Gemma O’Doherty

The presstitute’s reaction to this year’s Labour Party conference has been hilarious, to say the least. Today John McDonnell gave a speech outlining some of the most radical proposals that have been seen in British politics in more than three decades. The batshit crazy neocons must have been having the vapours – whilst high on cocaine and buggering small boys. The neocons can’t directly attack these policies, because they’re incredibly sensible and popular, so instead we get more of the anti-semitism rollocks, which was quite disgracefully punted on yesterday’s Andrew Marr show. They’re absolutely terrified of Corbyn & Co, aren’t they, and I have to say that the likes of Corbyn and McDonnell are incredibly brave, because they’re quite aware that by going up against the Establishment they are putting their lives at risk.

But I’m not going to get into all that here. Instead, let’s go across to Ireland (because at the moment I have to be a bit careful about telling you what’s going on here in France), where there’s similar dissent: Gemma O’Doherty is a multi award-winning journalist who recently ran to become President of Ireland (you can find her web site here – although she doesn’t update it regularly). Likewise, Gemma O’Doherty is quite well aware of the risk she is running in this neocon lunatic asylum that we now all inhabit (another war, anyone?). If interested here’s a recent interview with O’Doherty, on a local radio station in Cork (they rarely, if ever, let her on the MSM)…

Postscript: Gemma O’Doherty failed to get the votes required to run for President of Ireland (here).

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The Last Waltz

This was a top story on the Guardian earlier today…

This Guardian piece contains barely anything that’s factual, and is full of assertions and suspicions and ‘sources tell us’ and ‘our contacts’. It was apparently written by three people, one of whom is the mega Russophobe Luke Harding, and appears to be hastily thrown together. Talking of which, John Pilger has written an excellent piece for Media Lens in which he does a surgical job of explaining why mainstream media ‘journalists’ are now immoral cretins. But getting back to the Guardian article, it seems to have been written in response to this piece published by RT yesterday:

Generation being born now is the last to be free – Assange in last interview before blackout

I would argue with Julian Assange on this one, since many would say that most of humanity is already enslaved. It’s why we have total insanity, like the shooting down of a Russian military aircraft earlier this week whilst it was in Syrian airspace, killing all 15 of its crew. It’s claimed that an Israeli fighter jet shot down the Russian plane, although we still don’t know for sure what went on (a French warship was apparently also firing missiles at the time), and maybe we never will. Point is the Russian plane was there quite legally under international law, because the Russians have been invited by the Syrian government. Whereas the Israeli plane was not there legally, neither are the Americans, the Brits, the French and all the other forces who are quite illegally trying to bring down the Syrian government. The Syrians and Russians have almost won the war against ‘the rebels’. This shooting down of the Russian plane is just the latest of many provocations, to try and get Russia to respond, thus giving Uncle Sam & Co an excuse for a full-on military assault on the sovereign country of Syria. Thus far Russia has not responded to these provocations, and independent commentators generally fall into two camps on this: one camp says that by not responding to these provocations it will embolden Syria’s and Russia’s enemies, inviting further provocations, each time upping the ante until Russia is backed into a corner and will finally have to give a military response. The other camp says that Russia should now draw a line in the sand and respond strongly to this latest provocation, to prevent further provocations from happening. Either way, Syria is an absolute tinder box at the moment and could easily turn into World War Three. Peter Hitchens also thinks this, but doesn’t seem to realise that it’s the sort of newspaper that he works for that is part of the problem:

We’re on the brink of war… and nobody has noticed

Ever since the dawn of ‘civilisation’ the world has been ruled by a small group of people, people whose power came from the ownership of land, resources and the plebs. They were almost all sociopaths and psychopaths (people with these sort of personality disorders tend to bubble to the surface in society) who often called themselves aristos and royalty, and were basically a bunch of hoodlums who, whenever the opportunity arose, stole the assets of other hoodlums. Any plebs who objected to all of this were either imprisoned or exterminated (Jesus Christ being a good example); and so it went on over the millennia.

Then we got to World War One in which millions were butchered because of the leaps in technology. The ‘Great War’. The ‘Final War’, that is until shortly after we had the biggest slaughter in history: World War Two, which ended with the first use of atomic weapons on civilian targets. In the 70 or so years since then these weapons of war have grown even more fearsome (and not just nuclear weapons – MOAB being just one example), and we’re at the stage where the psychopaths have to be disarmed and put in an asylum, otherwise human civilisation will end. If major war breaks out between the squabbling psychopaths in the Middle East and elsewhere it will probably go nuclear very quickly (because they’re psychopaths – and a big problem at the moment with the batshit crazy neocons is that they think they can win a war with Russia). In the unlikely event that it didn’t go nuclear, a ‘conventional war’ would still destroy the planet: our modern civilisation has a huge amount of highly dangerous and toxic industry: as well as more than 400 nuclear power plants, there are nuclear storage facilities, oil refineries, chemical plants and all the rest of it. Much of this would be destroyed by a ‘conventional’ world war, leaving the planet completely poisoned. Hmm, probably better to go nuclear war straight away, to get it over with as soon as possible.

Julian Charles on his The Mind Renewed programme recently interviewed Peter Ford, former UK ambassador to Syria (2003-2006), for a wide-ranging conversation on propaganda, the UK mainstream media, and Syria. This is well worth a listen, but please note it was recorded a few months ago, before recent events in Syria…

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The Corbynite Manoeuvre

At PMQs today Jeremy Corbyn wiped the floor with Theresa May, despite May’s feeble attempt to bring antisemitism into the proceedings. All six of Corbyn’s questions were about a chaotic Brexit and the disarray amongst the Tories. Corbyn is having a good week: on Monday nine Corbynistas swept to victory in the National Executive Committee (NEC) elections, changing the balance of power in the NEC in favour of Corbyn. On Tuesday a Survation poll put Labour four points ahead of the Conservatives, despite the avalanche of antisemitism rollocks that the public have been bombarded with. Also on Tuesday the NEC agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in full, with a caveat put in by Corbyn that it does not prevent criticism of the state of Israel. Today many Corbyn fans are criticising him for caving in to the Zionist lobby, some saying it’s the final sell out by Corbyn. This criticism is understandable. However, I would say that this adoption of the IHRA definitions of antisemitism has totally taken the wind out of the sails of the Zionistas. After weeks of antisemitism rollocks, which the public are sick to the back teeth of, this was the top story on the CIAdian this morning…

See, they know Corbyn’s winning, and they are terrified, and so they are now trying to push the line that the Establishment are kind and caring, just like Corby. Such clumsy propaganda is vomit inducing.

Unless in the meantime there’s an ‘unfortunate accident’, Jeremy Corbyn is almost certain to become the next UK prime minister (and someone like me would say that it could happen before this year’s out). If you bear in mind what Corbyn has had to endure these last three years or so, since becoming leader of the Labour Party, which includes more than half of Labour MPs (the Blairites) doing everything they can to stab him in the back, I think Corbyn has the qualities needed to be a prime minister. I’ll add to that, if Corbyn does become PM and fails to live up to his principles I’ll be the first one to put the boot in. On the other side of the Pond, Bernie Sanders has been a total sell-out. Corbyn is now the only one left who has a realistic chance of getting into power.

George Galloway, on his Sputnik programme, recently interviewed Francis Beckett about Jeremy Corbyn. This is not a Corbyn love fest; both Galloway and Beckett are critical of Corbyn. What they’re saying here is the truth that the presstitutes will never tell you…

At the moment across social media there’s incredible censorship of all things Corbyn. If the above video doesn’t work the original show can be found here. It’s on RT, and so is out of censorship reach of the psychopaths who rule us.

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Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Last week Lionel (real name Michael Lebron) was given a tour of the White House and met with President Trump. Lionel is an internationally syndicated radio, television and YouTube legal and media analyst, and is firmly on the right of politics. Lionel lives almost entirely in the ‘alternate media’.

The QAnon brigade are jumping all over Lionel’s meeting with President Trump, saying that it’s yet more incontrovertible proof that QAnon is real and Trump is a part of it all. They’re saying this because Lionel is a conspiracy theorist and a leading promoter of the QAnon phenomenon, and of course anyone who gets to meet the president is thoroughly vetted, so Trump would have known about this. Caitlin Johnstone recently did a very good job of debunking the QAnon phenomenon, and if interested you can find it here. I’ll just add that QAnon, President Trump, the mainstream media’s incredibly hostile attitude towards Trump, Robert Meuller’s investigation into Trump’s links with Russia, and all the rest of it, none of it is real, it’s staged, it’s all pure theatre, probably the greatest show on Earth. For instance, the MSM’s hostile attitude only goes in a certain direction, dominated by Russia. A character like Donald Trump has got a ton of dirt on him, enough to bring down his presidency, but the MSM never go there. Likewise with the Meuller investigation, which largely promotes Russophobia, so that the military industrial complex can screw one trillion dollars out of American tax payers every year. CNN reported on Lionel’s meeting with President Trump. Why would they report on a relatively unknown figure like Lionel? (you don’t get highlighted by an outfit like CNN without an ulterior motive) I could go on and on with things that don’t quite add-up when examined closely/rationally. I suppose more than anything the Trump circus, the sheer scale of it, highlights that the 1% are now totally terrified of the long suffering 99%. Revolution, comrade?

The Trump circus also shows how gullible people can be. Talking of which, an Alabama pastor recently urged his congregation to pray for Donald Trump to ward off impending “witchcraft” which is allegedly threatening his presidency. During his sermon at the Church of His Presence in Daphne, Alabama, Pastor John Kilpatrick told churchgoers that witchcraft is trying to take over the country, and he led his congregants in prayers to strengthen Trump against black magic’s onslaught. The funniest bit is when Pastor Kilpatrick starts speaking in tongues. Enjoy…

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The Battle for Britain, and Indeed the World

It’s embarrassing, it really is, the way the Presstitutes, the 1% and those who fawn to them are going into a tail spin because the 99% are now starting to fight back (“but that’s socialism!” to quote Mitt Romney). All this Russophobia, Iranophobia, and all the rest of it, purely to keep the leeches in the military industrial complex going, is totally ridiculous, yet methinks the 99% are rapidly waking up to this. One thing I see here is that most ‘normal’, moral people can’t get their head around the fact that a tiny percentage of humanity, the sort of people who have shares in the likes of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, don’t give a shit about how many of their fellow humans are butchered, as long as it makes money (likewise with all the ‘terrorist’ false flags in recent years). In any sane world these kind of psychopaths would be locked-up in criminal insane asylums, but these psychopaths presently run the world, and have a stranglehold on just about all information. To repeat, the propaganda is totally embarrassing, because it’s so childish and stupid and irrational, and most importantly, this propaganda smacks of desperation, because it’s coming from a bunch of psychotic cretins who are holding a busted flush.

Professor Norman Finklestein was recently on George Galloway’s show on TalkRadio. I’ll let this speak for itself, but will add that the only thing I don’t agree with Finklestein about is Bernie Sanders, because Sanders goes along with present American foreign policy…

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The Mind-Body Problem

The nature of consciousness is one of the most fundamental questions of human existence, if not the most fundamental one. What’s known as ‘the mind-body problem’ has intrigued and frustrated philosophers and scientists since the start of recorded history. Is the mind part of the body, or is the body part of the mind? Whilst we know that the body is made of organic matter, what about the mind? Is it made of different stuff? What is the mind? Questions, questions, questions.

As always the ancient Greeks had much to say about it: Plato took the view that the soul is separate from the body and is immortal (note: ‘soul’ and ‘mind’ are interchangable terms used by early philosophers). Plato came to this conclusion because he thought that things like ethics and mathematics couldn’t possibly come from the bodily senses and therefore ‘knowledge’ must be a separate entity. Aristotle, on the otherhand, believed that since the body is a part of nature then the mind must be as well. Function and form were key and Aristotle saw the mind as structured matter and not some spirit floating around in the ether. The only thing that Plato and Aristotle broadly agreed on was that our capacity for reasoning sets us apart from the other animals, and that the soul is a definite entity, immortal or otherwise, and consists of three tiers: appetite, perception and intellect. Talking of which, Plato famously wanted to throw poets out of the Greek Republic.

This ancient Greek take on the soul held sway for many centuries and was adopted by early Christianity. It was first seriously challenged by Rene Descartes, the 17th century French philosopher. Descartes believed that Greek metaphysics was a load of tosh and instead posited that there were two quite separate entities: ‘material substance’ and ‘thinking substance’. His seminal work was The Meditations, which is still required reading for anyone studying philosophy. Descartes begins by doubting everything; ie, what in your existence can you be sure of with certainty? Think about that. In The Meditations he comes to the conclusion that the only thing he can be certain of is his own mind; everything else, including the body, could be trickery or illusion/dreams (hence the famous quote: Je pense donc je suis, I think therefore I am). Descartes then asks himself the pertinent question: what is the mind? He came up with the ‘thinking substance’. Descartes was the first major philosopher to clearly differentiate the physical from the mental. If you like fancy lingo, Descartes’ mind-body separation is known as Cartesian Dualism.

Descartes was a scientist as well as a philosopher and as such he took theology out of the mind-body debate. However, this still left the intimate relationship between mind and body: how can something mental interact with something physical? How can an ethereal thought make your physical body do something? Now think to yourself: “I’m going to raise my arm”, and voila! up it goes. What’s going on there? This issue was addressed by Spinoza, a 17th century Dutch philosopher, who claimed that there was only one huge, determined substance in the Universe, and it could be seen as either a complete causual physical system or as a complete causual mental system. Confused..? You will be! Spinoza’s view was that a person consisted of a physical body and their mind was a correalate of all that physicality. In otherwords, ‘thought’ was not a separate entity but was embodied. This caused grave concerns for the Bible bashers of the day, whose main tenant was the soul and immortality and a place called Heaven. Spinoza was a theologian and his claim that the Universe is one entire thing, and you can call it either God or Nature, caused him to be expelled from the Jewish community in Holland. In later centuries philosophers like William James and Bertrand Russell still subscribed to Spinoza’s view, that existence comprised of just one kind of ‘stuff’, and instead of Descarte’s substance dualism it was more a case of property dualism; ie, the one kind of ‘stuff’ has two different properties, the physical and the mental. William Barclay also went along with the one kind of stuff view, although he believed that the substance was entirely mental. No wonder so many of these philosophers went mad.
Continue reading

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I Know How Kyle Kulinski Feels

Kyle Kulinski has a huge audience on the likes of YouTube, yet his channel still reaches a fraction of the ‘Great Unwashed’, most of whom who are too busy on the hamster wheel to get only snatches of news from the likes of MSNBC, CNN and the BBC. Talking of which, the hashtags #abolishthelicense #stopwatchingbbc #donttrustthebeeb have gained a huge number of followers on Twitter in the last week, so there is some traction going on against the absolute madness we’re now living through. Problem is, Twitter et al are now heavily censoring and manipulating their content. Take a look at #jeremycorbyn as an example.

We live in what is rapidly becoming a nightmare world and like Kyle Kulinski I often bash my head with despair when trying to make people aware of what’s going on. The nightmare is right there in your face, it’s not ‘conspiracy theory’, yet the majority of people still can’t see it, or don’t want to see it. On the plus side, mostly due to the internet, more people are ‘awake’ now than there’s ever been (which is why the internet is now being heavily censored). It’s been a truism throughout history that you only need about 10% of the population to reach a tipping point and there’ll be a revolution. I don’t mean violent revolution. What I mean is that all you have to do is withdraw your consent for all the corruption, injustice and violence; you withdraw your consent to allow complete psychopaths to rule you.

I wonder if Kyle Kulinski suffers from high blood pressure..?

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The Psychopaths Who Rule Us

I’ve never been a big fan of Alex Jones, but what they’ve just done to him is beyond the pale, because free speech is so important, even if you don’t agree with what’s being said. I’m of the opinion that Alex Jones is part of the QAnon PsyOp, but I can live with that, because all voices should be heard, including the propaganda. We are all adults, and we can make up our own mind about what’s real and what’s not. Having said that, a huge number of people bought into the President Obama rollocks (and still do), despite the fact that all of Obama’s actions were to the contrary. Same thing with President Trump. I’m reminded of John Lydon’s closing remark at the end of the Sex Pistols’ final gig in San Francisco: “ever get the feeling you’ve been conned”.

The Alex Jones thang is being framed by many as the first major attack on the alternate media. This is patently untrue: the psychopaths who rule us have been closing down the alternate media big time for the last year or so, and they’ve done this by going after lesser known people. That link is to Richie Allen’s web site, and Allen has just been taken into hospital, cause as yet unknown. Methinks a contributory factor might be high blood pressure, which is an occupational hazard thesedays for all of us in the so-called ‘alternate media’ (earlier this year my blood pressure was so high that my doctor told me I was at serious risk of suffering a stroke). Two muckers have managed to avoid stress related stuff: earlier this week Jason Liosatos on his Outside The Box programme interviewed Gerald Celente. This is what the psychopaths, the cockroaches don’t want you to see…

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The Oxford Union Is Now a Total Disgrace

I often feature Oxford Union debates on this blog. Here are some examples:

Malcolm X and self defense

The Snowden Debate

Beware of Bankers Bearing Gifts

The Oxford Union (OU) usually provide lively and democratic debate from all sides of the arguement. The latest OU debate, however, is a total disgrace. The two proponents are Bill Browder (an Anglo-American multi-billionaire who successfully lobbied for the US to pass the Magnitsky Act, a law to punish Russian human rights violators. He also testified to the US Senate on Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 American presidential election) and Robert Guest, Foreign Editor of The Economist.

There’s no debate here. Both proponents are totally paranoid Russophobes who go all out to bash President Putin and Russia. It’s not only a total joke, it’s also very frightening. I’m not going to embed the debate here; instead I’ll give a link to it for anyone who’s interested…

Russia | Full Head-to-Head Debate | Oxford Union

I’ve never seen such blatant, unchallenged propaganda from what is supposed to be one of the UK’s foremost seats of learning.

Oxford university has been totally infiltrated by the CIA et al. It will be a long time before the Oxford Union can live this one down, if ever.

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UK Politics Is Rather Complicated at the Moment

As usual, where to begin. I suppose we could begin with last week, when the UK Parliament closed down for the summer recess (aka a three month jolly). Prime minister Theresa May tried to table a motion proposing to shut down Parliament five days early, because her government is on its last legs. This is not only because of mega splits in the Tory party over Brexit, but also because May’s government is kept in power because of a very slim majority, propped up by a small number of Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs in Northern Ireland; and of course Brexit will mean an Irish border somewhere, and that will most likely be in the middle of the Irish sea, which won’t please the DUP.

So how’s all this going to pan out..? Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party are now six points ahead in the opinion polls, and it looks likely that if there’s a general election sometime soon Corbyn will form the next government. Problem is, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 which can only be overturned if two thirds of MPs vote for a general election. This seems highly unlikely with a split Tory party knowing they’d face defeat, and more than half of Labour MPs being Blairite neo-cons who’d rather lose a general election than see Corbyn as PM. What is likely to happen is that Theresa May’s government will lose its slim majority and will no longer be able to pass legislation. In this event, the Queen (yes, it’s still the Queen who decides these matters in ‘modern’ Britain) will command the Conservative party to form another government with a different leader. If this new Conservative government still can’t command a majority in the House of Commons, and thus still can’t pass legislation, the Queen will ask Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party to form a government. In the event of this the Fixed-term Parliaments Act will most likely be overturned, because more than two thirds of MPs will do anything to stop Jeremy Corbyn forming a government. These neo-con traitor MPs are totally out of touch with the real world, because any general election will most likely see a victory (by a good margin) for Jeremy Corbyn. At this point the CIA will really step in, which is another story; but it does bring me onto the other ball of wool here: the ‘novichok’ poisoning in Salisbury, and now again in Amesbury are such blatant and incompetent false flags that it’s hard to see how the presstitutes can ignore this much longer. This is on top of ‘ISIS terror attacks’ last year in the run-up to and during the general election (here for more details on this). It was all quite blatant political terrorism carried out by the Establishment. People are starting to wake up to this now, and once they are fully awake, that’s it: pouff! the present government are not only out of power, most of them will be arrested and put on trial.

I’ve written at length elsewhere about how completely mad the neo-cons are. They are ideologues easily on a par with the Nazis (and the neo-cons have killed far more people than the Nazis ever did). The only reason the neo-cons can stay in power is because they completely control the narrative; ie, they completely control the mainstream media, and have created a race to the bottom, dog eat dog society where good people are too afraid to speak out against them – another echo of the Nazis.

But history shows that good people do often prevail. I’m not sure how this is going to pan out in the UK at the moment. I will say that I believe it’s highly likely that there will be a general election in the UK before this year is out.

In the meantime we have this…

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The Two Last Voices Left in British Journalism

I’m talking about George Galloway and Tony Gosling. In the present total dystopia we now live in, how these two are still allowed to broadcast is beyond me. Galloway is on the mainstream TalkRadio UK, and his show is usually on a Friday evening from 7pm to 10pm UK time. However, George Galloway often stands in for other presenters and can often be found in different slots (see the link above).

Tony Gosling is an ex-BBC man. He now presents BCfm’s weekly Politics Show. BCfm is a local radio station in Bristol, England. Gosling’s politics show goes out every Friday evening between 6pm and 8pm UK time (you can find it here). The first hour of Gosling’s show tends to concentrate on Bristol-centric issues. The second hour is all about international politics, and it’s well worth a listen, because it highlights the BBC, Sky, et al, as the total presstitutes that they are.

Again, Tony Gosling deals with cutting edge/real stuff. If you want to listen to George Galloway and Tony Gosling you might get some inclination into the absolute low life muppets in the mainstream media who take huge amounts of money to tell you the ‘news’; ie, they take huge amounts of money to lie to you and deceive you. Morality, what’s that?

Here’s Galloway’s show from yesterday, 23rd July. Methinks that George Galloway won’t be allowed on the UK mainstream media for much longer…

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Is Climate Change a Result of Human Activity, or Is It All Bollocks?

Last week, with regard to politics, was the craziest I’ve ever witnessed (and I’m now 54 years old). It’s getting to the stage where it’s difficult to comment on such madness. Here’s the online headlines for the Guardian, today 23rd July…

I’m over the chest infection now (and I’m afraid I’m back on the roll-ups) but my health is still not 100% because of some other issues. So, instead of commenting on current events, I’m going to chuck in this video, the latest one from Chris Hedges’ On Contact RT programme. Hedges interviews Adam Frank, an astrophysicist. As usual I don’t agree with everything said here. I include it because Adam Frank does a very good job of explaining how mind-bendingly vast the Cosmos is. Frank is a successor to Carl Sagan in this respect.

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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…,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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