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Messages - Frank

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Film & TV / Re: Last movie watched...
« on: 23 November, 2019, 02:32:26 PM »
Inception. How can a film so chock-full of good actors, nice effects and cool ideas be such a boring old load of arse?

Frozen 2 ... a fairly shocking mess of a film ... Miring itself in flashback within flashback ... and then a series of vague and ever-shifting goals (magical lands beyond magical lands beyond magical lands)

Christmas Inception.  Or Frozen: reloaded

General / Re: 2000AD Original Art Thread
« on: 23 November, 2019, 10:46:02 AM »
Not me!

In the same auction, the art for the famous Crumb 'Stoned Agin' poster sold for $690,000!

There's some rich people out there who like underground stuff..

Yeah, I just saw that one! Baby Boomers have all the cash.

Original Art heads are speculating that the mystery buyer of Dredd stuff might be Manuel-From-Fawlty-Towers-Shame broadcaster, Jonathan Ross*. He bought the McMahon Dredd-In-Big-Chair cover that was recently up for auction, apparently.

I noticed this detail on the original art, which made me laugh:

* Although, like every UK comic fan of his age, Ross's primary interest is in sixties Marvel, he seems to have a genuine interest in some aspects of 2000ad art, rather than just being a speculator or compulsive collector: https://youtu.be/62zIih0bdLc?t=598

Off Topic / Re: It's a bit warm/ wet/ cold outside
« on: 23 November, 2019, 09:46:37 AM »

While it's tempting to read this thread as Shark vs Rest Of World, the British public are mostly Shark*

* And that's after years of the aforementioned Captain Planet and environmental issues being foregrounded in dumb blockbuster movies of the nineties

Off Topic / Re: It's a bit warm/ wet/ cold outside
« on: 22 November, 2019, 06:50:41 PM »
... that CO2 dollar, that's a big dollar

A Bill Hicks fan! Makes sense.

General / Re: 2000AD Original Art Thread
« on: 21 November, 2019, 10:50:46 PM »

Reports on social media that the McMahon (& Ezquerra) art for Peter Harris's Judge Whitey just went for $90,000 at auction.

Which one of you took out a second mortgage?

Off Topic / Re: Science is Drokking Fantastic Because...
« on: 21 November, 2019, 10:37:22 PM »

Item on Sky News (22:25pm) about 'digital skin' focuses on allowing amputees to receive haptic feedback from artificial limbs and for relatives to embrace via long-distance Skype calls.

Desperately trying not to invoke the old rule that any technological innovation will be utilised for porn.

Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 21 November, 2019, 08:40:37 PM »
Targeted ads are weird - for instance Youtube seems to think I am a US military veteran for some reason.

You did move to the Pacific North-West

Film & TV / Re: The Trailer Thread
« on: 21 November, 2019, 08:34:00 PM »

Call Of The Wild. Han Solo* and a cartoon dog that is the single worst piece of lead character CGI I have ever witnessed.

And I've seen Phantom Menace and An American Werewolf In Paris.

* As a kid, I wanted everything Ford was in to be awesome. I almost convinced myself Witness was good and I rationalised Mosquito Coast and Working Girl as necessary broadening of his palette. Regarding Henry was the point where I had to admit there was some shit even he couldn't save.

Off Topic / Re: Alan Moore is voting Labour
« on: 21 November, 2019, 05:35:59 PM »
Hopefully not replicated to get the Dredd TV series going.

If you were a real fan, you would.

The genius of Morrison's publicity stunt was asking comic nerds to incorporate his request into something they'd be doing most days anyway. Not sure whether crying has any effect on the spell.

Off Topic / Re: Alan Moore is voting Labour
« on: 21 November, 2019, 01:22:44 PM »
I hesitate to ask this, but what's the story with the Grant Morrison hand-shandy jokes?

After an iffy storyline where Morrison did a Pat Mills and sent his heroes travelling in time, sales of his creator-owned DC title, The Invisibles, were tanking.

Morrison used the letters page of the comic to urge readers to take part in a magic ritual designed to reverse falling circulation. At an appointed time, they would focus on a magic symbol he'd devised and masturbate - the idea being that the release of accumulated orgone energy would power the sigil *

* In the same way a blood sacrifice is supposed to power ritual ceremony. Magic is bollocks, obviously, but his request generated publicity and endeared him to readers. The book survived long enough for the storyline to limp to a conclusion and Morrison basically rebooted the comic as an action adventure title bursting with spunk, relocating events to the US and copying Mills's old formula of making sure that whatever esoteric nonsense he filled the book with someone always got shot or made something explode in every issue and the book became a cult success that survived for many years

General / Re: Forthcoming Thrills - 2019
« on: 21 November, 2019, 07:20:42 AM »

Chris Weston served as Don Lawrence's apprentice:

Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 20 November, 2019, 10:56:26 PM »

One of the problems identified with the most recent UK and US elections (and the Brexit referendum) was targeted ads on social media.

Unlike TV, print and billboard ads, you were seeing ads tailored to your personal concerns and nobody else knew you were seeing them (or who was paying for them).

I just got this. Feel free to share your own targeted ads and lift the lid off the closed box - clicking on Zuckerberg's transparency link about the ad doesn't yield anything useful, but a search reveals it's a front for a Boris Johnson minion who only left government a few weeks ago and has already been fined for violating Facebook's incredibly lax ad regulations.

How old do they think I am? And is she wearing black lipstick? Do they think I'm emo? I never even owned a wallet chain.

Megazine / Re: Meg 414 PSI-War in the Sun
« on: 20 November, 2019, 07:32:37 PM »

I can't be the only person who thought, judging by CJ Logan's body language, that the explanation for Volt's inability to father a child was something very different from that stated in the text:

Off Topic / Re: Alan Moore is voting Labour
« on: 20 November, 2019, 07:00:57 PM »

DC have just announced their Before Ravenous Insatiable Conservative Agenda crossover event, masterminded by Grant Morrison, and Damon Lindelof is confirmed as showrunner of HBO's Heartless Trampling Of Everybody’s Safety Dignity And Dreams.

© Julius Howe

Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 20 November, 2019, 06:30:46 PM »

Yeah ... I'm reminded of those weeks when TordelBack or Jimbo has to explain what's been happening in Deadworld or Grey Area.

Oborne's been on a weeks-long crusade against the use of unattributed quotations from insiders by journalists, which he believes promotes the dissemination of lies.

Oborne's piece for The Guardian (above) seeks to bring attention to this issue by ... using an unattributed (indirect) quotation from an insider?

Like I say, Oborne has a valid point and is worth listening to, but cherry-picking his work to reaffirm a pre-existing bias you just sort of feel is probably true is doing him and his work a bigger disservice than the one lapse he made towards the end of an otherwise well-evidenced piece.

Since you all find Oborne so trustworthy and compelling, you'll be sure to read the full text of his argument explaining exactly what he thinks is wrong with UK media:

British journalists have become part of Johnson’s fake news machine. It’s chilling. From the Mail, The Times to the BBC and ITN, everyone is peddling Downing Street’s lies and smears. They’re turning their readers into dupes.
“Number 10 probes Remain MPs’ ‘foreign collusion’.” This huge banner headline dominated the front page of The Mail on Sunday on 29 September.

Turn to page 2 and “a senior No 10 source” was quoted in bold type: “The government is working on extensive investigations into Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin and Hilary Benn [who tabled the Bill] and their involvement with foreign powers and the funding of their activities. Governments have proper rules for drafting legislation, but nobody knows what organisations are pulling these strings.”

This story was granted huge prominence and followed up the next day by the Daily Express, Sun, Times and the alt-right news site Breitbart.

Nick Robinson didn’t ask the obvious question. Was there an investigation at all?

On the BBC’s ‘Today’ programme the following Tuesday, presenter Nick Robinson asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the investigation. Johnson gave credibility to the story when he declared there were “legitimate questions” to be asked of the MPs.

But Robinson didn’t ask the obvious question. Was there an investigation at all?

I rang Dominic Grieve. He told me he had not sought the help of any foreign government “in drafting and tabling a British statute”.

He added that he was “not in receipt of any sources of foreign funding”. Nor, he said, had he been contacted by Downing Street or anyone else about any investigation.

I then rang the Downing Street press office, and asked an official whether there was an investigation as stated in The Mail on Sunday.

He told me categorically: “No investigation.”

Yesterday a Cabinet Office spokesperson told openDemocracy: "There was never such an investigation."

In other words, the Mail on Sunday splash that Downing Street was investigating Grieve, Letwin and Benn was fabrication. Fake News.

There has, however, been no retraction from The Mail on Sunday. As far as the newspaper’s readers are concerned, the story remains true and the senior British politicians behind the Benn Act continue to be investigated for suspicious involvement with foreign powers.

Of course this bogus story fitted like a glove with the dominant Downing Street narrative that the Benn Act – which ruled out a No Deal Brexit – was actually a ‘surrender act’ designed to thwart Brexit altogether.

There’s been a lot of this sort of thing over the past two months. Dodgy stories and commentary linked to Downing Street or government sources started to appear in the press and media after Johnson installed his own media team, which was largely drawn from the Vote Leave campaign that won the 2016 Brexit referendum.

With the prime minister’s evident encouragement these Downing Street or government sources have been spreading lies, misrepresentations, smears and falsehoods around Fleet Street and across the major TV channels. Political editors lap it all up.

Another case in point involves Amber Rudd, the former work and pensions secretary who stated after her resignation on 7 September that her repeated requests to see the attorney general’s legal advice on the prorogation of Parliament had been refused.

Two weeks later, Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman – who had broken the story of Rudd’s resignation – tweeted a “govt [government] source” saying: “Amber Rudd was given every opportunity to see the legal advice but chose to resign without doing so.”

Shipman’s ‘government source’ then accused Rudd of lying, saying: “It is utterly dishonest to suggest it was in anyway withheld.”

Tim Shipman allowed his Twitter account to be used as a vehicle for someone unknown to smear a prominent public figure.

Amber Rudd told me that she had repeatedly asked to be given the legal advice, including on two occasions approaching attorney general Geoffrey Cox.

She was told again and again that she would be given it. When she was not, her private office told her that Downing Street senior adviser Dominic Cummings had intervened to ensure she was not shown it.

It remains the case that the claim made by Shipman’s government source that Rudd had been “given every opportunity to see the legal advice” was wholly untrue.

This brings us to the major problem with Shipman’s decision to share with his 130,000 Twitter followers a venomous remark made by an unnamed person accusing Rudd of dishonesty.

Had the comment been made on the record by an official government spokesperson Shipman would have been well within his rights.

The spokesperson would have been accountable for her or his allegation against Rudd. He or she could have been identified and questioned about it.

Instead Shipman allowed his Twitter account to be used as a vehicle for someone unknown to smear a prominent public figure as dishonest.

An unpleasant and vicious example concerns the Downing Street smear campaign mounted against former chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond.

This started on 18 August after Sunday Times news reporter Ros Urwin published the leaked Yellowhammer dossier setting out the painful short-term disruption that would confront Britain in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The government hit back, saying Yellowhammer was an “old document”. This false claim was made first by Michael Gove, minister in charge of Brexit preparations, and later by Tory chairman James Cleverly.

At this point ‘a senior Number 10 source’ went into action alongside Gove, briefing journalists that the Yellowhammer dossier was out of date.

But this ‘source’ added the vicious twist that it had been “deliberately leaked by a former minister to influence discussions with EU leaders”.

The result was that most of the following day’s newspapers did not focus on the Yellowhammer disclosures about the dangers of a No Deal Brexit.

Instead most turned Yellowhammer into a whodunnit – which of May’s ministers had been the leaker?

The Times headline read “Boris Johnson accuses ex-ministers over Brexit chaos leaks”.

The Daily Telegraph’s read “No-deal leak blamed on Hammond’s Remainers”.

Boris Johnson’s Downing Street media machine had thus achieved a double success. It had distracted attention away from the real story, namely that No Deal Brexit carried real dangers of economic disruption and civil disorder.

And at the same time, it had smeared political opponents.

Most newspapers dutifully pointed the finger at Hammond. The Daily Mail (for which I write a political column) reported: “A No 10 source blamed former frontbenchers led by Philip Hammond.”

This was a brilliantly successful if cynical media operation. But it soon became apparent that the leaked document was dated 2 August, nine days after the Boris Johnson government had entered office.

It was therefore mysterious how a member of the May government could have leaked Yellowhammer to the Sunday Times. The leak had occurred on Johnson’s watch, not May’s.

No newspaper has yet written a story about the failure of Johnson to reply to Hammond’s letter. I expect that political journalists don’t want to upset valuable Downing Street sources.

There is an implicit deal. In return for access and information (much of it false) the political media spins a pro-government narrative.

This means that Johnson’s Downing Street can malign political opponents, lie about them and get away with it. But it can do this only because political journalists and editors allow it to.

It’s not just the print media which allow themselves to be manipulated by Boris Johnson’s Downing Street.

Take BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg’s reporting of the government’s formal submission to a Scottish court that Boris Johnson would comply with the so-called Benn Act, and so if need be request an extension of membership of the EU on 19 October, supposing no deal had been struck.

But the prime minister’s submission was accompanied at the same time by a breathless tweet thread by the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, reporting [a “senior No. 10 source”] clarifying that message.

“Yes, the government would comply with the ‘narrow’ provisions of the Benn Act – but the source went on to suggest that shadowy MPs were behind the act and that the government had ways of undermining it.

“And thus Number 10 perpetuated the prime ministerial paradox: that Boris Johnson will comply with the Benn Act and yet still leave the EU ‘do or die’, deal or no deal, on 31 October.”

Kuenssberg is therefore open to the criticism that she was being manipulated by Downing Street. Her tweets to her 1.1 million followers meant there were two government positions.

This compliance is part of a pattern. Political editors are so pleased to be given ‘insider’ or ‘exclusive’ information that they report it without challenge or question.

Another culprit is ITV News political editor Robert Peston, who regularly preens himself on his special insight into the mind of Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings.

In a Twitter thread on 25 September, he cited a “senior government source” to the effect that there was a way for Johnson to avoid complying with the Benn Act.

According to Peston’s informant, Johnson “still believes he can lawfully render the Benn Act null and void” by sending a second letter to Brussels that would counteract the first.

Unmitigated nonsense, said legal experts. But the message Downing Street wanted was out there.

This has become a signature technique of the Johnson media machine. Officially no comment. Meanwhile it makes its views known to friendly political editors, who push them without much inspection or analysis out into the public domain.

Jill Rutter, a former director of communications at the Treasury, notes: “That may be how Number 10 wants to operate: to allow the prime minister to look statesmanlike while the dodgier tactics emerge from an unnamed source.

“But this way of operating does the public a big disservice – it allows Downing Street to get its message out without having to take responsibility for it.

“These are not official words. The prime minister does not have to account for them. And there is no way to interrogate the source.”

It’s a classic case of what Johnson once called “having our cake and eating it”. This means that the British media are not just failing to hold him to account. They are not even trying. They are behaving as cheerleaders to the government. They are allowing the prime minister to get away with lies and dishonesty which they would never have permitted to his predecessor, Theresa May, let alone Jeremy Corbyn.
Guido Fawkes is the provisional wing of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party press office

I haven’t cited the Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph or The Sun – all of them Johnson cheerleaders.

Nor have I examined Guido Fawkes, which has transformed itself within a remarkably short space of time from an anarchic website challenging lobby freemasonry to the provisional wing of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party press office.

The price of privileged access and favourable treatment is turning readers and viewers into dupes

Of course political journalists have always entered into behind-the-scenes deals with politicians, but this kind of arrangement has gained a new dimension since Boris Johnson entered Downing Street with the support of a client press and media. As a former lobby correspondent (on the Evening Standard, the Sunday Express and The Spectator) I understand the need for access. The job of lobby journalists is to produce information.

But there is now clear evidence that the prime minister has debauched Downing Street by using the power of his office to spread propaganda and fake news. British political journalists have got chillingly close to providing the same service to Boris Johnson that Fox News delivers for Donald Trump.

I had to edit Oborne's piece to meet the wordcount restriction imposed by this forum, but none of the text I excised featured the words BBC, Kuenssberg, or Today. You can read the full text here:


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