Thoughts About Fundamentalism

The following is a photo of President Bush junior holding a prayer meeting at the White House shortly after 9/11, led in prayer by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (I know, you couldn’t make this stuff up, could you):

Led in prayer by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, right, President George W. Bush joins his Cabinet as they bow their heads Friday, Sept. 14, 2001, before beginning their meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

Here’s a photo of President Obama also holding a prayer meeting in the White House:

Since 9/11 both Presidents have been responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people (some estimates say that it’s approaching 20 million people slaughtered). You could gasp for breath here, but we still have to get onto President Trump, who must surely be the final President of what is known as the ‘United States of America’. Trump pays lip service to Christian fundamentalism (Trump is just a clown), and his government is riddled with religious extremists, not least his Vice President Mike Pence (be careful what you wish for when you want to get rid of Trump), and of course the American government is almost entirely controlled by a foreign set of religious headcases known as Zionists. I’m now going to lay out here what the Presstitutes will never tell you. It’s all true (go look it up):

The latter part of the 20th century, leading into the 21st century, saw an unexpected rise in religious extremism, be it Muslim suicide bombers at one end of the scale, to the bombing of abortion clinics by Protestant fundamentalists at the other. In the 1950s and 1960s religion became increasingly marginalised by science and reason; but then in the 1970s and 1980s it came to the fore once more. Religious people realised that they had the power to fight back against secularism and modernity. Fundamentalism largely stems from fear, in much the same way that secularism does, and is a reaction against a changing world that’s often hard to understand.

In recent times the spirtual side of humanity has been somewhat surpressed by scientific rationalism, a rationalism which has been so successful in the western world that it’s now generally believed that reason is the only avenue to truth; whereas in more traditional societies reason was seen as complimentary to myth, which was another way of looking at reality from a more spiritual, intuitive, mystical angle. With regard to this different kind of truth, you can make a comparison to art. You can’t say what a piece of music by Mozart is about, or prove why it works, but it is telling you something, it is affirming something. Likewise you can’t look at religious doctrine in a rational way, because reason and science does not really address questions of ultimate meaning. Tragedy is a good example. When something tragic happens we are more likely to console ourselves with things like poetry or music, or weeping with a friend, rather than turning to reason for answers.

American Protestant fundamentalism was the first to surface in modern times. Early in the 20th century the Protestant began reading religious scripture in a literal way, as though it were scientific fact. Before then, people read scripture in a more allegorical, mystical way. Islamic fundamentalism didn’t come along until later in the 20th century. The West looks at the Ayatollas & Co as some throwback to medieval times, but this is not the case. In the past very few Muslim women wore a veil. The clothed from head to toe stuff is quite a recent interpretation of Islam. In fact you could say that modern fundamentalism has become a complete distortion of religion, because the cornerstone of all of the world’s great faiths is compassion; love thy neighbour and all that. Fundamentalist theology, be it Protestant or Islamic or whatever, is one of rage, resentment and revenge.

And this is what runs the United States of America at the moment, along with good ole greed.

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Tim Murphy RIP

The American poet Tim Murphy died last week. Tim was one of the most brilliant formal poets that I’ve ever encountered. He could weave together metre and rhyme so skillfully that often you had to look twice to realise that it was a form poem. Tim was also a very complicated person, and to echo again, one of the most complicated people I’ve ever encountered (amongst other things, Tim’s mega drinking problem was well known in the poetry world). Tim died from cancer of the esophagus, which as far as I’m aware was only diagnosed a matter of months earlier. The perhaps amazing thing is that such a self-destructive personality made it as far as the age of 67.

I never met Tim in person, but I’ve known him online from way back to the birth of internet poetry boards, in the early 2000s. Let’s just say that more often than not Tim and I did not have a good relationship. That all changed in 2010 when he agreed to let me make a radio programme about his life. The format was me interviewing Tim, and was that fun and games! I thought a good way to pay tribute to Tim would be to include here some excerpts from my fourth memoir, where I write about the programme that Tim and I made about his life:

________________________________________________________

Excerpts from Rob Godfrey’s fourth memoir Cranial Capacity 1400cc:

In early February, with the studio resounding to the sound of grand opera, I contacted Tim Murphy. Once again, Tim was someone I’d known for years on the poetry boards. We’d always had a bit of a stormy relationship. When I contacted him that February we’d just had another big row. Tim was very surprised when I asked him if I could make a programme about his life, but readily agreed to it. Tim’s mega drinking problem is well-known in the poetry world. Tim is gay and lives in North Dakota. He is a hunter, farmer and one-time venture capitalist. Tim is also one of the most talented contemporary American poets. Who wouldn’t want to make a programme about Tim Murphy?

Whilst all this was going on I was producing Rob’s Radio Hour, a piece of sheer indulgence on my part. Hour long programmes with me playing my favourite music and rabbiting on about it. I made eight of them during that winter. Janet lived in Australia and Tim lived in North Dakota. Due to the time zone differences I often kept strange hours. It was not unusual to find myself finishing off a Rob’s Radio Hour as dawn crept through the frosty windows. I didn’t see any commercial value in the programme. It was more a bit of radio recreation…

… The Tales of Hoffmann programme was going swimmingly, although it took time because of the huge amount of editing required. Tim Murphy: In his own words, on the other hand, was not going swimmingly. Shortly before I approached Tim about making the programme he’d had an alcohol induced seizure that almost killed him. Now, having poured all his whiskey down the sink, he was trying to stay on the straight and narrow. Added to this, whilst Tim was an excellent poet he did not have much knowledge of computers and the like. Tim leered after a young fella from the University of North Dakota who helped him with the sound recordings, and then with e-mailing the files to me. Even with the technical help Tim received it was still a difficult programme to make.

Tim Murphy: in his own words was basically me asking questions and then letting him talk at length. This interview was interspersed with occasional snatches of music. During the programme Tim recited some of his recent poems, including this one…

Prayer for Sobriety

Morning glories climbing the garden wall
vie with the fragrant jasmine to outshine
the sun emerging from a summer squall.
Blossom and vine, lover and love entwine.
He is the Groom, and I? The shy betrothed
enraptured by the faith I so long loathed.

This is the sacramental cup we drink,
this the unleavened loaf on which we dine,
deliverance from the sins to which I sink.
Here is the book, the work of my Divine
Redeemer at whose Word the worlds revolve.
Let me return His passion with resolve.

It didn’t help matters when half way through the making of the programme Tim started hitting the bottle again. I’m not sure whether the relapse was due to the university hunk rejecting his advances, or maybe because we’d reached the point in his life story when he lost 100 million dollars in a business venture and was going to kill himself. Either way, things became difficult for a week or two, during which I received some weird and wild e-mails from Tim.

The strange thing is, although Tim and I had always been adversaries on the poetry boards, during the making of that programme we became good friends. Over the years Tim has given loads of interviews, yet in Tim Murphy: In his own words he said things about his life that he had never revealed before, such as humongus drug abuse during his study years at Yale University.

Tim managed to get back on the straight and narrow, and we managed to complete the programme. Working with Tim had been both an exhausting and enlightening process. He was really pleased with the end result, and so was I.

End of excerpts from Cranial Capacity 1400cc
________________________________________________________

Tim Murphy: in his own words is a 35 minute long programme and can be found here.

Despite all the personal problems he was going through at the time, Tim was really upbeat about the programme and enjoyed making it. He was always courteous, despite the many frustrations he had with the technical side of things, and helped me, the producer, as much as he could. I chose all the music for the programme, including one of Tim’s favourite classical pieces, but what he loved most was this (if you listen to the programme you might get some understanding)…

Farewell Tim, and I’m sure that an intellectual like you will appreciate that I’m giving you an honest obit, unlike most in the (now hideous and vapid) American publishing world, a corporate controlled hell hole that never properly recognised you.

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A Mega Hailstorm in South West France

Yesterday is a day I won’t forget for a long time. At this time of year you often get huge electrical storms in these parts. Yesterday the weather was very close; bruised clouds were building up; there were distant rumblings. I was a bit disappointed that it was all starting to happen in the afternoon, because these electrical storms are absolutely spectacular to watch at night; but this was during the day. The sky got darker and darker. The wind picked up. Rain started falling against the backdrop of loud thunder. Tongues of lightening started hitting the landscape. Then, at about 3.30pm, it really kicked off: amidst the stair rod rain, hailstones starting coming down, but these weren’t ordinary hailstones: they were the size of golf balls. I’ve never seen anything like it. In particular there was a very loud roar. I would imagine that this roar wasn’t caused by the wind, which whilst very strong was not at hurricane force, but by the golf ball size hailstones. Our cat Herricka was absolutely terrified of it all (and she’s a tough cookie). She hid under my desk, quivering. A picture paints a thousand words so here’s a link to lots of photos which show some of the damage that storm did yesterday. It was the worst weather event in this region for many decades…

http://www.charentelibre.fr/2018/07/04/les-images-des-degats-et-de-l-important-dispositif-deploye-a-saint-sornin,3280172.php

As an aside, for obvious reasons I did try to find some English language news coverage of the storm, but was unable to. This might be surprising for such an extreme weather event in Europe at this time of year; or maybe it’s not surprising, depending on your take on things.

Getting on with this storm story, as the storm rolled over, the lights in the house started flickering and after half an hour the power went out. Nothing unusual in this: there’s often power outages during such weather, and within an hour or two the power came back on. With the storm almost over, at around six pm I started cooking dinner. Just as I was sitting down to eat it there was a knock on the door. It was my cousin and her husband, who are in the process of buying a property here and are over for a few days to sort out some paperwork. The front windshield on my cousin’s car had been cracked by the hailstones. I gave up on dinner half way through eating it, because Round 2 of the storm kicked off and the power went out again. In the stormy darkness we sat round the table with lit candles. Even with all the racket made by the weather we could hear a dog howling somewhere in the vicinity.

The power didn’t come on again until lunchtime today. In the sweltering heat, and without power for the best part of 24 hours, I won’t go into the sorry state our two freezers are now in. I could bore you with lots more about all this, but I don’t want to turn this blog into an extreme weather channel; although I suppose there’s one obvious question that I should address: how much damage did the storm do to our property? Well, we were lucky. The full fury of the storm only lasted for about half an hour where we are, and this is a 300 year old house with metre thick stone walls. They don’t build ’em like that anymore. There was a lot of damage outside the house, particularly to the canopy of vines above the back terrace.

We won’t get a very good crop this year.

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The Sinking of British Civil Society

I wasn’t surprised to come across this in yesterday’s Guardian

The man whose claims of a VIP paedophile ring sparked a £2m Scotland Yard investigation targeting pillars of the establishment has been charged with 12 counts of lying to detectives and receiving £22,000 in compensation through fraud.The claims by “Nick”, made first in the media and then to detectives, led to the Metropolitan police’s disastrous Operation Midland investigation.

Do you honestly think the police would blow two million quid investigating the claims of one man? No, of course not: they did it because there’s a huge number of other witnesses and mountains of evidence. Unfortunately the bad cops outnumber the good cops. In a previous post, Spies, Lords and Predators, I go into some detail about police corruption and the cover-up of VIP paedophilia. In that post I mentioned an Australian 60 Minutes documentary in 2015 which heavily featured ‘Nick’. Over the years I’ve done a lot of research into all this and I’m of the opinion that some or all of what ‘Nick’ has said is true. Nick’s prosecution is yet another cover-up and sends a strong message to others who are contemplating blowing the whistle. I ended that post with a video testimony from John Wedger, a former detective constable in the Metropolitan Police now turned whistleblower. Wedger’s testimony gives a very good insight into how the police cover-up VIP paedophilia.

What a world, ay, and at the moment I’m half way through a three week course of powerful anti-biotics (but I don’t go on about it!) and am finding it hard to gather my thoughts. Where am I trying to go with this post..? Ah yes, corruption: back in 2005 the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw gave evidence (under oath) to a Parliamentary Select Committee in which he said this:

“Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States, and also let me say, we believe that Secretary Rice is lying, there simply is no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition full stop, because we have not been, and so what on earth a judicial inquiry would start to do I have no idea. I do not think it would be justified.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmfaff/768/5121304.htm

Then last week we had this, more than 12 years after the above statement by Jack Straw:

The British Intelligence and Security Committee has released a report detailing how the British government and intelligence participated in and/or turned a blind eye to torture programs aimed at obtaining intelligence from ‘suspected’ terrorists. British intelligence and government personnel were complicit in or else willingly overlooked the inhumane treatment of these persons, who were being held and tortured without going through any due process, even while at least some of the persons who were enduring the harsh treatment and torture were British citizens. But British officials and top dogs manage to manipulate the process of discovery and accountability in such a way as to avoid being held to account.

http://theduran.com/uk-complicit-in-post-9-11-us-torture-programs/

One notable thing about the British Intelligence and Security Committee report is the way that prime minister Theresa May tried to thwart it, only allowing Committee members to question a handful of requested witnesses, and no one who was directly involved in rendition and torture was allowed before the Committee. This is the same Theresa May who when she was Home Secretary, as well as being the prime architect of the British police state, was also a prime mover in the cover-up of VIP paedophilia. And you wonder why she wears a toilet chain around her neck. Talking of which:

Consequences of American corporate influence over British welfare reforms

The demolition of the welfare state was first suggested in 1982 by the Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Using neoliberal politics, every UK government since 1982 has covertly worked towards that goal. It is also the political thinking used as justification for the welfare reforms of the New Labour government, which introduced the use of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for all out-of-work disability benefit claimants. Neoliberal politics also justified additional austerity measures introduced by the Coalition government since 2010, and the Conservative government(s) since 2015, which were destined to cause preventable harm when disregarding the human consequences. Much of this is known and in the public domain.

http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/britains-most-censored-stories-non-military/

When I left school in 1980 there were more than 2 million people out of work. This was a year after Margaret Thatcher became prime minister. Thatcher was the start of the neo-con madness, a madness I’ve watched getting worse and worse over more than three decades now; such, that my country is now an unrecognisable hell hole for all except a small minority of the population. During Margaret Thatcher’s first term in office she was the most unpopular prime minister in modern British history, and it looked like the then Labour leader Michael Foot would walk the next general election; but then in 1982 the Argentinians invaded the Falkland Islands, and the rest, as they say, is history. In a way you can blame the Argentine military junta for zero hours contracts, ‘austerity’, the destruction of the NHS, and all the rest of it.

I’ll finish this somewhat rambling post with a video clip of prime minister Margaret Thatcher. I include this not to get into the rights or wrongs of Thatcher’s order to sink the General Belgrano (which resulted in the death of 323 mostly young Argentinian sailors), but more because it perhaps highlights how far we’ve sunk as a society: prime minister Thatcher is on live television here, being questioned at length by a highly critical member of the public. This sort of thing would never be allowed today. Incidentally, for those unfamiliar with the era and the culture, the presenter here is Sue Lawley who at the time was a very popular BBC news anchor. After presenting this Thatcher piece Sue Lawley was sacked and as far as I’m aware she never worked for the BBC again. Enjoy…

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Hats, Health and Honor

The anti-biotics I’m now on are solar-sensitive (if interested in my latest health problems see here). This means that when I’m out in the now blazing sunshine I have to wear gloves and a wide brimmed hat. The hat in question is a Fedora. In the photo below you’ll see that I’m now back on the roll-ups, having recovered from a mega chest infection, which came on the tail of mega dental work in February and March…

Zonked as I am on all the meds, it took me a while to remember who else wears a Fedora…

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Spies, Lords and Predators

I used to post a lot on this blog about child sex abuse in the UK, child sex abuse carried out by high profile people. Of course, most child sex abuse is carried out by ordinary members of the public, but the fact that the high profile people are never prosecuted is an allowing mechanism for all the other paedos. Such sick and disgusting behavior has always been a part of the British Establishment and the perpetrators are rarely, if ever, prosecuted. It all gets covered up. However, three years ago, which was the last time I tackled this subject, there was real traction to start prosecuting these Establishment perverts. Here’s the first part of one of my last posts about it:

Tuesday 30 June 2015

On Sunday, Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, announced that Lord Greville Janner will be prosecuted for historical child sex abuse offences (here). Saunders was forced to reverse her earlier decision not to prosecute Janner following an independent review, conducted by David Perry QC, which concluded that it was in the public interest to bring proceedings before a criminal court. It’s the first time that a director of public prosecutions has been made to overturn a major decision. The announcement on Sunday took everyone interested in this case by surprise, and it’s perhaps not a coincidence that it came at a time when the media was saturated with stories about Friday’s massacre in Tunisia.

At this stage it looks like Lord Janner could face a ‘trial of the facts’, in which a jury hears the evidence against an individual considered too ill to stand for trial (it is claimed that Janner has dementia). The charges relate to alleged offences of buggery and indecent assault committed against children between 1963 and 1988 by the former Labour MP. The youngest alleged victim was an eight-year-old boy at the time of the alleged offence. Janner is charged with indecently assaulting him between 1969 and 1970, and of buggery against him between 1963 and 1969. Another alleged victim was nine at the time. The others were aged between 12 and 16.

http://www.spiderbomb.com/blog/?p=3161

Shortly after I made that post, ABC’s 60 Minutes programme put out a piece called Spies, Lords and Predators, a detailed expose of the Westminster child sex abuse scandal. It was quite breathtaking that Australia’s state broadcaster had put out such a programme (if interested you can find it here). At the forefront of the calls for prosecution of these Establishment figures was Exaro, an online investigative news agency based in London. Exaro were mentioned a lot in the ABC documentary because at the time Exaro was also publishing pieces about former chancellor Kenneth Clarke, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan and many other high profile people. They also published pieces about the notorious Kincora Boys’ Home in East Belfast (MI5 used the Kincora Boys’ Home as a kind of honeytrap for high profile paedos, including leading members of Irish para-military groups).

In December 2015 the very elderly Lord Greville Janner died, apparently from natural causes, and the forthcoming trial against him was dropped. Shortly after that the mainstream media started doing a demolition job on Exaro (example from the Daily Mail, example from the Guardian, when it was still just about a real newspaper!). In July 2016 Exaro was closed down by its owner, which is a bugger because on this blog there are many links to Exaro articles and their web site is no longer online. Incidentally, during the period I’m covering here the Home Secretary was Theresa May, who had set-up an Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (an inquiry which was designed to fail) and who is now prime minister.

It’s all been swept under the carpet again, and what’s hard to get your head around with all this is that while there are some really sick and evil people in this world, the vast majority of us are upright citizens: with so many people with knowledge of it how can they keep sweeping this child sex abuse under the carpet? John Wedger is a former Metropolitan Police detective constable. A few months ago Wedger gave witness testimony to The International Tribunal for Natural Justice. His testimony, in which he names some very high profile people, gives a real insight into the child sex abuse cover up…

The above is a somewhat formal testimony from John Wedger. You can find a less formal interview, in which Wedger gives more info, here.

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A Not so Harmless Little Tick

I’m dead on my feet at the moment, so this post will probably be brief: a few weeks back I was no doubt boring readers with my recent health problems: mega dental treatment during February and March followed by a mega chest infection shortly thereafter (if interested you can find my post about it all here). I was prescribed five different medications for the chest infection and “dangerously high blood pressure”, two of which I’ve still got to take for a number of months. I should perhaps add at this point that the last time I had any contact with doctors and meds was 13 years ago, and that was related to a bad work injury which was not connected to my general health. Anyhows, cut a long story short, it took a few weeks before the meds got me on the mend from the chest infection; but then this last week I’ve been feeling really ill again. This was due to an uninvited guest on the lower part of my left leg: a small, blood sucking tic (I’ve been doing a lot of gardening recently, as you do at this time of year). As the tic got bigger I was going to pull the damn thing off myself, but then thought about my blood pressure problems, so I went to see my lady doctor this afternoon (as an aside she’s a Portuguese national who’s fluent in French, English, Italian and Spanish). My multi-lingual lady doctor was most impressed when I rolled-up my trouser leg and showed her the uninvited guest. It didn’t hurt when she removed the uninvited guest with a pair of tweezers. It did hurt when she went in for a second go to see if anything was left inside my sore and swollen skin.

My lady doctor put the uninvited guest on a piece of gauze, and we both laughed to see the guest still wriggling around. I didn’t laugh when the doctor told me that from this particular kind of tic I had a serious risk of contracting Lyme disease. This disease is apparently quite common in France, and of course particularly in rural areas. After just finishing a course of anti-biotics for the mega chest infection, for which I’m still taking other medication, I now find myself having to take a three week course of anti-biotics to combat Lyme disease. The Lyme disease anti-biotics are ‘solar sensitive’, meaning that I can’t be in sunlight while I’m taking them. My nice lady doctor told me that if I’m out in the sun I will need to wear a wide brimmed hat and gloves on my hands, a la Dracula. The good thing about this afternoon’s visit to le Docteur is that she tested my blood pressure, and it’s no longer at insane levels.

What I like about all this, of course, is that the mega chest infection, and to a lesser extent the dental stuff, are down to lifestyle choices (I have now almost managed to give up smoking). That tic which attached itself to my lower leg was due to the perfectly normal and healthy activity of gardening, albeit in the nature wonderland of rural south west France. Talking of which, a few weeks back, while sitting down to dinner, with all the doors open during the hot weather, we suddenly noticed a snake curled up under the tv stand in the kitchen. It was a big bastard, five or six feet long. I managed to gently guide it back to its natural environment. It wasn’t a poisonous snake, although there are plenty of those in these parts, mostly vipers and adders (we’ve had one of those in the house as well). All the chemists around here sell emergency anti-venom packs for those unlucky enough to get bitten by one of the little buggers. Our recent snake was not a nasty one, and it’s usually easy to tell the difference. Non-venomous snakes have round eyes. Venomous snakes have slit eyes. Our half-stray cat Herricka has also been under the weather recently, because she’d been bitten by a venomous snake. You could see the fang marks and fur taken out on her flank (there are a lot of snakes in these parts at this time of the year). Stray cats are incredibly tough, though (which is why they survive) and Herricka is now on the mend.

I’m rambling here, which is probably due to all the medications I’m now on. I think where I’m trying to go with this post is that I’m equating my recent medical problems to what’s going on in the wider political world. Make of that what you will. I’m going to bed.

Bonne santé

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The Lights Are Going Out

Yesterday the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) adopted the appalling Article 13 proposal by Rapporteur MEP Axel Voss, during its vote on their Report on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Just 25 MEPs on this committee (JURI) voted on this, with 15 yays and 10 nays (here). There are at the moment 751 members of the European parliament divided among the 28 member states. Just 15 of them on the Legal Affairs Committee have been allowed to vote through what is the most egregious assault on freedom of speech in EU history. If you want some idea of what EU Article 13 means see my previous post about it. How on Earth the EU can undemocratically push through totalitarian legislation like this is quite breathtaking. It will mean that blogs like mine will effectively be shut down, under threat of legal action if they’re within the EU. Discussion boards won’t be able to operate. The likes of Google/YouTube will have to censor everything posted within the EU – although Google/YouTube, et al, have been carrying out heavy censorship worldwide for at least the last two years (they’re a complete joke, folks).

In recent years the psychopaths who rule us have been losing control of the narrative (aka idiotic propaganda). It’s inevitable that the psychos will try to take back control. We’ve also had this recently in the USA with the repeal of the Net Neutrality Act. What I find even more worrying is that there’s been very little discussion in the so-called alternate media about all this, despite the fact that just about all of the alternate media will be closed down by the likes of the EU Article 13 and the repeal of the Net Neutrality Act in the USA. Talk about dying with a whimper as the lights go out.

There is still a slim hope, though, with regard to the aptly named EU Article 13, but don’t hold your breath on that one. Cantankerous bastards like me (with their own domain and web space) will continue to speak truth to power regardless. If these psychopathic criminal scum want to try and prosecute me for free speech, bring it on.

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Nellie McKay – Music and Politics and Censorship

This post is about Nellie McKay, which means we’re going to have a strong mix of music and politics. I’ll start with the music first before getting onto the politics. Talking of which, earlier this month Nellie McKay was interviewed by Jimmy Dore. During the interview she performed her updated version of the old Country Joe anti-(Vietnam) war song. Country Joe performed this song at Woodstock and famously asked the audience to spell out the word ‘fuck’…

Nellie McKay was born in London in 1982 (a fellow Londoner!). Her father is an English writer-director and her mother is an American actress. You’ll be hard pushed to detect McKay’s UK roots because she spent just about all her childhood in America, mostly in New York City. She studied jazz voice at the Manhattan School of Music, but did not graduate. Her performances at various New York City music venues, including the Sidewalk Cafe and Joe’s Pub, drew attention from record labels and in 2002 she signed with Columbia Records. Her debut album in 2004 is called ‘Get Away from Me’ and this track from it is called It’s A Pose, performed on the Conan O’Brien show…
Continue reading

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The Insanity of Nuclear Deterrence

I could really go into one about all this, but instead I’ll leave it to Robert Green, at a recent TED talk from New Zealand. It runs to about 20 minutes…

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Carry On Korea

Tuesday’s summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was yet another surreal moment amongst many in recent years. One of the funniest things about this summit has been the reaction to it. Trump fans are naturally enough crowing about ‘their man’ and what a genious he is (4D chess, and all that). Whereas Trump detractors are saying that the Singapore summit achieved nothing in real terms and was a dangerous move by a completely mad American president. My own opinion of it all tends to veer towards the latter: I think that the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-Un was a PR stunt by the American deep state (who completely control Trump). Previous presidents have mostly done a good job of masking the reality of the United States of America (particularly Obama, the ‘first black American president’, who made Bush junior look like a boy scout when it came to pushing the neo-con agenda). Donald Trump was foistered on the American public by the deep state, to try and persuade the public that it’s all ‘real’. Problem is that President Trump is a bit of a loose cannon, in that he doesn’t even bother disguising the fact that the USA is a rogue nation. Just about everything that Trump has said and done since he took office in January 2017 has not only alarmed a large number of Americans, it’s also alarmed the wider world. Amidst all the talk of war and sanctions and massive cuts to social programmes in the ‘Homeland’, etc, the deep state began to feel threatened by rising public anger. Hence the PR stunt in Singapore earlier this week, which was a lame attempt to put a cuddly face on one of the most violent and rogue nations that the world has ever seen.

Most people reading this will be familiar with Robert Fisk, but in case you’re not I’ll just say that Fisk is a multi-award winning Middle East correspondent, now with The Independent, based in Beirut. He has lived in the Arab world for more than 40 years, covering Lebanon, five Israeli invasions, the Iran-Iraq war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Algerian civil war, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq and the 2011 Arab revolutions. Yesterday Fisk was interviewed by Jeff Blankfort on KZYX Radio in California. The summit between Trump and Kim Jong-Un is touched upon briefly at the start of the interview, and then they move on to how this summit relates to present events in the Middle East. What I like about Robert Fisk is that he always tries to be non-partisan. The interview runs to about 25 minutes…

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The EU Article 13 – You Couldn’t Make This stuff Up

As usual where do I start..? The Trump – Kim Jong-un farce this week? The latest Brexit farce? The Russia World Cup farce? Here’s a subject that’s not a farce:

This is something that everyone needs to know, not just those who have walked through the door.

Article 13 Open letter – Monitoring and Filtering of Internet Content is Unacceptable

For further explanation of what this all means, here’s a segment from the Richie Allen show earlier this week…

We outnumber these psychopathic, controlling scum by 100s of millions to one, and as such can easily take them out. The problem is that most people still buy into the tidal wave of carefully crafted propaganda, which is why bods like me often despair.

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Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

This House Believes Israel is a Rogue State

Many years ago I used to have some sympathy for Israel; but not any longer. Last Friday at the UN Security Council the United States was the only nation to oppose/veto a draft resolution calling for measures to protect Palestinians after more than 100 were killed by Israeli fire during protests at the Gaza fence…

This reminded me of a very good debate at the Cambridge Union that I watched three years ago. The motion was: ‘This House Believes Israel is a Rogue State’. I wanted to embed the video in this post, but surprise, surprise, the audio on this Cambridge Union YouTube video has been totally scrambled: you can’t hear anything. I did a search for it on other video platforms, and surprise, surprise, all audio scrambled (I’m not enough of a techy to know how they do this). There’s a ‘but’ here, and that is, if you’ve got headphones and plug them into your computer you can hear this debate perfectly. The proposition team included American academic professor Norman Finkelstein, author of one of the best books about the Holocaust, The Holocaust Industry; Palestinian academic professor Ghada Karmi (University of Exeter) and Jewish human rights activist Ben White.

The opposition team was lead by Vivian Wineman, president of UK’s powerful Jewish Lobby, the Board of Deputies of British Jews. She was assisted by Hannah Weisfelt, director of Israel lobby Jewish group Yachad and Davis Lewin, deputy director of another Israeli advocacy Jewish group, the Henry Jackson Society.

It’s well worth listening to (but you’ll need headphones; and if you want to get to the juicy bit go 1 hour 10 in, when Davis Lewin is roundly booed by the Cambridge Union audience). Here’s the link…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjkivkkZYNo

PS, I’ll try to capture this Cambridge Union video and put it up on another platform with full audio.

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Posted in Politics | 11 Comments

Superorganism – Something For Your Mind

I’ve long been reaching the stage where, politically, things are now so mad (and this madness is accepted by the public) that I’m not sure if I can continue commenting on it. As if all the false flag ‘terrorist’ attacks in recent years were not bad enough, so far this year we’ve had the Sergei Skripal poisoning affair (which was like something from Monty Python) and this week we’ve had the fake murder of a Russian journalist called Babchenko. ‘Surreal’ doesn’t do justice to the current state of play (particularly since it could result in the final war on this planet); so, let’s have some music:

In February 2017 a group calling themselves Superorganism independently released online a single called Something For Your Mind. In the space of a few days, the song landed in Spotify’s esteemed New Music Friday playlist, racking up millions of streams. There are a number of extraordinary things about Superorganism and I’ll start with the first: although many musos collaborate via the internet (in early 2017 most of the members of Superorganism had not met in real life), it’s the first time, as far as I’m aware, that an independently released hit single came out of it. Here’s Superorganism performing Something For Your Mind in December 2017, recorded by KEXP in Rennes, France…

The second perhaps not so extraordinary thing about Superorganism (considering that they were collaborating entirely via the internet) is that the band has 8 members who come from all four corners of the world. In March of this year they released their self-titled debut album, ‘Superorganism’, released by Domino Records. Here’s a track from it called Relax
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On Being Unwell

I haven’t felt right for at least six months now. I’ve had some mega dental work done during February and March of this year (this involved nine appointments with Jean-Luc, mon dontist). I thought I’d get the dental treatment out of the way first, to see if this has been the cause of me generally feeling like shite for many months now. Nope, not the tooth problems: after dental treatment I was still feeling very rough, which included a very bad chest infection (now in my 50s I remain a heavy smoker). Then, earlier this month I had a blast from the past: a girl called Nicola contacted me, a girl I only met once briefly 19 years ago, and I’ve only had one other contact with her in the intervening years. Despite this, Nicola gets a brief mention in two of my memoirs, The Yukon Queen and The Iberian Job. This might all sound a bit weird to you, dear reader, but if I tell you that in April 1999 Nicola sold her Citroen 2CV to us, a 2CV that became the No.2 car in the 2CV Alaska Challenge, you might understand the connection between Nicola and I.

Nicola kindly bought the two aforementioned memoirs in which she gets a mention. This prompted me to have a read of The Iberian Job, a book I haven’t looked at since I wrote it in 2014. This memoir covers the years 2000 to 2007, which were the most stressful I’ve ever experienced in my life. Reading The Iberian Job produced a tidal wave of emotion in me. Re-living it all again; phew! I mention this because of how your emotional state can really effect your health. I’ve been on the cusp of bronchitis for weeks now, and for the last week it’s turned into a full blown chest infection.

I’m familiar with bronchitis because I got my first bout of it 20 years ago, when I was in my mid 30s. At the time I was still living in London, and smoking three packs of Stuyvesant a day. I went straight away to a doctor – if you’ve had this lung condition you’ll know how terrifying it can be, because you can barely breath. My doctor in London diagnosed acute bronchitis and prescribed anti-biotics, which did the job. My doctor also said that I had “dangerously high blood pressure” (180 over 30, if I remember correctly). I wasn’t given any treatment for the high blood pressure. I gave up smoking for a while, but it was the usual thing: as I began to feel better I started smoking again. However, I gave up the three packs of Stuyvesant a day and smoked roll-ups instead, which I’ve been on ever since. Incidentally, since that bronchitis 20 years ago the only other time I’ve had to take anti-biotics was in 2005, 13 years ago, when my elbow was ripped open to the bone in a work accident.

Fast forward twenty years, to the present, and last Monday I went to see a doctor here in France. I began by explaining to luh docteur that when I was a baby, just 18 months old, I was very, very ill with something that almost killed me. My body became covered in big, black blisters – it looked like I’d been napalmed. The blisters were incredibly painful to touch. The doctors didn’t know what the disease was, and for want of any better ideas they put me in the tropical disease unit of Guys Hospital (this in 1960s London). I was in that unit for six weeks and during this time I was given the Last Rites on two occasions. By some miracle I survived, but that mysterious illness left my lungs wrecked. In childhood I suffered frequently with bronchial asthma, and in adulthood the aforementioned bronchitis. I wonder what a psychiatrist would make of the heavy smoking?

Earlier this week my doctor here in France diagnosed a mega lung infection. She prescribed not just anti-biotics, but a whole host of other potions and lotions (the prescription cost me 72 euros). I’m now so zonked on all these drugs that I’m somewhat surprised that I can type this post. During the examination my doctor of course took my blood pressure, and I saw the look of surprise on her face: my blood pressure was absolutely through the roof (no surprise to me, because I’d been told that by another doctor 20 years previously in London). My French doctor told me that with such ridiculously high blood pressure I was seriously in danger of having a stroke. As well as medication for the lung infection she also prescribed me medication for the blood pressure, which I’ve got to take for the next three months.

I mention all this because I’m one of those people who shouldn’t really be here: that very serious illness I had when I was a baby should have killed me.

But I survived.

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Posted in Some other Stuff | 2 Comments