Twitter used to be vehemently free speech, didn’t they?

Twitter announced new guidelines for verified accounts on Wednesday, one week after the company was harshly criticized for granting the coveted blue checkmark to Jason Kessler, the organizer of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in August.

“We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines,” the company wrote on Twitter.

Among the behaviors that will result in the revocation of verification are “promoting hate and/or violence”, supporting hate groups, “inciting or engaging in harassment of others”.

Shortly after the policy change was announced, the company de-verified the accounts of the white nationalist Richard Spencer, the far-right activist Laura Loomer, the English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, and others.

Tempus mutandis, eh?

Wonder if promoting hate of the bourgeoisie will count here? Sure, a private organisation, they can do what they like. But, still, partiality….

Well, if that’s what the law says then….

Deliveroo won the right not to give its couriers the minimum wage or holiday pay on Tuesday, dealing a blow to campaigners for workers’ rights in the gig economy.

In a key legal ruling the Central Arbitration Committee, a body that resolves worker disputes, said the food delivery firm’s riders were self-employed contractors as they had the right to allocate a substitute to do the work for them.

The case, brought by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) as part of an attempt to gain recognition by the company, relates to couriers in the Camden and Kentish Town districts of north London. But it is seen as a test case for riders across the UK, including those working for other firms similar to Deliveroo.

Gives Uber an idea too no?

No, I’d never heard of him either

An American billionaire, who gagged the British press after being arrested on suspicion of raping a woman at a top London hotel, is at the centre of a legal dispute in the US following allegations that he paid money to settle the claim.

The businessman was questioned by City of London Police in May, after a woman said she was attacked in the penthouse suite of a hotel in the heart of London’s financial centre.

Details of his arrest emerged the following month, but the father of two went to the High Court, and after paying £100,000 in legal fees, succeeded in winning an injunction against The Sun newspaper, which meant no British publication could name him.

Now in an extraordinary twist, those allegations have become the subject of a high profile legal battle in the United States, with the businessman sueing a public relations firm he has accused of peddling smears against him.

Details of the case have been reported in the US media – where the injunction does not apply – and so are available online for British readers.

However, here’s the fun bit. If British readers – ie, someone sitting in the UK – does access that information then those articles accessed are subject to the injunction. Odd but true, that’s how it works.

That we’ve actually got to restate this basic piece of law

John Bercow has backed demands for MPs to be told details of offences they are accused of as he claimed they were being treated like terrorists.

Speaking to students at the Mile End Institute in east London, the Commons Speaker said MPs are “entitled” to be told of the allegations.

You need to be told what the charges are, to be able to face the accuser, to be able to mount a defence and all the rest of it. We sorted much of this out in the 13 th and 14 th centuries, didn’t we?

On the Japanese death penalty

Inmates on Japan’s death row are not notified of the date or
time of execution until an hour or so before it occurs. Former prison
officials suggest that some condemned are extracted from their cells
on the ruse that they are “wanted in the office”.7
At most, the aboutto-be-killed
are given only enough time to clean their cells, write a
final letter, and receive last rites. Death penalty supporters have
called this sudden “your-time-has-come” policy a “surprise attack”
(damashi-uchi). Whatever the nomenclature, what it means is that the
condemned live for years not knowing if the present day will be their
last. Sakae Menda, who was exonerated and released in 1983 after
spending 34 years on death row, had this to say about Japan’s prior
notification policy: “Between 8:00 and 8:30 in the morning was the
most critical time, because that was generally when prisoners were
notified of their execution…You begin to feel the most terrible
anxiety, because you don’t know if they are going to stop in front of
your cell. It is impossible to express how awful a feeling this was. I
would have shivers down my spine. It was absolutely unbearable.”8

Relatives of the condemned are told of the execution after the
fact and are given twenty-four hours to collect the body.

Isn’t US gun control just going to be so effective?

The US air force failed to report the accused Texas church shooter’s domestic violence conviction to the FBI as required by Pentagon rules, a move that would have prevented the attacker from buying a gun.

All those people insisting that if only we had more laws to control guns. All those people not quite getting that having a law doesn’t actually solve problems – not entirely at least – because the state isn’t in fact all that efficient.

There’s a thing about the Japanese death penalty

A Japanese court Tuesday sentenced to death a one-time millionairess dubbed the “Black Widow”, who tricked elderly lovers into drinking cyanide and pocketed millions in insurance payouts and inheritance.

Kyoto District Court condemned Chisako Kakehi, 70, to the gallows for the murder of three men – including a husband – and the attempted murder of another, ending a high-profile case that has gripped the country.

Kakehi became notorious after using the poison cyanide to dispatch a number of elderly men she was involved with, drawing comparisons with the spider that kills its mate after copulation.

“The accused made the victims drink a cyanide compound with a murderous intention in all the four cases,” Judge Ayako Nakagawa told the court, according to public broadcaster NHK.

They don’t actually issue an execution date – it’s indeterminate.

When it does happen they open the cell door to deliver breakfast one, and one unknown to the prisoner in advance day, and then say, well, 15 minutes and then we’re topping you. Thus every morning becomes rather tortuous.

You can see the argument – those murdered din’t know their end date either. Can’t help but feel it’s a little too vicious to be the modus operandi though.

Of course, the elimination of the bourgeoisie is different, isn’t it?

On Wednesday, the website Reddit, known as the “front page of the internet,” banned 11 communities that advocated or glorified racism, ethno-nationalism, and violence. The communities kicked off the site included r/NationalSocialism, r/EuropeanNationalism, r/Nazi, and r/DylanRoofInnocent, as well as a variety of smaller subreddits.

“We will take action against any content that encourages, glorifies, incites or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people,” the website said in a statement.

Their gaff, their rules, obviously.

Naturally, Reddit’s decision to ban certain communities drew the ire of some users, who asked why more left-leaning subreddits like r/Socialism and r/Communism haven’t been banned as well — despite the fact that they don’t specifically and regularly glorify violence against minorities, as outlined in the Reddit policy change.

See headline. Reasons.

Err, no Jess, sorry, but no

It is seen by some women as a technologically convenient way to find a “part-time” husband. But the appeal of secondwife.com is driven by men drawn to the “Muslim polygamy matchmaking” site, as its British founder boasts that it has more than 100,000 users, a quarter of them in the UK.

I may or may not approve of the idea of two mothers in law but it’s not up to me to decide how others should live their lives.

Jess Phillips, a Labour member of the Commons women and equalities committee, said: “The popularity of this site worries me deeply. This site should be outlawed for UK use and follow the law in the UK which does not allow this. Women are not a commodity, they are not domestic slaves. People cannot be collected like ornaments.”

And that’s the point at which you can fuck off. For two entirely disconnected reasons.

The unimportant one is that the moment you start to ban things like this – and no, it’s not illegal – you’re also banning polyamory and the domestic lifestyles of a large portion of our own lumpenproletariat.

The important one is that it isn’t for you to decide, as with me, how consenting adults live their lives. If some wish to be second wives, or long term mistresses, or don’t, then fuck off, nowt to do with you nor me. For the aim of a liberal state is that as many people as possible get to live how they wish. That’s actually the point.

Tom Watson should lose weight, yes

I’m going on hunger strike from today. I’m not allowing myself anything but sips of water.

Why? This is not some George Osborne-inspired weight-loss plan. No. I’m following the Guantánamo diet in solidarity with two men who are being slowly starved to death by President Trump.

His administration has changed its practice towards detainees who choose to refuse food in protest at their incarceration. Previously they were force-fed, a cruel and inhuman punishment in itself. Now they are no longer fed at all. Make no mistake, these men will die at the hands of Donald Trump if nothing is done.

Perhaps the clarity of mind that hunger brings will aid his logic. Not force-feeding someone is not killing them.

Hunger striker complains that he’s losing weight

Whut?

Guantánamo hunger striker accuses US officials of letting him ‘waste away’

The background here is vile, as we all know.

Zero trial, no possibility of facing evidence or accusers, not ever to be released and the legal tergiversions of the Yanks in doing this are all vile.

But there is that dark, dark, amusement that a hunger striker is complaining that they’re just, well, letting him get on with it. Are not intervening. That actually is his immediate complaint.

Khalid Qasim, held at the prison for 15 years without charge or trial, told his lawyer that doctors stopped force-feeding him and another inmate three weeks ago, and are no longer monitoring their medical condition.

“They have decided to leave us to waste away and die instead,” Qasim, 40, told his lawyer by phone for an article published by the Guardian. “I am in so much pain every minute that I know it can’t go on much longer. Now as each night comes, I wonder if I will wake up in the morning. When will my organs fail? When will my heart stop? I am slowly slipping away and no one notices.”

I fear Ms. Bennett does not understand

Although, unlike his efforts on behalf of global environmental and nuclear catastrophe, Trump’s alliance with the NRA endangers principally his compatriots, this staggering acceptance of the latest homegrown massacre could be what finally – if it cannot guarantee pariah status – shreds US claims to global leadership. A country that accepts 93 firearms deaths a day, on a wayward reading of an 18th-century statute, is not obviously better placed than the ostracised Aung San Suu Kyi to lecture on human rights or, as Trump at the UN, on global security. He fretted about “rogue regimes” that even threaten “their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity”. Idiots. Don’t they know over-the-counter semi-automatics will do the job perfectly well?

It really isn’t the guns. It’s the people.

The Czech Republic has similar levels of gun ownership. It doesn’t have the same incidents. It is therefore something other than the availability of the guns.

The 18th century statute is fun too, no? Freedom of religion, speech, rights to trial and all that? Just 18 th century statute we can cast aside?

Blame Canada!

Chelsea Manning, a former American soldier jailed for leaking troves of classified information, said on Monday that she was banned from entering Canada due to criminal convictions in the United States.

Manning had tried to cross at the official border office at Lacolle, Quebec, on Friday. On Monday, she posted a letter from Canadian immigration officials to her Twitter account that said she was not admitted because she was convicted of offences deemed equivalent to treason in Canada.

“So, I guess Canada has permanently banned me? Denied entry b/c of convictions similar to “treason” offence,” she wrote.

The document said that Manning had committed a crime outside the country that “would equate to an indictable offence, namely treason” in Canada and which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.

Committing a crime elsewhere that would carry a maximum sentence of at least 10 years in Canada is grounds for a person to be denied entry, the document said.

My guess is that he knew this. But hey, gotta keep in the headlines, eh?

No love, not really

A new global report on slavery has estimated there are more than 40 million people trapped in slavery worldwide. Many of us will have rarely thought about the immense scale of modern-day slavery, assuming that slavery only exists in faraway lands. But that assumption is wrong.

Have you ever had your nails done at a salon? Do you have your car hand-washed? Have you ever had building work done, or had a new driveway laid? If so, the chances are you may have come across someone who is enslaved. The harsh reality is that modern slavery not only exists in the UK, but it is on the rise. It is all around us – in nail bars, car washes, hotels, restaurants, farms and building sites. I myself was ignorant about modern-day slavery until I came across an online article a few years ago, and I have been researching it ever since.

The actual report being referred to lists some 1,700 Vietnamese over 7 years. It’s very hazy indeed about the difference between slavery (vile) and illegal immigration with labour paying back the fee (perhaps not desirable but also not vile).

This may all be entirely appalling even so of course but it’s not exactly immense scale, is it?

So, the Nazi punched out in Seattle. Someone’s going to jail, right?

Anti-Fascists Used Twitter To Find A Neo-Nazi Walking Around Seattle And Beat Him Up

So, idiot wandering around Seattle wearing swastika armband, mouthing off at people. Twitter antifa vigilantes track him down on the street then celebrate as he’s punched out.

The person using the @teethnclaws account asked not to be identified, citing concerns over his personal safety. He said he wasn’t aware of who actually threw the punch, but credits anti-fascist Twitter networks for making it happen.

“I would say that we successfully identified, tracked and coordinated to neutralize a clear and present danger to Seattle. Whether we coordinated the actual punch or not,” he said, “I, for one, applaud the anonymous hero.”

@teethnclaws described himself as an active anti-fascist fighter for the last 20 years and said that the punch in Seattle was the coordinated effort of “horizontal organizing between concerned neighbors.” He said nobody knows who threw the punch and that he wouldn’t help anyone find out.

“When anti-fascists, casual or organized, have their identity broadcast they are put in extreme danger,” he said.

So, pretty clear case of assault (dunno, do the Americans use GBH, ABH?) and conspiracy to perhaps.

Someone is going to jail for this, right? Like, at least, the person who threw the punch? Because it’s not clever, sensible nor even polite to wander around Seattle mouthing off while wearing a swastika armband. But it is also legally going about ones’ personal business and as such merits the full protection of the law. Because that’s how the law works – or at least should do.

And if a jury wants to nullify then that’s up to a jury but the case should still be brought.

What is the justification for this?

Twitter is “failing women” who are victims of online threats and abuse by taking far too long to remove hateful and misogynistic content, Britain’s leading women’s rights charity warns today.

Yeah, Yeah, yeah….

The offending tweets included a vile slur on the late MP Jo Cox,

Whut?

The argument is that such threats are, umm, threats. You know, I’ll do you physical harm stuff. There is no such justification for complaining about someone being rude about the dead.

as we all knew it would the demands are moving beyond the possible justification, aren’t they?