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Could Russell Brand's defenders and accusers both be right?

russell brand
© Getty
Russell Brand
Allegations by four women that comedian, actor and social media star Russell Brand assaulted them between 2006 and 2013 have caused a furore, after their release in a Dispatches documentary and Sunday Times story as part of a joint investigation. One of the women was reportedly just 16 at the time.

The court of public opinion instantly polarised between Brand haters who assume the allegations are true, and Brand supporters who view the report as a hit job, with some claiming that it is politically motivated payback for "questioning the system". Yet it's possible that they're all right. And in this case the only clear lesson of the story concerns not Brand, nor his supposed enemies, but instead our collective public hypocrisy where sex and power are concerned.

Did he do it? Who knows. Brand, who once bragged that his sex addiction saw him sleep with thousands of women, claimed in a video response to the allegations that every one of his prolific encounters was consensual. Though at that rate of throughput it's hard to see how he could remember every detail of each incident, perhaps he believes this. Meanwhile, I've had my share of encounters that seemed okay at the time but which were, in hindsight, pretty abusive — especially as public norms have shifted since #MeToo. (Brand was repeatedly awarded the Sun's title "Shagger of the Year", a testament to how differently pathological womanising was treated even relatively recently.)


Why women need to feel fear

Lia Thomas
© Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Lia Thomas, a transgender athlete at the University of Pennsylvania
Feminists, when I was growing up, used to encourage girls to "get loud" and rail against the social pressure to be compliant and "nice". We were taught to push back against the idea that women need to be appealing to men because their comfort mattered more than ours.

Now, we live in a radically different world. A world in which a generation of young women is being taught to disregard the fear they might feel in a threatening situation. They are told not to trust their intuition. And they are called bigots and sent death threats if they suggest that they feel uncomfortable in their bathrooms and changing rooms — or even in shelters for survivors of sexual abuse.

As a sexual assault survivor myself, I fought back tears while watching Paula Scanlan testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee about her experience of being on the University of Pennsylvania's women's swimming team — with the transgender athlete Lia Thomas. "I know of women with sexual trauma who are adversely impacted by having biological males in their locker room without their consent. I know this because I am one of these women."

Alarm Clock

Why I blew up my life to campaign against gender identity ideology

the daily sceptic
This is the text of a speech Dr. Helen Joyce gave at Ireland Uncensored, a one-day conference in Dublin on September 16th to rally opposition to the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill, a new law that will impose more speech restrictions in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe. The conference was organised by Free Speech Ireland and Gript.

Five years ago, I was working as the Economist's International editor. One fateful day in 2017, the editor asked me: "Why do kids keep coming home and say, 'Such and such is trans'?" I replied that I didn't know, but would look into it. Though I had no idea about that at the time, that conversation changed my life.

I ended up writing an article about it - an only semi-satisfactory article, because it was so hard to get a handle on what people were talking about. Many potential interviewees I reached out to either didn't reply or brushed me off with platitudes. They seemed to think I was doing something very wrong simply by asking obvious questions - the sorts of questions journalists ask of all sorts of people, all the time. Basics like: what does 'trans' mean? What is 'transition'? Do people feel better afterwards? Why do some people say they 'feel like' members of the opposite sex? And the big one: should those feelings give them licence to use facilities restricted to that sex?

Heart - Black

British mercenary tortured and killed compatriot in Ukraine - media

© Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP
A British volunteer in Ukraine has been identified as the primary suspect in the murder of a fellow Brit fighting alongside Kiev's forces who was found dead in June, The Sun claimed on Sunday.

The purported breakthrough was made in the investigation into the death of Jordan Chadwick, 31, an ex-member of the Scots Guards, who was fighting in a unit attached to Ukrainian military intelligence. His corpse was reportedly found in a body of water with his hands tied behind his back. The British government confirmed his death this month after his remains were repatriated.

"His terrified compadres" identified another British fighter as the likely killer to Ukrainian investigators, the report said. It claimed that the water in Chadwick's lungs did not match that of the pond in which he was found. He was allegedly waterboarded before being killed and dumped.

Chadwick, who served in the British Army from 2011 to 2015, traveled to Ukraine last October to join Kiev's International Legion. He is one of dozens of Brits who have been killed in the conflict.


CVS store manager killed on the job by shoplifter as epidemic grows increasingly deadly

michael jacobs family
© Gofundme
Michael Jacobs (pictured with his wife and two kids) was shot and killed by a suspected shoplifter while working a nighttime shift as a CVS operations manager at a location in Arizona.
A CVS store manager was killed on the job by a man suspected of shoplifting, police say — the latest example of a US retail theft epidemic that is becoming increasingly deadly.

Michael Jacobs, 49 — an operations manager at CVS Pharmacy in Mesa, Ariz., where he had worked for the past 20-plus years — was shot and killed allegedly by Jared Sevey in the evening hours of Sept. 7, according to KKTV 11 News.

Sevey, 39, was reportedly inside the Arizona CVS location earlier that day, arguing with Jacobs about shoplifting, KKTV reported. After the conflict, Sevey went home to get a gun.

Star of David

From humiliation to rape: The untold story of Israel's abuse of Palestinian women

© Mahmoud Illean/AP
Israeli soldiers' humiliation of Palestinian women in the occupied city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) on July 10 was not the first such episode. Sadly, it will not be the last.

Indeed, the stripping of five women in front of their children, parading them naked around their family home and then stealing their jewelry by an Israeli military unit was not a random act. It deserves deep reflection.

Palestinians rightly understood the event - investigated at length by the Israeli rights group B'Tselem in a report published on September 5 - as an intentional Israeli policy.

Several attacks by Palestinians in Jericho and Jerusalem have already been linked to the call for revenge made by Palestinian groups, including women collectives. We are expecting the Resistance "not to stand idly by in the face of this heinous (crime)," a spokesperson for a women's group in Gaza said on September 5.

The B'Tselem investigation was damning. "Dozens of masked soldiers, with dogs" raided the 'Ajlouni family in southern Hebron, B'Tselem said. They "handcuffed three family members," including a minor, "separated men from women and children, and began an extensive search of them and their home."

Comment: See also: Should Israel be labeled a psychopath?


Sanity returning: Kansas will no longer allow residents to change gender on birth certificates

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach
© Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images.
Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach
Kansas will no longer allow people to change the gender on their birth certificate after Republicans passed a law enshrining the biological definition of woman into law.

The state's health department was compelled to follow the law after Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach sued to stop state agencies from allowing people who say they are transgender to be able to change the gender on public documents.

After a legal back and forth, Kobach won in court, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said on Friday that it could "no longer process gender identity amendments to birth certificates."

The health department said that birth certificates previously given out with changed gender would not need to be updated unless the individual needed to get a new one.


Ohio murder suspect breaks into Georgia home, meets family man with firearm

Michael James Brooks II
© Fayette County Sheriff's Office
Suspect Michael James Brooks II was shot by a homeowner during an attempted burglary, police say. The 28-year-old is wanted for murder in Ohio and will be served an arrest warrant once he is released from the hospital.
Michael James Brooks II will be charged with burglary, home invasion, theft and murder when he is released from medical care, the Fayette County Sheriff's Office said.

An Ohio man wanted for the murder of a 77-year-old woman was shot by a man defending his family during a home invasion on Thursday, according to the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

Michael James Brooks II, of Columbus, Ohio, was hospitalized Friday for injuries sustained during the home invasion. When he is released from medical care, he will face charges for burglary, home invasion and theft by receiving in Georgia and murder charges in Ohio, police said.


Antifa rioter sentenced to 40 months for plot to burn down Seattle Police building

Justin Christopher Moore antifa
Justin Christopher Moore was sentenced on Wednesday after being convicted in a plot to burn down the Seattle Police Officers Guild during the BLM Antifa riots in the summer of 2020. Moore was sentenced to 41 months in prison for manufacture of homemade bombs with intent to burn down government property.

"Moore's offense was extremely dangerous and created a substantial risk of injury to numerous bystanders," said Assistant US Attorney Todd Greenberg. "Moore carried the box of 12 Molotov cocktails in a crowd of over 1,000 people who were participating in the protest march. All of them were in harm's way if one of the devices had exploded."

Comment: Meanwhile, Ex-Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio gets 22 years behind bars in Jan. 6 case while not even being in D.C. on the day. It seems punishments for terrorist acts are dependent upon which ideology they're supporting.

See also:


Paxton impeachment fallout: Conservative lawmakers, Donald Trump call for Texas Speaker Dade Phelan's removal

Texas House speaker dade phalen

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan
The full acquittal of Ken Paxton by the Texas Senate is seen as a repudiation of House Speaker Phelan and the Democrats' control of the lower chamber.

Following the full acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton by the Texas Senate on Saturday, members of the Texas House are calling for the removal of their chamber's leader. They are being joined in that effort by Donald Trump.

Paxton faced 20 articles of impeachment. Those were rushed before the Texas House in late May following a secret investigation by the General Investigating Committee. The articles followed the same political charges made against Paxton by challengers Eva Guzman and George P. Bush in the 2022 primary election. The political lobby group Texans for Lawsuit Reform fueled those charges with more than $3 million in campaign cash.

House members have said the rushed vote was described on the floor as a "loyalty vote" to Speaker Dade Phelan. In the end, 61 Democrats and 60 Republicans - including Phelan - voted for the impeachment. There were 23 House Republicans who opposed impeachment. One Democrat and one Republican both abstained from voting.

Comment: The Post Millennial reports on Paxton's post-aquittal statement:
"Today,the truth prevailed."

"The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors. I've said many times: Seek the truth! And that is what was accomplished.

"I thank the 4.2 million Texans who voted for me last year. I will always be grateful for your support, and I will continue to honor your vote by defending the rule of law and our constitutional rights. I'm also grateful for the state senators who followed the law and refused to overturn an election. I also thank my legal team for exposing the absurdity of these false allegations.

"Most importantly, I want to thank my amazing wife Angela, who I love dearly. She is a brave woman of deep faith, unquestionable integrity, and the light of our entire family.

"The sham impeachment coordinated by the Biden Administration with liberal House Speaker Dade Phelan and his kangaroo court has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, disrupted the work of the Office of Attorney General and left a dark and permanent stain on the Texas House.

"The weaponization of the impeachment process to settle political differences is not only wrong, it is immoral and corrupt.

"Now that this shameful process is over, my work to defend our constitutional rights will resume. Thank you to everyone who has stood with us during this time.

"Finally, I can promise the Biden Administration the following: buckle up because your lawless policies will not go unchallenged. We will not allow you to shred the constitution and infringe on the rights of Texans. You will be held accountable.

"I will next address the nation and Texas on Tucker Carlson next week. Now it is back to work!"

Texas AG Ken Paxton acquitted on all impeachment charges: 'The truth prevailed'