the groupie culture. For two decades, Kelly has been accused of a similar pattern of mistreating women — some have called it “predation” — but because of his acquittal on the child-porn charges and the nondisclosure agreements in his numerous civil cases, the charges have remained in the realm of gossip instead of derailing his career. Major record companies, television shows, and other stars continue to work with Kelly. Lady Gaga recorded the duet “Do What U Want” with Kelly in 2013, Lil Wayne, Ty Dolla Sign, and Juicy J made cameos on Kelly’s 2015 album The Buffet, and he performed on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon last December. He recently starred in a digital campaign for Alexander Wang.

“I got trapped,” said former insider Jones. “I had people telling me I was an idiot. But it took me a long time to realize they were right, and I’m talking now because I hope I can help some of these other girls.”



Andrew Gill/WBEZ
Security cameras seen on R. Kelly's Chicago recording studio.

After her backstage visit with Kelly in Indio, California, the aspiring singer from Georgia began secretly talking with Kelly on her cell phone, her mother said.

“As far as I know, we weren’t talking to [Kelly] anymore,” J. said. “Or at least I wasn’t talking to him anymore.”

In June 2015, J. and Tim said, their daughter lied to them about taking a weekend trip to visit a Georgia university. Instead, Mack arranged for her to fly to Oklahoma City, where Kelly was performing.

After the show, she had sex with Kelly for the first time, she later told her parents and at least two friends, including a record producer who goes by the stage name TONE.

As the Georgia singer and Kelly became closer, TONE recalled her saying she was frustrated with Kelly. She thought every time she tried to bring up her music career Kelly changed the topic to sex — and she wanted proof. So TONE and the woman decided to secretly record a phone conversation between her and Kelly.

BuzzFeed News was later given a copy of the recording. On the tape, it’s not just what Kelly said that shows his pattern of behavior with the women close to him. It's how he said it, which is immediately clear from listening to the audio.

“I miss my baby,” Kelly told the woman, before asking her what she was wearing. After she replied, he told her: “I want you to get in the habit of telling me what color panties you got on every day,” he instructed repeatedly, revealing in his own words the early stages of their power dynamic and the demands her parents say have become criminal.

When she tried to turn the conversation to a song she was working on, however, Kelly seemed less engaged.


“Hello?” she asked him at one point, to make sure he was still listening.

After a few minutes, Kelly changed the subject. “I’m more interested in developing you. Songs are not an issue. We can always do a hit song.”


In June 2016, the daughter enrolled for summer classes at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville and began living in the dorms. Her roommate at the school, who is being identified by the initials T.S. to avoid retaliation, told BuzzFeed News that, at first, she did not believe her new friend really knew R. Kelly. But, T.S. said, the Georgia woman would often call the superstar and put him on speakerphone during their explicit sexual conversations.

The Georgia woman also began visiting Kelly at his homes in nearby Duluth and sometimes traveled with him to Chicago, according to T.S. She recalled the woman telling her that Kelly took away her cell phone and replaced it with a new one, with instructions that she should only use it to communicate with him and needed to obtain his permission to use it to communicate with others.


“I’m more interested in developing you. Songs are not an issue. We can always do a hit song.”
T.S. also recalled the woman telling her that one time, Kelly sent a cab to pick up the women at his guest house and bring them to a club where he would meet them. The Georgia woman told her roommate that she laughed when the cab driver told a joke, and one of the other women in the cab texted Kelly to report this violation of his “rules.” When the Georgia woman arrived at the club, T.S. said, Kelly “bent her over and he whupped her behind because she laughed at the cab driver, who happened to be a man.”

By the middle of the 2016 fall semester, the Georgia woman’s appearance started to change: She began losing weight, and she cropped her long hair short, permed what was left, and dyed it blonde, said her parents and the former roommate. T.S. recalled her friend telling her that’s how Kelly liked her hair to look.

The Georgia woman eventually began skipping all of her classes, and she did not show up to take her finals in mid-December. Her parents confirmed the school considers her a student who is “no longer in good standing.”

She had already broken off all contact with her mother and father before she started skipping school. “My calls were all forwarded to voicemail,” J. said.

In the middle of the fall semester, during their quest to bring their daughter home, J. said she called the new cell phone Kelly had given her daughter, who broke one of Kelly’s “rules” by texting her parents from the phone to say she was fine.

J. said Kelly himself got on the phone after the daughter picked up and denied anything was wrong.



Nicole Craine
Two of R. Kelly's rental properties near Atlanta.

The parents filed a missing persons report with the Gwinnett College campus police. A spokeswoman for the school confirmed the report and the case number, but said that when an investigator called the parents and learned that they knew their daughter was with Kelly in his suburban Atlanta homes no action could be taken. Their daughter was not technically missing, and at 21, she is of legal age to do what she wants, campus police said.

The last time her parents saw her was in December 2016. “What we really wanted to do was an intervention,” J. said, but her daughter would not listen.

On Dec. 27, 2016, J. and Tim requested that the Johns Creek Police Department, which is responsible for the section of Duluth where Kelly rents the two houses, perform a well-being check on their daughter at the guest house. The police report obtained by BuzzFeed News said J. believes her daughter is part of the R. Kelly “cult” and that he is “abusive and is controlling her daughter.”

When police arrived, the report noted, the “door [was] open, house clear, no one there.” No further action was taken.


“What we really wanted to do was an intervention.”
A month later, the Cook County Sheriff’s police performed a well-being check in Chicago. The Georgia singer told officers she was “fine and did not want to be bothered with her parents because her father was threatening people,” according to the police report. (Tim denied this.) She told officers she instead keeps in touch with her grandmother, who she calls Nana.

When reached by BuzzFeed News, Nana said that she had spoken to her granddaughter by phone only two or three times since December, most recently on July 11. She said her granddaughter emphasized that she’s an adult in a consensual relationship with Kelly, and was mad at her parents for intervening. In text messages reviewed by BuzzFeed News, the granddaughter said she thought her parents were trying to ruin Kelly’s career.

Despite her granddaughter’s insistence, “I’m gravely concerned about her,” Nana said, echoing J.’s belief that she is being held against her will. If she could talk to Kelly today, Nana said, “I would tell R. Kelly to send my granddaughter home. He knows it’s not right and he would not want anybody doing this to his daughter.”

Multiple attempts by BuzzFeed News to reach the Georgia woman on her Kelly-issued cell phone were unsuccessful.

J. and Tim said they even reached out to the FBI about their daughter and spent hours being interviewed by an agent. Special Agent Stephen Emmett, an FBI spokesperson in Georgia, said the bureau’s policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations into specific people or matters. But the parents are hopeful that perhaps federal law enforcement can help where local police have not.

“It’s not about my daughter, per se. It’s about all the girls,” Tim said. “It’s about my daughter, and I understand that. But the abuse that my daughter is actually enduring, nobody should go through.”



Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press
Kelly leaving the Cook County Criminal Court Building on June 13, 2008, after a jury found him not guilty on all counts in his child pornography trial.

Two other parents are fighting to get their daughter back. The parents of an aspiring professional singer from Florida said their daughter met Kelly when she was 17 years old, and she moved into one of his rental properties once she was over the age of legal consent. (BuzzFeed News verified their identities and full names, but is withholding the alleged victim's full name and her parents' last name to protect her privacy. Her mother asked to be called by her middle name, Theresa, for the same reason.)

Theresa said she initially let her daughter spend time with Kelly because it was “supposed to be a music relationship.” She now regrets that decision.

“My thing was I trusted. I have never been in the music industry before, ever,” Theresa said. “He is a lyrical genius — he is R. Kelly! And the fact is he went to court, he was never found guilty — he was acquitted — and we were led to believe there was no truth in it. Now I got all of these people asking about why my daughter is there, telling me, ‘All of that, the charges against Kelly, was true.’ Well, how come you didn’t tell me that before?”

The Florida singer first met Kelly when her parents took her to see him perform at Funk Fest in Orlando on April 18, 2015.


“The fact is he went to court, he was never found guilty — he was acquitted — and we were led to believe there was no truth in it."
“During the show, they were pulling people out of the audience,” Theresa said. “A guy said, ‘Oh yeah, her.’ He pulled her up onstage.”

After the show, a member of Kelly’s entourage gave the star’s phone number to the then-17-year-old high school senior, Theresa said.

“We called, but he wasn’t answering, so we left it alone,” she said. “Then I guess he must have got back later on or texted her later on.”

As with the Georgia woman, the relationship between Kelly and the Florida woman developed over phone calls and text messages that were kept secret from her family, the parents said.

“And then one day we were looking for her because she should’ve been coming home from school,” Theresa said. “Then finally we get a text message saying that she’s OK, that she had met up with R. Kelly in his hotel. And I’m like, ‘You met up with R. Kelly at his hotel?’”

Theresa and her husband, Angelo, said they rushed to the hotel and called the police, who advised them to deal with hotel security. Their daughter finally came down to see them, they said, but Kelly refused to talk with them.

After the incident at the hotel, the Florida teen “was only [supposed to be] talking to him when one of us was around,” Theresa said.

“We needed to make sure it was about music, because he was going to mentor her,” she said. “And then from there he wanted her to travel with him so she could see how the music game really was. ... We thought it could be an opportunity, and that she was going to be with a guardian — a female guardian that would keep an eye on her.”

But that may have been wishful thinking. Soon enough, the Florida singer was living with Kelly. Angelo said he initially received short text messages from his daughter every few weeks saying she was fine and the parents should not worry or try to contact her. Those have stopped.

McGee, one of the women who left Kelly, said the Florida woman is “head over heels” for Kelly. And McGee said Kelly is “obsessed” with the Florida woman, noting that he “would go into the kitchen and cook for her.”

But McGee’s feelings about the Florida woman were nuanced. “I have a 17-year-old daughter myself,” she said. “When I saw [the Florida singer] with him, it took me back. This could be my daughter. I just knew that it was not right and I just couldn’t understand what a man almost 50 is doing having sex with someone the same age as his daughter. That’s when I realized it was more of a mind-control thing.”

McGee also said she witnessed Kelly punish the aspiring Florida singer for breaking his “rules.”


“I just couldn’t understand what a man almost 50 is doing having sex with someone the same age as his daughter.”
“He left [the Florida woman] on the [tour] bus for, like, three days and she was not allowed to come out,” McGee said. “He said she didn’t do her homework — that’s why she was punished — which was very confusing, because she had just graduated [high school] over the summer.”

Multiple attempts by BuzzFeed News to reach the Florida woman on her Kelly-issued cell phone were unsuccessful.

Theresa said she is frustrated that lawyers and police have said they cannot help, and she fears that even if the relationship ends, she may not get her daughter back. On Dec. 24, 1996, Kelly was sued for $10 million by Tiffany “Tia” Hawkins, an aspiring singer and then–high school student in Chicago, who claimed she met the star when he lectured her choir class. According to the lawsuit, Hawkins began having sex with Kelly in 1991, when she was 15 and he was 24. The relationship ended in December 1994, when she was 18, the court documents state; distraught, she slit her wrists in an attempt to kill herself.

“I desperately want my daughter back but I’m not [sure] what will [be] the repercussions if she doesn’t come willingly,” Theresa said. “These girls think this man loves them. Matters of the heart are a touchy subject.”

The parents said they’ve tried numerous other tactics to bring their daughter home.

In August 2015, the daughter texted Angelo that she was in Chicago with Kelly, the parents said. On Aug. 26, 2015, they sent their older daughter to Kelly’s recording studio to check on her sister, according to her parents. Kelly and men in his entourage allegedly got involved in an altercation with the older sister when she tried to take her younger sister away, said the parents, who claimed the star and the other men pushed, shoved, and hit the older sister.

A police report obtained by BuzzFeed News indicated that one person allegedly struck the Florida singer’s sister in her face, but she did not seek medical attention. The case is classified as a simple battery and nobody has been arrested, according to the report, which said the investigation was initially suspended until a detective could contact the victim. A supplementary report was filed more than a year later, on Jan. 18, 2017.

“I have not talked to my daughter in more than a year,” Theresa said, adding she has left countless texts and voicemail messages that have not yet received a response. “We’ve had deaths in the family, birthdays, and I haven’t heard from her and she hasn’t been here for any of it. I didn’t even hear from her on Mother’s Day. All I want to do is bring her home.”

On Friday, July 14, after Kelly and the Florida woman had been asked for comment on this story, Angelo said he got a surprise phone call from his daughter, who invited him to come to see Kelly perform in Indiana on Saturday. Wary of Kelly’s motivations, Angelo said he declined the invitation. He also is angry over the other surprise news from his daughter: She said Kelly had recently paid for her to have breast enhancement surgery.

“I am beyond furious,” Angelo said. “I said to her, ‘How could you do this? What the hell were you thinking? What if you died on the operating table?’ I don’t even know what we can do anymore. I just know we got to get her home."



Rick Kern / WireImage
R. Kelly performing at Bass Concert Hall on March 3 in Austin.

Kelly has long maintained his innocence on allegations of underage sex, and in recent interviews he has either persistently dodged questions about his past behavior or stormed offwhen he was unable to do that.

Multiple attempts to reach Kelly were unsuccessful. Kelly’s RCA Records publicist Theola Borden, who was promoted to senior vice president of publicity for the label in 2014, did not respond to multiple emails and phone calls requesting comment.


“I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life.”
Linda Mensch, a civil lawyer in Chicago who represents the superstar, responded via email to the accusations outlined in this story. Mensch was asked about the on-the-record allegations that Kelly physically and mentally abuses women and that Kelly allegedly met one of the women in his inner circle when she was 17.

“We can only wonder why folks would persist in defaming a great artist who loves his fans, works 24/7, and takes care of all of the people in his life,” Mensch wrote. “He works hard to become the best person and artist he can be. It is interesting that stories and tales debunked many years ago turn up when his goal is to stop the violence; put down the guns; and embrace peace and love. I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life. Please respect that.” ●

Jim DeRogatis is a Chicago-based music journalist and critic. He is an assistant professor in the English Department at Columbia College Chicago; the co-host of "Sound Opinions," the weekly rock-n-roll talk show originating at WBEZ Chicago and heard on some 125 Public Radio stations nationwide as well as on podcast at soundopinions.org, and the the author of nine books about music.

Contact Jim DeRogatis at jimdero@jimdero.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

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Fwiffo

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http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/health/happiness-research-timesavers-1.4220213

Now I know why my mother had fond memories of her childhood. She had a nanny dedicated to her and her sister. Every pair of siblings did. They had a chauffeured car and servants to do the rest of the house chores. My grandfather travelled with a bodyguard or what could be called an aide. The family owned a large estate with a farm - again worked by the locals.

I'm not sure if I get someone to clean my one bedroom flat that it'll bring me the same joy.
 

Fwiffo

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1 in 5 sausages tested across Canada contained different meat than labelled, study finds

"Seven of 27 beef sausages examined in the study contained pork. One of 38 supposedly pure pork sausages contained horse meat. Of 20 chicken sausages, four also contained turkey and one also had beef. Five of the 15 turkey sausages studied contained no turkey at all — they were entirely chicken."

That's bad for those Hindus, Muslims and other people with religious restrictions. Good thing I have none - as long as it was meat of some animal I'll eat it.
 

Kingstonian

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In other news: Why Britons have a beef with the Sunday roast

"The Churchill Arms in west London, a pub named after former British prime minister Winston Churchill, looks like a traditional British pub from the outside, but British meal will be disappointed once they get inside. 'We used to do Sunday roast years ago, but it wasn't doing well, so we got rid of it,' says manager James Keogh. 'Now we actually only do Thai food.'"
.
You go to a carvery pub. One near me is packed. Old age pensioners during weekday afternoons. Divorced families at weekends; plus foreigners looking to eat English.

Amazingly cheap and you get a discount for your next visit.
https://www.tobycarvery.co.uk/restaurants/south-east/thehogsmilltavernworcesterpark

Even wetherspoons could not compete with them.

Many pubs try to make money on food. Laughable ideas like 'gourmet burgers' for £12. Few pubs sell simple, good value meals these days as the margins on drink are not what they were.
 

Fwiffo

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Instagram post from the Treasury Secretary's wife: "'Cute! Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country? I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. You’re adorably out of touch. Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute. I know you’re mad but deep down you’re really nice and so am I. Sending me passive aggressive Instagram comments isn’t going to make life feel better. Maybe a nice message, one filled with wisdom and hunanity [sic] would get more traction. Have a pleasant evening. Go chill out and watch the new game of thrones. It’s fab!' Linton wrote."

http://www.businessinsider.com/louise-linton-bio-actress-and-steve-mnuchin-wife-2017-8
 

formby

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The Power and the Story: fact, fabrication and the shaping of the modern media
Author John Lloyd is amazed at how Donald Trump has “set about trashing” the practice of journalism.

By John Gray

Source: http://www.newstatesman.com


“Don’t you understand that if something is not on TV it doesn’t exist? Not a product, a politician nor an ideal!” Addressing one of his closest aides, in an exchange reported in a book published in 2006, Silvio Berlusconi enunciated the first principle of commerce and politics in our time: to be is to be perceived in the media.

Acting on this maxim, Berlusconi amassed an empire in which he and his family controlled half of Italy’s television output, a quarter of the national papers, half of the news magazines and the biggest Italian publishing house. At the same time, using staff from his advertising business Publitalia, he created from nothing a political party, Forza Italia – an expression, usually translated as “Go, Italy!”, which until then had been used mainly at international football matches. Through this he was able to enter parliament (where deputies enjoyed immunity from prosecution) and serve as prime minister in four governments.

Struggling to describe Berlusconi’s extraordinary personality, John Lloyd writes:

'…no biography has yet been able to do justice to the amalgam of arrogance, boldness, cynicism, determination, empathy, grotesquerie, hope, intuition, jocularity, kindness, lying, malevolence, nobility, opacity, quixotry, romance, self-confidence, trickery, understanding vindictiveness, wackiness, X-ratedness, youthfulness and zip that he contains.'

But it may not have been only this improbable combination of attributes that enabled Berlusconi to build his empire in the media and politics. There may also have been a body of theory, which guided some of those involved in its construction. According to Andrew Hussey, the biographer of the French situationist thinker Guy Debord, one of Berlusconi’s lieutenants boasted that Debord had taught him all he knew. In The Society of the Spectacle (1967), Debord suggested that contemporary capitalism was constructing an omnipresent system of images, distracting people from the reality of their situation and locking them into impoverished lives. Berlusconi’s executive absorbed this theory, and used it to strengthen the hold of the spectacle on Italian society.

It seems unlikely that Debord’s writings are among those studied by Donald Trump’s communications guru Steve Bannon, whose knowledge of European thinkers appears to be confined to a few on the far right. But Trump’s campaign techniques had more than a little in common with the strategies that, 20 years earlier, helped Berlusconi build his empire. “More than any other figure in Europe whose business included the production of journalism,” Lloyd writes, “Berlusconi created a political-media world in which his interests were protected, while at the same time the TV experience was shifted decisively on to the ground of instant pleasure – in game shows, popular films, soap operas, musical spectaculars and high-impact news.” Trump’s campaign exploited social media more than television. But it was similarly demotic, deploying racial slurs, conspiracy theories and what came to be called “alternative facts” to create and mobilise a mass movement against the established political classes in both main parties.

Outrageously transgressive in terms of the liberal norms that shape much of American journalistic culture, particularly in the print media, Trump was also shockingly successful, and the strong bond he forged with his followers has survived his failings in office. In his core constituencies, efforts by mainstream media to demonstrate his mendacity have only reinforced the image Trump had fashioned for himself – that of being a truth-telling outsider besieged by Washington power elites determined to destroy him.

At the end of this exceptionally wide-ranging and informative book, Lloyd expresses amazement at the way in which, aping autocrats around the world, Trump has “set about trashing” the practice of journalism. “That this should be happening in America,” he writes, “is hardly credible.”

Throughout Lloyd’s critical survey, which covers post-communist Russia and Eastern Europe, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, China, India and Japan as well as the US and UK among other countries, he points again and again to the links between the practice of journalism and liberal democracy. Proper journalism requires freedom to investigate and to publish. More, it must be able to provoke some response from the authorities. In the absence of these conditions – which exist only in liberal democracies – journalists are powerless. If any overall message can be gleaned from Lloyd’s account it is that journalism is an intrinsically liberal enterprise, threatened by the same forces that threaten liberalism itself. In fact the relations between journalism and the forces that aim to stifle it are more diverse and conflicting than this simple formula would suggest.

A contributing editor for the Financial Times, formerly its Moscow bureau chief from 1990 to 1995, and a senior research fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, Lloyd does an impressive job in showing how journalism is vulnerable to the power of the state and the market. In authoritarian regimes – whether or not they sport the trappings of democracy – the license of media companies to operate can be revoked at any time, and journalists may have to make a choice between serving the ruling power or following the story and risking whatever sanctions they might incur. These can include death. Some 20 journalists have been killed in Russia since Putin came to power, many of them following years of intimidation and harassment – such as Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in her apartment block in 2006 after having suffered a mock execution by Russian military forces in Chechnya, being poisoned on an airplane and receiving many death threats.

The suppression of journalists in Putin’s Russia has been viewed as a reversion to Stalinist norms, but as Lloyd points out this is not so. In Russia today there are sections of the press and small radio and television stations that allow dissenting voices and books that criticise the regime. Above all there is the freedom of the Internet (though it may be worth noting that Russian MPs recently voted to curb online freedoms by clamping down on anonymous browsing and access to websites deemed dangerous by the government). There is another difference, though Lloyd does not spell it out. Journalists were not singled out to be killed in Stalin’s totalitarian state. Like millions of others, they were swept up in purges and many perished; but they were not individually targeted for criticising the regime. When the media are state owned and serve a single master, all the journalism that is produced is pre-censored; there is no need to murder journalists for attacking the regime, since no such journalists exist. The violent deaths of journalists testify to the relative weakness of the Russian state, not its strength. In this respect Russia today resembles not so much the Stalinist Soviet Union as contemporary Mexico, where journalists have been assassinated for uncovering webs of complicity between organised crime, state officials, politicians and the police.

Where Putin’s Russia is more distinctive is in the media apparatus the regime operates. Since the Soviet-born writer and former Moscow television producer Peter Pomerantsev’s semi-autobiographical volume Nothing is True and Everything is Possible (2014), much has been written on how Putin has created a media operation in which truth no longer has any meaning and objective reporting has been replaced by a weaponised version of post-modern relativism – a view of the Russian media that Lloyd broadly accepts. Certainly Putin’s army of “political technologists” has been remarkably adept at manipulating public perception in Russia and (through the television channel RT – formerly Russia Today – which has tens of millions of daily viewers) many other countries. In the virtual world fashioned by Putin’s media complex, facts are lost in a wilderness of mirrors.

This kind of information warfare, however, is not as new as it seems. Flowing from Lenin’s belief that politics and war are one and the same, deception (maskirovka in Russian) was an integral part of the Soviet state from the beginning. Putin’s strategy of denying the role of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine continues this tradition. Lloyd writes that Lenin “did not adhere to the view that there was an objective truth in events”. But Lenin was no relativist: he was convinced he had understood the logic of history and could use this insight to outwit the West. Believing the West is in retreat and using disinformation to accelerate the process, Putin is not so different.

It is true that the contemporary media environment makes it harder to tell the difference between fact-based reportage and fabricated news. As Lloyd notes, this is why populist movements tend to favour new media over more traditional outlets: “The Net, with its promiscuous mixture of fact, conjecture, partisan spin and fake news, deliberately constructed to gain attention and income, is a much more attractive medium within which to work.” Not all the effects of the Net have been negative. As newspapers have lost circulation, revenue and, in some cases, intellectual content, websites have sprung up that match or surpass the old media in ambition and rigour. Washington-based Politico, with seven-to-eight million unique visitors and 50 million page views each month, is a notable example. Again, some magazines – not least the one in which I write – have bucked the trend of dwindling circulation and declining intellectual content. Even so, the impact of new technologies on old media has been mostly destructive.

One such effect is a relentless focus on subjective sensations and emotions. “Tabloid journalists need a few facts,” Lloyd writes, “but above all they need to stimulate or imitate emotion, an approach now leeched into straight news.” As Lloyd implies, this focus on feeling is largely market-driven. Sensationalism is popular and, in terms of ratings, profitable; much of the public may have little interest in digging into the history and causes of events. But the rise of a fact-light, emotionally manipulative journalism is by no means confined to the tabloids and news media.

Opinion columns nowadays have less to do with the analysis of events and more with whatever feelings of outrage the writer is momentarily gripped by or has confected for the purposes of the column. The idea that a columnist might usefully stand against the temper of the age, chastening readers’ enthusiasms and mocking their pretensions to virtue, is too outlandish to be contemplated. A figure like H L Mencken, who regaled his readers with caustic commentaries on the idealistic follies of what he described as “the booboisie”, is inconceivable today.

One reason for this situation may be the belief that good journalism and liberal values are joined at the hip. Lloyd is right in arguing that decent journalism can be practiced in any continuing and widespread fashion only against a background of liberal freedoms. The trade of the reporter requires that facts can be uncovered and published without the danger of journalists being silenced. But when facts are denied, ignored or under-reported, the reason is not always the risk of sanctions from governments or media barons. Facts can be marginalised because they do not fit into the prevailing view of the world, which in much of the media is liberal.

Consider immigration. That an increased supply of cheap labour tends to drive down wages is an economic truism. In the same way, sharply increased demand for housing and social services tends to make these services harder to access by those who need them. In both cases the impact is largest on the poorest sections of society. Yet mentioning these facts in any discussion of immigration violates one of the axioms of the prevailing liberalism, which lays down that the economic benefits of immigration always outweigh any costs it may have. For many in the media, this is a self-evident truth that only malignant and morally disreputable reactionaries could possibly deny.

If the job of the journalist is, as Lloyd suggests, “to say, and to show, that this happened”, it can be obstructed in many ways. Not only does the power of the state and the pressure of the market stand in the way. So, at times, do journalists themselves. Showing what is happening is difficult when it undermines an integral part of one’s world-view.

The inherent tendency of the media at the present time is towards a kind of magical realism – the construction of a fabulous world that is less intractable than the one that actually exists. It is not that the idea of truth no longer applies. Conspiracy theory, which is rife on the internet, is based on the belief that the truth is so blindingly obvious that it must be actively concealed. The function of much of the media – mainstream and alternative – is not to subvert the idea of truth, but instead to render the truth emotionally satisfying.

When he suggested that we were coming to inhabit a media-constructed environment, Debord anticipated a pattern in late 20th- and early 21st-century politics. Berlusconi and Trump, Corbyn and Macron are episodes in media spectacles that reveal and at the same time obscure the conflicts of their societies. Where Debord went wrong was in supposing that the spectacle is unitary, and virtually all-powerful. Many spectacles are at work in today’s fragmented and accelerated media environment, each of them liable to rapid obsolescence or a sudden crash. What will Corbyn’s cuddly anti-capitalism be in a few months? What will have become of Macron’s Napoleonic visions? Berlusconi was right in thinking that if something is not in the media it does not exist. Political projects are now little more substantial than television advertisements, and often have shorter lifespans.
 

Lord Buckley

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The Power and the Story: fact, fabrication and the shaping of the modern media
Author John Lloyd is amazed at how Donald Trump has “set about trashing” the practice of journalism.

By John Gray

Source: http://www.newstatesman.com


“Don’t you understand that if something is not on TV it doesn’t exist? Not a product, a politician nor an ideal!” Addressing one of his closest aides, in an exchange reported in a book published in 2006, Silvio Berlusconi enunciated the first principle of commerce and politics in our time: to be is to be perceived in the media.

Acting on this maxim, Berlusconi amassed an empire in which he and his family controlled half of Italy’s television output, a quarter of the national papers, half of the news magazines and the biggest Italian publishing house. At the same time, using staff from his advertising business Publitalia, he created from nothing a political party, Forza Italia – an expression, usually translated as “Go, Italy!”, which until then had been used mainly at international football matches. Through this he was able to enter parliament (where deputies enjoyed immunity from prosecution) and serve as prime minister in four governments.

Struggling to describe Berlusconi’s extraordinary personality, John Lloyd writes:

'…no biography has yet been able to do justice to the amalgam of arrogance, boldness, cynicism, determination, empathy, grotesquerie, hope, intuition, jocularity, kindness, lying, malevolence, nobility, opacity, quixotry, romance, self-confidence, trickery, understanding vindictiveness, wackiness, X-ratedness, youthfulness and zip that he contains.'

But it may not have been only this improbable combination of attributes that enabled Berlusconi to build his empire in the media and politics. There may also have been a body of theory, which guided some of those involved in its construction. According to Andrew Hussey, the biographer of the French situationist thinker Guy Debord, one of Berlusconi’s lieutenants boasted that Debord had taught him all he knew. In The Society of the Spectacle (1967), Debord suggested that contemporary capitalism was constructing an omnipresent system of images, distracting people from the reality of their situation and locking them into impoverished lives. Berlusconi’s executive absorbed this theory, and used it to strengthen the hold of the spectacle on Italian society.

It seems unlikely that Debord’s writings are among those studied by Donald Trump’s communications guru Steve Bannon, whose knowledge of European thinkers appears to be confined to a few on the far right. But Trump’s campaign techniques had more than a little in common with the strategies that, 20 years earlier, helped Berlusconi build his empire. “More than any other figure in Europe whose business included the production of journalism,” Lloyd writes, “Berlusconi created a political-media world in which his interests were protected, while at the same time the TV experience was shifted decisively on to the ground of instant pleasure – in game shows, popular films, soap operas, musical spectaculars and high-impact news.” Trump’s campaign exploited social media more than television. But it was similarly demotic, deploying racial slurs, conspiracy theories and what came to be called “alternative facts” to create and mobilise a mass movement against the established political classes in both main parties.

Outrageously transgressive in terms of the liberal norms that shape much of American journalistic culture, particularly in the print media, Trump was also shockingly successful, and the strong bond he forged with his followers has survived his failings in office. In his core constituencies, efforts by mainstream media to demonstrate his mendacity have only reinforced the image Trump had fashioned for himself – that of being a truth-telling outsider besieged by Washington power elites determined to destroy him.

At the end of this exceptionally wide-ranging and informative book, Lloyd expresses amazement at the way in which, aping autocrats around the world, Trump has “set about trashing” the practice of journalism. “That this should be happening in America,” he writes, “is hardly credible.”

Throughout Lloyd’s critical survey, which covers post-communist Russia and Eastern Europe, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, China, India and Japan as well as the US and UK among other countries, he points again and again to the links between the practice of journalism and liberal democracy. Proper journalism requires freedom to investigate and to publish. More, it must be able to provoke some response from the authorities. In the absence of these conditions – which exist only in liberal democracies – journalists are powerless. If any overall message can be gleaned from Lloyd’s account it is that journalism is an intrinsically liberal enterprise, threatened by the same forces that threaten liberalism itself. In fact the relations between journalism and the forces that aim to stifle it are more diverse and conflicting than this simple formula would suggest.

A contributing editor for the Financial Times, formerly its Moscow bureau chief from 1990 to 1995, and a senior research fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, Lloyd does an impressive job in showing how journalism is vulnerable to the power of the state and the market. In authoritarian regimes – whether or not they sport the trappings of democracy – the license of media companies to operate can be revoked at any time, and journalists may have to make a choice between serving the ruling power or following the story and risking whatever sanctions they might incur. These can include death. Some 20 journalists have been killed in Russia since Putin came to power, many of them following years of intimidation and harassment – such as Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in her apartment block in 2006 after having suffered a mock execution by Russian military forces in Chechnya, being poisoned on an airplane and receiving many death threats.

The suppression of journalists in Putin’s Russia has been viewed as a reversion to Stalinist norms, but as Lloyd points out this is not so. In Russia today there are sections of the press and small radio and television stations that allow dissenting voices and books that criticise the regime. Above all there is the freedom of the Internet (though it may be worth noting that Russian MPs recently voted to curb online freedoms by clamping down on anonymous browsing and access to websites deemed dangerous by the government). There is another difference, though Lloyd does not spell it out. Journalists were not singled out to be killed in Stalin’s totalitarian state. Like millions of others, they were swept up in purges and many perished; but they were not individually targeted for criticising the regime. When the media are state owned and serve a single master, all the journalism that is produced is pre-censored; there is no need to murder journalists for attacking the regime, since no such journalists exist. The violent deaths of journalists testify to the relative weakness of the Russian state, not its strength. In this respect Russia today resembles not so much the Stalinist Soviet Union as contemporary Mexico, where journalists have been assassinated for uncovering webs of complicity between organised crime, state officials, politicians and the police.

Where Putin’s Russia is more distinctive is in the media apparatus the regime operates. Since the Soviet-born writer and former Moscow television producer Peter Pomerantsev’s semi-autobiographical volume Nothing is True and Everything is Possible (2014), much has been written on how Putin has created a media operation in which truth no longer has any meaning and objective reporting has been replaced by a weaponised version of post-modern relativism – a view of the Russian media that Lloyd broadly accepts. Certainly Putin’s army of “political technologists” has been remarkably adept at manipulating public perception in Russia and (through the television channel RT – formerly Russia Today – which has tens of millions of daily viewers) many other countries. In the virtual world fashioned by Putin’s media complex, facts are lost in a wilderness of mirrors.

This kind of information warfare, however, is not as new as it seems. Flowing from Lenin’s belief that politics and war are one and the same, deception (maskirovka in Russian) was an integral part of the Soviet state from the beginning. Putin’s strategy of denying the role of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine continues this tradition. Lloyd writes that Lenin “did not adhere to the view that there was an objective truth in events”. But Lenin was no relativist: he was convinced he had understood the logic of history and could use this insight to outwit the West. Believing the West is in retreat and using disinformation to accelerate the process, Putin is not so different.

It is true that the contemporary media environment makes it harder to tell the difference between fact-based reportage and fabricated news. As Lloyd notes, this is why populist movements tend to favour new media over more traditional outlets: “The Net, with its promiscuous mixture of fact, conjecture, partisan spin and fake news, deliberately constructed to gain attention and income, is a much more attractive medium within which to work.” Not all the effects of the Net have been negative. As newspapers have lost circulation, revenue and, in some cases, intellectual content, websites have sprung up that match or surpass the old media in ambition and rigour. Washington-based Politico, with seven-to-eight million unique visitors and 50 million page views each month, is a notable example. Again, some magazines – not least the one in which I write – have bucked the trend of dwindling circulation and declining intellectual content. Even so, the impact of new technologies on old media has been mostly destructive.

One such effect is a relentless focus on subjective sensations and emotions. “Tabloid journalists need a few facts,” Lloyd writes, “but above all they need to stimulate or imitate emotion, an approach now leeched into straight news.” As Lloyd implies, this focus on feeling is largely market-driven. Sensationalism is popular and, in terms of ratings, profitable; much of the public may have little interest in digging into the history and causes of events. But the rise of a fact-light, emotionally manipulative journalism is by no means confined to the tabloids and news media.

Opinion columns nowadays have less to do with the analysis of events and more with whatever feelings of outrage the writer is momentarily gripped by or has confected for the purposes of the column. The idea that a columnist might usefully stand against the temper of the age, chastening readers’ enthusiasms and mocking their pretensions to virtue, is too outlandish to be contemplated. A figure like H L Mencken, who regaled his readers with caustic commentaries on the idealistic follies of what he described as “the booboisie”, is inconceivable today.

One reason for this situation may be the belief that good journalism and liberal values are joined at the hip. Lloyd is right in arguing that decent journalism can be practiced in any continuing and widespread fashion only against a background of liberal freedoms. The trade of the reporter requires that facts can be uncovered and published without the danger of journalists being silenced. But when facts are denied, ignored or under-reported, the reason is not always the risk of sanctions from governments or media barons. Facts can be marginalised because they do not fit into the prevailing view of the world, which in much of the media is liberal.

Consider immigration. That an increased supply of cheap labour tends to drive down wages is an economic truism. In the same way, sharply increased demand for housing and social services tends to make these services harder to access by those who need them. In both cases the impact is largest on the poorest sections of society. Yet mentioning these facts in any discussion of immigration violates one of the axioms of the prevailing liberalism, which lays down that the economic benefits of immigration always outweigh any costs it may have. For many in the media, this is a self-evident truth that only malignant and morally disreputable reactionaries could possibly deny.

If the job of the journalist is, as Lloyd suggests, “to say, and to show, that this happened”, it can be obstructed in many ways. Not only does the power of the state and the pressure of the market stand in the way. So, at times, do journalists themselves. Showing what is happening is difficult when it undermines an integral part of one’s world-view.

The inherent tendency of the media at the present time is towards a kind of magical realism – the construction of a fabulous world that is less intractable than the one that actually exists. It is not that the idea of truth no longer applies. Conspiracy theory, which is rife on the internet, is based on the belief that the truth is so blindingly obvious that it must be actively concealed. The function of much of the media – mainstream and alternative – is not to subvert the idea of truth, but instead to render the truth emotionally satisfying.

When he suggested that we were coming to inhabit a media-constructed environment, Debord anticipated a pattern in late 20th- and early 21st-century politics. Berlusconi and Trump, Corbyn and Macron are episodes in media spectacles that reveal and at the same time obscure the conflicts of their societies. Where Debord went wrong was in supposing that the spectacle is unitary, and virtually all-powerful. Many spectacles are at work in today’s fragmented and accelerated media environment, each of them liable to rapid obsolescence or a sudden crash. What will Corbyn’s cuddly anti-capitalism be in a few months? What will have become of Macron’s Napoleonic visions? Berlusconi was right in thinking that if something is not in the media it does not exist. Political projects are now little more substantial than television advertisements, and often have shorter lifespans.
It should of course be mentioned, as a warning, that both John Gray and John Lloyd are Communists, an ideology that resulted in 100 million deaths in the 20th century. More death rattles from the legacy media
 

formby

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It should of course be mentioned, as a warning, that both John Gray and John Lloyd are Communists, an ideology that resulted in 100 million deaths in the 20th century. More death rattles from the legacy media
John Gray a communist? He's more of a nihilist these days...

Good writer though, very wide ranging.
 

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How marriage changes people forever

"The researchers found that wedded participants showed decreases in the traits of extroversion and openness to experience as compared with the others."

Especially when they keep sitting right next to each other at a dinner party and keep bantering about who should ring the contractor to fix the bathroom fixtures, etc. etc.

"...while satisfaction does rise for a while after marriage, it usually returns to baseline levels after a year or so."

Marriage is only good for one year?! That wasn't what the rabbi/priest/imam/secular judge said!

"...more extroverted men show prolonged increases in life-satisfaction following marriage, presumably because the new married lifestyle suited these personality types, although this has not yet been studied."

People say I'm extroverted, although I have my doubts sometimes. Damned these incomplete studies.

"Taken altogether, the research suggests that marriage does lead to subtle personality changes. But this has nothing on the personal upheaval that follows what often comes next: babies."

Another study required after that? How many grants do these academics need? I just want a formula to calculate my happy quotient if I get hitched, shag someone and produce a brood.
 

Lord Buckley

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How marriage changes people forever

"The researchers found that wedded participants showed decreases in the traits of extroversion and openness to experience as compared with the others."

Especially when they keep sitting right next to each other at a dinner party and keep bantering about who should ring the contractor to fix the bathroom fixtures, etc. etc.

"...while satisfaction does rise for a while after marriage, it usually returns to baseline levels after a year or so."

Marriage is only good for one year?! That wasn't what the rabbi/priest/imam/secular judge said!

"...more extroverted men show prolonged increases in life-satisfaction following marriage, presumably because the new married lifestyle suited these personality types, although this has not yet been studied."

People say I'm extroverted, although I have my doubts sometimes. Damned these incomplete studies.

"Taken altogether, the research suggests that marriage does lead to subtle personality changes. But this has nothing on the personal upheaval that follows what often comes next: babies."

Another study required after that? How many grants do these academics need? I just want a formula to calculate my happy quotient if I get hitched, shag someone and produce a brood.
The big game changer is kids. That's a sheer detachment to what was before. It all ends then.
 

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At the dawn of war, Syria’s youth had blind, unrelenting hope

"At one point in the documentary, Ms. Zytoon films a wildly undisciplined group of rebels who spray gunfire toward the enemy, provoking regime air strikes on a civilian area. The rebels ask her to film a sequence over again, and it becomes clear they are only interested in making footage that they can show their paymasters for cash."

"One of the secular marchers, a kid who looks no older than 16, starts chanting for an Islamic state until one of his friends calls him out. 'Sorry, I got confused,' he says laughingly. 'I just want to be filmed.'"

Very strong convictions to start an uprising in your own country - I just want to be a social media star!
 

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At the dawn of war, Syria’s youth had blind, unrelenting hope

"At one point in the documentary, Ms. Zytoon films a wildly undisciplined group of rebels who spray gunfire toward the enemy, provoking regime air strikes on a civilian area. The rebels ask her to film a sequence over again, and it becomes clear they are only interested in making footage that they can show their paymasters for cash."

"One of the secular marchers, a kid who looks no older than 16, starts chanting for an Islamic state until one of his friends calls him out. 'Sorry, I got confused,' he says laughingly. 'I just want to be filmed.'"

Very strong convictions to start an uprising in your own country - I just want to be a social media star!
Most of the fuckers who have caused deaths here in oz or travelled overseas to kill were just violent bastards who found and excuse to shed blood - allah and the ISIS were just the posh hoc vehicle - most of them would have been violent bikies if not for ISIS
 

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Most of the fuckers who have caused deaths here in oz or travelled overseas to kill were just violent bastards who found and excuse to shed blood - allah and the ISIS were just the posh hoc vehicle.
Exactly. It's a gross generalisation, but younger people can have an enormous amount of drive, both physical and emotional. It can be a fantastic benefit - younger people can be very entrepreneurial and take risks that older people may be reluctant to, which leads to new businesses and breakthroughs. However, it also means that younger people, more so than older people, can channel that energy into less savoury beliefs, particularly if they don't have anything else to occupy themselves.

As I posted in the "ISIS" thread a couple of years back:

http://www.dressedwell.net/threads/the-war-with-isis-isil.991/page-8#post-143800

"It's not really about Islam, although that's the cause du jour. It's about people, mainly young people, being dickheads. Of course, it doesn't help that there are a lot of bitterly unhappy, disenfranchised young people living in poverty with bugger-all to do with their lives who are Muslim, as that of course means that there are a lot of young people who are looking for something meaningful, something that will appeal to their immature emotions, that will make them feel brave etc etc... In the US nowadays, it appears that kids who are unhappy and who are searching for those things go and shoot up a school/college/shopping centre/church/movie theatre. In the Middle East and Europe, they go and blow themselves up instead."
 
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Lord Buckley

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Exactly. It's a gross generalisation, but younger people can have an enormous amount of drive, both physical and emotional. It can be a fantastic benefit - younger people can be very entrepreneurial and take risks that older people may be reluctant to, which leads to new businesses and breakthroughs. However, it also means that younger people, more so than older people, can channel that energy into less savoury beliefs, particularly if they don't have anything else to occupy themselves.

As I posted in the "ISIS" thread a couple of years back:

http://www.dressedwell.net/threads/the-war-with-isis-isil.991/page-8#post-143800

"It's not really about Islam, although that's the cause du jour. It's about people, mainly young people, being dickheads. Of course, it doesn't help that there are a lot of bitterly unhappy, disenfranchised young people living in poverty with bugger-all to do with their lives who are Muslim, as that of course means that there are a lot of young people who are looking for something meaningful, something that will appeal to their immature emotions, that will make them feel brave etc etc... In the US nowadays, it appears that kids who are unhappy and who are searching for those things go and shoot up a school/college/shopping centre/church/movie theatre. In the Middle East and Europe, they go and blow themselves up instead."
I really wish I could buy into the well it's only youthful testosterone badly directed trope. It's not, it's a religious ideology and is virile and as dangerous as National Socialism and Communism was in the 20th century. Until such time we can cure ourselves of the Ostrich Parasitic Syndrome we are doomed to march headlong towards the sheer abyss.
 

formby

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I really wish I could buy into the well it's only youthful testosterone badly directed trope. It's not, it's a religious ideology and is virile and as dangerous as National Socialism and Communism was in the 20th century. Until such time we can cure ourselves of the Ostrich Parasitic Syndrome we are doomed to march headlong towards the sheer abyss.
Journeyman would do well to acquaint himself with the backgrounds of the bombers and attempted bombers in Britain. They weren't what I would call 'disaffected youth' who have been 'frozen out' of society. Some of them were doctors, the person who blew himself and those kids up in Manchester had been a university student. (it was Salford University though)

...and so on.
 
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Journeyman

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I really wish I could buy into the well it's only youthful testosterone badly directed trope. It's not, it's a religious ideology and is virile and as dangerous as National Socialism and Communism was in the 20th century. Until such time we can cure ourselves of the Ostrich Parasitic Syndrome we are doomed to march headlong towards the sheer abyss.
Clearly, there's a particular faction (or factions) of Islam that is militant, that is threatening, that does want to expand its reach. However, to argue that Islam as a whole is threatening is to ignore the hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims who want no part at all of the activities of organisations like ISIS or Al-Qaeda. It's like blaming the average Christian for the activities of the Spanish Inquisition.

Journeyman would do well to acquaint himself with the backgrounds of the bombers and attempted bombers in Britain. They weren't what I would call 'disaffected youth' who have been 'frozen out' of society. Some of them were doctors, the person who blew himself and those kids up in Manchester had been a university student. (it was Salford University though).
Well, if you'd clicked on the link to my earlier post, you would also have seen the following:

"An interesting article by Ian Buruma in Foreign Policy about why some young people are willing to blow themselves up:

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/18/the-draw-of-the-death-cult/

I largely agree with his points.
I continue to be both amazed and disappointed that so many people commenting on what happens nowadays have either forgotten, are ignorant of, or choose to ignore the terrorism of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Back in those decades, for the better part of 20 years, there were numerous terrorist attacks around the world, although they were primarily in the Middle East and Europe - the JRA, Baader Meinhof, Brigato Rossi, Symbionese Liberation Army, Weather Underground, Black September, PLO and, of course, the IRA. Many of the people involved in those terrorist acts - including suicide bombings - were quite young. Many of them, at least in the Euro context, came from affluent backgrounds. They had no obvious reason to turn their back on their upbringing but it's clear that they were searching for something that they thought was meaningful. They wanted to do something, to act, to be involved with something, something that they felt was larger than them, something that appealed to their immature emotions and that made them feel important, made them feel brave, made them feel as though they were contributing to something. Of course, they could have gone and volunteered at Greenpeace, but that's not very exciting or romantic."
 

formby

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Clearly, there's a particular faction (or factions) of Islam that is militant, that is threatening, that does want to expand its reach. However, to argue that Islam as a whole is threatening is to ignore the hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims who want no part at all of the activities of organisations like ISIS or Al-Qaeda. It's like blaming the average Christian for the activities of the Spanish Inquisition.



Well, if you'd clicked on the link to my earlier post, you would also have seen the following:

"An interesting article by Ian Buruma in Foreign Policy about why some young people are willing to blow themselves up:

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/18/the-draw-of-the-death-cult/

I largely agree with his points.
I continue to be both amazed and disappointed that so many people commenting on what happens nowadays have either forgotten, are ignorant of, or choose to ignore the terrorism of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Back in those decades, for the better part of 20 years, there were numerous terrorist attacks around the world, although they were primarily in the Middle East and Europe - the JRA, Baader Meinhof, Brigato Rossi, Symbionese Liberation Army, Weather Underground, Black September, PLO and, of course, the IRA. Many of the people involved in those terrorist acts - including suicide bombings - were quite young. Many of them, at least in the Euro context, came from affluent backgrounds. They had no obvious reason to turn their back on their upbringing but it's clear that they were searching for something that they thought was meaningful. They wanted to do something, to act, to be involved with something, something that they felt was larger than them, something that appealed to their immature emotions and that made them feel important, made them feel brave, made them feel as though they were contributing to something. Of course, they could have gone and volunteered at Greenpeace, but that's not very exciting or romantic."
I'm responding to your post above where you state:

[...]It's about people, mainly young people, being dickheads. Of course, it doesn't help that there are a lot of bitterly unhappy, disenfranchised young people living in poverty with bugger-all to do with their lives who are Muslim[...]


That really isn't the case in Britain.

Integration is a two-way street. If an individual doesn't want to integrate, for what ever reason, there is little that the state can do. That can lead us into a critique of multicuturalism.

Buruma is a good writer, I enjoyed his book Voltaire's Coconuts. But a better writer on the subject is Kenan Malik.

https://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/
 

Lord Buckley

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Back in those decades, for the better part of 20 years, there were numerous terrorist attacks around the world, although they were primarily in the Middle East and Europe - the JRA, Baader Meinhof, Brigato Rossi, Symbionese Liberation Army, Weather Underground, Black September, PLO and, of course, the IRA. Many of the people involved in those terrorist acts - including suicide bombings - were quite young. Many of them, at least in the Euro context, came from affluent backgrounds. They had no obvious reason to turn their back on their upbringing but it's clear that they were searching for something that they thought was meaningful. They wanted to do something, to act, to be involved with something, something that they felt was larger than them, something that appealed to their immature emotions and that made them feel important, made them feel brave, made them feel as though they were contributing to something. Of course, they could have gone and volunteered at Greenpeace, but that's not very exciting or romantic."
What we cannot accept as part of some historical coming of age drama is terrorism of any kind, nor the grooming gang scandals in the UK. We are not some Pakistani backwater. Not one inch should we tolerate this, despite the best efforts of PC Plod, care-workers, local councillors, prosecutors and journalists.

I'm responding to your post above where you state:

[...]It's about people, mainly young people, being dickheads. Of course, it doesn't help that there are a lot of bitterly unhappy, disenfranchised young people living in poverty with bugger-all to do with their lives who are Muslim[...]


That really isn't the case in Britain.

Integration is a two-way street. If an individual doesn't want to integrate, for what ever reason, there is little that the state can do. That can lead us into a critique of multiculturalism.
Agreed, Muslims are not disenfranchised in the UK, or Europe. They are disenfranchised in most Muslim countries, that's why we must ensure we do not replicate those failed societies here in Europe.
 
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