Posts Tagged ‘Assange’

Dumbing down “Top Gear”, Assange and other miscellany

February 5, 2016

Noted in passing –

  1. I doubt I shall watch the reincarnation of BBC’s “Top Gear” as often as I did the Clarkson/May/ Hammond version. Not only because of the dumbing down represented by having Chris Evans as the main presenter but also because, I suspect, he will have difficulty to add value. Now with Joey from Friends (Matt LeBlanc) joining Evans, it increases the dumbing down and reduces the likelihood for value addition even further. In the BBC TV show “Bake Off”, the two giggly presenters add no value at all and are an embarrassment, but the substance for the show is provided by the two judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. With Evans and LeBlanc, I don’t see where the substance can come from.
  2. So the UN has come out in favour of Assange. Of course this is not binding on either the UK or Sweden but the moral high ground goes to Assange. The UK has a point that as long as the Swedish arrest warrant remains in force they have no choice but to implement it. The whole case is driven by a feminist prosecutor in Sweden on very flimsy statements (with little or no evidence) from the self-proclaimed victims, long after the alleged offences took place. That was after the public prosecutors office had first decided to drop the case for lack of any evidence beyond the statements of the alleged victims. But in Sweden it is politically incorrect to drop a “feminist cause”. This leads to a bit of a dilemma for the Swedish media and the establishment in that UN statements are also very politically correct. The clash between the prosecutor’s feminist correctness and the correctness of solidarity with all UN statements should be interesting to observe.
  3. Saudi Arabia is said to be ready to put troops into Syria (in support of Turkish troops?), but don’t expect them to support any Kurdish groups or to act against any ISIS factions fighting the Kurds. The Russians are  not amused. Meanwhile the Syrian regime is preparing to retake Aleppo.
  4. Markets have gone well below the the bottom I was expecting (oil price $30 and Shanghai Composite at 3100 or less), but my guess is that we are not far from the bottom. P/E ratios – especially for those companies who are maintaining their earnings, now look positively attractive.
  5. The French are accepting reality and the power of the internet. They are officially proposing to revise the spelling of some 2400 words: “They include the deletion in some words of the hyphens and the circumflex. The accent disappears from above the letter i and u in certain words and not from the letter o”.
  6. There is no evidence that organic foods are any better for health than non-organic foods. I find the whole fad about “ecological food” rather ridiculous and just a marketing gimmick to charge higher prices. I usually say nothing when somebody tries to promote “ecological food” but I am usually thinking “why do you insist on displaying your gullibility?”
  7. It is a leap year and the 2016 Indian budget will be presented on February 29th. Lots of advice from every one but I think the budget assumes greater importance in the current depressed state of the global economy. One of the few potential bright spots which could help change the global mood would be an expansionist budget – but that does not come without risk of galloping inflation being unleashed. I think the choice is for either subordinating all actions to global fears or to try and lead the way out of the morass. My fear is that it will be a sad wishy-washy thing which tries to satisfy all and ends up doing nothing.



A certain hypocrisy

March 10, 2015

Leslee Udwin’s documentary about the Delhi rapes was shown in Sweden recently and there was much coverage in the media and the talk shows about the misogynist nature of Indian society. Also in India an alleged rapist was lynched last week by a mob which was led by a gang of schoolgirls. The alleged rapist was an immigrant from Bangladesh. The girls are being hailed as heroes in some quarters even though CCTV pictures show the victim apparently willingly accompanying her rapist into and out of a hotel. The “human rights” and “women’s rights” activists are largely silent here. So was the lynching due to misandry and were the schoolgirls leading the mob misandrists?

Today it is reported in Sweden that the rapist of a 13 year old was set free by two successive courts because the girl was well developed for her age. I note also that a certain Julian Assange is sitting holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid a Swedish arrest warrant for the investigation of an alleged rape by a woman who was willingly sharing his bed. No doubt the Swedish arrest warrant for Assange is largely political (on two counts; first to appease the US and second to appease the feminist lobby). The definition of rape in Sweden is quite wide and many so-called “rapes” would not be considered so in other countries. On the other hand Sweden must be one of a very few countries where sexual intercourse with a minor – no matter what she looked like – would not lead to a rape conviction. And when convictions are reached they often lead to little more than a slap on the wrist. Acquittals are very common. Which leads to the peculiar situation that the bar to what is considered rape is quite low when it comes to prosecution but there are very few convictions by the courts.

(With penalties for rape so low in Sweden I wonder why Assange is so scared of being questioned. Presumably he is more concerned about “rendition” to the US – where he is wanted for the leaks in the Bradley (Chelsea) Manning case – than of any consequences for the alleged rape in the Swedish courts. Sweden does have a history of assisting the CIA in cases of rendition in the past).

But whether in India or in Sweden the hypocrisy is palpable. In India there are only very few and very reluctant prosecutions, but convictions lead to very severe sentences. Once a rape is alleged, the suspect lives precariously. In Sweden, on the other hand, the definition of rape is very wide and the bar to prosecution is very low. The many prosecutions rarely lead to any consequence of substance from the courts.

AftonbladetThe 27-year old man saw the 13-year-old girl on a bench outside his apartment, invited her in and had sex with her.
He was charged with child rape but was acquitted in two instances.
The decisive factor was the Court’s assessment – that the girl’s body was well developed for her age.
The 27-year-old man was arrested in April last year and charged first with child-rape and secondly, rape. But both Västmanland District Court and the Svea Court of Appeal acquitted the man.
The prosecutor chose not to appeal to the Supreme Court, but the girl’s counsel has taken up the case. The Supreme Court must first grant leave to appeal for the case to be reopened.
“There are very few cases that have so far been taken up”, says the girl’s lawyer Goran Landerdahl.

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