Sunday, July 20, 2014
Great news: The world's most politically incorrect politician has just been exonerated
One of Silvio's friends, Ruby the Heart Stealer
An Italian court has thrown out Silvio Berlusconi’s conviction for paying for sex with an underage prostitute at his notorious “bunga bunga” parties and for abusing his office by having her released from police custody.
The former prime minister was last year sentenced to seven years in jail being found guilty on both charges by a lower court, but the conviction was overturned by the appeals court in Milan.
The 77-year-old billionaire had been accused of paying for sex with a teenage, Moroccan-born nightclub dancer nicknamed Ruby the Heart Stealer.
He was also accused of putting pressure on officers in a police station in Milan to let her go when she was later arrested on a theft charge.
He told them she was the grand-daughter of Hosni Mubarak, the then Egyptian leader, and that her detention could cause an international incident.
Many legal experts, and most of the Italian media, had expected that the court would uphold the original conviction, although perhaps with a lesser jail sentence.
But instead the panel of judges in Milan rejected the convictions entirely, saying there was no evidence to substantiate the charges.
“Berlusconi acquitted! Finally, the truth,” was the reaction on Twitter of one of his staunchest supporters, Daniela Santanche, an MP on the centre-Right.
“I’m very satisfied, it is a full acquittal and goes beyond my most optimistic expectations,” Franco Coppi, one of the former premier’s lawyers, said.
Mr Berlusconi was not in court for the verdict. He spent the morning performing social services at a home outside Milan for elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
He goes to the centre at least once a week as part of a community service sentence for a tax fraud conviction linked to his business empire, Mediaset.
Shortly after the acquittal was announced in court, he left the residence by car, but said nothing to journalists.
The court in Milan now has 90 days in which to release the reasoning behind its decision.
The false rape claims come thick and fast in Britain
A mother has been jailed for four years after falsely claiming her boyfriend had raped her 14 times in a bid for revenge after their baby was taken into care.
Former Tesco worker Heather Gibson, 29, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, was told by a judge that her actions had made it more difficult for real victims of rape to be believed in court.
Her former partner Gavin Plaistowe, 30, was held in police custody for 35 hours after she accused him of 12 rapes. Mr Plaistowe waited a month for police to investigate and find he was innocent.
While on bail, Gibson claimed Morrisons worker Mr Plaistowe then raped her twice - while she awaited trial for perverting the course of justice.
But CCTV of Gibson at work in the supermarket undermined her accounts. She alleged two gang rapes on two occasions - the last time with six men, Hull Crown Court was told yesterday.
Mr Plaistowe could have been jailed for 20 years if the allegations had been true.
But Gibson later confessed to a friend she blamed Mr Plaistowe for losing her child into care because she had made a complaint about him dropping the baby. Social Services took the baby into care for lack of parenting skills.
Gibson, a former grammar school pupil, sought revenge with the false claims to the police. But when she was charged with perverting the course of justice, she forged a string of letters.
They purported to be from officials including a crown court judge, a police officer, a justice minister and even Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
They were sent to Bath and North Somerset Social Services, where her daughter was in temporary residence. They claimed she had been the subject of wrongful allegations and expressed outrage she had been charged. They were all found to be produced by Gibson.
She even took police to the spot of one of the alleged rapes, saying she had dragged by the hair and her bottom lip had been bitten. Gibson gave detailed accounts of each rape in video interview, but admitted she had showered after the attacks and lost all forensic evidence.
She claimed to have details of contacts of witnesses in a cupcake-shaped notebook. However, the police recovered CCTV of her buying the notebook from a supermarket the day after she told them of its existence.
The first rape she claimed happened when she was eight months pregnant by Mr Plaistowe. She said she was raped again after giving birth and on two occasions in April 2012 - first by Mr Plaistowe and four friends then by Mr Plaistowe and five others.
He was arrested on April 4, 2012 and held in Grimsby Police Station from 12.20am until 6.26pm the following evening - a period of 18 hours. Such were the number of allegations he was re-arrested on April 26 2012 at 6.30am and released at 11.30pm after 17 hours.
He did not know how seriously the police were treating the claims until May 4, 2012 - exactly one month later. Gibson pleaded guilty to four counts of doing an act tending to pervert the course of justice as specimens of her conduct.
Simon Kealey, prosecuting, said two Humberside Police officers had spent eight weeks investigating the case. There had been two police interviews of Mr Plaistowe, three interviews of Gibson and a large amount of case preparation for a trial.
Mr Kealey said it had diverted police attention and all this was in addition to the terror Mr Plaistow had suffered. He said Gibson would not get back her daughter.
In her pre-sentence report, Gibson showed no remorse. She said all her allegations were true, despite her guilty pleas - and that she had only pleaded guilty to get everything sorted quickly.
Joanne Golding, defending, said Gibson had no mental health problems which could allow the judge to find a different sentencing option - although there were clearly issues.
‘It seems to me the catalyst of this was the taking of the baby into care,’ said Mrs Golding. ‘The consequences of this were catastrophic. What she alleged against Mr Plaistowe was actually impossible. However, I have to concede there was a degree of persistence and subterfuge.’
She admitted Gibson had since found a new boyfriend, was engaged - and he was visiting her in New Hall Prison in Flockton, West Yorkshire, cycling 174 miles in a round trip to see her, taking four days.
She claimed she fell pregnant by him in January, before she was remanded in custody, although prison officials say a series of pregnancy tests are negative.
Sentencing, Judge Graham Robinson told Gibson: ‘Allegations of rape and other sexual matters have to be treated seriously by the police. They have no option. To do otherwise would open them up to complaints. In this case it took two CID officers six to eight weeks to get to the bottom of the allegations.
'There were other uniform officers doing interviews. There were two medical examinations, but it goes beyond all that. When a woman cries rape it dishonours the genuine victims of rape. You have no right to deserve the sympathy given to those women. You have no place among their number.
‘The Lord Chief Justice said once the public realise there are women, such as you, who are prepared to make false allegations of rape, it causes juries, in cases of genuine rape, to think twice.
‘It can no longer be said that women will not lie about such things. You make cases where women genuinely have been raped harder. This was a serious case - Mr Plaistowe must have been terrified.’
An Iranian in Exile Takes On a British MP.
Ever since the Iranian monarchy fell to a radical Islamic revolution, I have chafed over the nonsense that has passed for history. It has become accepted that Shah Mohammad Pahlavi was evil and that the west had sustained him for too long. I also flinch when Iranians insist that their travails were caused by either the British, the Americans, or the Israelis. This is a failure to take responsibility for the nation's own folly in allowing Islamists to take control.
One such exile living in the UK, Reza Pardisan, has sent an open letter to Jack Straw, a British member of parliament, who recently returned from a visit to Iran where he compared Tehran to Athens or Madrid. He was promoting the notion that Iran is just like Greece or Spain, a view that is not only a fantasy, but dangerously wrong-headed.
Pardisan challenges this comparison, asking about the following facts on the ground:
o Tehran's deadly air pollution, which has killed at least 80,000 people so far, a number provided by the Tehran government itself. Even Athens does not have such a deadly situation; they have passed laws to ameliorate it.
o Suicide rates, in Iran averaging 25 per week among 18-28 years old. Are the Greek or Spanish young killing themselves in such numbers? Does Jack Straw ask why?
o Exile. Since the Ayatollah Khomeini took over (1979), more than 7 million fled. The exiled include the best and brightest, a real loss to a third-world country.
o Drug addiction is burgeoning in Iran. Is it in Athens or Madrid? Opium and opiates are back with a vengeance. Under the Pahlavis, this was not so.
o Mass hangings from building cranes, 2,000 in 1988 alone, and a constant stream since then.
o How about comparing the lack of political and basic freedoms in Iran with Spain and Greece? How about rates of inflation, poverty, and homelessness among children living in the streets?
o Human rights comparisons: do the Greeks or Spanish imprison or execute rape victims or homosexuals? Iran does. They also murder journalists who offend the government.
Like many in the West, England and the United States have bought into the nonsense that they were solely responsible for the fall of the Mossadegh government in 1953, ignoring the fact that Mossadegh was incompetent and was dangerously flirting with a Soviet takeover. Iranians themselves took down Mossadegh and the returning shah did not execute him, but remanded him to his vast estates to live out his final years. What Islamist leader would have done the same? Iranian clerics are nothing if not vindictive.
Like most educated Iranians, Pardisan has a very long memory. He urges Jack Straw to apologize for England's real offenses when Iran was weak, from 1700-1926. There were many interventions in Iran's affairs during that time because the modern Europeans had the power to do so and empire was the mode of the times. Both the British and the Russians played at this. Russia has resurrected this practice now, as we can see in the Ukraine and coming soon, Central Asia.
It is futile to apologize for issues that took place at another time and during another sort of world. However, we could begin to correct errors with unforeseen consequences by revisiting historic policies.
Our main mistake is to believe that "democracy" is what every country craves and should have. Authoritarian governments, including the late Shah's, did more to further national development and thriving middle classes than any democracy at the time could have done. The late Shah, like the military dictatorships in Taiwan and South Korea, believed that he must fix the economy first----and then have democracy. Those who opted for "freedom first" got only anarchy---or, like the unfortunate Iran, a very nasty religious dictatorship.
In the Middle East, freedom means freedom for men to do what they please. It never includes women or children. Responsibility and duty have nothing to do with it. It is the fault of their cultures and they need to quit blaming us for their own follies.
Britain 'one of the most traditional countries in the world', research suggests
Britain is one of the most traditional countries in the world, beaten only by Russia and China, research suggests. The findings emerged in a survey, described as the largest of its kind, of more than 16,000 participants in 20 countries, including the UK.
Asked whether traditions are an important part of society, China (90 per cent), Russia (82 per cent) and Britain (80 per cent) rated it most important in the survey by Ipsos Global.
Most agree that it is up to everybody to work out their own set of principles to guide their decisions (79 per cent) – although this falls to 61 per cent in Japan, the inaugural Ipsos Mori Global Trends Report said.
Across 20 countries polled, around half of those interviewed (47per cent) say religion/faith is very important to them, while 45 per cent disagree. Religion now divides the world – into countries where faith dominates, like Brazil, South Africa and Turkey, and those that are more secular, like Japan and Sweden.
In terms of family values, the poll found other divisions emerging across the world: almost six in ten globally agree that there is little difference between being married and living together without being married (56 per cent, although 38 per cent disagree).
Variation between countries is considerable: agreement rises to 74 per cent among the Belgians, but drops to 25 per cent in South Korea.
However, when it comes to children, there is a marginal swing towards a more traditional view: 59 per cent agree it is better for parents of children to be married than unmarried (32 per cent disagree).
The notion of tradition itself remains universally attractive with globally eight in 10 (78 per cent) seeing traditions as an important part of society with 17 per cent disagreeing, with relatively little country variation.
Over two thirds (68 per cent) of those believing tradition is important agree that "people led happier lives in the old days when they had few problems to cope with".
This rises to 90 per cent among supporters of tradition in Turkey and falls to 50 per cent in Japan.
The inaugural Ipsos Mori Global Trends Report covered attitudes to technology, privacy, tradition, health, simplicity, globalisation, inequality, trust and brands.
Ipsos MORI chief Executive, Ben Page concluded: “Against a pessimistic backdrop, this report shows the global public’s tendency towards nostalgia, allied to a strong sense that traditions are important, and a desire for a slower pace of life and simplification. How do brands and governments offer this?
“Nostalgia should not be over-stated though; in both developed (42 per cent) and emerging (47 per cent) economies, many do not want their country to be the way it used to be. But 77 per cent think the world is changing too fast and 48 per cent that they often feel overwhelmed with life choices. Nostalgia possibly comes from the faux certainty of the past; we think that most people do not want to go back, but they do want more clarity about what the future holds. And they want help in navigating the choices available.”
In terms of the economy, despite Britain’s own economy reaching new levels of output, real wages remain lagging behind and only 19 per cent predict they personally will benefit from growth in 2014.
It also found most people admit they are "constantly" looking at a screen and crave a simpler, slower lifestyle
With technology, the country that agrees most with the statement “I am constantly looking at screens these days” is China (78 per cent).
Many consumers in emerging markets have skipped desktop and laptop computers and use smart devices as their primary route to the internet. As such, their activities on these devices are slightly different to those in more established economies.
For example when asked about their uses of mobile phones, an average of 19 per cent across Brazil, Russia, India and China say that they watch live or demand TV of full TV shows on their phones. This compares to just 11 per cent in Britain. And because of the increased size of the screen, this ‘BRIC’ group (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are even more likely to watch TV on their tablets (60 per cent compared to 47 per cent in Britain.)
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.