Monday, September 12, 2016
Clarkson: Cycling is unsafe… so leave your bike at home
LAST weekend, while driving through the Cotswolds, I found myself stuck behind two cyclists who were riding alongside one another.
Of course they were.
Elevated these days to godlike status by modern environmental thinking, cyclists are propelled from place to place on a wave of self-righteousness and a pious belief that they’re the new knights of the road.
Five days later, near the South Coast, the same thing happened again, only this time it was a lone cyclist, his gnarled and nutbrown thighs beating out a Victorian rhythm as he crawled slowly up the hill, proud that behind his wizened, Lycra- clad buttocks there was a queue of cars stretching half way to Dover.
Then in London, we have hundreds of them, ignoring the new multi-million pound cycle lane on the Embankment so they can make a nuisance of themselves on the main carriageway.
There was a time when you could take these morons to task. You could shake your fist and shout and point out that it’s absurd for a fully grown adult to be playing in public on what is a kids’ toy.
But not any more … Today they all wear helmet cameras to record your rage. Then, when they get home, they upload it to YouTube and you’re made to look like a short-tempered fool.
Which brings me to the BBC radio presenter, and keen cyclist, Jeremy Vine, who this week uploaded some footage of a woman who’d become frustrated with his slow progress through Kensington, West London.
In it, he can be seen cycling down the middle of the road, deliberately blocking the cars in his wake, and when one gets too close he stops — still in the middle of the road — so he can record the woman driver’s foul-mouthed tirade.
The message is clear. He’s been verbally assaulted while on a noble quest to save the polar bear.
But hang on a minute, Vine. How did you know that the woman in the car behind wasn’t rushing to see her injured child in hospital? How did you know there wasn’t a pregnant girl on the back seat who was about to give birth?
Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to be stuck behind a sanctimonious cyclist when you really are in a genuine, tearing hurry? Vine says he was cycling in the middle of the road because that way he’s unlikely to be hit by people opening their car doors without looking.
Really? Because if safety is your number one priority, why are you wearing a helmet festooned with GoPros?
Are you not aware that it was, in all probability, a camera attached to Michael Schumacher’s helmet that caused his terrible head injuries?
In fact, if safety is your number one priority, why are you on a bicycle in the first place?
Of course, it is not illegal to cycle slowly down the middle of a narrow street. But it is selfish and annoying for everyone else.
How would he like it, I wonder, if I followed him around for a month, blowing gently on the back of his ears?
That’s not illegal either, but after a few days I’m sure he’d turn round and have a strong word. I may try it.
Comment from a reader:
I think Jeremy Clarkson points out a truth here.
Many cyclists – the leftist ones – have become like vegetarians, full of a false sense of their own superiority to other people, just because of something they do. They are also convinced that their vulnerability and potential for victim status puts them in the right and gives them power over others. And that is true, but not in reality, only within the bounds of the current craze of leftism.
One of the irritating behaviours the cyclists do is to ride in the traffic lane when beside them is a metre wide cyclist lane, or to ride right on the dividing line between them. There is over a metre of bitumen beside them, for their use and it has regular bike symbols painted on it. And if I beep the horn at them to move over then they often just stay in the traffic lane or only move over to the dividing line.
I enjoy riding my bike. I believe in individual accountability though, something that leftists cannot get their head around, certainly not in regards to their own individual accountability. So I keep well out of the way of motor vehicles. I enjoy riding along back roads, through forests and farmland, and into town. Rather than ride along the highway I ride along the firebreak track beside the railway line. My ex-wife and I even rode around much of central Qld. I am not anti bike, I like to see people riding bikes, but sensibly. I am just anti the current craze of cyclists putting themselves in the way of traffic.
Council boss sacked over death of Baby P says she doesn't stand near edge of Tube platforms because people want to kill her
I would push her. Every time I see the picture of that dear little boy my eyes fill with tears
The social services chief at the centre of the Baby P scandal claims she avoids standing near the edge of station platforms due to fears of being pushed in front of a train.
Sharon Shoesmith has revealed she worries members of the public would try to kill the former head of children's services at Haringey Council if they recognised her.
The 63-year-old was on the receiving end of death threats after refusing to resign following the death of Baby P on her watch in August 2007.
She told of her fears during an interview with the Ham & High, adding: 'I don't go on to the platform when the Tube's not there, I stay right back in the corridor until it comes in.'
It comes shortly after Ms Shoesmith was accused of cashing in on the scandal that got her sacked from her role with Haringey Council by writing a book.
Baby P, real name Peter Connelly, died in Haringey, north London, in 2007 after suffering more than 50 injuries.
He was just 17 months old when he was killed by Steven Barker, the partner of Baby P's mother, and his paedophile brother Jason Owen.
The case provoked a national scandal after it emerged that social workers, police and doctors missed a series of warning signs that could have saved the child's life during the eight-month period of abuse.
Ms Shoesmith, the former boss of Haringey Children’s Services department, was eventually sacked in 2008 after refusing to step down over the scandal.
In the aftermath of Baby P's death, his mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend, Steven Barker, and their lodger, Jason Owen, were all jailed.
But it later emerged that Baby P had seen a number of social workers, police and health workers before he died, but all had failed to place the toddler into care.
A serious case review that investigated the conduct of social workers, GPs and police involved in the case found: ‘The practice of the majority, individually and collectively... was incompetent,’ and his death ‘could have been prevented’.
Ms Shoesmith, 63, has never publicly apologised for the toddler's death, despite a damning report that exposed deep failings in Mrs Shoesmith's department.
She even claimed previously that she was herself a 'victim' of the Baby P scandal, because she had not managed to find a job since 2008.
Last year, she received a £680,000 payout from Haringey Council after winning an unfair dismissal case over her sacking by then children's minister Ed Balls.
Obama’s Radical Proposal Could Result in Censorship Online
This is a portion of remarks Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, delivered on the Senate floor on Thursday
The Obama administration’s proposal to give away control of the internet poses a significant threat to our freedom, and it’s one that many Americans don’t know about. It is scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 30, 2016. Twenty-two days away. Just over three weeks.
Now what does it mean to give away control of the internet?
From the very first days of the internet, when it was developed here in America, the United States government has maintained its core functions to ensure equal access for everyone with no censorship. The government role isn’t to monitor what we say, it isn’t to censor what we say, it is simply to ensure that it works—that when you type in a website, it actually goes to that website and not somewhere else. And yet, that can change.
The Obama administration is instead pushing through a radical proposal to take control of internet domain names and instead give it to an international organization, ICANN [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], that includes 162 foreign countries. And if that proposal goes through, it will empower countries like Russia, like China, like Iran to be able to censor speech on the internet, your speech. Countries like China, Russia, and Iran are not our friends, and their interests are not our interests.
Imagine searching the internet and instead of seeing your standard search results, you see a disclaimer that the information you were searching for is censored. It is not consistent with the standards of this new international body, it does not meet their approval.
Now, if you’re in China, that situation could well come with the threat of arrest for daring to merely search for such a thing that didn’t meet the approval of the censors. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen in America, but giving control of the internet to an international body with Russia, and China, and Iran having power over it could lead to precisely that threat, and it’s going to take Congress acting affirmatively to stop it.
You look at the influence of foreign governments within ICANN, it should give us greater and greater concern.
For example, ICANN’s former CEO Fadi Chehadé left ICANN to lead a high-level working group for China’s World Internet Conference. Mr. Chehadé’s decision to use his insider knowledge of how ICANN operates to help the Chinese government and their conference is more than a little concerning.
This is the person who was leading ICANN, the body that we are being told to trust with our freedoms. Yet this man has since gone to work for the Chinese Internet Conference, which has rightly been criticized for banning members of the press such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.
But you know what, even reporters you may fundamentally disagree with have a right to report and say what they believe. And yet, the World Internet Conference banned them—said ‘we do not want these reporters here, presumably, because we don’t like what they’re saying.’—which led Reporters Without Borders to demand an international boycott of the conference, calling China the ‘enemy of the internet.’
Mr. President, if China is the enemy of the internet, do we want the enemy of the internet having power over what you’re allowed to say, what you’re allowed to search for, what you’re allowed to read online? Do we want China, and Russia, and Iran having the power to determine if a website is unacceptable, it’s taken down?
If [this] proposal goes through, it will empower countries like Russia, like China, like Iran to be able to censor speech on the internet.
I would note that once this transition happens, there are serious indications that ICANN intends to seek to flee U.S. jurisdiction and flee U.S. laws. Indeed, earlier this summer, ICANN held a global conference in Finland in which jurisdiction shopping was part of their agenda, trying to figure out what jurisdiction should we base control of the internet out of across the globe.
A representative of Iran is already on record stating, ‘we should not take it [for] granted that jurisdiction is already agreed to be totally based on U.S. law.’ Our enemies are not hiding what they intend to do.
Not only is there a concern of censorship and foreign jurisdictions stripping U.S. law from authority over the internet, there are also real national security concerns. Congress has received no assurances from the Obama administration that the U.S. government will continue to have exclusive ownership and control of the .gov and .mil top-level domains in perpetuity, which are vital to our national security. The Department of Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines all use the .mil top-level domain. The White House, the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security all use .gov.
The only assurance ICANN has provided the federal government regarding .gov and .mil is that ICANN will notify the government in the future if it decides to give .gov and .mil to another entity. So if someone is going to the IRS, or what you think is the IRS, and you’re comforted that it’s on a .gov website so that you know it must be safe, you may instead find yourself victims of a foreign scam, a phishing scam, some other means of fraud with no basic protections.
Congress should not sit by and let this happen. Congress must not sit by and let censorship happen.
Now, some defenders of the Obama proposal say ‘this is not about censorship. It’s about handing control to a multi-stakeholder unit. They would never dream of censoring content on the internet.’
Well recently, leading technology companies in the United States—Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft—reached an agreement with the European Union, to remove ‘hate speech’ from their online platforms within 24 hours. Giant U.S. corporations signing on with the government to say, ‘we are going to help you censor speech that is deemed unacceptable.’
This should be an issue that brings us all together—Republicans, Democrats, all of us coming together.
And by the way, the definition of ‘hate speech’ we have seen can be very, very malleable depending upon what norms are trying to be enforced. For example, the Human Rights Campaign, which is active within ICANN, has featured the Family Research Institute, the National Organization for Marriage, the American Center for Law and Justice, and other conservative and religious groups in a report entitled ‘The Export of Hate.’
We are facing the real possibility of an international body having the ability to censor political speech if it is contrary to the norms they intend to enforce. In their view, it is hate to express a view different from whatever the prevailing orthodoxy is being enforced.
Now it is one thing dealing with government organizations that try to stifle speech that is profoundly inconsistent with who we are as Americans. But to hand over control of the internet, to potentially muzzle everybody on the internet, is to ensure that what you say is only consistent with whatever is approved by the powers that be, and that ought to frighten everybody. And there is something we can do about it.
Along with Congressman Sean Duffy [R-Wis.] in the House, I have introduced the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, which if enacted will stop the internet transition, and it will also ensure that the United States government keeps exclusive ownership and control of the .gov and .mil top-level domains. Our legislation is supported by 17 key groups across the country, advocacy groups, consumer groups, and it also has the formal endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus.
This should be an issue that brings us all together—Republicans, Democrats, all of us coming together. There are partisan issues that divide us, there always will be. We can have Republicans and Democrats argue till the cows come home about the top marginal tax rate, and that is a good and healthy debate to have. But when it comes to the internet, when it comes to basic principles of freedom, letting people speak online without being censored, that ought to bring every one of us together.
As members of the legislative branch, Congress should stand united to rein in this president, to protect the constitutional authority expressly given to Congress to control disposition of property of the United States. To put the matter very simply: The Obama administration does not have the authorization of Congress, and yet, they are endeavoring to give away this valuable, critical property, to give it away with no authorization in law. I would note the government employees doing so are doing so in violation of federal law, and they risk personal liability in going forward contrary to law. That ought to trouble all of us....
And if the Obama administration jams this through, hands control of the internet over to this international organization, this United Nations-like, unaccountable group, and they take it overseas—it’s not like the next president can magically snap his or her fingers and bring it back. Unscrambling those eggs may well not be possible. I suspect that’s why the Obama administration is trying to jam it through on Sept. 30, to get it done in a way that the next president can’t undo it, that the internet is lost for generations to come. To stop the giveaway of our internet freedom, Congress should act by continuing and by strengthening the appropriations rider in the continuing resolution that we will be considering this month, by preventing the Obama administration from giving away control of the internet.
Next week, I will be chairing a hearing on the harms to our freedom that come from the Obama administration’s proposal to give away the internet.
As President Ronald Reagan stated, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.’
I don’t want you and I to have to tell our children and our children’s children what it was once like when the internet wasn’t censored, wasn’t in the control of the foreign governments.
And I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together, to stand together and ensure that we protect freedom of the internet for generations to come. It is not too late to act, and I am encouraged by the leadership of members of both houses of Congress to stand up and protect freedom of the internet going forward.
Nearly 200 sexual offences have been carried out on migrants by fellow refugees in asylum centres in just one German state alone in six months
Almost 200 sex attacks have been carried out by migrants on fellow refugees in German asylum centres in just six months, a politician has revealed.
More than 179 sexual assaults have been reported in the past six months in the reception centres in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone.
The details relating to the sex attacks were released after Pirate Party state politician Simone Brand asked questions in the state parliament in Dusseldorf.
This prompted state interior minister Ralf Jaeger to reveal that 178 cases were recorded in which criminal charges were brought in the first six months of the year.
The details include 80 cases of sexual harassment, five cases of exhibitionism, 42 cases of sexual coercion and assault, 25 cases of child abuse and 26 'other offences against an individual's sexual self-determination'.
Ms Brand blamed the large number of criminal charges on the poor accommodation migrants were forced to endure and that they were not suitable for women and children. She said: 'There are just not enough secure areas for women in these asylum centres.'
Local media reported that in some rooms at asylum centres even door locks were missing, with male migrants being able to easily access female-only rooms.
According to Brand, the real numbers are most likely even worse since many of the migrants have had bad experiences with police officers in their home countries and were therefore unlikely to make a complaint.
She added 'The threshold to go to the police and file criminal charges is higher for those people.'
Violent incidents in asylum centres in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia have come under increased scrutiny since the Cologne migrant sex attacks and a subsequent mass brawl in an asylum centre in Dortmund.
The western German state that was the scene of the New Year's violence that saw hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse is the most populous in Germany, with a population of approximately 18 million.
It is also the state that has taken in more asylum seekers than any other.
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.